Magisterial teachings: rules or truths?

In reading and refuting the false claims of several commentators, who distort severely the teaching of the Magisterium on contraception, I’ve noticed a tendency in their arguments. They treat the teaching of the Magisterium against contraception as if it were a rule or a ruling of authority, which no one could understand or attain apart from a decision by that authority. They speak as if the Magisterium has ruled that contraception is immoral in marriage, but has not ruled on its morality outside of marriage. This claim is not true, as my series of articles proves. But aside from the falsity of the conclusion, the argument is also deeply flawed.

Commentators such as Akin, Mirus, and Giunta all speak as if we cannot know, with any degree of certitude, whether contraception is moral or immoral outside of marriage, — or according to Akin, even in marriage with a good intention or dire circumstances — until the Magisterium rules. It is as if they are saying that we cannot understand moral truth from Tradition and Scripture directly, but only through the Magisterium. It is as if they are saying we cannot understand moral truth from the light of reason (from natural law). Arguments based on those sources are depricated by them, as if inconsequential speculation.

To the contrary:

1. the Magisterium has taught that contraception is always gravely immoral, whether in marriage or out of marriage.

2. We can reach this same conclusion by a proper understanding of the explanation given by the Magisterium as to why contraception is inherently evil.

3. the Magisterium has never said that its teaching on contraception is limited to married couples — that is an erroneous conclusion drawn by a few commentators.

4. Tradition and Scripture also teach that contraception is always immoral, not merely within marriage. But they give very little weight Tradition and Scripture.

5. From natural law we can also conclude that contraception is always immoral, even outside of marriage. But they do not find natural law to be a firm basis for morality.

Their attitude is that we have to wait for the Magisterium to rule, and otherwise all we can do is engage in baseless speculation. This attitude is a distortion of the Catholic Faith. The faithful learn and live the Faith based not only on the Magisterium, but also on the truths they learn directly from Tradition and Scripture. Furthermore, the whole moral law is open to reason, and each moral requirement for the human person can be understood from the light of reason alone, even apart from Divine Revelation.

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