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Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Fr. Thomas J. Euteneuer: Humanae Vitae Prophecies

Pope Paul VI has been called a prophet for his intuitions expressed in the 1968 encyclical, Humanae vitae, about what would happen to society if contraception ever became widely used. But a “prophecy” is much more than just a prediction: it is really a view of reality and an assessment of what happens when the right order of things is snubbed. All the Old Testament prophets told the people of Israel, in unambiguous terms, that they had turned their backs on the Lord’s covenant (God’s view of reality) and that the consequences would be dire if they persevered in that apostasy. Succeeding generations of scholars, who saw the fulfillment of the prophets’ words, then scrupulously wrote their prophecies down for posterity—lest anyone forget them!

Brother priests, faithful to the Magisterium, in a certain sense, we are the true prophets of our modern times when we teach God’s view of reality to our world. Or rather, we are the scribes who echo the teachings of our great papal prophets for the benefit of our flocks. Let us make sure our people know what the Prophet, Paul VI, said in Humanae vitae forty years ago so that their marriages, and their souls, will not perish.

The four prophecies of Humanae vitae are clear, but also stubborn, views of reality. They are unequivocally countercultural. Paul VI said that if a society accepted contraception as a way of life (like all economically developed societies have), then several consequences would inevitably result:

* First, contraception would lead to conjugal infidelity. Not hard to see this one right? When you separate babies from the marital act there is nothing binding that act to, well, marriage. Fornication (pre-marital) and adultery (extra-marital) have thus skyrocketed with the massive practice of contraception.

* Second, Pope Paul predicted that contraceptive practice would lead to a “general lowering of morality.” Hmm, let’s see if this one was right: “normal” youthful entertainments in our society today include that despicable MTV channel, hooking up, salacious reality TV shows, heavy metal music, wicca and the New Age, drugs and ubiquitous internet porn. In Janet Smith’s famous words: has anyone noticed a “general lowering of morality” lately?

* Third, Paul VI said that contraception would lead men to cease respecting women in their totality and would cause them to treat women as “mere instruments of selfish enjoyment” rather than as cherished partners. Clearly, this prophecy has been vindicated many times over by pornography alone, the most lucrative business in the modern world. That entire industry is singularly dedicated to the “selfish enjoyment” of men.

* Finally, the Holy Father said that massive acceptance of contraception by couples would lead to a massive imposition of contraception by unscrupulous governments. He predicted, in other words, that contraception would pass from a “lifestyle choice” to a weapon of mass destruction, and how dreadfully his prophecy has been vindicated by population control and coercive sterilization programs, fertility reduction quotas and the promotion of abortion literally everywhere in the world.

Should the blame for all these terrible evils of our modern times be laid at the feet of contraception? Well, yes—at least largely so. That’s the truth that we, as priests, must absolutely get clear so that we can hand this on to our people. Contraception’s destruction of the integrity of the marital act—as unitive and procreative—has dire consequences for society and for souls. Contraception is a rejection of God’s view of reality. It is a wedge driven into the most intimate sphere of communion known to man outside of the Holy Mass. It is a degrading poison that withers life and love both in marriage and in society. No wonder everything goes wrong when contraception shows up.

The Prophet has warned us. Now it’s our turn to warn our people. Brothers, their very souls are at stake!


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