Saturday 18th August 2018

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

The Fourth Prophecy Of Humanae Vitae… When Self-Mastery Is Rejected

July 11, 2018 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By FR. SHENAN BOQUET

(Editor’s Note: Human Life International, which Fr. Shenan Boquet heads, first published this commentary on Humanae Vitae and LifeSiteNews reprinted it on July 2. Visit hli.org to read Fr. Boquet’s full series.)

+ + +

“Birth Control is a name given to a succession of different expedients by which it is possible to filch the pleasure belonging to a natural process while violently and unnaturally thwarting the process itself” — G.K. Chesterton.
“Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.” This is one of the most famous lines from the blockbuster movie Jurassic Park. It’s spoken by Dr. Ian Malcolm, played brilliantly by Jeff Goldblum. It’s the final line of a remarkable little speech Dr. Malcolm makes to billionaire John Hammond, the creator of the dinosaur park.
“The lack of humility before nature here staggers me,” Dr. Malcolm first tells Hammond, after hearing of his grandiose plans. “I’ll tell you the problem with the scientific power that you’re using here. It didn’t require any discipline to attain it.”
It might seem a bit flippant to begin a column on perhaps the most serious of Pope Paul VI’s four prophesies in the encyclical Humanae Vitae — the totalitarian imposition of birth control by governments — with a reference to Jurassic Park. And yet, Dr. Malcolm’s speech is packed with truth; rarely, indeed, has a Hollywood movie contained a more succinct and relevant indictment of some of the worst tendencies of our time.
Human beings have understandably become wholly enamored of their technical prowess these past two centuries. We have conquered nature in ways that previous generations could not have even imagined was possible. And yet as humans have pivoted away from the ancient preoccupation with attaining wisdom in favor of the modern preoccupation with perfecting technique, we have increasingly run the risk of single-mindedly pursuing the possible, without taking the time to ask whether the possible thing is the right thing.
In Humanae Vitae Pope Paul VI repeatedly sought to remind his peers that there is a deeper order in the universe than the natural sciences alone can discover, and that to violate this order carries with it unforeseen consequences.
Some people, observed the Pope, oppose the Church’s position against artificial birth control by arguing “that human intelligence has both the right and responsibility to control those forces of irrational nature which come within its ambit and to direct them toward ends beneficial to man.”
“To this question We must give a clear reply,” the Pope responded. “The Church is the first to praise and commend the application of human intelligence to an activity in which a rational creature such as man is so closely associated with his Creator. But she affirms that this must be done within the limits of the order of reality established by God.”
Elsewhere, he added: “Unless we are willing that the responsibility of procreating life should be left to the arbitrary decision of men, we must accept that there are certain limits, beyond which it is wrong to go, to the power of man over his own body and its natural functions — limits, let it be said, which no one, whether as a private individual or as a public authority, can lawfully exceed.”

The Fourth Prophecy:
Totalitarian Population
Control

The English writer G.K. Chesterton expressed his opposition to contraception with this pungent aphorism: “What is quaintly called Birth Control…is in fact, of course, a scheme for preventing birth in order to escape control.” In mentioning “control,” Chesterton was speaking of self-control. As he said elsewhere, “Normal and real birth control is called self-control.”
As I pointed out in a previous column, many of the problems that have followed in the wake of contraception stem from the way contraception has seemingly short-circuited the need for self-control.
Contraception, as Pope Paul VI said, removes the “incentives to keep the moral law.” If doing so seems to offer a benefit to mankind, this “gift” is only apparent, since in the end the eradication of necessary limits and barriers sets loose the destructive force of human concupiscence.
This observation harks back to Dr. Malcolm’s speech quoted above: The problem with John Hammond’s hijacking of already extant biological technology to resurrect dinosaurs for profit is that it required no “discipline.” Hammond and his scientists didn’t have to wrestle deeply with the implications of the technology; they just took it, and did the possible regardless of its wisdom, with predictably disastrous consequences.
As we have seen these past three weeks, artificial contraception has embedded the principle of reaping short-term benefit by shirking responsibility and self-discipline as a fundamental axiom at every level of our society.
In the process each of Pope Paul VI’s dire predictions have been proved true: beginning at the individual level with married couples, with the catastrophic increase of marital infidelity and divorce; spreading to a poisoning of the relations between all men and women in general, with women often being reduced to “instruments of pleasure”; and finally, in the whole of society, through a “general lowering of moral standards.”
However, Pope Paul VI also anticipated one last, even more far-reaching and pernicious consequence. With his far-seeing eye, the Pope saw that if individual people widely embraced the poisonous logic of contraception — i.e., pursuing short-term benefits at the expense of violating God’s order — there was nothing stopping institutions and governments from doing precisely the same thing in pursuit of some ostensibly “beneficial” purpose. Hence, his fourth prophecy.
Speaking of the “power” of artificial contraception, the Pope warned:
“[C]areful 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.”

Pope Paul VI
Proved Right (Again)

Once again, it seems scarcely necessary to “prove” how right the Pope’s prophecy turned out to be. Unfortunately, however, thanks in part to the silence or outright complicity of much of the mainstream media, many people are still unaware of how widespread and utterly horrifying many of the coercive population control programs of the 20th and 21st century have been — nor how ubiquitous are ongoing Western efforts to foist “soft” coercive population control programs on Third World nations in exchange for funding.
At least since Thomas Malthus published his “Essay on the Principle of Population” in 1798, so-called “progressive” experts have been predicting catastrophic plagues and famines on account of the world’s increasing population.
Although Malthus’ arguments have since been thoroughly debunked, population hysteria reached its zenith in the 60s. Many nations, above all China and India, responded to this hysteria (as Pope Paul VI predicted) by implementing forced population control. These programs mandated that couples avoid having children by using contraception or submitting to forced sterilizations, or (most horrifying of all), submitting to forced abortions if they exceeded the allowable number of children.
The statistics are staggering. China’s government claims that their population control program has prevented the births of some 400 million people since 1980. This includes both abortions and children not born due to government-sponsored (and often forced) sterilizations. While it is impossible to gain clear statistics on how many of these abortions and sterilizations were forced as opposed to voluntary, the abortion numbers alone are mind-boggling.
According to human rights activist Reggie Littlejohn, there are some 23 million abortions in China…every year. Many of these, undoubtedly, are by couples striving not to exceed the one child (now two-child) limit; and many are forcibly conducted on couples actively resisting. Additionally, according to The Economist, China’s government has collected two trillion yuan ($315 billion) in fines for having extra children since 1980.
The main difficulty for anyone attempting to convey the horror perpetrated under China’s and India’s population control programs is the sheer magnitude of that horror. As Stalin is reputed to have said: “A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.”
I can recount story after story of pregnant women being kidnapped, beaten, and forcibly aborted up to nine-months gestation, with the bodies of their babies sometimes deposited next to them on their beds or in buckets, and none of these stories would come close to conveying the level of evil perpetrated by the governments of these nations against their own people.
But while China’s and India’s population control programs are the best known, according to population expert Steve Mosher, at least 35 countries have implemented similarly violent and coercive programs. Furthermore, this doesn’t take into account the “soft” coercion being routinely exercised by Western governments (including the United States) and hyper-wealthy foundations on numerous Third World countries, forcing them to accept contraceptive “aid” in exchange for other funding.
Under these purportedly “humanitarian” programs, trillions of dollars have been spent to eradicate families in the poorest parts of the world so that the West can maintain its own standard of life. While these programs allow Western governments and philanthropists to pat themselves on the backs for their good work, in reality they embody the worst of what Pope Francis has called “cultural colonization” — i.e., forcing practices on countries that violate their cultural values — and lazy, short-term thinking.
Blanketing these countries with latex and hormonal pills seems to absolve Western elites of the responsibility to work to meaningfully improve the structures of influence that lead to poverty, or to build programs that lead to long-term economic development and authentic human development.

NFP: Discipline Vs. License

Governments, like individuals, are tasked with the responsibility to “discipline” themselves to pursue the wise course, rather than do what is expedient. Protecting the rights of their citizens, combatting extreme poverty, eradicating crime, and providing equal opportunity for all are difficult goals. When faced with a seemingly insurmountable problem, governments, like individuals, may be tempted to take the “shortcut,” the easiest “solution” involving the least amount of work, sacrifice, and thought.
As Chesterton put it memorably, for the birth control advocate, “The question he dreads is ‘Why has not the workman a better wage? Why has not the slum family a better house?’ His way of escaping from it is to suggest, not a larger house but a smaller family. The landlord or the employer says in his hearty and handsome fashion: ‘You really cannot expect me to deprive myself of my money. But I will make a sacrifice, I will deprive myself of your children’.”
Pope Paul VI was aware that some people found it inconsistent that the Church sanctioned the use of Natural Family Planning, including for the deliberate purpose of postponing pregnancies, while forbidding artificial contraception. What’s the difference between the two cases, asked skeptics: in both cases, the goal is to avoid pregnancy.
The Pope’s response was twofold:
1) The two cases are dramatically different in terms of the means chosen to achieve the desired end. In the one case, the couples are cooperating with mechanisms put in place by God Himself, whereas in the second, the couple is introducing an obstructive and artificial mechanism. 2) In the case of NFP, the couple is relying on self-discipline to space births, whereas the contracepting couple is striving to skirt around the need for discipline in favor of license.
As any couple using NFP knows, abstinence can be difficult. It demands a commitment to a higher good, and the mechanism of abstinence in turn constantly encourages a couple to re-evaluate the reasons for their commitment to postponing another child. Contraception, on the other hand, encourages a mentality of complacency.
As Dr. Malcolm warned, technology without discipline leads to disaster. “Self-discipline of this kind is a shining witness to the chastity of husband and wife and, far from being a hindrance to their love of one another, transforms it by giving it a more truly human character,” notes Pope Paul VI.
“And if this self-discipline does demand that they persevere in their purpose and efforts, it has at the same time the salutary effect of enabling husband and wife to develop to their personalities and to be enriched with spiritual blessings.”

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Cardinal says clock ticking for all in Catholic hierarchy over abuse issue

The chair of the Vatican’s Commission for the Protection of Minors has warned that “the clock is ticking” for the Catholic hierarchy when it comes to dealing with clerical child sex abuse. “Catholics have lost patience with us, and civil…Continue Reading

Priests: Why we’re urging Cardinals to challenge Pope Francis on death penalty

ROME, August 15, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Over 75 clergy, lay scholars and prominent intellectuals today took the unprecedented step of issuing an open appeal to the Cardinals of the Catholic Church, to urge Pope Francis to “withdraw” his new teaching on…Continue Reading

Rector Placed On Leave Amid Allegations Of Sexual Misconduct Against Boston Catholic Seminary

Following allegations of a culture of sexual misconduct and alcohol abuse at a Boston-based Catholic seminary owned by the Archdiocese of Boston, the head priest is being placed on sabbatical. Rector James P. Moroney has been placed on immediate leave pending…Continue Reading

Pennsylvania clergy sex abuse report still not released

A last-minute round of legal manoeuvring to keep some names from appearing in a grand jury report detailing a months-long investigation of clergy sex abuse claims in Pennsylvania may have kept the document from being made public on Wednesday –…Continue Reading

Vatican archbishop: Critics of Pope Francis are not faithful to Tradition

VATICAN CITY, August 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Those who criticize the teaching of Pope Francis on the basis of former magisterial documents are not faithful to the tradition of the Catholic Church, a high-ranking Vatican official has said. In an interview with Vatican…Continue Reading

PRO-LIFE ACTRESS SLAMS BISHOPS’ INACTION ON PRIEST SEX ABUSE CRISIS

DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) – A pro-life Hollywood actress is slamming the U.S. bishops for their failure to prevent priest sex abuse. Actress Patricia Heaton is openly pro-life and a Catholic revert. On Twitter on Aug. 2, she responded to Cdl. Daniel DiNardo’s…Continue Reading

Conservatives skeptical of Twitter’s latest shadow-banning denial

July 27, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Twitter has released an official response to the latest round of shadow-banning allegations, but the statement has failed to impress conservative, Christian, and pro-life voices affected by the practice. On Thursday, LifeSiteNews covered a Vice News report accusing the social…Continue Reading

Pope Francis’ top ‘reform’ cardinal slams seminarians for exposing homosexuality inside seminary

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, July 26, 2018, (LifeSiteNews) – One of the Vatican’s most influential cardinals, already suspected of looking the other way while gay relationships were conducted in his personal residence, has now admonished fifty seminarians for speaking out against their seminary’s…Continue Reading

Veteran Catholic Journalist: All Bishops Involved in Sex Abuse Scandal Must Resign

Christopher Manion, a veteran journalist and political analyst, makes the striking call that all U.S. bishops should resign who knew about the ongoing abuse crisis within the U.S. hierarchy for years and yet did not intervene. He also now reveals…Continue Reading

Catholic Relief Services is a major funder of contraception lobbyists

NOTE: The following information was provided to Catholic Relief Services in person in April, 2018.  After three months of discussion on the matter, the Lepanto Institute was told that while Lepanto is convinced that CRS should withdraw from InterAction, CRS…Continue Reading

Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter Elects New Superior General

LINCOLN, Neb. — The general chapter of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, a society of apostolic life that celebrates the extraordinary form of the Roman rite, Monday elected Father Andrzej Komorowski as its next superior general. The July 9…Continue Reading

Catholic-heavy Supreme Court moves right as the church moves left

(RNS) — With his nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, President Trump has succeeded in doing for the judicial branch what he has often failed or neglected to do in his administration: acting efficiently…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Today . . .

Cardinal Burke: U.S. Catholic Church in ‘possibly the worst crisis that it’s ever experienced’

August 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Catholic Church in the U.S. is undergoing “possibly the worst crisis that it’s ever experienced” right now, Cardinal Burke said tonight of the ongoing sex abuse scandals and the laity’s distrust for bishops who play a part in it. “That has to be recognized and it has to be dealt with in a thorough manner which is faithful to the Church’s moral law and to the Church herself and…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke Addresses the Clergy Scandal

Cburke13

Thomas McKenna: Your Eminence, a new wave of clergy sexual abuse has surfaced and is indicating a widespread practice of homosexuality among clergy in dioceses and seminaries across the country. What would you say is the root cause of this corruption?   Cardinal Raymond Burke: It was clear after the studies following the 2002 sexual abuse crisis that most of the acts of abuse were in fact homosexual acts committed with adolescent young men. There…Continue Reading

Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley will not attend the World Meeting of Families

Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley, OFM Cap, Archbishop of Boston and Chair of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Children, unfortunately will not be able to participate in the World Meeting of Families to be held in Dublin, Ireland from August 21-26. Though previously scheduled to moderate a panel presentation and discussion at the World Meeting of Families, important matters pertaining to the pastoral care of St. John’s Seminary in the Archdiocese of Boston and…Continue Reading

Cardinal Wuerl named in Pennsylvania grand jury report, responds to criticism

Washington D.C., Aug 14, 2018 / 02:30 pm (CNA).- Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, D.C., and the former Bishop of Pittsburgh, has been named more than 200 times in a Pennsylvania grand jury report, released Aug. 14, after an 18-month investigation into historic allegations of sexual abuse in six Pennsylvania Catholic dioceses. The cardinal released a statement in response to the report, underscoring the gravity of the sexual abuse for the Church and the…Continue Reading

Vatican advisor: Pope ‘breaks Catholic traditions whenever he wants’

Fr Thomas Rosica said the Church is now ‘ruled by an individual rather than by… its own dictates of tradition plus Scripture’ Under Pope Francis, the Church is now “openly ruled by an individual rather than by the authority of Scripture alone or even its own dictates of tradition plus Scripture,” a Vatican advisor has said. Fr Thomas Rosica wrote that Pope Francis “breaks Catholic traditions whenever he wants” because he is

Advertisement(2)

Who Determines “Universal Values”?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Is it any of Canada’s business whether Saudi women have the right to drive? Well, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland just made it her business. Repeatedly denouncing Riyadh’s arrest of women’s rights advocate Samar Badawi, Freeland has driven the two countries close to a break in diplomatic relations. “Reprehensible” said Riyadh of…Continue Reading

Refuting An Eastern Orthodox Priest’s Erroneous Comments

By JAMES LIKOUDIS An article by an Eastern Orthodox priest, Fr. David Hoestetler, published in an ecumenical magazine, The Sword (which recently ceased publishing), noted correctly with regard to Protestant misconceptions that it is indeed “scriptural and biblical to venerate Mary.” Unfortunately, the article was marred by various inaccuracies and errors. For example, he stated…Continue Reading

KCs Pledge Support For Persecuted Christians

By COURTNEY GROGAN BALTIMORE (CNA) — Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight Carl Anderson pledged the fraternal organization’s continued efforts to aid and rebuild persecuted Christian communities in the Middle East, during his August 7 address at the 2018 Knights of Columbus convention in Baltimore. Anderson also unveiled a new pilgrim icon, Our Lady Help of…Continue Reading

A Book Review… Finding A Map For Matters Of Life And Death

By DONALD DEMARCO Matters of Life & Death: A Catholic Guide to the Moral Questions of Our Time, by Gerard M. Verschuuren (Angelico Press, Brooklyn, NY, 2018, 201 pp.). Available in paperback at amazon.com for $16.95. The state of perplexity and the need for guidance has long been characteristic of human beings. Rabbi Moses Maimonides…Continue Reading

Book Review… A Classic Critique Of Postconciliar Modernism

By JAMES MONTI Dietrich von Hildebrand, The Charitable Anathema, new 2017 foreword by Raymond Cardinal Burke. $22.95; Roman Catholic Books, P.O. Box 1209, Ridgefield, CT 06877; BooksForCatholics.com. In his address at the July 21, 2018 “Humanae Vitae at 50” conference brilliantly organized by Fr. Sean Connolly at Immaculate Conception Church in Tuckahoe, N.Y., which I…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Levels Of Conscience

By DON FIER In last week’s opening exposition on the role of conscience in the Christian moral life, it was stated straightaway that “conscience” is a term that is often misunderstood and misapplied in contemporary times. Frequently equated with one’s personal opinion or position, this entreaty to subjectivism is ready justification for nearly every conceivable immoral and aberrant behavior that…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: To a recent question about whether the ordination of a secret Communist would be invalid because he did not have the right intention, we said yes, citing canon 1029 of the Code of Canon Law, which says that those seeking the priesthood must “have an integral faith, are motivated by a right intention, possess the required knowledge, and…Continue Reading

Amid Church Scandals… Fix Your Hearts On Christ

By FR. JOHN DE CELLES (Editor’s Note: LifeSiteNews on August 6 featured the following homily by Fr. John De Celles of St. Raymond of Penafort Church, Springfield, Va., the Diocese of Arlington. (Father reminded his flock: “We follow Jesus Christ, ‘the God of Jacob,’ and we follow the Holy Catholic Church which He founded.” (In May 2005, Fr. De Celles…Continue Reading

The Eucharist Is Jesus Himself

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twentieth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: Prov. 9:1-6 Eph. 5:15-20 John 6:51-58 In the Gospel reading today our Lord makes several statements that we either have to believe are true or we have to run as far and as quickly from Him as we can. People who want to call themselves Christian while ignoring…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Teaching Failures At Root Of Sexual Immorality

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK “For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and men should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. “But you have turned aside from the way; you have caused many to stumble by your instruction; you have corrupted the covenant of Levi, says the Lord of…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Clare Of Montefalco

By CAROLE BRESLIN In central Italy about one hundred miles north of Rome, lies the peaceful town looking down on the Clitunno River named Montefalco. It attracts tourists with its wildlife, wineries, and vineyards, and stunning churches. One of the most beautiful churches with its vaulted, painted ceilings, marble pillars, and inspiring altars is the Basilica of St. Clare of…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Lawrence

By CAROLE BRESLIN Valencia, claim its inhabitants, is the premier city in all of Spain. Located along Spain’s eastern Mediterranean coastline, it boasts stunning beaches, ancient history, and magnificent churches. Perhaps the most famous is the Valencian Cathedral, the Basilica of Our Lady of the Assumption, which holds a chalice which has been defended as the relic of the true…Continue Reading