Unfortunately for Agence France Presse (AFP), they did manage to annoy Dr. Smith. Why does her response have me thinking (in a good way, of course) "Danger, Will Robinson?" (and yes, I know they never actually used that line on the show) CNA reports:
I don't know about you, but I think the AFP looks pretty foolish. Rhythm method, indeed!
(CNA/EWTN News).- Responding to a recent Agence France Presse (AFP) article that criticized Catholic teaching on contraception, well-known professor, Dr. Janet Smith, said that in her opinion, the poorly researched piece “was inaccurate and slanted from the beginning.”
In light of the recent 50th anniversary of the Pill being released to U.S. markets, the AFP reported on Thursday that in spite of Church teaching, the majority of Catholic women today use contraception. [...]
During a phone interview with CNA on Thursday, Dr. Smith, a professor at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, said that it was obvious the writer of the AFP article did “minimal research.”
Not only did the writer mention the “rhythm method,” a term that Smith said “no one is using,” but the commission surrounding Pope Paul VI was “simply an advisory panel.” The Pope, said Smith, did not “ignore” anyone by opposing contraception, but rather, upheld the tenets of the faith on the belief that birth control would have devastating societal consequences.
The AFP article, she summarized, “was inaccurate and slanted from beginning to end.”
Defending the Church's teaching that contraception affects society in negative ways and is immoral, Smith noted that “more than one out of three babies in the United States are born to a single mother, one out of four pregnancies are aborted,” and that “more than one out of two marriages end in divorce.”
“If people were living by the Church's teaching on sexuality, those things wouldn't be happening, and those things are a path to misery,” she underscored.
“People born out of wedlock have a very hard life, as do their children. People who get divorced have a very hard life as do their children, and their friends and their family,” Smith asserted, adding that on the other hand, “people who don't get divorced and stay married and raise their children, generally have very good lives.”
“Couples who use natural family planning almost never divorce,” she pointed out. “The divorce rate at tops, we think is around 4%.”
In light of these facts,“who looks foolish?” she asked. “The Church for not changing a teaching that almost guarantees happiness or a culture that is pushing an agenda that almost guarantees misery?”
But it is true, sadly, that far too many Catholics, even practicing ones, use artificial contraception. The Church here in America needs to do a much better job of teaching the life-affirming truth that fertility is not a disease, that natural methods of birth regulation are not only moral but can in some cases be a source of blessing, that children are God's greatest gifts, not burdens, and that artificial contraception is a tragically wrong path for a marriage to take.
The much lower divorce rate for couples who do not use artificial contraception should be enough to give anybody pause--except that our culture no longer thinks of divorce and serial remarriage as anything but a lifestyle choice, with the children whose lives are torn apart by divorce as acceptable collateral damage in the adults' battle for happiness.
Catholics are called to see both marriage and God's gift of children differently than the secular world, though. We're supposed to be a sign of contradiction in this regard. And Dr. Smith is right to point out the huge benefits for married couples of embracing the Church's teachings on sexual morality.