Population Control

It is extremely interesting to learn of some of the things our parents had to go through. One of them was the government's policy to "Stop At Two", just as China now has the policy for each family to only have one child. One of the consequences of carrying out this policy is the now lack of population growth which has resulted in the government offering tax benefits to those with larger families, and to import foreign talent, because its only natural resource - population - is dwindling.

Some of our parents in Singapore greatly resent the government for this, especially those who were deceived into sterilization, which is, after all, an irreversible process.

Other forms of contraceptives have also resulted in many of today's problems. Breakdown of marriages, for one. And indeed an overall devaluation of sex. The primary reason why our teenagers are having sex at such a young age is because of a contraceptive mentality that is prevalent in our society.

What is a contraceptive society? One that believes pregnancy to be a disease, usually economically, and does what it can to "cure" or prevent this disease.

What our government, and many governments in the world today, fail to realise is that their solution to the rampant problem of promiscuous sex is the very root of the problem!

The first paragraph of the Fourth Sunday of Lent's first reading from 2 Chronicles holds a deeper meaning for our world today, with the new Temple of the Lord being the human body.

2 Chronicles 36:14-16

All the heads of the priesthood, and the people too, added infidelity to infidelity, copying all the shameful practices of the nations and defiling the Temple that the Lord had consecrated for himself in Jerusalem. The Lord, the God of their ancestors, tirelessly sent them messenger after messenger, since he wished to spare his people and his house. But they ridiculed the messengers of God, they despised his words, they laughed at his prophets, until at last the wrath of the Lord rose so high against his people that there was no further remedy.

I think what's even more amazing is Pope Paul VI's predictions made in 1968. He predicted in his encyclical "Humanae Vitae" that the widespread use of contraception would lead to "conjugal infidelity and the general lowering of morality."

This is exactly what has taken place. Who would deny that the rates of abortion, divorce, family breakdown, wife and child abuse, venereal disease and out-of-wedlock births have all massively increased since the mid-1960s?

Skeptics would claim that there is no correlation between these statistics and the use of contraceptives. Indeed there would be none if the Church today claims that the contraceptives play a major role in this. But what makes the Church's claim effective and plausible is that it made this claim, this prediction, before the troubles occurred on such a large scale.

Even in science, one of the criteria of the validity and truth of a scientific theory is that it must be able to make accurate predictions about an occurrence. But where does religion and science meet in this case? In the field of social science.

What contraceptives has done since 1968 is to drive the transformation of attitudes towards sex. This rapid change in the attitudes towards sex would not have been possible or sustainable without easy access to reliable contraceptive. In this prediction, Paul VI was right.

But that's not all. He also warned that man would lose respect for woman and "no longer [care] for her physical and psychological equilibrium", to the point that he would consider her "as a mere instrument of selfish enjoyment, and no longer as his respected and beloved companion".

What this means is that, according to the pope, contraception might be marketed as liberating for women, but the real "beneficiaries" of birth control pills and devices would be men.

Now, three, coming to four, decades later, exactly as Paul VI suggested, contraception has released males - to a degree never seen or recorded before in history - from responsibility for their sexual aggression.

In this process, one of the stranger ironies of the contraception debate in the past generation has been that many feminists, particularly in America, have attacked the Catholic Church for her alleged disregard of women. But the thing is, the Church in "Humanae Vitae" was the one who first identified and rejected sexual exploitation of women years before that message entered the cultural mainstream.

So again Pope Paul VI made an accurate prediction here.

But now we come to Pope Paul VI's third prediction, which brings us back to the title of this post.

The pope also warned that the widespread use of contraception would place a "dangerous weapon... in the hands of those public authorities who take no heed of moral exigencies."

One of the Nazi efforts to produce the ultimate race of human beings was to explore the field of eugenics, and we know that didn't disappear in 1945.

In fact, population control policies are now an accepted part of nearly every foreign aid discussion. Massive export of contraceptives, abortion, and sterilization by the developed world to developing countries is a thinly disguised form of population warfare and cultural re-engineering. In addition such are frequently as a prerequisite for aid dollars and are often in direct contradiction to local moral traditions.

Once again, Pope Paul VI has been proven right.

Fourth, he warned that contraception would mislead human beings into thinking they had unlimited dominion over their human bodies, relentlessly turning the human person into the object of his or her own intrusive power.

Here we see yet another irony: In evading the truth and fleeing into the false freedom provided by contraception and abortion, an exaggerated feminism has actively colluded in women's dehumanization.

A man and a woman participate uniquely in the glory of God by their ability to co-create new life with Him. At the heart of contraception, however, is the assumption that fertility is an infection which must be attacked and controlled, exactly as antibiotics attack bacteria.

In this attitude, we can see the organic link between contraception and abortion. If fertility can be misrepresented as an infection to be attacked, so too can new life!

In either case, a defining element of woman's identity - her potential for bearing new life - is recast as a weakness requiring vigilant distrust and "treatment". Woman becomes the object of the tools she relies on to ensure her own liberation and defense, while man takes no share of the burden.

Once more, Paul VI was right.

From this last point, much much more has been born, if you pardon the expression, from contraceptive technology - in vitro fertilisation, cloning, genetic manipulation, and embryo experimentation.

Contraceptive technology, because of its impact on sexual intimacy, has subverted our understanding of the purpose of sexuality, fertility and marriage itself.

All this leads to a greater and more widespread acceptance of homosexuality, abortion, disregard of human life, euthanasia, throwing newborn babies down the rubbish chute, masturbation, pornography, multiple sexual partners at all ages, even bestiality.

Welcome to the world we live in where such problems invaded our shores the day we opened our doors to contraceptive technology. In country after country, it is always the same thing. Once you have contraception, the rest is completely predictable.

But as it says in John 3:17, Christ came not to condemn but to save. So Pope Paul VI did not condemn his and our generation, but offered the teaching of the duties and responsibilities of married life.

And in our own generation, Pope John Paul II in his Theology of the Body explained the reasons behind Pope Paul VI's teachings. And today, we have Christopher West who translates John Paul's very philosophical and scholarly language into simple English that you and I can understand.

Are you ready to be a Christian, to do what is necessary to preserve the sanctity of life and the human body?

(Some parts of this post has been extracted from Archbishop of Denver, Colorado (USA), Charles J. Chaput, ofm, in his pastoral letter to the people of God of northern Colorado on the truth and meaning of married love on June 22, 1998, titled "Paul VI was right".)


ChrisYeo said...

As to be expected in a post of this nature, there are some overhasty generalisations, logical leaps and overtly emotional arguments. However, I do not wish to quibble over them, as the main thrust is generally informative and correct. Instead, I wish to raise another point.

Acknowledging the contraceptive culture of today and its ills, I wish to ask why we do not do anything concrete to prevent stores from placing condoms in prominent view at cash counters. Arguably, by placing them in full view and packaging them like colourful candy, we are implicitly saying that condoms are ok, even good and healthy. It gives youth, the most impressionable and significant group, the impression that contraceptive sex, and thus premarital sex, is ok. Something should be done about this. What should we as purported opponents of contraceptives propose we do?

Daniel said...
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Daniel said...

by Daniel Tay

I would think that nipping the problem at the stores is not really addressing the issue, but hiding it. I mean, cigarettes are also placed in full view, despite the mandatory warning labels on them.

The solution has to come through proper education, and we cannot rely on schools to do this for us. It has to start in the homes. Parents must spend time with their children and address the issue, not when they are 17 or 18 for that is far too late, but when they are still young and just entering puberty.

However, there is a problem there as well, because parents are often the first ones who need to be educated, and it has to start, first of all, with the Christians.

The reason for this is simple - if you take God out of the picture, there is no reason why contraceptives should not be used.

As Christians, we need to first be convinced that contraceptives can and will bring about the destruction of human society. Only when Catholics are united on this can we begin to spread the idea beyond our boundaries.

It is our Christian faith that enlightens us on the harmful effects of contraceptives. But most importantly, it is the Christian faith that can tell the secular world the reason why all these negative things are happening.

However, I do not know if it is possible to separate the Christian faith from the spread of the idea. If you have an idea, please share.

chrisyeo said...

"As Christians, we need to first be convinced that contraceptives can and will bring about the destruction of human society. Only when Catholics are united on this can we begin to spread the idea beyond our boundaries....
However, I do not know if it is possible to separate the Christian faith from the spread of the idea. If you have an idea, please share."

Are you asking if a true Christian faith can possibly be compatible with the use of contraceptives? In my view, quite possibly yes!

Daniel said...

Do explain.

- Daniel Tay

ChrisYeo said...

Hi.Sorry that I did not respond earlier.

First, the comment that "contraceptives can and will bring about the destruction of human society" just cannot be taken seriously. The Internet, TV, medical science, WMD, and global warming all have similar claims to the destruction of human society. But will it happen? Well, who knows? The likelihood is that human beings will adapt, society will change, but society will not die. It is just simply too strong to say that "contraceptives can and will bring about the destruction of human society". Such extraordinary claims need extraordinary justifications.

So I'll move on to the different question of whether a true Christian faith can possibly be compatible with the use of contraceptives.

As I think this out again, I find that crafting a response is not actually all that easy because I actually do agree with most of the things which the article says.

However, I still think that it MIGHT be possible to live a true christian faith even while using contraceptives. You're of course free to disagree, which is the whole point, as long as the point is to understand the truth through discussion.

Let's start with some possibilities. A married person with AIDS who uses a condom out of love for his wife. A married couple with 10 children, and who cannot financially support any more children, who discern and decide on contraceptives as an additional child would cause the other children to suffer.

More real world situations. Many Protestant Christian couples decide that on discernment, and while still remaining open to God's will, decide to use contraceptives for certain periods in their marriage, for example when they discern that they have to do missionary work in an unsafe environment.

Why not, I would think? Is it that hard to imagine a true Christian faith being compatible with contraceptives?

What does living a true Christian faith entail? You possibly would get different answers from different people. But for the sake of this argument, you cannot say that the only true faith is the one the Catholic church defines. If you begin that way, then by definition is it already incompatible.

Ok. I would say a Christian faith entails love of God and neighbour, worship of God, adherence to the commandments, preaching the Good News etc. etc. As long a Christian lives fully by these principals, and remains open to God's will, there is no prima facie reason to think that contraceptives are incompatible with a Christian faith.

Nor is there a reason to think that human society will be destroyed by it.

Taiden said...
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Taiden said...


I would like to just comment on what Chris said.
Based on the article I mentioned (Contraceptives, Why not?) about the man having AIDS, I can't say how he got the disease, but even if he has the disease, the point would be that he could abstain. But people might say that by abstaining because of this, he is not responding to his wife's desire for the bonding element of the sexual act. But I would like to think that the wife would also decide to abstain because of his condition.

For the man with 10 children, as mentioned in the article, why not consider Natual Family Planning? It is even more reliable than contraceptives, both spouses gain respect for each other, the husband gets to know even more intimately how God fashioned his wife's body. Abstaining during the period of fertility becomes an act of love. And there is no saying to God "we don't want You to have the chance to create new life".

As for the couple doing missionary work in an unsafe environment, what would be considered unsafe? I would think that unsafe is when either of the two believe that they are putting their spouse at risk, at which I will say: if you believe you are sick, would you go and mingle with other people or would you rather stay away from them, go see a doctor, and then if all if well, go and meet others? Or unsafe environment would be due to causes of Nature, but I wouldn't believe this would affect the couple in that regards, although I wouldn't know how bad that environment would be.

Just my stand.


ChrisYeo said...

I did anticipate all these points, but the question here is not whether there were alternatives for these couples, which of course there will be. The question here is whether the use of contraceptives (condoms specifically) are incompatible with Christianity. If you think not, then you should say exactly why.

As a point of clarification, the unsafe environment here refers for example to a war torn region where getting accidentally pregnant is dangerous to the life of both the mother and the child if it were born.

What I'm doing here is simply stating possible cases where Christian couples, in certain situations, with careful discernment and prayer, and constantly open to God's will and guidance, can plausibly use contraceptives and yet not contradict their Christian faith.

Taiden said...

if you consider contradicting the Christian faith (but I need to consider the Catholic faith, since the Protestant or other faiths do not have the same views), using contraceptives alone is already contradicting our Catholic faith. Why? Because those doing that are, only by using contraceptives, against the procreative possibility of the sexual act. Why? Because using contraceptives is a deliberate human attempt at not having children. However much they don't want to admit it, those using contraceptives are really saying, "We only want the bonding element of sexual intercourse. We are not open to the possibility of a new creation of God. But I don't really know how to explain it.

Dr Smith says "So, in the first place, the Church objects to contraception because it refuses to let God perform His creative act in the arena in which He chose to do it. You know, God could have created new human life in different ways. In fact, He has before. I'm afraid I'm going to do a little male bashing here, but you're all used to it, so you can take it. You know, God did create new human life before in different ways. He made the first man, the first male, out of mud. And He made the first female out of the rib of a rational creature. Now, this explains a lot when you think about it. One male, after one of my talks, came up to me and he said, “Yes, certainly it explains a lot.” He said, “It explains why I'm treated like dirt a lot.” So, anyway, our society has a great disregard for the value of human life. We do not understand what a great gift it is to participate in this act with God. God has chosen spouses as His vehicle for bringing forth new human life and new human life is precisely what He wants in this universe. As a matter of fact, every one of us should be putting forward most of our efforts, all of our efforts, to getting ourselves to heaven and helping others. That's our job. And, spouses play a major role in this by bringing forth that new human life that all of us are meant to be forming. It's an amazing task that God has given us. It's not something to be dallied with. It's not something that should be happening as an accident. Having sex, having babies, as an accident is not in God's plan. Having babies is meant to be within the loving act of spouses because God wants the parents to love the children in the same way in which He loves all of us, which means in a committed and unconditional way. God loves us in a committed and unconditional way and He wants parents that are committed to each other for a lifetime relationship who are going to love these children in an unconditional way. And our society can't begin to see that. Babies are just options, burdens, environmental hazards, something to be taken down to the abortion clinic and terminated ... ... Think about the word contraception. It means “against the beginning”, against the beginning of a new life, and what makes a new life possibility is fertility."

I think that is well explained. Once a person uses contraceptives, that person is no longer unconditionally open to the creative act of God in the arena He chose.
-"God actually performs a new act of creation. So, when male and female participate in the sexual act, they have opened up this arena which God has designed for bringing forth new human life. And when they contracept, they are slamming that door in God's face. They're saying, “We want to enjoy this pleasurable act that You gave us, but we do not want to let You perform Your creative act.” Now, I'm not saying that couples who are contracepting, are conscious that this is what they're doing. But, this is what the act itself means. It's much like drinking a little bit of poison in your orange juice. You might not know it's there, but it will have it's effect on you. You're not intentionally doing that, but that's what the act itself means."

Is not going against the procreative will of God going against our Catholic faith?