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Fraudulent Fertilisation

Episode 22

Ricardo Ludovico Gulminelli
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“But, Father, tell me,” she asked timidly, “does that mean that sexual relations are only admissible in order to have children? Can’t you enjoy love? Is that so terrible?”

“Well, child, don’t exaggerate, nobody has said that. Love between men and women has been blessed by God. Even though Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, humanity was forgiven later on. No, little girl, love is lawful. What’s more, it’s favoured by the Creator who said ‘love one another’. By claiming the right to life, Our Lord defends precisely the virtue of the act that made it possible. But always within an acceptable framework, not in promiscuity, or in mere lust, or in pure selfishness. Don’t think the church is at all opposed to birth control. Not at all. It does not contradict God to use intelligence to overcome the forces of irrational nature. But the order that Our Lord has imposed on us must always be respected. It is therefore admissible that spouses take account of the natural rhythms, having sexual relations only in infertile periods. Don’t forget that the woman is fertile for only a few days, or perhaps hours, per month. In this way birth can be controlled perfectly without offending the Creator. This rule is inflexible. It doesn’t matter if the husband and wife have the best intentions in the world; they are obliged to support the divine order.”

Mabel went on asking questions avidly; curiosity had diminished the intensity of her pain, it seemed to her that she had found a crack in the principles which he was communicating to her. Her modern and logical mind could not accept the exclusion of contraceptives; she allowed herself a break to submerge herself in the concept of man the priest was presenting before her.

“Father,” she asked, “in that case, what happens to married couples who don’t want to have children? Or with those who are ill and don’t want to have defective children? Isn’t there any solution?”

The priest perceived her doubts.

“Look, my child, I can see that you think this matter is very simple. That bothers me, because if truth be told, it’s more complicated than you think. We can’t change a system established by the Supreme Creator. We must accept it. The couple who does not fulfil the aim of matrimony to procreate are denaturalising it. That’s not allowed. Sexuality can only be comprehended as ‘total giving’. It can’t exist if children are avoided.”

“But, Father, even if it’s because of a problem to do with an illness that can be passed from parents to children?”

“Child, don’t you want to understand? I’ve already told you that prevention of pregnancy is authorised, but always in accordance with the natural rhythms of the human being. Beyond that, there’s no justification whatsoever, you must not argue with divine commandments! Besides, I don’t know why you’re so worried about these methods when your problem is different. You’ve got it now! Well settled in your uterus. You’ll have plenty of time to question pills, coils and condoms! I don’t suppose you’ll try and maintain that abortion is good!”

She couldn’t fight the priest, she was overwhelmed by his oratory, by the emphatic, unswayable nature of the judgements he had stated. But his arguments didn’t make her happy, they increased her anguish, they filled her with suicidal thoughts, they made her feel like a lost sheep. The way Father Tomás put his case so categorically was like a condemnation for her. Mabel lowered her head. She gave up...

“Get back on the right track!” she pondered. “As if it was easy! How can I tell mum and dad what’s happening to me? He’ll die. I’m not going to school looking pregnant! I’m won’t let them make fun of me and I don’t want their pity. Father Tomás sees everything too simply. Of course, he’s not bothered if I have to renounce my own happiness, my adolescence. What does he care if I lose my friends? I’m the only one who’ll suffer for not studying or working. Only I know how sad it would be to depend on my family, as if they had money to burn! My God, what shall I do? Even though it’s monstrous to have to have an abortion, it’s the only choice I’ve got left, except suicide... I’m frightened! I mustn’t think about killing myself any more.”

The confession had finished.

Translation: Peter Miller (© 2002)
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Copyright ©Ricardo Ludovico Gulminelli, 1990
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Date of publicationJune 2002
Collection RSSGlobal Fiction
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