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Can the Relationship between Fact and Moral Norm, as indicated in Humanae Vitae be Further Explained?

Part III:  The act of the person and the action of procreation

CHAPTER 5: The action of procreation

(i) The inclination to procreation

We have seen that the action of man is necessarily expressive of his unity-in-diversity; and on the basis of this general understanding of human being, we will see how this provides the right basis for understanding the inclination to procreation.  The first thing that can be seen is that the inclination to procreation is an expression of the bodily person.  The bodily datum assists in the formulation of what is morally normative concerning procreation.  The person participates in a twofold way in the eternal law281: consciously through reason's formulation of moral norms; and unconsciously through the following datum: the eternal law is embodied in the structure and processes of the bodily person.  So reason does not arrive at its moral norms without thinking through the bodily expression of the eternal law.  The ultimate answer to how it is possible to draw a moral norm from a bodily personal fact is that both are ordered to one another in the eternal law and design of the Creator.  A key difference between this point of view and that of others282, is the stability implied in this interrelationship of body and soul from conception.  The design of the Creator is established in its entirety at the moment of creation (cf. Mt 19: 4).  There is no possibility of changing the actus essendi unless the 'material' component of the gametes is radically altered by modern interference.  It is not part of the intention of a legitimate and strictly therapeutic intervention283 to fundamentally alter the human stratum.  A therapeutic intervention is by definition the rectification of a recognizably detrimental departure from a normative state or process of development.

The inclination to procreation operates at a number of levels.  It operates at the level of an activity which manifests the being of the person, one in body and soul.  Parenthood, taking account of Chapter 1, is a participation in the will of the divine Being: that it is the vocation of being to reproduce itself by an imitation of itself.  This 'reproduction,' however, entails the relationship of God to man, as expressed in the relationship of man to man (cf. Gn 5: 1-3).  The inclination to procreation is as inseparably spiritual as it is physical.  It operates at the conscious level and manifests a desire for spousal union and procreation284.  If there is an intention to avoid the conception of a child, according to the doctrine of Humanae Vitae, we will see how this does not contradict the marital act in its ordination to the possibility of a child.  The inclination to procreation also operates at the level of providing a datum for conscious reflection on the design of the Creator as it is expressed and embodied in the act of the person and the action of procreation.  These things are a 'sign' which signify the fact that we are made in the image of the Blessed Trinity.  It is now time to turn, once again, to the question of the language of the body: to the question of what is signified by spousal union and the possibility of procreation.

(ii) The person as gift determines our attitude

The Creator gives us the possibility of spousal union and procreation.  We recall that a divine idea is embodied in the very design of the bodily person.  This is the idea of the person-as-gift and the body as a gendered sign of this vocation to be a gift.  The vocation to be a gift, follows on the prior fact that God has given existence to the person as a gift.  In the case of marriage, this orders us to the possibility of a participation in the generation, and therefore to the reception of a person-gift285.  We will see that the fact that this inclination to procreation orders us to the possibility of procreation is what in a way preserves the right attitude to our spouse, to God and to the gift of the child.  The right attitude, it will be recalled, is defined as being open to the gift of the child.  If the child is a gift, then God is the Author of a gift; and if God is the Author of a gift, then our relationship to the possibility of a child makes us approach the mystery of God as Creator: 'O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker' (Ps 95: 6).  Even in the time of suffering infertility, irrespective of what moral assistance is available, the Christian is invited to call out: 'Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?' (Gn 30: 2); and in a time determined by God, He 'remembered Rachel ... and opened her womb' (Gn 30: 23)286.  In this same perspective of the gift, in the book of Tobit the angel says to Tobias: 'she was destined for you from eternity' (Tob 6: 17); indeed, even before he met her, it was in response to what the angel said that Tobias 'fell in love with her and yearned deeply for her' (ibid).

There is a clear distinction between contributing to the possibility of a child and directly determining there to be one.  However, as Fr. George Woodall pointed out, even technical interventions can fail287, therefore the distinction to which one is adverting, is between the attitudes expressed in these two methods.  The attitude expressed in spousal union is embodied in the action of spousal union.  The attitude of technological control is expressed through the manipulation of things extraneous to the integrity of the body.  e first 'method' is spousal intercourse, whether assisted or not (providing this assistance does not supplant but assists the spousal act)288.  The second method is in fact any method which does not respect the inseparable connection between spousal union and procreation289.  The action of spousal love opens the heart to seek an answer in God, whereas the second method seeks to make the answer a product of our technological control.  The authors of Donum Vitae indicate the difference in the mentality of these two types of action to be the difference between servants and masters: 'the spouses cooperate as servants and not as masters in the work of the Creator who is Love'290.  The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has echoed, albeit while explicitly acknowledging a reference to Pope John Paul II, the very language of Humanae Vitae: 'one is not the master of the sources of life but rather the minister of the design established by the Creator'291.

So why does God make the inclination to procreation, an inclination to the possibility of a child?  Why not make us certain of co-creating a child as a consequence of the marital act?  There are at least two reasons for this.  The first lies in a further comment on the theology of the gift; and the second lies in the 'covenant of the flesh' that God made with us in the very act of our creation.  The first reason for the uncertainty of conception is that a person is by definition a gift; and the interrelationship of God and man that constitutes the possibility of this gift of procreation, is itself a gift.  The very generativity292 of man, if it is to imitate the generativity of God, is a generativity in the spirit of a free gift.  God the Father gives the generation of the Son as a free giving of the very gift of Himself as the unoriginate origin of all being; and the Father and the Son give the proceeding of the Holy Spirit as the very giving of the Son's participation in the generativity of being; and thus the Holy Spirit expresses the deep mystery of God as Gift: the Gift of reciprocal self-giving.  So the mystery of God shows us three elements for a theology of procreation.  Firstly: the communion of God, expressed in the vocation of spousal union.  Secondly: there is a complex movement.  The generation of the Son, expressed in the generativity of the man; and the procession of the Holy Spirit, expressed in the life of the child proceeding 'from' and through the man, through and 'of' the woman.  For the man does not originate the 'life' which he transmits, nor does the woman form 'the body' which ripens within her.  The husband and the wife are equal as recipients of their identity as male-person and female-person.  Man as male and female is outside the personal choice of each man and woman: it is a finality founded in the moment of creation (cf. Gn 1: 26-27): 'the moment he spoke, it was so, no sooner had he commanded, than there it stood' (NJB293 Ps 33: 9).  Each person is given to give a uniquely necessary and complementary gift.  A third element for a theology of procreation is the fundamental nature of God as Gift: each Person is a Gift from the Other, for the Other, and through the Other294.

The second reason for the uncertainty of the possibility of conception arises out of the nature of the 'covenant of the flesh' established by God in the act of creation.  When God made man male and female and ordered them to procreation (Gn 1: 28), He did so by intrinsically ordering their action of procreation to His act of creation.  In other words, the covenant of the flesh is the plan of the Creator to give life in the moment of life: in the moment of the activation of the egg by the sperm295 is the moment of its animation by the soul.  The soul is the life of the body296: it is the type of life that informs the body and is called spiritual297, and it is the very life of the person, manifest in the life of the body298.  The biological life of the body cannot be a human life unless the act of existence of the body is one and the same act of existence as that of the soul.  God does not give an act of existence without form and content: the form is a body-soul unity-in-diversity; and the content, manifest through the form, is a particular person.  This line of reasoning can be expressed in terms of the principle: where the body lives autonomously, there is the soul, and where both are is a person299.  So although the body decomposes on the death of a person, on the dissolution of the unity of a person, one in body and soul, the body does not cease to be a body and the soul does not cease to be the principle of the life of that body300.  Conception is the moment in which the unique action of God is the principal cause of the coming into existence of the subsistent soul, one in life and being with the body.  So God is the unique cause of existence301; indeed, although creation is the 'common work' of the Blessed Trinity, the work of creating is particularly expressive of the Fatherhood of God302.  Human parenthood recapitulates the mystery of the Father's generation of the Son; and indeed the Holy Spirit, if defined as Their Friendship303, brings to light the objective of parenthood: a family united in friendship with God.  So a covenant of the flesh establishes a particular relationship of human conception to the Fatherhood of God.  The certainty which would characterize knowing the moment of conception, is actually a certainty which is characteristic of the self knowledge of God.  If the existence of the person is from the moment of the action of God, then only God can truly know this moment: it is a moment characteristic of the knowledge of God (Ps 136: 16).  There are two meanings with respect to this moment304: the first is the actual, existential moment at which a particular person begins: the moment of the action of God; the second is our understanding of this in terms of an answer to the question: is the soul present from the moment of fertilization or at some subsequent point of development?  The first is what was being discussed with respect to a private revelation or a connatural perception of the beginning of a human being.  The second, referred to throughout this dissertation, is an understanding of our beginning which proceeds from both natural science, philosophy305 and the assistance of Scripture.  Referring to the first meaning of the moment an individual person is actually conceived: there is a limitation of what we know which is an inherent part of being a creature.  Referring to the second meaning of the moment of conception: we can in principle understand the beginning of the person; however, the natural difficulty of this question makes the help of Scripture a practical necessity: from Adam and Eve the 'race of mankind has sprung' (Tob 8: 6; cf. also NJB 33: 9).  The perception of the 'inward' moment of human beginning, the moment of the action of God, is actually beyond the creature and is uniquely characteristic of the Creator precisely as Creator.  The perception of the 'inward' moment goes beyond recognising its 'outward' expression in the moment of fertilization.  The corollary of this is that our natural knowledge of the action of God is after the fact; and if anyone 'knows' of this action either at the 'moment' of it306 or beforehand, then this knowledge is by definition of another kind307.  In other words, the natural uncertainty at the heart of procreation, is an uncertainty in which we find an embodiment of what it is to be a creature in relation to our Creator: it is an uncertainty which calls us to recognize that it is God Who has established us in an interpersonal relationship to Him and that we are, therefore, the work of His hands (cf. Gn 1: 4).

The inclination to procreation is as bodily as the spiritual significance of it is inscribed308 into the very language of the bodily person.  In this way the deep language of the bodily person is able to embody the imitation of the depths of God from which the Son is generated and the Holy Spirit proceeds.  This mystery is as interpersonal as it is the expression of our bodily person, precisely because this is what constitutes our imitation of the very inter-Personal mystery of God.  This imitation of the mystery of God is, however, also a participation in the interpersonal mystery of God.  For while the 'gift' of a man is in the 'image' of his father (Gn 5: 1-3), the man is not conceived without the 'help' of God (Gn 4: 1).  Therefore we are left wondering at the existence of our participation in the very longing of God for the 'other' (Gn 1: 28), as the very definition of the inseparable connection of spousal union and the inclination to procreation309.

(iii) The bodily-personal action of procreation

Two things assist reason in coming to know the will of God as regards the nature of procreation: Revelation; and the datum of the bodily person.  The bodily person is made in the image of God: 'God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them' (Gn 1: 27).  It is the bodily person as a whole that embodies the design of God.  A fundamental of this design is the bodily expression of the person as gift.  The design of God, however, also includes the interrelationship of the two aspects of our participation in the eternal law.  The two aspects of our 'subjection'310 to the eternal law are our conscious and unconscious participation in the eternal law.  Our whole being is ordered to the eternal law; however, our whole being is ordered to the eternal law according to the complexity of its composition.  Truth and love311, manifesting intellect and will, participate in the eternal law as fruits of the powers of the soul which transcend the capability of biological life.  Human bodily life also expresses its own transcendence of biological life, precisely because it is ordered to the expression of the powers of the soul which transcend it312.  Another transcendence of human bodily life is that it is divinely ordered to its participation in the action of God at conception.  This ordination to the action of God is either as bodily parent or as the life transmitted in the sexual gametes.  There is a continuity of resemblance between the unconscious participation of the human and animal bodies in the eternal law and there is also a discontinuity of profound significance: the human body is ordered to the action of God at conception.  The body does not come to exist as a human body except in virtue of that action of God and the concomittant coming to exist of the soul as the form of that body313.  Moreover, the being of the bodily person is ordered to the indwelling of God through baptism, sanctification and the final glorification of the body. Even if the supernatural gifts are gifts, in the plan of God His giving is ordered to His prior gifts.  Unconscious bodily human participation in the eternal law, both per se and as it is ordered to our conscious, natural law participation in the eternal law, possesses a dignity which is fundamentally distinct from the same thing as it is expressed in the order of nature as a whole314.  This particular dignity of the bodily dimension of the person is derived from its participation in man, made in the image of God315; indeed, it is through the very difference of the body from the soul that we 'see' the very trace of the diversity in the being of God.  We have also begun to see that the design of God is also indicative of our relationship as creature to the Creator; and, in particular, our relationship as creature to the Creator as it is expressed in the language of the inclination to procreation.  It is now necessary to situate this discussion of the inclination to procreation in the more explicit context of the datum of the marital act.  The full significance of what is embodied in the language of the body is, as we have begun to see, embodied in the interpersonal language of the body.  In this context, we hope to go on to show that the bodily-personal 'datum' of the marital act, is an inseparable part of man modelling the life of the Blessed Trinity.  Conversely, it is only an 'abstracted' part of the body which can be called a fact as distinct from a norm.  An integral bodily-personal fact is as integral to the person as it is to the generation of the moral norm.

A principal feature of the datum of the marital act is the complementary difference of the woman and the man, as it pertains to the marital act: both unitive and procreative.  In order to take this discussion to the heart of this dissertation it is necessary to be more specific still and to pose the following question: how can intending to avoid the conception of a child through recourse to an infertile period316 be reconciled with the precept: be open to the possibility of the gift of life?317  How can Humanae Vitae be right when it says that the intention to avoid a child318 is compatible with the precept of being open to life319?  Let us recall, however, that this is first and foremost the investigation of an intention to avoid the conception of a child which conforms to the teaching of Humanae Vitae.

It could be argued that Humanae Vitae is not prescribing a right attitude to procreation, so much as promulgating a negative norm: 'the intention to avoid a child must not be a positive contraceptive act, so that nothing is done that speaks against fertility'320.  This is true.  Nevertheless, the further question arises: what is it about fertility that no action should speak against it?  In other words, what positive meaning does this norm express, when our action and our attitude is conformed to it?  The answer to this question lies in the relationship between three things: the reason for an intention to avoid a child; the attitude which informs both this reason and the action of procreation; and, thirdly, the action which is apt to this reason, this attitude, and the bodily-spiritual significance of procreation.  The word attitude refers to an attitude of the body and indeed to a 'manner of acting.'  The word is from the Latin 'aptus' meaning 'apt'321.  So this word is particularly evocative of the idea of an attitude which is apt for the bodily person.  It is assumed that unless there is a true instance of 'reasonable grounds for spacing births'322, recourse to the right method of regulating the transmission of life is not what it appears to be: a morally right action.  The method is not automatically right, just because it is the natural 'method' of regulating the transmission of life.  Nor is the natural method automatically right because it is the God given 'form' of an action; even if it is true, that God gives the outward, behavioural 'form' of a good action.  This is because an action has a number of natural parts: parts which are derived from the existential fact of an action.  These are: bodily behaviour or material act; an attitude apt for that bodily behaviour; a motivational reason for it; and an intention or end in view.  So, while the 'form' of the action is the bodily-personal behaviour apt for recourse to the infertile period, there is also an attitudinal 'content' to the form of this action.  Unless, therefore, there is a conformity between the attitudinal 'content' and the bodily 'form' of an action then the action as a whole does not express the will of God it is designed to embody.  The point of the terms of this analysis diverging from the more traditional terminology of the material act and its component parts323 is to draw attention to the interrelationship between the attitudinal content and the bodily form of the spousal action.  To call this 'an underlying attitude'324 is useful and would belong to a brief breakdown of a human action.  But this does not make explicit the interdependence of psycho-spiritual attitude to spousal biological-behaviour.  The point of this interrelationship is that it expresses the unity-in-diversity of the bodily person: an attitude of being open to life is an 'inner' expression of the same reality which is expressed in the 'outer' behaviour of the right recourse to the infertile period.  The reality of an action is not divisible: it is as psycho-spiritual as it is bio-behavoural; and this nature of human action follows on the nature of the actus essendi of the person.

In the first place, then, an action must be informed by a serious reason325; and a true discernment of what constitutes a serious reason is a part of the dialogue of marriage326.  Thus God does not simply give the behavioural form of an action, without also giving a realization of a right reason for that particular action.  Coming to know the right reason for recourse to the infertile period, expresses the proximate beginning of the conformity of a person to the God-given purposes of this action: 'the unitive ... and procreative significance which are both inherent to the marriage act'327.  A right perception of a serious reason for recourse to the infertile period, is already the beginning of a participation in the attitudinal content of recourse to the infertile period.  The attitudinal content of being open to the possibility of the gift of life in the very recourse to the infertile period, is precisely the attitude to be imparted by conformity328 to the divinely intended inseparability of the unitive and procreative significance of the marriage act; and so we can say that the unitive and procreative significance of the marriage act is the relationship of these things to the giving of life: the giving of life as understood as spousal union; and the giving of life as understood as openness to the possibility of conceiving a child.  The morally right action of recourse to the infertile period is an integral whole: it manifests the indivisibility of the actus essendi of the person and it fulfils each 'component' part of the person.  It is part of the design of God, according to the teaching of Humanae Vitae, that the action which intends to avoid the conception of a child is an action that fulfils the human person329.

Now part of what illuminates whether or not the spouses are approaching this method with the right reason, is their attitude to the possibility of an unexpected child.  The following analysis is an analysis of how this attitude is expressed and embodied in an action.  This analysis finds its deepest expression in the Christian mysteries; however, it is beyond the scope of this dissertation to discuss degrees of participation in an objective fulfilment of this attitude by non-Christians.  On the basis of the intimate interrelationship of action and attitude, the following can be said.  If the couple are willing to accept a child, even if they are seeking to avoid the conception of a child, then their action not only conforms to a mentality of being open to life - but it also conforms to this mentality, as it is inscribed in the very action of recourse to the infertile period.  What defines this kind of action as a positive action, is not just the rejection of intercourse during the time in which conception is likely, nor the rejection of a contraceptive attitude or action, but the positive conformity of the spouses to the will of God as it is expressed in the totality of this human action.  The very action of recourse to the infertile period implies an acceptance of what is physically, psychologically and spiritually inscribed in this action as it is given by God; and the natural definition of the attititude inscribed in this action is the precept: be open to the gift of life.  On the one hand there is an action apt for the bodily person, and on the other hand there is an attitude that is apt for this action of the bodily person.  The relationship of the one to the other is as intimate as the body-soul unity of man; it is as intimate as the embodiment of a divine 'idea' ; indeed it is as intimate as understanding that the attitude is incarnate in the action, and the action is an incarnation of the attitude330.  This action does not of itself preclude the possibility of another child coming to be; indeed, it leaves open the possibility that there is a difference between the plan of the spouses to avoid the conception of a child and the will of God for them to have another child.  Furthermore, the very psychological 'uncertainty' at the heart of whether or not a particular action of procreation will avoid the conception of a child, schools their heart in dialogue with God.  It calls the couple to make that dialogue with God a fundamental part of their marital dialogue331; indeed the relationship of these things to the will of God is called a spirituality of being open to life.  This is to approach the vocation of marital dialogue as a path to the will of God.  Similarly, when the spouses seek the possibility of a child, this same uncertainty as to whether or not they will conceive a child, preserves a perception of the child as a gift.  This same uncertainty also preserves the right attitude of the creature towards God.  God is the Author of life.  So a right attitude to God is also a self-giving to God: a discovery of the fullness of life through a voluntary subjection to the Author of life.  Recourse to the infertile period is recourse to an action apt for the whole person and to each person to whom it refers: either actually or potentially.  This is not an 'action, which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation - whether as an end or as a means'332.  This action preserves the natural character of intercourse: the inseparable connection between the unitive and procreative significance of the marriage act333.

We now come to the deep significance of these two things being inseparably conjoined, even in the action of avoiding the conception of a child: the bodily language of the spousal embrace embodies the language of Being as it is lived in the mystery of the Blessed Trinity.  The unity of the divine nature is ordered to the diversity of the divine Persons.  The Act of being the Blessed Trinity is an inseparable expression of both Their union and Their fruitful diversity.  The Act of being the Blessed Trinity is the ultimate origin of what is inherent in the marriage act: the indissoluble expression of the unitive and the procreative significance of the marriage act.  The Act of being the Blessed Trinity is the ultimate Exemplar334 of The unity-in-diversity of what it is to be open to life: the giving of life as understood as Spousal union335; and the giving of life as a fruitful Spousal union.  The action of the spouses takes on a significance that can only come from the mystery of their imitation of the Blessed Trinity.  The body of the man was generated from the 'ground' of his being and receives the breath of life (Gn 2: 7); and the woman was fashioned from a rib taken from the side of the sleeping man (Gn 2: 21-22) and so comes to be by 'proceeding' from the man; and both are called to be 'one flesh' (Gn 2: 24).  The very difference in the coming to be of the man and the woman is a 'sign' of the very difference between the Persons of the Blessed Trinity.  When Christian spouses come together in the marital act, they participate in a particular way in the married person-sign of the marriage of the Lamb (Rev 21: 9)336: the union of man and God is made flesh in the language of their 'flesh' (Gn 2: 24).  Marriage is a 'visible' person-sign of the 'invisible' form of eternal life.  If virginity is the temporal sign of the kingdom337, then the temporal sacrament of marriage is a sign of the form of eternal life (cf. Rev. 19: 7-8) as it is not a specific choice within eternal life (cf. Mt. 22: 30).  In terms of the temporal reality of the marital act, the husband and the wife each make their own but different, gendered gift of themselves to the other.  They do this in an action which preserves their openness to the possibility of the gift of new life; and so their action is ordered to the complete acceptance of each other as potential mother and potential father338, as it is to the possibility of the action of God - even though they intend to avoid the conception of a child.  Their abandonment into the arms of each other, is an abandonment into the arms of God.  It is almost as if the blessing of fertility (Gn 1: 28) is an embodiment of God's own longing to be the Author of human life339.  If the longing of God to be the Author of life is an expression of Being the Blessed Trinity, then it follows that His whole plan of creation is as devoted to the provision of the people He longs to be, as the nature of His plan is true to the nature of His own being.

Choosing to conform bodily to the precept: 'be open to the gift of life,' even in choosing to avoid the conception of a child, is the choice of an attitude inherent in recourse to the infertile period.  This attitude is inseparably chosen in the directly willed, truly good action of recourse to the infertile period for a serious reason; and it is this attitude which is both coherent with the being of the person and the action of marriage.  This attitude, incarnate in an action, is as inseparably spiritual as it is physical, just as the person is one in body and soul; and the person is one in body and soul because this unity-in-diversity is an 'incarnation' of the very mystery of the Blessed Trinity in the language of our being.

281 ST, I-II, 93, 6.    Back
282 This was discussed more fully in Chapter 3, sections (i-ii).    Back
283 Cf. Donum Vitae pp. 15-18: I, 3-4.    Back
284 Cf. HV no. 12.    Back
285 Cf. Mary Shivanandan, Crossing the Threshold of Love: A New Vision of Marriage in the light of John Paul II's Anthropology, (Edinburgh: T and T Clark, 1999) p. 161.    Back
286 The emphasis here is not on a complete account of the suffering of infertility, nor can it be, but on the dialogue with God about it.    Back
287 G. Woodall, telephone conversation 21/12/2000.    Back
288 Donum Vitae pp. 31-32: II, B 6-7.    Back
289 Ibid. pp. 26-28: II, B 4.    Back
290 Ibid. p. 28: II, B 4 c).    Back
291 HV no. 13.    Back
292 Response to G. Woodall's annotated question mark over this term, 5/3/01.  The point of an Appendix (II) to this footnote is to convey the idea that the background to 'the generativity of man' is the generativity of the Good.  Good activity does not just manifest being (Copleston, Aquinas, p. 158), being is itself inclined to that good activity.    Back
293 The New Jerusalem Bible, general editor Henry Wansbrough, (London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1985).    Back
294 Cf. Mary Shivanandan, Crossing The Threshold Of Love p. 165.    Back
295 This is the moment previously discussed in Chapter 4, section (ii): it is the moment that the sperm activates the egg and the egg manifests this in the action of sealing the access pores; and it is the moment that a new life is expressed in a new action, expressing as it does for the first time the existence of a new bodily person.    Back
296 Cf. CCC 365.    Back
297 CCC 363.    Back
298 In reply to a question posed by G. Woodall, telephone conversation 17/12/2000: 'What about people on a life-support machine?'  The following can be said.  If the bodily life of the person is autonomous, then the person is alive and the life-support machine is assisting the life of the person.  The visible manifestations of the autonomous activities of life are the evidence of the presence of the invisible soul.  In other words, the effective provision of the basic necessity of food and drink is also a simple diagnostic criterion of the existence of bodily-personal life.    Back
299 This gives rise to the idea that the individuality of the person is not just due to the individuation of a 'general' form by 'particular' matter, in the Thomistic sense (cf. Copleston, Aquinas, p. 91), but that the individuality of the person, follows on the individuality of the creative action of God.    Back
300 R. Conrad: 'According to Thomas, the body does cease to be a body at death ...' (4/07/01).  Reply: death is the soul ceasing to animate the body.  Death changes the relationship between body and soul; but it does not contradict their common act of existence.  For if the 'body' per se ceased to exist, then in what sense could there be a resurrection of the same body: a renewed animation of a particular body by 'its' soul?  In other words, the whole body participates in the particular act of existence of the person from conception until death; and it is this 'participation' that identifies as it were the particular matter concerned as the body of a person.    Back
301 Cf. ST, I, 45, 5.    Back
302 CCC 258.    Back
303 H. McCabe, "Transubstantiation and the Real Presence."  First published Ampleforth Journal Spring 1969.  Reprinted H. McCabe, God Matters (London: Geoffrey Chapman, 1987), p. 124.    Back
304 This clarification follows a comment by G. Woodall, annotated draft (16/12/00).    Back
305 In addition to the photographic work cited, cf. also EV no. 60.    Back
306 It may be a practical impossibility to know of this moment, as the moment of its occurrence, precisely because it is the precise moment of the action of God.  What is more likely is that we know of it before, as divine promise (Gn 18: 10), or after, as a response to the fact of its occurrence.    Back
307 Is a certainty of knowing the moment of the actual conception of a person incompatible with responding to him as a gift?  (R. Conrad, comments on the draft text, 21/11/00).  Reply: God's certainty of knowing the moment of conception does not contradict His perception of the person as a gift.  The point, though, is this: we are not God and we stand in an existential relationship to Him of creature to Creator.  What we know follows on what we are.    Back
308 Cf. John Paul II, Letter To Families no. 9.    Back
309 HV no. 12.    Back
310 ST, I-II, 93, 6.    Back
311 Cf. Gaudium et Spes no. 24.    Back
312 Cf. VS nos. 49-50.    Back
313 CCC 365.    Back
314 Cf. ST, I, 101, 1: 'When authority is silent we can only believe what accords with nature'.    Back
315 Cf. Gaudium et Spes nos. 12 and 14.    Back
316 For the purpose of this discussion it is not necessary to go into the details as to how this is known.    Back
317 Question re-written in response to R. Conrad's criticism (4/07/01).    Back
318 HV no. 16.    Back
319 HV no. 11.    Back
320 Comment on draft text, R. Conrad, 21/11/00.    Back
321 Blackie's Compact Etymological Dictionary, prepared by R. J. Cunliffe and revised by R. F. Patterson, new edition, (London and Glasgow: Blackie & Son Limited [no date given]) p. 20.    Back
322 HV no. 16.    Back
323 Reply to G. Woodall's question and criticism (16/12/2000).    Back
324 G. Woodall, annotated draft (16/12/2000).    Back
325 The relationship between Christian virtue and the discernment of a right reason, while relevant to this discussion, is beyond the scope of this dissertation.    Back
326 Cf. HV no. 13.    Back
327 HV no. 12.    Back
328 Phrase revised in response to R. Conrad's comment (4/07/01).    Back
329 HV no. 16.    Back
330 Cf. FC no. 11.    Back
331 Cf. HV no. 13.    Back
332 HV no. 14.    Back
333 HV no. 12.    Back
334 The word 'Exemplar' is from R. Conrad (4/07/01).    Back
335 Cf. HV no. 9.    Back
336 Cf. Lumen Gentium no. 8 and HV no. 25.    Back
337 FC no. 16.  There is a whole development on the theme of the Nuptial Mystery which it is not possible to cite here.  But anything that illuminates the bodily personal mystery of marriage, illuminates the significance of the acts of marriage.    Back
338 John Paul II (K. Wojtyla), Love and Responsibility p. 234.    Back
339 Gaudium et Spes no. 50.    Back

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