Over at Catechism.cc, I’ve now posted my second article in a series on contraception:
Contraception and Heresy — Part 2
the use of contraception outside of marriage
In that article, I refute the claim made by Jimmy Akin and a few other persons that the Magisterium has no teaching on the immorality of contraception outside of marriage. This is the second article in a series. The next article will refute the claim that the Latin word ‘conjugale’ (in all its various forms) is never used to refer to sexual relations in general, nor sexual relations outside of marriage, but only to marital intercourse.
I do argue against that claim about Latin briefly in the above linked article. And I’ll add a few comments here as well.
The claim is that conjugale in Latin is only ever used to refer to marital relations, and that this supports, in part, the idea that the doctrine of the Magisterium on contraception only applies to marriage.
There are examples of the use of conjugale (conjugali, and other forms of the word) to refer to sexual relation in general. In Humanae Vitae, the official Vatican translation, which has stood unchanged for many years, translates:
“Revera, ut usu noscitur, non ex unaquaque coniugali congressione nova exoritur vita.”
The fact is, as experience shows, that new life is not the result of each and every act of sexual intercourse.
This is a correct translation, since the meaning of the sentence concerns the procreation of new life. Obviously, human persons can procreate outside of marriage.
“Similarly excluded is any 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.”
Item quivis respuendus est actus, qui, cum coniugale commercium vel praevidetur vel efficitur vel ad suos naturales exitus ducit, id tamquam finem obtinendum aut viam adhibendam intendat, ut procreatio impediatur.
Again, the official Vatican translation considers that conjugale can refer to sexual intercourse in general. And this translation is in agreement with the stated explanation in HV as to why contraception is immoral. It is immoral because it thwarts the procreative meaning. But procreation is possible regardless of marital state. And so the translation and the doctrine are both correct.
The claim that conjugale is never translated to refer to sexual relations other than in marriage is false. There are two examples in HV.
And here is another example, which I noticed when reading Casti Connubii (by Pope Pius XI). He cites a work by St. Augustine called “De Conjugiis Adulterinis”. Now in Latin the same word occurs in many different forms, i.e. with various endings determined by the grammatical role of the word in the sentence. But essentially conjugiis is the same word as conjugale and conjugali used in HV. What is the usual translation of “De Conjugiis Adulterinis” — On adulterous unions. So this Latin word is used specifically to refer to sexual relations that is adulterous, and therefore certainly not marital.
Furthermore, as an experienced translator of Latin, I have looked at the Latin phrasing in HV and other documents, and I agree with the Vatican translators. There is no error in translating conjugale/conjugali so as to refer to sexual intercourse in general, rather than specifically and solely to marital relations.