Prophetic Pope Paul VI, a Champion of Human Life, Now Venerable
human weakness and to understand that human beings . . . need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.
"Finally, 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" (HV 17).
Many of these predictions have come to pass in one form or other: the grave moral decline of contemporary society; the promotion of false notions of freedom which are detached from the moral law; the wildly out-of-control transmission and use of pornography; the devaluation of the institution of marriage; skyrocketing divorce rates; the "friends with benefits" (FWB) phenomenon in which friendships are arranged to include sexual activity without commitment to emotional or any other bonds.
Just a few years after Humanae Vitae the wedge of artificial birth control was driven so deeply between the marital act and human procreation that it spawned the unspeakable evil of legalized abortion in the U.S. under the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. The logical extension of the contraceptive mentality is the abortion mentality.
Further, we are now confronted with the HHS mandate, the attacks on the right to exercise freedom of conscience and freedom of religion, and a President who adamantly insists that it isn't fair for the Catholic Church to refuse to provide abortion inducing drugs, contraceptives and sterilizations to insurance recipients. We have to wonder, what is next?
Not until men and women begin to understand that they are bodily and spiritual beings, moral agents whose bodies must always be used to speak the language of truth, will we see the terrifyingly steep moral descent of America begin to flatten out. The more people who embrace the Church as the city of truth in Christ, a holy womb of love in which men are taught how to live and how to die, the more will society become aligned with the will of our loving God, who "works for the good of those who love him, who are called according to his purpose" (Rom. 8:28).
F. K. Bartels is a Catholic writer who knows his Catholic Faith is one of the greatest gifts a man could ever receive. He is a contributing writer for Catholic Online. Visit him also at joyintruth.com
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Pope Paul VI, Venerable, saints, canonization, Congregation for the Saints, Humanae Vitae, Pro-Life, Abortion, Contraception, the language of the body, catholic anthropology, the truth of the human person, artificial birth control, contraceptives, marital
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