The Teaching of the Prophetic Encyclical Humanae Vitae (Part III)

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The Predictions of Pope Saint Paul VI

The first prediction of Paul VI in Humanae Vitae, no. 17 was that if people resorted to contraception, there would follow a general increase in immorality, especially among the youth, and also an increase in marital infidelity:

Upright men can even better convince themselves of the solid grounds on which the teaching of the Church in this field is based, if they care to reflect upon the consequences of methods of artificial birth control. Let them consider, first of all, how wide and easy a road would thus be opened up towards conjugal infidelity and the general lowering of morality. Not much experience is needed in order to know human weakness, and to understand that men — especially the young, who are so vulnerable on this point — have need of encouragement to be faithful to the moral law, so that they must not be offered some easy means of eluding its observance.

Once people deliberately separate procreation from sexual relations by means of contraception, it is very difficult to convince anybody that sexual relations are only for marriage between one man and one woman.1

Pope Saint Paul VI with U.S. President John F. Kennedy

Regarding a general increase in immorality, especially in the young, it is sufficient to give some statistics that demonstrate the abysmal failure of so called sex “education” in U.S. public schools. Since 1970, abortion giant Planned Parenthood (PP) and the Sex Education and Information Council of the United States (SEICUS), founded by the colleagues of the late sexual pervert Alfred Kinsey, PhD, convinced the government to implement their sex “education” in public schools. Since then, teen promiscuity, contraceptive use, STD infections, abortions, and other evils have been on the rise. The data we provide below comes from abortion promoter Alan Guttmacher Institute, which still has close relationships with PP:

  • Only 2% of kids 12 and under have engaged in sex. However, once they reach 15, this rate increases to 16%; when they reach 16, it is 33%, when they get to be 17, it is almost 50%; when they are 18, it is 61%; and when they reach 19, it is 71%.
  • The average age teens begin to have sex is 17. However, they don’t get married until they reach their mid-20s. This implies that young adult women run the risk of getting unintentionally pregnant or of suffering, together with their male partners, STD infections during a span of 10 or more years.
  • The majority of adolescents uses or intends to use contraceptives the first time they have sex: 78% in the case of girls; 85% in the case of boys. Said use has increased, in the case of females 15-19 years old from 48% in 1982 to 78% in 2010. In 1995, 82% of male teens used contraceptives, but by 2010, this rate increased to 93%. Despite this widespread availability of contraceptives and their actual or intended use, out-of-wedlock pregnancies, abortions, and STD’s have augmented in this sector of the population.
  • No state demands paternal consent or notification for teens to receive pro-contraceptive “counseling” or the contraceptives themselves, a clear violation of parental rights.
  • Even though people between the ages of 15 and 24 comprise only 25% of the sexually active population, they constitute almost half (9.1 million) of the 18.9 million new annual cases of STD infections. VPH infections among this age group are approximately half of those reported annually. Young people between 13 and 24 years of age were more than 20% of all HIV infection cases reported in 2011.
  • Every year about 615,000 teen girls aged 15 through 19 get pregnant. Of these pregnancies, more than 25% end in abortion (almost 160,000). Black and Hispanic female teens of the same age group have the highest abortion rate per 1,000: 100 and 84, respectively. Since May 2014, there are still 12 states that do not even require parental notification or consent for their teen daughters to abort.

Regarding divorce, closely related to sexual dissatisfaction and/or infidelity, its rate has increased dramatically since the 1960’s, when the contraceptive pill was first introduced in the U.S. market. According to several studies, people who abstain from sex before marriage, remain faithful once married, and are open to life, have a divorce rate of 3-6%. But those who have not abstained, and once married use contraceptives, experience a rate of over 50%.2

The other immoral result of the widespread use of contraceptives is the increase of abortion rates. 67% of U.S. women were using some form contraception, usually the Pill or the condom, during the month they aborted.4 In general, the contraceptive mentality ushers in the abortion mentality. Babies are not seen any more as the most excellent fruit of the married couple’s love, but as an intruder who resulted from a contraceptive failure. We are not claiming that all couples, married or living in sin by cohabiting, that use contraceptives, are going to abort once their contraceptives fail. We are talking about a general pattern that, nevertheless, is quite widespread. In this regard, the teaching of Saint John Paul II in his Encyclical Evangelium Vitae, no. 13, is very illuminating:

It is frequently asserted that contraception, if made safe and available to all, is the most effective remedy against abortion. The Catholic Church is then accused of actually promoting abortion, because she obstinately continues to teach the moral unlawfulness of contraception. When looked at carefully, this objection is clearly unfounded. It may be that many people use contraception with a view to excluding the subsequent temptation of abortion. But the negative values inherent in the ‘contraceptive mentality’ … are such that they in fact strengthen this temptation when an unwanted life is conceived. Indeed, the pro-abortion culture is especially strong precisely where the Church’s teaching on contraception is rejected.

Moreover, the contraceptives mostly used today – the Pill, Depo-Provera, Implanon, Nuvaring, OrthoEvra, and IUDs, act as abortifacients part of the time.3 In fact, the number of surgical and pharmacological (RU-486, etc.) abortions annually in the U.S. is about 1 million. But the number of U.S. contraceptive abortions makes the number of annual abortions much, much higher.


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[1] Cf. Comisión Episcopal Española para la Doctrina de la Fe, Una encíclica profética: la Humanae vitae. Reflexiones doctrinales y pastorales, 20 de noviembre de 1992, pág. 3, no.  10.

[2] Cf. Brian Clowes, A Pro-Life Pastoral Handbook, Human Life International, Front Royal, Virginia, EEUU, 2010, page 14.

[3] See the following examples:

Adolfo is the Director of Education for Hispanic Outreach for Human Life International and of HLI's Hispanic outreach arm Vida Humana Internacional. He has a Masters in Theology from St. Vincent de Paul Regional (Major) Seminary and a License in Moral Theology from the Alphonsian Academy in Rome.

Adolfo has traveled frequently to VHI’s affiliates in Latin America to give talks, training sessions, and media interviews. He has authored and co-authored books, articles, reports, and a pro-life training course for Hispanics in the U.S. Adolfo has also participated in the production of two TV pro-life series in Spanish, which have been aired through EWTN en Español.

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