Tag Archives: birth control

If you want me to mind my own business….

via the Dark Lord

Oh Dear: How Cardinal Cushing helped bring contraception to Massachusetts

Philip Lawler links to an article in Boston College Magazine about how Cardinal Cushing and the Archdiocese of Boston tacitly promoted – or allowed themselves to be used to promote – the legalization of contraception in Massachusetts:

…the archdiocese had begun quietly planning for a change in the law even before Dukakis [yes, that Dukakis, in 1965] introduced his formal bid for repeal.
In 1963, the article reports, Cardinal Cushing was a guest on a radio call-in show. One caller asked the cardinal about his stance on the contraceptive ban, and he replied: “I have no right to impose my thinking, which is rooted in religious thought, on those who do not think as I do.”
At the time of that broadcast, listeners in the Boston area did not know the identity of the woman who called in with the question that drew that response. But now, thanks to Boston College Magazine, we know that it was Hazel Sagoff, the executive director of Planned Parenthood. There is reason to believe that both Sagoff’s call and the cardinal’s response had been arranged in advance. (emphasis added)

To put things in perspective:
The first birth control pill was brought to market in the US in 1959-60.
The Second Vatican Council began October 11, 1962.
Cardinal Cushing went on the radio show on February 15, 1963.
In April, 1963, Pope John XXIII established the Pontifical Commission on Population, Family, and Birthrate, “to prepare for the Holy See’s participation in a conference organized by the United Nations and the World Health Organization.” This Commission becomes known as “the birth control commission.”
In June, 1964, Pope Paul VI expanded the membership of the Pontifical Commission.
In summer, 1964, the Kennedy family invited a team of theologians, including John Courtney Murray and Charles Curran, to Hyannisport to come up with justifications for a Catholic politician to support legalizing abortion. Fr. Murray was a major influence on Cardinal Cushing.
In 1964, the Council Fathers of Vatican II “deferred decisions on marital morality to the Pope.”
In 1965, Michael Dukakis introduced the repeal ban in the Massachusetts legislature. Journalists at the Boston archdiocese’s paper The Pilot were instructed not to comment on the legislation. Lay Catholic representatives in the lower house banded together, and the bill was defeated.
On June 7, 1965, SCOTUS issued the Griswold v. Connecticut decision.
In 1966, the Governor of Massachusetts set up a commission to study the birth control issue. Cardinal Cushing wrote to the commission that Catholics “do not seek to impose by law their moral view on other members of society.” The repeal ban came up again in the MA legislature and passes.
In the fall of 1966, rumors started swirling that the Church would soon change her teaching on artificial birth control. In 1967, some of the Pontifical Commission’s documents were leaked in English and French translation and were spun as support for these rumors.
Humanae Vitae was promulgated in 1968.
UPDATED: Link to Humanae Vitae. If you haven’t read it, what are you wasting your time here for? I, lege!
Also fixed some grammar errors in the timeline….

My Other NFP Gripe

While I do know many providentalists and many NFPers, Deo Gratias, neither have been the extreme ilk described in the post below. Well not at least within the circle of people I consider my friends and confidantes, just opinions I read on the Internet here and there. I think my main gripe with NFP, both sides will agree is one of the tragedies of NFP in philosophy.
As I mentioned before, I suffered from Post Partum Depression after Berylla. My OB/Gyn (not Catholic, but a kind doctor) asked me the usual questions:
“do you have help?”
“how many small children do you have at home?”
“too many”
Then he asked if I could get dispensation from the Bishop to use birth control. I actually considered this option, knowing darn well my very liberal Bishop would grant it with no problem without even truly weighing the issue with true Catholic teaching. (Perhaps I shouldn’t have such doubts and trust God’s shepherds more.) There are the other factors though:
~Contraceptives are abortifacient.
~Contraceptives are carcinogenic.
~Contraceptives aren’t good for you.
~It is bad for marriages.
~The pill was funded by Margaret Sanger for eugenic purposes.
So here I am, working out, eating organic brown rice, refraining from drinking and smoking and I would give up all that work for an drug that is not necessary to sustain me or keep me healthy. The Church in all her wisdom simply understand what Truth is, and trying to find a back door is just denying the Truth.
I went home that day and spoke to my mother, the wife of a deacon. I figured with all my parents’ religious training and as a mother of four, she would have a better grip on the intricacies of this delicate situation. Her reply was that since I have tried NFP with earnest many times, that is God giving me the thumbs up to use birth control. That was the spoken part. The non-spoken part has been made obvious numerous times when I was a week or two post partum, and I was struggling to juggle cooking dinner, lessons, mastitis. After I had number four and I was in this situation, I called her and begged for a bit of help to which she replied “it was your choice to have more children; I did my time.” I never asked again. Of course she never volunteered.
You see NFP, even among Catholics who understand the moral and health contraindications of artificial birth control now have NFP to fall back on to allow large families to be labeled “irresponsible”. That means if they have lots of kids that is their responsibility and no one has a Christian duty any longer to help families in need, even their own families, who may be struggling financially or practically. “You got yourself into this mess, and don’t use that ‘being Catholic thing’ as an excuse, it’s your job to get yourself out.” There are no more of those stories from the 50’s about how the Murphy’s had 10 kids and they were dirt poor, so the girls couldn’t afford dancing lessons, but the kids enjoyed each others company, had tons of chores, looked out for one another and grew up to be good Catholics. Remember those stories? Today: “how can you neglect those kids by not giving them dancing lessons?”

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