Sunday, October 25, 2009


From a Commonweal blog post linked to by Kendall Harmon:

A friend of mine, a former Anglican actually, brought up an issue that I hadn’t thought about with respect to the new Anglican rite: contraception. In 1930, the Lambeth Conference declared that contraception was not always immoral, and could be used (for serious reason) to regulate the number of children that a married couple had. That declaration prompted a negative response from the Roman Catholic Church–the encyclical Casti Connubii, which declared that the use of contraception was never morally permissible. As most people know, that stance was reaffirmed by Humanae Vitae.

Now, the Roman Catholic Church teaches that the prohibition against contraception is not a matter of “rite” or religious practice–it is a matter of natural law, binding not only upon Catholics, but upon all persons. So Anglicans who join the Catholic Church will be expected to conform to the prohibition There is no such thing as a dispensation from the strictures of negative moral absolutes. It’s true, of course, that many Roman Catholics make their own decisions about this matter, and come to their own private peace with God in the “internal forum” of their conscience. But the new influx of Anglicans will include people who will not be able to come to a purely private peace–the married members of the clergy, who will be required to follow Humanae Vitae no less than other married persons.

As far as I am aware, however, the morality of contraception under certain circumstances has been more or less a settled issue among Anglicans–even traditionally minded Anglicans. How will this change work out?

As we know, the leaders of the Traditional Anglican Communion have already signed the Catechism of the Catholic Church and they and their followers must be prepared to accept Catholic dogma and doctrine and all that it requires.

But for other Anglicans who may have issues with the Anglican Communion, but are not so interested in all that comes with Rome, one hopes Rome is prepared with its requirements for ordaining married Anglicans that this is singled out as a primary point.

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