Friday, February 10, 2012

Evangelium Vitae-why the discussion on contraception matters

People do not tend to read large church documents anymore. One such document they may not have had ann opportunity to read is Evangelium Vitae. Listen to one particularly poignant passage: " By living as if God did not exist," man not only loses sight of the mystery of God, but also of the mystery of the world and the mystery of his own being. The eclipse of the sense of God and of man inevitably leads to a practical materialism, which breeds individualism, utilitarianism, and hedonism. Here too we see the permanent validity of the words of the Apostle: 'And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct' (Rom 1:28). The values of being are replaced by those of having. The only goal which counts is the pursuit of one's own material well-being. The so-called 'quality of life' is interpreted primiarily or exclusively as economic efficiency, inordinate consumerism, physical beauty and pleasure, to the neglect of the more profound dimensions-interpersonal, spiritual and religious, of existence.....Within this same cultural climate, the body is no longer perceived as a properly personal reality, a sign and place of relations with others, with God and with the world. It is reduced to pure materiality: it is simply a complex of organs, functions and energies to be used according to the sole criteria of pleasure and efficiency. Consequently, sexuality too is depersonalized and exploited: from being the sign, place and language of love, that is , of the gift of self and acceptance of another, in all the other's richness as a person, it increasingly becomes the occasion and instrument for self assertin and the selfish satisfaction of personal desires and instincts. Thus the original import for human sexuality is distorted and falsified, and the two meanings, unitive and procreative, inherent in the very nature of the conjugal act, are artificially separated: in this way the marriage union is betrayed and its fruitfulness is subjected to the caprice of the couple. Procreation then becomes the 'enemy' to be avoided in sexual activity; if it is welcomed, this is only because it expresses a desire, of indeed the intention, to have a 'child at all costs' and not because it signifies the complete acceptance of the other and therefore an openness to the richness of life which the child represents. In the materialistic perspective described so far, interpersonal relations are seriously impoverished. The first to be harmed are women, children, the sick or suffering, and the elderly. The criterion of personal dignity-which demands respect, generosity, and service-is replaced by the criterion of efficiency, functionality, and usefulness; others are considered not for what they 'are', but for what they 'have,do, and produce.' This is the supremacy of the strong over the weak."

Wow! Pope John Paul II is saying a lot here. The frequent rallying cry for those pushing for the mandate and contraceptives is "women's rights." If one follows the logic of the argument laid out here, what they are saying makes no sense. Contraception and abortion both harm women. As treated in other blogs, Paul VI warns in Humanae Vitae that with contraceptive use there could come the danger that the woman could become an "object to be used." Ask anyone who is on the casual sex circuit. They will tell you straight. Many failed relationships attest to the fact that while lust and sex were certainly present, love was not. Look also how he develops the notion of contraception harming interpersonal relationships on a whole. It makes sense to me. Block communication at the most intimate moment of self-giving and you are going to block communication not just in a relationship or marriage, but in society and in dialogue between nations. When the most fundamental form of communication is blocked in conjugal relations how do you expect a society to communicate. As for materialism, sadly many women who choose to abort a child do so because they do not feel they can afford another child. This is materialism. We need to develop greater trust in the Lord of Providence. God will find a way where there seems to be no way. To the Lord of Life, I pray this evening for that lonely, frightened woman who feels she has no way out. Perhaps she is being forced to have an abortion by a boyfriend or a mother. Please send Angels of Mercy to comfort her and show her the light. Amen

1 comment:

  1. What struck me reading the first paragraph- is that our bodies, our fertility, our lives all belong to God- it is not our place to 'chose' to terminate a pregnancy- this does not diminish us, instead, it raises us up. We realize that our humanity is holy when we understand that God created each of us in His image and likeness, and when we realize that conception is the greatest gift (next to Our Lord Jesus, of course) that God works with us when new life is created. Humanity is degraded when we do things only God should do.
    Another great post, thanks, Father!