Catholic Medical Quarterly Volume 67(4) November 2017


Humanae Vitae Follows from the Use of Human Reason

Fr Hugh Mackenzie

Dear Sir,

Dr Flood (August issue) seems to assume that the Church’s vision of sex does not follow from “the use of human reason” – notwithstanding the highly rational statement to which he was replying. To my understanding the Church affirms the rational teaching that sex can by its very nature only truly foster unity when in marriage and its procreative potential is not actively frustrated.

Like all serious misuses of pleasure, repeatedly going against this teaching only makes things worse. “Humanae Vitae” of course predicted the close correlation of the societal introduction of the Pill with divorce and abortion in country after country. It would be churlish not to link this with the development of the undoubted sexual abuse of poor women by men (for instance by pornography). Presenting the minimisation of the biological “consequences ” of sex as a spiritual panacea for “trapped” women is to lead them into the pit.

It makes them more available to the offending men. In situations where the sex is already intrinsically dis ordered, actively enabling contraceptive use is material cooperation with evil.

Such secular solutions absolve us from discerning the deeper causes in our hedonistic culture - and our own cooperation with it. It diminishes the possibility of real solutions and our own responsibility to walk with such women.

They make it harder for that most crucial component of a solution – the Grace of God – to enter.
The “coal face of human experience” since Adam’s sin involves disordered desires which must be discerned and healed by the Grace of God if they are not to grow in their destructiveness. Yes we must point out “the frailty of the human condition”, but also the power of God’s grace. “Who then can possibly be saved” the disciples asked. Jesus said: “For man it is impossible. For God all things are possible.”

The Sensus Fidelium must be in tune with the authoritative revelation of Christ in the Church. Without that it quickly reduces to following the fashionable deconstruction of the family. An increasing amount of couples who practise their faith are realising this and experiencing God’s healing grace.

Yours Faithfully

Fr Hugh MacKenzie