Hanna Drexel gave birth to Catherine Drexel, the future St. Katherine Drexel, in 1858, and died two weeks later due to complications. She was the wife of the extremely wealthy philanthropist Mr. Francis Drexel. Later on, in 1890, Elizabeth Drexel, the sister of Katharine, became pregnant but became gravely ill and both the child and the mother died.
70 years later, in 1960 the world was introduced to a concept it had never really known; the concept of safe sex. 10 years later this concept was followed by another one, safe marriage.
This is how artificial contraceptives, divorce, and the modern devaluing of marriage are related. Safe sex leads to the need for safe marriage.
Before these dates most people understood that calling sex “safe” was like calling war safe; like risking something but without consequences. Without risk the value of sex fell sharply, as did marriage. Without value it had no meaning and without meaning it had little to do with love. Love involves risk, the real possibility that you might lose everything, including your life.
Therefore, an artificial contraceptive is actually artificial sex; a chemically created possibility, pornography in pill form. Sex and marriage became impersonal; as if they are a game we play. Instead of launching out into a spine tingling adventure, we stay in the back yard and play simulations of little consequence.
But the advent of our sexual passions signals the point in which we become adults; we are no longer playing games.
“Love never fails. . . . When I was a child, I spoke like a child, thought like a child, and reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up my childish ways.
Maturing is always the conforming of our lives to the risky nature of marriage and sexuality, not conforming sex and marriage to our expectations and life style.
From a purely materialistic stand point pregnancy is a disease that causes pain, deformation, and even the possibility of death. It is something to be cured and prevented. From this starting point artificial contraceptives make pregnancy the problem; not our behavior that created the situation.
We need to move back from the artificial to the real.