We have had some good discussion on aspects of Professor Marshall’s interview (see STOP PRESS for the text), but I don’t think we have attended yet to a central issue. The commission concluded that the married relationship was the right starting point and that it should by its nature be open to expression though generous procreation. However it did not follow, and it was admitted that natural law could not demonstrate, that every act of sexual intercourse had to be open to conception in its structure. Indeed the vast majority of sexual acts do not, and cannot, result in a conception.
It was argued that it was man’s calling to bring nature under control and that there was no essential difference in applying this through different means, best suited to a particular couple. Natural family planning was a systematic way of separating sexual expression from conception, and so was no less, and no more, “artificial” than other methods.
In looking at the merits and demerits of these arguments we should not be influenced by the almost unanimous acceptance of the experts on the commission (including the archbishops, mainly cardinals, called in for the last session). The commission may have been wrong just as Humanae Vitae may have been wrong. Our job on this blog (as I see it) is to concern ourselves with teasing out the truth through the expression of differing views, backed up with sound reasons. So let’s have your thoughts expressed, as always, through our love of the truth and the Church.