Headline: POPULATION, CONTRACEPTION, LIFE AND FAMILY IN AFRICA


Posted on: 2013-12-13


The Holy Father Pope Francis recently convoked a Synod of Bishops to hold in October 2014 on the family. Given numerous threats to the family institution today the Church desires to reiterate that the survival of a wholesome society depends on the survival of the family. My young secretary Fr. Anthony Abegunde shared with me his reflections on the situation. He allowed me to share those thoughts on this platform. He wrote:
Just last month my attention was drawn to yet another attempt made by some of the European/America ‘Big Brothers’ to Africa. They are bent on helping Africa out of the “poverty of overpopulation and unplanned family life\". What a wonderful mission in a continent like Africa! But there is more to it than meets the eye. To this effect, an International Conference on Family Planning was staged in Addis Ababa, a 4-day history making event to help Africa out of this chocking burden of population. What a way to help Africa! This is just a step further from what thousands of our youths were introduced to few years ago when sex education was incorporated into the Secondary School Curriculum. Some short-sighted, educated adults in Nigeria and some parts of Africa were clapping for the agents of this so called “change” that supposedly brought sexual liberation and free love. In reality, this was the beginning of the end of morality, respect for life and family values in African communities.
Unfortunately, governments and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in African countries are turning a blind eye, when the marriage institution is under serious threats of every kind today. The family bond no longer holds meaning for thousands of people in the world today. This is as a result of the false sense of freedom and sexual evolution of the modern time. Little wonder, people enter into, and come out of marriage at will. It is no longer a matter of “for better for worse” but a matter of convenience. There seems to be a false sense of freedom in the air. Everybody wants to exercise his/her right to do what he/she feels right; according to their own judgment: the spirit of subjectivism and ethical relativism, where everybody becomes Lord and Master of their personal moral standard. This problem is at the heart of the moral decadence in the world today. Nobody is willing to take responsibility for objective truth.
We live in a world where the structure of family life is under-going profound change, in rich and poor countries alike. The concept of the family as a cradle of love and life, and cohesive unit of human existence is fast becoming outdated. One is even afraid to define what a family is, in case one offends anyone. Where then is our conscience? Sequel to this, a lot of Christian families take shelter under the umbrella of family planning and birth control. They do not see anything wrong in marital contraception. This is so because they treat procreation as a mere biological process, forgetting that God is the author of life. It must be stated very clearly here that contraceptives compromise everything marriage stands for. We must echo here also, the fact that it is a language of falsehood and denial of the true expression of conjugal love. It is positively set against the good of the marriage covenant. This is so because the realization of the potentiality of their coming together to give rise to a new life is impeded when they contracept. Contraception impedes the procreative good of coming together. Therefore, the object freely chosen by a couple who decides to contracept is to impede the possibility of new life. But how many couples today consider this fact?
It must be said here clearly that contraception and any other means of birth control or family planning that is not natural is an interruption of the generative process, directly willed or not, they are excluded as illicit means of regulating birth. Beyond this, John Paul II in his apostolic exhortation Familiaris Consortio, no 32 stated that “the contraceptive is anti-love,” because couples who engage in contraception speak a false language, because they fail to give themselves to each other unreservedly and unconditionally. Little wonder he stressed that contraception in itself and of itself is always a moral disorder, since objectively and intrinsically, independent of subjective intension, motives and circumstances, it contradicts the innate language that expresses the total reciprocal self-giving of husbands and wife.
Contraception, we must know, is an attempt, on the part of the couples who engage in it to separate the inseparable connection willed by God between the unitive and procreative aspect of the sexual act. When this does happen, it makes marital sexual union an intercourse of sensation, something done for the sake of pleasure but not real sexual knowledge of sexual love, true sexual relation of self or sexual communication of self or sexual gift of self. In fact, the choice of contraception is the rejection of sexuality itself!
Well, the call is clear. The intriguing fact that the greatest gift of life which God gave to man has been taken almost completely out of the hands of the creator himself and turned to the object of gamble and laboratory experiment cannot leave us without consequences which I dread may not be altogether positive.

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