The Devastation Caused by Contraception

09-01-2022From the desk of Fr. Villa

The two meanings of sexuality are procreation and rearing of children and the union of man and woman in lifelong marriage. This is rooted in human nature as God created it and is the teaching of the Church defending the natural order.

A generation ago, American politicians debated about the Cold War and the Vietnam conflict, the problems of poverty and racism, and the challenges of the space program. But back in 1968, did anyone forecast that we would soon be talking about a general breakdown in ordinary family life? Yes, someone did. Some 30 years ago, Pope Paul VI issued Humanae Vitae an encyclical letter which upheld the time-tested Christian teaching that artificial contraception is morally wrong.

Consider, for example, the words of Mohandas Gandhi: There is hope for a decent life only so long as the sexual act is definitely related to the conception of precious life. Or listen to Sigmund Freud: Moreover, it is a characteristic common to all perversions that in them reproduction is put aside as an aim. This is actually the criterion by which we judge whether a sexual activity is perverse-- if it departs from reproduction as its aim and pursues the attainment of gratification independently.

In 1930, when the leaders of the Church of England broke from the previously universal Christian consensus, and allowed for the use of contraceptives, a Washington Post editorial lamented that the move "would sound the death knell of marriage as a holy institution by establishing degrading practices which would encourage indiscriminate immorality." Gandhi, Freud, and the Washington Post were obviously not promoting a “Catholic” or “Christian” position. Their opposition to contraception was based on a simple, age-old understanding of human nature.

In the 1960s Americans ignored such warnings, and plunged headlong into the sexual revolution. Now, with the casualties of that revolution visible all around us, are we still foolish enough to believe that THIS generation understands human nature-- and in particular human sexuality-- better than all its predecessors? Long after he helped to introduce the birth-control pill, Dr. Robert Kistner of Harvard Medical School began to understand the forces he had helped to unleash. "For years I thought the pill would not lead to promiscuity, but I've changed my mind," he confessed. "I think it probably has." Once again, Pope Paul VI had foreseen the problem: Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that men—--and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation-- need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law.