Much has been made in recent weeks of the Catholic Church's teaching on contraception. Lost in the midst of the rhetoric, political posturing, Sandra Fluke fiasco and HHS mandate, lies the reason behind why Church teaching remains consistent (and correct) on this topic. You can disagree, my only hope is people will take a listen to those who actually adhere to the teaching and allow us a moment on the soapbox too. Admittedly, it's been hard to find the truth because of misinformation, and downright disobedience of those who fancy themselves "Catholic" (in name alone only, evidently). It has been confusing and convoluted. This is an issue particularly close to my heart because it is an attack on the faith tradition I love, and a threat to all religious liberty. For our own journey, it was a natural progression. As Fr. Larry Richards has pointed out: If I truly trust God as my Lord and Savior, how can I say "God, be Lord over my life, Lord over my finances, Lord over my marriage, but when it comes to our family size and future..stay out of it?" If that were the case, there would be two miracles in our life that wouldn't be here today. While I could opine on the topic, I wanted to ask someone who has inspired Jim and me in our own NFP journey to share her experience.
I was honored when a dear friend Jennifer Willits, wife and mom of five, radio-host, speaker (and freshly minted author!) agreed to write a guest post concerning contraception.
I want to preface her beautiful piece by sharing some basic set-up points. First, you should know that until 1930, all religious denominations condemned contraception as sinful. It was because of mounting social pressure that the Anglican church announced that contraception would be allowed in some circumstances (see the Lambeth Conference). After that, other Protestant denominations soon followed suit. The Catholic Church however, has remained steadfast in her original teaching. Second, what is happening today is precisely what was predicted by Pope Paul VI in 1968 in his landmark encyclical Humanae Vitae. He predicted grave consequences that would arise from the widespread and unrestrained use of contraception. He warned, "Consider, first of all, how wide and easy a road would thus be opened up toward conjugal infidelity and the general lowering of morality. Not much experience is needed in order to know human weakness, and to understand that men-especially the young, who are so vulnerable on this point-have need of encouragement to be faithful to the moral law, so that they must not be offered some easy means of eluding it's observance. It's also to be feared that the man, growing used to the employment of anti-conceptive practices, may finally lose respect for the woman, and no longer caring for her physical and psychological equilibrium, may come to the point of considering her as a mere instrument of selfish enjoyment, and no longer have the same respect as a beloved companion. "(HV17)
No one can doubt those prophetic words. Experience, natural law, Scripture, Tradition the magisterium all testify to the evil of contraception.
Third, persecution brings refinement. The experience of having beliefs under attack can cause people to explore what they believe and why (sometimes for the first time). It is in that spirit we recently announced a landmark event for all people seeking to reclaim the beauty and truth of the human body and intimacy, and arming ourselves to defend what we believe. This is an especially awesome opportunity for Ohioans! Christopher West will give a free talk on this topic. In addition, you will have an opportunity to ask questions to a panel, including a Christian OBGYN specializing in infertility issues, etc. and a canon lawyer/priest. Click here to register for this free event! Click here to listen to our interview with Christopher.
Now, I am honored to introduce you to Jennifer Willits and her special guest post...