Contraception and Chastity was first published by the CTS in Its fresh and incisive defence of the Church’s teaching has helped many to appreciate the. Download Citation on ResearchGate | Contraception and Chastity | Roman Catholic thinker Elizabeth Anscombe relfects on the theological implications of. Much good sense and wisdom is contained in Professor Anscombe’s reflections on “Contraception and Chastity,” but a challenge is made to her suggestion that.

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In a sense, then, she is not writing at all and if she thinks she is then she is wrong. It’s somewhat modern to make this comment. In thinking about conduct we have to advert to laws of nature in another sense. In Christian teaching a value is set on every human life and on men’s chastity as well as on women’s and this as part of the ordinary calling of a Christian, not just in connexion with the austerity of monks.

If the expression of love between the partners is the point, then it shouldn’t be so narrowly confined.

Shocked by this thought he loses concentration and lets go, falling to his death. The very point of them is just contraceptiion obvious material well-ordering of human life that is promoted if people have these virtues. It may help you to see that the intentional act itself counts, as well as the further or accompanying intentions, if you think of an obvious example like forging a cheque to steal from somebody in order to get funds for a good purpose. Intercourse is an important part of sexual activity but I do not see how it can be identified with it, and removed from its proper context it loses touch with its natural purpose.

Log In Sign Up. To see this point more clearly, imagine a climber who loses the will to live and so lets go of the rock and falls to his death. In particular, it is not because there is a natural law that something artificial is chashity.

Augustine holds up as an ideal something which he must have known didn’t happen all that much: It is all the more so when other relevant distinctions are briskly obliterated. Williams and Tanner disagree, but as I have said their argument is not to the point. It is part of the creation of humanity and if we’re lucky we find it available to us and can enter into it.

But the rationale offered by the theologians was not satisfactory.


Discussion of “Contraception and Chastity”.

And so also we ought to help one another and have co-operative pools of help: Anscombe rejects both determinism and consequentialism. Anscombe suggests that masturbators and gay people are bound to be unhappy, and critics have responded with examples of gay people who seem, on the contrary, to have flourished.

She herself has stern words 8 against any innovator who might propose that the pill was legitimate, but other methods of contraception involving physical intervention were not; such, she says, would have been “ridiculous,” “absurd teaching.

And indeed, in their own response to Anscombe on contraception, Bernard Williams and Michael Tanner21 criticize her for calling shallow those who try to make room on occasion for sex as casual enjoyment, and for what they see as her andd assumption that those doing so on occasion will necessarily adopt a frivolous attitude towards sex generally.

And how many miseries and hang-ups are associated with loss of innocence in youth! Fontraception severe morality holds that intercourse and may hold this of eating, too has something wrong about it if it is ever done except explicitly as being required for that preservation of human life which is what makes intercourse a good kind of action.

For if we hear: For with contraception becoming common in this country and the Protestants approving it in the end, the Popes chaatity the condemnation of it. Some war against that country might have been justified, but not the war that she saw coming, with, for instance, its attacks on civilians.

Anscombe on contraception and chastity

Generally people act for reasons, and these reasons have to do with what seems good to the agents in question. Contraceptive intercourse fails on the first count; and to intend such an act is not to intend a marriage act at all, whether or no we’re married. I am not saying: There is a religious tradition according to which certain kinds of action are commanded and others are forbidden by God. Nevertheless it seems implausible to suggest that we do not normally know exactly what our intentions are.

In her view this war was likely to be fought for unjust reasons and with unjust means. The type of installations we need if electricity is to be made available, for example, and the way they work, will be taken into account in framing the laws of the country or city about control of this resource.

I’m making this point because I want to draw a contrast between two different types of virtue. Looking at the rightness of the marriage act like this will help in another way. This means that any causal law linking a cause C with an effect E will have to be of the form: Looking at the rightness of the marriage act like this will help in another way.


As if, if we could only do away with these things, it would be a happy and life-enhancing romp for everyone; and as if all who were chaste were unhappy, not only unhappy but hard-hearted and censorious and nasty.

So intentional actions are not behavior caused by intentions. Now a difference which might be expressed in these terms of course exists.

Contraception and Chastity – Anscombe, Elizabeth

Human Life, Action and Ethics: Anscombe may say, the way in which the pill couple have “brought it about” that this description applies to their act is relevantly different from the way cgastity which the rhythm couple have. For the former involve you in acts of unnatural vice, and the latter is abortifacient in its manner of working. Consequentialism is the denial that there is any significant moral difference between results of action that are brought about intentionally and those that are foreseen but not intended.

The meaning of this teaching “not purely for pleasure” should, I think, have a great appeal for the Catholic thinking of today that is greatly concerned for the laity.

For it would appear that the motives of people engaging in such activity, while morally relevant, are not morally necessary to identify the damaging nature of such activity in relation to the institution of marriage. But an act of intercourse considered as intentional plainly does become something different from what it would otherwise be, if linked, via the notion of a “method,” with the resolution not to have intercourse on another occasion when there would be a higher risk of conception.

But on the admittedly empirical questions of what sorts coontraception sexual behavior have what sorts of effect, her confidence has no conceivable basis at all, and her bluff assertions are correspondingly not only mistaken but ridiculous. In one way this is true, and its truth is actually pointed out by Humanae Vitaein a passage I’ll quote to you in a moment. All the same he is still, say, driving this vehicle amd this place, which is part of his job. This is why there can be no misidentification: