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Monday, February 13, 2012

The Time Has Come: Proclaim Humanae Vitae

Okay, Bishops, it's time. For over 40 years, since the Pill appeared on the scene and helped spark the sexual revolution, Catholic truth about marriage and sexuality has been muzzled or muffled in a self-imposed silence. How many pewsitters EVER hear a sermon about openness to life in marriage? Despite the fact that over 90% of Catholic married couples are contracepting, timidity and cowardice rule in the pulpit.

Contraception is gravely evil and yet many Catholics embrace the sin and continue to approach the altar rail committing a sacrilege every time they receive Communion. And, for the most part, no one says a word. It's a tragedy and a betrayal. We need to hear the truth from our clergy. The obligation of the Church is to proclaim the truth. And in our sexually debased culture that obligation is crucial to saving souls.

Why is contraception wrong? Because it takes God's gift of sexuality and deliberately destroys it. If someone gave you a car and you said, well I love the car but I hate that dirty engine and ripped it out, would the car run?
Of course not. But that's essentially what happens when a couple contracepts. They reject an essential part of the gift that destroys what it was made for. God gave us the gift of fertility for unity and procreation. We respect the gift and accept it when we embrace it in its fullness. God loves to give us pleasure and the gifts associated with our sense are pleasurable. Eating isn't just an instinct; it's a delight especially when we break bread with family and friends. Sexual relations give pleasure too, but just like eating can be become gluttony because of the fixation on the pleasure of eating; sex can become lust when the primary focus is pleasure.

I used to teach NFP (Natural Family Planning) and occasionally people would ask me how that's any different from contraception? It's totally different although it can be used with a contraceptive mentality. The Church teaches that couples may avoid conception for a serious reason. I can think of lots of those. The couple in prayer and with spiritual advice is best able to assess their situation. But the means a couple uses when postponing pregnancy is important.

Sexual relations are a form of communication so let me present an analogy to verbal communication. A person can choose not to speak and to remain silent for a particular reason. Or he can stuff his mouth with cotton or use a gag or cut off speech permanently by cutting out his tongue or larynx. When a couple is using NFP to postpone a pregnancy, they choose "silence" during the time when the woman is fertile by abstaining from sexual communication. They do not call the child into being. The contracepting couple, on the other hand, uses a device or drug to "gag" their ability to communicate or, if they desire "permanent silence" they choose sterilization.

For many of these couples, their rejection of Church teaching and embrace of immoral means of birth control contributes to the death of their love. The divorce rate among those who follow Church teaching is negligible. Not so for contracepting couples. Those who choose their own will rather than following Church teaching think they are making themselves happy. What often happens is they destroy whatever opportunity they had for happiness. It's very sad actually. I've heard that mantra, "I have a right to be happy." from lots of folks defying God's law. They usually end up miserable.

The Church's teaching on marriage and sexuality is part of the good news to be celebrated and proclaimed with joy. It's not something we need to be ashamed of or hide in the basement. So please, bishops, proclaim Humane Vitae and teach your priests to proclaim it too. We wouldn't be fighting the contraceptive mandate today if you had been proclaiming the beauty of Church teaching for the last a 40 years!