Choose a topic from Vol 3:


Reason proves God's existence
Primitive monotheism
Mystery of God's inner nature
Personality of God
Providence of God and the problem of evil


Immortal destiny of man
Can earth give true happiness?
Do human souls evolve?
Is transmigration possible?
Animal souls
Freedom of will
Free will and faith


Religion and God
The duty of prayer
The mysteries of religion
Can we believe in miracles?

The Religion of the Bible

Historical character of the Gospels
Canonical Books of the Bible
Original Manuscripts
Copyists' errors
Truth of the Bible
New Testament "contradictions"

The Christian Religion

Christianity alone true
Not the product of religious experience
Compared with Buddhism, Confucianism, Mahometanism, Bahaism, etc.,
Rejected by modern Jews
The demand for miracles
The necessity of faith
Difficulties not doubts
Proofs available
Dispositions of unbelievers

A Definite Christian Faith

One religion not as good as another
Changing one's religion
Catholic convictions and zeal
Religious controversy
The curse of bigotry
Towards a solution

The Problem of Reunion

Efforts at the reunion of the Churches
The Church of England as a "Bridge-Church"
Anglicans and the Greek Orthodox Church
The "Old Catholics" of Holland
Reunion Conferences
Catholic Unity
The Papacy as reunion center
Protestant hostility to Catholicism
The demands of charity

The Truth of Catholicism

Necessity of the Church
The true Church
Catholic claim absolute
A clerical hierarchy
Papal Supremacy
Temporal Power
Unity of the Church
Holiness of the Church
Catholicity of the Church
Catholic attitude to converts
Indefectible Apostolicity
Necessity of becoming a Catholic

The Church and the Bible

Catholic belief in the Bible
Bible-reading and private interpretation
Value of Tradition and the "Fathers"
Guidance of the Church necessary

The Dogmas of the Catholic Church

Dogmatic certainty
Credal statements
Faith and reason
The voice of science
Fate of rationalists
The dogma of the Trinity
Creation and evolution
The existence of angels
Evil spirits or devils
Man's eternal destiny
The fact of sin
Nature and work of Christ
Mary, the mother of God
Grace and salvation
The sacraments
Holy Eucharist
The Sacrifice of the Mass
Holy Communion
Marriage and divorce
Extreme Unction
Man's death and judgment
Resurrection of the body
End of the World

Moral Teachings of the Catholic Church

Catholic intolerance
The Spanish Inquisition
Prohibition of Books
Liberty of worship
Forbidden Socieities
Church attendance
The New Psychology
Deterministic philosophy
Marriage Legislation
Birth Prevention
Monastic Life
Convent Life
Legal defense of murderers
Laywers and divorce proceedings
Judges in Divorce
Professional secrecy

The Church in Her Worship

Why build churches?
Glamor of ritual
The "Lord's Prayer"
Pagan derivations
Liturgical symbolism
Use of Latin
Intercession of Mary and the Saints

The Church and Social Welfare

The Church and Education
The Social Problem
Social Duty of the Church
Catholicism and Capitalism

Birth Prevention

1154. Is Catholic opposition to birth control an article of faith, or a temporary form of penance which a less prudish age will forsake?

Catholics must accept the condemnation of contraceptive birth-control without reservation. If they fail in this matter, they cannot say that it is not a sin. They can but confess that they have sinned. The Pope has definitely and irrevocably declared contraceptive birth-control to be intrinsically wrong, and declares that to be the authoritative teaching of the Catholic Church. Catholics, therefore, are not free in conscience to declare contraception to be moral and permissible. Nor will the Catholic Church yield in any way on this point whatever the character of future ages outside her fold, whether you choose to envisage those ages as "less prudish" or "more pagan." Protestants once claimed to be the champions of morality against the lax doctrines of Rome. That was ever an idle pretension. But today we are beginning to see things in their right colors; the Catholic Church standing rigidly for morality; non-Catholic Churches significantly silent, or openly yielding to the demands of popular vice.

1155. Is it not reasonable to think that contraception will he tolerated later, as Galileo's theories today?

No. Nor are the cases in any way parallel.

1156. Where is birth control forbidden in Scripture?

It is rather grimly hinted at in the case of Onan as recorded in Genesis XXXVIII., 10, for Onan was struck dead by God. And Scripture describes his contraceptive practice as a detestable thing. However, it would not matter in the least if there were no concrete reference to birth control in Scripture. Scripture gives the general principles of morality, and lays down clearly the obligations of marriage. Birth control by contraception is immoral of its very nature, being but reciprocal vice; and violates the Christian obligation of marriage. No sane person would deny the immorality of one's becoming a cocaine fiend. Yet that is not mentioned in Scripture. The natural moral law existed before a line of Scripture was written, and still exists, being in no way abolished by Scripture.

1157. If birth control by contraceptive means be condemned as against nature, how defend hair cutting, or nail clipping, or certain operations on animals?

We certainly say that contraceptive birth control is against nature. But to understand our position, you must realize that we are speaking of the natural moral law. Man is never allowed to violate that. No one suggests that a thing is morally wrong merely because against physical nature. The physical laws of nature, and the moral laws of nature, are different laws, governing different orders of being. Physical laws of nature say that, if you throw yourself over a precipice, you will be killed. The moral law of nature tells you that you must not do it, that you have no right to do it, and that it would be a grave sin to decide to do it. This moral law allows a man to cut his nails, but does not allow a man to cut his throat. His nails grow by physical law, and he has the right to regulate their growth because they do not involve a function essentially connected with life itself. And life itself belongs to God, together with man's right use of those functions ordained of their very nature to life. Physical nature has endowed man with nails that grow and passions that make their presence felt. Yet any man with a moral sense at all can see the difference between clipping one's nails to avoid the physical inconvenience of their length, and curbing one's passions to avoid vicious habits of self-indulgence. Clipping one's nails is neither moral nor immoral. Controlling one's passions is definitely moral. Operations on animals do not come into the question. Morality is possible only with rational and therefore morally responsible beings. Animals in themselves are not endowed with moral rights or obligations. And man certainly has rights over animals which he does not possess over himself. Vegetative life and animal life are at the disposal of man. Human life is not. We may kill and eat animals lawfully. We may not kill human beings for such a purpose. And since we have dominion over the very life of an animal, we may, for good reasons, restrict or regulate that life. We do not thereby violate any moral order, but merely exercise a lawful control over physical nature, even as we do in the order of vegetative life by grafting the branch of one fruit tree on to the trunk of another to which it does not naturally belong. There is no parity, therefore, between animal life and human life in the order of morality; nor is there a parity in man himself between nails which have no essential relation to the propagation of life, and functions ordained to this necessary purpose.

1158. If men are blessed to kill one another in war, how can prevention of life not yet existent be looked on with horror?

No blessing on the eve of a battle is meant to sanction war as such. At most it is to commend to God individual participants, and what is at least believed to be a just cause. Nor is the predominant intention one to kill fellow human beings. The intention is to secure the triumph of right over wrong by means of arms, when all other means have failed. You take it for granted that it is necessarily immoral to take part in war. I have repeatedly shown that this is not so. But where, in certain circumstances, participation in war for a just cause is lawful, no circumstances can arise to justify contraceptive birth control. The immorality of such birth control is not measured by its relationship to non-existent life. Killing in a just war is not to be ranked as murder. But even if it were ranked as murder, no one suggests that contraception is murder. Non-existent life cannot be murdered. Our quarrel is with the means adopted to prevent life. It is lawful to avoid children, by abstaining from actions intended by God to result in children. It is not lawful to avoid the responsibilities of marriage by the use of contraceptive means. The very act of indulging passion and deliberately frustrating God's natural laws by any artificial methods is immoral. Such conduct is a sin not differing from solitary vice save by the fact that it is mutual, often including a grave sin against charity insofar as one persuades another to violate conscience in so serious a matter.

1159. Should druggists be allowed to sell articles that prevent conception?

No one should be allowed to manufacture, sell, or distribute articles intended for such a purpose. People are not only forbidden to do evil. Others are forbidden to cooperate with them in the evil they wish to do. If a man wanted to get a ladder from you, and you knew that he wanted it in order to burglarize a house, it would be morally wrong for you to assist him, just as it would be morally wrong for you to commit his crime. The prevention of conception by artificial means is every bit as opposed to God's law as any other violation of the commandments. And those who supply such artificial means are morally guilty of cooperation in the sin.

1160. Is it wrong to use such things?

It is, definitely. The use of such things is opposed to the natural moral law, and is most offensive to God. And the penalties attached to such practices are most marked, both in guilty individuals, and in guilty nations. Such practices prove to be, not a blessing, but a curse, even in this life. Worse still will be their effect in the next life, when those guilty of them meet God in judgment.

1161. If it be wrong to use such things, why is it so?

Because it is opposed to the natural moral law, and also to the commandments of God. By such practices people indulge in actions obviously intended by God to result in children, yet they deliberately block that result, and nullify God's purpose. Again, all will admit that solitary indulgence in the vice of impurity is wrong and immoral. This is rightly termed a "vicious habit." Yet birth control by artificial means is simply mutual cooperation in this very habit. God Himself inflicted death on Onan for the prevention of conception, and Scripture describes Onan's action as a "detestable thing." The incident is given in Genesis, XXXVIII., 10. By such practices the human race is exposed to self-annihilation and marriage is degraded to a state of legalized self-indulgence in sensuality for its own sake. The health of the wife is endangered; her dignity is forfeited; mutual respect is destroyed, and often the end is the divorce court.

1162. Lord Horder, an overseas visitor to the B.M.A. Conference, says that science has produced both services and disservices, and that it has not succeeded in controlling the stress and strain imposed on the nervous system.

With every word of that all people, I am sure, would agree.

1163. He adds that a healthy nervous system does resist these things a good deal, and that we must try to produce the right kind of human being, fighting against a lowering of general resistance, and of nerve tone. This, he said, leads us to the subj

With the purpose of eugenics no one can quarrel, if by that purpose we mean the physical, mental, and spiritual improvement of the human race. But when those who speak of eugenics propose means which are disgusting in themselves, and an outrage on human dignity, we must object. The Catholic Church supports sound eugenics, in the sense that knowledge of heredity must be used for the improvement of the quality of the human race. Many of the impediments to matrimony are precisely for this purpose, prohibiting unsuitable people from contracting marriage. Unfortunately, however, eugenic enthusiasts have abandoned Christian standards, urging wholesale violations of morality and of the laws of God by advocating contraceptive birth control, sterilization of those whom they choose to regard as unfit and even euthanasia or the popping of cripples, old people, and the mentally afflicted into the gas oven. If those who are a danger to the welfare of the human race ought to be asphyxiated, then, on their own principles those who advocate these things should be the first to be gently but firmly eliminated.

1164. Lord Horder said that we are getting back to preventive medicine, of which the study of heredity and the new science of genetics may become the basis.

Prevention, of course, is better than cure. But the study of heredity and the so-called science of genetics have a long way to go before they can become a basis for preventive medicine. Heredity is still a mystery, with a baffling variation in its laws. There is no certainty that the children of the wise and cultured will be even normally intelligent, whilst geniuses have often arisen from quite insignificant parents. Impressive talk about the "new science of genetics" might be justified if only genetics were a science. It is certainly not that. It is only a bundle of theories, some of which are plausible, and many of which simply ignore the moral law. Now the moral law is as essential to the welfare of mankind as any physical or biological laws. And violations of the moral law will be found even more detrimental to human welfare than violations of physical law.

1165. "I entirely disagree," remarked Lord Horder, "with the view that legislation to prevent birth control is long overdue."

I wonder whether Lord Horder would entirely disagree with our legislation to prevent the importation and indiscriminate distribution of opium, cocaine, and other harmful drugs? Yet these things affect the individual good rather than the common good. Birth control, however, is directly opposed to the common good. Side by side with the report of Lord Horder's utterances, which you have sent me, is a report of Sir Ralph Cilento's address on Australia's population problems. "Australia," he says, "mirrors the decline in birth rate in Western Europe most alarmingly. We cannot preserve our frontiers unless we can effectively occupy the land we claim. On the present figures, Australia will reach stalemate at no more than 8 1/2 millions, and the solution will be immigration or ultimate invasion." So far, then, as our country is concerned, legislation against the importation or manufacture of contraceptive appliances and drugs is much more necessary than legislation against opium, morphia, and cocaine. And such legislation is long overdue. Lord Horder comes from overseas to tell us not to make legislation against national suicide. Such advice from one who talks of preventive medicine is simply absurd, and opposed entirely to the warnings issued by Sir Ralph Cilento at the same B. M. A. Congress. I was in Melbourne during that Congress, and heard many comments from responsible and thinking people concerning the contradictions appearing daily in the press, as the utterances of medical men were recorded.

1166. Lord Horder gave, as his reason, the fact that you can never make people moral by prohibitions.

That is a most remarkable statement.Firstly, I would ask whether Lord Horder admits that people will be moral only provided they avoid contraceptive birth control. If so, and birth control is immoral, by what right does he advocate birth control? This can only mean that he abandons what is moral for what he thinks to be expedient. I have already shown, of course, that what he thinks to be expedient, is most inexpedient for this country. But, quite apart from that, the idea that, not what is right, but what is useful may be the criterion of our conduct is simply abominable.Secondly, I would ask Lord Horder how far he would push his argument against legislation on the score that people can't be made moral by prohibitions. Will he say that no legislation against evil and pernicious things is justified at all? Why have legislation forbidding the violation of the commandment, "Thou shalt not steal"? Lord Horder would reply, "Well, such legislation won't make people moral. It won't turn a dishonest character into an honest character. But such legislation is necessary at least to stop the dishonest character from exercising his predatory instincts, and damaging other people." To him, then, I would reply that, even though legislation against birth control appliances and drugs will not turn sensual and immoral people into virtuous citizens, such legislation is necessary to lessen their opportunity of doing immense harm to Australia. It is ridiculous to say that, because people will be immoral in any case, we should not attempt to introduce legislation calculated to stem the tide of immorality, and make indulgence in vice at least more difficult. The more people are inclined to a vice, the more necessary is legislation to restrict their opportunities to indulge in it.

1167. Lord Horder next asks, "Are we never to grow up, and get biological control?"

In advocating birth control, Lord Horder is not advocating biological control; he is advocating biological frustration. He speaks of biological control as if the animal body were man's complete nature, making no allowance for the dictates of any higher and intelligent powers. Or rather, he seems to regard the body as independent of man's personality, and a thing to be used as other separate objects in this created world. But the body is part of man's personality. The biology of man includes all elements in the complete living man, body and soul, and true biological development demands a balance in all faculties. Man's intelligence must rule blind passion by self-control, not abdicate in favor of the irresponsible beast. Like the conductor of an orchestra, the mind of man must coordinate perfectly all the impulses of that marvellous instrument called the body of man. Introduce into this temple of art an unclean brute beast, and what becomes of reason? Contraceptive birth control weakens the flesh, poisons the blood, tangles the nerves with disorderly destructive and spasmodic violence, and renders those guilty of it less and less fit to be parents at all. Lord Horder urges us to grow up, and get biological control by abolishing all prohibitions of birth control. That is not biological control. It is national death. Lord Horder's words have a familiar ring about them. God once gave a prohibition under a threat of death to two rather important people.A gentle devil from the netherworld urged them to grow up and become even as gods, to ignore all prohibitions, and to take what seemed so good and alluring and delightful. They did so, and it meant death. And those egotists who have so little understanding of the divine honor of parenthood, who dam up at its source the river of life, and refuse to their anaemic country the blood it so needs will bring upon that country the same penalty of death.

1168. Lord Horder continued, "We have taken control of the physical con ditions in the world, of chemical conditions of the sea and air. Are we never to have control of ourselves?"

I would that men did learn control of themselves in accordance with God's laws. But Lord Horder talks as if there were no God, and as if men were responsible to no one but themselves. God ordained all lesser creatures to be at the service of man, and gave man dominion over them. But man was to serve God, and be subject to God. Man is not his own master, to do as he pleases with himself. And the fact that man has dominion over the physical, chemical, and even animal elements in this world, is no argument in favor of a right to regard himself as subject only to his own whims and fancies, and independent of God, and of the moral law. This, in reality, would be a monstrous denial of humanity and a ludicrous attempt to change the human race into a herd of animals. To Lord Horder's petulant question, "Are we never to have control of ourselves?", I reply that God has not yet renounced His right to control the moral conduct of man, and that God's commandments still hold good. The independence of God, and the autonomy of man which Lord Horder demands for the human race is a rebellion and a usurpation which is bound to end in a dreadful catastrophe, not only in this life, but for many unfortunate souls, in hell.



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