By FR. ROLANDO V. DE LA ROSA, O.P.
August 4, 2012, 8:21pm
FORTY-FOUR years ago, Pope Paul VI prophesied the horrible effects of contraception to marriage, family, the individual, and society. It was a Cassandra prophecy: Fated to be right, but never heeded.
In his encyclical Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI warned that a contraceptive mentality would lead to the prevalence of divorce, unmitigated premarital sex, the lowering of moral standards among the youth, the phenomenal increase in the number of children born out of wedlock, and rapid decrease of population in countries advocating contraception. He also prophesied that the pervasive use of contraception would diminish our innate sense of responsibility and commitment. Finally, he predicted that contraception would lead to the legalization of abortion.
The Pope’s prophecy is now a reality in many contraceptive-minded countries. Nearly all couples in these countries believe that their marriage is viable only as long as they have no children. The divorce rate is consistently rising. Abortion is so rampant that the disposal of aborted fetus has become a problem. Also, the number of unwed mothers (by choice) has phenomenally increased. With easy access to birth control pills and gadgets, consequence-less sex is now a fad among the youth because it does not entail any responsibility or commitment.
Sex without procreation gave way to its corollary: procreation without sex. Sexless procreation is in vogue now: test-tube babies, artificial placentas, surrogate mothers, artificial insemination, etc. Ironically, those countries that aggressively limited the possibility of procreation are now desperately inventing means to procreate even without sex.
Drumbeaters for contraception have recently found another potent way of advertising it: by scaring people with the dangers of AIDS, the doomsday scenario of overpopulation, and linking contraception with women’s reproductive health.
We sometimes regard the attempts of the Church to adapt her life to the exigencies of modern times as a way of compromise, a search for a soft, convenient, and comfortable gospel. Thus, when Humanae Vitae was published, people speculated that it would contain modernized, streamlined, less demanding doctrine on birth regulation. Many hoped that perhaps the Church had reconsidered its traditional stand, and would come up with a more lenient position.
To their dismay, the Church defied all predictions and reaffirmed instead her traditional teaching on marriage, sex, and the value of human life.
Undoubtedly, Pope Paul VI did not bring peace to many couples. In fact, he destroyed the peace that they cherished – a peace based on the belief that whatever is legal is also moral, or that the easiest and most convenient solution to a problem is the best solution. Humanae Vitae has proven that the Church does not conform to the majority opinion but to the Word of God, and the Pope must proclaim the truth even when it contradicts the current of the times.