What is really sparse are fathers who affirm the unitive aspect of marriage. There is a great deal in fact on the procreative aspect of marriage and the evils of any anti-procreative activity.[/size
The Holy Fathers whose thoughts we have hold this teaching unanimously, that sex without the intent to conceive and the possibility to conceive is gravely sinful.
But amongst them there is one dissenting voice, that of Saint John Chrysostom:
"There are two reasons for which marriage was instituted...to bring man to contentment with one woman and to have children, but it is the first reason that is the most important. As for procreation, it is not required absolutely by marriage...The proof of this lies in the numerous marriages that cannot have children. This is why the first reason of marriage is to order sexual life, especially now that the human race has filled the entire earth."
Now the odd thing is that if we adhere to the Catholic logic being advanced in this thread we would have to discount what Saint John Chrysostom says because he is contrary to the consensus teaching.
Oh my. That doesn't hold at all Father.
But the preponderance of evidence from the patristic era still places the greater emphasis on childbearing and child rearing and openness to life.
When your patristics aren't expressing their horror at the "uncleanness" of intercourse.
Any Catholic who uses NFP to absolutely close off the opportunity for life is in a sinful state.
Not to mention accomplishing a medical impossibilty.
The difference between condoms and NFP is the fact that the stricture is against having intercourse UNLESS one is open to life.
With condoms there is intercourse that is closed to life.[/quote]
Condoms allow around four times the opening to life than NFP.
With NFP there is no intercourse for a time, and the couple is counseled to not use this method to do anything but space their children. It is sinful to use this method to rule out children totally.
how about if only one partner rules out children. That's not totally, so they are both OK?
And since you are "wasting seed," as your patristics would say, how is that OK? Wasting seed sometimes, say 100 to every one time to procreate, violates Humanae Vitae:
Neither is it valid to argue, as a justification for sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive, that a lesser evil is to be preferred to a greater one, or that such intercourse would merge with procreative acts of past and future to form a single entity, and so be qualified by exactly the same moral goodness as these. Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good," it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it —in other words, to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general. Consequently, it is a serious error to think that a whole married life of otherwise normal relations can justify sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive and so intrinsically wrong.
Now as I have mentioned to you before, an odd little twist to this is the fact that there is NO teaching in the fathers that rules out voluntary continence.
You mean running off to the monastery or taking a vow of celibacy. No, there are plenty of your patristics counseling just that. St. Paul and scripture say otherwise. I Corinthians 7:17, 20, 24, 25, 27.
In other words there is no consensus in the fathers that insists on conjugal sex on demand, whenever and wherever....
Consensus? Depends on how you define the term. St Jerome talks a all about discharging the 'marital debt' (how romantic!), and having to "give in" to the husband's advances (because good girls evidently never want it).
So NFP does satisfy the patristic witness and adds a level of discipline to a marriage that is the other side of chastity which is continence.
A hybrid of recent vintage. Your patristics approve of husband and wife living like brother and sister, but NFP would, based on their words, horrify them.
Artificial Birth Control has no positive value in spiritual terms, caters to sex on demand, and does not satisfy the intents and interests of the patristic witness concerning the spiritual and physical health of a Christian family.
So pregnancy is a punishment designed to thwart sex on demand.
I don't really care how you choose to cut this cake. I think Orthodoxy lost some very important moral ground by making artificial birth control a formal moral option. Had Orthodox hierarchs left artificial methods as a pastoral option then I expect we'd not be having this discussion at all.
I seem to have missed the synod which mandated birth control of any sort. Leaving a pastoral option is how come there is little patristics on the subject.
My guess is that it is one of the fruits of your membership in the WCC and catering to secular pressures, and perhaps even an attempt to look less Catholic [of the Roman sort]. After all the response to Humanae Vitae was pretty scary!!
Yes, we worry of nothing else 24/7 day and night year round than not "looking Roman."