Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Social Science Proves Humanae Vitae and NFP

Today is the 44th Anniversary of Humanae Vitae and this week is NFP Awareness WeekIt is common to hear Humanae Vitae referred to as a "prophetic" document.  This is because Pope Paul VI made several predictions as to what would happen to our society if contraception became the norm. He hit each one spot on.

For a reminder of what Paul VI wrote, I will quote directly from Humanae Vitae, with emphasis added:
17. Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.

Finally, careful consideration should be given to the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone. It could well happen, therefore, that when people, either individually or in family or social life, experience the inherent difficulties of the divine law and are determined to avoid them, they may give into the hands of public authorities the power to intervene in the most personal and intimate responsibility of husband and wife.
Here is a summation of his predictions:
  1. Infidelity and moral decline
  2. Lost respect for women
  3. Abuse of power
  4. Unlimited dominion over our bodies and lives
All have happened. Why?  Because of the contraceptive mentality.

Now, social science is providing more proof that Pope Paul VI wrote the truth in Humanae Vitae. The following is from a study in The Bulletin on Aging and Health which is published by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The title of the paper is "From Shame to Game in One Hundred Years: An Economic Model of the Rise in Premarital Sex and its De-Stigmatization". Here is the abstract, with emphasis added:
Societies socialize children about many things, including sex. Socialization is costly. It uses scarce resources, such as time and effort. Parents weigh the marginal gains from socialization against its costs. Those at the lower end of the socioeconomic scale indoctrinate their daughters less than others about the perils of premarital sex, because the latter will lose less from an out-of-wedlock birth. Modern contraceptives have profoundly affected the calculus for instilling sexual mores, leading to a de-stigmatization of sex. As contraception has become more effective there is less need for parents, churches and states to inculcate sexual mores. Technology affects culture.
Notice a few things. Science proves that Paul VI was right - contraception leads to a lessening of moral values.

The other points from Paul VI have already been proven, here are some sobering thoughts and stats:

1 - Infidelity continues to rise:
  • Percentage of marriages where one or both spouses admit to infidelity, either physical or emotional: 41%
  • Percentage of men who say they would have an affair if they knew they would never get caught: 74%
  • Percentage of women who say they would have an affair if they knew they would never get caught: 68%
2 - Porn is killing our culture and it is directly related to sex having nothing to do with babies, but being all about selfish pleasure:
  • Men who view pornography regularly have a higher tolerance for abnormal sexuality, including rape, sexual aggression, and sexual promiscuity.
  • Prolonged consumption of pornography by men produces stronger notions of women as commodities or as "sex objects."
3 - Governments continue to support and push abortion and contraception.
4 - Think of these issues (among many others), when you think of how we believe in "unlimited dominion":
We are a culture that has made Pope Paul VI not only into a prophet, but maybe one of the first who saw the end of our society coming fast.

For more on this issue, and related topics, I recommend the following:
**Mary Eberstadt's masterful article - The Vindication of Humanae Vitae
**Humanae Vitae and the Catholic Church
**Sex and The Contraceptive Mentality
**Sexually Transmitted Death
**Birth Control and College Students

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