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Holy Sex@40 Humanae Vitae stands the test of time.
National Review Online ^ | July 15, 2008 | Kathryn Jean Lopez

Posted on 07/16/2008 10:51:52 AM PDT by victim soul

It’s the summer of talking about the summer of ‘68. And back during that infamous summer, there was sex — an encyclical on sex, that is: Humanae Vitae, from Pope Paul VI, issued on July 25. Its message is being heard and misheard as much now as then. It would be for the benefit of all — Catholics and non-Catholics alike — to give it a 40th-anniversary look.

Even Jessica Valenti, author of the new book He’s a Stud, She’s a Slut, and 49 Other Double Standards Every Woman Should Know, might find it more helpful than she’ll care to let on.

Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops in Rome, said recently that “the encyclical is not simply a ‘no’ to contraception but also a defense of the dignity of woman against whatever might degrade her greatness as a person, wife and mother, reducing her to an object of pleasure.”

What — Jessica might ask — does a Catholic priest know about women’s liberation?

Well, let me ask Jessica a question: What does the West actually know about so-called women’s lib? It knows that a culture of contraception has left women in a predicament where . . . well, let me let Valenti herself tell you about it. In her new book, she writes:

In my sex-having lifetime, I’ve been on the Pill, used NuvaRing, condoms, and female condoms, and considered getting an IUD just so I wouldn’t have to worry about birth control for another five years or so. I’ve taken emergency contraception. The job of being responsible, at the end of the day, has always been lain with me. Because I’m a woman. It’s our responsibility to have safe sex: birth control pills, diaphragms, spermicides — sh*t, we even have to convince men to wear condoms! I say it’s crap.

The lady’s got a point. But it’s not men that are the problem. It’s the whole sexual-revolution outlook.

Valenti adds:

Birth control has long been used against certain women — women of color, immigrants, and low-income women — as a way to control them. There are groups that put up billboards in low-income, minority communities urging women to get sterilized for cash (seriously). And a long history of sterilizing women because only certain (white) women having babies is considered desirable.

What a way to live. Valenti is clearly not happy about it. She even notes, complaining about the slow development of male contraceptive drugs: “Because it’s not like women undertake any health risks at all using countless levels of hormones, things stuck up our chocha, and the like.”

Thank you, Jessica Valenti. That message is a far cry from, say, this month’s Cosmo, which announces that the “one exception” to the rule that “The Pill has many positive effects” is that it might not be good for your bones. (No mention, of course, of your mental health or the quality of your relationship(s).)

Reading Valenti’s book, I found it hard to keep out of my mind something I read on her feministing blog recently. A writer there was livid that Maureen Dowd had quoted a Catholic priest in her New York Times column, on marriage. “Dowd has stooped to a new low,” she wrote, in consulting a priest.

As it happens, a few good priests may be exactly what feminism is looking for: some holy men with inspired guidance.

If you’re a woman getting angrier by the word as you read this, do yourself a favor: Instead of getting mad, psychoanalyzing me until your overworked Blackberry thumb gets tired, pick up a copy of one Karol Wojtyla’s Love and Responsibility. Do a little Googling on “Theology of the Body.” Take a little time for considered reading and reflection. In this context — yours and mine — what Humanae Vitae has to say is truly radical:

Conjugal love . . . is total [pleno]; that is, it is a very special form of personal friendship whereby the spouses generously share everything with each other without undue reservations and without concern for their selfish convenience. One who truly loves his spouse not only loves her for what he receives from her but also for her own sake. This he does joyfully, as he enriches [his beloved] with the gift of himself. Read that, and be honest with yourself: Do you really want to tell me I’m crazy to believe it — crazier than, say, Helen Gurley Brown’s legacy?

Browse on over to Cosmo on the newsstand with me:

SEX POLL: 30,570 Dudes Tell What They’re Dying for You to Do in Bed.” [To all of them? That’s one long month.] . . .

How Dirty Is His Mind? Filthy, to Be Exact. You’ll Be Shocked . . . and Intrigued . . . WHY MEN CHEAT IN AUGUST

Forty years ago this summer, Pope Paul VI predicted that men will lose respect for women. They will “no longer (care) for her physical and psychological equilibrium.” The man would reach “the point of considering her as a mere instrument of selfish enjoyment, and no longer as his respected and beloved companion.”

Could Pope Paul have been predicting the August 2008 cover of Cosmopolitan? Isn’t what he was describing today’s reality? And isn’t that something Jessica Valenti would join me in thinking is pretty bad for women (and, indeed, for everyone?)

Elle declares in its most recent issue that “The Pointy-Toe Shoe Is Back!” How about human life and dignity? How about — are we ready for this four-letter word? — “Love”? Do I have some takers? Don’t hate us because we’re Catholic — we’re happy to share with you something that really works. The Good News is for sharing.

— Kathryn Jean Lopez is the editor of National Review Online.

TOPICS: Health/Medicine; Religion; Science; Society
KEYWORDS: abstinence; catholic; faith; fidelity; moralabsolutes; promiscuity; sexuality

1 posted on 07/16/2008 10:51:52 AM PDT by victim soul
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To: victim soul
Coming of age in the mid-1970's-early 1980's, peer pressure was NOT to drink or do drugs (nobody had to hold me down and jam a beer down my throat in high school or college), but to be with girls, hook up, have sex. "You gettin' some?" was the one of the things kids used to make fun of me about because I wasn't that smooth with women.

To my eternal regret, I DID become sexually active in college and as a young adult before marriage. It was so bad I had to break off a relationship and decide to become celibate. I had to decide for myself-Who do I serve, my animal pleasures or the Lord? I chose the Lord.

I had dates with women after that, but I have to admit they were boring, even by my standards. It was because I didn't know how to relate with women in anything but a sexual way.

Eventually, the Lord did send my life mate to me, and on August 1 we'll have had 16 wonderful years of marriage together. Unlike me, she DID save herself for marriage, and she didn't have near the hangups I did. If I had to do it over again, my wife would've been my first kiss.

Matt Friedeman, a prominent seminary professor here in Jackson, MS, said basically that our "romance society" is setting kids and teenagers up for multiple divorces. I have four children, and I want to make sure our kids don't fall into the same traps I and many others did when we were young.

2 posted on 07/16/2008 11:08:18 AM PDT by MuttTheHoople
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To: MuttTheHoople

Let’s hope all of us who lived through those days tell our kids about it and tell them there’s a much better way.

Today we are living in a society where less the half the population of country are married with children and a large proportion of our singles have never been married.

How very, very sad.

“A nation that kills its children is a nation without hope.” Pope John Paul II

3 posted on 07/16/2008 11:31:06 AM PDT by victim soul
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To: MuttTheHoople

Mutt, that’s BEAUTIFUL. Thank you and your wonderful (and I’m sure faithful) wife.

4 posted on 07/16/2008 12:13:32 PM PDT by kitkat (EX DEO LIBERTAS (From God, liberty))
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To: victim soul

***“A nation that kills its children is a nation without hope.” Pope John Paul II***

Thank you for the quote from Pope John Paul II. He said it so much better than I have been trying to say it for many years.

5 posted on 07/16/2008 12:15:44 PM PDT by kitkat (EX DEO LIBERTAS (From God, liberty))
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To: victim soul
Who knew? The pope did, way back in 1968.
Consequences of Artificial Methods

17. Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.

Finally, careful consideration should be given to the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone. It could well happen, therefore, that when people, either individually or in family or social life, experience the inherent difficulties of the divine law and are determined to avoid them, they may give into the hands of public authorities the power to intervene in the most personal and intimate responsibility of husband and wife.

It's really worth reading the encyclical. It's fairly brief, but very tightly reasoned. Interestingly, there is no appeal to divine revelation. The pope's arguments are based entirely on the natural law, which is knowable to everyone.
6 posted on 07/16/2008 12:28:56 PM PDT by Aquinasfan (When you find "Sola Scriptura" in the Bible, let me know)
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To: MuttTheHoople
Matt Friedeman, a prominent seminary professor here in Jackson, MS, said basically that our "romance society" is setting kids and teenagers up for multiple divorces.

Absolutely. I highly recommend "Courtship and Marriage: How to Prepare for Lifelong Love" for the young'uns.

7 posted on 07/16/2008 12:32:51 PM PDT by Aquinasfan (When you find "Sola Scriptura" in the Bible, let me know)
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