25 July 2018

Living with the Effects of a Contraceptive Culture

We live in a world of cause and effect. The choices we make individually (and yes, as a society) bring about effects, some good and some bad.

50 years ago today Humanae Vitae was released.

I have spent a lot of time reflecting on where we as a Church and culture are at with the history and real story behind artificial birth control. 

I have discussed with priests and friends on how prophetic this document was and why its even more relevant now when we look around and see how sexually broken our culture has become.

The Sexual Revolution of the 1960's promised us more freedom and self-expression, but as a culture have a lot of sexual baggage, wounding, and pain.

In drafting this encyclical, Blessed Pope Paul VI did not intend to predict the effects of what contraception could do to marriage and sexuality. 

But I do find it very striking (and timely) that there are several effects that contraception would have on society.

Specifically, he writes that artificial birth control would lead to: 

"an easy path to marital infidelity, moral degeneration, a loss of man's respect for woman whereby he would no longer care for her physical and psychological well-being, governments would impose coercive methods of control that exhibit freedom in one of the most sacred acts, and mankind would think he has unlimited power over his body" (HV 17).

I think his words can be summarized in three specific effects that we live with in a contraceptive culture:

  • Martial infidelity and moral decline
  • Loss of respect for women
  • Abuse of power

Marital Infidelity & Moral Decline

In the past 50 years, we have seen a sharp rise in things like divorce, abortion, infidelity, and cohabitation. The impact of contraception on these issues is like pouring gasoline on a fire. 
Contraception has so trivialized the sexual act so that it exists free from any sense of responsibility. 
I do not think birth control has made us better people.

Loss of Respect for Women

All I am going to say is #metoo.

We are living in a time where we constantly hear about more and more women who have experienced sexual manipulation and abuse from men. Why is no one making the connection from a contraceptive mentality of "sex without consequences" and the disrespect for women as mere sexual objects for me to use?

And don't even get me started on the rampant pornography addiction in our culture. Or that now 46% of Americans think pornography is morally acceptable. That has increased so much physical and sexual violence against women.


Abuse of Power

It is very frustrating to see the promotion of contraception used as a "necessity" for charitable organizations working in foreign countries. People like Bill and Melinda Gates think contraception is what poor countries most needed in the development of poor countries.

Pope Francis denounces this abuse of power calling it "ideological colonization," where too often Western countries seeks to forcibly impose their sexual ethics on another country.

Sure you could easily say these effects have been caused by a wide variety of factors, but it is impossible to refute that they exist today. 

And I would say that a contraceptive mindset has added to these effects.

1 comment:

  1. I wholeheartedly agree! I am so sad when contraception is dumped onto people in developing countries-I had a friend in college who went to a meeting of the UN and spoke with a woman from a third-world country who told her that they don't want all of the condoms and birth control. Yet, the narrative that so many charitable organizations keeps pushing is that "this is what they need." But contraception only furthers the sexual violence and disrespect that is done to so many women so if anything, while it may seem to put a Band-Aid on the situation, it actually is going to make the problems of sexual violence and exploitation much worse.


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