Aristotle famously asserted that “nature abhors a vacuum.” For over a generation there has been a catechetical vacuum within most parishes regarding the meaning of marriage and the purpose of sex.
The Church, of course, has not been silent. From Paul VI to Saint John Paul II, recent popes have written eloquently and authoritatively about marriage and conjugal love. Experts such as Dr. Janet Smith (“Contraception: Why Not?”) have also done immense good teaching the faithful the truth about sex and contraception.
However, despite these efforts, far too many parish priests have not made it their priority. A culpable silence on this topic has instead been the norm for many Catholic faithful sitting in the pews on Sundays. Unfortunately, our neo-pagan contemporary culture has been more than willing to fill this vacuum with their agenda.
At its very foundation this current crisis has everything to do with a resigned acceptance of contraception by many Catholic clergy and laity alike. While nearly everyone knows what the Church believes regarding marriage, there is often little to no adult formation provided on it. Papal encyclicals and pre-Cana classes are not enough to educate and to form the average Catholic in the pew. We need to be shaken out of our complacency.
In Humanae Vitae the Catholic Church reaffirmed that “every marital act must of necessity retain its intrinsic relationship to the procreation of human life.” The Church also unambiguously stated that the “unitive significance and the procreative significance…are both inherent to the marriage act.” (HV 12)
Of course, by its very definition, a conjugal act which retains the procreative purpose of marriage can only involve one man and one woman. However, once contraception is introduced into a marriage, the conjugal act becomes disordered.
As the procreative aspect to marriage has been abandoned by a culture of contraception, the understanding of what marriage truly is has been lost as well. As it stands today, heterosexual couples who engage in sterile, recreational, sex strictly for pleasure have no compelling reason why homosexuals should not be permitted to do the same; after all, none of these unions are producing new life. With the marriage “equality” movement we are now seeing the logical and destructive culmination of this contraceptive mentality. Indeed, it then becomes easier to understand why contraception and gay “marriage” are incompatible with a culture of life.
There are three things we must do in response to this relentless assault against marriage and life.
First, Catholics must stop fooling themselves when it comes to the popular culture. We are in the world but not of the world. Hollywood, commercial television, and the music industry are actively working against us. At this time all faithful Catholics need to ask themselves why they still feel the need to give their time and money to industries and individuals whose “art” directly attacks our values and beliefs. It is time to recognize that we are counter-cultural. For this reason they will hate us, but know that they hated Him first.
Second, Catholics must hate sin. Not the sinner, but the sin. Contraception is evil. It has laid a foundation for promiscuity, fornication, adultery, divorce, abortion and now same sex marriage. It is wrong and always has been. The Church is unambiguous about this, even if your pastor is not. However, we are unable to defend and promote a Culture of Life as long as Catholics contracept just like everyone else. It has to stop.
Finally, pray and offer reparation for the sins of others. This is indeed a supernatural battle and we will lose if we seek to wage it only in the temporal realm. Saint Michael the Archangel is a necessary ally in this battle. Let us invoke his intercession every day as we fight for the defense of traditional marriage and an outright rejection of contraception.
Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle…