Just Ten Years Before 1930, the 1920 Lambeth Conference of the Anglican Church Upheld Christendom’s Universal, Ancient Teaching of the Inviolability of the Transmission of Human Life in Each Marital Embrace — Allowing Children to be Born.
From Lambeth to the Land of Nod by John S. Hamlon
May 22, 2015 | Catholic teaching on contraception will always be a “sign of contradiction” and it will always point to an inconvenient, counter-cultural truth: more contraception means more divorce and more abortion.
In his preface to A Man for All Seasons, playwright Robert Bolt describes protagonist Thomas More as
a man with an adamantine sense of his own self. He knew where he began and left off… but at length he was asked to retreat from that final area where he located his self. And there this supple, humorous, unassuming and sophisticated person… was overtaken by an absolutely primitive rigor, and could no more be budged than a cliff.
“Adamantine”—unyielding, impervious, diamond-like—befits the real Thomas More who, as councilor to King Henry VIII, was convicted of treason and beheaded in 1535. He would not sign the First Succession Act, which was anti-papal authority, anti-Catherine of Aragon (including daughter Mary—fathered by Henry VIII), and pro-Princess Elizabeth (still in Anne Boleyn’s womb).
At the formal Catholic level, More is the patron of statesmen and politicians; in the pews, he is a defender of marriage and family.
The Beauty of Marriage and Family—Anglican Style
The Anglican bishops at the Lambeth Conference of 1920 were also diamond-like. Compared to the grimy, banal, all-purpose language used today, they spoke of marriage with an eloquence and directness that is, in a word, lustrous:
The fellowship between man and woman in marriage was the earliest which God gave to the human race…. What our Lord adds about marriage is not given as new legislation, but as a declaration of God’s original purpose. The man and his wife are no longer twain, but one flesh: and those whom God has joined together, man is not to put asunder…. [God] will work, as those who wait for Him well know, the miracle by which the two lives become one, yet so that each life becomes greater and better than it could have been alone. (Lambeth Conferences—1867-1930; [SPCK, 1948], 29)
By contrast, the Catholic world—up until the watershed-year 1968—saw few lines about the unifying woof in the warp and woof of marriage. In Pius XI’s Casti Connubii (1930), for example, love’s primary purpose is to help husband and wife form and perfect their interior life so “they may advance ever more and more in virtue, and above all that they may grow in true love toward God and their neighbor” (23). In order of emphasis, Pius XI puts procreation first, conjugal honor (based on mutual fidelity) second, and spousal love third. Continue reading
What do a 2000 year old Christian Tradition, the Anglican Lambeth Conference and English author Aldous Huxley have in common?…
Twenty-Five Years Before the Pill was Invented, It was Parodied as the Anti-eucharist
by Stephen Kellmeyer | Sept/Oct 1998 Envoy Magazine
In 1930, the Anglican Church made a decision that proved tragic for the entire world. About the only two voices that realized the problem were, of course, the Catholic Church, and surprisingly, an agnostic.
The year is 1932. On the Continent, Adolf Hitler is still 11 months away from gaining control of the German government. Though he continues to search for a way to gain the electoral majority necessary to rule Germany, he has already won a major victory in England, a victory that will continue to grow and metastasize long after he lies dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in a burning bunker in Berlin 13 years in the future.
Yet, even as English Churchmen nurture the seed of Hitler’s philosophy on their isle, another voice has risen from among the inhabitants of that gallant land. This voice has spent the last two years forming one of the most insightful and strident attacks on Nazi philosophy ever concocted, and it is now, in February, 1932, that the author releases his work into the stream of history. The battle between the philosophies continues to be fought down to this very day: the battle between the eugenics, advocated in seminal form by the Church of England, and the natural law, upheld by an agnostic who saw the preposterous conclusions to which the contraceptive philosophy must inevitably lead.
The agnostic was Aldous Huxley; his book, Brave New World, would constitute not only an incredibly prophetic description of the contracepting society, but also a deft parody of the Christian church which first legalized the idea. Prior to 1930, contraception had been uniformly condemned by every Christian denomination in the world since the death of Christ.
Unfortunately, Darwin’s work between 1854 and 1872 had a profound influence on European and American society. His “survival of the fittest” argument soon produced the idea that some human beings were less fit, less worthy to procreate than others. Both sides of the Atlantic forged ahead with applications of this “breakthrough” in scientific understanding. Scientific journals devoted to eugenics, the breeding of a better human animal, soon became common throughout Europe. Francis Galton, the man who coined the word “eugenics,” established a research fellowship in University College, London in 1908, and his Eugenics Society began work in the same year.
By the early 1920s, Margaret Sanger and several of her English lovers were touting contraception and involuntary sterilization as a way to limit the breeding of the “human weeds,” as Sanger called them: the insane, the mentally-retarded, criminals, and people with Slavic, Southern Mediterranean, Jewish, black or Catholic backgrounds (ironically, Sanger was herself raised by a Catholic mother).
Though most supporters of atheistic rationalist scientific progress don’t advertise it, Hitler’s racial purity schemes were nothing more than the application of 1920s “cutting-edge” biology. When this attitude encountered Christianity, the results were uniformly explosive. Ever since 1867, Anglican bishops had been meeting roughly every ten years at Lambeth Palace, London, in order to discern how best to govern their Church. Mounting eugenics pressures had required the bishops in both the 1908 and the 1920 conferences to fiercely condemn contraception. But the constant eugenics drumbeat would not let up.
The 1930 conference brought even greater internal challenges; many of the people advising the bishops were eugenicists, indeed, at least one attendee, the Reverend Doctor D.S. Bailey, would be both a member of the International Eugenics Society and an active participant in the conference.
Between the general mood of society and the insistence of advisers, the Anglican bishops were placed under extreme pressure to allow some form of artificial contraception. On August 14,1930, after heated debate, they voted 193 to 67, with 14 abstentions, to permit the use of contraceptives at the discretion of married couples. The decision rocked the Christian world — it was the first time any Christian Church had dared to attack the underlying foundations of the sacred marital act, the act in which another image of God was brought into creation through the parents’ participation in co-creation with God. Pope Pius XI, deeply saddened, issued Casti Connubii, just four short months later on December 31, 1930, reiterating the constant Christian teaching that artificial contraception was forbidden as an intrinsically evil act.
June 11, 2015
It is interesting now to look back at the various reactions when the pope issued his encyclical on contraception. I dug up the following, and I think they pretty much speak for themselves. It is hardly necessary to add any comments at all except to say how little things have changed.
A leader from an association of Protestant mainline denominations called it “the most important encyclical ever promulgated in the entire history of the papal succession.” He said, “I am glad that this pronouncement is so thoroughly clear-cut and uncompromising.” He was glad that everyone had to be either for it or against it. There was no middle ground.
And why did that make him glad?
“It will mark a new era in wide and deep-going revolt against ecclesiastical control. It will bring … nearer a revolt within the Roman Catholic Church.” He said this attempt by the Church, with its “autocratic domination” to interfere with the private and intimate matters will push it closer to its own inevitable collapse. This exercise of “hierarchical power” would certainly be met with “indignant repudiation” by Catholics themselves.
In other words, he was glad that the Catholic Church made its position clear, so that Protestants and everyone else could clearly reject it. No middle ground. And he predicted Catholics would reject it, too.
A leading feminist said the Church had set itself “squarely against progress.” She said the message of the encyclical was: “Go ahead and have a child every year, never mind if you are too poor to give them a decent home; never mind if they will be born sick or feeble-minded; never mind if they will be born deformed. Birth control under any and all circumstances is a horrible crime.” She said the pope’s denunciation of contraception would lead to more poverty and more disease. She praised the Protestant and Jewish congregations that had already officially endorsed contraception.
A doctor said the document was “confusing,” especially when it came to the issue of the health and welfare of the mother. He disagreed with the encyclical that claimed contraception violates nature. And he observed that the declining birth-rate among Catholics indicated that the rule was “being more observed in the breach.”
A pastor of a non-denominational church in New York said the encyclical was an example of “a tenth-century mind at work on twentieth-century problems. We are never going to get anywhere with marriage or anything else by going back to St. Augustine. The pope’s interpretation of marriage is pure mythology … his denunciation of birth control is bigotry.” Continue reading
Life is not a “Disease” for which Death is “The Cure”
By Anne Roback Morse | Population Research Institute | July 1, 2014
Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court decided Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, and ruled the federal government could not require closely-held corporations to provide no-cost contraception for their employees. Although that was the question before the Supreme Court, there were many things the Supreme Court didn’t have the jurisdiction to rule on yesterday. And the most important of these issues–the basic premise at the root of the case’s ideological divide–was not up for debate: that contraception is preventive health care.
Yes, contraception prevents pregnancy–that’s the whole point–but why is pregnancy considered to be a disease? It is an odd disease that is frequently welcomed by women.
Contraception as preventive care was not actually written into the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA simply states that health insurance must cover ‘‘such additional preventive care and screenings” as are ordered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The HRSA didn’t define contraception and sterilization as preventive care either. Instead, they consulted the Institute of Medicine (IOM), which wrote a 250 page report entitled “Clinical Preventive Services for Women.” This report recommended that the HRSA adopt contraception and sterilization as preventive care to be provided under the Affordable Care Act.
The 250 page IOM report included a page on the “prevalence/burden” of unintended pregnancy and concluded with: “Recommendation 5.5: The committee recommends for consideration as a preventive service for women: the full range of Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for women with reproductive capacity.”
Noticeably, the report doesn’t consider all pregnancies as an ailment to be avoided. The report doesn’t mention hemorrhaging, pre-eclampsia, or any significant maternal health problems. Ignoring legitimate maternal health issues, the IOM only considers unintended pregnancies an ailment. Their prescription? Contraception and sterilization.
Women whose pregnancies are unintended, the report states, “are more likely than those with intended pregnancies to receive later or no prenatal care, to smoke and consume alcohol during pregnancy, to be depressed during pregnancy, and to experience domestic violence during pregnancy.”
The IOM ignores the fact that many women who experience unintended pregnancies belong to demographics that disproportionately suffer from domestic violence. No amount of condoms in the world will end domestic violence. Nor is synthetic progesterone a magic pill that will prevent immoral men from harming their partners. No matter–the Institute of Medicine has prescribed contraception and sterilization to those women suffering from domestic violence.
The report also blissfully ignores the fact that sex can result in pregnancy even if partners are using contraceptives. According to a study published in Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health: “Contraceptives were used during the month of conception for 48% of the unintended pregnancies that ended in 2001”. That is, almost half of all unintended pregnancies in the United States occur among women actively using contraception during the month of conception. This puts the IOM report in the awkward position of recommending as a remedy the contraceptives that allowed half the unintended pregnancies in the first place. (Ironically, this study is selectively cited several times in the Institute of Medicine’s report.) Continue reading
May 28, 2014 | Zachary Krajacic
Because of these substances, Lance Armstrong’s cycling victories were taken from him and he was disqualified from further competition; Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire were publicly reprimanded; numerous congressional hearings were held to assign blame regarding their use. We do our best to protect athletes from these dangerous substances while, at the same time, encouraging women to put them in their bodies.
What are these substances? Steroids.
Oral contraceptives (commonly known as birth control pills) are steroidal hormones. These drugs manipulate hormones to prevent conception, just as performance-enhancing steroids manipulate hormones to enhance physical size, strength, speed and athletic performance. Both result in physical changes. Birth control pills, as demonstrated by the following extract from the Mayo Clinic’s website, alter women’s bodies in a variety of ways:
Oral contraceptives work by stopping a woman’s egg from fully developing each month…. Sometimes a woman’s egg can still develop…. In almost all cases when the medicine was taken properly and an egg develops, fertilization can still be stopped by oral contraceptives. This is because oral contraceptives also thicken cervical mucus at the opening of the uterus…. In addition, oral contraceptives change the uterus lining just enough so that an egg will not stop in the uterus to develop.
Meddling with hormones causes physiological (and psychological) changes because it disrupts the body’s natural balance, a universally accepted medical fact when it comes to athletes. Yet, when it comes to women’s health, the risks and dangers of oral contraceptive steroids—though well-documented in the medical literature—are routinely covered up by physicians, the mainstream media, health insurance companies, and others. Continue reading
Danger in the Ring
When 24-year-old Erika Langhart—talented, beautiful, bound for law school—died on Thanksgiving Day 2011, she became one of thousands of suspected victims of the birth-control device NuvaRing. Elite army athlete Megan Henry, who survived rampant blood clots in her 20s, is another. With major suits against NuvaRing’s manufacturer, Merck, headed for trial, Marie Brenner asks why, despite evidence of serious risk, a potentially lethal contraceptive remains on the market.
By Marie Brenner | January 2014
Karen Langhart never had the slightest doubt about her 24-year-old daughter Erika’s ability to organize meticulously every detail of her life. For months in 2011, Erika’s Thanksgiving plans had been locked in place. On November 23 she was set to arrive from Washington, D.C., on U.S. Airways, landing in Phoenix, Arizona, at five P.M. Erika and her mother would go straight to Sprouts, a local gourmet grocery store, to shop for a turkey, corn bread, yams, and the ricotta and walnuts needed for the signature cheesecake they served at their restaurant, the Red Snapper, one of Durango, Colorado’s best. The Red Snapper, designed by Karen and her husband, Rick, restaurateurs and land developers, had been, for the 25 years they owned it, the center of the family’s life. Continue reading