Thursday, November 01, 2007

Life, and all that

Here I am, too pooped today to attend Mass for All Saints Day. I think the fatigue is mental to a large degree.

I had my long awaited appointment with the reumatologist yesterday. I wasn't going to get too excited. A friend of mine who lives near a much larger centre than I do waited three months only to be disappointed severely.

I can't say I was disappointed. Non-plussed might do. That's the old non-plussed, meaning puzzled or confused or something like that.

He seemed like a thorough, serious man. The examination might have been a bit gentler, but I was pleased that he was willing to share his resources.

My bonescan was on whatever computer program they have at the hospital. The scan had not been analyzed, and this doctor was not capable of doing that, but we looked at the pictures.

He later suggested a prescription medication but his palm pilot program had no information on fetal risks. I am not pregnant, but he wanted to ensure that would not change.

I told him that if he was requiring me to consent to some form of artificial birth control, he was wasting his breath.

He stated that he was not Catholic, but he was Christian...

Half an hour later, through a poorly disguised anti-Catholic rant, I had been told that the Church teachings on birth control were completely non-scriptural. Did I want to follow a Church, or did I want to follow the Bible? He did not buy my suggestion that the two are not mutually exclusive. He went on about poor babies in the Philippines, Mary (The Blessed Virgin, and our over-blown teachings on her), righteousness (which is apparently incompatible with following rules), and his niece who converted to Catholicism and treats her mother, his sister, badly. Sigh. All this for a medication that MIGHT have helped.

I did some research. Well, no. I contacted a friend who is a Pharm D and asked him. Turns out, this same med has been given to pregnant women with Lupus. They had no higher a rate of fetal abnormality than average, although they were a small group.

My "terrier brain", as a good friend calls it, kicked in and I've been tearing this event to pieces all day.

The doctor tells me he was a pastor for 14 years. He also told me he could not see the difference between using fertility awareness to avoid pregnancy, and using contraception.

Several puzzling things have come to mind. I am fairly certain that if I asked this man if God was the creator of life, he would say yes. I am also certain that he would agree that God knows what is best for humanity.

Why then, can he not see that using birth control is deny God our permission to use His knowledge? We are telling God that we are willing to actively deny Him the opportunity to create a soul, but we are not willing to forgo the pleasure of the unitive act. Fertility awareness is simply choosing not to have sex at a given time. Christopher West says that Birth Control is to Natural Family Planning what "therapeutic" abortion is to a miscarriage.

As far as the doctor's understanding (or lack thereof) of the difference, I'm reminded of a speech by Peter Kreeft in which he asks if we would destroy a building we find, simply because we are not aware of its purpose. Would it not be better to find out before destroying it?

Are the souls of those babies in the Philippines less deserving of existence because they are poor? Is their existence the cause of the poverty?

As for my dilemma...well, there is no dilemma. Catholicism does not consider itself bound by the parameters of the Bible. We worship God, not the Bible. Besides, no where in the Bible does it say we must use only the Bible as our rule of faith. So the Catholic teaching on birth control does not, by that measure, qualify as "manmade" as the good doctor stated. God gave us his Church as the pillar and bulwark of faith.

No doctor. I will not deny my faith in order to increase my comfort. Life is short. Humanity is long.

God Bless