Friday, July 31, 2015

Silence on Contraception

From Homiletic and Pastoral Review:
This surprising lacuna likewise regards an “imposing, enduring, pervasive historical phenomenon of the 20th century,” the phenomena of contraception, and the contraceptive mentality, which undoubtedly has gravely impacted the individual human family, and the family of man now for decades. It is simply a matter of fact that the family, including the Christian family, is under ever grave attacks in the 21st century from decadent cultural forces unleashed in the 20th century. Among those powerful forces is the contraceptive juggernaut which has resulted in a contraceptive culture throughout the world in just a half century.

In 1930, Pius XI declared that contraception was intrinsically evil, and warned that it’s practice would accelerate the “moral ruin of society,” undermine the stability of marriage, and lead to the terrible temptation of abortion. In 1932, the secular editor of the Washington Post warned that the moral acceptance of contraception in marriage would mean “the end of marriage as a holy institution” and “lead to indiscriminate immorality.”  Who can seriously doubt today that those warnings have come true in spades, and that the institution of marriage, as understood in natural law and in revealed religion, is in the gravest trouble. Moreover, there has been yet another grave consequence of the contraceptive mentality, which was not foreseen by the Church itself, or by the secular society, and that is the fact that much of the human family now finds itself threatened by a demographic crisis caused by being seriously below replacement birth rates.

How strange it is, then, that a Special Synod called by the Pope precisely to counteract the contemporary negative forces undermining marriage and the family, and to strengthen the family as the basic institution of human society and the Church, should say little or nothing about the role that the virtually universal practice of contraception has played in causing this crisis. This virtual ignoring of the tremendous impact of contraception on married life and societal stability was confirmed by the absence of a single question in the 2015 Synod lineamenta which deals directly with the problem that contraception plays in the crisis facing marriage and family life in our day.

So how can one explain this peculiar blindness in the Church today regarding the evil of contraception, and its impact on marriage and society, especially given the great intellectual and theological contributions of three great popes, Paul VI, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI? These popes made abundantly clear the moral and social consequences of the evil of contraception, its devastating impact for the perfection and stability of married love, and the stability of the family and human society at large. How their brilliant teaching could be so ignored is not easy to understand.

It’s been nearly 50 years now since Pope Paul VI issued what was certainly his most important encyclical, Humanae Vitae, and 35 years since Saint John Paul II gave us Familiaris Consortio. Both of these great magisterial teachings made it crystal clear how contraception, and the contraceptive mentality, damage marriage, undermine married love, family life, and human society. Yet, those responsible for the preparation of the coming 2015 Synod, for some reason, chose not to submit a single study question in the  lineamenta, directly dealing with the problem of artificial contraception. Obviously, these Church leaders did not see this moral and practical issue as a significant factor in the collapse of marriage and family life over the past half century. It was as if the extensive papal magisterium of Pope Paul, John Paul II, and Benedictin brilliantly analyzing the devastating impact of contraception on married love and marriage stability, as well as on demographic survival of societyhad never taken place. (Read more.)

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