Pope Paul VI

Humanae Vitae Giving Day

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by Christopher West

In the apocalyptic movie I Am Legend,  the “once hailed miracle cure for cancer” turns out to be a virus that very quickly wipes out 90 percent of mankind.  Only 1 percent is immune.  The other 9 percent morphs into the so-called “dark seekers” – rabid human-animals who emerge at night (light kills them) to hunt down and eat the remaining 1 percent.

Will Smith’s character, Dr. Robert Neville, is part of that 1 percent.  He’s also a virologist devoted to finding a cure and “lighting up the darkness.”

Let me draw some connections with Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae.  Just a cursory knowledge of what’s happening today with internet pornography and the obliteration of the meaning of gender leads a person to conclude, as Dr. Neville does in the movie, that “social de-evolution appears complete; typical human behavior is now entirely absent.”  It’s time to take an honest look at how the “once hailed” technology of contraception has played a major role in this “de-evolution” of our society.

Catholic teaching has always held firm the idea that marriage, sex, and babies belong together … and in that order.  God, in his loving design, has united these three realities in a tight knot to reveal in our flesh the truth of his own eternal covenant love and Fatherhood. Contraception not only loosens the knot of this fundamental and society-ordering nexus, it cuts the ties.

So long as the natural connection between sex and babies is retained, we realize intuitively that sexual intercourse is the domain of those who have committed themselves to raising children: that commitment is called marriage.  Insert contraception into the tight-knot-nexus of marriage-sex-babies and, as history clearly shows, we end up redefining all three.  Babies become mere “clumps of cells.” Sex becomes mere pleasure-exchange between consenting partners (gender being irrelevant). And marriage becomes a demanded societal and governmental “stamp of approval” on one’s preferred method of pleasure-exchange.

In I Am Legend, it seemed that science had discovered the cure for cancer.  Imagine the scorn and derision that would have been aimed at anyone who tried to warn the world that this “cure” was actually a deadly poison.  That’s what Blessed Pope Paul VI endured when he published Humanae Vitae.

Few took him seriously.  The Couple to Couple League was founded because it did.  And, like Dr. Neville, they’ve devoted themselves to “lighting up the darkness” ever since.

— Christopher West is an internationally renown Catholic author and speaker, best known for The COR Project and his work with Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body.

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