‘Marital intercourse’ or ‘sexual intercourse’?

I’ve just posted the third article in my series of articles supporting and explaining the definitive teaching of the Magisterium on the grave immorality of contraception:

Contraception and Heresy — Part 3
On the Latin text of Humanae Vitae

This article examines the Latin phrases in Humanae Vitae which have been used by some commentators as one basis for their claim that the Magisterium has no teaching on the immorality of contraception outside of marriage. The article concludes that the three phrases in Humanae Vitae in question (coniugali congressione, coniugale commercium, coniugales actus) are each properly translated, just as the English text of HV has it, as sexual intercourse. I also find no basis in the Latin text of HV to support the claim that the Magisterium has only condemned the use of contraception within marriage.

The claim these three phrases (conjugal- etc) can only be properly translated as ‘marital intercourse’ is refuted by the examples that I give from Casti Connubii. That word is used, in its form as a noun, to contrast the “haphazard unions of men” with the union of marriage, and to refer to various types of “base unions” that are “opposed to reason and to nature”. Both terms, haphazard unions and base unions, certainly refer to non-marital sexual unions, not to marital relations.

I’ll end this post with a quote from my article:

A third example of this usage is also found in Casti Connubii, in the title of a well-known work by Saint Augustine that is quoted by Pope Pius XI.

“Small wonder, therefore, if Holy Writ bears witness that the Divine Majesty regards with greatest detestation this horrible crime and at times has punished it with death. As St. Augustine notes, ‘Intercourse even with one’s legitimate wife is unlawful and wicked where the conception of the offspring is prevented. Onan, the son of Juda, did this and the Lord killed him for it. [45]’ ” (n. 55)
[45. St. August., De coniug. adult., lib. II, n. 12, Gen, XXXVIII, 8-10.]

As already noted, the quote from Saint Augustine explicitly states that contraception is immoral “even in marriage”, implying that contraception is immoral regardless of marital state. The Pontiff cites these words as part of his official magisterial teaching. So it is not true that the Magisterium has never taught that the use of contraception is immoral outside of marriage, or regardless of marital state.

The title of the quoted work by Augustine is “De Conjugiis Adulterinis”, which is usually translated as “On Adulterous Unions.” So here is an example of a use of the term in question to refer to sexual intercourse that is specifically non-marital, as is implied by the term “adulterous”.

The claim that the Latin text of Humanae Vitae is mistranslated in the official Vatican English translation is a false claim, thoroughly refuted by my article on the subject.

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