The Bishop’s Letter: Life and love
|We would do well to recover Vatican II’s sense of the beauty of marital love-making, chaste habits and family life.|
From Bishop Anthony Fisher OP, published in Catholic Outlook, October 2012
“Catholics, Prussians, Jews and Russians – all are a curse, or something worse” – so wrote Marie Stopes, the eugenicist and founder of the birth control movement, in 1942.
Recently, scientists said they were a step closer to a contraceptive pill for men. Media pundits hailed the potential of the drug JQ1 that stunts sperm production in mice and is reversible like its sister drug, the female contraceptive pill.
But could women trust men to take the pill when it’s they who must bear the consequences? A spokesperson for the Marie Stopes Foundation told the ABC women not men are the ones needing more choice in this area.
Women – and girls. In the lead-up to a recent ‘Birth Control Summit’ in London the charity Save the Children declared that “pregnancy is the biggest killer of teenage girls worldwide.”
The international media dutifully parroted the claim that a million teens die from pregnancy and childbirth-related injuries or infections each year, ignoring the small print that only 50,000 actually die but the others are sick or damaged in some way.
Even 50,000 is obviously a worry, but nothing compared to the death rate in the same population from malnutrition and various diseases. But to recognise that would kill the headline.
Well, we might say, if such propaganda is intended to press for better pregnancy care, OK. But it’s not. The goal is more anti-pregnancy interventions and more education on the how to of sex and disease avoidance, but not on the why and when (and why not and when not) of sex.
At the summit itself Melinda Gates announced her foundation would pump $4.6 billion into family planning in the Third World. Just as ‘saving the children’ now means saving us from having children, so the way to save the poor will be to ensure they aren’t born anymore.
The ‘cursed Catholics’ on Marie Stopes’ 1942 list are still in the gun. In an unprecedented attack on religious liberty in the name of reproductive rights, the Obama administration is insisting that US Church employers provide insurance cover for sterilisation, contraception and abortion-inducing drugs for all their employees.
Here in Australia it’s hard to imagine how anyone could up the ante on birth control, there’s so much of it already. But the Therapeutic Goods Administration has found a way: the abortion pill RU486 will now be more widely available – through the Marie Stopes clinics.
Stop and think …
Might it be time to stop the aerial bombardment of Third World countries with condoms and the moral bombardment of First World women and children with birth control ideology? Does anyone seriously believe that decades of ‘the pill’, value-free sex ed and condom machines have increased respect for our sexuality and fertility? Will more methods of contraception and abortion really make people healthier and happier?
Or might there be a greater dividend by saving children from ‘recreational sex’? Even secular pragmatism counsels delaying onset of sexual activity, reducing the number of sexual partners, and encouraging fidelity. So why keep feeding the addiction to pills and promiscuity?
Marie Stopes, hero of the birth control movement, promoted contraception but thought abortion ‘a great evil’. She once prosecuted a man for using her name on an abortion clinic and required her nurses to swear never to assist or give information for ‘termination’. So she’d be appalled that clinics bearing her name will now distribute RU486 in Australia.
Stop and think, even Marie Stopes would say, before going further down the path of destroying lives and families …
Vatican II on life and love: Gaudium et Spes 52
This month we celebrate the golden anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. That great Council called the family “a school of deeper humanity”. To undermine the family is to damage humanity.
We are not mere lab mice, mindlessly engaging in sexual activity. Acts “proper to conjugal love … which are exercised in accord with genuine human dignity, must be honoured,” the Council taught. In “harmonising conjugal love with the responsible transmission of life,” couples must follow objective standards, not just personal convenience or sincere opinion.
“These standards, based on the nature of human persons and their acts, preserve the full sense of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love.” Cultivating ‘the virtue of conjugal chastity’, the faithful “will avoid birth control methods criticised by the teaching authority of the Church in its unfolding of the divine law.” Above all, they will eschew the ‘unspeakable crimes’ of abortion and infanticide.
“Human life and the task of transmitting it are not realities bound up with this world alone,” the Council concluded. “They cannot be measured or perceived purely in worldly terms, but always have a bearing on people’s eternal destiny.” In the face of the unrelenting push for contraceptives and abortifacients, we would do well to recover Vatican II’s sense of the beauty of marital love-making, chaste habits and family life.
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