August 6, 2008

Babies are Apparently "Bad for the Economy"

A new report from Australia's "Productivity Commission" argues that babies are bad for the economy. Read the full story here.

How are babies bad for the economy? According to the Commission, "Because they shift women out of the workforce while they care for babies, depressing labor supply and reducing the taxation base as our population ages."

The Commission's report continues, "More highly educated women can earn good money if they work rather than stay at home to care for children and this had depressed the birth rate."

Reading between the lines it seems that the Commission is suggesting an increase in contraception and abortion. This is nothing new under the sun.

This story coincides with the 40th Anniversary of Pope Paul VI's encyclical Humane Vitae which translates as, "On Human Life." This document serves as the basis for the Catholic Church's teaching on contraception.

Pope Paul issued "Humane Vitae" as artificial contraception, in particular the birth control pill, began to become commonplace. Initially it was thought that Pope Paul might support the use of birth control, especially after nine of 16 episcopal members of a papal commission in 1968 had approved a draft document that endorsed the principle of freedom for parents to decide on the means of regulating births. But he did quite the opposite.

I encourage all to read the document, especially if you are a married couple and are of child bearing age.

Here are a few excerpts....

On the life creating act of marriage:

The transmission of human life is a most serious role in which married people collaborate freely and responsibly with God the Creator. It has always been a source of great joy to them, even though it sometimes entails many difficulties and hardships....

Marital love involves the whole person:

The question of human procreation, like every other question which touches human life, involves more than the limited aspects specific to such disciplines as biology, psychology, demography or sociology. It is the whole man and the whole mission to which he is called that must be considered: both its natural, earthly aspects and its supernatural, eternal aspects.

Married love particularly reveals its true nature and nobility when we realize that it takes its origin from God, who "is love," the Father "from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named."

On contraception:

With regard to the biological processes, responsible parenthood means an awareness of, and respect for, their proper functions. In the procreative faculty the human mind discerns biological laws that apply to the human person.

With regard to man's innate drives and emotions, responsible parenthood means that man's reason and will must exert control over them.

Observing Natural Law:

The fact is, as experience shows, that new life is not the result of each and every act of sexual intercourse. God has wisely ordered laws of nature and the incidence of fertility in such a way that successive births are already naturally spaced through the inherent operation of these laws. The Church, nevertheless, in urging men to the observance of the precepts of the natural law, which it interprets by its constant doctrine, teaches that each and every marital act must of necessity retain its intrinsic relationship to the procreation of human life.

Faithfullness to God's Design:

If they further reflect, they must also recognize that an act of mutual love which impairs the capacity to transmit life which God the Creator, through specific laws, has built into it, frustrates His design which constitutes the norm of marriage, and contradicts the will of the Author of life.

But to experience the gift of married love while respecting the laws of conception is to acknowledge that one is not the master of the sources of life but rather the minister of the design established by the Creator. Just as man does not have unlimited dominion over his body in general, so also, and with more particular reason, he has no such dominion over his specifically sexual faculties, for these are concerned by their very nature with the generation of life, of which God is the source.

Finally, the document is prophetic in a sense as it outlines the consequences of artificial birth control:

Responsible men [and women] can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.

Pope Paul predicted that the acceptance of artificial birth control would lead to marital infidelity, a lowering of moral standards, and youth engaging in sex earlier and with more frequency. He also predicted that men would lose respect for women because man would disregard life giving qualities and treat her like an instrument for his satisfaction.

Artificial birth control has only been readily available for about 40 years. Consider its impact today.

Wisdom From the Pope

“The inalienable dignity of every human being and the rights which flow from that dignity - in the first place the right to life and the defense of life - are at the heart of the church's message." Pope John Paul ended his address, saying: "In spite of divisions among Christians, 'all those justified by faith through baptism are incorporated into Christ...brothers and sisters in the Lord.'" Pope John Paul 2