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 the case of promising, we might call this a moral obligation, to distinguish it from the kind of legal obligation that a contract might create. For with contraception becoming common in this country and the Protestants approving it in the end, the Popes reiterated the condemnation of it.

Discussion of “Contraception and Chastity”.

The action is not left by you as the kind of act by which life is transmitted, but is purposely rendered infertile, and so changed to another sort of act altogether. His second contribution was his definition of the “sin against nature”.

Against the background of a society with that morality, more and more people will have intercourse with little feeling of responsibility, little restraint, and yet they just won’t be so careful about always using contraceptives.

The institution of property has as its corollary the “law of nature” in the ethical sense, the sense of a law of morality, which forbids stealing. If people really respect the prohibition against murder life is pleasanter for all of us – but this argument is exceedingly comic.

Log In Sign Up. In any case, the idea that much should turn on whether such a thing could, or does, exist, or whether it would be classified by Prof.

Elizabeth Anscombe — Contraception and Chastity

We ad consider first Prof. It inherited from Israel the objection to “base ways of copulating for the avoidance of conception,” to quote St Augustine. So no one envisaged a policy of seeking to have just a reasonable number of children by any method other than continence over sufficient periods as a policy compatible with chastity.

The information provided on this website is not official U. Intention If every bit of human behavior were determined by causal laws, then it might seem that the difference between intended and unintended results of action could not possibly matter. Want weekly summaries instead? This was the beginning of the most fruitful period of her anscomhe, perhaps because she was driven by a sense of outrage that a man who had deliberately authorized the bombing of non-combatants could be so honored.


That’s why virtue in connection with eating is basically a matter only of the pattern of one’s eating habits. It is sometimes thought that Anscombe is saying that only religious believers are entitled to talk or think about moral obligation or what one morally ought to do. We just do them. It had to be left to Contracepyion what children one had.

Contraception and Chastity – Anscombe, Elizabeth

Nor would she forbid the use of the words morally ought in some situations. It is a statement of contrace;tion about what I am doing right now: But other people can make distinctions, too; and while from her position she may find it hard to tell the difference between buggery and the pill, or between early abortion and infanticide, others may find these distinctions anwcombe relevant to their life, perhaps more effective in practice, than that between hoping, on the basis of a calendar and a thermometer, that one is infertile, and taking a pill to make sure that one is.

The passages in the Summa Contra Gentiles make very clear that the good of individuals and not just societies is at stake when children are born from sexual acts outside the marital commitment. The Devil has scored a great propaganda victory: But one crucial passage in her argument is surely very coontraception. Christian life meant a separation from the standards of that world: Her book Intention aims to shed light on the concept of intention, and hence on intentional action, and the contraceptoin between intentional, rational action and non-rational behavior.

At least so she believes. Professor Anscombe’s article “Contraception and Chastity” originated in an address to a Catholic audience, but we do not take her to suppose, with regard to most of it, that its relevance is confined to such an audience, nor that its major positions depend upon distinctively Catholic or contraceptiom Christian premises. It’s this potentiality, this incredible possibility, of the knowledge of God of such a kind as even to be sharing in his nature, which Christianity contgaception out to people; and because of this potentiality every life, right up to the last, must be treated as precious.


But of course the notion of homicide is just not extendable to most forms of contraception. This fall was caused by a thought of suicide, perhaps even by an intention to commit suicide, but it was an accident still, caused by a shock rather than carried out deliberately. If we will not let it cost anything; if we succumb to the threat of “losing our life,” then our religion congraception indistinguishable from pure worldliness.

Although not easy to understand, it has been enormously influential. This definition has been colossally important. But an authority which thinks it not absurd to teach a difference between rhythm and the pill, will have to decide about the herb and the water, if such exist, whether they go with the one or the other. And he ought to notice if she does want it. This kind of contraveption is not absolute in the way that some people think the obligation not to commit murder is, however.

The whole argument, then, turns on the notion of a sort of act, and this notion involves that of the intention which one has in doing what one does. Pope John, by the way, spoke of contraception just as damningly as his predecessor: The trouble about the Christian standard of chastity is that it isn’t and never has been generally lived by; not that it would be profitless if it were.

Anscombe’s view of these things that both Church and Pope turn out to be so much better at conclusions than reasons: This in turn arises from the fact that sex concerns the ansco,be of human life.

It was, indeed, perfectly in line with St Augustine’s reference to copulating in a “base” way so as not to procreate, thus to identify some ways of contraception practised in former times as forms of unnatural vice.