Excerpts from the book New Perspectives on Contraception by Dr. Donald DeMarco
Control Over One's Body
30) The prevailing assumption that our own body, even when it is healthy
and properly functioning, can rise up against us, suggests that, like
a wild beast, it needs to be controlled. We get a strong sense of
this negative image of the procreative potential of the human body
in the following statement which one frequently finds in reading through
the feminist literature of liberation: "I just could not a low
myself to feel so much at the mercy of my biology. I was dammed if
I was going to let my body dictate the rest of my life."
Control is indeed an essential part of human freedom and human dignity. Enslavement and degradation contradict the nature of the human person. But control is better directed not against our bodies but toward maintaining wholeness and ordering our lives so that they are in harmony with God's Plan and our own destiny. When we try to control our biology (and contraception is a good illustration of this), we turn against our selves. But when we try to control our actions in the interest of respecting and maintaining our wholeness as (p. 32) human beings, we are acting consistently and unambiguously for our own good. We may not succeed in getting what we want, but we can succeed in not dividing ourselves into two mutually antagonistic parts.
Our liberty, precious and desirable as it is, is conditioned by our reality. We are embodied creatures. This is our reality. We cannot achieve freedom if we reject our truth. It is our truth, then, that is the basis for our freedom. We become free through our body, not when we are separated from it.
It is important, needless to say, to control our urges and impulses. But control does not imply a devaluation of that which is (p.33) controlled. In the case of moral self-control, it implies integration. We control our urges and impulses not because they are inferior, but so that they can function properly within the context of our human wholeness. The moral purpose of control is not conquest but sublimation.
career world is hardly a bed of roses or a fount of liberty. It is,
quite often, a world of intense rivalry, venomous back-stabbing, and
endless grievances. Its stresses, pressures, and tensions are so unremitting
that survivors of the work week thank God it is Friday (TGIF). It
is a world that literally cries out for a more peaceful and humane
environment. Is it not the family, as Christopher Lasch has pointed
out, that offers the only real haven in an otherwise heartless world?
|2001 Catholics Against Contraception|