The Costs of Contraception

Letter to Editor (Catholic Insight Magazine),

Re: Doctor’s Praise of Contraception

Possessing a university degree is hardly a measure of intelligence, so every morning when I wake up, I pray that God will give me the gifts of wisdom and understanding.  After reading Dr. Wilbur’s recent letter to the editor (Re Birth Control, March, 2010) I am pretty sure that this is not the prayer that leaves his lips each morning.  In fact, it would seem that his letter demonstrates that intelligence and wisdom are not mutually exclusive.

Here we have a man whom God has supplied with the gift of healing, and he chooses to honour his profession by bashing the Catholic Church’s position on birth control and by extension implying that he knows better than God. In this writer’s humble opinion, Dr. Wilbur has a duty to determine how he has wrongly reasoned and erred.  My hope is that this letter will be a stimulus for further exploration on the part of Dr. Wilbur.

A large part of the letter is devoted to Dr. Wilbur’s thesis that the Catholic Church has  failed to recognize the “dramatic change in society as it affects the family.”  In fact, not only does the Church recognize the change, it knows the cause and it has the  solution.  The cause is the widespread use of contraception.  The effects include, but are not limited to: rampant promiscuity, divorce, abortion, euthanasia and ultimately a  freely chosen racial/cultural suicide.  These evils have increased greatly over the past 100 years and they correspond directly with the widespread use of contraception that  began about 100 years ago when the Anglican Church allowed contraceptives to be used by
married couples.

A second part of Dr. Wilbur’s letter is devoted to one of the biggest clichés that is propagated by contraception pushers.  They argue that most families cannot afford to have more children.  What he really must mean is that most families cannot afford to have more children because they won’t be able to buy as much stuff.  I am the sole income earner in my family (8 children and counting) and yet we somehow manage to make ends meet.  It is called living within one’s means.  We sacrifice what many of those with a couple of children wouldn’t dare to do without.  We drive used cars, we don’t take expensive vacations, we shop at second hand stores, we clip coupons, we look for deals and we pay off our debts.  When you combine these sacrifices with the bounty of government services and benefits provided by the hard working taxpayers of this country, the argument that people cannot afford to have more than 2 or 3 children is both absurd and laughable.

In fact, if families with 2 or 3 children were the norm, Canada would have a future.  It takes 2.2 children per family to replace the population.  Canada now sits at around 1.5 children per family which is well below the replacement rate and has set the stage for a demographic winter.  Let’s see how long our wonderful system of social benefits lasts
with an aging population and a rapidly reduced workforce that is the inevitable result of this voluntary extinction.

Contrary to Dr. Wilbur’s belief, the Catholic Church has always taught that there is more to procreation than just having babies.  In fact, psychological problems are reasons to postpone pregnancy.  We are called however, to prayerfully discern how many children God would like us to have. And this is the key.  Children are gifts from God, and should not be seen as burdens that get in the way of our happiness.  Each soul is an immeasurable and unique gift, one that never exited before yet will live for eternity.

The term ‘birth control’ is an oxymoron.  We can’t control birth but we can prevent conception.  In addition, some forms of birth control act as abortifacients because they often prevent the implantation of a fertilized ovum in the uterine wall.  The ovum is then flushed down the toilet during the next menstrual cycle.  Our nation has been built
on rivers of blood that cry out to God for justice.  The bottom line is that birth  control equals no births and no control.  Abortion merely acts as back up contraception because the pregnant individual did not intend to get pregnant in the first place.

Dr. Wilbur claims that some methods of birth control are acceptable to the Catholic  Church hierarchy.  He must be referring to the various forms of natural family planning promoted in the Church today.  The difference between contraception and using natural  means to postpone children are like night and day.  The reality is that there is a
difference between doing and not doing.  On the one hand you have a couple that puts up a barrier to intentionally avoid conception.  On the other hand you may have a couple that simply chooses to not have intercourse on days of optimal fertility, but they remain open to life.  Essentially, what they say to God is, “we are not ready to have a child at this point, but we will accept one if you choose to so bless us.”

Dr. Wilbur also does not understand that when it comes to contraception, the end’s doesn’t homogenize the means.  We all agree that owning a house is a good thing, but there is a big difference between robbing a bank to pay for it versus getting a job and saving your money.  There is a huge difference between intentionally putting up a barrier to avoid having children and simply using what we know about the human body to postpone having children. Again, same ends but a much different means.

When we use contraception we tell a lie to our spouses.  As Pope John Paul II so eloquently taught in his Theology of the Body, sexual intimacy is a language and when we use contraception, we lie with our bodies.  We essentially tell our spouses that we will not give of ourselves totally in the sexual act.  We hold back a part of ourselves – the part that co-operates with God to bring a new life into existence.

Thankfully, the Catholic Church has not fallen pray to the whims and wishes of the vox populi.  The truth is the truth and it doesn’t change because society has ‘evolved’ or a majority of believers choose to embrace practices that are intrinsically evil.

Fortunately, the Catholic Church has a remedy to the evil of birth control. It is called self-control.  What kind of society tells young people that they can’t control themselves so they may as well use protection?  We don’t encourage young people to learn how to drink or do drugs safely, but the first time they are tempted to have sex we tell them to put on a condom or to grab their pills.  Evil is evil whether it involves drinking to excess or using contraception outside of marriage or within marriage.

There is a scene in the wonderful movie The Lord of the Rings where the wizard Gandalf is wondering whether Frodo is still on the trail to Mordor. The future King Aragorn turns to Gandalf and says, “What does your heart tell you?”  I sincerely believe that most people who use contraception know in their hearts that it is wrong.

My wife and I were lapsed Catholics and we used contraception during the first few years of our marriage.  Like most of our fellow Catholics we just assumed that the Church was wrong and would eventually come around.  No one ever questioned our decision to use contraception and we certainly did not think that we were going to hell for doing so (If
we did we sure would have had a lot of company).  Yet despite all of this we both experienced this nagging feeling that what we were doing was wrong.  It was like a toothache that just wouldn’t go away.  Years late we have now come to realize that this feeling was our conscience or the inner voice that helps one to discern right from wrong.  A truly honest person knows that contraception is a means that satan uses to tempt otherwise good people to reject the creative will of our heavenly Father.

Finally, I would just like to say that I agree with Dr. Wilbur’s closing statement in his letter.  “Before people (like Dr. Wilbur) begin pontificating about birth control, I think it is paramount they consider ALL of the facts and all of the dimensions of parenthood.”

Sincerely,

Chris Beneteau

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