Contraception: The Gateway to Moral Decay

Based on the findings of a recent Gallup poll released on May 30, Americans are becoming more accepting of a number of controversial issues. At the top of Gallup’s list of 19 issues was contraception, of which 90% of Americans approve, followed by divorce at 69% and premarital sex at 66%. Others making the top ten were embryonic stem cell research (65%), childbirth outside of marriage (58%), same-sex unions (58%), euthanasia (52%) and abortion (42%).

These numbers shouldn’t surprise us; after all Americans have been steadily rejecting a Judeo-Christian morality in favor of secular relativism for decades. In the so-called sexual revolution of the late 1960s, sex was separated from the person — body and soul — and the human body became regarded as an instrument one could manipulate and even exploit for pleasure.

Of course, it goes back more than a few decades. As is often the case, what seems like a sudden explosion was really the logical outcome of hundreds of years of growing confusion about who we are as persons.

René Descartes (1596-1650) was a French scientist and philosopher who many credit with helping to launch what later became known, somewhat ironically, as “the Enlightenment.” Among his contributions to the way people thought was to place body and soul in opposition to each other, later leading to the idea that the human body could simply be seen as an object one could manipulate according to one’s desires. Simply put, you are your mind, and you have a body; as opposed to the traditional Christian view that you are both body and soul. In this, Descartes followed Francis Bacon (1561-1626), who believed that the goal of human knowledge should be to successfully achieve not stewardship of, but domination over, nature.

It’s telling that today this does not sound controversial to many people. It’s even difficult to see how radical this change was, but let’s put it this way: instead of beginning with the idea that we grasp reality through our senses and think about it, we would now begin with our own mind as the basis of knowledge and from there subjectively interpret reality.

Books are still being written about what became known in philosophy as mind/body dualism, a view that is rejected by the Church. This dualistic view is assumed by most today, even though most don’t realize it or see how it informs even their most basic assumptions about reality, and other people.

Okay, enough philosophy. Let’s look at how this affects our lives today with respect to our own bodies and relationships, the results of which are shouting at us from the Gallup poll.

The contraceptive mentality, so identified by the Church, is a perfect example of what happens when we embrace dualism. Notice how the promoters of contraception promise a consequence-free control over our lives if we could just control our fertility with their drugs and devices. All the pleasure, none of that inconvenient fertility. My body is not me, exactly, it is an object for me to control for whatever reason I want; so sex is just about my pleasure, maybe someone else’s too. It is not necessarily about giving myself to the one I love with the possibility of creating new life as a result of that gift.

Following this view, sex becomes a mindless, meaningless function for which I can use my body. The idea of myself as a unity of body and soul is gone. And with this ignorance follows the matching ignorance of the nature of human sexuality as a unity of our basic human gifts of fertility and bonding between spouses.

This is why the world was so angered by Humane Vitae, which arrived right in the middle of the sexual revolution. In Saint Pope Paul VI’s encyclical on human life, the Church clearly reaffirms the inseparability of the unitive and procreative meaning of the conjugal act. To employ contraception and embrace its mentality is to act contrary to the God-given purpose of spousal love between man and woman, which distorts other human relationships as well, exactly as the Holy Father predicted.

Many believe that Paul VI’s work in Humane Vitae was deeply influenced by that of the man who would become Pope Saint John Paul II.  In Love and Responsibility, then-Archbishop Karol Wojtyla laid out the case for why the proper, integrated view of the human person as body and soul is necessary to understand ourselves and one another, especially in our sexuality: “In the order of love a man can remain true to the person only in so far as he is true to nature. If he does violence to nature, he also violates the person by making it an object of enjoyment rather than of love.”

To go against our true nature is to fracture our natural sense of responsibility towards another. Does anyone not see this happening today?

Obviously, seriously bad ideas have seriously bad consequences. Father Paul Marx, the founder or Human Life International, affirmed the Church’s point in his autobiography based on his broad experience in traveling the world:

Having traveled and worked in 91 countries, I find no country where contraception has not led to abortion, to increasing fornication among the young, to divorce, and to all those other evils we see today that make up the international sex mess.

And it is quite a mess, isn’t it? The Gallup poll should serve as a wake up call. If we are serious about strengthening the family, promoting the well-being of children, reversing the growing number of broken marriages in our nation, ending abortion, upholding the dignity of the aged and ill, and promoting purity and chastity, then let’s be honest about where the moral breakdown begins.

About Fr. Shenan J. Boquet

Fr. Shenan J. Boquet has served as president of Human Life International since 2011. He was ordained in 1993 as a priest of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, Louisiana. As HLI’s president, Fr. Boquet collaborates with fellow laborers in the pro-life and family movement in over 80 countries, offering the Sacraments, giving seminars and trainings, appearing on numerous media outlets, and encouraging people of all walks of life to live as faithful advocates for a Culture of Life and Love. He is available for interviews and bookings on behalf of HLI by emailing


  1. Fr. Timothy Sauppé on June 7, 2014 at 3:10 AM

    Great article Fr. Boquet! Please, everyone! Pass this along and pray for our Bishops! Dear Lady, Undoer of Knots, help couples to be untied from demonic influences that lead to contraception and sterilization mentalities.

    • ravian on June 10, 2014 at 10:55 AM

      Dear Fr. Boquet, and Fr. Sauppe,
      Fr. Boquet certainly gave a great introduction to the destructive effects of contraception on individuals, families, and societies. When people decide that they can dismiss God as a fantasy, all manner of calamities can and do occur. For obtaining Eternal Life, which is what we’re all on earth to attempt, we need Jesus Christ Who Is God, and the whole nine yards of His Sacraments, Prayer, and Church Teaching (see Catholic Scriptures, Catechism of the Catholic Church, Papal and Church Council documents (e.g., Gaudium et Spes), lives and writings of the saints (e.g., City of God by St. Augustine, St. Augustine’s Confessions, Treatise on the Love of God by St. Francis De Sales, The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, etc.), literature and philosophy consistent with the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Church history, Church commentary on scientific endeavors (e.g., CDF document on the Dignity of the Human Person), etc. For examples of pagan ancient world destruction stemming from immorality, we can look at Tacitus The Annals of Imperial Rome, and compare to Tacitus The Agricola and the Germania (see the Germania section). Also, for American references on the importance of faith and morals to maintain the existence of our republic, we can look at President George Washington’s Farewell Address, Charles Carroll’s (a Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence, our founding document) “Dangers Threatening the Republic,” President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Also, in citing statistics we need to keep in mind Exodus 23:2, that we shall not cite the example of the many doing wrong and call it right. A quote attributed from St. Augustine also specifies that what’s wrong is wrong even is everybody is doing it, and what’s right is right even if nobody is doing it. Also, we can keep in mind the catechesis of St. Maria Goretti’s mother (among the Blessed the last I heard): never do anything to offend God, especially never do anything impure. Also, maybe it would help to canonize Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin (the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux). Thanks for your consideration.
      In caritate Christi,
      Mrs. Richard Avian (Carol Avian)

  2. Buntles on June 7, 2014 at 5:19 AM

    Many thanks, Father Boquet. Once the procreative function is removed from sex, that’s when sex becomes just another ‘recreational pastime’, in which anything goes. We can’t interfere with nature with impunity – and that’s why we have the disorder, chaos and misery that surrounds us at the present day. Contraception is not a ‘human right’ – it is directly or indirectly to blame for a host of our physical and social ailments, including rampant pornography, promiscuity, teenage pregnancies, abortions, STDs, violence, liberal divorce, homosexuality, child abuse, single-parent ‘families’, ageing/shrinking populations, pension schemes collapse, open-door immigration, breast cancer, high incidence of strokes among women, early menopause, infertility……need I go on?

  3. American Life League on June 9, 2014 at 11:01 AM


  4. Krista Thomas on June 9, 2014 at 12:55 PM

    Exceptional article!

  5. Bert Alvarado on June 10, 2014 at 12:19 AM

    Thank you, Father Boquet. The age of enlightenment led to many innocent lives taken by “elites” who forced their will on others and grew to the persecution of faithful Catholics in France. Today many are misinformed or are clueless about what truly happened in that “enlightened” culture.

  6. The body is not me exactly on June 11, 2014 at 11:01 PM

    […] To read the entire posting, click here. […]

  7. Being Christian on June 16, 2014 at 11:21 AM

    […] Hobby Is Projectile: Don’t be deceived-they’re after contraception as well. Hobby Lobby. State by state. Just like […]

  8. Harry on September 8, 2014 at 4:11 PM

    In the survey, sex between an unmarried man and woman was ranked third among the most acceptable issues, and abortion was down the list at number twelve! Therein lies the problem. In general, the majority of people view abortion as morally wrong, but at the same time they think fornication is ok, even though it is a mortal sin and we could lose our souls for all eternity by committing this sin. Why do they believe this way? Because the Catholic Church is not doing its job by preaching against fornication. If priests preached against this grave sin as much as they do about abortion, you would see the abortion rate drop dramatically. Try it, you’ll see.

    • Kyle on November 15, 2014 at 2:05 PM

      Sorry for the late reply, but I agree with you about people having a disconnect between contraception and abortion. Also, there is a disconnect between abortion and embryonic stem cell research. (look at the percentages in the Gallup poll in the article). This is due to our lack of ability to think clearly and deeply. Just another product of modernity and also the busy lives we live where deep reflections are non-existent among the majority of us.

Leave a Comment