Seeing my poor sister-in-law hosting her boys’ graduation party (one from high school, the other from college) this past weekend made me glad once again that I’m done with all that. The party was lovely, but just like me last year, she was too spent to eat any of the wonderful food there. She and my brother were exhausted from the weeks of preparation, the anxiety of not being able to control the weather, and just the emotions involved in wanting everything perfect for celebrating an important milestone. Sorry boys, but when you graduate from college, I’m taking you out for dinner!
If Big Daddy and I were obedient Catholics like we were taught to be during 12 years each of parochial school, we would have perhaps 10 more graduation parties to look forward to hosting. If we weren’t in a straight jacket in a padded cell. If we were still speaking to each other.
This July marked the 40th anniversary of the Humanae Vitae, the encyclical written by Pope Paul VI on the Catholic Church’s teachings against birth control. They do allow one hopelessly inefficient and time-consuming method of birth control, the CMBBT (or rhythm method) which involves taking body temperature readings and other scientific measurements to make sure you don’t have relations at the peak fertility times. But why do they scorn other scientific methods that truly achieve the goal of responsible family planning? They claim that using this Russian Roulette method will promote healthier happier marriages. Ha!
Forty years ago, the pill and some other forms of birth control were still relatively new. I can understand the initial wariness. Today, however, despite rampant disease and poverty in many underdeveloped countries, families unable to survive on one income even in developed nations, and overpopulation concerns on an already overtaxed planet, it is clearly irresponsible and even misogynistic to forbid married couples from keeping their families to a manageable and affordable size.
I totally understand the Church’s position on abortion and against any form of birth control that acts as a abortifacient (such as the IUD which may cause the expulsion of an already fertilized egg). Any form of birth control that does not cause harm to an already fertilized egg, however, should be encouraged just like the ridiculous CMBBT method. Birth control pills, barrier methods preventing fertilization, and permanent sterilization should not only be allowed, but should be encouraged to promote healthier less stressful marriages and a more sustainable planet.
Despite the Church’s teachings against birth control, I personally don’t know a single Catholic family that lives this way. Mel Gibson may, but he can afford 7 or so kids. And the destitute Catholics in third world nations may be doing so, which is why this whole stance is so wrong!
Leave it to men to not care how many pregnancies a woman has to endure! And if our husbands wanted to be celibate, they would have become priests. Because, mark my word, after three kids, if there was even a remote chance that I could get pregnant again, we wouldn’t even be making eye contact. How does this promote a healthy marriage? Maybe the whole thing is a ploy to lure more men into the priesthood!
Without a doubt, my kids are the most wonderful gifts in the world. They make each day more special and worthwhile. If I had many more kids, however, I would not be able to financially provide all the things children require. This would break my heart. I don’t know if I could have wedged any more activities into our already busy lives, and everyone would have been shortchanged. God works in mysterious way, and perhaps technology promoting effective family planning is one of those ways.