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The Pope's View Of Birth Control

1496 words - 6 pages

In the Encyclical on Birth Control by Pope Paul VI, Natural Law Theory is used to argue against the use of birth control. The Encyclical, according to the Pope, assumes that humans are free and responsible, possessing a free will that makes us responsible moral agents. One of the thoughtful duties that lies in humans is the transmission of human life, “for which married persons are the free and responsible collaborators of God the Creator” (174). Along with the duty that lies in humans there are two additional factors, the social concerns and the Apostolic Succession that make the Encyclical influential. Through the progression of time there have been various social factors that have played into birth control including population growth, the role of a woman in society, and the progress of humans and technology. Through Apostolic Succession the Pope is infallible which gives him a direct right, inherited through Peter. In the Encyclical the Pope will argue against birth control through the use of conjugal love, responsible parenthood, and Natural Law.
The Encyclical is an example of the Pope exercising his right to teach the natural laws through his assumed right by infallibility. Papal Infallibility states that the pope is protected to speak about faith through God. This infallibility is derived from Apostolic Succession which claims that “no believer will wish to deny that the teaching authority of the church is competent to interpret even the natural moral law” (175). This teaching authority is the Pope. Thus, the moral law cannot be challenged because “Jesus Christ, when communicating to Peter and to the Apostles His divine authority and sending them to teach all nations His commandments, constituted them as guardians and authentic interpreters of all the moral law” (175), that is the law of the gospel which is essentially “an expression of the will of God” (175). The Pope received his authority through Peter who received it from Jesus, therefore making the Encyclical which is written by the Pope, a powerful document. The Pope will argue that the use of birth control goes against Natural Law and therefor goes against the will of God.
To start his argument against birth control the Pope first talks about Conjugal Love and the circumstance that is lies further than the blind evolution of natural forces. The purpose of this love is to work together with God in the view of “mutual personal perfection” (176), for the greater purpose of brining in and educating new life. This love is not meant to be based off of evolution or unconscious motivation, as it is spiritual. This love must be fully human because it is based off “of the sense and of the spirit at the same time” (176). It is in that free will where husband and wife grow through the sorrows of life to unite into one body of the heart and soul in search of human perfection. In addition the love must also be total in the aspect that it is a “special form of friendship” (176), an exclusive...

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