While researching a post I am working on, I came across this article on the Consequences of the Contraceptive Mentality by K.D Whitehead. He makes some very good points about what has happened to societal morality as result of separating the possibility of procreation from sex.
Here are some excerpts…
- The Holy Father spoke of some of the consequences of the contraceptive mentality in the encyclical when he warned that “upright men… [should] reflect upon the consequences of artificial birth control. Let them consider, first of all, how wide and easy a road would thus be opened up towards conjugal infidelity and the general lowering of morality… men—especially the young, who are so vulnerable on this point—have need of encouragement to be faithful to the moral law, so that they must not be offered some easy means of eluding its observance. It is also to be feared that man, growing used to the employment of anti-conceptive practices, may finally lose respect for the woman… may come to the point of considering her as a mere instrument of selfish enjoyment…”
- It is not necessary to prove that there is a statistically verifiable absolute increase in sexual misdeeds today. The revolution is real enough. It is the case, for example, that even with today’s wonder drugs venereal disease has nevertheless reached epidemic proportions. According to the chief of the VD Branch of the U.S. Federal Center for Disease Control, “Gonorrhoea in the United States is out of control” (15). An article in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded a few years back that venereal disease could no longer be medically treated out of existence “unless a new element is introduced such as immunization or a change in the prevailing life styles of the population segments most affected” (Emphasis added) (16). In other words, what is chiefly needed, as medicine throws up its hands, is a little more “encouragement to be faithful to the moral law”, in the words of the Holy Father.
- …companionate marriage, trial marriage, homosexual marriage, group marriage, or, most especially, with languid indifference to the question of whether any “marriage” at all needs to be connected with sexual “expression” or “fulfillment”
- Just as the concept of “planned parenthood” really means planned non-parenthood, so the aim and result of encouraging sex just for fun and games can only be the destruction of any sound idea of family life, for human sexuality is exempted from the necessity of the self-denial necessary, for example, in any marriage. Sexuality is thus divorced not only from possible procreation but indeed, logically, from marriage itself.
- Actually, the American experience of seeing the acceptance of contraception lead to the acceptance of abortion was not the first time that the integral and consistent anti-life logic we have been examining here has worked itself out in human history. Consider this statement of St. Epiphanius, who was Bishop of Salamis, and who lived between 315 and 403 A.D. Writing of the contraceptive practices of the pagan society of his day, St. Epiphanius wrote against the idea that conjugal relations might be indulged in without any reference to their natural purpose: “There are those”, he wrote, “who when they have intercourse deliberately prevent having children… Moreover if a man should by mistake deposit some of his emitted seed and his wife becomes pregnant, listen to what further crime they descend. They remove the unformed fetus from the womb anytime they please and actually grind the aborted child (infantem) with mortar and pestle. Then to avoid nausea they use pepper and other spices or ointments” (Emphasis added) (38).
- Thus the testimony of the ancient world too confirms our own experience: once man arrogates to himself the right to limit or control the consequences of sex without regard to the moral law or the natural use of sex—once, in other words, the contraceptive mentality prevails—moving on to what St. Epiphanius calls “the further crime” of abortion becomes both logical and perhaps inevitable.