The Elephant in the Living Room

Contraception is the elephant in the living room of contemporary Catholicism: Everybody knows it’s there, but few people care to acknowledge the fact. Meanwhile, the accumulating pastoral damage that results from this state of collective denial is painfully real. Partly it arises from the circumstance that even churchgoing Catholics today live in a state of … Read more

On Condoms: More Dostoevsky, Less Catechesis

Catholics are obsessed with rules about what can and cannot be done. Contraception, abortion, women in the priesthood, even kneeling for the Eucharist are often subjects of controversy whenever Catholics discuss their faith. Thus, when Pope Benedict XVI made his now-famous comment in Light of the World about condoms, it was inevitable that his utterance … Read more

Bishop Soto: Contraception is now the default position in marriage.

In the current issue of the Catholic Herald, Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento writes that most modern couples accept contraception as the “default” position in marriage, only giving up the practice when it’s ‘time to have kids.’ This isn’t merely a drag on our population’s replacement rate, but has itself confused the definition of marriage. … Read more

Can Europe Survive Its Population Plunge?

Europe is dying. The Washington Post, among others, reports that, within a hundred years, there will be the rare German in Germany or Italian in Italy. Some demographers believe it is too late to correct Europe’s plunge into extinction. “The fall in the population can no longer be stopped,” reported Walter Rademacher of the German … Read more

The five-mornings-after pill

On Friday, the FDA approved a new emergency contraceptive called “ella,” which can prevent pregnancy up to 5 days after sex. It passed with little fanfare or resistance, compared to the uproar surrounding the approval of Plan B, also known as the “morning after” pill (which is effective up to three days at most). The … Read more

The Victory of Factum over Genitum

The solemn declaration of the Credo that “Christ was engendered, not made” (genitum, non factum), is pregnant with rich philosophical insights and is an inspiration to investigate two possible ways of relating to existence: to be made or to be engendered.   God is eternal and the Creator of heaven and earth, though our current … Read more

More Kagan: the key to ‘marriage equality’?

Margaret, over on on NRO’s Corner Maggie Gallagher says that Kagan will be the lynchpin for same-sex marriage in all 50 states: A vote for Elena Kagan is a vote for “marriage equality,” which features in two key cases that will shortly be before the Supreme Court: Perry v. Schwarzenegger, which arises out of California’s … Read more

The socio-economic costs of contraception

The current issue of First Things has an important piece by Timothy Reichert examining the social impact of contraception. He argues that the modern contraceptive culture has led to “a massive redistribution of wealth and power from women and children to men.” The popular use of birth control has split the “market” governing gender relations … Read more

Contraception and the Vocations Crisis

  A few weeks ago, a young man I’ll call David dropped in to see me. David has been working with me discerning a vocation to the priesthood, so it was with some interest that I heard him announce that he had acquired a girlfriend. We discussed the possibilities and prospects for the future, and … Read more

Abstinence-only education gets a boost

A new study of an abstinence-only sex-ed curriculum showed it to be more successful at delaying teen sex than a comparable “safe sex” program — and even one that combined abstinence and safe-sex messages: Only about a third of sixth- and seventh-graders who completed an abstinence-focused program started having sex within the next two years, researchers … Read more

The Two Lists

  Of all the things I remember about the Texas March for Life in Austin last January, the memory that stands out the most is the look on the faces of the counter-protesters who followed us along Congress Avenue and down to the capitol that frosty morning. When I glanced over to see the source … Read more

The Bad Business of Planned Parenthood

Despite profits of $85 million in 2008, Planned Parenthood is facing serious financial difficulties. According to a recent Harvard Business School case study, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) is structured as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with multiple affiliates, each of which is also a 501(c)(3) non-profit. The national entity lobbies on national policy, sets … Read more

Contraception and Conversion

Sometimes a “progressive” Catholic asks me why my family and I became Catholics. As often rapidly becomes clear, the Episcopal Church we left is his ideal for the Catholic Church. We had married priests, women priests, homosexual priests, no doctrinal restrictions, evolving moral standards, and an official reason to be rude to the pope. What … Read more

Message Refused: Humanae Vitae, 40 Years Later

  I know a woman – and, in fairness, I must say that she’s a truly good Catholic woman — who’s slightly bonkers on the subject of birth control. I suppose there are people like that on both sides of this argument, but this woman happens to be bonkers on the pro-contraception side. You can’t … Read more

Gay Marriage and the Slippery Slope to Polyamory

  The juxtaposition of same-sex “marriage” being approved in California with the raid on the Texan polygamists seems to have made a few people ponder the logical connection between homosexuality and polygamy — and, in some cases unhappily, reflect that former senator Rick Santorum was right when he said the Supreme Court’s Lawrence decision would … Read more

Sexual Freedom and Its Discontents

In my last column, I noted that the California Supreme Court was about to decide on the constitutionality of gay marriage in that state. The verdict is in, and a law defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman has been overturned. By a 4-3 decision, the court declared the state’s Defense … Read more

The Unintended Consequences of Contraception

Pop culture, schools, and the media all tell you that artificial birth control is a wonderful development of modernity. Explaining why they’re wrong and the official Church teaching is correct can be a painful matter. The teaching itself is a difficult one, but if you support contraception, I invite you to rethink your position. Some … Read more

Over Eighty American Catholic Leaders Urge Support of Humanae Vitae

Over 80 national Catholic leaders, meeting October 25-26, adopted a statement celebrating the upcoming 40th anniversary of Humanae Vitae and predicted the “Church will regain Her voice . . . and will once again boldly proclaim to all mankind that children are the solution, not the problem.” At its 10th annual meeting in Charleston, SC, … Read more

Birth Control Pills To Be Distributed To 6th Graders

Bishop Richard J. Malone is “outraged” about the decision of the Portland, Maine, school board to make birth control pills available to 6th-, 7th-, and 8th-grade girls at King Middle School. On Wednesday, the Portland School Committee voted 5-2 to make contraceptive pills available to girls, ages 11 to 13, at the student health center. … Read more

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