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What the church teaches: John Paul II and Benedict XVI

April 12, 2009

Pope Benedict XVI and the late Pope John Paul II both zealously and untiringly taught the Church’s stand on the dignity of human life.

Among John Paul II’s writings is the November 1981 apostolic exhortation Familiaris consortio about the role of the family in the modern world.

Contraception leads to falsification

He wrote: “When couples, by means of recourse to contraception, separate these two meanings that God the Creator has inscribed in the being of man and woman and in the dynamism of their sexual communion, they act as ‘arbiters’ of the Divine plan and they ‘manipulate’ and degrade human sexuality—and with it themselves and their married partner—by altering its value of ‘total self-giving.’ Thus the innate language that expresses the total reciprocal self-giving of husband and wife is overlaid, through contraception, by an objectively contradictory language, namely, that of not giving oneself totally to the other. This leads not only to a positive refusal to be open to life but also to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality” (n.32).

Responsible parenthood

In October 1983, John Paul II wrote:

 “At the origin of every human person there is a creative act of God. No man comes into existence by chance; he is always the object of God’s creative love. From this fundamental truth of faith and reason it follows that the procreative capacity, inscribed in human sexuality is—in its deepest truth—a cooperation with God’s creative power. And it also follows that man and woman are not arbiters, are not the masters of this same capacity, called as they are, in it and through it, to be participants in God’s creative decision.

When, therefore, through contraception, married couples remove from the exercise of their conjugal sexuality its potential procreative capacity, they claim a power, which belongs solely to God: the power to decide in a final analysis the coming into existence of a human person. They assume the qualification of not being cooperators in God’s creative power, but the ultimate depositaries of the source of human life. In this perspective, contraception is to be judged objectively so profoundly unlawful, as never to be, for any reason, justified. To think or to say the contrary is equal to maintaining that in human life, situations may arise in which it is lawful not to recognize God as God.” (L’Osservatore Romano, October 10, 1983)

Pope Benedict has delivered many homilies and has written many texts explaining and urging compliance with the Church’s pro-Life stand.

Before Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger became pope, he was interviewed by Peter Seewald. The interview came out in Seewald’s God and the World.

Seewald: “The catchword population growth. The Church is accused of aggravating serious problems in some parts of the Third World with her strict policy of forbidding the use of contraception, to the point of real misery.”

Ratzinger: “That is of course complete nonsense. Misery is the result of a breakdown in moral sense that once gave order to life in tribal societies, or to communities of believing Christians, and that thus prevented the misery that we can see nowadays . . . Where the family is functioning as a sphere of fidelity, people have patience and consideration for each other, providing the necessary preconditions for the practice of natural family planning. The misery comes, not from the large families, but from the irresponsible and undisciplined procreation of children who have no father, and often no mother, and who, as street children have to suffer the real distress of a spiritually distorted world. We all know, besides, that in Africa today the opposite danger has long since arisen, through the rapid spread of AIDS: not a population explosion but the dying out of entire tribes and the depopulation of the countryside . . .

Misery is not produced by people who bring up children to learn faithfulness and love, respect for life and self restraint, but by those who try to talk us out of morality and see man only in a mechanistic way: the condom seems to them more effective than morality, but when they think you can replace the moral dignity of man with condoms, so as to make his freedom no longer a danger to him, then they have stripped man of all dignity, down to his most basic self, and have produced exactly what they claim to be preventing: a selfish society in which everyone lives his own life and is responsible for nothing and no one.

Misery comes from demoralizing society, not from moralizing it, and the condom propaganda is an essential part of this demoralizing, the expression of an attitude that despises people and that in any case thinks people capable of nothing good whatsoever.” –Manila Times

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