Celibacy as birth control

The last encyclical of Pope Paul VI was Humanae Vitae (“Of Human Life”), July 1968.  “The encyclical had declared that contraception is always seriously sinful.  . . . The central words that Paul used were that ‘each and every marriage act must be open to the transmission of life.’” From NCR, Richard P. McBrien, March 2-15, 2012.

Why not take that idea to its logical conclusion?  OK, each and every marriage act must be open to the transmission of life.  Each and every person must be married.  Each and every waking hour must be spent having sex.  Anyone who does not try to have at least one baby per year is in mortal sin.  Every family should have 20 children or more.  Etc.

Isn’t celibacy an effective method of birth control?  If birth control is sinful, then aren’t all celibates sinners??

Oh well, “natural” methods of birth control like taking your temperature every day and celibacy are supposedly OK.  What’s natural about taking your temperature every day?  What’s natural about deciding at 18 or 21 to never have sex no matter what?  No matter whether you happen to fall in love and want to marry.  That’s not natural.  That’s unnatural.

Natural is the way the Buddhists do it – celibacy at the time of life whenever celibate happens to be the way one is.  That is practicing indifferent detachment.  One is hardly doing it naturally if one is less than indifferent.

And why this great emphasis on doing something naturally?  Is agriculture natural?  Is brushing my teeth natural?  Is there anything natural about typing on a keyboard and reading a computer screen?  Maybe I should let my lawn grow without mowing – naturally.  Soon the trees will take over.  (People who let tree roots grow into sewer drains find out soon enough the natural result.)

We could have a population problem like the Philippines which is a rice-producing country that has to import rice, where large portions of the population subsist just barely on next to nothing, where a chief export is job-seeking Filipinas, and where the Church’s rule on birth control is partly to blame for the unnatural misery of the people, along with their quiet submission to that rule up until just recently.

I have to ask if here in the US we have already reached or surpassed the carrying capacity of the environment in some respects.  If your tap water has been through a toilet 5 times or if you’d have to pay $14 for a pound of ocean fish, then you may have an opinion on this.

Would China be the economic giant it is today and a major competitor (and the US in debt to it), if it were still a baby factory?  One might think that intelligent planning would be a natural accomplishment for a species named homo sapiens.  And I said “planning.”  Abortion is not planning.

The great irony of celibate bishops practicing birth control, while teaching that birth control is wrong has not escaped me.  Fortunately, their teaching has been thoroughly rejected by US Catholic women.

Maybe the latest tempest in a teapot over contraceptives in the US health care regulation can be an opportunity for the US bishops to begin to listen to the people in the pews for once.

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  1. care4earth says:

    Yes, in this instance the church hierarchy seems to be infallibly wrong. However, the way China went doesn’t seem to be optimum either. Every abortion is fathered by a man, so why don’t the men do something about it? Should all the men be sterilized (is that the right expression?) after they have produced one child? If all the naughty priests had been sterilized, that still wouldn’t be comfort for their victims. Being wise, the race of homo sapiens will surely come up with an answer.

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