The reply to your correspondents (2.8.63) seems to be that of the Lord to the Sadducees: Is not this where you are wrong, that you do not understand the scriptures, or what is the power of God?" (Mk. 12:24)
Mr. Ryan's remarks would be correet if for "virginity" he substituted "physical integrity". There is not space here to define the word "virginity" in the Christian context —i.e. a virtue and not merely a physiological condition. A child, or an unmarried girl who nevertheless intends to marry (whether or not she actually does so) is a virgin. but she has not the virtue of virginity. 1 he Church's teaching was clearly given by Pope Pius XII in his Encyclical Sacra Virginitas of March. 1954: 1. " . . . There are some who go astray from the right path in this matter and so exalt marriage as to rank it above virginity and thus depreciate chastity that is consecrated to God . . those who do not marry because of exaggerated self intereat or because they shun the burdens of marriage or because like the Pharisees they proudly flaunt their physical integrity— none of these can claim for themselvesthe honour of Christian Virginity. . . .
"As St. Augustine says 'Virginity is not honoured because it is bodily integrity. but because it is something dedivated to God.' The Masters of the Sacred Theology teach that virginity does not possess the stability of virtue unless there is a vow to keep it forever intact."
2. "According to the teaching of the Church. holy virginity surpasses marriage in excellence. This doctrine of the superiority of virginity was revealed by our Divine Redeemer and the Apostle of the Gentiles, so too it was solemnly defined as a dogma of divine faith by the holy Council of Trent and explained in the sante way by all the holy Fathers and Doctors of the Church."
3. "It is not Our intention to deny that Catholic spouses . . . produce rich and wholesome fruits as a witness to their virtue. Yet whoever. for this reason, argues that it is preferable to live in matrimony than to consecrate oneself completely to God. without doubt disturbes right order."
4. Fr. Donnelly's statement was also dealt with in the same Encyclical: "There are those who maintain that the grace of the sacrament, conferred ex opere operato, renders the use of marriage so holy as to bc a titter instrument than virginity for uniting souls with God: for marriage is a sacrament. whereas virginity is not. We denounce this doctrine as a dangerous error."
Sr. Teresa Margaret; D.C.
Dr. John Marshall complains of the "negative approach" to the subject of the infertile period in the "Catholic Guide to Expectant Motherhood". Surely any other would be rather out of place?
This hook appears to have been written with America and England in mind. not the famine stricken areas of the world. Must an expectant mother be asssumed to be in need of this advice?
The enthusiasm of our experts on the "safe period" appears to run away with them. One might imagine limitation of the family by this method to be an intrinsic part of the ideal of christian marriage. instead of the rather sad expedient that it really is.
It is indeed a heartening change to get some positive advice on the subject of having children, which is. after all, the main purpose of marriage; a welcome relief from the mass of information we receive on permissible methods of avoiding them.
Patricia nagger (Mrs.) Leyton.
am writing in support of the Rhythm Method of Birth Control. It was brought to mind again by an article in the Sunday Times, It seems to me that many people have doubts about this method. have used it since our first baby was born three years ago, we now have a second child planned by the above method. Owing to my blood group I can have no more children without a risk to them, so I have once again started the Rhythm method, it has served me well and I have complete trust in it. If it is used properly.
All methods of contraception have to be properly understood to be successful, thc Rhythm Method is no exception. I would advise anyone interested to contact the Catholic Marriage Advisory Council and Dr. John Marshall who are doing such wonderful work.
One thing is certain. total continence would not suit many people, indeed many marriages would not stand the strain. and so many Catholics are turning to other methods of contraception, and as a result arc unhappy and living under a strain; some leave the church.
These facts are being faced in America: we must face them. Many people are completely ignorant of the existence of the C.M.A.C.; it would be a start in the right direction if this could be rectified.
Contraception is wrong, but Birth Control was given us by God in the form of the infertile period, so it can be made use of without any doubts; on our part.
Also this method is used by large numbers of non-Catholics who find other methods unsafe, or not to their liking, or who don't wish to risk their own health or that of any children they may have, by using the new pills on the market. these may have side effects as yet unknown.
A last word on the Rhythm method: there arc only three danger days in a cycle. and then peace of mind. Do give this method a proper trial under direction.
Mary T. Tomlinson.
As a mere mother may I be allowed to endorse every word T. Brogan says on the subject of the "Safe Period"?
In spite of high fertility and some periodic irregularity, I have most successfully regulated my family of six. using this method. The irregularity may be allowed for if the underlying principles are thoroughly understood. It is all quite simple really. and instructions can, and should, be given to those who require it.