Thursday 14 February 2008

Why Humanae Vitae was right about contraception

It's good to see that Janet Smith, the famous author of Humanae Vitae: A Generation later and editor of Why Humanae Vitae Was Right is speaking in Westminster Cathedral Hall on 6th March.

After 34 years working in the pro-life movement, I am convinced that the teaching of Humanae Vitae on the inseparable connection between the unitive significance and the procreative significance of the marriage act is of fundamental importance for the future of the family and for the sanctity of human life throughout the world. Furthermore, I believe that what is happening today to the family and to the sanctity of human life in Europe provides overwhelming evidence of the prophetic importance of Pope Paul VI’s words:

“The Church, nevertheless, in urging men to the observance of the precepts of the natural law, which it interprets by its constant doctrine, teaches that each and every marital act must of necessity retain its intrinsic relationship to the procreation of human life." Humanae Vitae, 11

In a presentation in Warsaw last May, at the World Congress of Families, I said:

Britain is witnessing the fulfilment of the prophetic message of Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI’s historic encyclical which celebrates its 40th anniversary next year. Speaking about the inseparable connection between the unitive and procreative significance of sexual intercourse he wrote: “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.” (Humanae Vitae 17)

Moreover, as Pope John Paul II points out in Evangelium Vitae (13), there is a close interconnection between contraception and abortion.According to the manufacturers, one of the contraceptive pill’s modes of action is to cause an early abortion.

Last year [2006], a teacher at a Catholic comprehensive school for boys and girls in Kent, England, spoke out publicly about the sex education given to her class of 13- to 14-year-old children. The teacher, a Miss McLernon, said: “I think people should be aware of what is going on in schools. I witnessed the nurse using a plastic model to show these children how to put on what she said was a chocolate flavoured condom.” She went to on to explain to her pupils that flavoured condoms had been made because prostitutes didn’t like the taste of rubber.

Miss McLernon added: “Every child in the class was given a card explaining where you could get free contraceptives and the abortion-inducing morning-after pill. The card also gave details of a website for young people explaining how a surgical abortion could be arranged. This is a Catholic school where you would expect children to be protected from this sort of thing.”

Sadly, more and more Catholic parents are telling us at the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children about terrible experiences in Catholic schools, both at secondary and primary school level. Protests on the part of Catholic parents and teachers seeking to protect young people do not appear to be heard.

The full text of my talk is here. A list of resources published by Janet Smith is here.