Monday, August 20, 2018

New Evangelizers Post: Reflections on Humanae Vitae Part III: Paul's Prophecy

I have a new article up at  

There are many reasons that Paul VI, the author of the papal encyclical <em>Humanae Vitae</em>,  will soon be canonized as a saint.  For today’s article, I would like to focus on one particular element that may have been a factor: Paul VI was a prophet.

He was a prophet in the theological sense as someone who speaks the Word of God, especially to a world of men that would mostly reject it.  But he was also a prophet in the common understanding of the term as someone who predicts the future accurately.  In <em>Humanae Vitae</em>, Paul VI predicts three consequences of accepting artificial contraception into our culture. 

1.The Destruction of Marriage

Paul VI writes “Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—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.” (<em>Humanae Vitae</em>, 17)

Let us deal with the first point: the destruction of marriage.  As Paul points out, human beings are very susceptible to temptation.  And I think human experience can tell us that for many, the lure of lustful pleasures can be very powerful, if not overwhelming.  I believe that Our Lady of Fatima said something akin to the idea that most souls go to hell because of sins of the flesh not because they are the worst but because they are the most frequent.  

Marriage requires sexual fidelity to your spouse.  As the years progress, as the flame of romantic love tends to cool between the spouses, the temptation is common.  One or both spouses may begin to connect on an emotional level with someone else or they could just experience plain animal lust for another.  In the past, fear of pregnancy could be a strong deterrent against these affairs.  With the introduction of contraception, that fear is removed.

To be clear, someone who refrains from cheating only because he or she does not want to get caught is not someone who is living the marriage ideal.  But introducing contraceptive will make that ideal harder to reach.  And if we make it easier by lowering this moral standard, as Paul says, then marriages will be destroyed with all of the negative consequences that has to the spouses and the children.

2. The Objectification of Women

You can read the whole article here.

No comments:

Post a Comment