Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Stacy Trasancos

6/11/2012 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

So what's the difference between acting 'practically' and acting 'morally'? Really nothing

Does a mother really equip her daughters with the power of knowledge if she teaches them it's practical to succumb to lowly instincts? Does teaching them about birth control rather than intimacy and marriage spare them of any internal conflict of conscience? 

Article Highlights

By Stacy Trasancos

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/11/2012 (1 year ago)

Published in Marriage & Family

Keywords: Huffington Post, Shannon Bradley-Colleary, abstinence, marriage, birth control, Planned Parenthood


WORCESTER, MA (Catholic Online) - The woman formerly known as beautiful and author at Huffington Post, Shannon Bradley-Colleary, had an article recently with the declarative title "Abstinence Got Me Pregnant." It's a "family planning" story meant to demonstrate that people should not be expected to follow a moral code when it comes to sexual intercourse, and probably many women can relate.

The author describes how she was raised by religious parents and a father that scared off boys while cleaning his gun, how she fell in love in college and "relinquished" her virginity unexpectedly on Cheez-It crumbs behind a couch in an off-campus apartment while "roommates farted and belched like cannon-fire in adjacent rooms," how she began taking birth control pills and used them for the next five years as a "serial monogamist," how after she had her heart broken and broke a few herself she decided to take a "leave of absence" and become abstinent, how a broken-hearted young man still pursued her with roses, poetry, and silly declarations of love, how she got pregnant and to her relief miscarried so she was "spared, making a choice" that might "haunt" her for the rest of her life, and finally how some ten years later she gave birth to two daughters with her husband "at just the right time, with exactly the right partner."

What does she credit for things working out well? Birth control, because abstinence got her pregnant.

Her point is this: "...sex should NOT BE a MORAL ISSUE, it should be a PRACTICAL ISSUE." [Emphasis hers.]

She plans to take her daughters to Planned Parenthood when they are in high school because although she hopes "they will only give themselves to men who cherish them" she believes it is better to be "practical" and dispense with any "moral imperatives" so they won't ever experience shame or blame. She concludes, "Knowledge is power."

Take a deep breath, relax your face muscles, and let's examine the logic of this statement because this is a serious issue that needs to be clarified. I once thought this way too, until I realized 1) everyone needs a moral code, and 2) words mean things.

We need definitions.
We have to know what we are talking about. The word "practical" is derived from the Latin practicalis and it relates to practice or action. The word "moral" stems from mōrālis and is concerned with ethics. Animals merely act without any rational consideration; but humans can act thoughtfully, can reason about morality, and don't have to be slaves to base appetites. I know - it's countercultural, but let it sink in. It's the truth.

There's a word that has become rather distorted, and it relates to choosing actions based on knowledge. That word is "conscience" from cum alio scientia, with other knowledge, science from experiment, and it begins with the individual. A rational being (i.e. a person) has the ability to use
reason and act in a conscionable way. By an active power of the soul, we use our intellect to gain knowledge, and it, admittedly, can be difficult. A properly formed conscience is not the work of a lazy intellect.

So what's the difference between acting "practically" and acting "morally"?
Really nothing, except the former is repetitious, and the latter implies a need for deeper thought and introspection. Someone may say, "Well, acting practically means to make good choices without appealing to harsh judgment." That, however, is a travesty to logic. To know what is good, one must judge, so the issue is still a moral issue, just without using that Big Scary Word. And without guidance you end up saying something silly like, "Birth control is the responsible thing to do when you aren't going to be responsible in the first place." Logical fail.

This confusion stems, in part, from the use of the word "sex." Let's examine that word. It comes from the Latin word secus which refers to the state of being male or female, sexual organs. The union of two bodies is sometimes called intercourse, but if we're talking about people instead of animals, we need a word that represents the union of both body and soul. "Intimacy" from the Latin intimus refers to the inmost, deep-seated, inner nature, that thing between a man and woman that is the deepest union, not isolated to a physical act. It encompasses - is the very wellspring - of the entire union and relationship.

Intimacy is uniquely human. Animals have intercourse to procreate; humans, however, can experience intimacy and pleasure in the marital bond to bring forth new life in love. See the difference? You take your pet to the vet to get fixed, not your daughters.

This is why we call that special union the consummate [consummātus lacking nothing, complete, perfect] marital [marītālis belonging privately to husband and wife] act [āctus physical movement], something intimate and specific to humanity. It's not sex, it's intimacy.

So we need to ask:
Does a mother really equip her daughters with the power of knowledge if she teaches them it's practical to succumb to lowly appetites? Does teaching them about birth control rather than intimacy and marriage spare them of any internal conflict of conscience?

No. But what if you teach them about birth control and abortion along with teaching them about intimacy, love, and marriage? Again, logical fail. You can't say, "Be prudent, but when you fail to be prudent, then be less prudent." That's not prudence, that's lowering the standard.

See, what unites us as people, what defines us as human regardless of any physical characteristic, is our mental endowment. Humans must think. We have a conscience, and for every action we use the judgment of reason to determine whether it is moral or not. Prudence is the knowledge of what we ought to seek and what we ought to avoid for our own good. Prudence gives us power to know the right thing to do, the right way to act. Mothers need to guide their daughters morally, and daughters desperately desire this guidance from their mothers.

What about shame and blame?
Well, part of that guidance is the development of a conscience and the instruction in the virtues. Prudence empowers a child to face fear, to avoid selfishness and pride because the child learns confidence in her ability to reason. It prevents her from harboring resentment from guilt because the child learns that she can make a mistake and still trust herself to do better, even if it's hard. Prudence prevents complacency because it helps the child navigate life with her eyes wide open. Thus, knowledge in matters of conscience teaches a child true freedom and peace. It's a challenge, but the alternative is to give up and stop trying. And again, that's just lazy.

What if a person makes an error in judgment against her core conscience because she hasn't really thought it through? Well she'll feel a tug, and that tug is proof that she knows and recognizes what is true and good deep down. Mrs. Shannon Bradley-Colleary reveals this tug in her Huffington Post article. The "19-year-old girl behind the couch" knew something wasn't right. The 25-year-old woman knew that "serial monogamy" was wrong.

It wasn't "abstinence" that got her pregnant, it was the genuine but imprudent desire for intimacy without marriage. The "sense of loss" felt for an "unwanted pregnancy" was real. Abortion does "haunt" for the rest of your life. The "hope" for daughters to find men to "cherish" them is as true as true gets. It's all called womanhood, and it's wonderful.

And Planned Parenthood will never teach our daughters any of that. They'll just fix them up with pills, devices, and latex as if the only thing they are capable of knowing is (irrationally) how to use them correctly.

-----

Stacy Trasancos, Ph.D. is a chemist turned homemaker raising seven children with her husband in the Northeast. She is pursuing a MA in Theology at Holy Apostles College and Seminary and is Chief Editor at Ignitum Today. She writes about all that she is learning at Accepting Abundance.

---


Pope Francis calls for your 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women:
That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lord’s invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.



Comments


More Marriage & Family

From Living Large to Putting God in Charge

Image of

By Catholic Match

The year was 1990 and Bob was, in his own words, living large. The then 29-year-old had graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee several years earlier and spent over a year on the pro golf tour. He went to build a thriving CPA firm and thought himself to be in ... continue reading


Devil at work! Infidelity experts says adultery is good for marriage - if you don't get caught Watch

Image of Since launching in Canada on Valentine's Day in 2002, the adultery Web site has attracted more than 24 million members in 37 countries. South Korea joined last week.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Ashley Madison is a controversial Web site that enables married men and women to have xtramarital affair. Based in Canada, Noel Biderman is forthright about the right of the married to have affairs -- providing they don't get caught. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


The Path to Happiness for a Young Widow

Image of Bruce and Lauren are now happily married!

By Catholic Match

It's been said the hand of God works by way of coincidences, keeping Him invisible as He illuminates our path. That's how it worked for Bruce and Lauren, and how they get their first sense that something special was afoot. Lauren, 54-years-old, was recently widowed ... continue reading


A Marriage Built on a Firm Rock

Image of Ed and Francis both had great success thanks to CatholicMatch!

By Catholic Match

Frances already had an immensely positive experience with marriage when she came to CatholicMatch. A widow, she had great memories of her years with her late husband and if another marriage was to happen it would have to be on a firm foundation. I had a wonderful ... continue reading


Easy homemade play dough recipes, for the whole family to enjoy.

Image of Home made Play Doh is so much fun.

By Wendy C. R.N., BA

Every child loves to play with play dough and making your own play dough with your child can be fun. Here are three easy recipes for great homemade play dough. Kids are amazed when they learn how easy it is to make play dough wit this activity. The dough can be ... continue reading


Have a Great Family Easter Egg Hunt. Instead of just candy, why not fill your eggs with clues or puzzle pieces, or all sorts of things!

Image of Children love Easter Egg Hunts. Lets make it special this year.

By Wendy C. R.N., BA

Have an Family Easter Egg Hunts this year and fill the eggs with more than just candy. Here are 31 ideas to fill them with, and have fun! LOS ANGELES, CA - Need a fun idea to spruce up your Easter Egg Hunt? Instead of just candy, why not fill your eggs with clues or ... continue reading


Former 'house of horrors' abortion clinic to become emergency food, support center for poor families Watch

Image of The Philadelphia clinic was described as a chaotic

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There is such a thing as a second chance. The notorious Delaware clinic in which abortionist Kermit Gosnell performed late-term abortions and executed children after birth will see a second life as an emergency food and support center for poor families. Lutheran ... continue reading


Hey dads! Pope Francis has an awesome message for you! Watch

Image of Pope Francis follows the example of St. Joseph, and blesses a child. Our clergy are father figures too.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

On the feast day of St. Joseph, Pope Francis spoke directly to dads, encouraging them to follow the example of St. Joseph and remain close to their children. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Yesterday was the feast day of St. Joseph and Pope Francis used the ... continue reading


Church must reconcile divorce and remarriage, German cardinal says Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Church needs to find a middle ground that does not destroy or abandon doctrine in regards to divorce and civil remarriages, Cardinal Walter Kasper says. The church must offer a "renewed" interpretation of Church teaching in order to help those whose ... continue reading


How Republicans won the fight over abortion in Texas Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Just twenty abortion clinics remain open in Texas following an antiabortion bills that was passed into law in July of 2013. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - House Bill 2, which was passed in November, requires that all abortion clinics close by Sept. 1, 2014, unless ... continue reading


All Marriage & Family News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 52:13--53:12
13 Look, my servant will prosper, will grow great, ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 31:2, 6, 12-13, 15-16, 17, 25
2 turn your ear to me, make haste. Be for me a ... Read More

Gospel, John 18:1--19:42
1 After he had said all this, Jesus left with his ... Read More

Reading 2, Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9
14 Since in Jesus, the Son of God, we have the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 18th, 2014 Image

St. Apollonius the Apologist
April 18: Martyr whose Apologia, or defense of the faith, is considered ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter