Sunday, October 19, 2014

Blessed Pope Paul VI - Proving Prophetic

Today Pope Paul VI was officially proclaimed Blessed Pope Paul VI.

I'm sure that fact will offend a number of people who are calling for changes in Church teachings. After all, Pope Paul is the one who gave us - shudder - Humanae Vitae, the encyclical that reiterated the Church's prohibition on artificial means of birth control.

Theology underlying that prohibition is difficult for many people to grasp - not because it is wrong, but because of the level of understanding and subtle thinking required.

The controversies surrounding that encyclical, and the misunderstandings about it, have been blamed for leading people to leave the Church or to simply ignore its teachings, often inspired/influenced by critics and dissidents.

I'm not here to debate the teachings - which I support - but rather to point out how Blessed Pope Paul has proven prophetic.

Since most people - including many people who criticize it - have not read the actual document, I'll quote the prophetic passage:

17. Upright men can even better convince themselves of the solid grounds on which the teaching of the Church in this field is based, if they care to reflect upon the consequences of methods of artificial birth control. Let them consider, first of all, how wide and easy a road would thus be opened up towards conjugal infidelity and the general lowering of morality. Not much experience is needed in order to know human weakness, and to understand that men -- especially the young, who are so vulnerable on this point -- have need of encouragement to be faithful to the moral law, so that they must not be offered some easy means of eluding its observance. It is also to be feared that the man, growing used to the employment of anti-conceptive practices, may finally lose respect for the woman and, no longer caring for her physical and psychological equilibrium, may come to the point of considering her as a mere instrument of selfish enjoyment, and no longer as his respected and beloved companion.

Let it be considered also that a dangerous weapon would thus be placed in the hands of those public authorities who take no heed of moral exigencies. Who could blame a government for applying to the solution of the problems of the community those means acknowledged to be licit for married couples in the solution of a family problem? Who will stop rulers from favoring, from even imposing upon their peoples, if they were to consider it necessary, the method of contraception which they judge to be most efficacious? In such a way men, wishing to avoid individual, family, or social difficulties encountered in the observance of the divine law, would reach the point of placing at the mercy of the intervention of public authorities the most personal and most reserved sector of conjugal intimacy.

The key points in this are his prediction that the widespread use of contraception would have four main negative consequences:

It would lead to a lowering of moral standards.
It would lead to an objectification of women into sex objects.
It would lead to an increase in infidelity (and in the number of illegitimate children).
It would lead to the government intruding into provision and even imposition of contraception.

We have seen all prophecies coming true - From what passes as entertainment these days, statistics about cohabitation, the illegitimacy rates, the growth in pornography and pressures put on women, the push for homosexual marriage, the government forcing people of faith to provide birth control or to pay for provision of it, and so much more.

Birth control has not freed women and men: It has enslaved us. It has turned sex into just a recreational activity, not an intimate and selfless expression of love between a man and a woman.

Blessed Pope Paul VI deserves to be honored if for nothing else for his foresight.

 Pax et bonum

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