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

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The Third Prediction of Pope Paul VI

The third prediction of Pope Paul VI in no. 17 of his encyclical Humanae Vitae was that a wide acceptance of contraception would entice states to force population control upon their own citizens:

Careful consideration should be given to the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone. It could well happen, therefore, that when people, either individually or in family or social life, experience the inherent difficulties of the divine law and are determined to avoid them, they may give into the hands of public authorities the power to intervene in the most personal and intimate responsibility of husband and wife.

This prediction has clearly become a dreadful reality. Take the Communist government of China as an example. Since at least 1980, the Chinese Communist Party of the so-called People’s Republic of China, with the support of the UN, has imposed on its own people an infamous one-child per family policy – which it later changed to a two-children policy. This policy is responsible for many forced abortions and sterilizations, as well as infanticides, especially of girls, because Chinese culture favors boys over girls. If families do not comply with this imposition by the Party, they face high fines or even jail. This draconian policy has also led to a disproportion between the number of women and men in China.

Closer to home, during the 1990s, Peruvian President Alfredo Fujimori imposed a sterilization policy that was practically forced on his people. The government offered poor women some food in exchanged for this gravely immoral practice. Thousands of women were sterilized even without proper consent. There were several deaths and countless women suffered injuries for life from these massive sterilization campaigns.

girl with sad face

Even the U.S. jumped into the population control wagon. As early as 1974, a secret security memorandum was issued by the State Department under Henry Kissinger. Also called NSSM-200 and declassified in 1989, this infamous document proposed the possibility of using food and other incentives to control the populations of targeted developing countries. The U.S. feared that these “overpopulated” countries would rebel against the U.S. because the American government would ensure, through this egotistical policy, its access to their natural resources, especially minerals. The document also contemplated the use of indoctrination to convince children of the “convenience” of having small families, and even the possibility of using abortion to accomplish its purposes.

Soon enough other rich countries, the United Nations, and international pro-abortion organizations such International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) were busy imposing their population control programs in Africa and Latin America.

Developed countries have created such a pro-contraception mentality that married couples themselves consider it a “necessity” to have no children, or at most one or two. This mentality in turn has led to a fertility rate below replacement level, calculated by demographers to be at least 2.1 children per family. Tragically, all first-world countries and many third-world countries are below this replacement level.

The diabolical contraceptive mentality has resulted in more than 42 million abortions a year worldwide, as well a population implosion that threatens the world with a zero-population growth fertility rate in just a few decades. This means that humanity’s population will begin to decline inexorably as deaths outnumber births. The socio-economic problems that result from this situation are not difficult to imagine. There will be, proportionally speaking, fewer people in the workforce and paying taxes than elderly people already retired, as well as a shortage of health resources. These effects will increase the temptation to use euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide to “solve the problems.”

We can clearly see an anti-life and anti-family spiral, with contraception continually leading to abortion (a back-up for contraceptive failure) and abortion in turn leading to euthanasia. We can call this never-ending slippery slope the “unholy trinity,” and it is the intrinsic mechanism that propels the “culture of death.”

Once again, Pope Paul VI was right. But couples, including Catholic ones, continue to contracept on a massive scale. Western countries are dying out and are already importing their workforces from developing countries.

Now is the time for bishops, priests, deacons, religious, and lay leaders to speak up and teach with clarity and courage the beautiful doctrine contained in Humanae Vitae, including its less “popular” teachings. It is literally a matter of life or death.

beautiful church spires


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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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