Thursday, July 5, 2012

"Homo technicus" or truly human?

Because it is an issue that I frequently write about, I am posting something put up on Facebook by Ignatius Press; a quote by Hans Urs von Balthasar from his book New Elucidations, regarding Natural Family Planning, which is not, at least when practiced in the proper manner, merely a natural form of contraception.
There is all the difference in the world between using one's awareness of the periods of infertility and arrogating to oneself the right to impose radical restrictions on fertility by the use of artificial contraception.

Many see little difference here. And perhaps there is little difference, so long as man views himself as an entity that invents itself and regulates itself: homo technicus. Were this view of man the truth, no limits at all could be set on his manipulation of his own nature.

But the difference is great to the eyes of any man or woman who thinks as a Christian. For in using the infertile days they are not setting bounds to their love. Otherwise, one would have to say that intercourse in the full Christian sense is impossible after a woman's menopause. Married persons who think as Christians set no barriers between the two objects of marriage: procreation and the expression of mutual love. They let the two stand together, the physical side, with its own proper laws, and the personal side. One's awareness of the opportunities provided by nature does not mean one is imposing calculation on the inner spirit of love
All of this is to more than hint at that in no realm more than in bio-technology do human beings run the risk of re-capitulating the original sin, which is our constant human desire to reject our creaturliness and establish ourselves as supreme. As with so many things, bio-technology is a two-edged sword, which is often to put to use to accomplish good ends by means that are not morally objectionable. Nonetheless, we must be careful not to fall into the trap that just because we can do something by means of technology, we should.

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