Excerpts from the book New Perspectives on Contraception by Dr. Donald DeMarco
(p.9) Kierkegaard alluded to a fundamental dilemma in human existence when he pointed out that we know backwards but must live forwards. Everything we know is about that which has already taken place. The future, by contrast, seems to be a leap into darkness. Knowledge of history is not a basis for predicting the future. Heading into tomorrow by looking through a rear-view window is not a reliable way of traveling.
People resist faith. But what they often replace it with is fear. Two teenagers, engaged to each other, approached a medical doctor and requested that he sterilize both of them. The doctor declined, since he thought they were too young to make such an important and irreversible decision. But he was curious about why both of them wanted to be sterilized. Would it not be sufficient to sterilize just one? They explained to him, rather tersely, that they did not trust each other. They wanted to be married to each other, retain their double income, and remain open to the possibility of engaging in extra-marital affairs. They were, in their own minds, thoroughly open and totally liberated. But could a more penetrating assessment of their relationship be that it is faithless?
Faithlessness is akin to lovelessness. It is not in the nature of love to be sterile. There is no such thing as a sterile love. Love is, by virtue of its own inner essence, creative. It is naturally hope-filled and full of faith. It cannot help but imagine a brighter tomorrow.
The noted economist, Lewis Lehrman was once criticized by a woman for the apparent irresponsibility he exhibited in siring five children. They will consume "precious natural resources," she protested. "But Madam," he retorted, "don't you understand? Those children themselves are our most precious natural resources." Children are not the problem; not to have them is not the solution. Thomas Malthus' great anxiety about population was linked not only to his rejection of Providence, but also to his unexplainable reduction of human beings to mouths without minds. He saw human beings, as many do today, not as contributors but only as consumers.
The teenage couple who rejected progeny and distrusted each other were actually imposing a curse upon themselves without realizing it
(p.10) Planned Parenthood is an organization that believes, almost religiously, we might say, in planning. Its unwavering commitment to and confidence in contraception, as history has shown, is ample testimony for this claim. But its faith is in its plan, and we all know what often happens to the best laid schemes of mice and men. True faith transcends planning. To plan without faith is, as Kierkegaard pointed out, like trying to live life backwards. We cannot plan for things that are more wonderful than we could imagine, or even for pleasant surprises. The natural plan should make room for the supernatural intervention. "There is no road that has not a star above it," wrote the American essayist, Ralph Waldo Emerson. This exquisite phrase symbolizes the blending of plan with faith, the natural with the supernatural, the earthly with the Divine. Marriage, as Genesis proclaims, is of Godly origin. It is not likely that God would abandon what he instituted to the unreliable institutions of human planning.
God's Plan has both natural and mysterious components. It requires us to exercise our intelligence and our imagination as well as our faith. Saint Thomas Aquinas was once asked how he could justify the great confidence he had in what he wrote. He answered that it was because he learned from two primary sources that could not lie: nature and Scripture. Given the fact that a high percentage of our information in today's society comes from the Mass Media that has little regard for truth, Aquinas' approach appears to be both admirable and enviable.
Contraception is a barrier that separates the natural from the mysterious, thereby tending to enclose us within the natural. But the most memorable and dramatic moments, the most joyful moments of our life occur when the mysterious manifests itself through the natural. Contraception, therefore, is not liberating, but confining. It is never the subject of hymns, odes, celebrations, or festivities. It springs merely from a human choice, one that has no concern about converging with God's choice.
The word "procreation" relates to human creation that proceeds from God's creative Plan. The word "reproduction", on the other (p.11) hand implies that children are products of their parents who are the producers. As procreated, children are created in the image of God; as reproduced, they are produced in the image of their parents.
Contraception is part of a philosophy that implies that when it comes to having children, the husband and wife (or the producers) should be the only ones in charge. Psychologically, contraception conveys the attitude that if God is not in the picture when contraception is used, neither is He in the picture when intercourse is used without contraception.
Reproduction, rather than procreation, properly speaking, is not interested in God's Plan. Consequently, when contraception is put aside and a child is conceived, that child is regarded not so much as a child of God, but one of choice. At the same time, that child, in accepting his status as merely a child of his parent's choice, may sense, in some perhaps subtle way, that he is orphaned.
God's Plan embraces a convergence of choices, both the human and the Divine. Therefore, it incorporates both the natural and the mysterious. Conversely, from the human perspective, it includes intelligence and imagination, as well as faith.
Contraception is an attempt to disenfranchise God from the matter of creating new life and putting the responsibility solely in the hands of humans. But God remains the Author of life, and the contraceptive program, by disrespecting God's Plan, will deprive all its participants of blessings that they cannot afford to be without, and need far more than they realize.
|2001 Catholics Against Contraception|