It is extremely interesting to learn of some of the things our parents had to go through. One of them was the government’s policy to “Stop At Two”, just as China now has the policy for each family to only have one child. One of the consequences of carrying out this policy is the now lack of population growth which has resulted in the government offering tax benefits to those with larger families, and to import foreign talent, because its only natural resource – population – is dwindling.
Some of our parents in Singapore greatly resent the government for this, especially those who were deceived into sterilization, which is, after all, an irreversible process.
Other forms of contraceptives have also resulted in many of today’s problems. Breakdown of marriages, for one. And indeed an overall devaluation of sex. The primary reason why our teenagers are having sex at such a young age is because of a contraceptive mentality that is prevalent in our society.
What is a contraceptive society? One that believes pregnancy to be a disease, usually economically, and does what it can to “cure” or prevent this disease.
What our government, and many governments in the world today, fail to realise is that their solution to the rampant problem of promiscuous sex is the very root of the problem!
The first paragraph of the Fourth Sunday of Lent’s first reading from 2 Chronicles holds a deeper meaning for our world today, with the new Temple of the Lord being the human body.
2 Chronicles 36:14-16
All the heads of the priesthood, and the people too, added infidelity to infidelity, copying all the shameful practices of the nations and defiling the Temple that the Lord had consecrated for himself in Jerusalem. The Lord, the God of their ancestors, tirelessly sent them messenger after messenger, since he wished to spare his people and his house. But they ridiculed the messengers of God, they despised his words, they laughed at his prophets, until at last the wrath of the Lord rose so high against his people that there was no further remedy.
I think what’s even more amazing is Pope Paul VI’s predictions made in 1968. He predicted in his encyclical “Humanae Vitae” that the widespread use of contraception would lead to “conjugal infidelity and the general lowering of morality.”
This is exactly what has taken place. Who would deny that the rates of abortion, divorce, family breakdown, wife and child abuse, venereal disease and out-of-wedlock births have all massively increased since the mid-1960s?
Skeptics would claim that there is no correlation between these statistics and the use of contraceptives. Indeed there would be none if the Church today claims that the contraceptives play a major role in this. But what makes the Church’s claim effective and plausible is that it made this claim, this prediction, before the troubles occurred on such a large scale.
Even in science, one of the criteria of the validity and truth of a scientific theory is that it must be able to make accurate predictions about an occurrence. But where does religion and science meet in this case? In the field of social science.
What contraceptives has done since 1968 is to drive the transformation of attitudes towards sex. This rapid change in the attitudes towards sex would not have been possible or sustainable without easy access to reliable contraceptive. In this prediction, Paul VI was right.
But that’s not all. He also warned that man would lose respect for woman and “no longer [care] for her physical and psychological equilibrium”, to the point that he would consider her “as a mere instrument of selfish enjoyment, and no longer as his respected and beloved companion”.
What this means is that, according to the pope, contraception might be marketed as liberating for women, but the real “beneficiaries” of birth control pills and devices would be men.
Now, three, coming to four, decades later, exactly as Paul VI suggested, contraception has released males – to a degree never seen or recorded before in history – from responsibility for their sexual aggression.
In this process, one of the stranger ironies of the contraception debate in the past generation has been that many feminists, particularly in America, have attacked the Catholic Church for her alleged disregard of women. But the thing is, the Church in “Humanae Vitae” was the one who first identified and rejected sexual exploitation of women years before that message entered the cultural mainstream.
So again Pope Paul VI made an accurate prediction here.
But now we come to Pope Paul VI’s third prediction, which brings us back to the title of this post.
The pope also warned that the widespread use of contraception would place a “dangerous weapon… in the hands of those public authorities who take no heed of moral exigencies.”
One of the Nazi efforts to produce the ultimate race of human beings was to explore the field of eugenics, and we know that didn’t disappear in 1945.
In fact, population control policies are now an accepted part of nearly every foreign aid discussion. Massive export of contraceptives, abortion, and sterilization by the developed world to developing countries is a thinly disguised form of population warfare and cultural re-engineering. In addition such are frequently as a prerequisite for aid dollars and are often in direct contradiction to local moral traditions.
Once again, Pope Paul VI has been proven right.
Fourth, he warned that contraception would mislead human beings into thinking they had unlimited dominion over their human bodies, relentlessly turning the human person into the object of his or her own intrusive power.
Here we see yet another irony: In evading the truth and fleeing into the false freedom provided by contraception and abortion, an exaggerated feminism has actively colluded in women’s dehumanization.
A man and a woman participate uniquely in the glory of God by their ability to co-create new life with Him. At the heart of contraception, however, is the assumption that fertility is an infection which must be attacked and controlled, exactly as antibiotics attack bacteria.
In this attitude, we can see the organic link between contraception and abortion. If fertility can be misrepresented as an infection to be attacked, so too can new life!
In either case, a defining element of woman’s identity – her potential for bearing new life – is recast as a weakness requiring vigilant distrust and “treatment”. Woman becomes the object of the tools she relies on to ensure her own liberation and defense, while man takes no share of the burden.
Once more, Paul VI was right.
From this last point, much much more has been born, if you pardon the expression, from contraceptive technology – in vitro fertilisation, cloning, genetic manipulation, and embryo experimentation.
Contraceptive technology, because of its impact on sexual intimacy, has subverted our understanding of the purpose of sexuality, fertility and marriage itself.
All this leads to a greater and more widespread acceptance of homosexuality, abortion, disregard of human life, euthanasia, throwing newborn babies down the rubbish chute, masturbation, pornography, multiple sexual partners at all ages, even bestiality.
Welcome to the world we live in where such problems invaded our shores the day we opened our doors to contraceptive technology. In country after country, it is always the same thing. Once you have contraception, the rest is completely predictable.
But as it says in John 3:17, Christ came not to condemn but to save. So Pope Paul VI did not condemn his and our generation, but offered the teaching of the duties and responsibilities of married life.
And in our own generation, Pope John Paul II in his Theology of the Body explained the reasons behind Pope Paul VI’s teachings. And today, we have Christopher West who translates John Paul’s very philosophical and scholarly language into simple English that you and I can understand.
Are you ready to be a Christian, to do what is necessary to preserve the sanctity of life and the human body?
(Some parts of this post has been extracted from Archbishop of Denver, Colorado (USA), Charles J. Chaput, ofm, in his pastoral letter to the people of God of northern Colorado on the truth and meaning of married love on June 22, 1998, titled “Paul VI was right“.)
For a healthy alternative to contraception, try Natural Family Planning (Singapore).