In a column for Catholic Exchange not too long ago, Dr. Mark Dendrickson commented on the increasing incidence of men killing their pregnant lovers and how the “culture of death” has progressed this far. The driving force:
Another powerful anti-life undertow was generated by the “sexual revolution.” For many, the Judeo-Christian concept of sex for procreation was eclipsed by the philosophy of sex as recreation. Procreation or recreation: Is sex about creating life or having fun? Is it about giving life and love, or is it about taking pleasure—a self-indulgence so devoid of love that in extreme cases it culminates in murder. Is it life-affirming or life-destroying?
To the extent that sex as fun has eclipsed sex for life, we have trivialized sex and devalued life. The result: Soaring divorce rates, the emotional trauma of broken families, and even men murdering their lovers and unborn children. Clearly, being “liberated” from traditional sexual mores isn’t as progressive—individually or socially—as the proponents of sexual “liberation” promised.
Creating a culture of life is not just about reducing abortion numbers – though that is one of our goals – but about encouraging humanity to answer the call to love as God loves, especially in our sexuality. The opposite of love is not hate, but use. And this is what is plaguing our society today, that men and women see each other as objects of use for their own physical gratification. We have fallen so far away from the full truth of man’s existence – about who men and women really are as persons, what our bodies represent and how we are to compliment one another.
Ironically, what many now celebrate as “freedom” has really left them slaves to their own sexual desires while also leading them to perceive themselves as masters of the life and death of others. This is what happens when God’s plan for life and love is defiled. After all, it’s kind of hard to have reverence for all human life while violating the very act through which life is created. Pope Paul VI predicted these things (and much more!) when he wrote Humanae Vitae. And no doubt this was weighing heavily on the mind of JP II when he delivered the Wednesday audiences that made up his “Theology of the Body” during the first six years of his pontificate.
It is an illusion to think that we can build a true culture of human life if we do not help the young to accept and experience sexuality and love and the whole of life according to their true meaning and in their close interconnection (JP II, Evangelium Vitae n. 97)