Natural Family Planning: A Jesuit Speaks Out Against Birth Control, 1925!

My father was a good student.  He received two scholarships: 4 years to a Jesuit high school and 4 years to the University of Detroit.  As a result I have the Varsity News published by UD (December 1925).  This magazine has an article on my dad titled “He’s the Best Student in the University.”  In looking through the magazine I noticed an article titled “This Pig-Philosophy” written by Rev. John A McClorey, S.J., a professor of metaphysics, in which he speaks out against birth control.  Following are some quotes from some paragraphs from this article.

(Introduction to the article: “Aroused by the notoriety recently given the tenets of the ‘pig philosophy’—otherwise, advocates of birth control, Fr. McClorey attacked these subversive teachings in an address which he delivered before his classes in the Arts and Science College just before Thanksgiving.  He treated the subject with the frankness, sincerity, force and logic which have made his Lenten and other addresses famous throughout the West.”)

The article begins: “I apologize to you for speaking of birth control.  For though of late it has become quite the ‘respectable’ thing, it is nothing more than what Carlyle would call  ‘Pig Philosophy,’  which emphasizes with the insistence of pornographic degeneracy the unveiled passionateness of Sex.  Why should I speak equably, with chill and measured detachment in the presence of an evil that is striking at children, the home, the nation and the race?”

“Through the leadership of Charles Bradlaugh, Annie Besant, Dr. Drisdale and Dr. Dunlop, its chief apostles, birth control has been identified with atheism.  The bishops of the Anglican church, convened at Lambeth a few years ago, condemned it.  Dean Inge does not represent his church.  At the time of Bradlaugh’s propaganda, birth control was condemned from every Protestant pulpit of England.”

“Birth control is an unnatural vice because by physical or chemical means it directly and intentionally frustrates the primary end of marriage.  If an exception could be made to the natural law against it, it could not be made by men and women under the law, but by God, the Author of the law.  We may control nature, not frustrate it.  But birth control is birth frustration.”

“The program of birth controllers is a direct and powerful appeal to sexual indulgence.  They are letting loose a devouring force which will drive men to the quest of pleasure without regard for children even when children are needed.  Besides, birth control leads to physical sterility.   Catholics, by the mere force of unimpeded fecundity, will predominate everywhere if their non-Catholic brethren practice this vice.  Catholics would like to be important in the world, but not at the cost of Protestant race-suicide.  Mr Merick Booth, a Protestant scientist, holds up this danger to Protestants.  If the white people of America and Europe practice birth control, the ‘Oriental Peril’ will be actualized,  for most of the people of Asia abominate this vice as an unnatural crime.”

“Birth control destroys mutual marital affection and respect.  Affection in marriage is spontaneous, not counting the cost; hence it is dissipated by the cool calculation and preventive foresight of birth control.  Birth control destroys mutual respect.  For it is what Bernard Shaw calls ‘Reciprocal Masturbation.’  Birth controllers who surfeit themselves with sexual delight, then defeat the reproductive purpose and consequence of that delight, are more unnatural and disgusting than the ancient aristocracy of Rome who used to feast to repletion, then take an emetic (pardon the reference), vomit and return to another feast.”

“Some men practice onanism out of a chivalric regard for the safety and comfort of their wives.  But such chivalry destroys the very motive of chivalry.  For, in the last analysis, the reason why men have a knightly regard for women is because they are mothers, actually or in prospect.  Women must carry half the burden of life.  Men fight the elements, carry on business and wage war—women must bear and rear children.  If they won’t, they will become mere ornaments of society, and very expensive ones at that.  A woman despises a man who shirks battle; a man must despise a woman who shirks birth.  If a husband wishes to spare his wife in the name of chivalry, let her be wise enough to decline his indulgence that she may insure his chivalry.”

“Birth control is in contradiction to Christ charity. ‘The survival of the fittest’ is plausable. But Christ did not act on that principle.  On the contrary, He was the Friend of the down-and-out—the poor, the lame, the sick, the deaf and dumb, the lepers, the weak-minded, the vicious, the possessed.  He took care of them, saw that they survived, and bettered them.  He did not wish to extinguish them by birth control or any other means.”

“But birth controllers flatter the rich, assuring them that the uncontrolled fecundity of the poor, and their own cupidity, is responsible for misery and poverty.  Indeed, they go further into the vice of positive cruelty.  For since they do not want an unfit future race; since the unfortunate can procreate only an unfit future race; since the unfortunate will do so if they are sheltered and made comfortable by the charity of the rich, therefore the rich ought to withhold their charity and let the flotsam and jetsam of humanity perish out of hand.  This diabolical doctrine can be found in Mrs. Sanger’s latest book.”

“Christ brought into the world a thing which had not been here before, the sweetest thing on earth: Mercy and compassion in the hearts of the well-to-do towards the victims of fate, and peace, self-respect and humility in the hearts of the unfortunate.  This may be called the beautiful soul of Christianity.  And its body has been an improved and ever improving condition among the masses of Christianity.  If we practice the charity of Christ, we shall not enjoy, it is true, the perfect prosperity of a bourgeois heaven on earth proposed by birth controllers, but we shall have a condition of decent sufficiency.”

Sheila Kippley

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