Sunday 15th September 2019

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

Before And After the Pill . . . Its Redefinition Of Human Sexuality And Impact On Society

July 10, 2019 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By FR. SHENAN J. BOQUET

(Editor’s Note: Fr. Shenan Boquet is the president of Human Life International. He travels around the world spreading the Gospel of Life. Fr. Boquet was ordained in 1993 and is a priest of the Houma-Thibodaux Diocese in Louisiana, his home state, where he served before joining HLI in August 2011.
(This commentary first appeared July 1, 2019 at HLI.org and is reprinted here with permission. All rights reserved.)

+ + +

“When couples, by means of recourse to contraception, separate these two meanings that God the Creator has inscribed in the being of man and woman and in the dynamism of their sexual communion, they act as ‘arbiters’ of the Divine plan and they ‘manipulate’ and degrade human sexuality — and with it themselves and their married partner — by altering its value of ‘total’ self-giving.
“Thus, the innate language that expresses the total reciprocal self-giving of husband and wife is overlaid, through contraception, by an objectively contradictory language, namely, that of not giving oneself totally to the other. This leads not only to a positive refusal to be open to life but also to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality.”
— Pope St. John Paul II (Familiaris Consortio, n. 32).

+ + +

Late last month The Washington Post ran a lengthy obituary upon the death of George Rosenkranz, a Hungarian-born chemist. You might be thinking that chemists aren’t usually the subject of lengthy articles in publications as prestigious as The Washington Post, and you’d be right. Rosenkranz, however, was world-famous due to his instrumental role in devising one of the most revolutionary drugs in all of human history — the birth control pill.
Though responsibility for the invention of the pill can be attributed to a host of scientists, Rosenkranz was one of the first to create a synthetic version of the female hormone progesterone. Ironically, norethindrone — as the synthetic hormone was called — was initially intended to help prevent miscarriage.
However, the pharmaceutical company that Rosenkranz worked for soon realized its potential as a contraceptive, and released their version of the pill in 1964, making the company (and Rosenkranz) immensely wealthy.
As The Washington Post summarizes, the release of the pill on the market was “a watershed moment in the feminist movement as well as the culture wars — allowing women to enjoy sex without fear of becoming pregnant, permitting couples to decide when and whether to begin families, and setting off an enduring debate about sexual values.”
It truly is hard to overstate the impact of the pill on our world. As Evangelical Pastor Albert Mohler observes in writing about the death of Rosenkranz, the invention of the pill is truly one of those rare events in history, the consequences of which are so seismic that it constitutes a dividing line — before the pill, and after the pill.
Only in the 1960s, for the first time in human history, did humans widely have access to a relatively reliable method of separating sex from procreation. And, as Mohler observes, “once that separation took place, you basically redefined human sexuality.”

The Church Was Right

The question that hangs over us to this day is whether this redefinition has been for good or for ill. Dr. Rosenkranz himself seemed ambivalent about the question, focusing instead on the purely practical question of technical achievement.
“I leave to others any debate about the ultimate worth of the pill,” he said, while receiving an honor from the University of Mexico in 2001 for his work.
It’s no secret that the Catholic Church, and a small number of other Christian denominations and thinkers, have consistently opposed artificial contraception. This opposition is often based on, or at least supported by the observation that separating sex from marriage and procreation has helped unleash a sexual revolution that has devastated traditional sexual ethics.
As Mohler notes, the pill not only enabled couples (more or less reliably) to control their fertility, “it also gave technological authorization to adultery and premarital sex and extramarital sex and just about everything you can imagine.”
The “everything you can imagine” includes a whole lot. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine, for example, the grotesque excesses of the LGBT movement — which were so prominently on display during last month’s “Pride” celebrations — and the widespread public support for them, without the redefinition of sexuality that the pill precipitated.
Once sex became viewed as just another pleasurable pastime, rather than the immensely sacred, powerful, and private act by which a married couple express their love for one another and create new life, there was nothing stopping all manner of sexual excess — from the explosion of pornography, to the celebration of various deviant and violent sexual practices, to the systematic grooming of children through so-called “comprehensive sex education.”
However, the Church’s critique of contraception has always gone beyond concerns about sexual morality, to the far-reaching practical consequences. Many people scoffed at the Church’s claim that more contraception would lead to more abortion. It seemed self-evident to the early birth control pioneers that if women had the means to prevent unwanted pregnancy, then abortion rates would drop.
What they didn’t account for was the way contraception would drastically alter sexual behavior. With routine casual sex becoming the norm, contraception’s “small” failure rate of several percent suddenly translated into millions of “unwanted pregnancies.” The result was that the abortion rate exploded even as the rate of contraceptive use increased.
The early birth control pioneers also failed to anticipate other dire consequences of the illusion of unfettered “sexual freedom,” both for the individual and society. Msgr. Charles Pope recently summarized some of these in an insightful article, writing:
“Since contraception’s widespread use began, abortion has skyrocketed, as has divorce. Other consequences included an increase in sexually transmitted diseases (such as AIDS), teenage pregnancy and single motherhood, absent and irresponsible fathers, the breakdown of the families, and the poverty and dysfunction that goes with all of this.
“There is also a pornification of our culture that assists in spreading sexual confusion to include the celebration of homosexual acts and so-called transgenderism” (see Our Sunday Visitor, May 20, 2019).

Growing Secular
Opposition To Contraception?

Lately, however, I have noticed a fascinating trend. More and more non-religious people are starting to take note of the downsides to artificial contraception. In a surprising number of cases, they are instead turning their attention to natural methods of family planning.
Case in point: the explosion of secular-developed mobile apps to assist women in fertility tracking. While in many cases the moral outlook of these developers doesn’t match Catholic teaching (for instance, they happily promote using barrier methods of contraception during fertile periods), it’s astonishing how many secular people seem to be coming to the same conclusions about the harms of contraception as the Catholic Church reached long ago.
Many women, for instance, are realizing that they disproportionately (indeed, almost entirely) bear the burdens and responsibilities that come with artificial contraception. Even worse, they are increasingly realizing that they are doing so in order that men can use them for meaningless sexual encounters that they are far less likely to desire in the first place.
Among the burdens borne by women are the myriad side effects of pumping their bodies full of artificial hormones. One recent article in a widely read secular German publication is titled “Depression and Suicide: The Dark Side of the Birth Control Pill.” The article focuses on the story of one woman who developed suicidal tendencies after going on the pill. But as the article observed, she’s far from alone.
Indeed, it’s not hard to find forums online where thousands of women share terrifying and sometimes heartbreaking stories of emotional side effects they suffered once they went on birth control — severe depression, anxiety, mood swings, personality changes, loss of libido, and on and on.
Other side effects are less obvious, but possibly far more pervasive, and equally troubling. One study released earlier this year suggested that using hormonal contraceptives can interfere with women’s ability to detect emotional cues from others.
While this is a relatively small study, it adds to the growing body of evidence that hormonal contraception interferes with women’s cognition and psychology in subtle ways that, multiplied hundreds of millions of times, may in fact be altering society in far more substantial ways than anyone realizes.
Some studies, for example, have suggested that the pill significantly affects how women perceive men as potential mates. This might not sound like a big deal. But as the authors of one study observed, “[T]he use of hormonal contraceptives may not only affect initial partner choice but also have unintended consequences for women’s relationship satisfaction if contraceptive pill use subsequently changes.”
That is, women who were attracted to their partner while on the pill may suddenly find that the attraction changes or goes away when they cease using contraception. Again, multiply this effect potentially several hundred million times, and you see how the pill may be affecting lives and society in ways that the pill’s inventors never anticipated.
Other well-documented physical side effects from hormonal contraception include increased risks of certain types of cancer, pulmonary embolism, heart attack, stroke, weight gain, headaches, nausea, and decreased libido.
Many women are now waking up to the fact that they have been the subjects of a vast, largely untested scientific and social experiment, often for the sake of the pleasure of others. And they are beginning (rightly) to ask themselves whether this is true female “empowerment.”

The Wisdom Of
The Church’s Teachings

In a way, it is easy to understand why contraception became as popular and widespread as it did, or why so many even within the Church urged Pope St. Paul VI to change Church teaching on contraception. All the pleasures of sex without any of the consequences? Who wouldn’t want that?
The problem, of course, is that the promises of contraception are a lie. The really Big Lie is that contraception eliminates the risk of pregnancy. It didn’t, and still doesn’t. Even the most effective methods of contraception have a failure rate. Even if only a few percent risk per year, that translates into an enormous number of unwanted pregnancies.
The contraceptive mentality, and its false promise of total control, primes men and women to view these unwanted pregnancies as unjust encroachments on their freedom, instead of the natural consequences of their sexual behavior.
Inevitably, many of them turn to abortion to fix the “problem.” Indeed, data suggests that a solid majority of abortions may involve women who were using contraception at the time they became pregnant.
However, the other Big Lie is that pregnancy is the only “consequence” of sex, and that once we get rid of that, sex can be rendered simply “fun.” As we are learning, the “contraceptive mentality” can change society.
It fundamentally changes the way men and women relate to one another, the kinds of sexual behavior society deems acceptable, the way we pursue romance, the meaning of marriage, the values that people treasure, the education our children receive, the entertainment we watch, the structure of the family, the physical and psychological health of our populace.
And on and on, into every aspect of society.
The Catholic Church saw all this from its very beginning. Pope St. Paul VI saw this when he resisted the immense pressure put on him to lift the Catholic prohibition on contraception, and instead upheld that teaching in Humanae Vitae.
Pope St. John Paul II saw this when he repeatedly and emphatically re-emphasized the Church’s teaching, despite the reality of widespread dissent from Church teaching.
Herein we find one more proof of God’s Providence operating through His Church — that despite the confusion in the world, the Church could chart a clear path through that fog of confusion, upholding a beacon of truth, showing Christian couples (indeed all couples) the way to contribute to a true “Civilization of Love.”

Share Button

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

I wonder how someone becomes an abortion doctor

Like what's going on in your mind when you choose that as your career

"Kill some babies? Hmmm.. yeah I guess I can see myself doing that for the next 30 or so years"

Controversial tweet. Might delete!

30 years ago, Catholics who warned about the homosexual abuse wracking the Church were reviled by bishops & ignored by major media. The late Paul Likoudis, intrepid and faithful researcher @TheWandererNews, was persona non grata @USCCB, but he's now been vindicated. deo gratias.

Stephen White on Twitter

“The ongoing circus in the Diocese of Buffalo should remind everyone: The price the Church pays for trying to save face is, in the end, always g...

twitter.com

Load More...

Missouri AG refers 12 former Catholic priests for potential prosecution after abuse probe

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced Friday that his office had referred 12 former Roman Catholic priests for possible criminal prosecution following a 13-month probe of how diocesan leaders handled allegations of child abuse. The investigation reviewed personnel records for every priest serving…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke, Bishop Schneider call for prayer crusade, cite dangers of Amazon Synod

Cardinal Raymond Burke and Bishop Athanasius Schneider have issued an eight-page declaration warning against six “serious theological errors and heresies” they say are contained in the Amazonian Synod working document, and calling for prayer and fasting to prevent them being approved. Cardinal Burke, patron…Continue Reading

Leader of Jesuit order: Satan doesn’t exist as ‘personal’ reality, only ‘symbolic’

August 22, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The devil is a not a personal reality but a symbol for evil, the head of the Jesuit order said this week. Satan, the devil whom the Catholic Church says was behind the fall of…Continue Reading

American Catholics Must Stand with Hong Kong

The autonomous territory of Hong Kong is in a fight for its life. For over two months, the citizens of Hong Kong have persisted in protesting an attempt by the Hong Kong chief executive to impose an amendment to the…Continue Reading

German archbishop in Auschwitz: Stand up against hubris of the politically powerful

Krakow, Poland, Aug 14, 2019 / 02:31 pm (CNA).- On the eve of the 80th anniversary of the German invasion of Poland, a German archbishop has called for a stand against hubris and arrogance of those in political power. Speaking…Continue Reading

Vatican ‘struggling to put out fire’ of public scandal over JPII Institute purge

ROME, August 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The “firefighters for the new direction” being taken at the John Paul II Institute in Rome are “struggling” to put out a blaze of public scandal, as controversy sparked by a recent purge of professors threatens to reach the door of the Pope’s…Continue Reading

Survey on Catholic belief in the Eucharist prompts calls for better catechesis

Washington D.C., Aug 10, 2019 / 03:32 pm (CNA).- After a recent survey found that two-thirds of Catholics do not believe Church teaching about the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, Catholic commenters are stressing the importance of better…Continue Reading

Apple News bans LifeSite without warning: says it ‘shows intolerance’

July 31, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A little over one week ago, Apple approved LifeSiteNews’ application to publish our news on their Apple News platform. Today, without warning, Apple News abruptly reversed course, telling LifeSite that they had deleted our channel and all…Continue Reading

Kamala Harris’ “Medicare for All” Plan Will Force Americans to Fund Abortions

Democrat presidential candidate Kamala Harris released her own Medicare-for-all proposal today. Just like the proposal handed down by pro-abortion presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, Harris’s plan would force Americans to fund abortions. Harris confirms her plan will cover abortions in an…Continue Reading

Pew report: Only half of America’s Catholics know what the Church teaches about Communion

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 26, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) ― Do only half of America’s Catholics know what their Church teaches about Holy Communion? In a recent report called “What Americans Know About Religion,” the Pew Research Center suggested that Catholics are divided…Continue Reading

Pro-Life Businessman Michael Lindell, Creator of MyPillow, May Run Against Pro-Abortion Ilhan Omar

Michael Lindell is a pro-life businessman and the creator of MyPillow, a successful invention and company in its own right. Lindell was responsible for helping to fund production of the popular movie “Unplanned,” but now he’s turning his attention to…Continue Reading

Tucker Carlson: big business is now at war against your family

July 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The first thing to note about Tucker Carlson is that when he’s on stage and riffing on his irritations, he is hilarious. He began his keynote speech at the National Conservatism conference in Washington, D.C. on Monday…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 . . .

Rochester diocese, facing flood of sex-abuse claims, files for bankruptcy protection

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester, facing potentially huge judgments for past sexual abuse by its priests and other ministers, filed for bankruptcy protection Thursday. “This was a very difficult and painful decision,” Rochester Bishop Salvatore Matano said at an afternoon news conference that detailed the action. The diocese filed its petition for Chapter 11 reorganization in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Rochester at about 9:30 a.m. The petition estimates the diocese’s…Continue Reading

A New Church?

St. Peter Claver was born at Verdu, Catalonia, Spain, in 1580, of impoverished parents descended from ancient families. He studied at the Jesuit college of Barcelona, entered the Jesuit novitiate at Tarragona in 1602, and took his final vows on August 8th, 1604. While studying, the young religious was influenced by St. Alphonsus Rodriguez to go to the Indies and save “millions of perishing souls.” In 1610, he landed at Cartagena (modern Colombia), the principle slave market of the New World, where a thousand slaves were landed every month. After his ordination in 1616,…Continue Reading

Pope Francis’ in-flight press conference

popef105

(Vatican News) Press conference on the flight back from his Apostolic Journey in Southern Africa: Pope Francis recalls the joy of the children he met and affirms that the State has the duty to take care of families. He says that xenophobia is “a disease” and asks that people’s identities be preserved from ideological colonization. He speaks of the criticisms he receives and replies to a question on schismatic temptations with: “I pray that schisms…Continue Reading

Half of Catholics attending Mass 28 years ago no longer do, figures show

You may have noticed the space in church pews widening between you and your fellow Catholics attending Sunday Mass in recent years. It is not your imagination. Mass attendance in parishes of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has been dropping for years, and several factors have steepened the long-term pattern of decline to the point where today, half as many Catholics in the archdiocese attend Mass regularly as did a generation ago. The findings of the…Continue Reading

Catholics to gather near Vatican next month to pray for Church in her hour of crisis

ROME, September 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Catholics from around the world are being invited to assemble, on Oct. 5, near St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, to pray for the Church as she lives through what many see as the hour of her “Passion.” The announcement came in a letter published on Sept. 6 on Stilum Curae, a blog hosted by respected Italian journalist Marco Tosatti. According to the letter (see full text below), an interna

Advertisement3

When The Obvious Is No Longer Obvious

By DONALD DeMARCO The late Fr. James Schall, SJ, was a great admirer of Samuel Johnson and, by his own admission, read something from Boswell’s Life of Johnson almost every day. Dr. Johnson was one of the most formidable figures of literature and life of the eighteenth century. He made lasting contributions as a poet,…Continue Reading

After Bolton, Trump Goals Remain Unrealized

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN The sudden and bitter departure of John Bolton from the White House was baked in the cake from the day he arrived there. For Bolton’s worldview, formed and fixed in a Cold War that ended in 1991, was irreconcilable with the policies Donald Trump promised in his 2016 campaign. Indeed, Trump…Continue Reading

K Of C State Council . . . Helps Sponsor Cardinal Burke’s Upcoming Detroit Address

The State Council of Knights of Columbus made a generous donation to help Call to Holiness bring Raymond Cardinal Burke to speak at a dinner on October 26 outside Detroit. The cardinal’s celebration of Mass on the following day will contain all of the ceremony appropriate for a prince of the Church. Cardinal Burke was…Continue Reading

New Divorce Bill In The UK… The Case Against No Fault Divorce

By PIERS SHEPHERD On June 13, 2019, the British government published the Divorce, Dissolution, and Separation Bill. The purpose of this legislation is to remove the concept of “fault” from the divorce process, effectively allowing divorce on demand, subject to a six-month waiting period, and taking away any right of either party to contest the…Continue Reading

What Happened To The Concept Of “Person” In American Legal Theory?

By JUDE DOUGHERTY In a sense, there is no such thing as American legal theory. Like science, theory transcends national boundaries. The legal theory in the United States has deep roots in classical and medieval philosophy and more immediately in the British common law. To seek the roots of the current legal meaning of “person”…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Q. There appears to be some speculation that Pope John Paul I was murdered during the Vatican Bank/Mafia scandal in the late Seventies, especially in the actions of Jean-Marie Cardinal Villot, who appeared shortly after the Pope’s death and essentially was responsible for cleaning and removing all possible evidence from the Holy Father’s bedroom. Your input, please. — R.B.K., via…Continue Reading

Founding Professor . . . Laments “Destruction” Of John Paul II Institute

(LifeSiteNews Editor’s Note: The following is an English translation of the “Public Statement Concerning the Turmoil Surrounding the Pope John Paul II Institute for the Family in Rome,” released on August 28. (The “Statement” was addressed to: Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, Great Chancellor of the Institute; Monsignor Pierangelo Sequeri, President of the Institute; Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, prefect of the Congregation for…Continue Reading

We Need A Conversion Of Heart

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Fourth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR C) Readings: Exodus 32:7-11, 13-14 1 Tim. 1:12-17 Luke 15:1-32 In the Gospel reading we are told that tax collectors and sinners were drawing near to listen to Jesus. This did not sit well with the Pharisees who complained, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Many things could…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… The Storm That Never Passes

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK “This too shall pass.” These words are often spoken in sympathy to those suffering the darkness of internal anguish or the mind-numbing pain of serious physical illness. Also, more famously, to someone enduring the storm breaking over him following criminal wrongdoing in the aftermath of Watergate: the president humiliated in resignation, Richard Nixon. Always true…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. On the controversial matter of whether to admit to Catholic schools children of same-sex parents, Bill Donohue of the Catholic League has written a very good article. Perhaps you could share it with your readers. — A.M.D., via e-mail. A. We are happy to do so. Here is some of what Mr. Donohue said: “Parents are not required to…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Simon De Rojas

By CAROLE BRESLIN The subject of this article lived in a time of great saints, great Spanish saints, so it is not surprising that he is little known. St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) who wrote the Spiritual Exercises, St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) who reformed the Carmelites and wrote The Interior Castle, and St. John of the Cross who wrote…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Child Martyrs Of Tlaxcala

By CAROLE BRESLIN Viva Cristo Rey! This was the call of the Cristeros (1926-1929). Many Mexican saints were martyred during that massive and demonic persecution of the Catholic Church. One young man, José Sanchez del Rio, was only 14 years old when he died for his loyalty to the faith. He had refused to deny Christ, even under torture. Three…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)