Two excellent responses to Elizabeth Price and the general question of contraception and Paul VI. One is from Ann Farmer, who suffers from ME, and makes a point of writing at least one letter to a newspaper every day defending God’s truth (before she becomes too exhausted, due to her condition), and the second was written by my Mum 🙂
Today, apparently some protestors staged some sort of sit-in, or something similar, in their pyjamas (…) at the URDD Eisteddfod (the Eisteddfod for children) to remind the First Minister for Wales to “wake up” to the fact that the number of Welsh speakers in Wales is going down. My impression is that there are more young people speaking Welsh now than ever before. That’s my impression, from having been born and bred in Wales and being a Welsh speaker myself. The problem is, fellow Welsh speakers, you’re contracepting and aborting your children out of existence.
Marie Owsianka mentions that Pope Paul VI, after considering the possibility of allowing the use of artificial contraception, “became concerned that such a change would adversely affect the teaching authority of the Church, and issued the encyclical Humanae Vitae, re-affirming the status quo” (Letters, Catholic Times, May 25, 2104).
In his Encyclical he made four famous predictions about the fate of marriage and society if the Church’s traditional teaching about contraception was ignored, and the unitive and procreative aspects of marriage separated: there would be an increase in infidelity; a “general lowering of morality”; men would cease to respect women in their totality and would treat them as “mere instruments of selfish enjoyment” rather than as esteemed partners; unscrupulous governments would use contraception as weapons against the weak and marginalised.
It seems that he has been proved right, and to these outcomes one might add the countless abortions that the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, our largest abortion provider, admits have resulted from failed contraceptives. The Catholic campaign for contraception is pushing against a door that is already rotten and falling off its hinges, exposing the chilling reality of the earthly Utopia that contraception was supposed to usher in. Let’s not go there.
Elizabeth Price asks, “ Is Humanae Vitae really the work of the Holy Spirit?” The resounding answer should be, “Yes!”.
The truth of this can be seen by the high prevalence of contraceptive use in marriages which fail. Dr Edward Peters, a canon lawyer in America speaking about his experience of 1500 cases of failed marriages stated that “… some form of contraception was used during all or a significant part of the failed marriage in 99% of cases……Yet I can recall only one maybe two cases where Natural Family Planning was seriously tried.” 
Marital union is not wholly dependent on sexual union and, indeed, children are not only the visible signs of that union but they are also powerful bonds between husband and wife. Moreover, children are the fulfillment of God’s first command to Adam and Eve, “ Go forth, be fruitful and multiply!”
The trouble is, as in the use of all God’s gifts to us, we want to do it in ways that suit us; in this case, we want to put a limit on the fruitfulness while still enjoying the pleasure whenever we feel like it and no matter the consequences. But, God is good: He has already built into the system many more days for enjoying the pleasure without engendering children. It may, sometimes, entail the use of self control but that is true of life in general. Babies have no self control; as we grow up we learn how to control our desires. Catholics, at least, should know about fasting and abstinence and understand how it helps us to grow spiritually. No wonder, both of these are seldom practised today.
Sexual pleasure is the obsession of the modern world and sex, divorced from its primary purpose of children, is both destructive of virtue and sterile. Looking for sexual pleasure on demand with no expectation of children leads to a ‘right’ to abortion; children pay the price for our pleasure by their deaths.
I agree with much of what Elizabeth Price says about the bonds and strengths of marriage but I disagree with her constant attempts to prove the Church wrong in her teaching on contraception. Indeed, the whole of Christendom used to teach that artificial contraception was wrong. It was the acceptance of artificial contraception, for very serious health reasons for married couples, by the Anglican Lambeth Conference in 1930 that opened the flood gates and led not only to contraception for married couples for any or no reason but also for those who were not couples in any true sense both in fornication and adultery. Abortion, research using embryos and all the mess of IVF, the buying and selling of sperm and eggs – all flowed from that first breach of the universal Christian teaching against artificial contraception. “By their fruits ye shall know them,” Jesus told us. The fruits of artificial contraception are bitter and deadly indeed.
It is a scandalous dereliction of duty that the teaching of Paul VI in Humanae Vitae and the teaching of St. John Paul II in The Theology of the Body has not been given to the Catholic faithful by their clergy and the results of that can be seen in any parish church at Sunday Mass by the dearth of children and young people. Many is the parish priest who bemoans the result but does little or nothing to remedy the cause. How many times have you seen a parish priest congratulate any ‘large’ family that came to his church? What we have is a generation of priests who do not dare to preach on any subject involving sin for fear that some or many in the congregation will be nursing guilt on that subject and will leave the parish in high dudgeon.