Published from 1982-96, Fidelity magazine was the predecessor of Culture Wars.
Birth Control and Christian Discipleship
Birth Control and Christian Discipleship, by John F. Kippley, Cincinnati: The Couple to Couple League, 1985, 36 pp., $2.
Reviewed by James G. Bruen, Jr.
From the June 1986 issue of Fidelity magazine
If all roads lead to Rome, the paths from Rome also often seem to converge at a common destination. This is unsurprising because only two final destinations exist in eternity.
Today, Protestant churches appear united in their acceptance of artificial birth control, while many of those Catholics who are journeying from Rome leave because of contraception. Birth Control and Christian Discipleship traces the crumbling during this century of the previously unanimous Christian opposition to contraception and invites a return to truth: “Christians, let us unite with each other and with our forefathers in a renewed appreciation of marriage, morality, and discipleship.” Will the return occur? Although error “will not disappear overnight, all things are possible with God.”
This pamphlet also describes the social consequences of the acceptance of contraception, the tie between contraception and abortion, and, of course, the connection between sex, procreation, and marriage. It persuasively addresses the effectiveness, morality, and scriptural underpinnings of natural family planning. And no punches are pulled about the morality of NFP: “Of course NFP can be used selfishly. That’s why it needs to be taught within the context of the Judeo-Christian call to generosity in the service of life. However, the fact that NPP can be abused is no reason not to call it a gift from God. Sex is a gift, and it’s widely abused.”
There is one sentence in the pamphlet that could have been written more felicitously, for I fear unsympathetic reviewers will seize it to batter the Church’s teaching as anti-sex. “The Bible,” writes John F. Kippley, director of The Couple to Couple League for Natural Family Planning, “condemns every form of sexual behavior except sexual intercourse between a married couple who are not committing the sin of Onan.” Cannot a kiss, to use an extreme example, be “sexual behavior”? Is all kissing – even between a husband and wife – condemned by the Bible? I can hear the advocates of sexual immorality raising such questions to ridicule the teaching of the Church and the views of CCL. The context of the sentence would make the questions unfair and misleading. Nevertheless, the sentence gives the opponents of truth a tool with which to strike.
Reduced rates are available for bulk purchases of this attractively designed pamphlet, which should be available in parish bookracks and given by dioceses and parishes to engaged couples. Because some priests are guides for the journey from Rome, and because others are at best reluctant to give clear directions on how to travel within Rome rather than outside of her boundaries, this road map will probably nevertheless receive limited distribution by our Church. Because it explains Catholic teaching well but is written to appeal to Catholics and non-Catholics alike, it may, however, help guide some non-Catholics to Rome.
James G. Bruen, Jr. is an attorney.
Libido Dominandi: Sexual Liberation and Political Control by E. Michael Jones. Libido Dominandi (the term is from St. Augustine’s City of God) is the definitive history of the sexual revolution, from 1773 to the present, examining the development of psychotherapy, behaviorism, advertising, sensitivity training, pornography, and plain old blackmail that allowed the Enlightenment and its heirs to turn Augustine’s insight on its head and create masters out of men’s vices. Libido Dominandi explains how the rhetoric of sexual freedom was used to engineer a system of covert political and social control. Paperback, $30.00 + s&h. [When ordering for international shipment, the price will appear higher to offset increased shipping and handling charges.] Read More Read Reviews
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