Artificial Birth Control, the Sexual Revolution, and the Modern Collapse of Morality

A generation ago, Blessed Pope Paul VI [the great] projected out of the infallible, bountiful treasure of God’s truths—that is, the formal Catholic teaching on faith and morals since the Christ left this earth—that if artificial birth control became widespread in practice and acceptance, it would spell moral doom for the world, that it would lead to a near total collapse of morality as we know it.

He was proved correct to the “t”. Moreover, this relates to one of primary reasons why Blessed Pope Paul VI was beatified. He exercised incomparably heroic virtue in standing strong against the pressure of the near whole world against him on a moral teaching that all of Christendom—Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant—shared until the beginning of the 1930’s, when, first, Protestants, one by one, and then, in part, the Orthodox, began to cast off this perennial teaching that had hitherto only been assaulted by non-religious individuals.

But how could he have known? A crystal ball? An apparition from Jesus or the Blessed Virgin? Alas, none of the above. He was a visionary, to be sure, but it was his wondrous wisdom of following the implications of age-old Catholic insights that enabled him to see this. More specifically, the Catholic treasure of wisdom draws it forth in much the same way in which the theorems of the calculus progress onward bybuilding on the existing lemmas and theorems. The Catholic faith truly is the ultimate experience in religion for the intellect. There is incomparable depth in practically any dimension of Catholicism that couldn’t even begin to be exhausted in one lifetime. For this reason, Blessed Paul VI’s visionary identity was nothing short of “following the implications” of existing Catholic wisdom in morality to their logical conclusions. This article will humbly seek to explore the basic concepts from which he drew and stuck to, despite all scoffs and disdain from the world around him at the time. Let us begin the probe.

Before we commence the analysis of the morality or lack thereof in the two primary forms of birth control [artificial versus natural], we need a refresher on the mystery of human sexuality itself. For this, two primary dimensions exist: firstly, the Trinity and then, secondly, the Incarnate One’s marriage to the just. First, let us look at the Trinity.

The Trinity as Image of the Human Family

What does it mean to say that we are made in the image and likeness of God? Normally, we see this as that we have a soul, or person-hood—intellect and will—like God. This is true; however, an even deeper layer exists: the human family in a physical sense images the Trinity. How? It is as follows. The entire essence and summary of our faith is in one word: love. Love is the beginning of all things and the end of all things. “God is love.” [1 John] That is His primary definition. God is pure gift. God creates to share the gift, the gift of Himself, His Triune self, with creatures. Toward that end, “in the beginning,” the Father proceeds from No One. Yet He is infinite gift. All that He is—His Divine life, love, truth, and mystery—He desires to share. Out of this eternal reckless desire, from that same eternity, the Father empties His entire divine substance and essence, an Image, into a Receptacle. This Receptacle, from all eternity, fully receives the Image. Because the Receptacle contains the whole Divine Essence, it is fully God. Yet, it is distinct from the Father, a different Person. This Person we call the Son. Then, the Father and the Son recklessly, completely, and totally share the essence of love between them—complete gift and reception—from all eternity. Then, this same Image shared between the Father and the Son is a third Divine Person, a Reservoir containing the Memory, the Holy Spirit.


Why did we go into all this? Because this is exactly, in an imperfect sense, what the human family is! How? Well, just look at Genesis. Adam is “alone,” like the Eternal Father in order of procession. But Adam is made for love—for gift and reception. So God places Adam into a deep sleep…. Woman proceeds from man, of equal substance (she is taken from the rib, heart to heart, and lung to lung, co-equal in priceless dignity [“God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God,…consubstantial.”]) She is bone of Adam’s bones and flesh of his flesh. Then, we contemplate the wondrous marital act: man and woman become one, recklessly sharing the whole gift of themselves—completely, totally, and faithfully—and this very love between the man and his beloved bride can become a third person of equal substance, worth, and pricelessness, a child, just as the Eternal love shared between Father and Son is a third Divine Person, the Holy Spirit.

This is the first great mystery of human sexuality. The second builds on it.

Man to Woman as Image of Creator to Creature

Now, the second mystery is unbelievably politically incorrect, but it must be shared. It simply must. A disclaimer is worthy here. This forthcoming mystery in no way implies that men are superior to women or above them in any way. It infers no such thing. Yet, it is a reality that nonetheless conveys a mystery that is just as profound as the preceding one and that has incomprehensible consequences for many of the sad situations facing the confusion in human sexuality today, not the least of which are the following: that the Eternal Son became a man and not a woman; that men and women have different roles, as a general rule; that only men may be ordained to Holy Orders; that transgender ideology and same-sex sexual activity are wrong; and more. Let us, then, commence the analysis.

This mystery is this: physically, the act of love between man and woman images the spiritual relationship between God, the Creator, and the creature, the human person. More specifically, consider the blatant similarities: man has a proceeding sexuality, and woman has a receptive sexuality. Man holds the seed of life that is originally infused. Woman, effectively, receives it. This is the precise nature of the seed of “truth and grace” in the spiritual life: God, the Creator, is the ultimate source of all truth and grace, not the creature. The creature, effectively, is in a receptive position with regard to truth and grace. We creatures do not determine the truth; God does. God is the truth! “I am the way, the truth, and the life!” Moreover, all grace is a finite created participation in the Divine life and love of the Trinity. It must come from God; it must be given by God. The creature does not create grace. The creature receives it. Too, this same truth and grace “proceeds” from God into us, the creatures. Hence, again, the nature of procession and reception.

Similarly, just as man overshadows woman from above [“The Holy Spirit shall come upon you, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow you.”] and enters her inner being, lovingly infusing the total gift of life, the seed of life, so God overshadows the creature, enters its inmost being, the soul, and lovingly infuses grace for the will and truth for the intellect. The grace is conceived and brought forth in new life, a new life that proceeds from the creature to the outer world, meaning, the creature renewed at Mass with God’s Words and strength in the Eucharist goes forth to “love and serve the Lord”, to bring the life and truth it received to others through acts of charity and evangelization.

Now, again, man is in no wise superior to woman in any way, just because, in the act of love, he is “above”. The co-equal pricelessness of man and woman remains intact. In fact, the man is called, far from exercising superiority or domination, to lay down his life in sacrifice for his beloved bride, as Jesus did for the Church [“Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the Church.”]. There is, however, a point to be made here: that man comes down from above upon his bride is revelatory of a supremely important concept in our spiritual scenario of the Creator and creature, in this: that the Creator truly is above the creature. That is, we are not God. We have a desperate dependency on God for our very existence and well-being, not the least of which is the Divine Revelation of truth and life of grace, both in instantaneous strengthening and enlightening [actual grace] and in Divine life and love [sanctifying grace]. Without supernatural truth and grace, we are goners. [“With man, this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible!”]. Hence, the imagery of the marital act with woman above man unfortunately flips the tables: the creature dwells above the Creator, which is the fall itself [“I shall ascend above the Most High”, and, “Ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”] For this reason, the Church gives precedence to the missionary position, effectively encouraging its uses and avoiding the opposite position only if there are physical difficulties or limitations.

The Catholic Balance of Male and Female and Why only Men can be Priests

We now come to essential theology of the Incarnation. We have just seen that God created male to female physically to image, at least in one layer, Creator to creature spiritually. For this very reason, if God makes Himself flesh, He absolutely must take on the sex that images the Creator in the Creator to creature analogy, seeing as He is Himself the Creator. Hence, the Son must become male. This also indicates why the Sacred Scripture and Tradition effectively use male pronouns for God: Father, Son, Lord. God is, again, the source of truth and grace. God comes down upon us and infuses within us truth and grace. Truth and grace proceed from God, just as male sexuality is proceeding. This, incidentally, also vindicates the Church’s tradition that only men may be ordained. How? Well, priests are in persona Christi. They mediate truth and grace of the Creator, as though they were the source, the Creator, and therefore they must bear the image of the Creator in the sexual analogy, hence, similarly, the male..

Now, as two final considerations before we look into the central issues surrounding artificial birth control versus merely natural, we need to see some principles that love-making requires if we are to remain true to the analogies that we have just developed.

Total Gift and Reception

To begin, the first principle involves the notion of total gift and reception. Clearly, this is demanded by the marital act in the very light of the Divine Persons and Savior involved in the fulfillment of the type. More specifically, we note that in the Triune God, the gift of Divine Persons, one to another, is of absolute total openness, one to one, fully pouring forth, holding nothing back, and fully receiving, placing no barriers. The Divine Persons, in fact, are pure gift and reception. This, again, is the supreme attribute of God, not power, as in Calvinism. God is love [1 John]. Hence, it follows that if man to woman images Father to Son from the Trinity analogy, then man and woman must offer themselves to one another, as best as they conceivably can, total and whole: completely pouring forth, holding nothing back, and fully receiving, with no barriers. This also truly makes sense: the very language of the marital act communicates total gift and reception. It is the very language of the marital covenant. For, would the Father hold something back from the Son, or the Son from the Father? Would the Son not fully receive the Father, or vice versa? How much more must man give totally to woman and fully receive from woman, and vice versa.

Too, all the more is this corroborated by the Christ and His Church, which man and woman also emulate: Would Jesus hold back any truth or grace from His Church? Would the Church not fully receive the Divine gifts from Her Bridegroom?

Respect for the Sacredness of Fertility

Secondly, the other essential principle for the marital act is the respect of the sacredness of fertility. For an atheist, fertility is just biology, since, for the same atheist, human beings are nothing more than physical matter. But, for any religious person who believes in some spiritual dimension for a human, fertility has immeasurable value: from it can spring an immortal creature with immeasurable dignity and worth. That is, a human person is not just biology; they have a soul, forever to exist in one of two places. For this reason, assaults on fertility are indirectly assaults on the priceless dignity of the human person, so that, since all moral theology depends, as its starting point, on the priceless dignity of the human person as body and immortal soul, all morals must necessarily collapse in a society that disrespects fertility. We will return to this momentarily when we discuss artificial birth control.

Birth Control: Any way works?

Now we are ready to discuss the issue of birth control. First, we ask, is all birth control wrong? The answer is no. What is wrong is artificial birth control. Natural birth control is acceptable when exercised for legitimate reasons. Toward that end, we may further ask, what really is the difference between the two? Should it really matter? Isn’t the end the same, namely, avoiding children? It is true that the end is the same, avoiding children for a justified reason, but, sound Biblical theology tells us that what means we choose for ends, matters as well. This means that in any action, in order for it to be moral, it must have both good ends and good means. For example, we cannot choose evil means to accomplish good ends, however good the ends may be, e.g., we cannot rob a bank to pay off our mortgage. That is, paying off a mortgage is a good end, but stealing is a bad means. St Paul to the Romans: “Shall we commit evil so as to bring about good?” [Romans 3:8]. The question now, is, on what basis does the Catholic Church claim that artificial birth control is intrinsically evil, but natural not?

Natural Birth Control

NFP is Reliable

It would be better to discuss natural first. For starters, the non-Catholic will object: “You are talking about Vatican Roulette. It doesn’t work.” This is a common error. The modern NFP [Natural Family Planning] is far more advanced than the original method introduced in the early 20th century. Modern NFP has been developed under rigorous scientific study and methods. It has been proven to be as effective as any artificial means, sparing sterilization. Hence, the claim cannot be made that it doesn’t stand up to the artificial means. NFP consists, as might be surmised, in abstaining from relations while the woman is naturally fertile. Her fertility cycle, with NFP (mainly temperatures and external signs), can be measured with great precision, that is, when she is both fertile and infertile. Effectively, the fertility period tends to be anywhere from 7-10 days every menstrual cycle. This leaves about ¾ to 2/3 of every month that relations are almost guaranteed naturally infertile. In light of these things, the critic does not need to worry that NFP does not work.

That being said, we can ask, what makes NFP beautiful, moral, and whole? [The following argumentation assumes the married couple has a serious reason for spacing birth, such as financial difficulties, stress, fatigue, or the like]. The following:

  • NFP respects fertility. When fertility is present, the couple bows before it in awe, seeing as an immortal soul can come from it. It reveres fertility and thus leaves it be until it goes away of its own volition, that is, naturally. This is like, per Christopher West’s analogy, making the sign of the Cross before a church and driving on because you have a good reason not to go in [you have an obligation, you are fatigued…] NFP does not attack fertility with chemicals. It does not place barriers around fertility. Contrarily, if we attack fertility by unnaturally disrupting it, obfuscating it, or rendering it null, we are disrespecting it, and in doing so, indirectly disrespecting the human person as priceless, which leads to total moral collapse.
  • NFP retains total gift and reception. In NFP, when man and woman come together, they offer themselves whole and entire to one another, holding nothing back. They do not disrupt their fertile nature in any way, whether through barriers or chemicals. That is, they are not obfuscating their fertile nature before, during, of after lovemaking. Would Jesus alter Himself in His essence so as to withhold the most precious aspect of His Being from His Bride? Would He fail to give fully? Should the Bride of Christ block, even partially, what her Savior has to offer? NFP couples do no such thing. They are offering themselves to one another purely as they are, holding nothing back, fully receiving, and not altering any sacred aspect of themselves.

Now, we can ask, what makes artificial birth control intrinsically evil and selfish:

  • ABC [artificial birth control] disrespects fertility. ABC seeks to use assaults on fertility to render it null, always. The methods vary, but one or another person is attacking and nullifying fertility. Barriers hold back the natural flow of the fertile nature, whether by withholding the procession of the seed (male barrier), or by blocking the reception of the seed (female barrier) Chemicals alter the woman’s cycle by ingesting great amounts of feminine hormones, fooling the female biology to think that she is pregnant. In reality, many times a child is created and attaches to the uterine wall but is swept away later in a chemical abortion. All these are disrespects of fertility. If we recall that fertility images the pricelessness of the human person, we can see how the act of regarding fertility as mere biology eventually leads to regarding the human person as just biology, after which all hell breaks loose: abortion, and so forth.
  • ABC denies total gift and reception. We have seen that barriers obstruct the full gift. The man who says, I give up until a point, and then the fullness of gift I withhold in a barrier, is the antithesis of the Christ: Jesus gives totally on the cross, holding nothing back [“It is finished!…Father, into your hands, I commend my Spirit!”]. Too, if a woman uses a barrier, she is effectively saying, I will not receive the ultimate gift you wish to give me. This would be like the Church rejecting the ultimate gift of the Bridegroom, the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus on the Cross and in the Resurrection, or any Divine dogmas that He wishes to give Her, dogmas to better understand the Lord that loves us all incomprehensibly. Would Jesus give and give and give, and then at the last moment, hold back? Should the Church ultimately contracept Herself before the ultimate gift of Her Savior?

 

How does ABC destroy all morality?

Now, we are in a position to understand how Blessed Pope Paul VI was able to foresee an en-mass moral fall of European civilization arising from artificial birth control. Again, ABC treats fertility like biology. From this, since the human person is that which springs forth from fertility, eventually the same human person is seen as just biology. If the human person is seen merely as biology, that is, with no soul, then he is just a machine. But if human beings are just machines, all morality collapses, since the foundation of all morality in Catholicism is the pricelessness of the human person, body and soul. For this reason, Blessed Pope Paul VI firmly declared in that epic and gravely important encyclical, Humanae Vitae, that if ABC became widespread, eventually human beings would begin to be regarded as mere biological machines.

Just consider the evidence that bears it forth from contemporary history: firstly, prior to 1930, as mentioned above, all Christendom—Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant—was opposed to artificial birth control. Then, from secular pressures, the Anglican Church gave in and allowed it under certain circumstances. Soon after, the partial restrictions were lifted, and it was allowed under any circumstances. Then, one by one, all non-Catholic Christian entities began to cave in on the issue. In the late 1960’s, the pill was inaugurated. At around the same time, Blessed Paul, after a committee that looked into the question, courageously promulgated the aforementioned Humanae Vitae, the monumental encyclical on birth control. Obviously, it reinforced the ages-old Catholic teaching that artificial birth control is wrong.

Continuing, simply consider the immediate historical trajectory: since ABC removes the sacred mysteries of human sexuality from the act—total gift and reception, and that from the total love shared between two persons can come another priceless person—it degrades and cheapens the act. Hence, FORNICATION! The sexual revolution was the immediate aftermath of the pill.

Next? Abortion: because, again, once persons are not priceless and just machines, they are expendable. Immorality and irreligiosity ensued throughout the West. Degraded sexuality pervaded entertainment and media. Fornication became the default lifestyle. Abortion continued. Regard for human life diminished: superficiality, frivolity, materialism; when human life is regarded in a depraved light, the things that persons live for become depraved and trivial.

When morality collapses, it gains acceptance, or tolerance in society. But eventually, as it becomes the norm, it is seen as not merely tolerable, but essential: forced immorality. Hence, the great Blessed Paul also foresaw and warned against forced population control. This prophecy was grimly and apocalyptically fulfilled in the largest nation in the world, a diabolical communist nation, China, in that China has had for decades now a forced abortion and sterilization policy of one-child per family. She has, admittedly, upgraded it to two children, but this is still diabolical. Too, a documentary showed recently that older persons in China are petrified of their future, since there is no one to take care of them. Yes, the initial results of the one child policy were “positive” for China’s economy but the horror is now catching up with it: again, an aging population with no one to care for them.

Now, too, in the USA, governments are attempting to force institutions to provide immoral sex and life activities and “services”, such as artificial birth control and abortion, in their insurance and medical policies or face fines and even loss of business. Too, similar coercion in sexual deviancy.


And this brings us to the diabolical culmination of sexual degradation, the recent hyper-cultural take-over in the realm of same-sex activity and unions and transgender ideology. This is the only way that ABC can lead to. How, one may ask? Well, we saw that in stripping the marital act of its sacred mysteries—gift and reception, proceeding and receptive wonder, and that from the love of two persons can come another priceless person—sex is effectively reduced to, at best, the expression of mere natural affection, and at worst, mere physical pleasure. But then, if sex can be reduced to merely a form of affection and pleasure, there are no limits to the decline: first comes marital infidelity; later comes fornication. Later still, promiscuity, masturbation. Further, prostitution, pornography and sexual slavery. Too, in all this, the objectification of the human person is present, since the priceless beauty of the human person was eliminated in the rejection of fertility. And finally, if there need be merely affection or pleasure, even if it requires consent, as they call it, why not set aside the natural law, and let the pleasure and affection be between persons of the same sex? And, indeed, further deviations are inevitable, so long as the wrath of God is withheld by a frail and illusory materialistic peace: bestiality, eco-sexuality, …!

In conclusion. We have seen that ABC effectively unravels the whole foundation of human morals in a society that gives itself over to it. This happens under many dimensions:

  • It assaults fertility, hence disrespecting it, hence also eventually disrespecting the very human being that comes from it.
  • This disrespect of the human person, because fertility was regarded as merely biology, leads to the regard of the human person as merely biology.
  • Once a human person is just biology, and therefore simply a machine, the whole morality collapses, since morals cannot be understand truly without the context of the human person as immeasurable in worth, with body and soul, called to infinite and everlasting bliss in the next life.
  • This includes that since ABC obstructs and falsifies the language of true, complete gift of self and love, and this, where just such love is most appropriate and vital, how much more does it become impossible for humans to speak the truth and love to one another
  • Hence, the collapse sexual mores and all morality follows.

From, here, as we see ourselves entering a latter phase of this moral decline with the widespread acceptance and even celebration of deviant lifestyles, we cannot help but conclude that the collapse of the European Civilizations and their derivatives, at least the vast majority of them, is inevitable unless conversion occurs, since when morality fully vanishes, peace and prosperity for a society become impossible. Moreover, since only the Catholic Christian vision and mysticism of the Trinity and Incarnation, which we have briefly examined here in the beginning of this writing, can fully explain and illumine the beauty and awesome gift of love in the Sacrament of Marriage in such a manner that can sustain a person’s acceptance of the morality of sexuality and all its implications, we see that, as our beloved Pope Emeritus Benedict pointed out, now, more than ever, it is imperative that the world have and embrace not merely some truth and grace, but such in all its fullness, the Catholic Church, the only completely true Emissary of the Christ and Triune Maker of us all.