Choose a topic from Vol 4:

Religion - Yes or No

Necessity of Religion
Reality of Religious Experience
Religion and life
Religious statistics
Nature of religion
Necessity of worship
Neglect of religion
Religion and history
Conversion of mankind

The Christian Church

Nature of the Church
Necessity of the Church
Visible organisation
Hierarchical constitution
Papal supremacy
Perpetuity of the Church

"This Shall Be the Sign"

Notes of identification
Unity of the Church
Holiness of the Church
Catholicity of the Church
Apostolic succession
"Roman" but not "Roman Catholic"

Dogmatic Authority of the Church

Authority in religion
Catholic Church infallible
The Pope infallible
Papal definitions
Dogmatic spirit of the Catholic Church
"Religion of the spirit"
Individual freedom
Re-stating Christianity
Athanasian Creed
Meaning of faith
Faith and reason
Faith and science
Religion and education
Religion and morals
Catholic countries backward
Universities and religion
Natural Moral Law
Christian principles of morality
Catholicism versus the world

The Power-Complex Illusion

Legislative power of the Catholic Church
Coercive power of the Catholic Church
Catholic Church and political ambitions
Divided allegiance of Catholics
Rome and totalitarianism
Aim of the Catholic Church in America
Catholic Action
Political freedom of Catholics
Catholic infiltration of civic life
Catholicism anti-democatic
Rival totalitarianisms, Rome and Moscow
Catholic attitude to Protestants
Spanish Inquisition
Church and State
Federal Union or "One World State"

Life-Or-Death Social Problems

Social reform necessary
Trade unions
Protestant Churches and Communism
Social apathy of Churches
Catholic social teaching
Family life
Primary purpose of marriage
Religion and marriage
Form of marriage
Mixed marriages
Birth control
"Catholic birth control"
Divorce and re-marriage
Catholics and civil divorce
Nullity decrees
Therapeutic abortion
Euthansia or mercy-killing

Those Exclusive Claims

Divided Christendom
Do divisions matter?
The "Only True Church" claims
Cause of sectarian bigotry
Reunion Movement
Catholic non-cooperation

Religious Liberty

Religious freedom
Catholic intolerance
Protestants and the principles of religious liberty
Rome and the "Four Freedoms"
Heresy and heretics
Religious rights of Protestants
Religious persecution
"Rome's historical record"
Protestant missionaries in Spain
In Italy
In South America
Conditions in Colombia

Are Only Catholics Saved

"Outside the Catholic Church no salvation"
Beliefs of Catholics
Salvation of Pagans
Salvation of Protestants
Why become a Catholic?
Duty of inquiry
Salvation of apostate Catholics
Test at the Last Judgment
Obstacles to conversion
Truth of Catholicism

Birth control

1089. Where family life is concerned, is it not a case of your Church against the whole world on the subject of birth control?

It would be an exaggeration to speak in such a way. There are multitudes of non-Catholics, and even of non-Christians, who agree with the Catholic attitude in this matter. By birth control you mean, of course, birth prevention, or the use of marital rights whilst taking contraceptive measures to prevent any resultant conception of a child. G. K. Chesterton summed it up as "no births and no control."

1090. The Catholic Church declares contraceptive practices to be sinful; but to what extent?

The Church declares that any act deliberately intended to prevent conception before, during or after marital relations between any two persons is mortal sin. In his Encyclical on "Marriage" (1930), Pope Pius XI said: "Since, therefore, openly departing from the uninterrupted Christian tradition, some recently have judged it possible to declare another doctrine regarding this question, the Catholic Church, to whom God has entrusted the defense of the integrity and purity of morals . . . through our mouth proclaims anew: Any use whatsoever of matrimony exercised in such a way that the act is deliberately frustrated in its natural power to generate life is an offense against the law of God and of nature; and those who indulge in it are branded with the guilt of grave sin."

1091. Please quote Christ's own words forbidding contraceptive birth control.

There is no reason why you should expect Christ to have dealt expressly with contraceptive birth control, any more than with euthanasia, artificial insemination, the use of atomic bombs, or any other of a hundred modern moral problems. He gave the general principle that we must do, not our own will, but the will of God, even if it means denying ourselves and taking up our cross in order to do so. The will of God is manifested to us, at times expressly in Holy Scripture, at times by the natural moral law. To safeguard us against our own liability to error, He established the Catholic Church to be our authoritative guide, saying to her: "He who hears you, hears me," Luke, X, 16; and again: "If a man will not hear the Church, let him be as the heathen." Matt., XVIII, 7. To quote the authoritative teaching of the Catholic Church on matters of faith and morals is to quote the authentic guide Christ has provided, that we may know clearly the will of God.

1092. What right have unmarried priests to declare the duties of married people?

It is the right and duty of priests to explain the moral law affecting human conduct in all states of life. They must study the teachings of God, of the Church, and of natural morality, that they may declare people's moral obligations, whatever their circumstances may be. That a priest is unmarried does not unfit him in the least for the duty of explaining the moral obligations of married people. A lawyer does not have to be a doctor in order to explain the legal obligations of medical men. It is absurd to say that a priest must be married before he can explain the moral law applying to those who are married. It is a question of the law of God, and that law has the same force whether declared by a single man or a married man. The celibacy of priests has nothing whatever to do with this matter. St. Paul was never married, yet did not let that fact hinder him from explaining the duties of married people. Again, what Christian would argue that the teachings of Christ Himself are to be accepted in every case except where He refers to Marriage, on the score that He Himself was never married?

1093. When Pope Pius XII, on October 29, 1951, renewed the Catholic condemnation of contraceptive birth control, the London "Spectator" denied his right to do so and said: "The Church of England has regarded the proper and prudent spacing of children and the use of contraceptives for that purpose as completely right and Christian."

The Anglican Lambeth Conference of 1930 thought it expedient to say that rather than make an unpopular stand for sound Christian and moral principles. Previous Lambeth Conferences, in 1908 and again in 1920, had uncompromisingly condemned as immoral all use of contraceptives. The Lambeth Conference of 1930 reversed the decision, adjusting its teaching to what people wanted to do rather than insist on what they ought to do. The London "Daily Express," of August 15, 1930, at once branded the decision as "conceived in fear and born in compromise." And an Anglican clergyman, the Rev. T. H. Whitton, wrote: "So the defense of Christian morals is left to Rome, and the Anglican Communion, and all of us within it, stand disgraced before the world."

1094. For weeks after Pope Pius XIPs utterance in 1951, newspaper in England were filled with letters from wives, mothers, clergy and doctors, against the Pope's decree.

Surely it is not surprising that in England, of all places, a host of people would dispute the Pope's ruling. For them it would be a most uncomfortable decision, quite apart from its threat to the financial interests of firms owning the automatic machines for the indiscriminate sale of contraceptives. In their recently published book, "English Life and Leisure," the authors, Rowntree and Lavers, say of the English people generally: "With the decay of absolute standards, following on the decline in religious beliefs, people have tended to say of sexual promiscuity, 'What, after all, is the harm?' . . . In the lives of a large majority of people of all classes of the community, the Church is no longer relevant. It is generally regarded with tolerance and indifference." It is at once tragic and comic that so many people, affected by such an atmosphere, should rush into print to air their views on Christian moral principles!

1095. Why should Catholics only be forbidden under pain of sin to use contraceptives?

All human beings, of whatever religion they may be, Catholics or Protestants, Jews or Buddhists, Mahometans or Confucians, are forbidden under pain of sin the use of contraceptives. For such an abuse is forbidden by the natural moral law, binding upon all mankind. If people say that they do not think so, then they simply have a wrong conscience; and have deceived themselves into thinking the practice lawful merely because they want to indulge in it.

1096. How can any Church have the right to make such a harsh law?

The Catholic Church did not make the law. God made the law, and the Church merely declares that it is the law of God. If the Church made the law, she could dispense from it. For example, the Catholic Church made the law of Friday abstinence from meat. From that law she can dispense in difficult circumstances. But the Church did not make the law forbidding contraceptive birth control, and she can no more dispense from it than from the commandment: "Thou shalt not commit adultery."

1097. Progress and prosperity have been achieved only by man's scientific struggle to conquer nature; and contraceptives are but one of our scientific inventions.

Material progress and prosperity have resulted from man's conquest of the physical forces of nature where he has had the wisdom and moral principles to make a good use, and not an evil use of his scientific achievements. But progress and prosperity also demand man's conquest of his own nature and the controlling of his own passions. If progress in physical science is put at the disposal of uncontrolled self-indulgence, enabling people to violate and frustrate the very functions ordained by God for the preservation of human life itself, the result will be progressive decay and the destruction of all prosperity in the end. By unbridled sensuality and contraceptive birth control earlier civilizations have perished; and our own will go the same way, if a halt is not called to the same tendencies so strongly advocated by short-sighted materialists in our own day.

1098. Much would be gained by your Church if she made her rules easier in this matter.

As I have explained, it is not a mere matter of Church law. The primary purpose of reproductive functions is obviously reproduction. The natural moral law itself declares it a perversion to indulge in reproductive actions, yet deliberately to frustrate their effect when that effect would otherwise be realized. I might add that you should at least admire the Catholic Church for standing to the law of God in this matter, regardless of the advantages to be gained by unscrupulously ignoring it. You should least see how false is the charge that the Catholic Church believes that the end justifies the means, that expediency alone governs her conduct, and that she regards anything as lawful in order to gain her ends.

1099. Many careless Catholics would return to their religion.

I have no doubt that there are many Catholics who neglect the practice of their religion, not because it is wrong, but because they want to continue doing what it forbids. But you do not convert people from sinful conduct by letting them go on with it, and merely telling them that what is sinful is not really sinful at all!

1100. I know of some non-Catholics whose only objection to becoming Catholics is your law on this matter.

I have met far more than you yourself who have told me that their only objection to becoming Catholics is this or that teaching of the Church. Some have said that their only objection is that the Catholic Church forbids cremation; others that she will not let them continue being Freemasons; others, again, who have been divorced and married again, that the Church will not recognize their second marriages; yet others have said that their only objection is the obligation of confession. If, to gain converts, the Catholic Church had to unsay all that different individuals happen to dislike, hers would no longer be the Catholic religion!

1101. Under continuous pressure from the hierarchy, Catholics must breed more and more beings for the heavenly harvest.

Catholics are subjected to no pressure by the hierarchy to breed more children for a heavenly or any other harvest. The Catholic Church merely declares that if Catholics have good reason to limit the number of their children, they are not free in conscience to adopt means of doing so which are opposed to the law of God. If you wish to object to that statement, do so. But do not imagine that your distorted utterance is a correct statement of the Catholic position.

1102. Priests tell them that it is pleasing to God that they should keep on having children, no matter what their circumstances.

Any priest would say that it is better to endure the hardship and difficulty of rearing a large family, should it mean such hardship and difficulty, rather than restrict the number of children by immoral forms of birth control. But that is a very different proposition from your own false statement.

1103. At the Anglican Synod, Sydney, N.S.W., in June 1952, Canon D. J. Knox deplored the practice of contraceptive birth control by Anglican clergy, saying that "without suffering souls cannot be won for Christ". Is avoidance of contraception an optional suffering for the sake of one's greater spiritual influence on others?

Where married people are concerned, no matter who they may be, clergymen or not, contraceptive birth control is of its very nature sinful. Only a few weeks before the Anglican Synod in Sydney, the Anglican Archbishop of the West Indies said at the Anglican Synod there: "Some people have asked whether the Church of England has ever made any pronouncement on this subject." And he stated that the Anglican Bishops the West Indies Synod of 1946 had declared unequivocally that birth control measures are to be condemned as "contrary to the laws of God." It may be that, for married people, owing to financial or other difficulties, further children will mean a certain amount of hardship and suffering. They may accept that further hardship and suffering by having further children. But if they are unwilling to do that, they are absolutely obliged under pain of grave sin not to make use of contraceptives to prevent further children. This means that, granted their decision not to have further children, they are obliged to accept at least the alternative suffering of self-control and of abstention from marital relations, either completely or periodically, until another child is acceptable. From the viewpoint of the moral law and the will of God, no other solution is possible. It is regrettable that the Anglican Synod in Sydney refused to discuss the matter introduced by Canon Knox, and had not the courage to take the same stand as the Anglican Synod in the West Indies, under the presidency of Archbishop Alan John Knight, by declaring contraceptive birth control immoral and seriously sinful in the sight of God.

1104. Would the Catholic Church agree with the following decision of the Civil Courts in England? In 1945, in the case "Cowen vs Cowen", the wife secured a decree of nullity on the ground that he husband persistently used contraceptive methods to prevent children.

The persistent and habitual use of contraceptives by a husband, although according to Catholic teaching always mortal sin, would not of itself afford sufficient grounds for a declaration of nullity. It is true that marriage does give the right to normal marital relations and to the children resulting from them. But the Catholic Church would not grant a decree of nullity merely on the score that a husband habitually used contraceptive; for he could have intended a valid marriage, acknowledging the right of his wife to normal relations although through bad will he had not hitherto until the time of the petition, granted them. If it could be proved that, a the time of entering into the marriage, the man did not intend at any time to have any except contraceptive marital relations with his wife, then the Catholic Church would declare the marriage null and void owing to his intention being opposed to the very nature of the marriage contract. Stricter conditions, therefore, would have prevailed in the Catholic Matrimonial Courts than in the English Civil Courts.

1105. At about the same time, at Montreal, in Canada, Judge Forest granted a civil decree of nullity to a woman on the same grounds as those upheld in the English Courts.

The grounds as stated in the English Courts would not necessarily have justified a decree of nullity. But in the Canadian case it should be noted that the woman, who was a Catholic, had first secured a decree of nullity from the Matrimonial Courts of the Catholic Church, not merely on the grounds that the marriage had never been consummated by normal marital relations, but on the grounds that the husband had deceived the woman into marrying him in such a way that she would not have married him had she known of the way in which he intended to treat her. The Civil Court merely ratified in civil law the decree of nullity she had already obtained from the Ecclesiastical Court.

1106. Do you not think that those who forbid contraception have overlooked the problem of the over-population of the earth?

The publicity given to that subject by planned-parenthood supporters and sympathizers would not make it possible for them to overlook it.

1107. Why does God create so many people, when the earth on which He has placed them cannot possibly feed them all?

It is not true that the earth cannot possibly feed them all. At the U.N.O. Committee of Scientific Agriculture and Food Supplies, experts declared that the earth's resources are simply beyond human calculation. It is a question, therefore, of proper organization, prudent conservation, and the extensive use of technical and scientific methods.

1108. There are appalling conditions of poverty and starvation among the teeming millions of India, China and Japan.

Those countries have not benefited by the scientific progress in other parts of the world, and they are notorious for their primitive and relatively inefficient methods of food production. And it is the standing disgrace of the more civilized nations that they have been concerned rather with exploiting than with improving conditions in more primitive lands. If the wealthier, more highly cultured, and better equipped nations had taken a genuinely humanitarian interest in less privileged peoples, the story would be very different.

1109. If all the food the world could produce were evenly distributed, do you think all would have more than a bare sufficiency?

Certainly, if it is a question of all the food this world could produce. If only men would devote the same amount of time and intelligence to food production and reasonable distribution that they devote to the satisfaction of mutual rivalries and jealousies, selfish ambitions and schemes to outstrip each other in the building up of armaments to ward off threats of violence, the food problem would be negligible. Never, of course, will there be an absolutely even distribution of food in this world. Always there will be a certain degree of inequality. But if some have more than enough, no one, granted wise administration, need have less than enough.

1110. The Anglican Bishop Barnes, of Birmingham, England, advocating contraceptive birth control, said that, not war, but overpopulation and starvation constitute the real threat to humanity.

His opinion on this subject, as on so many others, was not worth much. At the very time he made that utterance, Mr. F. L. McDougall, adviser to the U.N.O. Food Organization, was warning the members against the attitude of those who say that the world will not be able to feed its people. He declared that it is "quite a mistake" to adopt the neo-Malthusian position, adding that "Conferences, studies and surveys indicate that food production can be greatly increased if modern knowledge is applied to agriculture." Shortly afterwards, Dr. C. A. Hochwalt announced to the American Association for the Advancement of Science the discovery of a substance called Krillium 100 to 1000 times more effective than ordinary fertilizers, which tests had already shown to result in a 45% increase in crops. That is but one item. It is difficult to put any limit to what science will be able to accomplish in many other ways.

1111. Bishop Barnes said that he could find nothing in Christ's teaching to make us welcome an unrestricted population increase, when its direct outcome is a vast growth of human misery.

No growth of human misery is the direct outcome of population increase. In certain localities it may be the indirect outcome of population increase, for which the solution is either the better distribution of people or at least of industry and foodstuffs. Meantime, even if there is ove; population in some localities, that does not justify talk of an over-popula ed world. As for the teaching of Christ, a Bishop even of the Anglican Churc ought not to be unaware of Christ's condemnation of just such anxietie and fears as those Bishop Barnes sought to enkindle. "Be not solicitous fo your life, what you shall eat, nor for your body, what you shall put on . . . your Father knoweth that you have need of all these things." Luke XII, 22-30. Christ did not mean by that, of course, that we can sit back and do nothing. But He did teach that, if we do our part, God's providence will see to it that what human beings need in this world will be available to them. But faith in God's providence did not enter into the Bishop's calculations at all.

1112. He deplored the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church on this matter.

Bishop Barnes had an ineradicable prejudice against Catholic teaching of any kind. And it would be enough for the Catholic Church to declare contraceptive birth control wrong for Dr. Barnes to advocate it. Yet the Anglican Bishop Gore, of Oxford, wrote in his book, "The Religion of the Church," p. 121, "A generation ago it began to be known that, by the use of certain expedients, it was possible for men and women to gratify their sexual appetites without the trouble, expense and pain involved in the procreation of children. The general verdict of the Christian conscience, where it is at pains to be instructed, condemns such practices as a degradation of marriage and of the sexual relation, severing its inherent pleasure from the conditions which ennoble and restrain it." Bishop Gore would have to say that either his fellow Anglican Bishop Barnes had not a Christian conscience, or that he had been at no pains to obtain instruction in such moral matters.

1113. Do you realize that the present alarming rate of increase will bring the world population up to the 3 billion mark by the year 2000 A.D.?

If it does the world will not be over-populated, nor will the earth be unable to provide for its needs. But no sound argument can be based upon statistical calculations as if it were certain that world-population will continue with a steady and constant progression. There are many natural factors, biological as well as others, which can upset all our conjectures. For the rest, constant harping by planned-parenthood people on this bogey of over-population only provides those who are not a scrap interested in the welfare of the human race but only in their own present selfish comfort with an excuse to practise contraceptive birth control, to their own moral degradation and immense injury to their own nations.

1114. The rate of increase in food can only be an arithmetical one, whilst all forms of life, from the lowest to the highest, increase if unchecked in geometrical progression.

That was the theory of Malthus, published in 1798, which has since been called the "Law of Malthus." But it is not a law at all. It is supported by no observed facts, and has indeed been proved false. In any case, since the food supply of mankind is drawn from lower forms of life, vegetable and animal, and according to your theory all forms of life tend to increase in geometrical progression, the food supply will keep pace with the growth of human population.

1115. Unless some means of population limitation is universally adopted, the prospects for humanity are very dim indeed.

In that case they are very dim indeed. For the universal adoption of birth control is most unlikely, to say the least. But your fears are unjustified. All the publicity given to such fears that the population of the world will out-grow its food supplies is doing grave harm, quite apart from the fact that so many people in the so-called civilized countries merely make it an excuse for the "gay time and no children" idea of marriage.

1116. There appears no future at all for an over-populated world with diminishing natural resources.

It could appear like that only to one who leaves out of consideration any thought of the providence of God, and who bases his merely human and fallible calculations on inadequate knowledge. You take for granted that the natural fertility rate of the human race is constant, whilst a close study of it reveals extraordinary variations. In the present state of our knowledge of biological laws no one can say with certainty that there ever will be a problem of over-population throughout the entire world. Should such a problem arise in certain sections of the world, the remedy can be found in a better distribution of its people.

1117. The United Nations should consider the development of a cheap and efficient contraceptive that would be within the reach of the women of every nation.

That suggestion, again, springs from a complete lack of confidence in God's providence, as though the physical laws He has appointed for the regulation of this world are incapable of providing for human beings who observe the natural moral laws also appointed by Him. To advise the violation of the natural moral law by the use of contraceptives is not only to adopt a defeatist attitude, but to advise depravity and wickedness on an ever-increasing scale. In practice, of course, the suggested remedy will mean only death to the nations whose women make use of the cheap and efficient contraceptives, whilst those peoples will survive whose women refuse to use them— as many will indeed refuse; and not only those who happen to have Christian convictions. For where the natural moral law is concerned, apart from particular religious persuasions, the natural conscience will protest against its violation. And contraceptive birth control is against the natural moral law.

1118. In 1950 the New York "Herald-Tribune's" Rome correspondent declared that the Vatican itself is becoming increasingly alarmed by the prospect of over-population.

His report was utterly without foundation. He attributed to the Vatican an article published in the magazine "Civilta Cattolica," by a Father Brucculeri, S.J., an article for which the Vatican was in no way responsible. Moreover, the correspondent mentioned did not even quote the article correctly.

1119. He said that the Vatican intends to maintain its opposition to contraception, but will urge virginity, or total abstinence within marriage, in order to limit the dangerously increasing birth rate.

The Vatican made no statement on the subject at all. Father Brucculeri, discussing the widely-publicized over-population scare, denied the existence of a dangerously increasing birth rate from a global point of view, and discounted all fears of excessive world-population. He did not say anything about the Church urging "virginity or total abstinence in marriage". He merely mentioned in his article that if, as is not at all likely, world population did go beyond the extreme limit of subsistence, the Catholic Church would still have to insist on the natural moral law forbidding contraceptive birth control, recommending prudent self-restraint in the use of marital privileges as a lawful alternative in opposition to the prohibition of marriage, or the desecration of marriage by contraceptive practices. But all that was in the realm of abstract theory. Father Brucculeri denied that, from a global point of view, the problem was a practical one at all. The only practical problem is that of the better distribution of peoples, providing scope for migration from small over-populated areas, a duty of humanity which should not be "obstructed for deplorable political reasons."

1120. How would you yourself solve this dilemma, which must confront all thinking Catholic people? Please tell us.

I haven't got to solve the problem as to how natural physical laws will provide for a human race observing natural moral laws. That rests with God who appointed both sets of laws; and we can safely leave it to Him. If any Catholic came to me and told me that he was worrying about the matter—which no Catholic has ever yet done—then I would have to try to allay his anxiety. I would tell him what I have already said on this subject in previous replies, and I would add that no speculations about the expediency or inexpediency of observing the natural moral law can dispense us from observing it. I would assure him that as long as we do our part within the moral law towards promoting the welfare of humanity here and now, we can trust God for the rest and leave the future to Him with absolute confidence. Then I would tell him to go home and not waste his time worrying any more about it.

1121. Is not the Catholic prohibition of contraceptives anti-social, making it impossible to check or eliminate venereal disease?

Venereal disease is due to an immorality which the Catholic Church utterly condemns. If her teachings were heeded, the evil would soon cease to be prevalent.

1122. In Russia, venereal disease is practically unknown.

That is an exaggeration. But you are trying to prove that the influence of the Catholic Church is anti-social. Is it anti-social to insist that people can be moral and should be moral, rather than to teach that people cannot be moral, and that since they cannot be good the only thing left for them is to be careful? The Catholic Church rightly objects to the attitude which has no word of condemnation for immorality, but which is concerned only with making it safe.

1123. It is absurd to maintain that promiscuous immorality can ever be abolished.

It could be abolished if all people knew and had the goodwill, with the help of God's grace, to observe Christian standards. But since all people neither know nor have the goodwill to observe Christian principles, promiscuous immorality will not, as a matter of fact, be abolished. We can but labor to diminish it. With those who won't observe the moral law, all morally lawful means must be taken to fight against the spread of disease, such as prudent education, compulsory notification, segregation of carriers, and prophylactic treatment not involving contraceptive measures. But the use of contraceptive devices is not morally lawful. Here, once again, the end does not justify the means.

1124. Why cannot the Catholic Church fall in line with modern civilization on this vexed question of birth control?

Because, however modern it may be, if our civilization has come to the conclusion that contraceptive birth control is morally permissible, it has fallen into serious error. Contraceptive birth control is opposed to the law of God, and the Catholic Church has not the power to break down God's laws to suit the passions of men. People should regard it as very much to her credit that she has not fallen into line with the rapidly developing paganism which is eating into our modern civilization.

1125. Cheap drugs widely advertised by medical parasites may do harm, but sensible people do not fall victims to such quacks. There are birth control methods which do no injury whatever to a person's health.

When a thing is evil in itself, you do not make it right by devising safe means of accomplishing it. To indulge in those functions God Himself has ordained to the reproduction of human life, and then to frustrate conception where it would otherwise occur, is a moral perversion and a deliberate violation of God's will. Moreover, even from the viewpoint of expediency, the harm done by medical parasites to individuals is far exceeded by the incalculable harm done to the whole nation by the spread of birth control practices, however clever people may be in protecting their own individual health whilst indulging in such practices. In his book, "Reflections on Life" (English translation, 1952, p. 64), Dr. Alexis Carrel writes: "The progress of contraceptive methods has dissociated the sexual act from impregnation. At the same time, abortion has ceased to be considered a crime. Both man and woman have left off obeying the law of the propagation of the race. At first nature remained silent. The transgressors were punished lightly or not at all. Then came fearful catastrophes. France has declined. England is following suit, and a great qualitative change is taking place in the United States. The severity of the punishment proves how grave was the fault."

1126. There are now municipal clinics where the public are given expert advice by qualified medical practitioners.

Qualified medical practitioners who teach contraceptive methods of birth control are traitors to their own medical profession. Their duty is to preserve life, not to assist in preventing or destroying it. Furthermore, such men are the enemies of the good of their own nation in the end, sapping its vitality and helping it along the road to decay. But all these considerations are secondary to the fact that contraceptive birth control is of its very nature a violation of the moral law and a deliberate defiance of the will of God, the Creator of mankind

1127. The thing is to get mankind to realize that large families must henceforth be regarded as a form of selfishness.

Protests against large families are prompted by the selfishness of those who are thinking of their own comfort, and are afraid lest it should be diminished by too many others wanting to share it. And their selfishness is also the reason why they limit their own families for the sake of their own personal pleasures and luxury. Let the nation die, provided they individually may eat, drink and be merry. It is sheer pretense on their part to argue that unselfish love of children is selfish, and that their own selfish love of themselves is the really unselfish thing. Where is the selfishness of those who accept many children? It means sacrifice and devotedness on their part, and a much greater training in unselfishness amongst the children than in the case of a spoiled and pampered only child.

1128. The Catholic Church has contributed largely to the creation of slums by its antisocial insistence that people have large families irrespective of their financial position.

The Catholic Church does not insist that people have large families irrespective of their financial position. She does say that if people have good reasons for restricting the number of their children, they may not do so in any way which violates the moral law.

1129. Statistics show that there is a far greater proportion of Catholics in slum areas than in the more comfortable suburbs.

Supposing, though not granting, that to be true, do you hold that it is the end or purpose of human life to dwell in a more comfortable suburb rather than to fulfill the will of God by conforming our conduct to the moral law even despite temporal discomforts? Again, are you objecting to the slums, or to the large number of children in the slums? I urge that society abolish the slums, making due and decent provision for the children. You advocate abolition of the children. As G. K. Chesterton once said: "If there are ten children and eight hats, the sensible man advocates by better production and distribution the provision of two more hats. But another man suggests that if we only cut the heads off two of the children they will not want hats, and then the eight hats will exactly go round." It could be added that the sum-total of happiness is not necessarily greater in a small wealthy family living in a comfortable suburb than that of a large yet poor family living in a drab district. In innumerable cases you would find it far less.

1130. The Population Reference Bureau in U.S.A. recently issued a Report saying: "Tests of intelligence of the average American citizen show that American intelligence is declining so rapidly that, if present trends in the birth rate continue, it will be only a few decades before a majority of the American people will be rated no higher than dull and backward . . . Idiots and imbeciles, feeble-minded and dull and backward persons are multiplying more rapidly than persons of superior intelligence."

That is put the wrong way round. If anything, one should say that persons of superior intelligence are multiplying less rapidly than others. But even that does not really make sense. For people cannot really be credited with intelligence who deliberately adopt measures to prevent their own survival. They may be more literate, cunning, or sophisticated. They may be less religious, more worldly-minded, wealthier or selfish. But they are not showing any particular signs of intelligence by lowering the birth rate amongst themselves to less than normal reproductive standards.

1131. The Report said that the Royal Commission on Population in England showed the same experience there, the birth rate being higher among those with less intelligence.

Again the statement should be put the other way round, declaring the birth rate to be lower amongst those who claim to be of higher intelligence. They are the so-called intelligent people who are lowering their birth rate by contraceptive birth control, not others who are increasing theirs. I speak of so-called intelligent people, for people can have a certain degree of knowledge and even be clever in some ways, yet be perfect fools in other ways. And it is certainly not wisdom for those who imagine that they are the better types in the community to undermine their numbers and influence by birth control practices.

1132. Have you even considered the housing shortage? If people cannot get a house to live in, where could they put their children or bring them up properly?

You here introduce an exceptional case. The vast majority of those who practice birth control by contraceptive means are not impelled to do so by the housing shortage. If that were the reason, those who have homes would also have children. But multitudes of them refuse to have the children they could accommodate. In those genuine cases where married people cannot get suitable accommodation, we do not maintain that they do wrong in refusing to have children whilst in such circumstances, What is wrong, even for them, is to prevent conception by contraceptive means. The only morally lawful way is by self-control, refraining from marital relations either until a child is welcome, or at least refraining from them at those times when conception is likely to result. There is no other morally lawful way in which to limit the number of children.

1133. What if it is not financially possible to have all the children nature would produce?

One must beware lest the estimate of what is not financially possible be based upon reluctance to accept the ordinary discomforts and selfsacrifice required of those who allow children to come as God sends them. However, there are cases where economic difficulties are too great to permit constant additions to the family; and people in such difficulties are deserving of sympathy. But even for them the only morally lawful way of avoiding further conceptions is by the non-use of marital privileges, either completely or periodically. Many good Catholics nobly practice self- restraint by mutual agreement rather than be guilty of an abuse and desecration of the married state. After all, there is no state in life which is one of unmitigated pleasure and in which fidelity to duty does not call for some form of self-denial, And married persons in adverse circumstances are no exception. If they are faithful to conscience and to their religious duties, God will give them the strength to fulfill His laws, despite all temptations to abandon and violate them. As Christians we believe that if God imposes an obligation on us, He will give the necessary graces to enable us to fulfill it, provided we seek His help in a spirit of faith and by sincere and earnest prayer.

1134. As a Christian, do you think a woman should keep on having children for twenty or more years?

If her health is not seriously affected by doing so, and her husband can make reasonable provision for the welfare of the resultant children, I certainly think that she should be commended for so generous a devotion to the duties of motherhood. Granted, however, sufficiently serious reasons for spacing children and limiting their number, there is nothing against a Christian husband and wife avoiding an excessive number of children, provided they do not make use of morally unlawful means.

1135. Surely a mother's health is of some importance; and surely she is not expected to be a slaving drudge all her life.

A mother's health is of great importance. But the law of God is of great importance also. What must be done is to do all possible to safeguard a mother's health, whilst at the same time observing the law of God. As regards being a slaving drudge all her life, we must be on our guard against a false outlook. If a woman allows genuine love of her husband and of her children to take charge of her life, she refuses to regard her duties as a wife and mother as slavery and drudgery. And as the children grow up conditions change. The whole of a woman's life will not be subject to the same circumstances as those of earlier years in her married life.

1136. You have often suggested that it is lawful for married people to refrain from marital relations at times when conception is likely to result; that is, during what is commonly known as the fertile period.

That suggestion applied only to cases where there Were sufficiently serious reasons for avoiding further conceptions, at least for the time being, and where the parties were not actuated by wrong motives in their mutual agreement to restrict their marital relations to infertile periods only.



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