Taproot: a primary root that grows vertically downward and gives off small lateral roots
In all the commentary that has been written on the Obama contraceptive mandate, I have yet to see the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) pronounce the fact that, regardless of the president’s action, Catholic people should never fall prey to the evils of contraception.
The bishops have thus far confined their comments to concerns about religious liberty and conscience, not disordered acts that ruin marriages and the lives of the young. Maybe that’s because the statistics reflect so badly on what Catholics have actually been taught. A very large number of Catholics do use contraception. My guess is such Catholics are clueless about Church teaching. OK, fine.
But what are the facts regarding contraception?
• The nation’s pharmacists tell us that birth control will not pay for itself under the Obama mandate. There will be no net cost savings by “preventing unintended pregnancies.”
• The practice of contraception does not curtail the number of abortions.
• Those who use contraceptives are more likely to contract a sexually transmitted disease. Contraceptives fail, thus resulting in pregnancies that are in the “unplanned” or “oops” category. Those so-called failures further contribute to a rise in abortion rates because the preborn child is viewed as a mistake rather than as a human being.
These are the sort of facts about contraception that should appeal, even if only on a strictly selfish level, to those who use contraceptives. This is so because nobody should knowingly want to cause an abortion while contracepting, and certainly no one wants to contract a sexually transmitted disease.
But for Catholics, the spiritual fact to be considered is that using contraception is sinful. It is bad for the soul, in fact deadly if the contraceptive user doesn’t alter his behavior.
Nearly 10 years ago Bishop Victor Galeone put his finger on the taproot of all the evils confronting modern day marriage, including divorce and same sex unions—not to mention out of wedlock births, suicidal tendencies, and downright unhappiness. He told the faithful that the practice of contraception is the cause of all these disorders, saying the use of contraception “is so widespread that it involves 90 percent of married couples at some point of their marriage, cutting across all denominational lines.”
Many might throw up their hands at this point and say that nothing can be done to turn the tide, but that would be wrong. Something can be done; it starts with teaching the truth.
Father John A. Hardon’s article, “The Catholic Tradition on the Morality of Contraception,” discusses the obvious—that the Church has always taught that the practice of contraception is a sin. This is something that every Catholic bishop and priest might want to take to heart at this critical teaching moment when, for all intents and purposes, the average Catholic could learn something heretofore avoided. True as it is that contraception has been practiced as far back in history as can be traced, be it in China, Egypt, or elsewhere, the facts have never changed the moral implications or the Catholic teaching on the subject—which itself dates back to the time of Christ Himself.
So now at this critical juncture in America’s history, the Catholic American has an opportunity to address the Obama mandate. This action would not be a political one or a legislative one, but rather a personal one. The Catholic can choose to never practice contraception again because the practicing Catholic has freely chosen to do what is right and good.
By taking this action, the Catholic is taking a personal step toward killing the taproot of sexual sadness that engulfs the culture today. The Catholic is choosing God’s way instead of what might be convenient, hip, or easy. When all is said and done, such an action will embolden the individual, fortify the Church, strengthen the family, and affirm all that is right and good about the human being’s personal dignity.
There is never a better time than now to kill the taproot.