Letter to the Editors

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Letter to the Editors of the Villanovan:

What was really disappointing about the feature article entitled “Confronting a concept of controversy” on page 23 of the October 24, 2003 issue of The Villanovan was that it doesn’t really engage the issue. In short, it states when one comes to study at an institution which bears a particular label; one should expect to freely engage in learning about oneself and the world without expecting that the academic institution which one attends will somehow betray its identity, in this instance being Catholic. We should demand truth in advertising. The other thing the article says in no uncertain terms is that people want to feel good about an activity in which they presumably are already engaged, in this case sex outside of marriage. Should we say action validates necessity? What the article fails to investigate are the reasons for the position of the Catholic Church, or of those who are of a dissenting opinion. While I am only scratching the surface I hope a truly intelligent and respectful dialogue on this issue can begin on Villanova University’s campus.

There is a lot of rhetoric as to the purpose and need for the distribution of prophylactic medical devices and drugs around the world which deter or end the natural process of human procreation. Nevertheless as most people know, whether they share in the opinion or not, the Catholic Church has taken a clear stand against the use of artificial birth control because it is not a necessary treatment for illness, and is a moral evil. Fertility is not a disease, and yet we want to treat it like one. The real unfortunate indictment is of Western medicine which has never been comfortable with either the female body, or the growth and nurture of a human person in utero and immediately after birth, unless they can be seen as something in need of a solution or a cure. The intricacies of human anatomy are not playthings, and pregnant women are not sick and their bodies should not be ridiculed. In fact no body should be exploited, but the contraceptive mentality promotes a selfish culture of death. If we were to take an open minded look at the human subject, the process of human procreation, and the tools used to control it, it is my opinion that the clear light of reason would dispel many myths surrounding the taboo of sex. This is something I think Father McCartney was alluding to when he was quoted as saying ‘education is the name of the game.’

The real issue is with birth control not with the regulation of the birth process. The regulation of birth by means of Natural Family Planning (NFP), which is highly scientific and more effective than any known form of artificial birth control, is the means endorsed by the Catholic Church as the only appropriate way for a couple to demonstrate a commitment to one another, and to the fact that their physical union as a natural result of sacramental marriage will be an activity that is both unitive and procreative. In other words, if there is someone to whom you make yourself vulnerable in love, and you plan to share your whole life with that member of the opposite sex as a mate it includes your fertility, and therefore one ought to be open to life and be prepared to bear the fruits of your labor of love together as parents, if you are blessed with children.

People will often point to 1968 as a turning point, because it was in the midst of the “sexual” revolution in this country that the statement from the Pope, On the Regulation of Human Birth (Humane Vitae) was issued based on the authority of his teaching office as the spiritual leader of the Catholic Church. What is often not mentioned by detractors is the fact that Pope Paul VI, who was by all accounts an exceedingly progressive cardinal and pope, was only consistently teaching what the Catholic Church (Orthodox Judaism and Islam, too, for that matter) has always said in an unfolding way about “the transmission of human life.” Another point often missed because of the personal feelings surrounding this one milestone in the Catholic Church’s stance for the human person over and against technology is that Humanae Vitae was also absolutely prophetic.

We now live in a world replete with destroyed lives and families, promiscuity and a larger number of sexually transmitted diseases, rampant sexual immorality and a cultural distortion of what the body’s for, and how we are to conduct ourselves with respect to other human persons. As the scientific research shows, the use of condoms for “safe sex” is a cruel joke. Abstinence is the only absolutely effective means that is 100% safe. Contraceptives, like The Pill, for before or “the morning after,” and the other means used to deny female fertility at their worse annihilates a human life, and is little better when it makes women into slaves. A slavery borne of the fact that the female human being is never allowed by society to think well of her anatomy, or her natural bodily functions. Methods of “control” are taught which in the end turn her into an object to be copulated on. Males and females alike, instead of using understanding and self-control, are complicit in this slavery after being indoctrinated to use some chemical, device, or surgery to enhance appearance, augment reproductive body parts, increase pleasurable sensations in unnatural ways, or destroy the result of having been humans engaged in sexual intercourse in the first place. Dehumanizing sex acts and pornography are also promoted as healthy outlets by fashion and pop psychology when they really promote a deformed view of life that alienates us from one another, and pits men and women in devolution toward animalism. When what man, woman, and child, the basic community of human rights based on natural law, all really want is the respect each human being deserves by virtue of her or his personhood.

While the prevailing American culture feeds our appetite for depravity and tells us that sex without consequence is desirable, the Catholic Church and our own bodies continually tell us otherwise.

Dr. AnonymousA Villanova Faculty Member