Forty years on, however, it is Humanae vitae -– not the Winnipeg Statement — that has stood the test of time. Study after study has documented the uncanny accuracy of the Pope’s much scoffed-at predictions, which stand out sharply against the failures of the preferred prophets of the day, such as Paul Erhlich, who in the same year published his famously misguided book, The Population Bomb.
Among those predictions were the marked increase in adultery and fornication (what we have learned to call “casual” sex); the corresponding increase in alienation between men and women (which we now refer to as the gender wars); the weakening of the family (for which we no longer have even a working definition); and especially the intrusion of the state into “the most personal and most reserved sector of conjugal intimacy” — that is, into the very processes of human reproduction.
On this last point, Paul VI presciently warned that rulers might even begin to impose on their people “the method of contraception which they judge to be the most efficacious.” This prediction, heavily ridiculed at the time, has found its sorriest fulfillment in China, which not only permits contraception, sterilization and abortion as legitimate means of regulating births, but systematically enforces them.
Canada’s embrace of the contraceptive mentality (we don’t think much of “the serious duty of transmitting human life”) has produced the problem of too few people, so our own rulers are not tempted to be quite so draconian. Yet through the United Nations Population Fund Canada participates in a wide variety of manipulative, not to say murderous, “family planning” policies, including those of China. And its policies at home, particularly in the area of sex education, about which the Winnipeg Statement was so absurdly hopeful, are only marginally less manipulative. The Canadian bishops never imagined mandatory programs teaching Catholic children how to experiment in all manner of “sterile” sex, including sodomy, or how to appreciate the fact that “families” come in all sizes and shapes. Nor did Catholic politicians foresee the skyrocketing divorce and abortion rates, or their multi-billion dollar annual price tag, when in 1968 they moved to adapt our legal system to the contraceptive era with Bill C-150.
Humanae vitae, however, did not content itself with predicting the dissolution of family life on the shoals of the contraceptive mentality. It did indeed condemn contraception as a violation of natural law that, in picking apart the unitive and the procreative dimensions of human sexuality, must also pick apart the very social bonds it was supposed to protect. But it also recognized that the acceptance of artificial contraception would dissolve ecclesial bonds, too, by ripping a large hole in the Church’s sacramental vision of marriage. For proof of that we need look no further than the Anglican Communion, meeting this month for its 2008 Lambeth Conference in the vain hope of saving its sinking ship… (Source)
A wonderful thank you goes out to Prof. Douglas Farrow for this wonderful article in the National Post’s online edition. What was once a taboo subject to speak about is now going mainstream. Contraception, once an untouchable sacrament of the secular humanist religion, is now fair game for critique and debate.
I mentioned the incredible destructive effect of contraception to the Church’s ecclesial bond of unity to a Bishop once. He looked at me like I was from another planet. Our bishops, sorry to say, just don’t “get it”. They’ve practiced ecclesiatical contraception from Rome for so long, they don’t even know the lethal effects that contraception has had on belief in the Eucharist or even respect for the episcopal office. If it were not for Humanae Vitae, Catholics would be going down the same path as Anglicans right about now.
Thank God for Humanae Vitae. Long Live the Papacy, a precious gift to the Church.