Ruth Speaks Out

This blog is maintained by the Ruth Institute. It provides a place for our Circle of Experts to express themselves. This is where the scholars, experts, students and followers of the Ruth Institute engage in constructive dialogue about the issues surrounding the Sexual Revolution. We discuss public policy, social practices, legal doctrines and much more.


The Sexual Revolution Proves itself to be a Totalitarian Movement

My latest at The Blaze March 30, 2016

The Sexual Revolution is a war by the totalitarian State against the human body and against the Judeo-Christian ethos. I know. I know. The Sexual Revolution promises fun and freedom. How can I say that the Sexual Revolution is a totalitarian State making war on the human body? And honestly, what does religion have to do with it?

The true believer in the Revolution resents the fact that human beings are bodily beings. To be precise: homo sapiens are members of the Kingdom Animalia, Phylum Chordata, Order Mammalia. We are animals, (not plants) with a backbone, (the literal, not metaphorical backbone) whose “young are nourished with milk secreted through mammary glands.”

What does Pat Pansexual think of all this? Pat is a symbolic representation of the Revolution, an androgynous lover of all things sexual, but unable to make up his/her mind whether he/she is male or female. He/she has a few problems with this basic definition.

“Wait, back up a minute: where do these “young,” these baby humans come from?”

Well, Pat, they come from the fertilization of an egg, from the female of the species, by a sperm, from the male of the species.

“What do you mean “male” and “female?” You mean, I can’t have “young” all by myself? I need someone else’s participation? Having a baby is one of the most important things in my life. In the interests of personal liberty, I deny that I need anyone for anything.”

See what I mean? She/he is having a hissy fit over his/her bodily need for another person to be involved, somehow, in fulfilling his/her reproductive plans.

So, back to this “mammal” business: I have some sad news for Pat. Not all human beings have these “mammary glands,” suitable for nursing the young. Only the females of mammalian species do.

“Wait: you mean to tell me that not all humans are the same!?! We can’t have that. In the interests of gender equality, I deny that men and women have any significant differences.”


There he/she goes again.

The gendered nature of the body is under attack, Left and Right. Literally. We can find people like Pat Pansexual among the Hedonist Right, as well as the Lifestyle Left.

The Hedonist Right resents the fact that we need someone else for something so significant as parenthood. The Lifestyle Left resents the fact that men and women are different in this most important area of reproduction, which has repercussions for our experiences as sexual beings, as parents, as friends, lovers, workers, investors and many other areas of human life.

 

Left and Right alike resent the limitations of the human body. Left and Right feel entitled to engage in unlimited sexual activity without a live baby resulting. Left and Right alike believe that overcoming these limitations of the human body is a high moral imperative. Left and Right agree that we can use technology any way we please to transgress the limits of the body.

Just one small problem:

Sex actually does make babies. Men and women actually are different.

This is why the Sexual Revolution needs the state. These false premises cannot stand on their own. They must be continually propped up and supported. The ideology needs government coercion, media propaganda, economic restructuring and educational indoctrination to break the connection between sex and babies in the social order and in people’s minds.

Ditto for convincing people that men and women are interchangeable. Or that gender is nothing but a social construct that we can reconstruct at will. If you can convince people that Bruce Jenner is a woman, you can convince them that black is white and two plus two equals five. More to the point, you can convince them that freedom is slavery and slavery is freedom.

This is why the Sexual Revolution has proven to be a totalitarian movement, even while it promised fun and freedom. Its promises are empty and impossible. Its premises are brutal and false.

And what exactly does religion have to do with it? Those who are imbued with the Jude-Christian ethos are immune from this craziness. Our Bible tells us quite clearly. “In his image, He created them. Male and female, He created them.” (Genesis 1:27)

Different, by the design of God, equally in His image. That is why the totalitarian Sexual State considers us its enemies.

Jennifer Roback Morse Ph.D. is Founder and President of the Ruth Institute, a global non-profit organization, dedicated to creating a Christ-like solution to family breakdown. Visit at Ruth Institute or on Facebook.

 

 

( Photo Credit, LifeNews.com) 

 


A Letter to God From a Child of Divorce

By Jennifer Johnson

This article was first posted at onepeterfive.com on

girl

Dear God,

Will you please tell book publishers to stop publishing books about “two homes” for children of divorce? Every time I see one, I want to scream. I know those authors and publishers think they are performing a needed service, but in reality they are whitewashing an extremely painful experience that never ends. Please tell me You understand what I’m saying because it seems to confuse everybody else. Let me explain. Take this quote, from I Am Living in Two Homes, by Garcelle Beauvais and Sebastian A. Jones:

It’s a grownup choice, through no fault of your own. Your dad and I are happier in two different homes.

Notice the word “choice.” It reminds me of “pro-choice.” “Choice” has been awfully hard on recent generations, Lord, don’t You agree?


Who is weaker, Lord: children or adults? I always thought children were weaker, but this book makes me feel like I was supposed be the strong one and sacrifice my happiness for the sake of my parents’ happiness. Isn’t that backwards, Lord? It seems like the older generations had a lot more family unity than more recent ones. Looking back, you can see that their parents sacrificed their “choices” in favor of their children.

Lord, I am reminded of what you said in Matthew 18:

Woe to the world because of offenses! For it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to the man by whom the offense cometh.

I love my family, Lord, very much, and I know You do too, but frankly, I’m offended. Very offended. In important ways it’s not their fault so please don’t be mad at them. When professionals who know better are silent, how can the normal people who listen to their advice be blamed? The psychological, psychiatric, and medical communities have abandoned people like me by not speaking out to defend the natural family, even though they know it is the best environment for children. My entire culture has gone off the rails by propagating beliefs like these:

  • “Kids are resilient.”
  • “Babies are blank slates.”
  • “Kids can and do thrive under any number of family configurations.”

“The Sexual Revolution has blinded adults to the structural inequalities they are creating for their children. They have all embraced ideas of “freedom,” that are very heavy and burdensome for children who grew up like me and have to live with adults’ “choices.” For a long time I have tried to be a trooper and carry the burden as well as I could, Lord, but I am tired. So very tired.” It hurts so badly that my dad spends more time with his step-children than he does with me, and my mom had created a new family that I am not fully part of. Worse, I can’t say anything about it because I’m afraid of their reaction. And what good will it do? Will they get back together if I speak out? How can they get back together when they are already remarried with new families? I figured out a long time ago that there is no escape, and it makes me profoundly sad.

In addition to the professional communities mentioned, almost all of the Christian churches have abandoned me. Even my own church, the Catholic Church, the only Church that upheld the fullness of Your teaching about marriage and human sexuality in recent decades, is considering it. Will You please talk to the Catholics, Lord? I need somebody to go to bat for me. If they abandon me, where will I go? Children don’t have any money to put into the basket on Sundays. Let their tears be an offering instead, OK?

This verse in Your Word at Psalms 56:8 gives me comfort:

You keep track of all my sorrows.You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.

In the meantime, publishers need to know that we don’t need any more books whitewashing children’s pain of living in “two homes.” In fact, we need the opposite: we need books that encourage adults to live in “two homes” so that their children can live in one home. Yes, the children should live in one home, and the adults should be the ones to pack suitcases every week and make the back-and-forth trip. I’d appreciate it if you’d let them know that this is what they should be doing, instead of pushing that burden down to their children. I think this would wake them all up as to how heavy of a burden it really is.

Here is another thing we children of divorce can never understand: if one of my parents is too awful for my other parent to live with, then why am I packing my suitcase to go and stay at the awful person’s home on a regular basis? If they are so awful, then I shouldn’t be going there. Since I am going there regularly, then this means that they can’t be that bad. Either that, or I am being put into harm’s way.

Finally, Lord, will you please ask someone to write a book or make a movie telling adults that it is okay to stay together for the sake of the kids? I would be very grateful for that, and I know that other kids of divorce would too.

Sincerely,

An adult child of divorce who has been struggling with the aftermath for over four decades
Jennifer Johnson is the Associate Director for the Ruth Institute.


The Positive Virtue of Chastity

Chastity, not just a list of "don'ts" but a positive "to-do" list, with serious benefits. 

So says, Samantha Schroeder, a 2012 graduate of  ITAF= "It Takes a Family to Raise a Village," The Ruth Institute's national student leadership conference. I'm so proud of her!

In an age when morality is known more for its rules and regulations than for the beauty of a morally excellent life, our focus should be not on what chastity forbids but on the positive human values that a chaste life affirms: personal discipline, a confident sense of self-worth, psychological wholeness, freedom from disease and fear of pregnancy, and an increase in marital stability and satisfaction, to name only a few.

Read it all.


Save the Sisters: Stop the War on Women's Fertility


The Little Sisters of the Poor, an order of Catholic nuns who serve the indigent elderly, will be in court this week, defending its right to exist.

Religious freedom will be the principle legal issue. As worthy as that cause is, I propose another, equally significant issue that someone should raise. The United States government has committed itself to dangerous drugs and an utterly irrational ideology.

Let me explain.

Not long ago, I met David and Roz Rowan, a couple whose only child died suddenly at the age of 23 from a massive pulmonary embolism. Why would a healthy young woman die from a stroke? Doctors attribute it directly to her use of hormonal contraception.  

Likewise, Erika Langhart died of a double pulmonary embolism, at the age of 24. She was using a NuvaRing, contraceptive device. The Langhart family refused an out of court settlement from the drug manufacturer. The parents wanted Merck, the international pharmaceutical giant, to face a jury trial, and be held accountable for the deaths of women like Erika. Out of court settlements typically include a gag rule. Erika’s family considered this completely unacceptable.

“In our opinion, Merck got away with murder, and continues to do so to this day. In 2011 NuvaRing made the company $623 million; in 2013 it was $686 million; and in 2014, after the settlement, Merck made a staggering $723 million from it. Settlements are just the cost of doing business to Merck, all at the expense of women’s health and lives,” her mother said.

Earlier this year, Erika’s mother committed suicide.


In the meantime, across the pond, German drugmaker Bayer AG paid nearly $1.6 billion to settle thousands of lawsuits involving accusations that its Yaz and Yazmin birth control pills caused blood clots that led to strokes and heart attacks.

In short, there is plenty of evidence that hormonal contraception poses serious health risks to young women.

But the U.S. government operates under the completely irrational ideology that a good society ought to separate sex from procreation. This is the philosophy behind requiring every employer in America to provide these dangerous drugs and devices to their workers without a copay. The government considers preventing pregnancy a “preventive care” measure.

But pregnancy is neither an illness or injury. Pregnancy is a perfectly normal process. Pregnancy is not something to be avoided at all costs, including the use of dangerous drugs or devices.

What exactly is the objective of the government embracing this ideology? Reducing the birth rate “by any means necessary?” Making men and women “equal” by chemically sterilizing women? Making women sexually available to men at any time during their monthly cycles? Providing a steady stream of women workers who do not inconvenience their employers with ill-timed pregnancies?

I’m having trouble coming up with a good reason to force every employer in America to provide these products to healthy women at zero cost, under the guise of “preventive health care.”

Personal “freedom” cannot be the whole issue either. The use of contraception has been legal nationwide since 1965. But making contraception legally available was never enough for the true believers in sexual freedom, women’s “liberation” and population control.

From the beginning, they have sought to nudge people’s choices toward artificial birth control. These ideologues have captured the levers of state power. The government manipulates people’s private choices in this most intimate area. They subsidize contraception, promote it in their public schools. Now the all-powerful state is manipulating the insurance market.

These true believers will not allow any hold-outs to their irrational dogma. Hence, the persecution of the Little Sisters of the Poor, a completely inoffensive group of women, who have dedicated their lives to serving the elderly poor.

I categorically reject the idea that pregnancy is an illness.

 

I protest with all my might the government’s policy of pushing dangerous drugs on unsuspecting women.

I am fed up with drug companies treating the risks to women’s health as an acceptable cost of doing business.

I sincerely hope one of the lawyers or friends of the court, or SOMEONE will make these points. The Sisters deserve to win, and not just to preserve religious freedom. The Little Sisters of the Poor deserve to win because they are correct on the substance of the issue. No more War on Women’s Fertility.

Jennifer Roback Morse Ph.D. is Founder and President of the Ruth Institute, a global non-profit organization, dedicated to creating a Christ-like solution to family breakdown. Visit at Ruth Institute or on Facebook.

 

Photo credits:

Sister helping the bedridden: http://www.mercatornet.com/sheila_liaugminas/view/little_sisters_of_the_poor_and_obamacares_contraceptive_mandate/13396

Sisters pushing wheelchair: http://www.womenofgrace.com/blog/?cat=1016

 


It’s Time To Stop Letting the Elite Class Define What Family Looks Like

by Jennifer Roback Morse

This article was first published March 17, 2016, at The Blaze.

Social conservatives, let’s face it: Elites love “marriage equality.”

They made this very clear in the U.S., with their big donors and corporate sponsorships. And they are making it clear in Australia too.

Price Waterhouse, the second largest accounting firm in the world, has produced a tendentious study, claiming that allowing the Australian people to vote on the definition of marriage will just be too expensive.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Photo credit: Shutterstock


A bit of background for American readers:

Australia still has man-woman marriage, the only kind of marriage that protects the rights of children to their own parents. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull stands firmly in the “marriage equality” camp, but has agreed to hold a plebiscite after the upcoming federal election, if he wins.

Now, along comes the Australian office of Price Waterhouse, claiming the proposed special, non-binding election on the definition of marriage will cost $525 million Australian dollars. “Too Much!!” they cried.

Price Waterhouse economics and policy partner Jeremy Thorpe claimed:

“Overseas examples show that spending on the ‘for’ and ‘against’ campaigns alone can reach over $6 per voter, as happened in California. That’s a huge waste of money that could be better allocated in our low-growth economy.”

He says that like it is a bad thing.

As someone who participated in California’s Proposition 8 vote in 2008, I firmly believe that citizen participation in important social issues is a good thing. How else are ordinary people going to make their voices heard if the elites rule that elections are a “huge waste of money?”

Price Waterhouse really gives away the game with this shocker:

“Momentum from Corporate Australia to resolve this issue is building with over 800 large and small organizations having now signed the corporate letter of support for marriage equality.”

 

They say this like it is a good thing. Ordinary people who want children to know both of their parents beg to differ.

Now Australian commentators question some of Price Waterhouse’s creative accounting. (Honestly, an accounting firm should be a bit more careful, don’t you think?) I want to point out how the rich and the powerful just love, love, love the sexual revolution.

Please notice: On virtually every issue of the sexual revolution, liberal lites push and promote while ordinary people resist and rebel.

Like corporate Australia, corporate America is firmly behind the whole sexual revolution, supporting “marriage equality” along with “abortion rights” and other bogus inventions designed to privilege adult sex lives at the expense of children’s rights.

If you aren’t sure, ask yourself this: have you ever seen a major bank supporting your local pregnancy care center? But they support Planned Parenthood, though, don’t they? Have you ever seen a major airline supporting a pro-family event, or organization? But they support gay pride parades and the anti-child, pro-adult redefinition of marriage.

Look, I don’t really care about “income equality.” I really don’t. Rich people can have all their fine cars and multiple houses and boats and all the rest. But doggone it, I’m fed up with the super rich and the elite managerial class using their money, power and influence to shove their ideological orientation down our throats.

I know for a fact that ordinary people of America just want to get married, stay married, raise their kids and pass on their values to the next generation. I bet the ordinary people of Australia feel the same way.

 




It's Time to Stop Letting the Elite Class Define What Family Looks Like

This is my maiden voyage at The Blaze.  The virtue of this blog, is that I can tell you The Rest of the Story, that you won't necessarily see on the published article. For this article, I can tell you that I wanted a different title, "The Rich and The Rest." The editor over there made up the title. Which title do you prefer? My 5 word, in-your-face title? Or their sentence lengthy thingy?  

I also had some different photos, which I will share with you here. 

In any case, here is the article. Dr. J 

The Rich vs the Rest

(originally published at The Blaze, March 17, 2016)

Social conservatives, let’s face it: Elites like “marriage equality.” They made this very clear in the US, with their big donors and corporate sponsorships. And they are making it clear in Australia too. Price Waterhouse, the second largest accounting firm in the world, has produced a tendentious study, claiming that letting the Australian people vote on the definition of marriage will just be too expensive. 

A bit of background for American readers:

Australia still has man-woman marriage, the only kind of marriage that protects the rights of children to their own parents. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull stands firmly in the “marriage equality” camp, but has agreed to hold a plebiscite after the upcoming Federal election, if he wins.

Now, along comes the Australian office of Price Waterhouse, claiming the proposed special, non-binding election on the definition of marriage will cost $525 million Australian dollars. Too Much!! they cried!


Price Waterhouse economics and policy partner Jeremy Thorpe said: “Overseas examples show that spending on the ‘for’ and ‘against’ campaigns alone can reach over $6 per voter, as happened in California. That’s a huge waste of money that could be better allocated in our low-growth economy.”

He says that like it is a bad thing.

As someone who participated in California’s Proposition 8 back in 2008, I firmly believe that citizen participation in important social issues is a good thing. How else are ordinary people going to make their voices heard if the Elites rule that elections are a “huge waste of money?”

Price Waterhouse really gives away the game with this shocker:

“Momentum from Corporate Australia to resolve this issue is building with over 800 large and small organizations having now signed the corporate letter of support for marriage equality.”

They say this like it is a good thing. Ordinary people who want children to know both of their parents beg to differ.

Now Australian commentators question some of Price Waterhouse’s creative accounting. (Honestly, the world’s second largest accounting firm should be a bit more careful, don’t you think?) I want to point out how the Rich and the Powerful just love, love, love the Sexual Revolution. Please notice: on virtually every issue of the Sexual Revolution, the Elites push and promote while ordinary people resist and rebel.

Like Corporate Australia, Corporate America is firmly behind the whole Sexual Revolution, supporting “marriage equality” along with “abortion rights” and other bogus inventions designed to privilege adult sex lives at the expense of children’s rights.

If you aren’t sure, ask yourself this: have you ever seen a major bank supporting your local pregnancy care center? But they support Planned Parenthood, though, don’t they? Have you ever seen a major airline supporting a pro-family event, or organization? But they support the gay pride parade and the anti-child, pro-adult redefinition of marriage.

Look, I don’t really care about “income equality.” I really don’t. Rich people can have all their fine cars and multiple houses and boats and all the rest. But doggone it, I’m fed up with the Super Rich and the Elite Managerial Class using their money, power and influence to shove their ideological orientation down our throats.

I know for a fact that ordinary people of America just want to get married, stay married, raise their kids and pass on their values to the next generation. I bet the ordinary people of Australia feel the same way.

Sources for images:

Price Waterhouse Logo:

http://www.pwc.com.au/

American Airlines Image https://twitter.com/AmericanAir/status/614434287383740417?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Walmart image:

http://americansfortruth.com/2015/07/02/brought-to-you-by-walmart-new-york-city-gay-pride-parade-exposes-kids-to-nudity-lewdness-vulgarity-even-an-sm-float/



How to Have a Happy Marriage (Even When You're Busy with Kids)

by Betsy Kerekes

This article was published at Catholic Exchange on March 8, 2016.

shutterstock_219293119

 

Marital satisfaction tends to take a dip once that first baby comes home from the hospital (or out of the bathtub, birthing center, etc.). This shouldn’t be surprising to anyone. Let’s face it, kids, particularly newborns, are difficult. Anyone who says otherwise is either lying, or a grandparent. But you can maintain a happy marriage despite the strains and difficulties on your new life as parents. Here are ten tips for a happier marriage—with children.

1. Remember that love is a decision, not a feeling.

It’s impossible to keep warm fuzzy feelings for your spouse constantly, especially when you have children taking up so much of your time and energy. Just remember that your relationship with your spouse comes first. Period. If you want the best for your children, and who doesn’t, the success of your marriage is paramount. A google search will render you a dozen different studies all saying the same things about the negative effects of a broken marriage on children. If you want your kids to be happy, keep your spouse happy. Be happy together.

2. Don’t let Robin rule the roost.

 


 

 

If your devotion to your children has gotten to the point where they walk all over you, (Be honest, do things tend in that direction?) there is bound to be tension in your home. It might be with a spouse who disagrees with your discipline methods, or within yourself because you’re whipped by your own two-year-old. When it comes to discipline, it’s imperative that both parents are on the same page. When there are cracks in the foundation of the castle, Little Prince or Princess will find them and take full advantage, turning you into court jesters.

3. Always be open with communication.

Whether it’s discussing synchronizing your parenting styles or realizing when you last had an intimate moment alone together, you need to be open and honest. “Communication is key,” is a cliché, but they’re also words to live by. If you have something to say to your spouse, out with it. Don’t keep anything bottled up where it will only fester and grow, to the point of explosion.

4. When it’s time to speak your mind, do so in a gentle way.

Don’t keep a laundry list and dump all your grievances at once. No one likes being attacked. This is all the more reason to speak up when something is getting you down. And whenever possible, do so in a self-effacing way. This lessens the blow. For instance: “We should probably both work on keeping the kitchen a little tidier.” Even if you know full well that it’s the other person who’s a mess in the kitchen, bathroom, or wherever, doesn’t that come off much nicer than, “You need to clean up your mess! I’m tired of picking up after you, you slob!” Riiiiiiiiiight. That’s not going to end well.

5. Put your spouse first.

Even though we all learned to share in kindergarten, we are still selfish beings. We want what we want when we want it. Technology and society as a whole aren’t great at helping and encouraging us to break this habit, but the happily functioning family can be anything but selfish. Always ask yourself, what would your spouse like? Whether it’s what to eat for dinner, what movie to watch, or what dessert you share at a restaurant, let your spouse choose. Having a happy spouse makes you a happy spouse. Let his happiness bring you happiness.

6. Keep dating each other.

Just because you’re married and you have kids doesn’t mean your social life is over. You still need to spend quality time alone together, or even out with friends, but especially alone together. Getting out of the house for a date isn’t always possible with sitters or finances, but you can have dates in, too. Rather than spend your evenings in separate rooms, on separate computers, or separate phones, unplug–everything except your tv. Snuggle on the couch with popcorn, a glass of wine, and a good movie. Or, pull out a deck of cards or a board game. Every couple should have one indoor and one outdoor game that they enjoy doing together. Make a point of doing that game or activity. Schedule it on the calendar if necessary.

7. Have couch time.

This should happen daily. If it’s difficult to talk about your day while at the dinner table because you’re too busy haranguing Penelope to eat her peas, or keeping Bobby from dunking his face in his soup, get your quality time on the couch when the children aren’t around. Sit next to each other. Snuggle. Have at least some part of you touching. Physical touch soothes you. And as an added bonus: If you are touching even in some small way when you’re upset with each other, the physical contact will ease tension and help you work out your troubles in a calmer, quicker manner. Try it.

8. Go to sleep at the same time.

This provides you with another opportunity for communication: verbal or physical. You decide. Be open. Enjoy each other’s company. If you’re normally too tired to do more than collapse into bed and fall directly to sleep, get yourselves in bed sooner. This is more needed couple time.

9. Maintain an attitude of gratitude.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you are not Wonderwoman or Superman. You cannot do it all on your own. Sometimes you’ll need help from your spouse. Allow your spouse to help you. Ask for help, but don’t demand it. Ask kindly without whining or complaining. And accept graciously. When help comes unsolicited, be grateful and don’t shy away from showing your gratitude. The words “thank you” and “I love you” go a long way. Kisses can go even longer.

10. Focus on the positive things in your life.

Sure, you may be behind on laundry and the dishes are piled up in the sink, but how adorable was it when the baby blew raspberries at you? You may have been in your pajamas all day, but she rolled over for the first time! Can’t remember the last time you showered? But you can remember that first word or step. Don’t get down on the negative. Nobody ever promised that life was easy. You do the best you can. If you’re Debbie Downer, you won’t be fun for your spouse to be around. Everything else will get taken care of in due time. And remember, it won’t always be this way. No doubt every gray haired person you’ve encountered has reminded you that “they grow up so fast.” Take that to heart by enjoying all the good and filter out the bad.

 



Is Contraception a Legitimate Response to the Zika Virus?

by Jennifer Roback Morse

This article was originally published at Crisis Magazine on March 4, 2016.

Pope Francis with Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi during inflight press conference in 2014 (CNS)

Pope Francis’ latest press interview on the plane from Mexico created confusion about the Church’s teaching on contraception. The Holy Father said, “Paul VI, a great man, in a difficult situation in Africa, permitted nuns to use contraceptives in cases of rape.” The Papal spokesman, Fr. Lombardi, trying to clarify matters, seemed to say that women in areas affected by Zika are in a “case of emergency or gravity,” and so are allowed to “discern” whether to use a contraceptive.

The process of “discernment” Fr. Lombardi seems to be suggesting, does not really make sense on its own terms. Let me explain.

Just this past weekend, I met David and Roz Rowan, a couple whose only child died suddenly at the age of 23 from a Massive Pulmonary Embolism. Why would a healthy young woman die from a stroke? Doctors attribute it directly to her use of hormonal contraception. The parents have set up a foundation in her honor, to do research on the link between contraception and Massive Pulmonary Embolisms.


Likewise, Erika Langhart died of a double pulmonary embolism, at the age of 24. She was using a NuvaRing, contraceptive device. This family refused an out of court settlement from the drug manufacturer. The parents wanted Merck, the international pharmaceutical giant, to face a jury trial, and be held accountable for the deaths of women like Erika. As her mother said,

In our opinion, Merck got away with murder, and continues to do so to this day. In 2011 NuvaRing made the company $623m; in 2013 it was $686m; and in 2014, after the settlement, Merck made a staggering $723m from it. Settlements are just the cost of doing business to Merck, all at the expense of women’s health and lives.

Earlier this year, Erika’s mother committed suicide.

How could Erika have predicted her own death, the nightmare her parents would endure on her behalf, the callous behavior of government agencies and drug companies, and ultimately, her mother’s suicide?

The calculating approach raises more questions than it answers. How many levels of consequences are we morally required to consider in our discernment process in a “serious case of conscience?” Is it ever morally permissible for a perfectly healthy woman to ingest a drug that has some discernible probability of causing her harm?

Are we required to take into account the very real possibility of our own premature death due to strokes or heart attacks? How about a drug that doubles our risk of glaucoma? Or a drug that increases our chances of cancer? Is it morally permissible to use a contraceptive drug or device that has some probability of acting as an abortifacient? Doesn’t this balancing act have to include all of the possible contingent outcomes? I don’t see why a probability of giving birth to a child with a birth defect is the only possible consideration.

Would it not have been better for young women to hear the full story about the truth and beauty of the Church’s authentic teaching? Sex belongs inside marriage. Each and every sexual act should be open to new life, so that the unitive and the procreative aspects of the conjugal act exist together and reinforce each other.

Children have a right to the love and care of their own mother and father. Reserving sex for marriage only, means that adults are preparing themselves to be parents together. They make a lifelong commitment to each other, before their child is even born. This is a great and beautiful good. Anything less is an injustice for the child.

Contraception upsets all this. It misleads us into thinking that we can do whatever we want, and somehow, everything will be ok. That is the way economists think: laissez-faire freedom is the best for everyone, all the time. But no matter what a person might think about the economy, it is surely not true that we can do whatever we want sexually, and everything will work out.

Shouldn’t all these second- and third-order consequences and systemic consequences also be considered?

My training is in economics and statistics, not moral theology. I am a “revert:” that is, a cradle Catholic who came back to the faith after an extended lapse. When I came back to the Church, I became persuaded that in the end, all these probabilities and possible outcomes cannot be fully weighed. People like Germain Grisez and Russell Hittinger and Robert P. George and J. Budziszewski convinced me to reject consequentialist moral theories as being non-serious.

This was a big step for me, because economists in the English-speaking world have a very strong tendency to be consequentialists. We get our utilitarianism from John Stuart Mill, Jeremy Bentham and similar people.

I have spent the years since returning to the Church in 1988 purging my mind of all traces of utilitarianism, proportionalism and consequentialism. I am much happier without all that, I must say. I am most reluctant to dust off my old moral calculator and begin measuring and weighing and balancing all over again.

Calculating costs and benefits is what the drug company does. Why should we, as Catholics, join them?

Editor’s note: In the image above, Pope Francis is pictured with Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi during an in-flight press conference in 2014. (Photo credit: CNS photo)

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