Sunday, October 23, 2011


The new health care law signed by the president in 2010 requires that all employers provide health care insurance for employees. The Department of Human Services mandates that contraceptives be a part of the insurance, and the religious conscience exception is so narrow as to be almost ineffective. This is the reason why the bishops in September were urging Catholics to ask HHS to fix the conscience clause so that Catholic institutions would not be required to include birth control pills as part of their health care plans. September 30 was the deadline to contact HHS. I have not heard what effect this had on the law.

Some may wonder why the Church is against contraceptives. The Church has consistently taught that artificial contraception is intrinsically wrong because it interferes with a natural process created by God concerning human life. It manipulates that which results from human intimacy between a man and a woman. Conjugal union is meant to be an expression of selfless love open to life. To block the natural function of this union is to hold back on fully giving oneself to the other. It's to say that my love only goes so far and stops at the possibility of being open to new life.

Over forty years ago, Pope Paul VI wrote the encyclical Humanae Vitae (On Human Life) which explained the Church's continual opposition to artificial means of birth control. He taught that it essentially destroys the unitive and procreative aspect of the marital act. Prophetically, he said that once artificial contraception is accepted, the door will be open to all kinds of sexual license such as casual sex and homosexual activity. He even indicated that it would lead to abortion. The reason is that a contraceptive mentality values pleasure as the purpose of sexual union. Responsibility is not part of the picture. Further analysis would lead to the conclusion that it's the individual's pleasure that counts. That doesn't exactly strengthen marriages. Aside from all of this, there are a host of possibilities that can compromise the woman's health by using the pill.

The Church is not saying that husbands and wives must have as many children as they can. Of course not. There is such a thing as responsible parenthood. Sometimes a pregnancy must be postponed. But, the way to do this is by the natural means: Natural Family Planning which does not involve any chemicals, surgery or devices to obstruct the natural process. NFP is at least as effective as the pill, and it's completely safe, without any side effects.

Once again the Church teaches as the voice of Christ and not as the consensus of men. As such she is distinguishing for us what is harmful and what is good for our souls and even for our bodies. This is the work of love.

Father Stanley

No comments:

Post a Comment