by John Pacheco
In the last fifty years, the modernist attack on Christianity has succeeded in advancing its pernicious teachings and vain theologies on many fronts. Indeed, the biggest gains have been made against the very heart and foundation of the Church - the human family. This assault has been directed at the divine sexual union between a man and a woman through that damnable self-imposed curse of the twentieth century, traditionally known as coitus interuptus, contemporarily known as contraception. Today, of course, modern man looks at it no longer as a curse but a blessing.
Eric Svendsens recent attack on the sacrosanct act of sexual intimacy is a splendid example of the thoughts of modern man being conformed to this world. His article titled Sex, Lies, and Papal Encyclicals-Oh, and a Book Review, Too) sets the tone for his article which takes aim at the Catholic Churchs teaching on artificial contraception. Being a scholarly individual, Dr. Svendsen prides himself on producing ..well scholarly work. [After all, his recent book Who Is My Mother?, he assures us, is "the definitive work in Evangelicalism on what the New Testament teaches about Mary. This work debunks the Marian mythology and superstition that so permeates Roman Catholic piety, apologetics and theology today."]
You would think that an individual who purports to represent theology on a scholarly level would allow his work to reflect such a level. Unfortunately, as you have probably surmised by now, the article noted above, not only falls significantly short of that mark, but also reflects a contemptuous attitude towards the perennial Christian view. Yes, folks, its sad but true.
Dr. Svendsen makes a number of embarrassing comments which serve to detract from any substantial objections he might otherwise have. As a former Catholic, you have to wonder if Dr. Svendsen even cares to give the Churchs teaching on contraception a fair shake. I guess you cant blame him. After all, artificial contraception is one of (if not the central) hinge issue that former Protestants point to as their turning point in becoming Catholic - Matatics, Hahn, and Woods come to mind in this area. So it comes as no surprise that Eric would eventually address this issue.
While his attitude toward contraception might be expected, you would at least expect him to be fairly knowledgeable about the issue in order to come out so strongly against it. In fact, the article in question certainly does not lead one to believe that Dr. Svendsen knows that much about it all. Apparently, he neither knows much about theological and moral licitness of natural family planning (based on some of his comments, on for instance the rhythm method, one can quickly see that the man is not exactly cutting edge in his research into this area), nor does he appear to have even a cursory grasp of the religious and secular history of contraception.
And so its left to me, dear reader, to correct, to reprove, and to admonish Dr. Svenden of his most grievous and injurious errors.
Dr. Svendsen makes the following remark:
"Since Pope Paul VI issued his papal encyclical Humanae Vitae it has been commonplace for conservative Roman Catholics to adopt an almost hostile attitude toward sexual relations with ones spouse "
What utter nonsense. The Catholic Church has always been the greatest defender of the sexual act within the context of marriage. Catholics simply insist that the pleasurable consequence of the act not be separated from the procreative purpose of it: what God has joined, let no man put asunder. It has always been the constant teaching of the Church that contraception was intrinsically evil, and three pontiffs of recent times have reiterated that very ancient teaching - Leo XIII in his encyclical Arcanum Divinae Sapientiae , Pius XI in his encyclical Casti Connubi  and Paul VI in his encyclical Humanae Vitae . (See Appendix A for selected quotes.)
In fact, for 1,930 years, both Catholics and Protestants stood firm against contraception until the Anglican Conference at Lambeth. No theologian of any substance, including the Reformers as we will later learn, supported artificial contraception. The universal and unanimous condemnation stood as a testimony of a common moral tradition until Lambeth. At Lambeth, however, the demonic contraceptive lie, fueled by Social Darwinism, eventually toppled the first Christian church, and then later on all the others, except one JJ. As the Eugenic pressure swept western culture, the Anglican Communion steadfastly condemned contraception at the two previous conferences at Lambeth in 1908 and 1920. The Eugenicists would not let up, however. The opinions of these people were outrageous:
"Before eugenicists and others who are laboring for racial betterment can succeed, they must first clear the way for Birth Control. Like the advocates of Birth Control, the eugenicists, for instance, are seeking to assist the race toward the elimination of the unfit. Both are seeking a single end but they lay emphasis upon different methods. Eugenicists emphasize the mating of healthy couples for the conscious purpose of producing healthy children, the sterilization of the unfit to prevent their populating the world with their kind and they may, perhaps, agree with us that contraception is a necessary measure among the masses of the workers, where wages do not keep pace with the growth of the family and its necessities in the way of food, clothing, housing, medical attention, education and the like. We who advocate Birth Control, on the other hand, lay all our emphasis upon stopping not only the reproduction of the unfit but upon stopping all reproduction when there is not economic means of providing proper care for those who are born in health. The eugenicist also believes that a woman should bear as many healthy children as possible as a duty to the state. We hold that the world is already over-populated. Eugenicists imply or insist that a woman's first duty is to the state; we contend that her duty to herself is her first duty to the state. (Margaret Sanger. "Birth Control and Racial Betterment." Birth Control Review, Volume III, Number 2 (February 1919), page 11.)
"Parenthood should be a licensed profession and only those fully equipped should be allowed to become parents ... Dr. Hart believes that the race has deteriorated and that this deterioration can be stopped only by scientific methods of reproduction which will prevent "persons least able intellectually and materially to provide for them" from having "rafts of children," while those better fitted are having very few." (Birth Control Review, Volume VIII, Number 12 (December 1924), page 357.)
As one can clearly see, if anything else, people who think artificial contraception is totally benign should sober up a bit and consider what birthed the movement; namely, the eugenics movement. An additional representative selection of these monstrous citations is listed in Appendix B.
As the gates of hell swung wide open at Lambeth, the Anglican Church finally capitulated to the growing enormous political and cultural pressure bearing down on it. According to the section entitled, "The Life and Witness of the Christian Community - Marriage and Sex", the Anglican bishops declared:
Where there is clearly felt moral obligation to limit or avoid parenthood, the method must be decided on Christian principles. The primary and obvious method is complete abstinence from intercourse (as far as may be necessary) in a life of discipline and self-control lived in the power of the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless in those cases where there is such a clearly felt moral obligation to limit or avoid parenthood, and where there is a morally sound reason for avoiding complete abstinence, the Conference agrees that other methods may be used, provided that this is done in the light of the same Christian principles. The Conference records its strong condemnation of the use of any methods of conception control from motives of selfishness, luxury, or mere convenience. Voting: For 193; Against 67. [1930 Lambeth Conference of Anglican Bishops Resolution 15]
Predictably after Lambeth, Protestant Christianity completed, almost universally, the Judas project begun by Margaret Sanger, the eugenicist, atheist, and founder of Planned Parenthood. The Federal Council of Churches capitulated just one year later, and within three decades, all major Protestant Churches fell, including the National Council of Churches in 1961.
In commenting on the account of Onan in Genesis 38:6-10, Svendsen says this:
"They think the reason God put Onan to death was because God condemns contraception. But this misses the point of the passage entirely. What is condemned here is not a contraceptive practice, but rather neglect in fulfilling the duty of every Jew to carry on the lineage of his dead brother . This principle is later reiterated in the Law of Moses in Deuternomy 25:5-6."
Ah yes, this principle is later reiterated". But the "principle" ain't the law, Dr. Svendsen. The law is the law, and the law was something more specific than the principle. What Dr. Svendsen neglects to cite is the succeeding three verses, Deuteronomy 25:7-9 which clearly indicate that the penalty for abstaining from sex with your brothers widow was public humiliation NOT death:
"If brothers dwell together, and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the dead shall not be married outside the family to a stranger; her husband's brother shall go in to her, and take her as his wife, and perform the duty of a husband's brother to her. And the first son whom she bears shall succeed to the name of his brother who is dead, that his name may not be blotted out of Israel. And if the man does not wish to take his brother's wife, then his brother's wife shall go up to the gate to the elders, and say, 'My husband's brother refuses to perpetuate his brother's name in Israel; he will not perform the duty of a husband's brother to me.' Then the elders of his city shall call him, and speak to him: and if he persists, saying, 'I do not wish to take her,' then his brother's wife shall go up to him in the presence of the elders, and pull his sandal off his foot, and spit in his face; and she shall answer and say, 'So shall it be done to the man who does not build up his brother's house.' (Deuteronomy 25:5-9)
Therefore, Onans penalty (death) in Genesis 38 was the result of a greater sin (contraception) than simply refusing to uphold the 'levirate' whose consequence was public humiliation only.
There is other evidence as well.
Deuteronomy 23:1 condemns birth control through primitive forms of male sterilization: "He whose testicles are crushed or whose male member is cut off shall not enter the assembly of the Lord."
The contraceptive mentality was condemned by Jesus Himself: "Jesus turned and said to them, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, `Blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!'" (Luke 23:28-29)
There are many Old Testament references where God refers to Himself as the Husband and to His people (the Church) as His wife (Isa. 54:5; 62:5; Jer. 2:2; 3:1, 14; 31:32; Eze. 16:8; 23:5; Hosea 2:7, 19). The same is true in the New Testament:
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her " (Ephesians 5:25)
"I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him." (2 Cor.11:2).
"I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband." (Revelation 21:2)
It is absolutely anti-Christian and completely antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the consummation of the union between husband (Christ) and the bride (the Church) to be frustrated by a foreign element (contraception). Contraception is a blasphemy against God since, even by its very words, it represents a demonic slight and denial of creation itself. "Contraception" means "against the beginning". God says "In the beginning. The Devil says "Against the beginning".
4) Contraception is decidedly anti-Trinitarian as well. Here is a selection from an earlier piece I wrote on the subject:
" There is also another element in the Trinity that lends itself to human likeness. The Nicene Creed professes this about the Trinity: We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life who proceeds from the Father and the Son. Now what exactly does this mean? Well, Catholic theology understands the Father as God knowing himself; the Son as the expression of Gods knowledge of Himself; and the Holy Spirit as the result of Gods knowledge of Himself. The Father looks at the Son and the Son looks at the Father. They behold in one another their mutual divine goodness and beauty. The love between the Father and the Son generate (not create as there is no creation of God) another person, whom we call the Holy Spirit. And so, the Holy Spirit is love proceeding or coming from the first two persons of the Blessed Trinity.
The human family has, of course, a rather striking parallel to this. The ultimate act of intimacy in a marriage mirrors the eternal procession of the Trinity since the act of love itself generates another human being. (Generation is probably even a better term to describe the act than create since humans can create nothing, and so the analogy is closer to the Trinitarian relationship than one might have originally assumed.)" Clearly then, we can see the great difficulties encountered when contraception is admitted into Trinitarian Christianity.
5) Another interesting point is that all infertile methods of intercourse incurred the death penalty:
Bestiality in Leviticus 20:15-16
Homosexuality in Leviticus 20:13
Withdrawal in Genesis 38:6-10
Svendsen then goes on to sum up his opinion of the Church's teaching on Onananism with this comment:
"But that nicely illustrates how exegetically inept Rome really is."
Exegetically inept, eh? My oh my ..
"Intercourse even with one's legitimate wife is unlawful and wicked where the conception of the offspring is prevented. Onan, the son of Judah, did this and the Lord killed him for it." (St. Augustine,"De Coniug. Adlt.",Lib. II,n. 12; Genesis 38:8-10)
Wait! For your continued amusement, there's more
"Not only do Roman Catholics insist on obedience to a decidedly flawed interpretation of the passage, but none of them actually obeys the correct interpretation of it! How ironic-not to mention hypocritical."
Flawed and hypocritical? Hmmmmm .I think you should do a little reading, Dr. Svendsen. To see what your Protestant forefathers had to say on the issue, I think you should peruse this site:
In the meantime, I have selected a few the citations for your amusement.
Luther, Martin Luthers Works,
"[The] exceedingly foul deed of Onan, the basest of wretches follows [Genesis 38:9, 10]. Onan must have been a malicious and incorrigible scoundrel. This is a most disgraceful sin. It is far more atrocious than incest and adultery. We call it unchastity, Yes a Sodomitic sin. For Onan goes in to her; that is, he lies with her and copulates; and, when it comes to the point of insemination, spills the semen, lest the woman conceive. Surely at such a time the order of nature established by God in procreation should be followed. Accordingly, it was a most disgraceful crime to produce semen and excite the woman, and to frustrate her at that very moment. He was inflamed with the basest spite and hatred. Therefore he did not allow himself to bear that intolerable slavery. Consequently, he deserved to be killed by God. He committed an evil deed. Therefore, God punished him....That worthless fellow...preferred polluting himself with a most disgraceful sin to raising up offspring for his brother."
Calvin, John Commentary on
"Besides [Onan] not only defrauded his brother of the right due him, but also preferred his semen to putrify on the ground, rather than to beget a son in his brother's name.... I will contend myself with briefly mentioning [Onan's act], as far as the sense of shame allows to discuss it. It is a horrible thing to pour out seed besides the intercourse of man and woman. Deliberately avoiding the intercourse, so that the seed drops on the ground, is double horrible. For this means that one quenches the hope of his family, and kills the son, which could be expected, before he is born. This wickedness is now as severely as is possible condemned by the Spirit, through Moses, that Onan, as it were, through a violent and untimely birth, tore away the seed of his brother out the womb, and as cruel as shamefully has thrown on the earth. Moreover he thus has, as much as was in his power, tried to destroy a part of the human race. When a woman in some way drives away the seed out the womb, through aids, then this is rightly seen as an unforgivable crime. Onan was guilty of a similar crime, by defiling the earth with his seed, so that Tamar would not receive a future inheritor."
Wesley, John Commentary on
"Onan, though he consented to marry the widow, yet to the great abuse of his own body, of the wife he had married, and the memory of his brother that was gone, he refused to raise up seed unto his brother. Those sins that dishonour the body are very displeasing to God, and the evidence of vile actions. Observe, the thing which he did displeased the Lord--And it is to be feared, thousands, especially of single persons, by this very thing, still displease the Lord, and destroy their own souls. "
And here is a Protestant ministers testimony against contraception (which is, by the way, becoming a hotter topic in Protestant Christianity today):
A Catholic debunking of the liberal Protestant line can be found here:
After he finished with Onan, Dr. Svendsen turns his attention to sexual morality. He writes:
"Isnt lust identical to sexual attraction, after all? When Jesus gave the mandate not to lust after a woman, he obviously meant nothing other than that a man should refrain from sexually desiring a woman other than his wife."
Well, no, Eric. Lust is most certainly not identical to sexual attraction. Lust is a sin; sexual attraction is not (or maybe your theology is demanding that connection since your Reformed theology believes that God causes sin?) It is possible to sexually mistreat and abuse your wife. In fact, that's exactly what you are doing when you engage in contraceptive acts. She becomes a mere repository for your carnal pleasures. Perhaps Dr. Svendsen can enlighten us on what the substantive moral difference is between engaging in contraceptive acts and masturbation. Some prominent evangelicals have already admitted that there is none, and because they see nothing wrong with contraception, they logically see nothing wrong with masturbation either.
In any case, if you won't listen to the Catholic Church, perhaps you will heed the judgement of St. Augustine:
You [Manicheans] make your auditors adulterers of their wives when they take care lest the women with whom they copulate conceive. They take wives according to the laws of matrimony by tablets announcing that the marriage is contracted to procreate children; and then, fearing because of your [religious] law [against childbearing] they copulate in a shameful union only to satisfy lust for their wives. (St. Augustine, Against Faustus, 15:7, 400 A.D.)
I am supposing, then, although you are not lying [with your wife] for the sake of procreating offspring, you are not for the sake of lust obstructing their procreation by an evil prayer or an evil deed. Those who do this, although are called husband and wife, are not; nor do they retain any reality of marriage, but with a respectable name cover a shame. Sometimes this lustful cruelty, or cruel lust, comes to this, that they even procure poisons of sterility [oral contraceptives] I dare say that either the wife is in a fashion the harlot of her husband or he is an adulterer with his own wife. (Marriage and Concupiscence, 1:15:17, 419 A.D.)
Dr. Svendsen continues:
"It is a sin, on this view, to prevent pregnancy from occurring. In the particular case of Onan, contraception was achieved by "spilling the seed"; hence, in Roman Catholicism, if a marital sex act leads to a man "spilling the seed" before intercourse, that is a sin."
Well, it sure is Romes view. But Romes view is the perennial Christian view. Sorry to disappoint you, Eric:
Because of its divine institution for the propagation of man, the seed is not to be vainly ejaculated, nor is it to be damaged, nor is it to be wasted. (Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor to Children, 2:10:91:2, 191 A.D.)
Appendix C has many more
references from the Fathers.
.An opinion on the pill
"The purpose of contraception is to provide a couple the ability to enjoy pleasurable sex while minimizing the likelihood of conception. Thats what the pill does; thats what a condom does; and, like it or not, that is precisely what the rhythm method does."
No, Dr. Svendsen, that is not all that the pill does or can do. The pill can and does act as an abortifacient. You can read about it here:
The final comments I wish to address concern Dr. Svendsen's rather sub-par logic in objecting to the Catholic position:
"First, the very fact that they are using the "rhythm" method indicates that they intend to engage in sexual relations for the sheer pleasure of it, apart from procreative intent. But isnt that a form of lust?
Well, first of all, persons who practice (NFP) natural family planning (like me) do not use the "rhythm" method, which went out in the early '80s. Most of us use the Billings Ovulation Method.
Secondly, Dr. Svendsen is equivocating. Couples who engage in sexual intercourse within the infertile period are recognizing two things:
#1 - They are respecting the natural ovulation process and thereby respecting God's natural law.
#2 - Their intent might be to postpone pregnancy at a particular point in time, but they are still allowing God the final say in the matter - unlike the ultimate intention of contraception. Moreover, God can neither contradict himself in his natural laws, nor expect humans who know that law to refrain from using it if it is morally licit. It is morally licit to have sex during infertile periods (with the hope that no child will be conceived) since the couple is allowing God to use nature to ultimately determine whether a child is conceived. Ultimately, natural family planning obeys the natural law of God by respecting the cycle of a woman.
Practicing NFP during infertile periods represents a request to God by the parents to postpone a child, but ultimately respects, by virtue of the possibility of children, that God could have other plans for them. On the other hand, contraception is a big fat NO! to God where children are labeled 'mistakes' who 'slipped past the goalie.' The NFP couple is always open to the possibility of children by the very fact that they are abiding by God's rules whereas the contracepting couple is usurping nature, and inviting God into the sexual act only when (or if) it suits them.
At the same time, however, the Church also makes the following stipulations:
"If, then, there are serious motives to space out births, which derive from the physical or psychological conditions of husband and wife, or from external conditions, the Church teaches that it is then licit to take into account the natural rhythms immanent in the generative functions, for the use of marriage in the infecund periods only, and in this way to regulate birth without offending the moral principles which have been recalled earlier...In reality, there are essential differences between the two cases: in the former, the married couple make legitimate use of a natural disposition; in the latter, they impede the development of natural processes." Pope Paul VI, Humanae Vitae, 1968, pp. 17-18; See also, Pope Leo XIII, Responsa S. Paenitentiariae, 1880
"At the same time it must be understood that the moral problem with respect to the practice of periodic continence arises not from 'the use of their marital right even on days of natural sterility,' but from the fact that this continence means limiting 'the conjugal act exclusively to these days,' a practice which 'seems to be the clear expression of a will opposed to that fundamental readiness' to serve life. Therefore, 'the conduct of the married couple must be examined more attentively,' to make sure that it in no way includes a contraceptive intention." Pope Pius XII, Address to the Italian Catholic Union of Midwives, October 29, 1951, extracted from Haro, Ramon Garcia de, Marriage and the Family in the Documents of the Magisterium, Ignatius Press, 1993, p. 163.
Dr. Svendsen continues
"Second, even though this couple may think they are avoiding contraception, they are in fact practicing the only authorized form of contraception available to a Roman Catholic. Premeditated abstinence for the purpose of avoiding pregnancy is itself a form of contraception because it shares a common purpose with all other contraception."
Ah .no. Dr. Svendsen needs to make the elementary distinction between ends and means. While both couples might be seeking the same ends, they are hardly going about it using the same moral means. One involves respecting God's natural law and the other obviously does not. I might have the laudable goal of helping the poor. If I raise the money, that is good. If I steal it from someone else ala Robin Hood, it's not so good.
Premeditated abstinence for the purpose of avoiding pregnancy is certainly NOT a form of contraception. Contraception involves frustrating the openness of the intended action. Premeditated abstinence, however, does not initiate or participate in the sexual act (by definition), and therefore cannot be said to frustrate something it is not involved in. Dr. Svendsens logic demands that he equate premeditated abstinence with contraception because, he says, it shares a common purpose with all other contraception. As stated above, however, the ends do not justify the means.
Finally, he says this:
"Now lets look at a second couple. This couple is equally devoutly Roman Catholic, with the difference that they actually want to have children, but cant due to the infertility of one or the other. Is it then okay for that couple to engage in marital sex that leads to "spilling" the mans "seed"? After all, if one or the other is fertile, and neither of them intends to prevent pregnancy-and in fact they ensure that they regularly engage in intercourse during her "fertile" days to maximize the chances of conception-what real difference would it make if they are engaging in other-than-intercourse sexual activities at other times? How has this couple engaged in "onanism"?"
Dr. Svendsen still has not
appreciated something which should be rather straight
forward. A general intention towards a good cannot mitigate
the one instance of serious sin. Each and every sexual act
is subject to the natural law of God such that even one
still a transgression. For
instance, let's say I volunteered at my local soup kitchen once a
week for a whole year. Within the year, I got upset at one
of the local patrons because he didn't like my soup and, as a
result, I killed him. Does God say: "Oh well,
don't worry about it, you're a good volunteer."
I think not. Au contraire, God says quite the opposite:
"For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has
become guilty of all of it." (James 2:10) Dr.
Svendsen's position, then, is none other than modernism to its
core, otherwise known (in this case) as the 'fundamental option'.
It really never ceases to amaze me how Christians can be so oblivious to the contraceptive war that has been fought in western culture. Allow me to let you all in on a little secret: Western civilization is dying. Population control through contraception and abortion are the biggest reasons why that is happening. Don't believe me? Take a gander at these facts and statistics (Source: Population Research Institute):
"The replacement rate is 2.1 children per woman. Two are required to replace the parents and 0.1 to make up for infant mortality and women who do not procreate. A fertility rate of 2.1, in the long term, does not multiply population - it only maintains it. Some fertility rates in "Catholic countries" are staggering low - Italy (1.2), Spain (1.15), Portugal (1.37) and Ireland (1.9). Most of Europe averages to 1.4. The US is 1.99. This reality is well known by the US government which predicts that the current situation with social security which has four people working for every person receiving social security, will shrink to 2 to 1 by the year 2030. It is unlikely that the economy can support such an arrangement. Italy is burying more people than are born. Russia has lost 500,000 in total population every year since 1989. Europe will shrink to a fraction of its current population by the end of the 21st century, which has negligible immigration, will lose 25% of its population by 2050. Not only have we disobeyed God by ceasing to multiply, we have not filled the earth. Australia, a continent nearly the size of the United States only has 19 million people versus 280 million for the US. Most of South America is so sparsely populated that telephones do not exist except in major cities. The entire population of the world can fit into the State of Texas, with 1000 square feet per person, which is a slightly higher density than San Francisco but a slightly lower density than the Bronx in New York City.
Every single intended benefit of contraception, that was promised in the sixties, has not occurred. Instead, the opposite of what its promoters once promised has arisen. The pill was supposed to make marriages better by relieving parents of the worry of pregnancy in their sexual relationship. It failed to achieve that promise. In fact, the opposite occurred. The divorce rate went from 25% in 1960 to 50% in 1980 as the pill came into widespread use. Although other factors were involved in the escalating divorce rate, it is hard to make a case that the pill improved marriages. Barrier contraceptives were supposed to reduce sexually transmitted diseases. The opposite has occurred. The pill was supposed to reduce abortion. The opposite has occurred. In fact, abortion mills provide contraceptives free of charge to their clients because they know that it is good for business. About 50% of all abortions are due to contraceptive failures. The abortionists know that contraceptive failures will occur and that the woman, with or without her partner will seek an abortion.
In practically all countries of the more developed regions fertility is significantly below the level necessary for the replacement of generations (TFR of approximately 2.1). In 20 of the more developed countries the TFR has stayed at below-replacement level for at least two decades. In the 1980s-1990s fertility has decreased to levels below replacement in several countries from the less developed regions, including all countries in the populous region of Eastern Asia (except Mongolia). Rapid fertility transition in South-eastern Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean brings an increasing number of developing countries close to that threshold: currently the TFR is below 3 (but higher than 2.1) and decreasing in 34 countries with a combined population of 930 million people.
While fertility decline
constitutes the only cause of the deceleration of world
population growth and the major reason of population aging, its
impact varies across regions and countries - depending
essentially on the speed and depth of the demographic transition.
According to the medium variant of the 1998 Revision, a very slow
and decelerating population growth in Northern Europe during the
first quarter of the 21st century will be followed by steady
population decrease in 2025-2050; however, the region will be
confronted to a relatively small (4 per cent) population loss.
Western Europe will start experiencing negative population growth
earlier and its population will shrink by 6.5 per cent.
Populations of Eastern and Southern Europe will be decreasing
during the entire projection period at a high and accelerating
pace; by the mid-century they are expected to lose 18 and 20 per
cent of their 1998 sizes, respectively. On the contrary, the
populations of Eastern Asia, Northern America and Australia/New
Zealand are projected to keep growing; their respective increases
by 2050 will be 15, 29 and 39 percent. Among the 61 countries
with below-replacement fertility, 30 will experience population
declines ranging from 1 per cent in Yugoslavia to 35 per cent in
Estonia, whereas in 31 countries populations will continue
increasing, due to their young population structures and to
immigration." (See Appendix D for some staggering
The Catholic Legate
July 01, 2001
Appendix A - Encyclicals
Piux XI, Casti Connubii, 1930
that the sacred bonds of marriage may be guarded absolutely inviolate, He forbade also even willful thoughts and desires of such like things: "But I say to you, that whosoever shall look on a woman to lust after her hath already committed adultery with her in his heart." Which words of Christ Our Lord cannot be annulled even by the consent of one of the partners of marriage for they express a law of God and of nature which no will of man can bend or break.
Armed with these principles, some men go so far as to concoct new species of unions, suited, as they say, to the present temper of men and the times, which various new forms of matrimony they presume to label "temporary," "experimental," and "companionate." These offer all the indulgence of matrimony and its rights without, however, the indissoluble bond, and without offspring, unless later the parties alter their cohabitation into a matrimony in the full sense of the law.
VICES OPPOSED TO CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE
And now, Venerable Brethren, We shall explain in detail the evils opposed to each of the benefits of matrimony. First consideration is due the offspring, which many have the audacity to call the disagreeable burden of matrimony and which they say is to be carefully avoided by married people not through virtuous continence (which Christian law permits in matrimony when both parties consent) but by frustrating the marriage act. Some justify this criminal abuse on the ground that they are weary of children and wish to gratify their desires without their consequent burden. Others say that they cannot on the one hand remain continent nor on the other can they have children because of the difficulties, whether on the part of the mother or on the part of family circumstances. But no reason, however grave, may be put forward by anything intrinsically against nature may become conformable to nature and morally good. Since, therefore, the conjugal act is destined primarily by nature for the begetting of children, those who in exercising it deliberately frustrate its natural power and purpose, sin against nature, and commit a deed which is shameful and intrinsically vicious. Small wonder, therefore, if Holy Writ bears witness that the Divine Majesty regards with greatest detestation this horrible crime, and at times has punished it with death. As St. Augustine notes, "Intercourse even with one's legitimate wife is unlawful and wicked where the conception of the offspring is prevented. Onan, the son of Judah, did this and the Lord killed him for it." Since, therefore, openly departing from the uninterrupted Christian tradition, some recently have adjudged it possible solemnly to declare another doctrine regarding this question, the Catholic Church, to whom God has entrusted the defense of the integrity and the purity of morals, standing erect in the midst of the moral ruin which surrounds her, in order that she may preserve the chastity of the nuptial union from being defiled by this foul stain, raises her voice in token of her divine ambassadorship and through Our mouth proclaims anew: any use whatsoever of matrimony exercised in such a way that the act is deliberately frustrated in its natural power to generate life is an offense against the law of God and of nature, and those who indulge in such are branded with the guilt of a grave sin.
Paul VI, Humanae Vitae, 1967:
14. In conformity with these landmarks in the human and Christian vision of marriage, we must once again declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun, and, above all, directly willed and procured abortion, even if for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as licit means of regulating birth.
17. . It is also to be feared that
the man, growing used to the employment of anti-conceptive
practices, may finally lose respect for the woman and, no longer
caring for her physical and psychological equilibrium, may come
to the point of considering her as a mere instrument of selfish
enjoyment, and no longer his respected and beloved companion.
Appendix B - Selected Quotes from the Birth Control Review
"There they are, a motley group, from the gay, light-hearted moron, who cannot make an intelligent plan, even to do mischief; to the doddering idiot, the crafty paranoiac, the wretched epileptic, the moral imbecile, the chronic criminal with hereditary taint, and even the village ne'er-do-well. What do they cost us, in wealth, in labor and in misery? They must be eliminated. Eugenics makes birth control imperative. Defectives may be segregated, they may be sterilized, and the brighter ones of them may learn methods of contraception. Their marriages should be forbidden, as an expression of the public will that their children are not wanted. But whatever the means this stream of human waste must be deflected from the melting-pot."
Anna E. Blount, M.D. "Large
Families and Human Waste." Birth Control Review, Volume II,
Number 9 (September 1918), page 3.
"A question will naturally arise as to the fate of those members of the community who fail to pass the stringent tests which will rightly be imposed upon all candidates for matrimony. we must trust that the general consensus of public opinion would suffice to prevent them from entering into irregular unions and begetting children who would probably fail to attain a proper standard of physical and mental fitness, but should such illegal occurrences unhappily become at all common, the community would have to take suitable precautions in self defence and might decree that all adolescents should be examined at puberty and steps taken to sterilize those could not reasonably be expected to beget healthy children."
J. Walter Carr, M.D. "A
Medical Utopia With Birth Control." Birth Control Review,
Volume VII, Number 8 (August 1923), pages 205 and 206.
"First, a eugenic program that will eliminate as rapidly as possible the plainly unfit of human stock ... But it is quite important that we cut down on the now large numbers of the unfit the physical, mental, and moral subnormals.
Rev. Albert P. Van Dusen.
"Birth Control as Viewed by a Sociologist." Birth
Control Review, Volume VIII, Number 5 (May 1924), pages 133 to
"Today every reasonable person agrees to the following propositions: First, that no human being has a right to bring a child into the world that cannot be born healthy ... The second proposition on Birth Control is this. Even if a couple are healthy and have every reason to believe they can have healthy children, they have no right to bring more children into the world than they can properly clothe and educate."
R.L. Gray. "Colonel
Ingersoll; a Prophet of Birth Control." Birth Control
Review, Volume VIII, Number 12 (December 1924), page 359.
"Birth Control pleads for sound and healthy individuals over against mere numbers, believing that Society is doomed unless we take radical measures to prevent the multiplication of the unfit in our land. Americans are proud when a new schoolhouse is erected, but when an edifice is built for the blind, for the deaf, dumb and feebleminded, it is largely because Birth Control is not being practiced. I maintain that the sick, the diseased and the mentally unfit should be denied parenthood. Those who oppose Birth Control will surely object to a simple operation along these lines that I suggest. But why shall we continue bringing blind babies, idiots, and imbeciles into the universe when all this can very largely be stopped by simple and inexpensive information.
"This will quickly stop the growth of that army of idiots, imbeciles and blind babies, a disgrace to any man and woman offering prayers to a loving and merciful God. I plead with you on behalf of the unborn child. Give him clean, healthy parents. Otherwise, to those who have not qualified morally and physically, deny absolutely the right to bring innocent children into the world."
Rudolph I. Coffee, Ph.D. "The
Case for Birth Control." Birth Control Review, Volume IX,
Number 8 (August 1925), pages 221, 222, 237 and 238.
"Where, therefore, it is argued that Birth Control has the effect, which we readily admit, of lowering the rate of multiplication of the superior without checking that of the inferior, one must answer, first, that this same argument applies to modern medicine, sanitation and philanthropy, all of which help to keep alive the weak, the incapable and the defective who thus reproduce their kind more abundantly; secondly, that the superior will not surrender the knowledge they have; and third, that we can check the relative excess fecundity of the inferior by giving them as easy and effective methods of control as are now possessed by anyone. It is improbable that this would prove sufficiently effective, so that an intelligent community will be driven to the segregation or the sterilization of an increasing number of strains.
Frank H. Hankins, Ph.D. "Does
America Have Too Many Children?" Birth Control Review,
Volume X, Number 2 (February 1926), page 60.
"Our progressive agriculturists choose their seed with greatest care, but we as a people are largely sowing the field of humanity with weeds. Since society suffers so much from the existence of cacogenic [*?] persons, it has a right to assume a vastly greater control over them than it yet has done. As a means of preventing the reproduction of cacogenic persons, without waiting for society to insist upon its full right in the matter, the following plan is suggested: ) The plan is to sterilize most of those men and women who would consent to it. Three methods of inducing cacogenic persons to consent to sterilization are as follows: First: By reasoning and kind persuasion. Many could be made to see that it was best for themselves and all others concerned. Second: By offering the alternative to many persons in prisons and other places of detention of remaining there or else submitting to sterilization and gaining their freedom. This alternative might well be offered to certain types who would be little or no menace if at liberty in a sterile state. Third: the offering of cash payments to cacogenic persons who would submit to sterilization. The payments might be sums of one-hundred or two-hundred dollars or more.
Wilfrid Chase. "Voluntary
Sterilization." Birth Control Review, Volume XII, Number 3
(March 1928), page 83.
"Whereas the bringing of
mentally defective children into the world is a detriment to the
Whereas almost all children from mentally defective parents are also defective,
Therefore be it resolved that we request our Government to pass legislation providing for the sterilization of the mentally deficient ...
Whereas transmittable disease and
defects are increasing at an alarming rate with each generation,
Whereas no eugenic measures have hitherto been adopted in our Province to decrease or prevent such generation, and
Whereas this is both a grave danger to the present generation and a crime against the generations unborn,
Therefore be it resolved that the Women's Section of the U.F.C., in convention assembled, strongly urge that no couple be granted a marriage license unless both parties produce certificates of health including mental and physical soundness and signed by a competent physician."
Resolution of the Women's Section
of the United Farmers of Canada, Saskatchewan Section, Birth
Control Review, Volume XIV, Number 2 (February 1930), pages 56
"My only personal interest in the Birth Control movement is the necessity of limiting or entirely suppressing the families of married people who, because of disease, hopeless poverty, mental deficiency, moral degeneracy, or other similar causes, cannot be expected to produce children ) or more children ) who will be anything but a burden to the public or a menace to spiritual or material progress. Such married couples are far more numerous than most unobservant judges are liable to estimate. Even in our small country towns ) even in our villages ) there is a considerable element of the population without which the state of society would, quite frankly speaking, be improved."
H. Adye Prichard. "Propaganda
) As I See It." Birth Control Review, Volume XIV, Number 4
(April 1930), page 109.
"To propose as a scientific thesis that the beneficiaries of the present system should have larger families for the benefit of humanity at large is one of the greatest errors of our current super-eugenists. Before they can become the arbiters of the birth-rate, we shall have to evolve a method whereby those actually fit to survive ) not the economically comfortable but the intellectually and physically superior ) shall have larger opportunities. When that time comes, it will be time enough for Dr. Popenoe and his school to choose those of us who are to produce the big families, and those who are to limit themselves to one or two children or none. Until then, let us concentrate on teaching contraception to the many who would be unfit to survive or propagate under even the most beneficent and just social regime."
Maynard Shipley. Review of Paul
Popenoe's book Practical Applications of Heredity. Birth Control
Review, Volume XV, Number 2 (February 1931), page 58.
"Birth control as a practice and as a propaganda in the twentieth century is frankly pragmatic. It has spread because it meets a personal need which reflects a social philosophy that is for most people imperfectly formulated and essentially individualistic. If the race is threatened with extinction, or eugenics proves the policy to be wrong, or the world witnesses a return to a naive religious belief, it is conceivable that the [birth control] movement may weaken; but it is more probable that in the next generation it will spread and in time will establish itself as moral and even obligatory ..."
James A. Field. Essays on
Population. Quoted in Birth Control Review, Volume XV, Number 8
(August 1931), page 237.
"The main objectives of the Population Congress would be:
a. To raise the level and increase the general intelligence of population.
b. To increase the population slowly by keeping the birth rate at its present level of fifteen per thousand, decreasing the death rate below its present mark of 11 per thousand.
c. To keep the doors of immigration closed to the entrance of certain aliens whose condition is known to be detrimental to the stamina of the race, such as feebleminded, idiots, morons, insane, syphilitic, ipileptic, criminal, professional prostitutes, and others in this class barred by the immigration laws of 1924 [Note that Jews and Catholics who were prospective immigrants when given the Stanford-Binet I.Q. tests were graded as 'feebleminded' and thus disqualified from entrance].
d. To apply a stern and rigid policy of sterilization and segregation to that grade of population whose progeny is already tainted, or whose inheritance is such that objectionable traits may be transmitted to offspring.
e. To insure the country against future burdens of maintenance for numerous offspring as may be born of feebleminded parents, by pensioning all persons with transmissible diseases who voluntarily consent to sterilization.
f. To give certain dysgenic groups in our population their choice of segregation or sterilization.
g. To apportion farm lands and homesteads for these segregated persons where they would be taught to work under competent instructors for the period of their entire lives [practically speaking, a recipe for a concentration camp].
Margaret Sanger. "Plan for
Peace." Birth Control Review, Volume XVI, Number 4 (April
1932), pages 107 and 108.
"Feature the stabilizing effect, socially, of the wider spread of contraceptive information, in that it allows early marriage without fear of unwanted pregnancy and progeny. In this way it discourages extra-marital sex-relationships on the part of those who would like to combine their sex-life with the development of the home.
C.C. Little. "Programs and
Wishes For 1933." Birth Control Review, Volume XVII, Number
1 (January 1933), page 6.
"It seems plausible that eugenics aims can be best realized by extending the knowledge of contraception to and enforcing sterilization upon undesirable elements of society whose rate of propagation is in excess of that of the apparently more desirable classes."
Michigan State Medical Society
Accepts Report of Study Committee." Birth Control Review,
Volume I, Number 1 (New Series, October 1933), page 2.
"What we want to get rid of most of all is the miserable social problem group, which is a fertile source of so much of our human wreckage and failure. If charity officers, social workers, physicians, and others in touch with people of this kind would exert their influence to induce these people to go to birth control clinics where the necessary information and devices would be furnished free of cost, much might be done to limit the propagation of a class which it would not be feasible to segregate or subject to compulsory sterilization."
S.J. Holmes, University of
California. "From Birth Control to Eugenics," in his
book The Eugenic Predicament. Birth Control Review, Volume I,
Number 6 (New Series, March 1934), page 7.
Appendix C - The Fathers
Appendix D - Population Growth
According to the 1998 Revision of the official United Nations population estimates and projection, the total fertility rate (TFR) is estimated to be, in 1995-2000, at or below the level of 2.1 children per woman in 61 countries or areas of the world (Table 1) - that is in 10 more than in 1990-1995. The combined population of those 61 countries (2.6 billion in 1998) amounts to 44 per cent of the global population.
Total fertility rates in
countries with below-replacement fertility
Range of total fertility rate in 1995-2000 2.10 - 1.80
Sri Lanka 2.10
TFYR Macedonia 2.06
Dem. Peoples Rep. Of Korea 2.05
New Zealand 2.01
United States of America 1.99
Range of total fertility rate in 1995-2000 1.79 - 1.50
Republic of Moldova 1.76
United Kingdom 1.72
Republic of Korea 1.65
Trinidad and Tobago 1.65
Range of total fertility rate in 1995-2000 Less than 1.50
Bosnia and Herzegovina 1.35
Russian Federation 1.34
China, Hong Kong SAR 1.32
Czeck Republic 1.19