Last night, I met with a group of people to pray for an end to abortion. This is something that we try to do monthly during the months when we are not taking part in the 40 Days vigil on the sidewalk. We want to keep the issue at the top of our list of priorities and meeting to pray together strengthens us as Christian brothers and sisters.
Last night, I was overwhelmed by a sense of the division between Catholics and non-Catholics. I wanted to say something, but knew that the time and place was not right.
One man opened up the prayer hour by praying that the Protestant churches would come on board with this issue; he said that the Catholics had been carrying it alone for too long, and that it is something all Christians should be united about.
I have no problem with that; it is not hard to notice that 80% of vigil participants are Catholics.
What struck me dumb last night was the very clear realisation that the issue of contraception is the problem. It is not as if I haven't read Humanae Vitae, or numerous other articles linking contraception and abortion. I have read my share for sure. But it was suddenly astoundingly clear that if you separate sex from the making of a baby (which contraception does), then you have the problem right away. Babies should only be planned and wanted. A baby that isn't planned is seen as a problem. If the couple were not using any birth control, then perhaps they will accept that this is what happens. But if birth control has been used and has failed, then somehow that baby shouldn't be there. It isn't fair.
And the door opens to rationalizing why it is okay to terminate a pregnancy that wasn't supposed to happen.
I love my Protestant brothers and sisters, and sometimes their zeal and fervour puts my Catholic friends and acquaintances to shame. But I felt so deeply that they just don't see this connection and that is to their detriment. It is only the Catholic Church that speaks out about artificial contraception (I am guessing that the Orthodox church and very religious Jews do as well but I am not that familiar with them). The Protestant churches, one by one, accepted artificial contraception. Beginning with the Anglicans at the Lambeth Conference in 1930, contraception was accepted where it had once been condemned.
So when someone asked "why is it that our Protestant brethren don't join us in this vigil?", I kept my lips sealed. That was not the time to bring dissension into the group; but, when the opportunity arises, I will have to say something. Because it has become so bleedingly obvious to me, that if you contracept, then you will need abortion as your back up, sooner or later. As Father Frank Pavone says, they are fruits of the same "evil" tree.
And I know that the majority of Catholics also use artificial contraception; but it is a case of the means does not justify the ends. Just because the people don't obey what they are told, does not make the rule wrong. It simply means the people are disobedient, for whatever reason. Some are ignorant, others are wilfully disobedient, most are blissfully unaware of how contraception changes the relationship between a man and a woman. They are no longer open to life, as God would have them be. I am not saying that married couples have to have many children (there are very reliable methods for figuring out how to avoid conception if the couple are not ready for a baby), but God never intended sex to be for pleasure only. If He did, surely He could have made it different from the act that creates a child? But the act of union between husband and wife, and the act that creates new life, are one and the same. And there is a reason for that. When we break that connection, as contracepting does, then we don't allow God into our lives as He wishes to be.