Chapter 1 - All Contraception is Intrinsically Evil


A. Veritatis Splendor nixes dissent against Humanae Vitae

Time Magazine's review of the Encyclical, Veritatis Splendor (Splendor of the Truth), 6 August 1993, predicts that the sweeping nature of the Pope's condemnation of evils, including contraception, as well as his demand for obedience "are certain to send tremors through the ranks of the Church's liberal wing" (4 October 1993).

That is probably an understatement. The Encyclical implicitly challenges episcopal conferences to review past statements, some of which were erroneous. It may help pastors who have been observing a dazed silence on the pulpit and in the confessional come to a new decision. Pill users may wonder whether there isn't something better, more holy. And, what Time is apt to overlook: Amazing Grace may now launch a show of new and unexpected wonders in a world that doesn't expect such things to happen.

In the turbulent months following the promulgation of Humanae Vitae in July, 1968, some episcopal conferences overshot compassion with hastily contrived solutions. The Austrian Bishops once approved Holy Communion without Confession for some offenders (corrected in 1988). The bishops of another nation, in a convoluted sentence, suggested "licit" exceptions to HV's ban on contraception. The faithful of that nation, finding the holes punched into the HV dike by their bishops, washed away the entire dike! To a large extent HV has become a dead letter ever since among Catholics in that nation. The statement of that episcopal conference which subverted HV is reproduced here in part only because it has appeared, unfortunately with approval, in a morals text for seminarians used around the globe, especially in the Third World countries:

If somebody, notwithstanding his good will to fulfill the directives of the encyclical [Humanae Vitae] is unable to observe it in some matters because of objective and necessary circumstances, he should never think himself separated from the love of God (1968 Statement of an episcopal conference, quoted by Fr. Karl Peschke, Christian Ethics, Vol. II, 6th printing 1990, p. 476).

But apparently, not even Father Peschke could bring himself to quote the rest of the sentence made by that conference of bishops in 1968. The rest of their sentence reads: "...Rather we advise them to deepen their trust in God, and to participate fervently in the works of the Church and to receive the sacraments." The words are open to a catastrophic interpretation of the worst kind. They could mean that those who think they must contracept are invited by the bishops to receive the Sacraments - Confession and Holy Communion - without making a firm purpose of amendment. Apparently that is exactly how many interpret the cryptic statement. Martin Luther once gave this blasphemous advice: "Pecca fortiter, et confide fortius" (Sin bravely and trust even more strongly). Catholic bishops may never give that kind of advice.

To encourage contraceptors to hold on to their faith is right, of course; and to urge them to participate in activities of the Church - Sunday Mass, works of charity, etc., that is also good advice. But to encourage contraceptors to receive Holy Communion without repenting, that is never right. It torpedoes Humanae Vitae, it seduces the faithful to sin.

That misleading statement implies that some people are unable to observe the law of God which is articulated in Humanae Vitae. But, as will be elaborated immediately, we know that no law of God is impossible for man to observe, and that God gives the grace to those who cooperate, to do what is not possible with mere human powers. Obviously all the bishops know that too, since this is fundamental to all moral theology. We can only surmise that the committee which drew up that notorious statement for the Bishops in 1968 did not believe that contraception was something intrinsically evil. The Encyclicals Veritatis Splendor and Evangelium Vitae can be used now to correct past confusion about Humanae Vitae. With them the bishops can resuscitate the truth about holiness in marriage, and make it scintillate in their nation with new splendor.

Surely many Catholics in that country are confused. For example, a survey made in 1988 among a number of Catholic doctors in that country indicated that a majority of those who responded to the questionnaire held to the false opinion that the Pill and condom could be permitted in some circumstances (see report in The Japan Missionary Bulletin, Winter 1988, p. 221). If some Catholic doctors hold this false opinion, surely some other members of the Catholic laity in that country do likewise.

Fr. Juan Masia, SJ who contributed to the confusion of Catholic doctors in this matter, is no longer teaching in Japan. He had quoted and defended an erroneous statement of that episcopal conference (see Report of the Fukuoka Branch of the Japan Catholic Doctors' Association, November 24-25 1990; also Katorikku Kobore Banashi, 1988, pp. 44-55). This made him a persona non grata by reason of which he returned to his home country.

Also, Father Peschke, who quoted a part of this statement of the conference of bishops in his book, no longer teaches at the Pontifical University Urbanianum in Rome. If the Vatican banned him from teaching there because of this false and mistaken opinion, surely Catholics in that country have the right to be protected from the false information which he repeats. Catholics in that country are entitled to be told what is in harmony with Catholic instructions in all parts of the world. They have a right to learn the true teaching of the Church from their bishops.

Fr. Peschke, in his 1990 edition, also cited the Austrian and other Episcopal Conference declarations which, in retrospect, are not tenable. Veritatis Splendor cuts through the altercations. Noble intentions cannot render good an act which is intrinsically evil: If acts are intrinsically evil, a good intention or particular circumstances can diminish their evil, but they cannot remove it. They remain "irremediably" evil acts; per se and in themselves they are not capable of being ordered to God and to the good of the person. "As for acts which are themselves sins (cum iam opera ipsa peccata sunt), Saint Augustine writes, "like theft, fornication, blasphemy, who would dare affirm that, by doing them for good motives (causis bonis) they would no longer be sins, or, what is even more absurd, that they would be sins which are justified?" (Veritatis Splendor No. 81).

Veritatis Splendor, which upholds the ban against contraception taught in Humanae Vitae, makes no room for the supposition in the 1968 declaration of that conference of bishops - and other struggling declarations of episcopal conferences - that some people are "unable" to keep God's law in this respect; that there are "objective and necessary circumstances" which excuse couples to contracept licitly. Christ has made possible what unredeemed man finds impossible. God's commands are never impossible; we can keep them with the help of the grace of Christ:

Only in the mystery of Christ do we discover the "concrete" possibilities of man. "It would be a very serious error to conclude... that the Church's teaching is essentially only an `ideal' which must then be adapted, proportioned, graduated to the so-called concrete possibilities of man, according to a `balancing of the goods in question'. But what are the `concrete possibilities of man'? And of which man are we speaking? Of man dominated by lust or of man redeemed by Christ? This is what is at stake: the reality of Christ's redemption. Christ redeemed us! This means that he has given us the possibility of realizing the entire truth of our being; he has set our freedom free from the domination of concupiscence. And if redeemed man still sins, this is not due to an imperfection of Christ's redemptive act, but to man's will not to avail himself of the grace which flows from that act" (No. 103, quoting address on responsible parenthood, 1 March 1984).

Then what about those "impossible" cases in which couples supposedly find it "necessary" to use contraception? Martyrs, responds the Encyclical, have demonstrated that no human value justifies the breaking of God's law. Never is it permitted to do what is "morally evil in itself" (Veritatis Splendor No. 92). These are words of "tough love." Mother Church, who has educated citizens for heaven during nineteen centuries, knows that she cannot change what is unchangeable.

But if Catholics in Japan have been assuming that using the condom is allowed, will they rise now and return home? And if Catholics in the USA have been receiving Holy Communion while on the Pill, will they find the spiritual energy to mend their ways? The encyclical brings multitudes into confrontation with the proverbial rock of scandal foretold by Christ: "He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed" (Mt 21:44).

How many Catholic couples practice contraception? We can only surmise roughly: broad statistics indicate that about 340 million couples in the world now use contraception- sterilization, out of about 880 million couples in the fertile years; that rate would be 40%. We have some reason to believe that the rate is lower among our 960 million Catholics. But we also know that a large number of Catholics, many of whom no longer come to Sunday Mass regularly, give as a reason the Church doctrine on sexual morality.

B. Good Intentions do not change the evil of contraception

Father Bernard Haering, CSSR. endeavors vainly to distinguish between "selfish" Onanism on the one hand, and on the other hand withdrawal before the climax of sexual intercourse, for supposedly "unselfish" reasons: "Only a couple who act out of egoism in refusing the service of life without any responsible motive can be compared with Onan whose sin God punished with death (Gen 38:9f). A great injustice would be done to married people who follow the fundamental principle of responsible parenthood with the greatest generosity, if in their case an interrupted intercourse were to be called `onanism.'" Fr. Peschke also adopted this untenable position up to the 1990 edition (p. 473) but omits mentioning it in the 1993 revised edition.

Veritatis Splendor, however, which includes contraception among intrinsically evil acts, denominates all intrinsically evil acts as irremediable, pious intentions notwithstanding (cf. especially No. 47 and 80). It thus exposes Fr. Haering's "ipse dixit" theology as missing the main point. Unselfish intentions cannot make withdrawal good because the evil of the act itself is unchangeable, and cannot be extracted from the act by some good intention. Just as an apple remains being an apple even for those who want it to be an orange, so also onanism is an intrinsic evil even for couples to whom Fr. Haering would ascribe good intentions. The Bible does not ask whether Onan was selfish or generous; but it states the awful truth, which should teach us reality: God killed Onan because he withdrew at intercourse and spilled his seed on the ground. Evidently, contraception is abhorrent to the Creator.

Incidentally, the opinion once promoted by some scholars that God did not kill Onan for contraception, but for not observing obligations of the Levirate Law, does not square with the Bible. Peschke's footnote to the contrary notwithstanding (1993 edition, p. 505), God did not kill those who merely offended against prescriptions of the Levirate Law. In the Bible they come off with a far lesser punishment, namely a public humiliation (cf. Dt 25:9-10). Deuteronomy prescribes the death penalty for adultery and rape (22:22-23) but not for failing to fulfill the Levirate Law. In Genesis 38, three persons failed to carry out their duties as directed in the Levirate Law, Judah, Shelah and Onan. God killed neither Judah nor Shelah, who had also violated the Levirate Law, but only Onan who contracepted while doing so. The Bible clearly makes the point that what Onan did had an additional malice which incurred God's implacable wrath: "What he did was wicked in the Lord's sight. So he put him to death also" (Gen 38:10). Onan abused the Levirate Law by doing an indecent act. For a good explanation, see John Kippley, Sex and the Marriage Covenant, pp. 309 ff.

C. Related documents from Pius XI to John Paul II

The Ban on Contraception Holds Everywhere and Forever.

By no means is Veritatis Splendor the first document proclaiming that contraception is always evil. Sixty six years ago Pope Pius XI said it very clearly. All the Popes since then have spoken likewise, or have implied as much. The following passages of papal documents are consistent throughout:


Every attempt on the part of the married couple during the conjugal act or during the development of its natural consequences, to deprive it of its inherent power and to hinder the procreation of a new life is immoral. No `indication' or need can change an action that is intrinsically immoral into an action that is moral and lawful...

Since, therefore, openly departing from the uninterrupted Christian tradition some recently have judged it possible solemnly to declare another doctrine regarding this question, [cf. Anglicans, Lambeth Conference, 14 August 1930] the Catholic Church, to whom God has entrusted the defense of the integrity and purity of morals, standing erect in the midst of the moral ruin which surrounds her, in order that she may preserve the chastity of the nuptial union from being defiled by this foul stain, raises her voice in token of her divine ambassadorship and through Our mouth proclaims anew: any use whatsoever of matrimony exercised in such a way that the act is deliberately frustrated in its natural power to generate life is an offense against the law of God and of nature, and those who indulge in such are branded with the guilt of grave sin (Pius XI, Casti Connubii No. 56, 31 December 1930).


This prescription (of Casti Connubii) holds good today just as much as it did yesterday. It will hold tomorrow and always, for it is not a mere precept of human right but the expression of a natural and Divine law (Address to Midwives, No. 24, 29 October 1951).


Because the life of man is passed on to other men deliberately and knowingly, it therefore follows that this should be done in accord with the most sacred, permanent, inviolable prescriptions of God. Everyone without exception is bound to recognize and observe these laws. Wherefore, in this matter, no one is permitted to use methods and procedures which may indeed be permissible to check the life of plants and animals (Mater et Magistra No. 193, 15 May 1961).


Similarly there must be a rejection of all acts that attempt to impede procreation, both those chosen as a means to an end and those chosen as ends. This includes acts that precede intercourse, acts that accompany intercourse, and acts that are directed to the natural consequences of intercourse [see annotations] (Humanae Vitae No. 14).


Our special support goes to those who help couples preparing for Christian marriage by offering them the full teaching of the Church and by encouraging them in the highest ideals of the Christian family ("The Christian Family," Address, 21 September 1978).


Thus, in continuity with the living tradition of the ecclesiastical community throughout history, the recent Second Vatican Council and the magisterium of my predecessor Paul VI, expressed above all in the Encyclical Humanae Vitae, have handed on to our times a truly prophetic proclamation, which reaffirms and reproposes with clarity the Church's teaching and norm, always old yet always new, regarding marriage and regarding the transmission of life.

For this reason the Synod Fathers made the following declaration at their last assembly: "This Sacred Synod, gathered together with the Successor of Peter in the unity of faith, firmly holds what has been set forth in the Second Vatican Council (cf. Gaudium et Spes 50) and afterwards in the Encyclical Humanae Vitae, particularly that love between husband and wife must be fully human, exclusive and open to new life (Humanae Vitae No. 11; cf. 9,12) (Familiaris Consortio No. 29, Feast of Christ the King 1981).

When, therefore, through contraception, married couples remove from the exercise of their conjugal sexuality its potential procreative capacity, they claim a power which belongs solely to God: the power to decide in a final analysis the coming into existence of a human person. They assume the qualification not of being cooperators in God's creative power, but the ultimate depositories of the source of human life. In this perspective, contraception is to be judged objectively so profoundly unlawful as never to be, for any reason justified. To think or to say the contrary is equal to maintaining that in human life situations may arise in which it is lawful not to recognize God as God (Address to Priests, 17 September 1983).

As the Encyclical Humanae Vitae teaches: "every marital act must be open to the transmission of life" (n. 11). For this reason contraception and sterilization for contraceptive purposes are always gravely illicit (Address to audience of a million faithful, Caracas, Venezuela, 27 January 1985).

A grave responsibility derives from this: those who place themselves in open conflict with the law of God, authentically taught by the Church, guide spouses along a false path. The Church's teaching on contraception does not belong to the category of matter open to free discussion among theologians. Teaching the contrary amounts to leading the moral conscience of spouses into error (Address to Natural Family Planning Conference, 5 June 1987).

By describing the contraceptive act as intrinsically illicit, Paul VI meant to teach that the moral norm is such that it does not admit exceptions. No personal or social circumstances could ever, can now, or will ever, render such an act lawful in itself. The existence of particular norms regarding man's way of acting in the world, which are endowed with a binding force that excludes always and in whatever situation the possibility of exceptions, is a constant teaching of Tradition and of the Church's Magisterium, which cannot be called into question by the Catholic theologian (Address to 400 Theologians, 12 November 1988).

As John Kippley notes (Sex and the Marriage Covenant, p. 131) Pope John Paul II, by the end of 1988, had explicitly reaffirmed the teaching of Casti Connubii, Humanae Vitae and Familiaris Consortio at least 40 times. By so doing he fulfilled the "frequent repetition" requirement of Lumen Gentium 25 which obligates believers to accept a teaching.

Note that some of the above passages clearly teach that contraception is a grave matter. This excludes the suggestion made by Fr. Peschke, (1987, p. 476; 1993, p. 508) that the Magisterium might not be clear about this because Humanae Vitae does not call contraception a serious evil. The papal documents are one piece, each accepting the foregoing and re-affirming them. Casti Connubii teaches clearly that contraception is grave matter, and Veritatis Splendor (No. 80) interprets Humanae Vitae as affirming that it is grave matter. This should be elemental to the science of moral theology, and is mentioned here only to refute the bizarre suggestion mentioned repeatedly in the named morals textbook.

D. May Contraceptors Receive Holy Communion?

Communion - literally "union-with" - signifies agreement, unity of mind. The basic reason why Protestants are not, in principle, admitted to Holy Communion with Catholics is that union of minds ought to precede the show of union expressed by this Sacrament. The Eucharist should not be used to paper over a still unbridged fissure in Church union. This is not a judgment on the subjective faith and good will of individual Protestants, nor is it a slanted hint that they may not be in the state of grace. The fact that the Church allows Holy Communion for individual Protestants under special circumstances tells us so.

The obstacle against Communion for contraceptors is different from that of Protestants. Contracepting Catholics do not adhere to an organized sect which has broken unity with the one, holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Why, then, has the Pope called into question the propriety of Catholics receiving the Sacraments when they do not obey laws about sexual ethics? He said:

It is sometimes reported that a large number of Catholics today do not adhere to the teaching of the Church on a number of questions, notably sexual and conjugal morality, divorce and remarriage. Some are reported as not accepting the Church's clear position on abortion. It has also been noted that there is a tendency on part of some Catholics to be selective in their adherence to the Church's moral teachings. It is sometimes claimed that dissent from the magisterium is totally compatible with being a "good Catholic" and poses no obstacle to the reception of the sacraments. This is a grave error that challenges the teaching office of the bishops of the United States and elsewhere. I wish to encourage you in the love of Christ to address this situation courageously in your pastoral ministry, relying on the power of God's truth to attract assent and on the grace of the Holy Spirit, which is given both to those who proclaim the message and to those to whom it is addressed (Meeting with USA Bishops in Los Angeles, 16 September 1987; page 186 in John Paul II, Pastoral Visit to the United States, Ignatius Press, 1987).

Unholy contraception blocks out intended good effects of Holy Communion. The contraceptor, being committed to this evil practice, displeases and disturbs the Christ who is Subsistent Truth, Goodness and Holiness. Holy Communion signifies, and normally effectuates, union of the communicant with Christ; whereas the contraceptor turns a cold shoulder to Him. A guilty contraceptor who receives Holy Communion, performs a perfunctory handshake with Jesus, without making eye contact; he looks the other way while shaking hands; it may be a political action without personal commitment. He may be seeking public approval, rather than genuine friendship with Christ. He may pretend friendship while operating as a double agent. One who contracepts - who habitually lives in this intrinsically evil life-style - is not worthy to receive Holy Communion. St. Justin, Martyr (d. c. 165) states:

We call this food the Eucharist, of which only he can partake who has acknowledged the truth of our teachings, who has been cleansed by baptism for the remission of his sins and for his regeneration, and who regulates his life upon the principles laid down by Christ (First Apology, 65).

Intimacy with God, which is Holy Communion, is exercised by walking and conversing with Him. Before Adam and Eve sinned, God was wont to walk with them to enjoy the evening breeze in the Garden of Eden (cf. Gen 3:8). This familiar attitude changed dramatically because they sinned. When Adam and Eve, aware that they had eaten forbidden fruit, heard the Lord's steps approaching them in the garden, they fled from Him to hide among the trees. Only after they had confessed their sin did God treat them kindly again, by helping them into sturdy clothing (cf. Gen 3:21).

The feeling of antagonism between God and a persistent sinner is mutual. God told Moses, after the people had rebelled against Him, that they should go alone to the Promised Land. He will not go with them: "You are a stiff-necked people. If I were to go with you even for a moment, I might destroy you" (Ex 33:5). God changed His mind about that only after the people repented of their sin, and Moses, figure of Christ, made His dramatic and powerful prayer for them. To be close to God can be dangerous if one is not clean.

E. Committed sinners are fellow Catholics and they need pastoral care

But contraceptors, including those who do not yet change their ways, should by no means leave the Church. The Church is their mother, and mothers love all their children, also those who cause them pain. A mother once is a mother forever. And even if some members of Mother Church should neglect love toward contraceptors, God will continue to yearn for their return and look for their company and presence. Mother Teresa is fond of quoting a passage from Isaiah which applies here:

Can a mother forget her infant,
be without tenderness for the child of her womb?
Even should she forget,
I will not forget you.
See, upon the palm of my hand
I have written your name (Is 49:15-16).

Contraceptors should by all means continue to come to Mass and to pray, because God wants them to do this; but should refrain from receiving Holy Communion. The principles stated in Familiaris Consortio No. 84 concerning couples living in an irregular union, applies equally to couples who are presently committed to a habitual and planned contraceptive practice. We might paraphrase two paragraphs from that document to read as follows:

However, the Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried [read: contraceptors]. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist. Besides this, there is another special pastoral reason: if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church's teaching about the indissolubility of marriage [read: about the intrinsic evil of contraception].

Reconciliation in the sacrament of Penance, which would open the way to the Eucharist, can only be granted to those who, repenting of having broken the sign of the Covenant and of fidelity to Christ, are sincerely ready to undertake a way of life that is no longer in contradiction to the indissolubility of marriage [read: to the intrinsic and grave evil of contraception]...

Pastors know that Christ is God's gentle servant: "... a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out" (Mt 12:20). Pastors are not commissioned to extinguish the faith and good will of the parishioners by ineffective measures. On the other hand, Christ clarified the meaning of His message by a thundering denunciation of the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. Pastors must not allow the message of the Church to be compromised in their parish. Pastoral charity, prudence and fidelity must come into its own here. Bishops, pastors, confessors, counsellors, are commissioned captains and commanders in the Church Militant; in this Church which cares for her sinners as well as for her saints, for the wounded soldiers and sailors, as well as for the healthy ones. Officers in the Church Militant must make provision for all the troops, including those who are shell- shocked, even those who temporarily go AWOL, and for all who need disciplining and/or rehabilitation.

Christ: Good Shepherd Also for Erring Sheep

The Church in which Christ offers Himself daily in sacrifice for sinners, knows that the Good Shepherd does not mind going out in search of lost sheep, and spending lots of time on the search. It was Christ who also told the parable of the doting father waiting for the return of the prodigal son who was going through a phase of youthful misadventures. The father welcomed the prodigal son heartily upon his return, although the ever-faithful son who had dutifully stayed at home grumbled about that.

Pastors remember Christ's words that the Father in heaven "causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous" (Mt 5:45). These pastors are kind to the sinners who come to pray, but who refrain from receiving Holy Communion. Pastors remember that Christ advised workers in His Church to allow the weeds in the field to grow along with the wheat, lest pulling the weeds prematurely might uproot some of the wheat (Mt 13:24 ff.).

A good pastor has the heart of a Pope St. Callistus (d. 222), allegedly a former slave, who ruled that all sinners who do penance can be received back into the community of believers. The Encratites were championing the view that those who sinned after being baptized should be excluded from the community forever; others excluded three sins from forgiveness, idolatry, murder and fornication.

Pope Callistus ruled that those who had committed sexual sins would also be forgiven and re-admitted to the community after performing the prescribed penance. In this he was bitterly and maliciously opposed by Hippolytus and Tertullian. Callistus refused to bow to their wrath, learning and scorn.

For Hippolytus (d. 235) there is a happy ending. For a time he became an anti-pope opposing St. Callistus. He scorned sinners such as "women, reputed believers, who began to resort to drugs for producing sterility, and to gird themselves round so as to expel what was being conceived" (Philosophoumena 9:12). Hippolytus wanted a clean Church, not a mixed body of saints and sinners. But years later Emperor Maximus, persecuting Catholics, banned to the quarries of Sardinia Pope Pontian and Hippolytus as well. Pope Pontian had succeeded Popes St. Callistus and St. Urban. As anti-pope Hippolytus worked side by side with Pope Pontian in the quarries, he then asked and received reconciliation and forgiveness. Both died as martyrs from the sufferings which they endured, making a happy ending to the dramatic story (cf. Philip Hughes, A History of the Church, I, pp. 103-108). The Church has never forgotten that it was ex-slave Callistus, champion of repenting sinners, not the fire-eating purists Hippolytus and Tertullian, who won the contest about allowing repentant sinners to be part of the Church community.

Conversion often follows a long and circuitous route. For many it is the term arrived at eventually, and finally, after much travel. The entire Catholic community, by a brotherly and sisterly solidarity, charity, prayer and sacrifice, carries part of the burden of travellers who struggle along the way; of contraceptors who come to Mass, but abstain from Holy Communion. For all we know, these may be walking in the footsteps of Saint Augustine who once prayed:

"Grant me chastity and continence, but not yet." For I was afraid lest Thou shouldest hear me soon and soon deliver me from the disease of concupiscence, which I desired to have satisfied rather than extinguished (Confessions 8:7).

What Germain Grisez writes here about invalidly" remarried" couples we apply with equal pastoral charity to those who contracept and come to Mass but abstain from Holy Communion:

Those who accept the truth of their situation and do their best to live a Christian life within its limits can continue to hope for salvation. Although they are unwilling now to repent and amend their lives, being honest with themselves enables them to remain aware of their guilt, and without their awareness they could not repent. Assuring such Catholics that God is ready to forgive them whenever they are ready to repent, the Church looks forward as a loving mother to their repentance rather than their obduracy until death (II, p. 737).

I would be more comfortable if Grisez had written, "continue to make efforts" instead of describing them as those who "do their best," in their situation. If they were really "doing their best," they would obey the Lord fully here and now, and convert from their sinful situation, instead of delaying to do what they must. In context, this is apparently what Grisez means to say.

F. Pastoral strategies for dealing with contraception

Various pastoral strategies to help contraceptors come to mind. One pastor will do it in the confessional, counting on the mighty power of Christ and His grace to make the confessor's advice take hold. If the penitent hesitates, the confessor may apply the directory of Familiaris Consortio No. 84: "If you don't change your way of life, you should not receive Holy Communion." The measure works in Poland, so I hear, especially when parents come to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation so that they can receive Holy Communion at a wedding or funeral, when all the relatives are expected to receive. The medicine is powerful. Some confessors in Poland use this situation to good advantage.

If even one outstanding parishioner abstains because the confessor said so, he or she gives witness to the intrinsic evil of contraception to self as well as to the community. If a dozen in the parish do so, the witness is strong. It may convert the parish as a whole to a better way of life, to a decision to keep this law of God.

Others will call in a special preacher, or team of preachers, to conduct a mission; the visitors can break the ice, and hear the confessions. The local pastor can thereafter follow through with the same message, from the pulpit, in the confessional, in the parlor. The bishop can be the first to crash through the hitherto established taboo of silence about contraception. To the bishops especially the words of Christ apply: "You are the salt of the earth" (Mt 5:13). He calls his priests for a strategy rally; he uses the words of the Pope in Encyclicals and pastoral addresses; he promotes the message in the diocesan paper, and during his parish visitations. Pastors can follow through more easily if the bishop breaks the taboo, if he pioneers a path through the matted wilderness.

The key toward gaining compliance to the ban on contraception has to be, I believe, abstinence from Holy Communion by those who insist on following contraception habitually. Actions speak louder than words.

A bit of thoughtfulness to insure privacy for recipients of Holy Communion may be in order here. We all heard the joke about the resourceful housekeeper who saw the long line of people waiting for confession when the time schedule for the priest to begin Mass approached. She announced that only those with mortal sins should confess before Mass, the rest should return to their pews. Of course, no one was brave enough to stay in line, and the priest could start Mass on schedule. Ushers in some parishes today do a bit of the same unhappy maneuvering as the above housekeeper, when they guide the traffic to flow smoothly for the reception of Holy Communion by emptying one bench after another. Abstainers suddenly are exposed and visible to all. Allowing the people to approach the holy table helter-skelter would better protect the privacy of those who do not wish to receive Holy Communion.

Another ingenuous solution is the procedure followed by an inventive missionary in Japan. Many non-Christians in attendance at Mass on Christmas, or at weddings, funerals or other occasions, envy those who can receive Holy Communion; they feel a sense of discrimination, of being left out. So this priest announces to the mixed congregation that those who are baptized may receive Holy Communion, and those not baptized should come forward to receive a special blessing. The unbaptized in the congregation then very gladly come forward to be marked with the sign of the cross on the forehead while receiving the priestly blessing. The children especially glow with joy.

"Renewal" in the Battle against Contraception

Bishop Glennon P. Flavin of Lincoln, Nebraska, now deceased, blazed the trail for his pastors and people to break through the taboo against speaking about this subject. "The ban on contraception," he proclaimed fearlessly in The Southern Nebraska Register, 11 October 1991, " a divine law which the Church cannot change." He pointed to the eight Natural Family Planning Centers in his diocese, whose schedules and telephone numbers he listed.

How one pastor does it is reported in The Homiletic and Pastoral Review (July 1993, pp. 71-72). Father Vernon Schaefer's homily, writes Barbara A. MacKalski, MD:

was unforgettable for I learned why artificial contraception was wrong, and why I should not prescribe it. Never did a priest speak with greater conviction!... Father Schaefer's friendly parish (in Eyota, Minnesota) with its large families, well attended Masses, impeccably trained altar boys, thriving CCD program and enthusiastic choir speaks for itself. I recognize how fortunate I am to experience my faith so fully...

Father Matthew Habiger, OSB, who shares missions to parishes with his fellow Benedictine, Father Paul Marx, OSB, observes that "resistance to Humanae Vitae is massive and will require a miracle to remove." He continues:

There is little sense in having a good priest come into a parish and give sermons on the Catholic sexual ethic if the local clergy are dissenters. The parish is then split right down the center... Either a parish accepts the Church's teachings on contraception, sterilization and abortion, or it enters into a pained silence on all of these matters. There is no real peace of mind and heart at such a parish...

On the other hand, if our moral guides and spiritual leaders are of one mind with Christ and His Church on presenting the entire moral truth, then there is real hope. Most people will follow a good priest, and most priests will follow a good bishop. There is no substitute for work at the pulpit, where the pastor clearly explains the teaching of the Church on contraception, sterilization and abortion. If the pastor will lead his people into life- giving pastures, the people will follow. If the Father of the parish encourages his people to draw upon the sacrament of Reconciliation, as he himself does, then they will respond. Priests can be helped to deal with these matters by materials of HLI, our organization called Humanae Vitae Priests, Religious and Laity International. In Japan, write to our representative, Fr. John A. Nariai, Humanae Vitae Research Institute, 26 Chuo-cho, Tarumizu-shi, Kagoshima-ken 891-21. He has already translated a lot of important pro-life materials of ours into Japanese. His telephone & fax number is (81) (0)994-32-0313.

We find that there are special parishes scattered throughout the USA which accept and advocate Humanae Vitae. Usually Catholics can find these parishes with a little effort. (In Japan, too, we have many such parishes, e.g. Chuchi, Aosa, Oso, Yahata and many others in Nagasaki Diocese. In Nagasaki, children grow up hearing their parents often say that children are a blessing. Now deceased Cardinal Satowaki is well known for having strongly encouraged large families in his active days, saying to the faithful: "Don't consider yourselves parents until you have at least 5 children." Many responded. - Editor)

But what can be done to bring dissenting priests and parishes back into the fold? Prudence looms large here. It is never easy to dislodge dissent. It takes great humility for adults to admit that they were wrong in defending contraception and sterilization. Natural family planning requires some effort to learn, and periodic abstinence requires the uprooting of vice and the conscious pursuit of virtue. Chastity is difficult but never impossible ("Ways to Promote Humanae Vitae at the Parish Level," HLI Reports, March 1993; see also his "Is Contraception a Sin?" HLI reprint).

G. Morality of intercourse when the partner uses evil means

If it is the wife who uses a contraceptive, e.g. the Pill, and refuses to stop, the husband, acting now as the redeemed Adam, should refuse the marriage act if other persuasion fails. His initiation and positive performance of a pseudo-marital act would necessarily make him an immediate or even a formal cooperator in an immoral act. He is unable to perform the act licitly, if his wife is using a contraceptive.

If it is the husband who uses a contraceptive, e.g. the condom, the wife should remain passive during intercourse if she cannot well refuse it; the pretended marital act is without its central significance. Her passivity excludes her formal and material cooperation in the sinful act, and she does not sin if this is the best manner to handle the situation, lest her husband become violent, or leave her. She may prudently refuse to accompany him to Holy Communion to thus demonstrate her disagreement with his ideas about morality.

Better that both together decide to practice natural family planning; this is the road for many to conversion and to a renewal of meaningful reception of the sacraments.

If one of the partners, or both, have been sterilized for contraceptive purposes, conversion and contrition ought to be fortified and expressed by suitable works of penance. One very good form of penance is joint abstinence from marital intercourse during about ten days of each cycle, days which might be fertile if they had not been contraceptively sterilized. Even one year of such penance done together has enabled many couples to truly heal their marriage.

But if one of the sterilized partners does not convert, the other may refuse intercourse, or ought to remain passive (wife), since the act would be contraceptive in nature and intention, therefore intrinsically evil. If both convert, intercourse becomes licit at all times, though continued periodic abstinence is recommended as a penance and an expression of contrition.

Why Contraception Is Intrinsically Evil

The Church has clearly received and passes on the teaching that contraception is intrinsically evil, therefore wrong and forbidden in all circumstances. Veritatis Splendor (No. 80) describes an intrinsically evil act as follows:

Reason attests that there are objects of the human act which are by their nature "incapable of being ordered" to God, because they radically contradict the good of the person made in his image. These are acts which, in the Church's moral tradition have been termed "intrinsically evil" (intrinsice malum ): they are such always and per se, in other words, on account of their very object, and quite apart from the ulterior intentions of the one acting and the circumstances. Consequently, without in the least denying the influence on morality exercised by circumstances, the Church teaches that "there exist acts which per se and in themselves, independently of circumstances, are always seriously wrong by reason of their object...

With regard to intrinsically evil acts, and in reference to contraceptive practices whereby the conjugal act is intentionally rendered infertile, Pope Paul VI teaches: "Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good, it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it (cf. Rom 3:8) - in other words, to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family, or of society in general" (Humanae Vitae No. 14, quoted in Veritatis Splendor No. 80).

As Humanae Vitae states:

It is not right for spouses to act in accord with their own arbitrary judgment as if it were permissible for them to define altogether subjectively and willfully what is right for them to do. On the contrary, they must accommodate their behavior to the plan of God the Creator, a plan made manifest both by the very nature of marriage and its acts and also by the constant teaching of the Church (No. 10).

There is an unbreakable connection between the unitive meaning and the procreative meaning [of the conjugal act], and both are inherent in the conjugal act. This connection was established by God, and man is not permitted to break it through his own volition (No. 12).

When the Church speaks thus earnestly, with the obvious intention of binding her people to believe and to obey in this obviously important matter, we correctly believe that she is not in error. It is absolutely wrong, scandalous and misleading to belittle as of small account the intrinsic evil of a contraceptive act, as the Peschke text does (1987 edition, p. 476; 1993 edition, p. 508).

Indisputably, Christ who knows all there is to know about good administration, is aware that His Church would lose her title to our credibility if she were to err in this matter; if Christ would allow her to mislead us in a teaching which is so visibly notorious and of such importance to humanity. The Pope does not err when he uses the keys given him by Christ, to resolve a question of crucial importance for the whole Church and for the entire world.

H. The insight of Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) on the Evil of Contraception

There is no need to repeat here what others wrote so well about the intrinsic evil of contraception (see e.g. G. Grisez II, pp. 512 ff.; J. Smith, pp. 68 ff.; J. Kippley, pp. 50 ff.). But to these I wish to add the argument of Thomas which says, in a nutshell: the prohibition against contraception under pain of grave sin is necessary to preserve the common good which God intends for the human race.

The licit use of sex has strings attached to it, according to the teaching of St. Thomas. God allows the use of sex only on condition that humans pay two fees attached to it. The first fee is legitimate and lifelong marriage. The second fee is non-interference in the natural outcome of marital intercourse. Humans are bound to observe these conditions - to pay these dues - which are essential for the welfare of mankind:

The more necessary a thing is, the more it behooves one to observe the order of reason in its regard; wherefore the more sinful it becomes if the order of reason is forsaken. Now the use of venereal acts ... is most necessary for the common good, namely the preservation of the human race. Wherefore there is the greatest necessity for observing the order of reason in this matter: so that if anything be done in this connection against the dictate of reason's ordering, it will be a sin (Summa theologiae II, II, 153, 3).

In other words, to protect and preserve the welfare of the human race, it is necessary that God should put conditions on the licit use of sex; conditions which are sanctioned by grave obligations. God, to allow us to be holy as He is holy, and to preserve our common welfare, must forbid a use of sex which is (1) not according to reason, and (2) which gravely undermines the common good.

His first reason against the licitness of contraception, then, is its incompatibility with reason; in other words, it is itself intrinsically evil. That is one side of the coin.

His second reason for banning contraception is that its licitness would undermine the common good of the human race, which includes all of us. That is the other side of the coin.

We see in this second principle an obligation to pay for the gift of life and the education we have received by refraining from a use of sex which is not in accord with the common good of the race. We do this by agreeing to abstain from sexual pleasures except when their use serves to support the structures of family life and the social order which has made our lives and our education possible.

That is, we agree to have sexual pleasure only when a legitimate partner in marriage legitimatizes its use, and on condition that we do not interfere with the act to close its natural openness to generate new life. It is by this payment of the "dues of life" that we contribute to the continuation of the human race and help to preserve its necessary social structures. That is the price which God exacts from all who have received from Him the gift of human life, and of education to adulthood in proper surroundings. God exacts marriage, and avoidance of contraception in marriage, as the price man must pay for the use of sex; the obligation to pay the price is designed by Him to preserve the continuation of the race and its general welfare.

Thomas observes that fornication, adultery, seduction, incest, sacrilege (sex involving a consecrated person) are against the dictates of reason on the one hand, and against the common good of the race on the other. The same applies to those vices which Thomas calls unnatural, against nature: masturbation, that is, procuring the pleasure without copulation; also bestiality, homosexuality and finally "not observing the natural manner of copulation;" by this last the offender intends pleasure though acts from which human generation cannot follow (cf. Summa theologiae II, II, 154, 11).

To repeat: Thomas implies that the ban against contraception - against acts from which human generation cannot follow - is necessary for two reasons. On the one hand because it is not in harmony with reason, with man as the image of God; it is unnatural, unreasonable and contrary to our rational exigency which flows from our nature; and on the other hand, the ban is also necessary to uphold the welfare of the human race. Let us dwell on the latter a bit more.

By permitting sex only within marriage, and by excluding misuse of sex therein, God structures the existence and harmony of marriage and family life. In families thus formed in harmony with the sex drive, husband and wife establish a stable union characterized by mutual love, esteem and support, and their children can be born and raised in a nurturing social atmosphere. Man and woman find fulfillment there, and preserve and enhance their dignity and their conjugal satisfaction. To do so they must ban from their marriage two destructive enemies: extra-marital affairs and contraception.

The Ban on Contraception Is Necessary for the Common Good

The ban on mutual abuse of sex within marriage supports God's plan to populate the earth through sufficient offspring. Indeed, the preservation of the human species depends greatly upon human faithfulness in observing the prohibition against contraception. We see in the statistics of nations which now practice contraception excessively, due to perverted media propaganda and to misconceived government policies, that births of children in these nations are now insufficient to replace the adult generations. These populations are aging, and if the trend continues, they are all on the way to eventual extinction. The World Population Profile, 1994, issued by the Bureau of Census, U.S. Department of Commerce, February 1994, lists 60 countries with below replacement birth rates of 2.0 or less; that is, only 2.0 or fewer children are being born to replace two adults; and 6 other nations, including the USA, have a rate of 2.1. Actually, as James Miller, statistician at Human Life International points out, unless the women in these populations who reach adulthood and are able to bear children at all, have an average of about 2.3 children, the national population is in a state of demographic decline (see The Cairo Examiner, Autumn 1994, p. 4).

If so large part of the world population is already caught in a downward demographic spiral whose term could be extinction, even though the ban against contraception remains indelibly written on the human heart, how much more likely it is that the entire human population would implode back into the one original couple almost overnight if contraception were not indeed against the law of the Creator. For if contraception were not against God's law, then its practice could rightly be hailed as licit, even virtuous. Our Catechisms could state, in that absurd case, that parents practice virtue by contracepting. Priests could give this advice from the pulpit and in the confessional. Proud couples could boast of childlessness and pose as "better than thou" members of the parish and community. And the command of God to "increase and multiply" would be devoid of sanction. These are implications drawn logically from the argument of St. Thomas that those obligations of reason which are especially necessary for the preservation of the common welfare of the race are imposed upon the human race by God under the sanction of serious sin. For without the ban against contraception, the human race would very likely soon end its existence on this earth.

The institute of family life itself is also dependent essentially upon a universal law against contraception. For humans would lack a compelling interest to enter married life, and so to experience conjugal joys and pleasures therein, if sexual pleasure were licit without accompanying family obligations. But the basic cell of society is the family, and if that were to lose its raison d' etre, society would lose its source of demographic support. Moral approval of contraception would inevitably spell the end of society and of mankind.

Intercourse done in the natural manner is truthful communication which bonds husband and wife as conjugal partners via the language of the body. The ban on contraception, which is written indelibly into the human heart, allows this truthful communication to operate effectively to solidify family structure. Whereas a supposedly "licit" contraception would tend to alienate marital partners from each other because of the brutal lie in their bodily and spiritual communication. Even "licit" contraception, because of its in-built false communication, would subtly offend the perceived dignity of the partners resulting in mutual lack of esteem. Though perceived overtly as licit, it would still be contrary to truth felt in body and spirit, and so tend to unglue the bonding of contracepting partners. We see that divorce statistics exploded in the wake of Pill statistics in the USA. In 1960, before contraceptive Pills were available, there were 393,000 divorces; in 1975, after 15 years of Pill usage, there were 1,026,000 divorces, an explosion of divorce statistics by 260 percent during only fifteen years (see UN Demographic Yearbook, 1976, p. 639). This is not good propaganda for Pill usage.

"Licit contraception" - a contradiction in terms - would inevitably trivialize the deeper union of couples with nature and God. "Licit" contraception, if loosed upon mankind, would tend to deprive the loving family life where spouses are usually happy and supportive of each other, and where children enjoy a proper atmosphere for human upbringing.

By contraception a couple "cancels a plan which is a precise will of God; the plan of men whom God willed to create and which man vetoed" (Bishop C. Micci, see Kippley p. 136). The act of contraception, then, is an illicit veto issued by humans against the prearranged plan of God to create this and that individual. We cannot call this murder, since contraception does not kill what is not yet alive; rather we call it contraception because it counters and thwarts the plan of God to effectuate a conception on His own schedule, and according to His preferences and plans. Couples who procreate children with God, find union with God in the life-giving process to be a deep and comforting experience of oneness with Him and with nature. But contraception alienates couples from God and from harmony with nature, and leaves them with little joy and satisfaction in life.

In 1930 the Church of England pretended to lift the divine command which outlaws contraception; since then a large part of the developed world began to pretend that contraception is licit. And today all these "developed" nations, without one exception, lack sufficient children to replace adults. God's law against contraception protects nations from dying out only so long as they do not excessively disregard the ban.

We should add, however, that, though nations may be dying out, individual family lines with many children continue to celebrate life almost everywhere, in all these countries. These tend to survive; they will be blessed with the inheritance of the earth after the contraceptors move offstage.

Human Nature: A Built-in Law of Reason

Since it is God, as Humanae Vitae No. 12 states, who established "an unbreakable connection between the unitive meaning and the procreative meaning" of the conjugal act, man is obligated to honor this wisdom of God which he perceives in himself by the very fact that he is a created image of the Divine Wisdom. Man honors himself, his moral nature, when he makes his acts to conform with his being. But when man contracepts; when he severs the unitive meaning from the procreative meaning during attempted conjugal intercourse, he strikes a blow against his own nature; he manipulates his in-built reason to collide with itself; he does an immoral deed with his moral being; that moral being who is a created replica of God's uncreated Wisdom. Misuse of sex, therefore, is an abuse of the nature which we have received, in which we are obligated to be a created reflection of God. Contraception is moral suicide, is cannibalizing one's moral innards. By abusing our being we abuse the Creator who entrusted this being to our keeping.

If human nature were not a built-in moral system, modeled on God's self-subsistent Wisdom which separates right from wrong, man would be a creature adrift at sea without a moral rudder. Nature provides man with tendencies for monogamous marriage, not only by means of physical endowments, and instinctive drives and psychological tendencies, but also by reason of rationality and free will. Admittedly, the uncultivated instincts for monogamy are articulated with less persuasion in the male than in the female, but these instincts are definitely in place in both sexes, and they become stronger when cultivated; and when marriage is consummated, both realize with new perception gained from that sexual experience, that this bonding is definitely mandated for life, and that they ought to render their union sustainable for life's duration.

J. The law of reason excludes masturbation

Both sexes also sense an instinctive aversion against masturbation. Adolescents who may initially experiment with their early budding sexual faculty, eventually sense that they now have a new responsibility; that sex is as big as adult life. The depression and loss of self-esteem in their own eyes which they tend to feel after self-indulgence powerfully supports the instinct against isolated masturbation. This instinctive aversion against masturbation also grows stronger and more pronounced with cultivation and acts of self-control. Adolescents who brace themselves firmly against the pull of the otherwise rudderless sex drive, grow gradually into civilized adulthood by asserting the government of reason over their drives.

Yet man also experiences an appetite for immediate pleasure obtainable through masturbation. He is confronted, dramatically at times, with the need to make a choice; a choice between satisfying his immediate appetite for pleasure, or to forego it in order to pursue the goal of governing and maintaining stewardship of self by following the law of reason. Nature sternly demands of both boys and girls that they achieve maturity by means of making formidable psychological and spiritual efforts to grow into men and women.

The advice of American columnist Ann Landers to masturbate, rather than to risk HIV infection by contact with a sexual partner, is short-sighted from the viewpoint of long-term human survival. Her endorsement of "masturbation as a safe, realistic alternative for everyone, from teens to the elderly" (AP, 1 November 1993) is tantamount to advising us to give up culture and civilization. In the long run, if masturbation were upheld as a viable and licit option to assuage the sex drive, and so to forego family life, the human race would likely follow the dinosaurs into extinction.

For survival humans need organized civilization and culture, and this grows out of family life. Living in accordance with our reasoning nature, which is our guide to moral norms, is an essential element of the strategy of human survival; the strategy which maintains our continued existence on earth in our ecological niche. This, I believe, is what Thomas teaches when he says that "the more necessary a thing is, the more it behooves one to observe the order of reason in its regard" (Summa theologiae II, II, 153, 3). The order of reason vetoes contraception and masturbation with absolute necessity, because the ban is essential for human welfare and survival.

K. Contraception: slippery road to abortion

That an explosion of abortions follows a campaign for contraception is a well known fact, evident now in statistics from many nations. A spectacular epidemic of abortions has almost always followed instantaneously in the footsteps of national campaigns for contraceptive birth control. As Father Paul Marx, OSB, points out, basing himself upon layer over layer of statistics, (see e.g. "From Contraception to Abortion," HLI reprint) no country has so far succeeded to create in its population a contraception mentality, without likewise entrapping its population in massive abortion. Contraception is the spark and tinder, abortion is the conflagration which erupts therefrom. Fr. Marx, when addressing health ministers in Russia and the Ukraine, emphasized that abortion is the unwanted child of a contraceptive mentality:

We explained to them how in the West, contraceptives and abortifacients had led to massive legal abortion and the destruction of youth, the family and reproductive birthrates. We pointed out that the only solutions were the promotion of chastity and serious preparation for marriage, with natural birth regulation built in (HLI Special Report No. 106, October 1993).

The Logic of the Slide from Contraception to Abortion

Today, half a century after Japan had authorized contraception, abortion has become a tragic heritage of most families. The legal establishment of Eugenic Protection Consultation Offices, whose purpose is to "popularize and give guidance in the adequate method of contraception" (Eugenic Protection Law, Art. 20, 13 July 1948), was bait which seduced an unsuspecting Japan into the present tightly sprung abortion trap. (An article on birth control in Japan in Science, 19 August 1994, claims that approval of contraception in Japan followed by four years the approval of abortion, is in error. For example, 84,000,000 condoms were produced in 1949, following legalization of contraceptives. See e.g. Chikao Honda, p. 29. See also Yoshio Koya, p. 18).

The Japan Eugenic Protection Law which allowed contraception (Art. 20) authorized abortion as well (Art. 14). The latter provides that a "designated physician may exercise artificial interruption of pregnancy, at his discretion ... to a mother whose health may be affected seriously by continuation of pregnancy or by delivery, from the physical or economic viewpoint." To the initial consternation of health officials, abortion inundated the entire nation like a tidal wave; failed contraception was the rule rather than exception, and abortion became the main method of birth control. Statistics of duly registered abortions climbed quickly, from 246,104 in 1949, to 1,068,066 in 1953. Soon the actual number topped 2,000,000 per year, if those not officially registered are included. Recently the officially registered number is below 500,000 per year, but no one believes these statistics; doctors routinely report only a fraction of their operations, to reduce income taxes and to put on a good face for national appearances. The real number of abortions is declining somewhat in recent years - but only somewhat - from a persistent plateau of perhaps around one million per year.

Would more use of the Intra Uterine Device (IUD) perhaps reduce Japan's abortions, which are as conspicuous in the nation as is Mount Fuji? The IUD was never used in Japan as widely as other methods. The Mainichi Survey of 1992 indicates that among those who practice family planning, 9% used the IUD in 1973, but only 4.9% in l992; whereas 75.3% used the condom. It is not likely that the IUD will reduce Japan's abortion problem.

The IUD has practically gone out of business in the USA after more than 9000 women brought claims for serious and sometimes fatal damage from the Dalcon Shield IUD (International Review of Natural Family Planning, Fall 1984, pp. 181-188). Inserting an IUD a into a woman is an exceedingly cruel thing to do, as the American experience demonstrates. It is male chauvinism at its worst, making women to suffer these indignities while the men escape all harm.

In practice, the IUD has a failure rate of enormous proportions. For example, in China over 3,000,000 abortions in 1987 were reported as failures of the IUD (Studies in Family Planning May/June 1993, p. 195). It is with good reason, then, that Japanese women generally shy away from the IUD.

Statistics of unplanned pregnancies by users of IUD's, Pills, condoms and various other methods differ widely, but a typical report is that of Population Reports: unplanned pregnancies per 100 woman years for users of the IUD, 6; for Pill users, 3; for condom users, 10-15 (September 1990, p. 7). And very frequently, the unplanned pregnancies of those who use these contraceptives end in abortion.

Moreover, the IUD and Pill are notoriously abortifacient; one report indicates a pregnancy in 12-19% of the cycles of a woman who wears an IUD (cf. McLean, p. 25); i.e. about two killings per year. The IUD causes the death of most of these newly conceived embryos by preventing their nidation in the lining of the uterus. The low dosage Pill like- wise routinely induces millions of abortions per year; by not always preventing ovulation; if conceptions follow, the Pill tends to prevent nidation. Figures provided in another chapter indicate that Pills now kill unknown million persons - newly conceived persons - per year. Indeed, contraception is an expressway to abortion.

John Paul II: Contraception Leads to Abortion

In an Audience with the Austrian Bishops, 19 June 1987, Pope John Paul II repeated that "no doubt may be permitted regarding the validity of the moral prescriptions expressed" (in Humanae Vitae). He pointed out that if a certain perplexity was understandable in 1968, as is mirrored in many episcopal declarations [including the notoriously erroneous statement of the Austrian Bishops themselves made in 1968], time has verified that the encyclical has "drawn upon the wisdom of the faith." The Pope then gave a pointed warning to the Bishops of Austria that the contraceptive and abortion mentality are related:

It is ever more clear that it is absurd, for instance, to want to overcome abortion through the promotion of contraception. The invitation to contraception as a supposedly "harmless" manner of the relation between the sexes is not only an insidious denial of man's moral freedom. It fosters a depersonalized understanding of sexuality which is directed merely to the moment and promotes in the last analysis that mentality out of which abortion arises and from which it is continuously nourished. Furthermore, it is certainly not unknown to you that in more recent methods the transition from contraception to abortion has become extremely easy (L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly Edition in English, 13 July 1987).

K. Contraception: slippery road to abortion

In the Encyclical Letter Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life) issued on 25 March, 1995, Pope John Paul II points out that abortion and contraception are evil fruits which often grow from the same tree:

But despite their differences of nature and moral gravity, contraception and abortion are often closely connected, as fruits of the same tree...they imply a self-centered concept of freedom which regards procreation as an obstacle to personal freedom (No. 13).

What might be the mentality of the contraceptionist from which, as the Pope says, abortion arises? Obviously, users of contraceptives intend to avoid a baby. When a baby is conceived contrary to the plans, that child is an intruder upsetting their schedules and plans. The immediate tendency is to exterminate the intruder - who can offer no self-defense.

Likely there is also a deeper reason for the affinity of contraception to abortion. A person who breaks one of God's laws is guilty, in a sense, of breaking all of them. By rebelling against God in one serious matter, one excludes himself from God's friendship. A serious sin is a choice of some creature over God Himself. The choice once made, has profound consequences. One who contracepts willingly and knowingly, disobeying God in this serious matter, has corrupted his or her moral integrity. Killing a child is no longer unthinkable, after a person has taken the fatal step of contraception.

L. Not an excuse as a lesser evil than abortion

Some priests are wont to excuse contraception as "a lesser evil than abortion." But when contraception is already a mortal sin, what basis of comparison is there to a mortal sin of abortion? The one sin, like the other, if the sinner does not repent, invites eternal disaster: "Depart from me, you who are cursed, enter eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels" (Mt 25:41). A "lesser" fire in hell, for contraception instead of abortion, is not an attractive alternative. Will the person who took the priest's advice to do the "lesser" evil, thank him as he is eased into the "lesser" fire?

There is always a possibility, of course, that the individual who contracepts, or the one who aborts, does not commit grave sin because of mitigating circumstances; because he or she lacked sufficient knowledge and ability to reflect, or the will was not sufficiently free of coercion. This is perhaps more likely in the case of contraception than of surgical abortion. The deliberate killing of a child by its mother, or by a doctor, and the approval of supporters, is a more dramatic and intense engagement with evil than an act of contraception. Proof for this is the fact that many couples who use contraception, perhaps with an erroneous conscience, accept an unplanned pregnancy and do not abort it; and so experience the happiness of bearing and rearing an accepted and beloved baby. Such experience indicates indeed that contraception is a less serious engagement with stark evil than is abortion. But the danger always lurks in the background that contraceptors too easily resort to abortion when their plans fail. The Mainichi Survey of 1992 in Japan, pp. 102, 108, indicated, for example, that among those women who already had four or more abortions, 83.3% approve abortion in case contraception fails.

But even in the case of abortion, surely many an inexperienced woman consents without sufficient reflection about its evil because her thoughts are so strait-jacketed by public opinion that she is in a state of invincible ignorance; of socially induced invincible ignorance. God waits patiently for that person to learn from experience, to become wiser and rise up to return home, as in the case of the prodigal son.

The 45,000,000 induced abortions, now said to be occurring annually (a recent UN estimate), indicate that a contraception Frankenstein feeds an abortion monster. To make headway against abortion, then, it is necessary to oppose contraception; to make headway against contraception it is necessary, in turn, to demythologize the myth of overpopulation and, finally, to engage in the apostolate of natural family planning. These subjects must be treated more adequately in another place.

We close this chapter with a view of recent Japan, which outlaws the Pill, where parents keep raw sex education out of schools, where larger families are beginning to come into their own again, and where younger couples show an increasing willingness to adopt natural family planning.

Japan Outlaws Pill: Is Friendly to Natural Family Planning

Those who tried to legalize sale of the Pill in Japan, with the excuse that this might prevent abortions, have failed to convince the public that this would be a wise move. Parents who have so far generally kept raw sex education out of schools in Japan, have wisely reasoned that Pills on the market would tend to demoralize youth. Recently, another drive to legalize Pills in Japan ended in failure.

The Welfare Ministry decided in the early 1960's against legalizing the contraceptive Pill in Japan, due in no small measure to the advice of Dr. Yoshio Koya, who was then a powerful advisor to the government, who was also President of the Family Planning Federation of Japan at the time. I visited Dr. Koya from time to time, taking with me stacks of data provided by Dr. Herbert Ratner, public health official of Oak Park in Chicago. Perhaps no doctor in the world has so thoroughly discredited the Pill as Dr. Ratner did in those early days. Dr. Koya, for whatever other reasons he might have had, then worked to dissuade government officials from legalizing the Pill for birth control in Japan. He and other dissuaders told about damage to health inflicted by the Pill, not only to users but to their offspring and to future generations. Their opposition carried the day, and the government decision to ban the Pill has held until now (1966). [Update: Unfortunately the ban was lifted in 1999.]

All is not lost in Japan. Though small families tend to become smaller still - one child, or none, or no marriage at all - larger families are by no means extinct. Seventeen percent of children are born into families which already have at least two children. In 1993, 203,221 newborn babies were welcomed into the world by two or more elder brothers and sisters. By the slow turn of demographic realities, larger families tend to out-populate smaller ones and to inherit the nation. The children raised in larger families experience joys in humanity and home-life which industry cannot supply; their healthy and positive attitude toward life is a treasure for the nation.

Recently a considerable number of couples in Japan rely on the temperature method of monitoring the fertile days of the cycle; some use the condom during the fertile time, but others simply abstain during those days. The Mainichi Survey of 1990 indicated that 15.5% of women age 20-29 who use family planning follow the temperature method. The percentage rises to 16.5% among university graduates. Recent electronic devices make it easy to locate the fertile time of the cycle without a great deal of trouble. May Japan cure herself of the contraception-abortion mentality, and may other nations do likewise.

M. Mother Teresa: Contraception destroys marital love

Allow me to close the chapter with memorable words of Mother Teresa, who sees that contraception destroys virgin love and leads easily to abortion. She spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC, 4 February 1994. Several hundred of Washington's lawmakers and diplomats from 100 nations gave her three thunderous ovations; while President Clinton and wife Hilary, and Vice President Gore and wife, fiddled their thumbs. I know that couples have to plan their family, and for that there is natural family planning. The way to plan the family is natural family planning, not contraception. In destroying the power of giving life, through contraception, a husband or wife is doing something to self. This turns the attention to self, and so it destroys the gift of love in him or her. In loving the husband and wife must turn the attention to each other, as happens in natural family planning, and not to self, as happens in contraception. Once that living love is destroyed by contraception, abortion follows very easily (see copy e.g. in The Catholic World Report, April 1994).

N. The Case of Dr. Hardey

by Mark Sullivan

(Reprinted with permission of Our Sunday Visitor )

May 14, 1995

A doctor who will not prescribe birth control is a rare breed, indeed. Meet one doctor willing to take a stand. What is the biggest issue facing Catholics today? Is it abortion, or the breakup of families? According to Dr. Kim Hardey, the answer is birth control, because, as he sees it, it is at the root of problems such as divorce and abortion. Hardey knows a thing or two about birth control. He is part of just a handful of the 40,000 obstetrician-gynecologists who refuses to prescribe birth control for moral reasons. But Hardey was not always in this moral minority.

It took the tragic death of his 9-year-old son, Brad, to make him realize that by prescribing and practicing birth control he had not been living up to the Catholic life. Since then, he has put his career at risk rather than compromise this core moral teaching of his Catholic faith. "Prior to Brad's death, I was a good Catholic from all outward appearances," Hardey said in a recent interview. "Our family had been Catholic family of the year, I was president of the parish council, I was a eucharistic minister, a lector and a member of the parish's finance committee. My wife and I accepted everything that the Church taught except for the teaching on birth control."

Brad Hardey was struck by a car while he was on a school field trip, and in the aftermath of his death, his father began examining his life. He asked himself, "What is it about my life that made God feel that He should allow this to happen to me?"

Hardey saw birth control as the biggest obstacle between himself and God, and he decided to change it. Hardey's wife, Bonnie, had struggled with the birth control issue, but since her husband was prescribing birth control for his patients, she figured that he must know what he was doing.

However, after his "reconversion," Hardey and his wife took radical action and stopped using birth control that day. Then he decided to stop prescribing birth control to his patients, and he moved his practice from Dotham, Ala., to Lafayette, La., where he thought there would be enough good Catholics to support a "Catholic ob-gyn." So far, Hardey's gamble has paid off just fine. "I'm not doing any worse than if I were a new pro- choice or pro-birth-control doctor opening up a new practice in a new town," Hardey said. Hardey sees it as his mission to make the Church's teachings on birth control more widely understood and better accepted. But he also wants to set an example for other Catholic doctors, to show them that being faithful to Church teaching will not cause their practice to dry up.

Contraception is so widespread among Catholics that the severity of the offense against God has been watered-down to the point where people do not see the sin anymore, Hardey complained. "Catholic couples who practice contraception see it as an isolated decision for the bed-room," Hardey said. "They think it doesn't affect anyone else, but it does." According to Hardey, a couple's decision about birth control starts a chain reaction that goes through to their children and then into society.

Following the Church's teachings shows your children that you have self-control, which you are also asking of them by teaching them to wait until they get married," Hardey said. Also it shows children the valuable example of obedience to Church authority, even though it requires sacrifice. Not obeying Church teaching, Hardey reasons, could lead children to believe that other Church teachings, such as that on adultery or premarital sex, can be disregarded as well.

Following the Church's teaching shows that you are serious about being Catholic and about your own salvation, because you are obeying Christ's teaching on birth control, so when Hardey speaks to a parish group, he begins by talking about what birth control has done to society.

He cites the strong co-relation between birth control and divorce. Catholics who follow the Church's teachings on birth control have a divorce rate of less than 5 percent, according to the Couple to Couple League, who advocate natural family planning.

Catholics who do use artificial contraception, mean-while, suffer the same rate of divorce as the rest of society, about 50 percent. Also, Hardey claims, 80 percent of all abortions stem from failed birth control. Sex outside of marriage is not "normal," and this has led to a rise in venereal disease, date rape and the "objectifi-cation of women," Hardey said.

And all of those facts don't take into account that using birth control puts the offending party in the state of mortal sin. Those who are aware of a mortal sin on their conscience are not allowed to receive Communion until going to confession. In fact, by receiving Communion in the state of mortal sin, is to commit a grave sacrilege, Hardey explained.

"Birth control makes you selfish and materialistic, which are characteristics directly opposed to Christian discipleship," Hardey said. "It keeps you from developing the virtue of self-control that helps you to have a better marriage and greater witness to God's power in your life."

If birth control is such a serious sin and common in many families, why don't the priests say more about it from the pulpit? "Priests have let the situation pass and have accepted that people will do what they want to do," according to Hardey. People don't see birth control as a big issue when, in reality, it is the biggest issue that Catholics face, because it touches so many areas of our lives."

Priests, when asked by a couple if they should use birth control, will answer no, he said. But most won't risk confronting a couple on the issue, for fear that it will chase them away from the Church all together.

Popular wisdom says that if a couple is going to Mass, it is a sign, that God is working in their lives to some degree and in time they will understand the fullness of Catholic teaching. But for many, going to Mass is the only formation they are getting, so if they don't hear about birth control at Mass, where will they? Unfortunately, some don't even know birth control is wrong, or even worse, they are waiting in vain for the Church to change its teaching.

Hardey realizes the difficulty of the task because people have been living away from the truth for so long. "It is important to gently, yet steadily, urge people back on the road to Christ," Hardey said. When people ask Hardey about natural family planning, he tells them that it does work for couples who need to space births.

The Catholic Church is a church of sinners, so it's rare to find a couple who has not practiced birth control at least at some point. "For years I thought I was doing something great," Hardey said. "I really thought I was being good giving out birth control to couples. There was a blindness that contributed to my deception."

"Clearly, the Church is right. If you want to change the world, you have to do something drastic, and that will happen one couple at a time. We need to turn to what God gave us." (The above article is used with permission of Our Sunday Visitor.)

Next Page: Chapter 2: Abortion
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