To be Serious About Contraception

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What is a faithful Catholic to do about contraception in a culture awash in them? Are we to make them a political issue, as some kind of prophetic cri du cœur?

Should we launch a campaign to overturn Griswold v. Connecticut, the Supreme Court decision that made married contraception a constitutional right, or campaign to overturn Eisenstadt v. Baird, which gave singles the same right? Should we make overturning Griswold and Eisenstadt a litmus test for presidential candidates?

And once Griswold and Eisenstadt are overturned we are faced with the formidable task of convincing our fellow Americans that they ought to be banned, as they could be before Eisenstadt and Griswold, though rarely enforced.

Keep in mind that the US has almost the highest use of contraception in the world, only one percentage point behind China where your house gets bulldozed if you have a second child. Our contraception rate is only one percentage point behind that highly motivated society. Keep in mind also we live in a post-Obamacare world where contraception is now free for all paid for by you and by me.

I would put an “Overturn Griswold … and Eisenstadt” bumper sticker on my car. After all they were devilish decisions that not only took away the right of states to say no to contraceptives but also introduced the concept of a general right of privacy into our constitutional language, which was the open door through which abortion officially marched and through which gay marriage might also waltz. Such a bumper sticker might not change anything but it would certainly start a conversation.

And maybe that is the best way we should proceed on this nettlesome issue, by conversation.

How do you talk someone out of her contraceptives? In the Casey decision upholding Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court claimed that women had come to order their lives according to having access to abortion. We know this is far from true, given that most women don’t ever have one. But I am not so sure we could make the same claim about contraception. It may very well be that a vast majority of women, including Catholic women, have ordered their lives around it.

So how do you talk someone out of her contraceptives? And going even further, how do you talk them into a ban on contraception altogether?

Do we start with Scripture? Be fruitful and multiply? Do we start with papal encyclicals? Casti Connubii and Humanae Vitae? One of the amazing things about Humanae Vitae is how prophetic it was. Paul VI, whom I consider a saint for holding firm on contraception, predicted it all, the bitter sexual caldron that is our contraceptive society.

As we know, however, citing of Scripture and encyclicals are of highly limited value even when talking to Catholics. Catholics, those who know the Church’s teaching and who violate it anyway, will not be much swayed by a reiteration of that teaching.

And while evangelicals may respond to Scripture, they certainly would not respond to encyclicals, and most of them cannot find anything in Scripture against contraception. And going to seculars, citing Scripture and encyclicals would have an impact but only a negative one.

We might think about taking a page or two from the pro-life playbook that has been so successful in changing hearts and minds on abortion these past 40 years or so. What has changed America on abortion more than any other thing has been science and medicine. The persistence of pro-lifers kept the issue alive but things really began to change with rapid development of ultra-sound imaging, and then the partial birth abortion debate.

Two images have seared themselves into American brains.

The image of baby in utero, recognizable as one of us, as one of our family, the first picture of baby put up on the fridge. That is what ultra-sound gave us, a glimpse at someone, not something, who is not a blob of tissue at all.

The other image is that drawing held up by Rick Santorum in the Senate chamber, the baby being drawn out of the birth canal with menacing scissors right there to snip her spinal column. Francis Kissling, longtime head of Catholics for a Free Choice, said the intransigence of the abortion crowd, their dead-end support of that grisly procedure, caused her movement to lose “moderately pro-choice Catholics.”

I cannot imagine a hard case like partial birth abortion that would instantly change people’s minds on contraception. But then, who could have imagined partial birth abortion as a bright line until a clever pro-lifer discovered the procedure, named it, got those drawings made and orchestrated a masterful political takedown that changed millions of hearts and minds.

I do know that we must speak to our fellow citizens in the language they know, a secular voice speaking in the scientific idiom. Better yet, let’s find seculars who agree with us and have them speak.

And say what? That contraception is bad for women and that it destroys marriages? We have the data for both claims. There is a higher divorce rate for couples who use contraceptives than for those who do not.

More than that, can we show that the contraceptive pill has a second hand smoke effect? Does it really affect our water supply when contraceptive women urinate? Are the fish in some rivers really and truly mostly female because of it? You hear that but can we prove it? Let’s get that study done. Your right to contracept ends where my body and the bodies of my children begin. If this could be shown, what vistas of public policy restrictions lie before us? What lawsuits are waiting to the filed? What confidence in the miracle pill shattered, at least for some?

And then there is the issue of the younger generation and their seeming longing for all things natural. There is nothing quite so wonderful and natural than using NFP in order to find and cooperate with your wife’s fertile period. Pumping chemicals into your body to shut down an entire bodily system ought to draw the attention of a Whole Foods woman. Are we really making that case to her? Are we talking to her where she lives? Are we telling that story on college campuses?

Another way to change hearts and minds is by stories. We live in a scientific age but also a confessional age, an age of story. I have in my hand the story of a young woman who collapsed and died from using a contraceptive device called the NuvaRing. The story is told in Vanity Fair—nothing more secular than that—by Marie Brenner, no friend of ours.

An ER doctor asked the dying Erika’s mother Karen “if she used birth control.” Note he did not ask about the NuvaRing but about “birth control.” Are pulmonary embolisms so common in young women that doctors automatically ask about birth control as the cause? If so, then everyone needs to know. Who is telling that story?

And what about infertility? Women who have spent their teens and twenties contracepting may wake up married in their thirties to discover they cannot conceive. They proceed to spend thousands and thousands of dollars hyperovulating to get enough eggs to use IVF and then that fails. Is there a connection between early contraceptive use and later infertility? It makes sense that if one shuts down her reproductive system for years that it might have such an effect. We need to know. Even more, they need to know. Where are the studies?

And last, there is this, which will not be solved by science. It is the abundant lack of generosity now bred deep in the human heart that says no to life. It takes a generous heart to have another child. To some it is easy to have this generosity and to them it does not seem generous, only natural. But for others, once this generosity of spirit is bred out, how do you get it back in? How do you get it back in when you don’t even know it is gone?

The thing is, nothing I have said here is not said by many of us. But what I do not see is a Movement, like the pro-life movement, one that will move this forward, indefatigably, year in and year out, in blistering summer and blasting winter, never to give up. I don’t see that, do you?

One day we may be able to hold politicians to account for contraception. Until then we have an enormous amount of work to do. That is, if we are really serious.

(Photo credit: Paul VI and Cardinal Wojtyla / CNS file photo.)

Austin Ruse

By

Austin Ruse is president of C-FAM (Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute), a New York and Washington DC-based research institute focusing on international legal and social policy. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of C-FAM.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    “[T]the Supreme Court claimed that women had come to order their lives according to having access to abortion. We know this is far from true, given that most women don’t ever have one.”

    Non sequitur – A woman may organise her life on the basis that abortion is available, even though she never has to resort to one, just as a business may not require a deposit from customers because certain legal remedies, say, a repairer’s lien, are available to it, even though it never has to invoke them.

  • James

    Must all problems require a political solution?

    The Church acknowledges that hormonal contraceptives have legitimate uses in managing menstrual disorders. (See Humanae Vitae 15) Sometimes temporarily shutting down a malfunctioning reproductive system may be a woman’s best option. The abuse does not deny the use.

    As for condoms, they seem to fall under “sometimes it is lawful to
    tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil”. People are going to have non-marital sex and condoms do reduce the risk of STD transmission and out-of-wedlock pregnancy when they do. Augustine and Aquinas made similar arguments about the necessity of tolerating prostitution in their respective societies.

    And I think because there is no political solution, there is no movement. Solving the contraception problem involves convincing doctors that it is bad medicine, women that they don’t need it, and policymakers that it causes more problems than it solves. That’s long, slow, and tedious work and doesn’t fit nicely into a mass movement or political campaign. Unfortunately, some conservatives in the Church have reduced social action to political action, ironically making the exact same mistakes as the liberation theologians on the left.

    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

      If we have such a widespread epidemic of that kind of problem on our hands that 98% of women have to be effectively neutered to take care of it, then we’re treating the symptom without trying to figure out what the problem is.

      • Delphin

        The problem is wider than just happily married couples prioritizing the material over the natural and spiritual: the heart of the problem lies within the male-female relationship. Until men, including Catholic men, stop oppressing women, women- as they always have, will find ways to free themselves from their burdens – it is only natural. An unwanted pregnancy is truly enslavement for a woman in an oppressive culture or marriage. Contraception largely goes away when men stop doing evil to women. Fix the root of the problem, first.

        • MgW

          PROFOUNDLY Stated, Delphin! makes so much sense! I believe that you have discovered the root of the problem!

    • Guest

      If the law is not informed by moral truth then we have tyranny. As we can see currently that is exactly what is happening. To exclude the law as if it does not matter is not only unCatholic but absurd.

      • James

        The goal of Catholic social and political teaching has never been to create a Catholic version of Calvin’s Geneva or Cromwell’s England either. The Church has always recognized that secular authorities need not enforce every bit of the moral law into the civil codes.

        • Guest

          It is not about “Catholic” law. It is about natural law. Recent Pope’s have stated, clearly, unjust laws are wrong.

          • Michael Paterson-Seymour

            “On what shall man found the order of the world which he would govern?” asks Pascal. “Shall it be on the caprice of each individual? What confusion! Shall it be on justice? Man is ignorant of it.”

            As to natural law, “Men admit that justice does not consist in these customs, but that it resides in natural laws, common to every country. They would certainly maintain it obstinately, if reckless chance which has distributed human laws had encountered even one which was universal; but the farce [la plaisanterie] is that the caprice of men has so many vagaries that there is no such law Theft, incest, infanticide, parricide, have all had a place among virtuous actions.”

            Hence, “He who obeys them [the laws] because they are just, obeys a justice which is imaginary and not the essence of law; it is quite self-contained [elle est toute ramassée en soi], it is law and nothing more.”

            • TheAbaum

              “Shall it be on the caprice of each individual? What confusion! Shall it be on justice? Man is ignorant of it.”

              Yes, because whenever somebody criticizes the unjust laws that fill the ever expanding and already hyper-voluminous modern codices, we can always obtain approval by trotting out the specter of anarchy.

              But hey, thanks for quote another dead French philosopher.

              • Michael Paterson-Seymour

                Pascal goes tot he root of the problem, when he says, “You are not in the state of your creation.” Accordingly, “Man without faith cannot know the true good, nor justice” and “Thus, without Scripture, which has only Jesus Christ for its object, we know nothing and see only obscurity and confusion in God’s nature and ours.”

                It is impossible for fallen man, his intellect blinded and his will enslaved, to know “natural law.”

                • TheAbaum

                  I’m afraid you aren’t very perceptive of subtle dismissal.

                  If it’s impossible “fallen man, his intellect blinded and his will enslaved, to know “natural law.””, then why should I listen to the edicts of the subset fallen men who inhabit the halls of government?

                  • James

                    Pascal was a Jansenist (literally), which has more in common with the Calvinism of Geneva and England than with orthodox Catholicism.

                    • Ib

                      You are correct here, James. Pascal is a very uneven author because of the influence of Jansenism in his writing. Some of what he writes is highly perceptive, but other things are simply wrong. To quote him willy-nilly as an authority is very risky.

                      In any case, to deny the intelligibility of natural law even to sinful human reason, is to deny the Roman Catholic Catechism which makes it a cornerstone of its approach to morality (see the comments by guest below). Many may wish to deny the RCC, but why would they then seek to paint themselves as Catholics?

                  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

                    “Which of us two shall have precedence? Who will give place to the other? The least clever. But I am as clever as he. We should have to fight over this. He has four lackeys, and I have only one. This can be seen; we have only to count. It falls to me to yield, and I am a fool if I contest the matter. By this means we are at peace, which is the greatest of boons”

                • Guest

                  It is not impossible.

                  1960
                  The precepts of natural law are not perceived by everyone clearly and
                  immediately. In the present situation sinful man needs grace and
                  revelation so moral and religious truths may be known “by everyone with
                  facility, with firm certainty and with no admixture of error.”12 The natural law provides revealed law and grace with a foundation prepared by God and in accordance with the work of the Spirit

                  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

                    “In the present situation sinful man needs grace and revelation so moral and religious truths may be known/” Precisely. The natural law cannot be known to human reason, “not the mind or conscience of unregenerate man, or a vague natural revelation, but God’s Word.”

            • Guest

              “1951 Law is a rule of conduct enacted by
              competent authority for the sake of the common good. The moral law
              presupposes the rational order, established among creatures for their
              good and to serve their final end, by the power, wisdom, and goodness of
              the Creator. All law finds its first and ultimate truth in the eternal
              law. Law is declared and established by reason as a participation in the
              providence of the living God, Creator and Redeemer of all. “Such an
              ordinance of reason is what one calls law.”

              1959
              The natural law, the Creator’s very good work, provides the solid
              foundation on which man can build the structure of moral rules to guide
              his choices. It also provides the indispensable moral foundation for
              building the human community. Finally, it provides the necessary basis
              for the civil law with which it is connected, whether by a reflection
              that draws conclusions from its principles, or by additions of a
              positive and juridical nature.”

    • TheAbaum

      “Must all problems require a political solution?”

      Actually, there are very few political “solutions”. There are usually tradeoffs and usually they benefit the many , connected, conspicuous, cohesive and powerful over the rest of society.

    • Howard

      The purpose of laws is not only to directly change behaviors, but also to codify the ideals of a people.

  • ladykateadams

    “And last, there is this, which will not be solved by science. It is the abundant lack of generosity now bred deep in the human heart that says no to life. It takes a generous heart to have another child. To some it is easy to have this generosity and to them it does not seem generous, only natural. But for others, once this generosity of spirit is bred out, how do you get it back in? How do you get it back in when you don’t even know it is gone.” Making this my morning Facebook status.

  • John O’Neill

    As the great English Catholic G.K.Chesterton once remarked that the term birth control has nothing at all to do with either the word birth or the word control.

    • john

      I completely get the sentiment, love G.K., and am not quibbling, but I’ll bet it’s much more about “control” then he (or we) thought. But WHO’S in control? Not the ignorant or innocent young girls who start the pill, I’d bet. They take the pill, but they are (many of them) victims of a sinister culture (with a diabolic king) who sees them as pharmaceutical customers, bar and restaurant patrons, scanty clothing consumers, and sexual targets of opportunity for men. When the pill (or nuvaring, or some other hormone shot) kills them, their bodies are hidden and their deaths covered up. I’d guess that most girls who think the pill gives them control are really slaves, Maybe part of the solution is to teach that nature is fertile, and nature is beautiful…

  • thomistica

    What of the abortifacient effects of contraception–not addressed in this article? What of the responsibilities of Catholic politicians, or public intellectuals, to address this issue?

    • Austin Ruse

      People have a tendency to point to others. What are politicians doing? What are the bishops doing? Here’s the important question at the heart of this column. What are we doing? What are you doing? That others may not be doing enough does not absolve you and me.

      • thomistica

        I certainly didn’t want to suggest that we’re absolved. I should have included mention of the responsibilities of individuals as well. Think of the opportunities that just talking to friends and colleagues can play here. A whole lot of the effort here has to taken up by individuals.

        But the latter folks are part of the picture too. We should all be annoyed about their failure to publicly broach these issues. If they addressed the contraception issue far more–including not just abortive effects, but your great point about the environmental effects–or how contraceptives pollute the bodies of women–think of the influence this would have in giving rise to more grassroots, person-to-person conversations.

        Returning to the abortive effects of contraception, this is the elephant in the room in the pro-life community. There needs to be a whole lot more discussion about it, at *all* levels–from the pulpit, by politicians, and by journalists.

      • Guest

        This would make more sense if the clergy actually did anything regarding the matter.

        • thomistica

          Takes guts. Most of the readers here probably have seen it at best rarely.

          Contraception is intertwined with the abortion issue in a whole lot of ways. The two topics should be addressed in tandem.

          • Guest

            Yes, and if the laity really did do something would the clergy back them?

          • HenryBowers

            In order for clergy to speak coherently against contraception, they need to know why it’s intrinsically wrong. Most have only been trained to name good reasons for avoiding contraception, but can neither identify nor defend its intrinsic wrongness without pointing to HV13 and saying, “the beginning of life is God’s business.” Arguments that “it’s not loving” are phenomenological and unconvincing, and the body-self dualism undergirding those arguments are hard to illustrate (which is why SSM has exploded). I think we need to focus on the intentional and unreasonable wrong against the future child, as Grisez has. We care about future generations in the environment and in national debt; we ought to point out that contraception is an attack on future persons, which is an act of the heinously insane. It’s also against the 4th Commandment: dissing our parents.

            • thomistica

              Didn’t Anscombe point out/imply that contraception involved a mutually masturbatory act?

              • HenryBowers

                I haven’t read her case in enough detail to respond, but thanks for the challenge. Personally, I think it would be unwise to conflate two species of action without the actor’s permission. If contraception really was masturbation, we wouldn’t call them two separate things, and moreover it’s a double-edged sword: if we say it’s masturbatory, the married coulple can still treat that consequence as an unintended side-effect when they contract otherwise wholesome lovemaking.

                • Guest

                  How is that even possible? The act of contraception is intrinsically evil. The ends never justify the means.

                • thomistica

                  Years and years ago that I read the essay.
                  She might have been making an analogous statement, i.e. not treating the two types of acts as identical. But don’t quote me. Check her collected works.

              • Michael Paterson-Seymour

                What Miss Anscombe said was “If contraceptive intercourse is permissible, then what objection could there be after all to mutual masturbation, or copulation in vase indebito, sodomy, buggery (I should perhaps remark that I am using a legal term here – not indulging in bad language), when normal copulation is impossible or inadvisable (or in any case, according to taste)? It can’t be the mere pattern of bodily behaviour in which the stimulation is procured that makes all the difference! But if such things are all right, it becomes perfectly impossible to see anything wrong with homosexual intercourse, for example.”

                • Michael Ejercito

                  But if such things are all right, it becomes perfectly impossible to see anything wrong with homosexual intercourse, for example.”

                  God, who is Lord of Lords and King of Kings, who does as he pleases, who answers to no one, whose might makes right, said so, therefore, homosexual intercourse is wrong.

                  No other reason is needed.

            • Guest

              The truth will only be received to the degree one is open to the truth. There is no one argument that will convince people who refuse to be convinced.

              • HenryBowers

                But if the preachers are (a) intellectually honest, and (b) unable to argue the issue from start to finish, they will be silent about it, as they rightly should. So we need to remedy (b).

                • Guest

                  How is they cannot argue this basic teaching? They can argue just fine if they will accept it themselves.

  • ForChristAlone

    The answer lies not in changing the law but in changing the heart. Once we Catholics get REALLY serious about evangelizing the culture perhaps minds and hearts will begin to see the truth and desire change in their lives, their communities and their culture.

    Taking a stand that is prohibitive in nature will not work. We must extol the fact that generosity of heart is a noble goal and nothing could be more generous than an openness to life. The Church is not against contraception so much as it is FOR life, generosity of heart, hope, truth, goodness, the beautiful and love. It just so happens that contraception operates against these very things that truly satisfy. The problem we face as Catholics is that we have drunk the Kool Aid of the popular culture and have been rendered too sick and disabled to know and speak about what truly satisfies the human spirit. Hopefully, we’ll get well soon.

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      St Augustins says, “Men are not willing to do what is right either because the fact that it is right is hidden from them, or because it does not please them… It is from the grace of God, which helps the wills of man, that that which was hidden becomes known, and that which did not please become sweet.” [On the Merits and Remission of Sins 2, 17, 26:]

      He says elsewhere, ““If it be allowable to the poet [Vergil, Eclogues 2.65] to say “his own pleasure draws each man,” not need, but pleasure, not obligation but delight, how much more ought we to say that a man is drawn to Christ, who delights in the truth, who delights in happiness who delights in justice, who delights in eternal life and all this is Christ?” [On John’s Gospel 26.4 ]

  • Deacon Tom

    The dysfunction is about marriage. Unmarried sexual partners are not going to stop contracepting. The issue is not about law and constitutional “privacy” but about the depth of personal commitment is relationships. The Navy SEALS have and expression: “all in, all the time”. That is the only attitude about relationship that can sustain the purity, affection, fidelity, exclusivity, and permanence that has no need or desire for contraception. Those are the hallmarks of authentic marriage. Only I’m that level of commient will couples feel the security needed to open themselves to the radical totality of self donation that contraception rejects. Only in that kind of relationship will partners be open the receive the unreserved gift of the other. So the acceptance of sex outside of marriage and the acceptance of divorce are the underlying cultural glue of the contraceptive society. The solution is fostering the “all in, all the time” mentality. Anything else, even warnings about medical risk and physical side effects, will fail. The dialogue has to be about fulfilent and happiness in marriage. That is why the battle is about happiness and the aspiration of all for meaningfulness at the deepest level. “I am yours. You mine. I will never abandon you or fail to defend you. I will never share you.” The bumper sticker should be: “One Man + One Woman: All In All the Time = Happiness. Kill the Pill.”

    • Single Catholic

      “The dysfunction is about marriage. Unmarried sexual partners are not going to stop contracepting.” What more can the Church do for marrieds and families ? I don’t know — it seems to do an awful lot already. As a single never married no kids fifty-one year old female, I would say that the Church MUST learn to acknowledge the existence and value of singles — and not just transitional singles (that is those who are temporarily in that state of life while discerning a call to marriage or religious life). I have been in the pro-life movement for over twenty years and as everyone knows, many women with crisis pregnancies are single. Unfortunately I have yet to see abortion addressed as a singles issue other than to call the women single mothers. Please pray about this and discern whether you are called to singles ministry. After all, having a deacon in my family I know that a deacon is called to not remarry after losing a spouse if they wish to continue to function as a deacon.. You may be in need of singles support sometime yourself…

  • Guest

    Only the Holy Spirit can change hard hearts and hard heads. That does not mean we have no obligation to point out the truth and to point out that unjust laws are not true laws. The false choice of laws versus hearts is not a Catholic reasoning. The law is a teacher for good or for ill. Whether it is practical to use one argument or another is a prudential matter.

    Perhaps the real fundamental issue is that Catholics do not live as Catholics. Especially voters, politicians, and judges. If Catholics really understood the serious evil of a contracepted marital act they may actually live their faith. I would think most see such things as trivial or silly. They reason not with the eyes of faith but as relativists and utilitarians and materialists.

  • http://renewthechurch.wordpress.com/ Thomas Richard

    “It is the abundant lack of generosity now bred deep in the human heart that says no to life. It takes a generous heart to have another child.” To me, this is getting closer to the heart of it than other aspects of our cultural (alongside our birth-rate) decline. But I would look at the reverse side of the “lack of generosity” to the superabundance of self-centeredness. We are a culture increasingly concerned only for ourselves – and “ourselves” as understood in a very narrow and superficial way. As Mother Teresa observed, in her visit to the U.S. some years ago, our poverty is not of material goods, but of love.

    Our poverty of love is the sterile fruit of the very sterile tree of atheism. God is love, and he who loves knows God. Western “Christianity” has been infected and afflicted by the most radically ineffective faith that can exist: a faith that affirms a God uninvolved. Many do not deny that He exists (although such denial is a growing opinion also) but most are living whole-heartedly as if He does not matter, not at all, not even a “smidgen.” The God of this culture, the God of the West, the God of the U.S. is simply irrelevant to our actual lives. He does not matter. Hence the irrelevance of other persons also – except when and if we want to use them for the benefit of ourselves. Children? Nah, they cost far too much.

    Meanwhile, the Church, the Holy Church gathered, loved, filled with His Spirit and sent as light to the dark and suffering world – His Holy Church has found a place of comfort here in the ever-darkening “enlightened” secular world. His Holy Church has found comfortable compromise, respectable lukewarmness. We need renewal! We need life! Our impoverished, cold hearts need the fire and the light of holy love. His Church needs to awaken and arise, and be light! But so far, still, not so much is happening. May the Lord have mercy on us.

  • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

    Maybe we should start by recognizing the fact that constitutional law has become so anti-Catholic that we are living in an anti-Catholic system- and that the faithful Catholic has NO political representation left in a country where profit is based on the removal of the next generation, and where generosity is foolishness.

    We’ve lost the culture war. Time for the culture insurgency.

    • TheAbaum

      What constitutional law?

      • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

        Lately, the 14th Amendment re-interpreted and used to totally trash the 1st Amendment, instituting a new state religion based on tolerance forced at the point of a gun.

        • TheAbaum

          In the view of the “ruling class” The Ninth and Tenth Amendments are ignored. The first is interpreted expansively, the second is constantly under restraint. The Fourth and Fifth are under assault. I agree with your statement about the Fourteenth and the First.

          This is lawlessness, not law.

    • John O’Neill

      Amen the New American World Government is our enemy and the enemy of Catholics everywhere; Roman and Greek. The American Protestant empire is very busy turning Christianity into some kind of Great Society agency and war machine that we can no longer support this ersatz Christian State. The great American political/religious hymn is the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” which is all about smashing and killing any enemy of the central government.

  • MitchellJ

    There is a secular documentary coming out next year called Sweetening the Pill about women ditching the pill and using FAM, fertility awareness method, which is a secular take on NFP with condoms. Still a step in the right direction. Although FAM supporters tend to take the beautiful vision of NFP as a lifestyle and reduce it to a contraception method. But I suppose we shouldn’t make the perfect the enemy of the good.

    • James

      I don’t think many of the readers of this blog realize just how radical FAM (with the condoms) is to the rest of the world.

      The author of the book Sweetening the Pill that the documentary is based on has been attacked viciously for daring to suggest that the Pill might be harmful to women. She’s been rather shocked about how many feminists have attacked her—and how many Catholics have supported her.

  • GaudeteMan

    Fulton Sheen maintained in his later years that the days of dialogue and argument are past. My wife and I volunteer as engaged couple sponsors at our local Catholic parish and thus far we have had 8 couples: ALL 8 cohabitate and ALL 8 contracept. or more accurately, use abortifactients. When we look them in the eye and speak the truth about these evils we could just as well be speaking Mandarin. They smile politely and are only steeled in their resolve to continue down their dark paths. Prayer, sacrifice and fasting I dare say are the only things that will effect change in this area where Satan clearly has a choke hold.

    • Guest

      Amen. Speak the truth anyway.

    • billy

      Zzzzzz……..

    • James

      Is the purpose of your talk to edify and enlighten couples or to make you and your wife feel better about yourself?

      If it is the former, then perhaps another approach would be more fruitful? If they think you are speaking Mandrin, then you are clearly not communicating your point effectively.

      Case in point: We heard the “Catholic talk” and it sounded like Mandarin. Completely unappealing and unattractive, especially to my wife. Later, she read a secular book on NFP and loved it. Same topic, different approach. One worked, the other didn’t.

    • Jhawk77

      We say the same thing in the RCIA process my wife and I teach. I only hope we have planted a seed that grace will nurture.

    • Joseph

      Actually your efforts are not in vain. You did the job of informing them, you planted the seeds, and the Holy Spirit will do the rest.

      I had been where these youngsters are – I, and my peers, HONESTLY had no idea that such things as contraception (and watching porn, masturbation, fornication) are mortal sins – because everybody around us was engaging in such behaviors. Fortunately for us, we attended a Catholic youth group and we had a very nice priest who told us that every single sin related to the sixth commandment is potentially a mortal sin. We were genuinely surprised, and we greatly appreciated Father’s effort and honesty in telling us the truth.

      I would say, take heart. It may not seem immediately obvious, but your efforts will be rewarded. Thanks to you, those young couples have been informed now, the word of God has been planted into their minds, and those seeds will grow and bear fruit.

  • Terry McCarthy Jr.

    very good

  • hombre111

    Congratulations, Mr. Ruse, you stirred up a howl over at Huffington, which you should consider a badge of honor. You were right about the outrageous phenomenon in our universities called “sex week.” You have your daughter insulated in a Catholic college, but when I was campus minister, I had the students at the Catholic center out front and center, fighting the good fight.
    That said, you complain in this piece that the U.S. practices contraception more than any other country in the world. It always amuses me that conservatives cannot make the connection. Communist China has to use force, but our uberCapitalist nation is the most successful materialist machine in history. Twenty ads an hour for any favorite TV program, consume, consume, consume. And contraception is a logical consequence if someone turns their wants into needs at the recommended rate.

    • TheAbaum

      Off the meds, again?

    • ForChristAlone

      Please share with us your consuming habits before you level this kind of criticism. You should remember that if you receive a salary for your priestly work, it is the fruit of those capitalists who support your parish and diocese. Please tell me that you accept no remuneration for your work.

      • TheAbaum

        My late grandmother used to have an expression “it’s a bad bird that poops in its own nest”. How “Hombre” hasn’t expired from the dehydration that accompanies severe diarrhea is amazing.

        You want “materialism” and “consumerism”? Try going to my local grocery store, where there’s no shortage of tatted-up, glittered nails individuals pushing carts full of pre-made, convenience foods to the register and paying with an “Access” card (food stamps) while tapping or yackking away on the latest iphone and treated the clerk with indifference or contempt and shoving their loot into nice new vehicles.

        In 1946, Aldous Huxley wrote: “as political and economic freedom diminishes, sexual freedom tends compensatingly to increase.”

        I would only change that to “sexual license”. It’s no accident that the morality plummeted concurrently with the arrival of the one absolute that the resident believes in. Those couples who work, have to support those that don’t. They carefully regulate their fertility for those that don’t.

      • hombre111

        If everybody consumes on the level I consume, capitalism would collapse. The rest of your post is apples and oranges. My diocese does not depend on the obscene wealth of the 1%, and right now, this is the best American capitalism can do. For instance, according to the NYT, 95% of the wealth recovery since the great crash has gone to that one percent, and even higher, to the eighty or so individuals who own more the lion’s share of America’s wealth. Yep, a real economic system for the masses, that’s what we have.

        • ForChristAlone

          Either your hands are dirty for accepting even a penny of capitalist money or you are a hypocrite. Which is it?

          • hombre111

            Don’t accept your either or. As three popes famously said, it is predatory capitalism that is bad. Apart from pay-day loaners, the money from predatory capitalism does not spend any time in my neighborhood on its way to Wall Street.

            • ForChristAlone

              So you are a hypocrite.

        • TheAbaum

          Part of your problem is that you make up stuff. The rest of your post is nonsense.

          95% of the wealth recovery since the great crash has gone to that one percent

          No sheet, Sherlock. What part of stimulus and quantitative easing don’t you understand to be cronyism. Once again, you lit the state fire, told everybody it would offer warmth and ward off wolves and now the village is burning.

          You see, when the “messiah” said he wanted to spread the wealth around, you didn’t think it was to his friends. Suckaaa….

          • hombre111

            Did the money go mostly to the one percent? NYT and its fact checkers say so. And your facts come from…?

            • TheAbaum

              I know you are ready for an argument, but I agreed with your premise that the “recovery” has benefited a limited few.

              Read this again:

              “No sheet, Sherlock. What part of stimulus and quantitative easing don’t you understand to be cronyism. Once again, you lit the state fire,told everybody it would offer warmth and ward off wolves and now the village is burning.

              You see, when the “messiah” said he wanted to spread the wealth around, you didn’t think it was to his friends. Suckaaa….”

              The difference is I understand it’s a natural consequence of excessive state power to favor it’s friends.

    • Guest

      Well, I guess like the liberals there are mere materialists. They think they are “good” people because they “care” about the poor but then go on to contracept, abort, IVF, sterilize, gay sex, fornicate, masturbate, and remarry as if those items are of no import.

      It is called a hard heart. Nothing new under the sun.

      • hombre111

        Let’s see…only liberals contracept, abort, do gay sex, fornicate, masturbate, and remarry. And daisies grow on the moon.

        • TheAbaum

          No, but liberals (i.e., statist libertines) are the architects of the current society.

          Behold your handiwork.

          • hombre111

            Liberals were the people who thought up capitalism, true enough, but conservatives indifferent to the environment or social justice have pushed it to its modern perfection.

            • TheAbaum

              No and you should start referiing to yourself accurately-you are statist redistributionalist. You and your ilk gave us the welfare state and it’s corporate twin, cronyism.

              You and your ilk gave us a all-powerful state. The truly unjust aspect of this is that you are likely too old to last long to see the state completely crush the human person into fungible dust. It will be me and people younger than me who who will be denied care, but make no mistake-you will be responsible.

              http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-03-13/complete-breakdown-financial-controls-us-government-says-austin-fitts

              • hombre111

                I have lived long enough to see people saved from the Republican paradise that brought about the Great Depression, only to see young, foolish people vote to re-enter that abyss by voting for the conservatives whose policies brought about the Great Recession. What lies in the future? If the Repubs take over again as they did under Bush, we will be in for a loooong depression without a safety net.

                • TheAbaum

                  “I have lived long enough to see people saved from the Republican paradise that brought about the Great Depression.”

                  You are nothing if not comical. Have you lived long enough to stop blaming Bush yet (who was a large-state deficit spender)?

                  Republican paradise? Not from Hoover. He spent lots of money and raised taxers. None other than FDR’s running mate John Nance Garner accused Hoover of leading the country to socialism.

                  http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/07/hoover-was-no-budget-cutter/241665/

                • Art Deco

                  I have lived long enough to see people saved from the Republican
                  paradise that brought about the Great Depression, only to see young,
                  foolish people vote to re-enter that abyss by voting for the
                  conservatives whose policies brought about the Great Recession. What
                  lies in the future? If the Repubs take over again as they did under
                  Bush, we will be in for a loooong depression without a safety net.

                  You haven’t lived long enough to realize that just about every evaluative statement you make is cartoonish and uninformed.

        • Guest

          No, I was saying the pretense of claiming one is “good” while acting immorally is a lie.

  • FrankW

    Perhaps the best example we could use is to highlight those Catholic families who have not been afraid to have more than the societal standard of “two children, three at the most”.

    These families serves as witnesses to the faith, and as examples of how to live a truly Catholic marriage in the midst of an age that looks at them as if they were either aliens, or just too stupid to learn how to stop having children.

    Our son attends a Catholic high school where the headmaster is the father of ten children. We know several families in our parish with more than three children. Some of these parents are perfectly happy to talk about the size of their families and the use of NFP. These families serve as a witness to our faith that it is possible, if you are willing to sacrifice the more expensive home, the newer vehicles, the country club membership, to raise large families in this day and age and keep the vast majority of your children close to the Church.

    Maybe that’s the best way to defeat the contraception culture, by holding up those who live the faith, and make the sacrifices to do so that most others are not willing to make.

    • James

      These families serve as a witness to our faith that it is possible, if
      you are willing to sacrifice the more expensive home, the newer
      vehicles, the country club membership, to raise large families in this
      day and age and keep the vast majority of your children close to the
      Church.

      Good to know that you have that choice. There are plenty of smaller families that still don’t have new cars, expensive homes, and country club memberships—or can even afford to send their children to private Catholic high schools.

      • FrankW

        Wasn’t trying to imply that all small families have that option. Just trying to point out that there are families that choose to exercise that option of having a large family and sacrificing material possessions, and that this example serves the Catholic faith well.

  • Nestorian

    Any Catholic who wants to make contraception an “in-your-face” issue in American culture would be well advised to begin by refraining from hypocritically dismissing or dissenting from Pope Francis’s well-known denunciations of capitalist economics, as currently practiced.
    .
    Be assured, this sort of cafeteria Catholicism among supposedly principled adherents to Catholic teachings on contraception is noticed by those whom you would want to convert to your position on contraception, both within and outside the Church.

    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

      I’d think that taking on a huge industry like Big Contraception would *require* a denunciation of capitalist economics as currently practiced.

      A high value in the stock market is directly related to a high use of contraceptives.

      • TheAbaum

        “A high value in the stock market is directly related to a high use of contraceptives.”

        No.

        Norfolk Southern (ticker NSC) has gone from low 70’s last summer to ~95ish now. It has nothing to do with contraceptives, much to do with Fed counterfeiting and their adroit reaction to going after intermodal to replace declining coal traffic.

        Apple is doing a random walk down Wall Street, because of competition in the tablet and smartphone markets. Tesla went from 30 to 250 in a year. Not a one company’s stock valuation has anything to do with contraceptives.

        Japan is a contraceptive society. Their market is a shambles.

        • JohnCalla

          I don’t think contraceptive use is common in Japan, relative to other first-world nations.

          • James

            Most Japanese couples use a combination of condoms and NFP to prevent pregnancy.

            The Japanese FDA did not approve the Pill until 1999 and it remains extremely unpopular.

            • DoTheRightThing

              Don’t forget using abortion “to prevent pregnancy”!

              • James

                True, but their abortion rate is about half that of the USA—and there is little social or ethical stigma against it in Japan.

          • TheAbaum

            They may not use chemical contraceptives, but they have a contraceptive mentality. The birthrate there is among the lowest in the world.

            http://theweek.com/article/index/254923/everything-you-need-to-know-about-japans-population-crisis

        • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

          None of that would be possible without the two million missing mouths to feed every year for the past 40 years.

          • TheAbaum

            Theodore only a dang fool thinks that businesses are made better without customers.

        • redfish

          Although, there’s big business in marketing sex in general, and the people making money off that naturally are supportive of a very liberal view of sex and a contraceptive mentality. There’s less money to be made with a more conservative view of sex. Recognizing that isn’t a “critique of capitalist economics,” though, and I’m not entirely sure what Theodore is talking about.

          • TheAbaum

            I’m not entirely sure what Theodore is talking about.

            Apparently, he’s got an acute case of insidious Malthusianism.

            • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

              I don’t, but the corporations sure do.

      • ForChristAlone

        All of my investments are with Ave Maria Mutual Funds which insures that nothing is invested with companies whose profits are from things like contraceptive manufacturing. I would recommend that “faithful” Catholic begin here to help begin to change the playing field.

      • Austin Ruse

        Yes, like in China….

        • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

          Exactly like China. What, you actually fell for the con job that the Communist Party was Communist?

          • Austin Ruse

            Well…..no…but they’re certainly not capitalist. They are crony fascists…

            • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

              So is Wall Street. I see no appreciable difference between the two- at least not from the point of view of the people frozen out of ownership.

              • Austin Ruse

                Following your line of argument is making me dizzy. You keep changing the subject. Are you still on that silliness that it is capitalism that causes contraception? Or are you on to something else entirely.

                • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                  More that, contraception is profitable, both from Malthusian economics where short term profit is to be made from preventing births, and from marketing the contraception itself. Contraception is a natural product of a moral-free, profit as the only value market, you can’t prevent it without regulation.

                  Fewer people on planet=fewer people to split scarce resources between is the thinking. But it’s false thinking. And it’s one reason I oppose a moral-free market.

                • TheAbaum

                  Austin, Theodore attempted to be something of a capitalist earlier in life, “investing” in a time share, when he lacked the acumen to do so and the prudence to recognize those limits and signed a contract without benefit of legal counsel. He found out the hard way that the payment obligation survived his intent to occupy and defaulted. It appears that it colors his entire life.

                  Whenever the subject of commerce, finance or economics comes up, he’s generally positing some sort of absurdity, because it’s easier to believe his delusions than to admit his own mistakes.

                  It’s not particularly novel or original, just another case study in “sour grapes”, but the idea that businesses prosper when they have a diminished customer base or limited employment really does betray a lack of understanding.

                  • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                    With 7 billion suckers, it is going to be a while before demographic implosion stops that, and we all know that thanks to SEC “regulation” corporations have a blind spot beyond the 3 month bottom line.

                    • TheAbaum

                      “we all know that thanks to SEC “regulation” corporations..”

                      Now you’re getting it.

                      And no it won’t be a while. Your labor pool isn’t 7 billion. It’s a tiny slice who have the inclination and ability.

                    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                      A whip provides perfect inclination, if not ability. $1.25/day starvation wages work almost as well.

                    • TheAbaum

                      No.

                    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                      Yes, they do. Slavery is the natural condition of a marketplace without regulation, always has been. Control food, control pain, you control people. Lie to people to get them to sign contracts with clauses that even a lawyer can miss, and you can get people to do anything. Capitalism is a very useful weapon when used as a weapon- which is something you seem to ignore.

                    • TheAbaum

                      No. There’s no point discussing economics with because your conception of the world is a paranoid delusion, born of imprudence and your cognitive deficits.

                    • TheAbaum

                      “Following your line of argument is making me dizzy. You keep changing
                      the subject. Are you still on that silliness that it is capitalism that
                      causes contraception? Or are you on to something else entirely.”?

                    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                      Prudence is just an excuse for sin.

                    • TheAbaum

                      Prudence is an excuse for sin?

                      Prudence has always been regarded as a virtue in the Church. If you are going to spin this far out of control, you need to exercise some humility and remain quiet.

                    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                      Prudence has become an excuse for the mortal sin of greed, and is often used to combat generosity.

                    • TheAbaum

                      There is absolutely no other way to characterize that statement other than demented.

                    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                      Then Matthew chapters 20-25 are disordered and heterodoxical, for they preach Generosity as a higher value than Prudence, repeatedly.

                      But a huge part of this comes from my own depression and doubt. It seems to me as of late that America is dead set on crucifying Christ- and attempting to prevent Easter from coming. Whether it is crony capitalism or sexual immorality or my own sins of sloth and gluttony, our civilization seems to have died, with NO hope of even asking for a market free from fraud.

                    • TheAbaum

                      There never has been a “market free from fraud”, nor will there ever be-markets are the abstractions describing the interactions of human beings, who will always be afflicted with sin and finite limits. It is futile to search for perfection on earth.

                      That having been said:

                      Matthew 20-25 address neither virtue and certainly do not set two virtues against each other.

                      [20] Then came to him the mother of the sons of Zebedee with her sons, adoring and asking something of him. [21]
                      Who said to her: What wilt thou? She saith to him: Say that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left, in thy kingdom. [22] And Jesus answering, said: You know not what you ask. Can you drink the chalice that I shall drink? They say to him: We can. [23] He saith to them: My chalice indeed you shall drink; but to sit on my right or left hand, is not mine to give to you, but to them for whom it is prepared by my Father. [24] And the ten hearing it, were moved with indignation against the two brethren.[25] But Jesus called them to him, and said: You know that the princes of the Gentiles lord it over them; and they that are the greater, exercise power upon them.

                      http://www.drbo.org/chapter/47020.htm

                    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                      Read the whole thing. Start with Matthew 20:1- 25:46. If you don’t understand the generosity of the righteous, and the prudence and stewardship of taking a risk after reading that, I have no better way to describe it, than the Kingdom of Heaven.

                    • TheAbaum

                      Theodore, I read and provided the citation you provided. Under no circumstances would one consider virtues to be opposed, even if subordinate.

                      Just stop.

                    • TheAbaum

                      I read the citation provided. No reasonable person would assume virtues to be at war with each other.

                      Just stop.

              • TheAbaum

                Scottrade. 500 minimum balance, 7.00 per trade. Plenty of others with similarly low thresholds. The impediments to ownership are are insignificant.

    • TheAbaum

      The Pope made no such wholesale criticism, heretic.

      • Nestorian

        Insofar as you reject ANY of Pope Francis’s criticisms of capitalism, YOU are a heretic (relative to the Catholic faith that you profess to hold in its fullness), a hypocrite, and a “cafeteria catholic.”

        • Guest

          The Pope said he was not a technician. Perhaps you missed that clarification. Please do not try and impute your ideology onto the Pope’s words.

          • Nestorian

            He made statements about the world economy in Evangelium Vitae that are clearly moral in character. Any rejection of such statements by Catholics makes them “cafeteria Catholics.”

            • Guest

              Some are rejecting what they mistakenly believe to be his comments. They are not rejecting Church teaching.

        • imaguest

          I don’t think you understand what heresy is. Disagreeing with the pope is not heresy.

          • Carl

            Disagreeing with the Pope when he’s espousing faith and morals is heresy you heretic.

            • Carl

              The above was meant to be at Nestorian.

              And the Pope disagreeing with forms of free market [economics] would NOT fall under the ex cathedra forms pronouncements.
              In Fact he didn’t even use the word capitalism—you are!

              • Nestorian

                Yes, but the pope’s criticisms of capitalism clearly are MORAL criticisms, as he is criticizing it for the greed and injustice associated with it. As such, loyal Catholics are obliged to assent to his teachings on it. If they do not, they are “cafeteria Catholics.”
                .
                If, beyond this, Catholics who reject Pope Francis’s moral condemnations of capitalism have the temerity to denounce others for “cafeteria Catholicism” on account of rejecting Church teaching on artificial birth control, then such Catholics are hypocrites in addition.
                .
                There are many persons who post on this site who are both “cafeteria Catholics” and hypocrites in the precise senses that I have just enumerated.

                • TheAbaum

                  And you aren’t Catholic at all, so who are you to judge?

          • Nestorian

            It is indeed heresy when the Pope comments on matters of morals, as he clearly is in Evangelium Vitae when criticizing world capitalism.

    • Carl

      The Church rejects “the absolute primacy” of capitalism and NOT capitalism itself in any and all forms. Whereas all forms of central planning in communism and socialism are.
      2425 The Church has rejected the totalitarian and atheistic ideologies associated in modem times with “communism” or “socialism.” She has likewise refused to accept, in the practice of “capitalism,” individualism and the absolute primacy of the law of the marketplace over human labor. Regulating the economy solely by centralized planning perverts the basis of social bonds; regulating it solely by the law of the marketplace fails social justice, for “there are many human needs which cannot be satisfied by the market.” Reasonable regulation of the marketplace and economic initiatives, in keeping with a just hierarchy of values and a view to the common good, is to be commended.

    • fredx2

      You should really read Evangelii Guadium rather than read the newspapers account of it. If you believe the Pope has condemned capitalism, you have another thing coming. The word “capitalism” does not even appear. He has condemned some aspects of unbridled capitalism that is unconcerned with human values. He calls capitalism to a higher order where mere moneymaking is not the goal.

      ” …some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that
      economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.”

      His concern is not with capitalism itself. It is with the idea that if we just let the economy loose, it will automatically solve all ills and bring about greater justice and inclusion. Nobody really disagrees with that.

      • Nestorian

        I have read Evangelium Vitae, sir; I know what Pope Francis himself says about capitalism.
        .
        And I have also read many Catholics in the blogosphere who are quick to denounce other Catholics who practice artificial contraception as “cafeteria Catholics,” yet who are equally quick to criticize Pope Francis’s teachings in Evangelium Vitae regarding capitalism. They are all “cafeteria Catholics” themselves, as well as hypocrites.

  • James Patton

    What is a faithful Catholic to do about contraception in a culture awash in them?

    I would suggest that the faithful stop using contraception before worrying about a culture awash in them.

    • Austin Ruse

      Of course a “faithful” Catholic would not have to stop using something the Church forbids!

    • Guest

      Faithful Catholics are not having contraceped marital acts.

      • James Patton

        Is this the “No True Scotsman” argument?

        • Guest

          Um, no. It is a statement of fact.

          Perhaps an analogy will help you. A married man having a sexual affair cannot honestly say he loves his wife. His conduct proves he is unfaithful.

          A Catholic claiming to be faithful while rejecting Christ through His Church is certainly unfaithful.

        • Guest

          Perhaps you have some post modern notion of faithfulness? Like hey I am faithful I just reject the bits I do not like? You know that new faith thingy.

        • Hibernia

          No, it’s the Aristotelean principle of non-contradiction. You either have milk in the fridge, or you don’t. Assertions to both counts can’t be true at the same time. If a Catholic is faithful s/he doesn’t contracept. If a Catholic contracepts, s/he is not not faithful. I’d actually scrape the logic back further to assert that if a “Catholic” contracepts, then not only is s/he not faithful (in that moment) but is also not (emphasise next word) “being” Catholic, either. The potential to “be” Catholic” is there allright, that’s a direct inherited treasure of one’s baptism, in fact it’s a priceless gift that anyone can claim, if they want it. But the “act” of “being” Catholic is not “being” fully realised because of the mortal sin of contraception. S/he is in “imperfect act” as “being” Catholic. Like a log is in perfect act of “being” log but in imperfect act of “being” a table – but the potential is there. It just needs to be acted upon, through causes, and formed. And then it becomes substantially different. Its matter is still the same wood, but its whole substance has changed radically from log to table. To “act-ually be” Catholic is different from calling yourself “Catholic”. One is “called to be Catholic”. That’s where the Sacrament of Penance comes in and Christ’s Grace as cause. When the mortal sin of contraception (and that’s exactly what it is – without even a ticket to Purgatory) is confessed, Christ’s Grace has moved, i.e. caused, that person to start “being Catholic” again. The very “act” of confessing realises the “potential” to “be fully Catholic” and “faithfully so”. We can see that the log, depending on its size and shape, will only get limited chances to “be” a table (efficiently caused by us). But Christ – the First Cause of all that exists – not only gives us the abundant potentiality to “be” Catholic (i.e. faithfully so) but also an unknown number of chances, that we can’t see, but we can start to more reasonably guess at if we’re, say in our 90s, to “be” so, even if we fail and fail again. And to “be” so, we have to “act” so. It’s beautiful. Even if our biology is way beyond the child-rearing age, we can still repent the imperfect act, the sin, of using contraception in the confessional right up to our dying day. But there’s the key, though. When is our dying day? It could be today. We can see for a physical fact when the log has its last chance to “be” a table. Only Christ knows when our last chance to “be” Catholic is. Best assume that it’s now.

          • James Patton

            ” If a Catholic is faithful s/he doesn’t contracept. ”

            So there are no faithful Catholics. I didn’t need even a paragraph to say what you are trying to double talk around. Perhaps in a world without sin, I will someday meet a faithful Catholic?

            • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

              Hi, James–let’s just keep it simple: a Catholic who deliberately uses contraception to prevent pregnancy is not being faithful to God’s plan for marriage and sexuality.
              Agreed?

              • James Patton

                It isn’t my place to determine who is Catholic enough or what God’s plan for marriage and sexuality are based on Jewish or Catholic traditions. What I find fascinating is that typical Catholics are not very good Jews or Christians and lack the basic core principles that are part of the Canonized Bible.

                • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                  Don’t you agree that there is a big difference between “dissent” and “repent”?
                  That is, failing to live up to a teaching you know is right is one thing. Rejecting a teaching you think is wrong is quite another.
                  I am “faithful” to the Church’s teaching on being charitable even when I *fail* to display sufficient charity in a given situation because I know the teaching is right.
                  I am not faithful to that teaching if I think being charitable is *wrong* and act uncharitably as a result….

                  • James Patton

                    I agree that “dissent” and “repent” are different but I will not agree that “dissent” is the same as “Rejecting”. Dissent to a teaching is not the same as rejecting a teaching as you have presented.

                    • Guest

                      How is that logical? Dissent is rejecting.

                    • James Patton

                      I love the fine art of equivocation. Dissent is not rejection, guest. The answer in the form of a question is: What is a dictionary?

                    • Guest

                      Dissent is rejection. If you dissent from the truth you are rejecting it. Evasion is evasion.

                    • James Patton

                      Simple equalities that are not equal can bear no truth.

                    • Guest

                      What is unequal?

                    • James Patton

                      What is a dictionary?

                    • Guest

                      Something you should really use.

                    • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                      Can you explain the difference you have in mind as it pertains to faithful and not-faithful as I propose above?
                      If my disagreement with a teaching leads me to *act* in opposition to that teaching, it seems to me that I have: 1) dissented, 2) rejected the teaching in thought and deed, and 3) demonstrated infidelity to that teaching.

                    • James Patton

                      I do not reject the teaching that abortions are morally wrong.

                      I dissent that oral contraception is morally wrong based on : 613 Mitzvot (Commandments), 10 commandments, The One Commandment, or any other scripture, etc.. I do not equate abortions to the use of oral contraception because the science does not support such assertions.

                    • Guest

                      Of course dissent is simply rejecting the truth. Word games are just games.

            • Guest

              Why would you conclude that? Acting contrary to one’s position is not consistent with faith. It is the opposite. Is this not self evident?

              • James Patton

                Do you consider Saint Paul who was a murderer to be Catholic?

                • Guest

                  Huh? He murdered people after his conversion and claimed that is morally licit?

                  • James Patton

                    So, he is no longer a murderer because of his conversion?

                    • Guest

                      He repented and accepts the objective Truth. Why do you confuse the matter?

                    • James Patton

                      I am sure that those Catholics that use contraception will repent and accept that objective Truth once they are beyond their child bearing years. Why would you not consider them Catholics when a murder can be easily absolved?

                    • Guest

                      Are you being intentionally obtuse or simply disingenuous?

                    • James Patton

                      Why are you calling me stupid or a liar when it is your position in one case to forgive and forget murder, but in the case of contraception not?

                    • Guest

                      You make no sense. One who authentically repents will be forgiven. You are confused on many levels.

          • kmk

            So, does this mean that contraception is doubly wrong?

      • ForChristAlone

        Truer words have never been spoken. How much of a faithful Catholic can you be if you are anti-children? Anti-life? Anti-sacrifice? Anti-love?

  • CRS

    “And what about infertility? Women who have spent their teens and
    twenties contracepting may wake up married in their thirties to discover
    they cannot conceive. They proceed to spend thousands and thousands of
    dollars hyperovulating to get enough eggs to use IVF and then that
    fails. Is there a connection between early contraceptive use and later
    infertility? It makes sense that if one shuts down her reproductive
    system for years that it might have such an effect. We need to know.
    Even more, they need to know. Where are the studies?”

    I understood this as a teenager, and have never taken any artificial birth control because of it. 1). I don’t want to damage my fertility. 2). What’s the point of taking a chemical like this if I’m (at the time) still a virgin? 3). Even when I became an adult and entered into a relationship, I made it clear that I wasn’t using such chemicals and that I wouldn’t. I did leave the Church because of out-of-wedlock behavior, but I have since returned, and have further developed my ideas against these chemicals. If given an opportunity, I try to point out to feminists that men don’t use contraceptives, and many unchaste men prefer their women to use them. Not many men like using condoms as it interferes with their pleasure, but they will raise hell if their woman abandons the pill (or whatever chemical she uses) or becomes pregnant. Just look at the amount of boyfriends dropping and ditching their girlfriends at abortion clinics only to break up with those girls. Contraception is anti-feminism, anti-woman, and horrifically anti-child. And I don’t think the pro-life movement will get much farther if it doesn’t – as a whole – roundly decry the use of contraception.

    • ForChristAlone

      “Contraception is anti-feminism, anti-woman, and horrifically anti-child. ” and here you have nailed it! That’s it in a nutshell. It REALLY is a woman’s issue.

      • ForChristAlone

        …and besides, women need to know that men have been renting their bodies for about 50 years now and guess who’s been paying the rent? It ain’t the men, you can be sure of that. Women pay for men to rent their bodies with their high rates of breast cancer which leads to early death. That’s a steep price to pay, indeed.

        • CRS

          Yes, it is. And yet women are still allowing themselves to be suckered into believing the nonsense the contraception community is feeding them.

    • kmk

      Thanks for sharing CRS. I wonder how many teens have this information? I wish I had heard this in my secular youth.

      • CRS

        None. I was lucky to have received a Catholic education (and not from my parish, but through home schooling) that stuck with me even when I lapsed in practicing my faith. But with the sheer amount of kids in public school and after-school programs, it is difficult to get this kind of information to them. If only parents – especially Catholic parents – would be more involved, some of these truths would be made known.

  • Maggie Sullivan

    Can anyone help?

    My nephew and his wife who has been on the pill for ten years decided to have a baby.

    She stopped taking the pill, became pregnant, and just had a miscarriage. She is 28.

    Could using the pill for ten years be a possible cause for the miscarriage?

    • ForChristAlone

      I’m no MD, but how could loading up your body with synthetic hormones be good for any of the bodies natural processes? Why would a miscarriage not be a reasonable expectation in this case?

      • ForChristAlone

        sorry…I meant BODY’S

    • godandchocolate

      Yes, the pill can have lasting health consequences. Depending on how long after discontinuing the pill she conceived, it could have caused her to have low progesterone levels. Progesterone is the “pro-gestational” hormone, and inadequate progesterone in early pregnancy is a major cause of miscarriage.

      Or, depending on why she was taking it in the first place, the pill could have masked an underlying health issue that causes infertility, which is just now being uncovered by their desire to get pregnant.

      I would highly recommend they visit fertilitycare.org and find a Creighton Model practitioner near them who can begin teaching them the method (of natural family planning/fertility awareness) and refer them to a NaProTechnology medical consultant who will treat the underlying causes of infertility/miscarriage.

  • alice

    I keep thinking about Peter Maurin’s saying that a just society is one that make it easy to be good. My husband and I have 7 children, but we certainly don’t feel like we are living in a society that welcomes, much less, assists us in the great responsibility which we have in raising them. (Oldest 13 to 1.) I wonder if we could work also on engendering generosity from those that did not choose to be open to life to make amends by helping in every way possible the younger fertile people care for their families. How about our churches charging singles to adopt families to help and commit to instead of just offering Theology on Tap? We need communities that support life not just people saying “Don’t contracept.” We can all help make life in community lived for a common good rather than for radical “self fulfillment” as attractive as it should be. Beauty is attractive. A loving family full of generous self-giving has a great evangelizing power and will help the Culture of Life grow from a place of strength.

    • TheAbaum

      The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.

  • Jhawk77

    Sexual gratification in nearly any way possible – without any repercussions – has become a “right” in the United States. It’s sad the sanctity of sexual relations, reserved only for a husband and wife, have eroded to what is likely the point of no return. Get a fireproof umbrella, I smell brimstone!

    • Austin Ruse

      Jhawk77…one of my finest moments ever was when i was in 4th grade and selling cokes in the stadium at the University of Missouri. I was standing wiht my rack of cokes about half way up the stands on the 50 yard line. A roll of toilet paper fell at my feet. I picked it up and threw it toward the field, it unrolled in a perfect arc and landed right on the head of the Kansas Jayhawks mascot. I got a standing ovation from a whole section of sorority girls. Finest moment ever.

      • Jhawk77

        Sounds like you should have been playing basketball not selling Cokes! Or at least got a kiss from each of the girls! Sorry we don’t play each other anymore. Go ‘Hawks!

        • Austin Ruse

          Hah!

  • Emol

    The truth about contraceptives is that they are not safe,
    and carry with them serious risks of such medical events such as pulmonary
    embolism and death as highlighted in Mr. Ruse’s article.
    The problem with this argument, that secular researchers often point out is
    that contraceptives are much safer than pregnancy. Essentially the risks from
    hormonal contraceptives are in their estrogen content, and no other state
    produces as much estrogen in the body as pregnancy does. Studies have been and
    continue to be conducted on estrogen content in our water systems (both synthetic
    and natural) and these do have real effects on our environment.

    Although
    it would be nice to have a large bandwagon of friendly secular persons opposed
    to contraception, I wouldn’t count on it. This article only speaks to hormonal
    methods, and researchers have the potential to develop safer hormonal options
    which would eliminate the arguments as presented in this article. There is only
    one reason that Catholics are bound to refrain from contracepting and that is
    the separation of the unitive nature of the marital act from the procreative
    nature of it.

    • ForChristAlone

      How about a feminist argument that contraceptives allow men to occupy women’s bodies w/o having to pay any rent and simply take temporary occupancy solely for their own pleasure? Don’t believe this to be true? Ask any man sleeping with a woman who’s not his wife. Perhaps when women realize that they’re being “had”, they might reconsider. I seem to remember a Greek play in my college years entitled Lysistrata by Aristophanes

      • Emol

        The feminist argument is that contraceptives allow a woman to be sexually free i.e. also having sex for their own pleasure. I don’t think secular women feel “had” because they also expect pleasure from sex without consequences. All I am saying is that these arguments have nothing to do with why Catholics cannot use contraception.

        • ForChristAlone

          What you’re saying is true. I do realize that women want to experience sexual pleasure. But I also know that they want to be loved and the fact of the matter is that there is nothing farther from the mind of the man she’s sleeping with than this. “Love you? Come on, sister, I just want to use you as a convenient receptacle.”

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  • Mike

    The church has a perfect opportunity to begin a conversation on this topic– the HHS mandate. But instead of saying the issue here is contraception, the hierarchy deflects the question and goes defensive, calling it religious liberty. Well, it may be religious liberty, but the reason it is so serious a matter is that the liberty being abridged is the right not to commit very serious and grave sin, the sin of abetting contraception.

    The church could have jumped at the opportunity to talk about WHY it teaches contraception is wrong, why sexuality is ordered to procreation and unity, etc. Yet we have avoided it like the plague. Pastors don’t want to touch this (well, most don’t). We have to all get with the program and get on board with the full truth of the faith instead of being embarrassed about it. Good call to some soul searching, Austin.

  • Michael Petek

    Contraception denies the sovereign role of God in the transmission of human life. To practice it is to commit idolatry. See my posting here.
    http://protectthepope.com/?p=10165#respond

    • Michael Ejercito

      So a pill can thwart God?

      So much for being all powerful…

  • Guest

    You only have two children, Mr. Ruse. Why is that?

    • Austin Ruse

      I was 47 when we were married. My wife was 39. In our first year we had three miscarriages after which Archbishop Raymond Burke blessed us with a piece of Gianna Molla wedding dress. He said, “This has worked 8 times.” We were the 9th. After that we were blessed with one more daughter. I am 57 and my wife is nearing 50 and we are still open to life. I presume this answers your very personal and accusatory question?

      • Joseph

        Wow, what a nosy question, but what an inspiring answer! And what a beautiful miracle, through the intercession of St. Gianna Beretta Molla!

        Only in the Catholic Church do we have so many miracles (but in all fairness, the Orthodox Churches do come close).

        • Carl

          Guest, “You only have two children'” uses the typical Leftist method of embarrass, ridicule, and silence technique.
          Using guest’s methodology Saul of Tarsus’s 14 of 27 New Testament writings should be ignored because he persecuted Christians before he spoke the truths in the same mentioned writings.
          And it’s just as inspiring if not more so when someone converts and lives’ and evangelizes the Christ’s truth.

      • hombre111

        47!!?? 39!!?? Now that explains a lot.

        • Austin Ruse

          huh?

          • hombre111

            Some people wait until they are well established in life before marrying and having a family. Therefore, they do not face the struggle faced by people who marry younger. Take my former campus minister, faithful orthodox Catholic from that hive of orthodoxism called Steubenville. I performed her marriage. To my dismay, she was not very good at her job and I was about to let her go, when she got pregnant. How could I fire a pregnant mom whose husband was having trouble finding work? So, I kept her. Pregnant again. And again. And again. Nice little kids. Her house a mess. Her job a mess. When I left ministry for retirement, I could she and her husband were tense. Three failed efforts at NFP in a row. A fourth failure in the near future? Don’t know. Haven’t checked back. But I could see the pressure building.

            • Austin Ruse

              And some people do not find the one they want to marry until later in life…that was us…

            • ForChristAlone

              Great Christian response on your part…full of judgment. How does one achieve such lofty heights of holiness as you convey?

            • Hegesippus

              Do you seriously think that God condemns those who follow His ways? Just because she had a different life experience than you does not mean she was on the wrong path. Maybe she was following God’s will. It is recommended.

              • James Patton

                God doesn’t condemn anyone, yet if you follow His ways, most societies will condemn and incarcerate you.

                • hombre111

                  Some societies.

            • Invincible Hope

              As one who had similar experience, those kids are the greatest blessing (and will continue to be) in her and her husbands life. And they obviously did not effect her job performance as you looked to fire her when she had no kids. You go find those kids when they are beautiful young adults, look them in their eyes, and try and tell them that they (and their life) are “unimpeded adventures of a sperm and an egg” rather than planned gifts from God with full human dignity and making the world a better place by being here, and hopefully you’ll get the slap in the face you deserve! Sit behind you’re keyboard and dare to speculate that someone or the someone’s family would be better off had they never been born. Two can play that game, I’d rather their mom have had the four or more than your mother have the one which resulted in you.. and if you think that is unchristian , that is essentially what you are saying about GODS PLAN for those beautiful kids. As a Parent I can honestly tell you that the young family values those kids over the measly job, an will when they are elderly , and will in the afterlife; GOD PROVIDES. You haven’t “checked back” (not surprising) but I bet if you did you’d find none of the family has starved to death, and they are living better with the blessing little ones bring than they would be as just two with no good job, financial strain, and no kids… Kids are a rock God provided upon which lasting Catholic marriages can stand during the shaky times.

              • hombre111

                I checked back with present pastor. She continues to do a lousy job, but how is he going to fire a mom with four kids? Oh, by the way, my mom had six kids. I was in the middle. You are right, I would not trade in any one of my brothers and sisters. But we lived in the depth of poverty, and God did not always provide. Sometimes my mother gave us her food. She weighed ninety pounds and looked like someone from a Nazi concentration camp. She remains my personal hero.

                • TheAbaum

                  So.. the middle child syndrome, eh?

                  • Guest

                    The propaganda is too much. Next we will here he walked to school 16 miles uphill both ways.

                    • TheAbaum

                      I do believe the part about scarring. That is obvious.

                    • Guest

                      Yea, funny. Every tale that he lists just happens to fit perfectly his narrative. Who on earth would believe such contrived silliness?

                • Art Deco

                  I wonder what ‘lousy job’ means in hombre-world (or why the current pastor is offering over-the-phone gossip about his employees).

    • ForChristAlone

      It’s not of your damn business. Your question needs to be addressed to God. When He answers you, let us all know….and then you can apologize to Mr Ruse for being so cheeky.

  • kmk

    Austin, Austin you are too much within the world. Your politics come before religion. Nothing wrong with that, but perhaps you could better serve some secular magazine. Catholic teaching is clear – no use of contraceptives. The word itself means against life. Those that follow Catholicism promote life. They marry one person, of the opposite sex, to bond with. Bond – as in forever. They are open to new life, yet responsible, so they will be informed about Natural Family Planning.
    God loves us so much that He wants us to make more of us.

    • Austin Ruse

      Hah! Missed the point of the article entirely! The POINT is the answer is NOT political. How did you miss that, KWK, OH KWK!

      • kmk

        Sorry if I missed the point. I tend to skim through early paragraphs and rarely read the middle or end, instead I preferably jump to the comments. The first 4 – 5 paragraphs of this article were political statements. Austin, respectfully, I still wonder about your agenda, since you supposedly have years of experience with pro-life matters and are published in a Catholic periodical, yet you do not know how to support, or promote, respect for life. Perhaps you are playing the devil’s advocate or using rhetoric. We need to educate others about the dangerous risks of all contraceptives and the benefits of Natural Family Planning. After that, personal witness is probably the most effective method for sharing God’s goodness.

        • Austin Ruse

          When you are able to repeat my argument sufficiently that I know you understand, I will engage you. So far, you’re miles off the mark. Which is strange since I write pretty simply.

          • kmk

            Well then, considering your immature remark, I won’t indulge you anymore until you can at least spell my initials correctly.

            • Austin Ruse

              It is just frustrating to engage someone who is either lazy, or deliberately misreading the piece. It is just not seriouis. Show me you are serious and I wil engage…

  • Ed Hamilton

    I’ve heard that contraception is difficult for a homilist to preach on because kids are often present. How does one get around that by teaching the average Catholic. And now only 20 some percent of Catholics regularly attend mass. I think we have our work cut out for us but conversion of heart is most needed more then anything. Christ is the only way. Pope Francis has the right idea. Conversion of heart and a fervent devotion to Christ. The culture is injured enough and should be fought for. But living fervently for Chist like the early Christians I think is what is going to turn it all around. There is no room for mediocraty now!

    • Carl

      The marital act must always be left open to the transmission of life. And only within the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.
      How hard was that?

      • ForChristAlone

        Exactly, preach the virtue of generosity as lived in and through marriage in all its aspects. Everyone will know what you mean. Once you proclaim that married couples ought to be “all in” as far as marriage is concerned and should be holding nothing back – NOTHING then the conclusion will be drawn that this applies to the marital acts as well. There are the invincible ignorant that one will have to slam on the side of the head to get the point across, however. That can be done in private.

      • Michael Ejercito

        Where does it say that explicitly in the Bible?

  • fredx2

    NFP is the answer.
    If it does all the things Catholics claim, then it should be a no brainer. If NFP creates a closer intimacy, if it prevents divorce, and if it keeps cancer causing drugs out of your body, if it makes it possible to plan pregnancies to a reasonable degree, then it is obviously superior.
    If artificial birth control harms relationships, may cause cancer, increases the risk for divorce, messes up women’s bodies, then it is obviously inferior.
    If Catholics take up NFP, and joyfully tell about their successes to the rest of the world, and serve as models for the rest of the country, then the folly of contraception can be demonstrated.
    Doing things the right way (NFP) has innumerable rewards. It beats out the cheap and dirty shortcut (artificial contraception) any day

  • forestfortrees

    In terms of fertility, a condom does nothing more than prevent an egg from becoming fertilized. NFP does the same except through a different means– abstinence. The process of NFP however requires more attention to the deed; carefully plotting when the egg is released and then keeping one’s back turned on that potential life until it is no longer. The bible and people citing it condemn the wasting of a man’s seed, yet where one man’s supply soars well into the millions– and replenishes, the number of ova that can manifest to a walking talking human in a woman’s lifetime is about 15. A persistent strategy of letting those gems pass away hardly sounds accepting of God’s gifts or a procreative mindset.

    • Hegesippus

      To separate the act of fertilising an egg from the act of uniting spouses is just as faulty as separating the uniting of spouses form the fertilisation of an egg. In NFP there is no sexual act. In contraception there is. The key points are in the names.

      And using the utilitarian argument of “use your resources to the best advantage” is not compatible with the gifts of procreation, spousal bonding and love.

  • forestfortrees

    Can’t handle the truth ??

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  • john

    And this from a guy that just finished an article trying to tell us “contraception” is not the “hill” we want to “die” or fight on…

    • Austin Ruse

      the “political” hill. Moreover, this column is a challenge to you. If you think that it is the political hill you want to die on, then what are you doing? What campaigns are you launching? What movement have you started? Or is your concern strictly limited to comment boxes?

  • Tony

    We can repeat these things all day long. The Pill is destructive of the common good. The Pill cheapens sexual relations. The Pill poisons relations between the sexes. The Pill is incompatible with a society built upon strong and stable families. All of these things are demonstrably true. They require only open eyes. The Pill simply IS the sexual revolution, and every evil of the sexual revolution can be attributed to it, as to the instrument that makes the sexual revolution feasible.

    • Michael Ejercito

      The Pill is nowhere mentioned in the Bible.

      • Tony

        It did not exist then. But fornication is mentioned in the Bible, and condemned everywhere it is mentioned. Divorce is mentioned in the Bible; our Lord rules it out. All kinds of sexual perversions are mentioned and are condemned. The Pill, as I said, is destructive of the common good, because it is the key to the whole miserable Sexual Revolution, that which has destroyed innumerable families and has rendered real community life nearly impossible — since it has planted transience at the heart of what should be the most enduring commitment that human beings commonly make, the commitment of a man and a woman to give themselves entirely to one another, forever.

        • Michael Ejercito

          The Pill, as I said, is destructive of the common good, because it is the key to the whole miserable Sexual Revolution,

          So there was neither fornication nor adultery until the Pill was invented?

          • Tony

            There was both. And they were roundly condemned, and kept largely in check. This was true of all social and economic groups. For example, nine of ten children born to black parents in America in 1900 were born WITHIN wedlock. The percentage for whites was lower still. Without the Pill, even indifferently virtuous people were taking a big chance in having sexual intercourse outside of marriage. The overwhelming majority of women did not do it; a great many of the men also did not fornicate, and those who did, kept their misbehavior within certain bounds, both in terms of who they had relations with and how extensive or frequent those relations were. You cannot argue against the mathematics of it, even if you don’t accept the testimony of people who lived not all that long ago. If people fornicated and committed adultery then with the same irresponsibility and moral apathy as they do now, then the large majority of children would have been born out of wedlock, as they are now among blacks in America. But that is not true. Almost all children were born within wedlock.
            The Pill has changed the whole attitude of people towards sex. If, for example, you lived in 1940 and you expressed the opinion you are suggesting above — which is that fornication is morally indifferent — you wouldn’t find too many people who would agree with you, and many people would simply conclude that you had become depraved; just as if you’d said that it was all right to steal someone’s wallet, or all right to point a loaded gun at a crowd of people at a ballgame. Even the sinners would want to avoid you.

  • MgW

    That “generosity of spirit” cannot be bred out. Because it is the selfish ones who are not having children. And the generous ones are having big families…maybe eventually the “selfish spirit” will be “unbred out”.

    Also, It made me wonder…could contraceptives be causing Global Warming…or cooling…or whatever it’s doing?…like you said all those hormones being flushed into the environment! causing problems with fish..which are effecting other facets of the environment? Is that possible? If so, we can get John Kerry involved in banning contraceptives!

    Thanks for a very very interesting thought provoking article!

  • theresa

    Just stop supporting and endorsing candidates that take positions opposite to the culture of life (Barbara Comstock) and support/endorse others they do. That would help a little bit, don’t you think? Thank you!

    • Austin Ruse

      Only if you think there is a political solution. Personally, I don’t think there is…

  • childofmary

    Austin, you are SO right. I live in a diocese that requires every volunteer, including the little old ladies that cut cake at bingos, to pass a battery of safe environment clearances. Each volunteer costs the parish at least $25 for classes and state filing. An enormous effort is being made to ensure that we are all “safe” people. I am not criticizing this effort which is very important. But I have often wondered what might happen to the Culture of Death in America if our dioceses would put the same effort into effectively educating the laity on contraception. If we are teaching people that the use of contraception is a mortal sin, then we need to provide the same people with adequate education about why it is a mortal sin, and ample instructors of NFP . But “safe environment” is now a matter of public appearance; human respect is at stake if we don’t take a stand. But with contraception, human respect is at risk if we do take a stand. At least initially. After we begin to speak with courage and with the facts, a new generation of healthy and holy marriages would begin to flourish. I have learned over many years of ministry, how true it is that people really are sheep. When led confidently, they WILL follow. Dear bishops, please lead the flock boldly on this issue of contraception,that they may follow!

    • ForChristAlone

      I would encourage you to send your comments to your bishop. You are right on the mark!

  • BillinJax

    This whole issue needs to be viewed from the broad picture
    of what we are and how we came to be. If you are unsure or lack truth of our
    origin and purpose you have little chance of understanding our nature and
    ultimate destiny. This is why I continue to believe any civilized society must
    ask itself these questions.

    Do we ever want to get to the point where all men may
    consider behaving as human gentle men, spouse protectors, family providers and
    not a domesticated form of reproductive animal?

    Do we ever want to see an end to women being treated by men
    as if society had given them a license to use women simply as a depository for
    their male sexual passions?

    Do we ever want all women to someday have enough self pride
    and dignity to understand and admit their bodies were designed to be the very sanctuaries
    of human society and their wombs are and always have been the wellsprings of
    mankind?

    Do we ever want both men and women to understand that within
    this concept and the knowledge they are pro-creators that children are more
    than simply a product of physical activity between lovers?.

    Do we ever someday want all children to grow up to realize
    and understand they were begotten out of more than blind passion?

    If and whenever we have answered “yes” to these questions we
    will have begun to know and appreciate the true meaning of human love and life
    and when it begins.

    • Michael Ejercito

      How about we just rely on the Bible? The Bible tells us what is right and wrong, because it is the Word of God.

      • BillinJax

        Then we say thank God for Christ’s Church, guided by the Spirit given to it in the beginning, which gathered the writings, reviewed them, and put them together for us that we would always have the Truth of God’s word among the nations to guide them until his return.

  • theresa

    Wow, I can’t believe it! Barbara Comstock advocates a “political” solution – make the pill more readily available to adult women and they in turn, 18 year high school and college students, can get it more easily for their younger friends (and maybe even their younger sisters). You endorsed the only Catholic candidate who has acted on the apparent belief that it does belong in politics. Oops, didn’t she get your message about going door-to-door to all our neighbors and friends and changing hearts? No, she bypassed them. Oops, did this valiant warrior of Catholic virtue try to change the hearts of her fellow delegates? No, she opted for “political” expediency — corralling female colleagues to join her misguided, anti-Catholic “political” solution to HHS. Mr. Ruse, you are all about “winning” and so is she. “God has not called [us] to be successful. He has called [us]] to be faithful.” St. Therese of Lisieux. While we cannot all be successful, we can all be “faithful.” If, you truly cared about Ms. Comstock, you would have that “neighborly” talk with her and try to change her heart, not turn a blind eye to the evil of contraception and make continuous excuses for her and yourself.

  • Michael Ejercito

    What does Scripture say?

  • Dan Egan

    Amazingly ignorant. Which is worse according to your doctrine: Aborting a fetus or using birth control? Any sane person would agree that abortion is a worse thing than using birth control. Birth control(pick any flavor) REDUCES the number of abortions. How hard is that for you people to understand? It’s fact. So if the Catholic church REALLY wants to cut down on abortion they should hand out condoms at Mass instead of stale crackers.

    • thisStinks

      you don’t get – abortion is backup for failed contraception;
      irresponsible behavior leads to deadly consequences

      • Dan Egan

        And just who among us has NOT participated in irresponsible behavior?
        Is abstinence the best way to avoid getting pregnant or catching an STD? YES. But the fact of the matter is that humans have SEX. We’re programmed from the factory to do so. Using contraception is RESPONSIBLE and it lowers the number of abortions. Period.
        Answer the question…
        Which is worse.. aborting a fetus… or using birth control?
        Only an idiot couldn’t see that abortion is far worse of a ‘sin’ than using birth control. Well over 90% of American Catholics use or have use birth control.. so let’s just stop the hypocrisy already.. and stop taking sex advice from men who have vowed to not have sex.
        One only needs to look at the problems of Catholic Priests having sex with children to see this is not a group that should EVER give out sex advice.

        • theresa

          Mr. Egan, I can see in your posts the vitriolic anger toward the Church bubbling over he surface. I will pray that God will soften you in your bitterness and hatred and, just perhaps, you’ll be able to write more intelligently and civilly without the needless denigration.toward the faith of others.

          • Dan Egan

            Theresa (great name btw ;-)). What’s not intelligent about lowering the number of abortions by promoting the use of contraception??? Then again, 38% of all pregnancies end up in miscarriage… so I guess ‘god’ is the biggest abortionist of all time.

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