Friday, April 6, 2007


Here is part II from a letter to a friend about being pro-life. This part pertains to concerns she has over the Church and contraceptives:

But back to babies. Birth control is not a cure all. Like you said, why not have full disclosure education? But that means both ways. Contraceptives are not full proof protections against deadly or debilitating diseases (not by a long shot.) Some say prophylactics have a one in ten failure rate. But suppose it is only one in thirty. Every thirty times sex occurs and people think they are “safe”, they run the risk of disease and/or pregnancy. And who is being fed the line that all you have to do is put this on and you will be safe? The poor. Who pays the biggest price? The poor. It has become a perpetuating cycle that keeps the poor poor.

Further, contraceptives allow us to objectify human persons in pornographic fashion. Even if they were perfect guards against disease and conception, they allow a person to use another as an object that they can walk away from with no apparent consequences. People become a means to an end.
(Here is an interesting fictional story that exemplifies this well from Paxton Fiction. Warning: Strong sexual content!)

In Humane Vitae, Pope Paul VI’s teaching on contraception, it warns that if accepted as regular practice, it would be an easy road to marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards in light of the easy means of eluding consequences and the appearance of no-fault actions. “It is also to be feared that the man, growing used to the employment of anti-conceptive practices, may finally lose respect for the woman and, no longer caring for her physical and psychological equilibrium, may come to the point of considering her as a mere instrument of selfish enjoyment, and no longer as his respected and beloved companion."

Further there is a fear that governments may then impose such means on their people. These things seem, at least in my opinion, to have come to fruition. Aid to countries has long now been connected with imposed contraceptive practices. This places “at the mercy of the intervention of public authorities (government) the most personal and most reserved sector of conjugal intimacy.” The state is in the bedroom.

But here is the root of the problem: contraceptives allow us to objectify people, to satiate our desires by using other people for our own fulfillment. This is where the true victimization of women comes in, and, in their own way, the victimization of men.

And then when means fail to prevent consequences of one’s actions and a third person becomes involved, the focus really should turn to that innocent third life. Many say in this case it is Okay to kill the third person so as to not to victimize the woman any further. But Elizabeth Cady Stanton replied to this well. Here is an expert from her Wikipedia entry:
"Stanton believed that abortion was infanticide[29] She addressed the issue in various editions of The Revolution and, in an 1873 letter to Julia Ward Howe recorded in Howe's diary at Harvard University Library, she wrote: "When we consider that women are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." She suggested that solutions to abortion would be found, at least in part, in the elevation and enfranchisement of women."

So firstly, contraceptive “solutions” only lead to more (and bigger) problems. The fact that people are using (and allowing themselves to be used) is merely covered over and the path is open for the pattern to happen again and again. Then, making the “problem” (the third person) disappear further perpetuates the cycle. Contraception and then abortion makes such life-styles possible.

Questions of life then are not imposed religious values. It is life. And its consequences effect everybody. And it is just as a legitimate philosophy (in a secular setting) to be made known and to campaign to have some effect on policy in the United States as any other philosophy. It is a social justice issue. We ban drunk driving and smoking because it effects the health (and pocket books) of all people. This is the same thing.
AND - Update on fast and abstinence on Good Friday in the Diocese of Cleveland.


Anonymous said...

Another major problem if a woman does become pregnant is abortion can be thought of as an easy solution. Women are most of the time not told of the emotional trauma they will feel afterwards. They think they have no attachment to this unwanted fetus. This is not the case. Hence another life tragically affected.

Odysseus said...

I am so glad to hear a priest saying these things. And you are not simply posting a letter, Fr. V. These letters, these ideas, are tools for the rest of us to use in defending life and in defending the Church's stance on a number of issues.

For myself, I know that sometiimes I understand the Church's ruling on a certain topic, but I can't find the words to defend or explain it. You've just made that easier.

Anonymous said...

and hurray for the Indians game time change - too bad it coincided with an April lake-effects snow storm.

Fr. V said...

MJ - Yes! As I mention in part three but don't get into is the damage I see in the confessional. If it meant nothing to a woman, she would not have problems brigning it up. It is horrible.

Thanks Rob. Let priests know these things. They sometimes get hard hit and they should know that people like you are out there supporting them.

Hey Uncle Jim. The seats were much better and warmer in Church anyway.

Adoro said...

Thank you, Father. I second what rob said.