04 March 2012

Paul VI was right on government interference

Back in 1968 (two years before the Food and Drug Administration of the United States of America approved "the pill"), His Holiness Pope Paul VI published his prophetic - and so-called "controversial" - encyclical Humanae Vitae on the regulation of birth.

Why did he choose at that time to speak on such an issue?  Precisely because, as he said, the questions being raised about the regulation of human birth "concern matters intimately connected with the life and happiness of human beings" (1) and because they concern marriage, the Church's teachings on which are "based on the natural law as illuminated and enriched by divine Revelation" (4).  Because marriage is found in the natural moral law, it "declares the will of God, and its faithful observance is necessary for men's eternal salvation" (4).

None of these teachings, of course, that he expounded in Humanae Vitae were new and should have not have caused any surprise or anger in anyone.

What should have alarmed people, however, were the things Pope Paul VI foresaw as the natural and dire consequences of a worldview built upon the sandy foundation of contraception:
  1. infidelity within marriage and a weakening of moral values (17);
  2. men would lose respect for women and use them only as objects for pleasure (17);
  3. and government interference within the marital act (17);
Clearly and without doubt, his first two predictions took hold rather quickly.  And now, in recent days, we are seeing all too clearly the fulfillment of his third prediction, which he expressed in these words (with my emphases):
careful consideration should be given to the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone. It could well happen, therefore, that when people, either individually or in family or social life, experience the inherent difficulties of the divine law and are determined to avoid them, they may give into the hands of public authorities the power to intervene in the most personal and intimate responsibility of husband and wife.
If you have not yet read Humane Vitae, do so today.  It is neither long nor difficult.  If it has been some time since you read Humane Vitae, read it again today.

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