Friday, November 29, 2013
NFP and the Feminist Revolution
Following the many interesting comments on a couple of recent NFP posts (here and here), an anonymous friend offered these observations on a few of the comments. I think he makes some excellent points:
1. "The widespread, indiscriminate promotion of natural birth regulation will unavoidably contribute to the contraceptive mentality, precisely because of its emphasis on human control over conception."
Yes, the fact that NFP is part of the contraceptive mentality is very true, and is so obvious as to be tautological. The contraceptive mentality is all about the control of birth, not about the artificiality of the method used to accomplish that end.
2. "My parents were very keen on NFP and I attribute that fact to the fact that neither me nor my sister has ever seriously considered family life."
This is very true, but not unique to NFP in comparison to other methods of birth control. The contraceptive mentality leads to a loss of interest in sex. Men are no longer men and women are no longer women, and so it is just like a battery that no longer has a positive pole and a negative pole. There is no longer any charge, so you can't start your car. There is no electricity, no life.
A very interesting article that describes the long-term trend in this regard asks in its headliner questions:
Why have young people in Japan stopped having sex? What happens to a country when its young people stop having sex?
Read the article here.
The statistics in the article are really startling, even if you’ve been following this issue for a long time. The gist of the article is that the Japanese hardly even need birth control any longer, because young men and women simply have no interest in each other. Perhaps the NFP advocates can tout this as the ultimate triumph of NFP: no babies being born in the country using the most natural method of all.
In reality, it is the triumph of Manicheism. Periodic continence was the method of birth control used by the Manicheans, which St. Augustine condemned so vigorously. St. Augustine worked to distinguish between a truly Catholic love of chastity and purity which leads in turn to fruitful generosity among those who are not called to the celibate religious life, in comparison to the Manichean hatred of life which leads to the deadly combination of impurity and sterility – the exact same combination we see in Japan today: a society awash in pornography which is incapable of having children.
One might reply, "Well Japan is a strange foreign country." No, the reality is that Japan is just the most modern country in the world. Wherever Japan is today, we will be there in 10 - 20 years. We have followed all their demographic trends, just a few years behind them. The situation in places like Germany and many other European countries is not much different from Japan.
3. "The NFP movement may be part of the feminization of the Church. An NFP marriage necessarily puts the woman in charge."
Yes, now we are getting to the heart of the matter. We are in the middle of a revolution, the Feminist Revolution. It is just as much of a revolution as the French Revolution or the Communist Revolution. And just as violent – in fact much more so since the number of casualties from this revolution is actually higher than all the wars of all of history put together. Like all revolutions, the purpose of the revolution is to overturn the natural order and to make the higher serve the lower.
This revolution has several battle fronts – divorce is one example – but the main battle is over birth control. This is where the revolution lives or dies. That is why feminists fight tooth and nail over every single smallest abortion restriction, even live birth abortion. This is the battle where they cannot concede any ground.
Catholics who do not use birth control are reactionaries, whether they like it or not. Catholics with large families are often surprised and hurt by the reactions they get in the supermarket, because they wonder, "Why can't they have their small family and be happy about me having a big family?" But the reality is that anyone having a large family is on the wrong side of the current revolution, and there is going to be hatred directed at you.
That is also the reason for the fury directed at Pope Paul VI's encyclical Humanae Vitae. We know from reading the document that it is very liberal, and in fact it overturns much of Catholic teaching on marriage, although it upholds the teaching on artificial contraception. But the opponents of HV don't care at all about Catholic doctrine per se, they only care that HV is an obstacle to the revolution. It was one thing if a small handful of Amish or Orthodox Jews were not signing up, but the revolution couldn't afford to have hundreds of millions of Catholics on the other side.
That's where NFP comes in – although strictly as a front, as the facade of the Potemkin village. The reality is that 98% of Catholics joined the revolution, but NFP allowed the Church to save face by allowing pastors to naively pretend that their parish full of small families got that way via periodic continence. Catholics can participate in the feminist revolution while pretending that they are still Catholic, just like the "Patriotic Church" in China allows Chinese Catholics to go along with the Communist government.
And so it becomes clear that we can never make any progress on the first "blessing" of marriage, the procreation and education of children, until we realize how intimately it is connected with the second "blessing" of marriage, the mutual fidelity of the spouses, which is based upon the "order of love":
Domestic society being confirmed, therefore, by this bond of love, there should flourish in it that "order of love," as St. Augustine calls it. This order includes both the primacy of the husband with regard to the wife and children, the ready subjection of the wife and her willing obedience, which the Apostle commends in these words: "Let women be subject to their husbands as to the Lord, because the husband is the head of the wife, and Christ is the head of the Church. (Casti Connubii, emphasis added)
Catholic promoters of NFP are trying to walk a delicate tight-rope in their claim of adherence to the first blessing of marriage. With regard to the second blessing of marriage, however, I've never encountered any NFP proponents who even bother to pay lip service to the “order of love”. Even traditional Catholic women with large families will argue tooth and nail against subjection and obedience.
NFP is the method by which women are put in control of the couple's sex life, even when the couple consider themselves sincere Catholics. They are brought to participate in the feminist revolution under the cover of pietistic talk about "respect" and so forth.
NFP is similar to what I say about EWTN. The devil tells himself, "I already have 99% of the people hooked up to my control box, but there are still that remaining 1% of pious Catholics who are not watching television. What can I do? I know, I will have a channel dedicated to pious Catholics. Then that last 1% will sign up for television, and although they might watch a few minutes of EWTN now and then, that will do no harm, and in the meantime they will join the rest of my brainwashed servants."
NFP is like that in the area of birth control. The devil already had 99% of Catholics signed up for artificial birth control, but he still wanted to get that last 1% to participate in the revolution. By getting them to sign up for NFP, he knows that they are now part of the contraceptive mentality, whether or not they have a few children more or less, and the women are now in control of their families.
This subject is too involved for a long disquisition right now, but it is important to realize that this subjection and obedience is not merely a question of who makes the final decision when the couple can't decide whether or not to buy a new car, but rather it is the very foundation of everything in the spiritual life. There is no grace, no interior reality, no true love without subjection and obedience.
Yes, “responsible parenthood” is simply a Catholic version of "Planned Parenthood" – no more, no less. I own a book published in the early sixties in which Catholic theologians “reconsider” Church teaching on birth control. The book was sponsored and published by Planned Parenthood. Many of the theologians are Jesuits. The Introduction was written by Cardinal Cushing of Boston. So here we have evidence of an active collaboration between Planned Parenthood and Catholics who were working to redefine Catholic teaching at the time when “responsible parenthood” became the new rallying cry – of the Majority Report of the Papal Commission on Birth Control, for example. And so it remains today.