Sunday 24th March 2019

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.

Twitter Feed

Catholic Heroes… St. Benedetta Cambiagio Frassinello - https://t.co/ft6sr36bka

CRS: Catholic Charity? Or Secular Government Agency? - https://t.co/rg6BpAebKz

Load More...

Montreal-archbishop-responds-to-priests-stabbing

The Archbishop of Montreal, Christian Lépine, has released a statement regarding Friday morning’s attack on Fr. Claude Grou, a religious of Holy Cross and rector of St. Joseph Oratory. “Father Grou suffered some injuries, however, thank God, he is not in…Continue Reading

Rorate interviews Professor Roberto de Mattei regarding Bishop Athanasius Schneider’s analysis on the subject of a heretic Pope.

 – Professor de Mattei, would you care to give us your opinion on the study His Excellency Monsignor Schneider made on a “heretic Pope”? – I consider it an important document. Firstly, Monsignor Schneider is one of the most esteemed among…Continue Reading

Chinese president will likely snub the Holy See, Pope Francis while in Rome

VATICAN CITY, March 20, 2019, LifeSiteNews — Despite entering into a controversial, lopsided agreement with the Vatican last September in which China gained greater control over the Chinese Catholic Church, President Xi Jinping will evidently snub the Holy See while…Continue Reading

Nancy Pelosi: ‘I Myself, as a Catholic, Believe…’

(CNSNews.com) – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) said at her press briefing on Thursday that she wants to “salute” the Green New Deal and went on to explain that “as a Catholic” she believes—“as do many of our Evangelical friends”—that…Continue Reading

Pope Francis warns against gossip, forgetting one’s own sinfulness

Rome, Italy, Mar 3, 2019 / 01:30 pm (CNA).- In a visit to a Roman parish on Sunday, Pope Francis encouraged Catholics to stop gossiping and ruminating on the shortcomings of other people, and to instead focus on repenting of…Continue Reading

Catholic network Salt + Light stands by CEO Fr. Rosica despite plagiarism

TORONTO, March 2, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Salt + Light Catholic Media Foundation is standing by Father Thomas Rosica, the network’s CEO, despite revelations of his extensive plagiarism going back almost 30 years. Meanwhile, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops says…Continue Reading

Measure to protect babies who survive abortion fails in Senate 53-44

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The Senate in an evening vote Feb. 25 failed to pass a measure sponsored by Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Nebraska, to require that babies born alive after an abortion be given medical attention and “the same protection of…Continue Reading

Prosecutors drop second trial against Cardinal George Pell

Melbourne, Australia, Feb 25, 2019 / 06:21 pm (CNA).- Prosecutors have abandoned a planned second trial against Australian Cardinal George Pell, who was convicted in December 2018 on five charges of the sexual abuse of minors. Pell is reported to…Continue Reading

Rosica resigns from college board after plagiarism apology; Jesuits withdraw award

Washington D.C., Feb 25, 2019 / 02:47 pm (CNA).- A Canadian priest who apologized last week for plagiarism has resigned from the governing board of a Catholic college affiliated with the University of Toronto. “As a sign of contrition and…Continue Reading

Abuse Survivor: Pope’s Devil Comments ‘Outrageous’

Pope Francis’ latest slam on church critics as cohorts of Satan stunned survivors of priest sex abuse and their advocates, who called the pontiff’s remarks “outrageous” on the eve of his clergy summit on the long-running scandal. “It’s outrageous ……Continue Reading

Pope picks liberal cardinals Cupich, Marx, Tagle for featured talks at Vatican Abuse Summit

ROME, February 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago, Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Germany, and Cardinal Antonio Tagle of the Philippines will be featured speakers at the Vatican’s upcoming summit on clerical sex abuse titled, “The Protection of Minors…Continue Reading

SD BISHOP CALLS CATHOLIC GROUP ‘EVIL’ FOR OPPOSING CARDINAL CUPICH

RAPID CITY, S.D. (ChurchMilitant.com) – A bishop is calling a Catholic apostolate “evil” for being critical of Cdl. Blase Cupich. Bishop Robert Gruss of Rapid City, South Dakota issued a statement to be read from all parish pulpits the weekend of Feb. 9–10 condemning…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 . . .

Video surfaces of Beto O’Rourke berating Catholic priest for defending male/female marriage

EL PASO, Texas, March 22, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A video of pro-abortioncongressman Beto O’Rourke, who is running for president, has surfaced showing him berating a Catholic priest for defending male/female marriage at an El Paso City Council meeting in 2011. The incident took place in June 2011 when El Paso priest Fr. Michael Rodriguez spoke against extending marriage benefits

South Dakota governor signs multiple pro-life laws including ultrasound requirement, end-of-life parental involvement

PIERRE, South Dakota, March 21, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – South Dakota’s Republican Gov. Kristi Noem signed a slate of bills into law Wednesday to impose various new restrictions on abortions and responsibilities on the physicians committing them, as well as a new safeguard for patients’ rights. Forum News Service reported that four of the bills will require abortionists to give women the chance to see a sonogram of their baby and listen to his or her…Continue Reading

On the question of a heretical pope

schneider

The issue of how to handle a heretical pope, in concrete terms, has not yet been treated in a manner which approaches anything like a true general consent in the entire Catholic tradition. So far, neither a pope nor an Ecumenical Council has made relevant doctrinal pronouncements nor have they issued binding canonical norms regarding the eventuality of how to handle a heretical pope during the term of his office. There is no historical case of…Continue Reading

GOP congressman sues Twitter for shadow-bans, discrimination against conservatives

March 20, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – California Republican Rep. Devin Nunes is taking Twitter to court for the social media giant’s alleged discrimination against himself and other prominent conservatives through shadow-banning and other means. Last summer, Nunes was one of several Republican lawmakers and GOP leaders whose Twitter accounts had disappeared from the drop-down menu that normally populates when typing in a name, without comparable figures such as Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez or any…Continue Reading

US bishops’ anti-poverty charity gave $60,000 to pro-gay Marxist group last year

March 15, 2019 (Lepanto Institute) — The 2017–2018 Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) grants list shows that the Northwest Bronx Community & Clergy Coalition (NWBCCC) received $60,000, bringing the total this organization has received to $290,000 since 2005. In 2012, the Reform CCHD Now coalition alerted the US bishops to serious problems with NWBCCC including homosexual activism and the promotion of Marxism. Monsignor Kevin Sullivan of the A

Advertisement(2)

Who Spawned The Christchurch Killer?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN On Friday, March 15 in Christchurch, New Zealand, one of the more civilized places on Earth, 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant, an Australian, turned on his cellphone camera and set out to livestream his massacre of as many innocent Muslim worshipers as he could kill. Using a semi-automatic rifle, he murdered more than…Continue Reading

Among U.S. Military… Ban On Gender Transition To Take Effect In April

By CHRISTINE ROUSSELLE WASHINGTON, D.C. (CNA) — Troops enlisting and serving in the U.S. military will have to serve as their biological sex and are forbidden from transitioning to another gender, a new Department of Defense policy states. The policy was announced in a memo that was obtained by the Associated Press March 12. The…Continue Reading

Medical Ethics: “Who’s Next?”

By BARBARA SIMPSON (Editor’s Note: This column first appeared on WorldNetDaily, March 1, 2019.) + + + It’s really getting out of control. The headlines and news reports are filled with life and death. Not war. Not accidents. No, these news stories are about how and when our medical system can, and will, legally kill…Continue Reading

A Dark Night Finally Turns To Day

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY (Editor’s Note: Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor in chief of CNSnews.com. Creators Syndicate distributes his column.) + + + They could have just kept going, but they didn’t. It was another cold South Dakota day on February 28, 1981, when Lee Litz went out with a friend to test-drive a…Continue Reading

My Reply… An Eastern Orthodox Writer’s Attempt To Justify Divorce And Remarriage

By JAMES LIKOUDIS An Eastern Orthodox correspondent has taken issue with Catholic teaching rejecting adultery as a legitimate ground for divorce and remarriage. His arguments stem from ill-digested readings drawn from both Catholic and Eastern Orthodox sources. The writer, in effect, rejects Catholic doctrine regarding the absolute indissolubility of sacramental marriage. That doctrine, based on…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: Regarding a recent reply about giving Holy Communion to everyone at a funeral or wedding, J.C. of Ontario, Canada, sent along the following comments: “I appreciate the clear answers which were given to E.B. of New York. . . . I as a non-Catholic who is a Baptist am well aware that Protestants cannot participate with Catholics in…Continue Reading

Empty Chalice At Consecration Time… Could Signal A Grave Violation Of Canon Law

By Fr. Edward McNamara, LC (Editor’s Note: Following is a Q-and-A from Fr. Edward McNamara’s regular column published by ZENIT News Agency. The date of this column is March 12, 2019. (ZENIT holds the copyright to this article. All rights reserved.) + + + (Legionary of Christ Fr. Edward McNamara is a professor of liturgy and dean of theology at…Continue Reading

Heaven, The Promised Land

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Third Sunday Of Lent (YR C) Readings: Exodus 3:1-8a, 13-15 1 Cor. 10:1-6, 10-12 Luke 13:1-9 In the readings today we hear about both the justice and the mercy of God. The first reading is all about God’s mercy. The people of Israel had been enslaved in Egypt for 430 years, but in that time they…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World . . . Cardinal Pell: The Pendulum Swings

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The pendulum means nothing on its own and functions only by means of a power external to itself: the law of gravity. The swing of the pendulum is a symbol of the lack of balance, for the forces at work upon it which keep it in constant motion prevent its rest in a central position…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: In his weekly bulletin at the Church of St. Michael in New York City, Fr. George Rutler, after noting that John Henry Cardinal Newman of England will soon be proclaimed a saint and Jozsef Cardinal Mindszenty of Hungary will be declared venerable, said that “Mindszenty was not Newman’s intellectual peer, but his life was the most muscular testimony…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Benedetta Cambiagio Frassinello

By CAROLE BRESLIN Mary and Joseph led a chaste life, as husband and wife for the greater glory of God. The parents of Therese of Lisieux, Marie-Azélie Guérin and Louis Martin, also hoped to live this way, but their spiritual director advised them not to do so. In obedience, they provided the Church with a wonderful example of holiness. Another…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Cuthbert

By CAROLE BRESLIN The Melrose Abbey in Scotland, which is located about 30 miles south-southeast of Edinburgh, attracts more visitors than just about any other attraction in Scotland. Although mostly in ruins now, the abbey boasts a museum and other sites of interest, such as the embalmed heart of Robert the Bruce. Mel Gibson revived interest in him with the…Continue Reading