To Civilize the Coming Generation
Confronting Sexual Immorality

Anthony Zimmerman
First appeared in NEW OXFORD REVIEW
December 1999
Reproduced with Permission

If we don't head off the contraception stampede, civil life will become increasingly chaotic. There is more sinister malice in massive contraception than at first meets the eye. The ban on contraception is the solid and indispensable pillar on which family life balances itself.

Family life, in turn, is the matrix for civilizing the next generation. The willful promotion of contraception is a crime of treason against the commonwealth. Natural Family Planning is nature's way and God's way to heal families and nations. The Jubilee Year 2000 is an appropriate time to inaugurate the transit from contraception to NFP.

It was only a few decades ago, in the 1960s, that contraceptive drugs and gadgetry became Big Business. The bomb that exploded the dam against contraception was the Pill. Once the Pill became fashionable within marriage, it did not take long before recreational sex (before marriage and outside of marriage) began to soften the solid social structure of marriage and family life.

For "sexually active" schoolchildren, the DepoProvera contraceptive method has an appeal which surpasses the 28-day regimen of popping the Pill. One injection every three months is simpler than taking a Pill day after day. April Adamson, staff writer for a Philadelphia newspaper, reports why teenagers go for the Depo method. The injection, provided gratis, makes it easy for them to keep parents in the dark. No telltale pills are to be found, and the injection needle leaves no evidence. Depo is increasingly becoming the method of choice. "Federal law allows teens to be treated in federally funded family planning clinics without parental consent." The National Survey of Family Growth data indicate that, nationwide, 10 percent of U.S. teens use this injectable contraceptive (which is also abortifacient by preventing implantation).

The newspaper article did not list the side effects and complications that occur fairly commonly among users of the progestin-only products such as Depo-Provera: "bleeding changes, effects on weight gain, cholesterol metabolism, headaches, dizziness and loss of bone density" (Population Reports, Series K, August 1995). Pharmacist Lloyd Duplantis observes: "It is easy to understand why, if this product is problematic to fully developed women, it should not be used by young girls and women who are not completely developed. Special note is to be made as to the effect on weight gain, cholesterol metabolism and bone density. Any change in these areas prior to full development of a young girl can have serious consequences in later life" (correspondence, December 4, 1998).

Encouraging children to become sexually active can have another effect of grave consequence, namely, alienation from belief in God. For example, Wilhelm Reich (died 1957) claimed that children who masturbate tend to block God out of their lives. The books of Reich started to be republished in the 1960s and were taught in university courses across America. They carried the general message that masturbation is good. Pornographic sex education is now actually used to teach masturbation.

What children learn in pornographic sex-education classes during school classes, many of them carry into real life. Connie Marshner describes their future lifestyles as "serial monogamy." Before marriage comes "dating" which, she observes, has changed character from former times of innocence. Nowadays, says Marshner, "to date means to sleep together. The tragedy is that this pattern of serial monogamy generally begins by age 12, and repeats over and over until a marriage is undertaken some ten or so years later ... only to resume after that marriage ends. Taken as a whole, it [today's dating scene] is preparation for divorce, not for marriage," because promiscuity can easily lead to attitudes that dissolve the sanctity of both sex and marriage.

Stable Marriage Stabilizes Society

Civic life in the U.S. will become increasingly unglued when children with major deficits in family life reach adulthood. Those born out of wedlock are now 30 percent of births, and those who have endured the trauma of divorce of their parents form another large percentage of the coming adult population.

A stable marriage ties the great knot that intertwines kinship relationships of relatives and in-laws - two powerful socializing networks. Normally children grow up within a "village" of relatives of both father and mother, and this interacting web of relatives and in-laws provides them with much love, with affirmation of their identity, with education in taboos against unsocial behavior, with encouragement to grow up as civilized members of the community. But beware of illegitimate children, who grow up with one lone parent, isolated from this "village." It is common in many societies to fear illegitimates and to ostracize them. Divorce also tends to amputate children from about half of the socializing influences of relatives. Anthropologist David W. Murray points out that:

When a Husband acquires a Wife.... he acquires for better and for worse, all of the entangled wiring that constitutes her structural position as Daughter, Sister, Niece, Aunt, Granddaughter, Heiress, and obligated actress in the domestic rituals of matchmaking, hatching, and dispatching. She, this multiple social "person," also brings into the relationship that complex of relatives, "in-laws," which we can acquire by no other route than by wedding. This entanglement is stabilizing not only in the life of the couple and their children but in the life of the neighborhood (in Child and Family,Summer 1998).

Fathers who are husbands attach their children to their own kinship webs, thus knitting together a wide circle of concerned people who ultimately shape the offspring for civilized life. The absence of a father deprives children not only of his nurturing presence, but distances them from kinspeople on his side who ought to be concerned about the children - from those admiring uncles and aunts and those fond grandparents. Illegitimate children are enclosed in what resembles solitary confinement. Brian W. Donnelly, Editor of Child and Family,adds a timely warning: "Historically, cultures that have exceeded rates of 25% [of illegitimate children] have subsequently collapsed" (ibid.). In 1992, 30.1 percent of children born in the U.S. were born to unmarried mothers (Statistical Abstract of the UnitedStates, 1996).

Wolves in Sheep's Clothing

The United States Aid for Development (USAID) and United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) have become expert and lavish promoters of contraception. The pier at Dar es Salaam in Tanzania in Africa, for example, is stacked with containers holding 49,000,000 condoms baking in the bright sun, so I was told when visiting there a few years ago. Restaurants along the main truck routes in Tanzania have one specialty common to all, so I was told again. Along the ribbon of asphalt from Peramiho near Lake Tanganyika on the west, stretching for 600 kilometers to Dar es Salaam on the east coast, our hardy Land Rover wound through picturesque African scenery, and all along this route as well as other routes, so I was told, truck-stop restaurants have this in common under threat of losing a permit to operate: They must prominently display plenteous supplies of condoms.

Around the globe USAID and UNFPA agents bounce from convention to convention, from birth control dispensary to government office, from radio station to TV studio, and back to hotel quarters, everywhere peddling the same message: "The world is overpopulated. Use contraceptives." Their message lacks scientific authenticity. Their values are below the waistline. They live parasitically off tax funds. The work they do is bound to have negative consequences on parents and children in much of their targeted world.

Back to the Drawing Board

The Bible relates how God blessed the monogamous marriage of Adam and Eve within the gorgeous setting of the Garden of Eden. God provided them with revelation about marital life, and refashioned them with sanctifying grace to live as His adopted and beloved children. After they once lost the gift of grace by sin, and subsequently recovered it through their confession, we rightly assume that they dutifully passed on the original revelation to their children. God did not abandon their descendants who fanned out of the original human nest to populate the globe. God blessed the peoples who remained faithful by drawing in advance upon the future merits of Christ.

The Holy Spirit worked the miracle of the Incarnation when Mary breathed her consenting words: "Let it be done unto me according to thy word." At that instant the clock of human history popped out of B.C. and into A.D. The power of the Most High overshadowed her, and through the goodness and kindness of God, the Son of God became man. St. Irenaeus reminds us that the Word of God was dispensing graces long before He became man and dwelt among us: "For Christ did not come just for those who believed him from the times of Tiberius Caesar, nor did the Father exercise his providence just for the men who live now, but for all the men who from the beginning feared and loved God as they were able and lived in justice and piety toward their neighbors and desired to see Christ and hear his voice."

Evolutionists who claim that polygamy preceded monogamy in history speak without proof. Christ testified that God had arranged from the start that marriage is for two and for life: "Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder" (Mt. 19:4-5).

Hunter-Gatherers Live Monogamously

That hunter-gatherers who survived into our times are typically always monogamists is a fact that anthropologists have learned. Had they not lived in monogamous marriages, they would likely not have survived through so many generations. Their children are born regularly into stable families. The parents claim them as their own and take responsibility for them before the group. Customs and obligations connected with marriage are, as a rule, exceedingly well worked out and obligatory. Quite commonly the young men and young women work through an apprenticeship to learn practical skills and to make their own the lore of the tribe before advancing to marriage. The relatives and in-laws require them to prove their character before allowing them to take a spouse.

Not all tribes and nations survived the test of time. Numerous peoples have exterminated themselves.

Those hunter-gatherer groups who have survived the test of time cultivate chastity among the young as well as among the married. Father Martin Gusinde, who spent two and a half years among the tribes of Tierra del Fuego at the tip of South America, eleven months with African Pygmies in the Ituri Rain Forest, several months with the Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert, who made other excursions among a number of American Indian tribes, provided me with firsthand information about chastity among hunter-gatherers while I studied at the Catholic University of America, where he taught anthropology.

The hunter-gatherers demand strict personal and social chastity, not only after marriage but also before. The reason for this rule, according to the explanation provided by tribal elders, is that "the Creator wills it so." Some tribes condone a limited amount of laxity during the period of courtship, but if ever a woman becomes pregnant, the young man must immediately marry her lest a child be born out of wedlock. Separation of unmarried boys and girls is typically observed while at work, at play, on the march, and during the night sleep. Parents and elders constantly warn the children to associate with the members of their own sex and to keep away from members of the opposite sex. They warn girls never to allow boys to touch them. Sexual liberties could hardly take place during the day, because the sib (the kin group) is small, and everyone is quite aware of the activities of the members of the group. When the Bushmen, for example, march to a new location in Indian file, men lead, then come the women, then the girls and finally the boys. At night a man watches over the boys who all sleep in a hut at one end of the settlement, and a matron watches over the girls who sleep separately in a hut at the other end. Separation of the sexes is observed among all hunter-gatherers. One morning Fr. Gusinde was awakened early by the shouting of a suspicious Pygmy wife against her just-come-home husband. People gathered quickly, piqued to learn what had happened and concerned that justice be done.

Among the Gabun Pygmies, a boy must report his first nocturnal emission to his father. The father then takes his son to a river for a bath, where he also instructs him never to commit the sin of masturbation. When Gabun Pygmy girls reach the age of puberty, mothers take them apart for a while to the woods in order to instruct them about proper moral behavior. Fr. Gusinde found a similar custom among the Tierra del Fuegians, whose fathers warn their sons never to masturbate. The same is known to be the rule among the Wedda. The long and short of it is this: The hunter-gatherers who survived through the generations, from the time of Adam and Eve, were monogamous, and they practiced chastity.

The same Fr. Gusinde wrote about how the Yamana tribe of Tierra del Fuego educate their adolescents in preparation for adulthood and marriage. Every three or four years parents and elders arranged for the new crop of adolescents to undergo initiation rites in preparation for adulthood and marriage. The youths moved to a hut at some outlying location and there spent four months separated from their parents and other tribal members to be trained under strict tutorship by an elder and his assistants. Beside training in practical skills, they were subjected to a hard life, with only five hours of sleep per night, and with hours of immobilized posture beside a fire trough while they listened to the instructions of the elder. These instructions, as recorded by Fr. Gusinde, remind us of the wise sayings of Sirach and other Wisdom literature. For example:

Be industrious in your daily work. Do it willingly and quickly. Arise early in the morning for then you will accomplish the necessary tasks of life more perfectly. Be respectful of old people. Help the orphaned children.... He who is greedy is not looked upon favorably by us Yamanas. Help people who need help on your own initiative. No one should have to ask you to assist. Just open your eyes and you will soon notice where you can help. Do not gossip in your hut about what you saw or heard elsewhere. Important things you should tell and not keep to yourself, but never any empty chatter.... Remember, others also have a heart with human feelings....

Fr. Guisinde continues-

Time and again the old master pointed to the source of these admonitions, as he explained: "All that takes place in these ceremonies is not the invention of the Yamanas. It comes from Watauinewa[name of the Supreme Being] who made them known to our ancestors and also prescribed ciekhaus[the initiation rites]. We act exactly according to his instructions, foy he watches closely.... Watauinewawatches carefully to see whether you obey and observe. This is his will."

When the youths, after many weeks of training, are released from the ciekhaus,they are mentally and spiritually far better prepared for life than many elsewhere in the world after a college education (Gusinde, in The Christian Family,Jan. 1950).

To Civilize the Next Generation

During the centuries those populations survived who, by and large, managed to preserve orderly family life in which they formed the next generation. Today it is our turn to do the favor for the next generation. Against us, to a great extent, are the media, permissive laws, and the profit motive for the Big Business of contraception and pornography. But Christ has not left us without means. We Catholics have the pulpit from which priests can speak directly to a billion people, with no interference from commercials. We have the sacraments, those flowing channels through which God pours concentrations of goodness straight into our hearts and minds. We are created images of God who can see "light in His light" and possess common sense. We can learn to recognize what is right and what is wrong, no matter what the media state, irrespective of human laws and courts, undeterred by monetary interests. And Catholics have sturdy allies among other Christians and among the great world religions.

Also working in our favor in the long run is the fact that using contraceptives is neither pleasant not. healthful. The fine print on inserts folded into boxes of birth-control pills tends to gloss over difficulties, but pharmacists in close touch with their clients know better. Dr. Lloyd Duplantis, during his tour in Japan in 1997, told about beneath-the-surface woes experienced by Pill users in the U.S., the kind that inserts do not mention, that medical journals dare not publish for fear of losing their supporting ads, that stick magazines cover up. An excerpt from an interview conducted with Duplantis in Tokyo, December 7, 1997, reveals one aspect of what he terms; the "misery" effects of the Pill:

Dr. Duplantis: The much vaunted progestin-only minipill makes women feel bad, more so than the estrogen-progesterone content pills. With the minipill there is a lesser incidence of serious side effects, but a greater incidence of what I call "misery" effects. These are depression, anxiety, insomnia, weight gain, and menstrual disorder. When they promote the minipill saying it's safer, that's true. But that's not the pill that most women are going to take. As regards libido, that's reduced in all the birth control pills. These pills affect the women both physiologically and psychologically. Physiologically these pills alter the cervical mucus in a woman, and they also alter the arousal mucus. The cervical mucus is altered to some extent, causing it to be more dry. The same with the arousal fluid. What seems to be altered is that the woman has a generally dryer sensation and therefore intercourse is not as pleasant to her as it ought to be. And then, emotionally, a woman is most interested in sexual relations during her time of ovulation. And so if you're inhibiting ovulation, then you're eliminating the period when she is most interested in sex. Then she is dry throughout the month. So really her interest in the purpose formaking herself available to the man is greatly diminished.... So if you give her a pill, and she's not interested, it starts deteriorating her relationship.

Fr. Zimmerman: The husband understands this, of course.

Dr. Duplantis: The husband doesn't understand this, and he is not very patient. Why? Because here they both agreed for her to take something that would make herself available to her husband at any time. So he doesn't have to be as kind, he doesn't have to be considerate, he's not told "NO." You see, an important point about Natural Family Planning is the husband is told "No." They made an agreement, an agreement that they will wait, when she should say "NO," and they have to wait.... And the need to wait creates a lot of interest [on the part of the man] in his wife. So [the man] has a tendency to be nice and polite, to communicate with her. But if she's taking the pill, he knows it doesn't matter. She's supposed to be available all the time. He just says, "I want you NOW!" She's not interested.... And the more that goes on, the more it creates an environment where she is way less interested. He's going to find his interest somewhere else if she's not interested. When they have intercourse, it's just a kind of ... masturbation on the part of her husband, and the wife is just lying there and being miserable. It's not very good for a relationship. This is very much what is happening, and this is part of what is causing the scandal of divorce of over 50 percent of our marriages in the United States.

In summary, contraception undermines marriage and family by contributing mightily to promiscuity (which denies the exclusive link between sex and marriage) and to adultery and unhappiness in marriage, both of which are major causes of divorce. Civilization is seriously threatened when marriage and family fall apart.

NFP vs. Contraception

An insightful letter on the NFP (Natural Family Planning) e-mail list written by sociologist Andrew Pollard, November 5, 1998, relates how couples begin to "see things differently" with the experience of practicing NFP:

NFP, in relinking the act of sex to a personalistically ordered (moral) universe, empowers individual couples to define their conjugal life outside the contingencies of instrumental sex that have been set in motion by the industrial age.... This is NFP's promise, but it is also the threat NFP poses to the current cultural system and to those who would attempt to live unreflectively within it. The sexual revolution shares the same continuum as the industrial revolution. NFP, in some profound aspects, removes us from that continuum altogether.

Mass contraception, abortion, and sterilization span only a brief moment in human history, less than 50 years. The human race got along without these disturbing practices for 200,000 years. Fifty years hence, most of the current officers of UNFPA, USAID, and Planned Parenthood will lie quietly under the sod. Who will survive? Once NFP becomes common, it will endure until the end of time. NFP families have more children than contraceptors. The "battle of the cradle" will be decisive. After contracepting populations exterminate themselves, NFP people will inherit the land.

The Jubilee Year

The Jubilee Year 2000 proclaimed by the Pope is a year specially dedicated to the actions of grace. Such a year can produce enormous spiritual benefits. He explained conditions for gaining the Jubilee Indulgence and added: "The plenary indulgence of the Jubilee can also be gained through actions which express in a practical and generous way the penitential spirit which is, as it were, the heart of the Jubilee." He mentioned a day of abstinence, for example. I suggest at least a year of abstinence from contraception. Why not try to muscle out of the world the pest of contraception during the Jubilee Year, to the great joy and approval of the Lord.

This is the year to make a good Confession, to march out of the woods to meet the Lord, like Adam and Eve did after they had eaten the forbidden fruit. The Lord God, eschewing the "pastoral prudence" of hesitant confessors, asked the Original Penitents point blank to tell what they had done: "Have you eaten of the tree which I commanded you not to eat? " He knew very well without asking, but for Him and for them it was of the utmost importance that they confess their sin, that they spit out verbally their fevered bug of disobedience. God did not conduct a group confession with them, as a couple. He worked one on one. First on Adam, who made an excuse to save face: "The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree." The Lord wasn't listening. He needed to hear the rest, the most important words. Finally Adam brought the critical words to his lips, mumbling perhaps, so that the Lord had to cup His ears to hear. He spoke two little words, mighty words, momentous words, life-saving words. He said: "I ate." Well done, Father Adam! Thank you! God was satisfied. Angels in heaven cheered. The cosmos relaxed its tensions.

Now it was Eve's turn. God turned to her: "What is this that you have done?" She too paved her way with an excuse, then blurted out two words, powerful words, key words for healing: "I ate." Our wonderful first parents had done it! They had made a good Confession. The Lord had helped them do so.

Should priest-confessors ask questions of their penitents to help them confess, much as the Lord helped Adam and Eve? Sometimes priests fear to make confession odious by asking too much. They are also mindful of the need for wisdom and prudence to avoid abusing the good faith of penitents and to deal properly with invincible ignorance. They represent the Servant of the Lord of whom it is written: "A bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench" (Is. 42:3; Mt.12:20). At the same time they risk dereliction of duty if they do not prick cover-ups or assist those who need extra help to make their Confession fruitful. For it is also written of the same Servant of the Lord and in the same two verses of the Bible: "He will faithfully bring forth justice."

The Jubilee Year should be special. It is the year during which pastors everywhere should prepare their people to make a good Confession. We know that the widespread adoption of contraceptive and abortive methods as well as of sterilization is a matter for attentive catechetical and pastoral action, thus helping surpass any possible resort to invincible ignorance. The whole Church will want to work together on this special issue during the Jubilee Year. Everyone is to be helped to make a clean sweep. Everyone who ate forbidden fruit should open up to the Lord, saying, "I ate." If a confessor senses that the penitent is not really opening up, and when prudence suggests, the confessor may ask: "And is there anything else that lies heavy on your mind?" Or he may even at times feel the Lord wants him to ask more bluntly: "Is your married life in proper order?" Nobody will mind if the confessor helps along by asking those questions, not in the Jubilee Year. If penitents prefer to confess anonymously from behind a grill, let them do so. If they drive to another town or parish for Confession, so be it.

Everybody should want to shed the sins of the old millennium to enter the new with garments cleanly laundered and ironed, fresh and fragrant. "Even if your sins be as scarlet, they shall become white as snow." If we have been idle in the marketplace until the eleventh hour, while others worked in the vineyard from early morning, let us begin now at the final hour. We may even get a full day's wage, the same as those who worked all day. We ask not only for the forgiveness of our sins; we anticipate not only a full day's wage; we ask even for the crowning prize of the Jubilee Indulgence to blow away every speck of dust left by our sins. The Plenary Indulgence entitles us to switch to the express lane to the pearly gates as Peter waves us through.

For This We Pray

We pray: Lord, forgive us our trespasses our sins against family life - as we forgive those who trespass against us. Forgive us, Lord, forgive! Send us priests who will gently remind us of our duties, who will prepare us systematically to make a good Confession during the Jubilee Year, who will absolve us from our sins. Make the deaf to hear, the blind to see, the poor to exult in your Holy Name. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.