I was just rereading this, and it sorts of epitomizes what is wrong with Thomist Natural Law theory:
Article 2. Whether virginity is unlawful?http://www.newadvent.org/summa/3152.htm
Objection 1. It would seem that virginity is unlawful. For whatever is contrary to a precept of the natural law is unlawful. Now just as the words of Genesis 2:16, "Of every tree" that is in "paradise, thou shalt eat," indicate a precept of the natural law, in reference to the preservation of the individual, so also the words of Genesis 1:28, "Increase and multiply, and fill the earth," express a precept of the natural law, in reference to the preservation of the species. Therefore just as it would be a sin to abstain from all food, as this would be to act counter to the good of the individual, so too it is a sin to abstain altogether from the act of procreation, for this is to act against the good of the species.
Objection 2. Further, whatever declines from the mean of virtue is apparently sinful. Now virginity declines from the mean of virtue, since it abstains from all venereal pleasures: for the Philosopher says (Ethic. ii, 2), that "he who revels in every pleasure, and abstains from not even one, is intemperate: but he who refrains from all is loutish and insensible." Therefore virginity is something sinful.
Objection 3. Further, punishment is not due save for a vice. Now in olden times those were punished who led a celibate life, as Valerius Maximus asserts [Dict. Fact. Mem. ii, 9. Hence according to Augustine (De Vera Relig. iii) Plato "is said to have sacrificed to nature, in order that he might atone for his perpetual continency as though it were a sin." Therefore virginity is a sin.
It starts off with an appeal to the authority of revelation, a rather odd (but typical) resort of a system which claims
to base itself on reason. Genesis 1:28 was revealed to us. Ipso facto, it is not part of the "Natural Law" (although it might agree with it, or rather, vice versa). According to the OP's Master, "Natural Law is the rational creature's participation of the eternal law," and "Natural Law" is therefore not the believers' obedience to the revealed law. As such, Genesis 1:28 has no place in any "Natural Law" argument. Instead Natural Law has to argue, as the Vatican does on the issue of contraception and "natural sex," from reason, and reason alone:
1956 The natural law, present in the heart of each man and established by reason, is universal in its precepts and its authority extends to all men. It expresses the dignity of the person and determines the basis for his fundamental rights and duties:http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P6U.HTM
For there is a true law: right reason. It is in conformity with nature, is diffused among all men, and is immutable and eternal; its orders summon to duty; its prohibitions turn away from offense .... To replace it with a contrary law is a sacrilege; failure to apply even one of its provisions is forbidden; no one can abrogate it entirely. (Cicero, Rep. III, 22, 33)
(as I have noted before, it is interesting that the Vatican, in what purports to be a Catechism of the Catholic Christian Faith, has to resort to the authority of a pagan Stoic (but, admittedly, a Latin Roman) for its assertion of it as a basis for Christian morality,ethics and "man's vocation: life in the Spirit").
Observing the Natural Law
11. The sexual activity, in which husband and wife are intimately and chastely united with one another, through which human life is transmitted, is, as the recent Council recalled, "noble and worthy.'' (See Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the World of Today, no. 49: AAS 58 (1966), 1070 [TPS XI, 291-292].) It does not, moreover, cease to be legitimate even when, for reasons independent of their will, it is foreseen to be infertile. For its natural adaptation to the expression and strengthening of the union of husband and wife is not thereby suppressed. The fact is, as experience shows, that new life is not the result of each and every act of sexual intercourse. God has wisely ordered laws of nature and the incidence of fertility in such a way that successive births are already naturally spaced through the inherent operation of these laws. The Church, nevertheless, in urging men to the observance of the precepts of the natural law, which it interprets by its constant doctrine, teaches that each and every marital act must of necessity retain its intrinsic relationship to the procreation of human life. (See Pius XI. encyc. letter Casti connubi: AAS 22 (1930), 560; Pius XII, Address to Midwives: AAS 43 (1951), 843.)
Union and Procreation
12. This particular doctrine, often expounded by the magisterium of the Church, is based on the inseparable connection, established by God, which man on his own initiative may not break, between the unitive significance and the procreative significance which are both inherent to the marriage act.
The reason is that the fundamental nature of the marriage act, while uniting husband and wife in the closest intimacy, also renders them capable of generating new life—and this as a result of laws written into the actual nature of man and of woman. And if each of these essential qualities, the unitive and the procreative, is preserved, the use of marriage fully retains its sense of true mutual love and its ordination to the supreme responsibility of parenthood to which man is called. We believe that our contemporaries are particularly capable of seeing that this teaching is in harmony with human reason.
Faithfulness to God's Design
13. Men rightly observe that a conjugal act imposed on one's partner without regard to his or her condition or personal and reasonable wishes in the matter, is no true act of love, and therefore offends the moral order in its particular application to the intimate relationship of husband and wife. If they further reflect, they must also recognize that an act of mutual love which impairs the capacity to transmit life which God the Creator, through specific laws, has built into it, frustrates His design which constitutes the norm of marriage, and contradicts the will of the Author of life. Hence to use this divine gift while depriving it, even if only partially, of its meaning and purpose, is equally repugnant to the nature of man and of woman, and is consequently in opposition to the plan of God and His holy will. But to experience the gift of married love while respecting the laws of conception is to acknowledge that one is not the master of the sources of life but rather the minister of the design established by the Creator. Just as man does not have unlimited dominion over his body in general, so also, and with more particular reason, he has no such dominion over his specifically sexual faculties, for these are concerned by their very nature with the generation of life, of which God is the source. "Human life is sacred—all men must recognize that fact," Our predecessor Pope John XXIII recalled. "From its very inception it reveals the creating hand of God." (See encyc. letter Mater et Magistra: AAS 53 (1961), 447 [TPS VII, 331]. )
As such, it could, for instance, reason from the fact that every human being normally is born from sex and with a sex to to have sex to reproduce. As we have seen on the Contraception and Natural Law thread and elsewhere:http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,21230.msg504637.html#msg504637
(part of the conversation referenced in the OP)http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,29748.msg472364.html#msg472364
and even argued by the OP:
Neither does coitus interruptus.Actually, coitus interruptus does violate the natural law. I believe that St. Thomas Aquinas argues quite effectively that the nature of semen is to be ejaculated into the Vagina. In fact, if you read the bible, Onus was killed for his act of coitus interruptus.
According to your patristics, it is an outrage against the nature of sex to indulge during the non-fertile periods.I am not arguing from patristics at this point, just from reason. But if you want to talk Patristics, the Catholic position is MUCH MUCH MUCH more in line with the spirit of the Fathers than the EO position, which basically ignores them and then pretends like the EO Church has never changed.
How about using "ABC" during the non-fertile periods?What would be the purpose of using ABC during the non-fertile periods? I don't even see how this is an objection. If anything, I would call it a sophism on your part.
It closes one off from being "open to life."1. NFP is open to life because it should not be used with a contraceptive mentalilty ("I am only going to have x number of kids and that is it").
2. Did I even use the term "open to life" in my argument?
According to St. Clement, during the non-fertile period.1. Clarify and quote.
2. You think the Fathers were all around wrong about birth control, so you don't really have a leg to stand on here. At least our position is much closer to the spirit of the Fathers. Perhaps some of them were wrong on some of the particulars of the matter, but the spirit of what they taught, and their consensus is correct. We are in line with that. You are not.
How about "orally consumated sex"?The penis is obviously not evolved/designed for the mouth, but matches the female anatomy quite impressively. It would be contrary to the natural law to "consumate" orally. Again, St. Thomas Aquinas makes some good arguments about where semen is supposed to end up.
Once it has made its rational argument that semen has as its only end ejaculation into a fertile womb, and for each man and each woman (as Lactantius insisted, quoted in the links above) "the genital [’generating’] part of the body, as the name itself teaches, has been received by us for no other purpose than the generation of offspring," so a penis has as its "natural end" insertion into a vagina, which has no "natural end" other than to receive its sperm and conceive, Natural Law can then procede to the issue of frustrating those natural ends by refusing to engage in generation, i.e. virginity.
Aquinas' strawman objector then appeals to the authority of the philosophers as he did to revelation. Philosophical schools tend to cause problems because, having studied the issues, they tend to dogmatize their answers, and the lack of the wall of separation between School and Church under the Vatican allowed Scholasticism to flourish as a religion much as Confucianism or Taoism. Aristotle and Plato become the peer of Moses and the Apostles. Rather than "the rational creature's participation of the eternal law," Natural Law means here no more than rational creature suspending his reason and accepting the Philosophers' opinions as revealed dogma, rationalizing with a religious veneer notions not revealed. Noonan, to return to the example of contraception which spawned this thread, sums this up nicely:
If one asks, then, where the Christian Fathers derived their notions on marital intercourse—notions which have no express biblical basis — the answer must be, chiefly from the Stoics. In the case of such an early and influential teacher as Clement of Alexandria, the direct descent is obvious; his work on the purposes of marriage is a paraphrase of works of Musonius. In the second century, Origen’s standard for intercourse in pregnancy is clearly Seneca’s. In the third century, Lactantius’ remarks on the obvious purpose of the generative faculties echo Ocellus Lucanus. In the fourth century, Jerome’s most austere remarks are taken from Seneca. It is not a matter of men expressing simply truths which common sense might suggest to anyone with open eyes. It is a matter of a doctrine consciously appropriated [from the Stoics, ephasis added]. The descent is literary, the dependence substantial.
John T. Noonan, Jr., Contraception (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1966), 48.
This continues to crop up as a leitmotiv throughout the Summa, positing the problem: does it use Aristotelian categories to elucidate divine truth into manageable bites, or does it pigeon hole divine truth into such categories so as to make it comport with Aristotelianism?
Orthodoxy should raise the objection that the Scholastics do the latter. As Noonan notes (p. 46) as to Stoicism "Stoicism was in the air the intellectual converts to Christianity breathed. Half consciously, half unconsciously, they accommodated some Christian beliefs to a Stoic sense
." The adoption of transsubstantiation as a dogma and the conception of the "Immaculate Conception" stem from the same confusion of philosophical speculation for divine revelation. The "Eternal Law" of God not revealed, but postulated, can not command the same authority as the Tablets of the Law nor the Sermon on the Mount.
To round the objections off, Aquinas makes note of the penalties societies imposed on those whose refused to participate in propagating the society by breeding its next generation. The ancient world did not offer the option of "not to marry." It commanded and demanded it of its populations at large. Hence St. Jerome could excuse marriage because it produced virgins, and the Vatican hierarchy can tolerate its incontinent flock as breeders. But it does cause a problem for a system that is trying to claim its "Natural Law" "a matter of men expressing simply truths which common sense might suggest to anyone with open eyes" when the conclusion unanimity of societies condemns.
It might be objected that these are objections, not Aquinas' position. True, but that just reiterates that Aquinas is rationalizing conclusions he had predetermined, and set up an army of strawmen for a veneer of reasoned discourse. In "the rational creature's participation of the eternal law" neither revelation, nor acceptance of the speculation of others, nor the norms set by the customs of societies have any place, and hence should not even come up in either side of the discussion.
But on to Aquinas' predetermined conclusion, given to him by revelation but which he feels he must rationalize to accept it:
I answer that, In human acts, those are sinful which are against right reason. Now right reason requires that things directed to an end should be used in a measure proportionate to that end. Again, man's good is threefold as stated in Ethic. i, 8; one consisting in external things, for instance riches; another, consisting in bodily goods; the third, consisting in the goods of the soul among which the goods of the contemplative life take precedence of the goods of the active life, as the Philosopher shows (Ethic. x, 7), and as our Lord declared (Luke 10:42), "Mary hath chosen the better part." Of these goods those that are external are directed to those which belong to the body, and those which belong to the body are directed to those which belong to the soul; and furthermore those which belong to the active life are directed to those which belong to the life of contemplation. Accordingly, right reason dictates that one use external goods in a measure proportionate to the body, and in like manner as regards the rest. Wherefore if a man refrain from possessing certain things (which otherwise it were good for him to possess), for the sake of his body's good, or of the contemplation of truth, this is not sinful, but in accord with right reason. On like manner if a man abstain from bodily pleasures, in order more freely to give himself to the contemplation of truth, this is in accordance with the rectitude of reason. Now holy virginity refrains from all venereal pleasure in order more freely to have leisure for Divine contemplation: for the Apostle says (1 Corinthians 7:34): "The unmarried woman and the virgin thinketh on the things of the Lord: that she may be holy in both body and in spirit. But she that is married thinketh on the things of the world, how she may please her husband." Therefore it follows that virginity instead of being sinful is worthy of praise.
Just as his objectors, Aquinas appeals to the authority of revelation (Our Lord in Luke) and to the authority of the philosopher (Aristotle's Ethics), rather to the reason of his reader. Ironically, even his only rational argument he picks out of revelation, and he has to depend on an appeal to authority-Christ's and Aristotle's in equal measure-to argue "the end" "right reason" "dictates," because reason fails him in his defense of monasticism.
IOW, he fails to deliever on his claims:
Now among all others, the rational creature is subject to Divine providence in the most excellent way, in so far as it partakes of a share of providence, by being provident both for itself and for others. Wherefore it has a share of the Eternal Reason, whereby it has a natural inclination to its proper act and end: and this participation of the eternal law in the rational creature is called the natural law...Every act of reason and will in us is based on that which is according to nature...for every act of reasoning is based on principles that are known naturally, and every act of appetite in respect of the means is derived from the natural appetite in respect of the last end. Accordingly the first direction of our acts to their end must needs be in virtue of the natural law...the rational creature partakes thereof in an intellectual and rational manner, therefore the participation of the eternal law in the rational creature is properly called a law, since a law is something pertaining to reason...Law is a rule and measure of acts, whereby man is induced to act or is restrained from acting: for "lex" [law] is derived from "ligare" [to bind], because it binds one to act. Now the rule and measure of human acts is the reason, which is the first principle of human acts, as is evident from what has been stated above (1, 1, ad 3); since it belongs to the reason to direct to the end, which is the first principle in all matters of action, according to the Philosopher (Phys. ii). Now that which is the principle in any genus, is the rule and measure of that genus: for instance, unity in the genus of numbers, and the first movement in the genus of movements. Consequently it follows that law is something pertaining to reason...The natural law is promulgated by the very fact that God instilled it into man's mind so as to be known by him naturally.http://www.newadvent.org/summa/2091.htmhttp://www.newadvent.org/summa/2090.htm
IOW, what Natural Law is not: It is not "present in the heart of each man and established by reason."