In fact, a majority of Catholics quietly ignore the teachings of their own Church on the subject, teachings which were reiterated and clarified with shocking prescience fifty years ago.
Humanae Vitae said ‘no’ to artificial contraception
Blessed Pope Paul VI bravely presented to a hostile world what is perhaps the most profound encyclical of the modern age: Humanae Vitae (Latin for “of human life”).
In a nutshell, this teaching said NO to artificial forms of contraception, including the recently approved (1960) birth control pill. Natural family planning methods were the only acceptable forms of ‘planning for parenthood.’
Why? What could be wrong with artificial birth control? The Pope’s own commission investigating new forms of contraception recommended their acceptance.
Abortion advocates, eugenicists, and champions of population control were confident that the ancient Church was about to get in step with a modern world. In fact, the Pope said it was them, not the Church, that was out of step with the times. Even more, said the Pope, contracepting was “intrinsically evil.”
The Pope’s warning
Pope Paul VI warned that a contraception culture would produce dire consequences, such as:
- An increase in marital infidelity.
- A general lowering of moral standards.
- A loss of respect for women.
- Coercive government intervention in citizens’ reproductive lives.
Each warning has come to pass. They have come to pass because Pope Paul VI understood that decoupling sexual intimacy from its “procreative and unitive” basis is ultimately destructive. As Bishop Robert Barron put it,
“When we are permitted casually to separate love from procreation—or as one analyst had it, to sever the link between sex and diapers—we place ourselves on a short road to reducing sexual intercourse to a form of self-indulgent recreation.”
Divorce rates spiked after “The Pill” was approved
As you can see in the chart below, the divorce rate spiked after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of the Pill in 1960. Certainly, many variables influenced the shocking break-up of families. The contraception mindset laid the foundation for them all.
No one can deny the lowering of moral standards in our culture since the 1960s. No one can deny the lowering of respect for women from a culture that views them as sex objects more than ever since procreation has been decoupled from sex.
The “Me Too” movement and on-demand pornography is the culmination of a mindset that suggests self-indulgent sexual recreation is a right.
The ‘over-population’ creed
Ironically, another tome on human reproduction exploded on to the culture in 1968, “The Population Bomb,” by Professor Paul Ehrlich. Professor Ehrlich built on the creed of eugenicists who preceded him, such as Planned Parenthood founder, Margaret Sanger, that viewed over-population as the gravest threat to mankind. People were bad, in his view, because they destroy the environment and deplete natural resources.
Where Sanger viewed eugenics as a way to reduce the populations of “human weeds,” Ehrlich was more concerned with over-population in general.
The solution was to implement voluntary and coercive programs to reduce our population. His tools: contraception, sterilization, and human abortion.” Said Ehrlich:
“We must cut out the cancer of population growth. Coercion? Perhaps, but coercion in a good cause [population control] … We must be relentless in pushing for population control.
It is absolutely essential that we slow or halt population growth by making contraception and abortion available to all of the world’s women.
If we do not put the brakes on our runaway population, the use of coercion will be necessary in order to save the planet.”
Ehrlich advanced solutions which included putting birth control in our water supply, forced abortions, coercive sterilization, punitive taxes on people who have children, and other heavy-handed government solutions that violate civil liberties and human dignity.
“People are bad”
This idea that “people are bad” fed the notion that human abortion was a legitimate solution to save the planet. Ironically, liberal thinking that had always been defined as “looking out for the little guy” abruptly turned on the little guy, the pre-born. Mother Earth became more important to them than the future polluters residing in the womb.
His philosophy gained remarkable traction in the U.S. even though his predictions were grotesquely, even comically inaccurate, as you can see in the chart below. Rather than exploding population growth rates, the world experienced declining rates.
The Ehrlich/Sanger creed of radical population control is the antitheses of the creed of life pronounced by Blessed Pope John Paul VI in Humanae Vitae. Their creed has become the dividing line people the political Left and Right in the U.S.
Their creed asserts that abortion is a fundamental women’s right. But they try to soften their tone by suggesting that birth control reduces the potential for abortion.
Contraception increases the likelihood of abortion
They were wrong, as demonstrated by Roe V Wade. Despite the prevalence of affordable contraception, 60 million unique human persons have been aborted since 1973.
Contraception fails. When the beauty of procreation is decoupled from sexual intimacy, unplanned pregnancies are viewed as “mistakes” which are easily “fixed” with an abortion. Data provided by the Alan Guttmacher Institute confirms it. Fifty-one percent of women seeking abortion were using some form of contraception the month they got pregnant.
The coercive power of the state
The Pope’s final warning has been realized here in the United States with the imposition of President Obama’s HHS Mandate. It coerced people of faith to pay for contraception and abortifacients in their healthcare plans, even if they considered such actions “intrinsically evil.”
Although the current president undid the mandate, it can be easily re-imposed.
The Pope was right. Humanae Vitae has been validated by a half century of social pathology. A contraception culture that separates sex from procreation led to abortion, no-fault divorce, so-called same-sex marriage, and pathological sexual confusion.
Families have been destroyed.
Forty-three percent of children live in homes without their father.
Twenty-one percent of children live in poverty due largely to single-parent incomes.
Blessed Pope Paul VI called it.
[Be sure to mark your calendar for Iowans for LIFE annual fundraising banquet on October 24th, 2018. You’ll be treated to a dramatic presentation of “A Clash of Creeds.” Reserve your table today!]