Daily Archives: May 23, 2009

A couple days ago, “Anonymous” claimed that the Vatican needs to crack down on Catholic bloggers who are “practicing theology without a license.” I supposed that Anon. would just say “it’s not an ex cathedra pronouncement,” but here’s what the Holy Father said:

Pope Benedict XVI has encouraged all Catholics– but especially young people– to put modern means of communication to their best use in spreading the Gospel. “The new technologies have brought about fundamental shifts in the ways in which news and information are disseminated and in how people communicate and relate to each other,” the Pope observed, as he called attention to the May 24 observance of the World Day for Communications. “Employ these new technologies to make the Gospel known, so that the Good News of God’s infinite love for all people, will resound in new ways across our increasingly technological world!” The Pope added an appeal to “all
those who access cyberspace to be careful to maintain and promote a culture of respect, dialogue and authentic friendship.”

To facilitate this goal, the Vatican will be launching a new website, targeted at the IPod Generation, www.Pope2You.net.

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More consequences of the Pill, and a cautionary tale on "reverse consequentialism"

According to a recent study, use of oral contraceptive pills can cause urinary incontinence in women. So, a pill taken to allow for sexual incontinence leads to urinary incontinence. . . .

Women who used oral contraceptives were found to be 27 per cent more likely to experience leakage at least weekly compared with women who had never taken them. The risk was found to increase significantly with increasing duration of contraception use.

The researchers, from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, said: ‘Our study findings suggest that oral contraceptive pill use may be associated with a modestly increased risk of urinary incontinence among premenopausal women.

‘However, this is one of the first reports of such an association and, thus, further research is needed to confirm our findings and investigate possible mechanisms.’

Another story in contraceptive news provides a cautionary tale of what we might call “reverse consequentialism.” Consequentialism is, of course, the ethical approach by which “the ends justify the means.” Often, in trying to demonstrate that certain actions violate Natural Law, we point to the various harmful effects those actions can have.

So, we could call this a “reverse consequentialism”: not “do evil that good my come of it,” but “evil will come of this act, so you know it’s bad.”

This is particularly true of the birth control pill.

“The birth control pill has all these harmful side effects, like cancer and stroke and urinary incontinence.”
“Condoms and diaphragms physically interrupt the sexual act.”
“Birth control pills, IUDs, and other methods that ‘prevent implantation’ are abortifacient.”

Well, some intrepid researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College have developed a contraceptive device which, they believe, will take away all the problems inherent in every other form of contraception. Bold claim?

Well, it’s a ring that, when inserted into the vagina, releases a cocktail of hormones, spermicides, acids and other chemicals. Since it’s only used during the act, it allegedly will not have the harmful side effect sof the Pill (though, arguably, if used frequently enough, it would).

It is shown in laboratory tests to be effective not just at killing sperm but also at killing STDs, including HIV.

If their claims are true, it could eliminate just about every “consequentialist” approach to contraception, which forces us to be more articulate about the Church’s teaching that sexuality must be a gift of total self-donation.