Quotes from ‘New Perspectives on Contraception’

New Perspectives on Contraception (by Dr. Donald DeMarco)

A litany of quotes worthy of reflection

 

Although the book is clearly filled with good arguments against the contraceptive mentality, it is worth noting the many quotes that apply to all clear thinking.

  1. Contraception and God’s Plan

“Today’s society is in love with “choice,” even to the point, at times, when some individuals prefer another’s choice to their own existence. This may seem a gesture of heroic altruism, but, I thought, in upholding an abstract choice over one’s concrete existence, one exhibits a curious preference for shadow over substance.”

Choice and plan are compatible with each other, but only insofar as choice submits to plan.. When choice is made into an ideology…it becomes completely divorced from plan, and consequently, from order, coherence, and direction.”

“There is a philosophy of individualism that honors no other law than will or freedom.”

  1. …and Health

“It is often exceedingly difficult to disabuse the mind of long-held and firmly rooted errors, even if one is countering such errors with common sense.”

“The way a doctor treats his patient indicates what he thinks of that patient and his right to be adequately informed.”

“There is a bit of irony in the fact that many women disregard the Pill’s threat to their health in the name of reproductive freedom. In far too many instances, their expression of freedom led to their being treated as if they were slaves.”

“When healthy women ask doctors, in the interest in avoiding pregnancy, to supply them with hazardous drugs, their request carries the implication that being pregnant is a medically treatable condition, that is to say, a disease.”

  1. …and the Divided Self

“Man…is a unity of body and soul…His freedom lies in being all he is, a unification of the physical and the spiritual. But the prevailing notion of freedom in the modern world, strangely enough, is in not accepting one’s wholeness, but in dividing oneself so that one part is free from the other.”

“For the world is broken, sundered, busted down the middle, self ripped from self and man pasted back together as a mystical monster, half angel, half beast, but no man.” (quoting Walker Percy)

It is important, needless to say, to control our urges and impulses. But control does not imply a devaluation of that which is controlled. In the case of moral self-control, it implies integration…The moral purpose of control is not conquest but sublimation.”

“The notion of a unified being does not mean very much to most people. It seems far too abstract…Looking good and experiencing sexual pleasure for them seem to be more real.”

  1. …and Compromised Intimacy

“…three positions that are now deeply embedded in the collective psyche of contemporary society: 1) the denigration of fatherhood; 2) the absolutization of freedom; 3) the rejection of marriage as a permanent and uncompromised form of intimacy between husband and wife.”

“If freedom simply means separation from others or pure individuality, then love would hinder such a form of freedom…freedom is not a terminal value but something that allows a good to be realized.”

“…a divided self is not a candidate for a unified relationship. Self division has no potential for intimacy with another.”

“Central to a philosophy of individualism is the notion that intimacy between two people compromises individuality…Even the bond of matrimony is regarded as a form of bondage.”

“Contemporary novelists…call their reader’s attention to the existential plight of modern man who is separated from community (isolation), from tradition (dislocation), from persons (alienation), from meaning (emptiness), and from hope (despair). Collectively these various separations create an illusion of freedom.”

“Philosophy is absolutely useless if it does not make distinctions.”

“According to today’s social etiquette, it is permissible to correct a person for misusing a word, but not for misusing her body.”

  1. …and the Trivialization of Sex

“If we were to seek a visual image that adequately epitomizes our fragmented world, we could not find a better one than Picasso’s Guernica (http://www.pablopicasso.org/images/paintings/guernica.jpg)

“St. Augustine defined peace as the ‘tranquility of order.’”

“’It belongs to the wise man to order,’ as St. Thomas remarks.”

“Breaking up the natural order of things removes each element from its web of meaning.”

“We are creatures made for meaning. The shades of boredom quickly descend on the artificial womb that we fabricate out of comfort and security.”

  1. …as a Gateway to Abortion

“Contraception is the rejection of the unwanted child in theory, abortion is the rejection of the unwanted child in practice. The contraceptive mentality is the frame of mind that unites theory with practice.”

“This seems to be the logical outcome of regarding contraception as positive. Because contraception is presumed to be positive, the thing it keeps away, the unwanted child, must be cast in a negative light…The well has been poisoned, and when a child comes into existence in a contraceptive atmosphere, he is likely to remain as unwelcome in practice as he is in theory.”

  1. …and Being a Person

“In order to begin distinguishing between what acts are good and what acts are not good for human beings, it is first necessary to respond to the question, ‘What does it mean to be a human being?’”

“Etymologically, the word conscience literally means with knowledge. One’s conscience cannot be formed in an intellectual void…Similarly, choice is not a truly a choice in the absence of knowledge…The fact that there is no group that declares itself to be ‘pro stab-in-the-dark’ or ‘pro guess’ is not without importance.”

“…when conscience possesses truth, freedom is not compromised in the process.”

“Truth, freedom, and conscience are mutual allies. To isolate conscience from this triad of life is to contradict its essential operation. Conscience alone is most unhelpful.”

“What psychologists often mean by ‘person’ …is , in reality, the reduced notion of an individual…The meaning of ‘person’ in the contemporary world is also very much tied to capitalism and consumerism. Man is Homo economicus or Homo consumens.”

  1. …and Virtue

“Man is a person. He is not an extension of his environment. It is not his destiny to be socially conditioned or completely politicized. Nor is he meant to be a mere child of his times, an unthinking tool of the Zeitgeist.”

“We cannot achieve or attain our fulfillment as persons without virtue. This is simply a matter of being realistic. Yet our contemporary society shows far more affection for virtual reality than it does for virtuous reality.”

“Mahatma Ghandi warned the world about the dangers of relinquishing virtue for technology. He was particularly concerned about the adoption of contraception and the abdication of chastity.”

  1. …Revolution, and Prophecy

“Revolutions may be intellectual, political, or technological; they are rarely, if ever, moral…Placing sex within a revolutionary framework dooms it from the start. Sex is not something to be liberated; rather, it is the human being who stands in need of liberation.”

“Moral growth is slow because there are so many factors to integrate. Information needs to be integrated into knowledge, knowledge has to be tempered by wisdom, action needs to be modified by experience. Knowledge needs love, love needs virtue, virtue needs experience, experience needs time…Moral evolutions and technological revolutions are essentially at odds with each other because of the contradictory ways in which they evaluate time.”

“The primal divorce from which emerged many other divorces is that between the unitive and the procreative.  But this split, which many thought to be insignificant and without consequence, is really a separation between man and God, and the usurpation by man of the throne of God.”

10. …and Catholic Teaching

“If the only way open to us for the knowledge of God were soley that of reason, the human race would remain in the blackest of ignorance.” (quoting St. Thomas Aquinas)

“As one astute observer[1] has remarked in criticizing the UN’s prevailing contraceptive strategy: “All the UN approaches to women are subsumed by the driving need to control and curtail their fertility.”

There is a “priority that the person has over pleasure, that love has over appetite, and that generosity has over selfishness.”[2]


[1] Blanca Reilly

[2] At least…there should be

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