Pastor Featured Speaker At Holy Family Life Dinner
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
February 1, 2018
ROCKFORD—The “will to disbelieve” the results of contraception was at the forefront of Father Phillip Kaim’s talk on Humanae Vitae at Holy Family Parish’s 23rd annual Respect Life Banquet on Jan. 26.
 
That 1968 encyclical by Pope Paul VI presented the societal consequences of contraception. Most people don’t accept the role that contraception has played in several decades of societal change.
 
In the 50 years since Humanae Vitae, evidence of contraception’s effects is “crystal clear,” Father Kaim said — and it contradicts early promises that contraception would benefit women, marriages, children and society at large.
 
In the 1960s, Father Kaim said, those included assertions that marriages would be happier and divorce rates lower, that there would be fewer abortions, and that there would be greater dignity for women. Instead, divorce rates “skyrocketed,” he said, only recently leveling off at about 40-50 percent. He noted that couples who practice Natural Family Planning instead of artificial contraception have a one-to-three percent divorce rate.
 
Regarding the level of happiness for women, Father Kaim quoted a “paradox of declining female happiness” study that drew on 30 years of research. He pointed also to a 2017 study from England that says women’s happiness does not exceed that of men “until their mid-80s.” 
 
His audience enjoyed a good laugh when he admitted that the first thing he thought when he read that conclusion was, “Yeah, because all the men are dead by then!”
 
Regarding the second promise, Father Kaim said that contraception increased abortion rates because it does at times fail, and then “abortion becomes the contraception of last resort.”
 
Promise number three — women’s dignity — is difficult to measure, Father Kaim said. He called it good that women have more career choices, but said that “dignity is much more than one’s economic capacity.”
 
He quoted author Mary Eberstadt who wryly noted that, “It seems those who were once husbands and fathers and providers have traded in their ties and insurance cards for video games and baseball hats worn backwards.”
 
Men’s instinct to protect their families has suffered because “without kids, they have little to protect,” Father Kaim said.
 
In Chapter 17 of Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI made four predictions: declining morality, a diminished respect for women, governmental imposition of contraceptive practices, and the cessation of a recognition of “insurmountable limits to the possibility of man’s domination over his own body and its functions; limits which no man, whether a private individual or one invested with authority, may licitly surpass ...”
 
“All four predictions have come true,” Father Kaim said. 
 
But even though many Catholics practice contraception, we “should not lose hope,” he said, counseling listeners to “celebrate the little wins in the culture.” Such “wins” include two newer articles in secular publications that connected contraception and loneliness.
 
Additionally, Pope St. John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body” is something of “a theological time bomb,” Father Kaim said, quoting author George Weigel. He added that a brand new “Theology of the Body in One Hour” by author and speaker Jason Evert makes TOB even more accessible.
 
“Ultimately, we have to make a positive case for love,” Father Kaim said. He encouraged his audience to engage the children in their lives, providing them with resources and to also “just pray” for them.
He concluded that prayers will help young people “recognize where wisdom lies.”
 
The annual dinner honored pro-life essay winner, Ava Gioppo, as well as Steve and Penny Garbe who were presented with the St. Michael Defender of Life Award for their work in pro-life efforts.
 
A live auction and raffle drawings to raise funds for the pro-life ministry finished up the evening.