Voice of the Family is pleased to be able to offer an exclusive English translation of an address given recently at the Catholic University of Louvain by Mgr Michel Schooyans. Mgr Schooyans is a professor at Louvain and an acclaimed academic and writer.
In this important address Mgr Schooyans explores the catastrophic consequences of the separation of the procreative and unitive ends of the sexual act, which is intrinsic to the use of contraception. He notes that once the unity between the two ends is broken both ends are pursued in separation from the other, with disastrous consequences. He writes:
“…this current unilaterally exalts certain unitive actions and behaviour in the couple, to the exclusion of procreative behaviour. The unitive dimension places the emphasis on pleasure and hedonist and utilitarian individualism. Observe what has happened with contraception. There is no more an openness to the other, there is no more a recognition of the identity of the other, of the difference which distinguishes me from the other. Each wishes to do what he/she desires to do. This is the identitarian closure of the self on itself: contraception bolts in the relationship with the other.”
“As soon as the unitive purpose alone is vaunted, one rapidly falls into all kinds of sexual practices: homosexuality, lesbianism, fornication, etc. There is no longer a place for fidelity, because what matters is pleasure alone, the interest of each individual. Man ceases to be a person, a being capable of opening himself freely to another person; he is an individual in search of his own enjoyment.”
Schooyans also discusses the problem of unilaterally exalting the procreative end of the sexual act:
“On the other hand, the dissociation, the separation of the two purposes of marriage throws the door wide open to unilateral exaltation of the procreative purpose, to the exclusion of the unitive effects. The creation of life is then held to be a matter of technology, in which the amorous embrace of a man and woman has no part.
“These unitive behaviours and procreative technologies could come under the control of public authorities. We run the risk of finding ourselves in the near future in a society in which there has ceased to be a place for responsible love. If necessary, parents will be completely stripped of authority, rights and duties vis-à-vis their children. Why should children not be entrusted to education, on which the public authorities claim a monopoly?
“…there will be other consequences, for example medically-assisted procreation, surrogate pregnancies, technicalisation of the transmission of life to the point where we will arrive at genetic modification of the human being. Man will no longer be constructed in a loving home. There will no longer be maternity, or paternity: in consequence, there will no longer be consanguinity. With the proclaimed arrival of the artificial uterus, soon it will no longer be necessary for a woman to carry a baby in her womb.”
Mgr Schooyans points to the terrible destruction of unborn human life that results from this separation. The unilateral exaltation of the unitive end leads to abortion in order to end “unwanted” pregnancies; “the intolerable arrival of a being one does not want.” On the other hand the unilateral exaltation of the procreative end leads to the destruction of human embryos during the IVF process.
Schooyans traces the threats facing human life at every point from conception to the natural death. He discusses, with terrifying clarity, the instrumentalisation of children that is now taking place and convincingly argues that we are about to witness a new onslaught on parental rights.
He points out the widespread failure of the Catholic hierarchy to take any action to reverse the inexorable spread of the “culture of death”:
“Today, even in certain so-called Catholic hospitals, procedures such as abortion, medically-assisted procreation and embryo research, not forgetting euthanasia, etc, are practised. How many voices, in the laity, clergy and episcopate, are being raised to urge reconsideration of these practices? In the face of this mutism, it is above all necessary to assert the indissociable nature of the purposes of the conjugal union and marriage.”
He also said:
“The Church finds itself in an astonishing situation. Senior prelates, primarily from opulent nations, are attempting to modify Christian morality concerning the divorced and remarried and other problematic situations, some of which had been cited here.”
“Faced with the powers which are currently undermining the family, the Church should discover in itself the vocation to be the sole authority in a position to save human sexuality and the natural institution of marriage and the family. It is not simply a matter of saving Christian morality; it is necessary to save and protect natural morality. It should not therefore be the case that, through their specious casuistical methods, Catholics of all ranks and all ages are contributing to the destruction of natural morality.”
“Now, from the moment Catholics jump on this fatal bandwagon, they contribute to the destruction of the natural institution of marriage. It is the entire human community which is being split by this new “betrayal by clerics”.
Mgr Schooyans then makes the profound point that these dissenters are denying the immutability of the natural law (a point also argued at length in our analysis of the relatio synodi) and thus contributing to the universal destruction of human morality. He writes:
“The reduction of natural morality to a purely casuistical morality has the backing of certain theologians and pastors for reduction of the law founded on the nature of man… If this is the case, there is no longer a law innate to man, quite simply because he is man. There are only rights defined by political, national, international and world authorities. One shudders when one thinks that the generalisation of such a law would be a prelude to the inauguration of a “global”, that is world, society, forged by the will of the strongest.”