By Fr. Roy Cimagala

THANKS TO the sustained efforts through the years to promote family planning and population control, now dubbed as reproductive health, the world is practically wrapped in a seemingly invincible contraceptive mentality.

Depending on where one’s faith lies, whether in us or in God, this contraceptive mentality is regarded as a blessing or a curse. I, for the meantime, consider it a maker of fiction, much like the world of the Kung Fu Panda.

Of course, its consequences are now manifest. But then again, depending on one’s viewpoint, their reading and interpretations can vary widely. There are those who say there is now a sharp decline in population growth rate in many countries. This is good news to some, but bad news to others.

As in…due to this decline, some countries are now facing aging and possible extinction. In fact, a recent US census observes that by 2040, the whites in that country will be a minority. The whites are not reproducing enough.

Others have gone a bit wilder by claiming that due to overpopulation, we have what is now called as global warming. It looks like we are in a wild goose chase in making some sense out of the data related to the population issue.

In our country, the recent move to approve the reproductive health bill is actually a clever effort to make this contraceptive mentality even more dominant while giving an opening to abortion. That’s the bare bones of the bill.

It is banked on the assumption that there is widespread poverty and ignorance in sex and reproduction, and that so-called women’s reproductive rights be accorded almost unconditional accommodation.

This is the contraceptive mentality at work. Its controlling logic does not stop until no one’s left in the world. Or until its proponents achieve what they consider as their heaven here on earth. To them there’s nothing supernatural about heaven at all.

This contraceptive mentality is now so pervasive that even in the Church itself, its claws and fangs are also showing. Some circles are touting the idea of mainstreaming the natural family planning methods.

Nothing wrong there, except that they seem not contented with making natural family planning as an adjunct to the doctrine of responsible parenthood. It has to be the core and essence of responsible parenthood.

Oh yes, they still do a lot of lip service to the official Church line on responsible parenthood. But the theory is hardly translated into practice. In practice, all efforts are focused in teaching everyone, at the slightest excuse, the skills of natural family planning.

Natural family planning has become in effect a part of the contraceptive mentality. It’s not anymore a living component of a couple’s effort to practice responsible parenthood and conjugal chastity, to be resorted to when conditions warrant it.

It has become a kind of Catholic-approved method to achieve family planning, birth and population control, and now reproductive health.

In fact, chastity is hardly mentioned, if ever, in the modules that I so far have heard. It’s skills on how to determine the fertile and infertile periods of a woman, or the safe and unsafe period to make love. Any chastity talk is supposed to already intrude the sanctity of personal conscience.

A priest promoting it had the gumption to say that in his parish, made up mostly of poor couples, he pities them because every time he talks about responsible parenthood, the people just bow down in shame because they know, according to him, that they are not following the Church teaching.

The priest’s conclusion was to teach them natural family planning. It did not occur to him to step up on his teaching about the practical aspects of conjugal chastity. I suppose it’s far easier to teach natural family planning than to go through the hell of teaching the intricacies of conjugal love and chastity.

Aggravating this is the surprising tendency to almost exclusively promote one natural family planning method, called the Standard Days Method, which is the least effective of the methods and the most vulnerable to be complemented with artificial contraception.

It’s a method that is not much different from the notorious calendar method. Its promotion resurrects and feeds past suspicions that there’s a conspiracy to contaminate the Church position on responsible parenthood with the contraceptive mentality.

In fact, there is evidence that groups promoting this method are funded and aided by anti-life groups.