Josemaría Escrivá Obras

I do not understand how Catholics and even priests have for years advised, with an easy conscience, the use of the pill to prevent conception. The teachings of the Popes cannot be disregarded just like that. Nor ought they to allege, as they do with incredible flippancy, that the Pope when he does not speak ex cathedra is simply a private theologian subject to error. To say nothing of the tremendous arrogance it supposes to affirm that the Pope makes mistakes, while they do not.

Besides, they forget that the Pope is not only a teacher, and infallible when he says so expressly, but also the chief Legislator. In this case Pope Paul VI has laid down in unequivocal terms that all the dispositions of the much revered Pius XII in this very delicate matter are still binding and must necessarily be followed. Moreover, Pius XII only permitted some natural procedures — not the pill — to avoid conception in isolated and difficult cases. To advise the contrary is, therefore, a serious act of disobedience to the Holy Father in a grave matter.

I could write a huge volume on the disastrous consequences that the use of these, and other contraceptives, brings with it, namely: the break down of married love (the married couple come to see each other as accomplices rather than as husband and wife), unhappiness, infidelity, mental and spiritual distress, great harm to the children, a loss of married peace... However, I do not think it is necessary to go into all this; I prefer simply to obey the Pope. If, at some time, he were to decide that the use of a particular medicine were licit to prevent conception, I should adapt myself to whatever he said. And, following the norms established by the Pope and those of moral theology, I would examine in each case the evident dangers to which I have just referred and I would give my advice in conscience to each individual.

And I would always bear in mind that our present-day world will not be saved by men who aim to drug the spiritual life and reduce everything to a question of economics or material well-being. Its salvation will come from men and women who know that moral law is geared to man's eternal destiny, who have faith in God and generously face up to the demands of their Faith, helping those around them to appreciate the transcendental meaning of our life on earth.

This certainty should lead them not to encourage escapism, but to ensure effectively that all men have the necessary material resources, that there be work for all and that no one finds himself unjustly confined in his social and family life.

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