A Modern-day Miracle
by Mark Liberator (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org) [Updated July 11th, 2005]
The Catholic Church has certainly taken a stand on contraceptives. She finds them to be unacceptable, against "The Word of God," and therefore sinful as reported by Pope Paul VI when he wrote The Humanae Vitae. In short, he claimed contraception is an unnecessary and damaging obstacle that inhibits a full expression of love between married couples. Unfortunately, his claims have not been supported by scientific evidence of any kind. His position is solely based on his own interpretations of handpicked phrases from The Bible combined with the problems of our time.
Now for some people, it is enough to live a life based on a few biblical phrases that were created by man approximately 2000 years ago. Others, even a number of devout Catholics, cannot accept their own church's position on that topic. They cannot accept The Catholic Church's inherently flawed substitute, Natural Family Planning (NFP), as the sole means toward responsibility.
NFP is scientific in appearance. Church leaders speak in generality, telling followers to abide by a woman's natural cycle, using temperature, timing, and levels of moisture to gauge the risk of pregnancy. However, no two women are exactly alike. This prevents scientists from developing a one-fits-all model to follow. Even when a single woman is studied, scientists have found that the natural cycle can be affected by stress, physical exertion, and chemicals, making the whole process highly unpredictable.
If NFP is not scientifically sound, why should couples practice it? They shouldn't, unless they can afford to run the risk of pregnancy. If allowed to second guess an organization so strongly rooted in history and in the lives of many people across the globe, someone may begin to think the true objective is not about family planning at all. One may begin to think the true objective is more about survival of a philosophy.
Catholic leaders like Denver's Archbishop Charles Chaput have written, "The massive export of contraceptives, abortion and sterilization by the developed world to developing countries -- frequently as a prerequisite for aid dollars and often in direct contradiction to local moral traditions -- is a thinly disguised form of population warfare and cultural re-engineering." That is one heck of an unsupported claim. Read the following report:No one will ever witness stories like the one above being reported to religious congregations across America. Why? The efforts in Sri Lanka fly against messages made by Popes and Archbiships, that's why. How can these religious leaders, who are supposed to be one step closer to God, be wrong? Maybe there is a reason why religious leaders continue to rifle their pastorals across America even when they are obviously wrong.Sri Lankans Use Condoms Like Never Before
From: Reuters (Cemail@example.com)
Newsgroups: clari.news.sex; clari.world.asia.south; clari.news.issues.reproduction; clari.world.asia.central+south
Date: Wednesday, September 18, 1996 9:20 AM
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (Reuter) - Condom shops are booming in the Indian Ocean island country of Sri Lanka where no villager has to travel for more than four miles to purchase one, the Family Planning Association (FPA) said Wednesday. Accessibility, coupled with a new wave of awareness on family planning and AIDS, prompted Sri Lankans to snatch up a record eight million condoms last year, up by half a million, FDA Executive Director Daya Abeywickrema said by telephone. The association first introduced the condom to Sri Lanka in 1973 when it began marketing "Preethi," a Sinhalese word for happiness. Now other popular brands include "He Man," "Preventor," "Rough Rider" and "Moon Beam." In Sri Lanka, which has a population of 18 million, the average family size has dropped to 2.3 children from 5.6 in the 1950s. Sri Lanka's population growth is 1.4 percent, the lowest in South Asia.
The true goal may be to prevent contraception efforts in the third world and at home in order to produce more ignorant, tithing people who devote their lives to the Christian worldview. It would mean more money for churches. Churches would be free to do more with their tax-exempt monies, like feed the poor that their misguided philosophy ironically promotes. This movement would also maintain the Christian tradition for years to come as more Christians are brought into the faith by non-contraceptive users.
It is possible that religious leaders are not strategically out to preserve their philosophies on the backs of innocent people across the planet. They could be like every person who needs to be schooled on the effects of population. They could simply be wrong. It should not be a revolutionary concept, religious leaders like the Pope being wrong. They are humans who are imperfect.
There is another side to this whole debate that has yet to be addressed. What problems are there with the use of contraceptives? The popular forms of birth control should be addressed individually as each has its own set of problems.
First, the least attractive method is abstinence. Even though it is undeniably the best method for birth control and stops STDs 100%, it is an avenue few can travel. It is hard to resist the biological and social forces surrounding the act of lovemaking. Few can resist the temptation. That is why this method is the least favorite and the most underused. Religious leaders have great intentions when they offer this as the only method for teens and unmarried couples but it is the least realistic of options.
Second, there's the almighty rubber barrier called the condom. Some people believe that condoms inhibit feeling. Of course having no barrier will certainly provide more feeling than wearing a condom but the loss of feeling is minimal. With practice, the condom can be a workable and enjoyable tool. However, the condom is not a perfect form of contraception. Condoms can break or leak. Performance does rank close to a 100% effective rate for those who know how to use them. They are also helpful in combating sexually transmitted diseases (STD).
Third, the convenient yet intrusive pill is another helpful tool. Women who use this tool can predict their menstrual cycle with surprising accuracy. The pill is also an extremely effective method of birth control. However, the pill is not usable by all women. They can cause headaches or other side-effects. Pill users also run a slightly higher probability of getting cancer. Also, the pill does not prevent STDs.
Fourth, however controversial it may be, oral sex is certainly the best method and least intrusive--save for abstinence--when considering birth control. Granted oral sex is a taboo subject that few people openly discuss but it certainly does work. The only drawback is that it does absolutely nothing for STDs. It is a very personal act that will bring couples even closer together, literally.
Fifth, surgery can help couples achieve birth control. Doctors either tie the seminal vessels in men or the fallopian tubes in women. This procedure does not prohibit STDs but it does a permanent job controlling population. The permanence can be a drawback for couples who change their view toward birth control.
Sixth, there are other devices, tools and methods like IUDs, foams, digital stimulation but they are less optimal. Some have cost considerations. Some are not reliable. Others lack intimacy or desired pleasure. Nevertheless, there are multiple methods that couples can use to postpone or prohibit pregnancy.
Many Americans and people around the world, including those that are religious, use various birth control devices. As a result, these people lead happy and responsible lives. They value life by preparing for it. They know that untimely pregnancies can be damaging for parents, society as a whole and for the baby too. It is clear that birth control is not 100% reliable and that births can happen even when these tools are carefully used. However, they benefit mankind by dramatically reducing the number of teenage mothers, unwanted pregnancies, and unfit mothers.
Our own ecology can be preserved by combating human over population. It is becoming more clear as human population rises that a hold on our numbers is necessary for our future. Ozone depletion from hydroflourocarbons, air/water/land pollution, and the possibility of pandemics are all directly related to the inherent nature of humankind and our sheer numbers. Birth control can even help third world countries escape the cycles of disease and death they face daily.
Technology has discovered birth control tools out of necessity, and is not a means to foster sexual addiction as Denver's Archbiship Chaput claims. The need is obvious to those who travel to third world nations and see the despair and death. The need is obvious to social workers who handle cases of neglect in inner cities across The United States. Many religious leaders don't like to acknowledge the connection of these facts for one main reason: the arguement for birth control is so convincing that once known, more people would use them, be further alienated from religious dogma and lead happier lives as a result.
For more information regarding birth control, see Planned Parenthood [www.plannedparenthood.org].
Click here to view Denver's Archbishop Charles Chaput's stand on The Humanae Vitae with comments by The Liberator.
Click here to examine Pope Paul VI Humanae Vitae [as obtained from www.vatican.va].
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