Today, I particularly proud and happy to be a Catholic. In yesterday’s Vatican Information Service sheet, there is a notice of a new document issued by the Pontifical Council for the Family. The document is entitled “Family and Human Procreation.”
I am proud and happy because it says exactly what the Church has been saying all along, and it reiterates the doctrine enunciated by Pope Paul VI in 1967 in which artificial contraception is rejected as morally unacceptable. And in the face of even greater attacks upon the Christian view of human life, marriage, and sexuality, it continues to proclaim the truth to an increasingly secularized, pleasure-seeking world which sees sex as merely a source of fun, and not as one of the most joyous expressions of human love and the means of propagating human life.
Let us listen to a few of its statements: “Man is not just a rational animal. He is also familial. The family is connatural to man and was instituted by God. Man has become a great enigma to himself and lives through the most acute crisis of his history in its family dimension. The family is subjected to attack as never before. The new models of the family destroy it; procreation techniques jettison human love; the politics of birth control lead to the current ‘demographic winter.’ Along these paths we deviate toward a post-human world; it is necessary to save man.”
“Procreation is the means of transmitting life by the loving union of man and woman and it must be truly human. This means that it must be the fruit of the actions of man, and the fruit of a human act—free, rational, and responsible for the transmission of life. The unitive act of man and woman cannot be separated from its connatural dimension which is that of procreation and which makes responsible paternity and maternity possible. Only on this personal basis can conjugal morality be understood.”
What the Church is saying here is what has been said since the garden of Eden: a wise and loving God has created all things, and has created us in his image and likeness. Thus we have an immense dignity and nobility, and must never allow our animal dimension to override our intellectual, spiritual, and moral elements. It is true that we are sexual beings as are the brute beasts, but we must always use our sexuality in accord with our intelligence, free will, and God’s grace.
The sexual union of two unmarried persons is contrary to God’s plan. That is even more true when they are of the same sex. And even within a legitimate marriage, the exercise of sexuality must always be in accord with our rational nature and our obligation to obey God’s will. Things like artificial contraception, unnatural sexual practices, and the murder of the baby before or during its birth are all gravely sinful.
Our contemporary world doesn’t want to hear these things; it sneers at the Church for insisting upon them and hates the Church for calling sinners those who wish to use sex, of any kind, as a plaything. The fact that the Church continues to proclaim moral truth in the face of terrific opposition, contradiction, hatred, and disobedience simply adds to the splendor of truth that Pope John Paul II spoke of so clearly. That truth was preached by Our Divine Lord Jesus Christ; the mandate to continue preaching moral truth was given by Christ to his apostles, especially Saint Peter, the prince of the apostles and the first Pope. What a joy to see and hear the Church continuing to preach with courage and conviction, knowing that the Holy Spirit is with her and that the gates of hell will not prevail against her! Thank you for seeking God’s truth, God Bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: This message was composed some years ago.