Today marks the 45th anniversary of one of the most prescient encyclicals of our time, Humanae Vitae. When Pope Paul VI wrote Humanae Vitae he was mocked by the world, thought to be an out of touch old man at the head of an outdated Church.
If artificial contraception were to become widespread, he warned, four things would happen: a general lowering of moral standards; the increase of infidelity; a lessening of respect for women; and the coercive use of reproductive technologies by governments.
Today the research proves how right he was in condemning artificial contraception and the mindset which accompanies it.
Recently we ordered Mary Eberstadt’s book, Adam and Eve after the Pill, a book which details, based on numerous studies over many years, by many different researchers (researchers who aren’t aiming to lend credibility to Catholic teaching), the real consequences of the Sexual Revolution: women are more unhappy than ever; men remain in a state of prolonged adolescence, submersed in pornography and video games; psychological disturbances, particularly among the young have risen greatly; pornography has been “mainstreamed”; the sexualization of children and youth is becoming normalized; and families are broken, which means men, women and children are broken, and thus society is not just broken, it’s crumbling.
The people who were supposed to benefit so greatly from the birth control pill have been cheated. Abortion, children born out-of-wedlock, fatherless families, child abuse – all the ills which were supposed to be prevented by widespread access to birth control are at an all-time high.
If you’ve never read Humanae Vitae, today would be a great day to do so. In the 45 years since its publication, can you see how quickly cultural and moral norms have been lowered. Perhaps even Paul VI didn’t realize just how quickly natural law and basic human truths about children and family would be disregarded.
As Mary Eberstadt’s book lays out very clearly, the fruits of the sexual revolution are rotten to the core. And the resultant unhappiness may be the very thing that brings people to question the “values” which have devalued humanity.