Catholic Culture Resources
Catholic Culture Resources

Does Humanae Vitae cause suffering, or does the National Catholic Reporter?

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Jul 17, 2018

The National Catholic Reporter headline informs us:

Humanae Vitae’s ban on contraception causes suffering

The argument of the article is lame and familiar: based on the assumption that—what your parents told you about bird and bees to the contrary notwithstanding—Catholic dogma causes unplanned pregnancies.

But let’s talk about suffering, anyway. Can you name a form of contraception that does not cause suffering—either by failing or by harming the person (almost always the woman) who uses it—and then possibly failing as well?

The NCR article is illustrated by a picture of a “social health activist” speaking to women in India. The photo is guaranteed to spark guilt feelings in Americans of a certain age. Are women in India suffering? Some are, certainly—when they are pressured to have an abortion because their unborn child is female, or when they are effectively enslaved to bear children for wealthy American male couples. Hard to blame that suffering on Humanae Vitae; in fact, didn’t the encyclical more or less predict it?

Any policy, any belief, any moral principle is apt to produce some sort of suffering in those who disagree with it. For me, the mere existence of the National Catholic Reporter is a source of suffering.

By the way, here are a few headlines that I don’t expect to see in the NCR any time soon:

Narcissistic priests cause suffering
Inclusive language causes suffering
Suppression of traditional liturgy causes suffering

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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