Thursday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Amos 7:10-17; Matthew 9:1-8)
Fifty years ago Pope St. Paul VI made a prophetic statement. In his encyclical Humanae Vitae Pope Paul said that artificial birth control will lead to disregard for women. He reasoned that when husbands grow accustomed to contraception, many will no longer look on their wives primarily as equal partners in the creation of a family. Rather, he said, they will see them more as objects of sexual desire. Pope Paul suffered great unpopularity, even ridicule for the stand he took. He may be seen as another Amos as pictured in today’s first reading.
Amos has exhorted Israel to reform its ways. He has criticized especially the royalty for not giving leadership that truly trusts in the Lord. As a result, he is ostracized by the high priest and told to go home. His prophecy that Jeroboam will die by the sword evidently did not come to pass as predicted. However, the northern kingdom of Israel was exiled with the Assyrian invasion.
Even Catholics have a hard time accepting that the sexual revolution engineered by artificial contraception has led to great misery. Physical and emotional poverty caused by absent fathers is prevalent in both wealthy and poor nations. Sexual desire has a tremendous hold on humans. This in itself desire is not bad; rather, it is quite magnificent. But such a powerful force needs to be checked by reason constructing prudent laws to guide the will.