"TV adverts for condoms outside the UK are often lighthearted", declares a BBC webpage. How are we to view the screening of adverts for abortion and a round the clock condom message on Bristish TV. The first thing I would say is get rid of your TV (if you haven't done that already).
The response of humanity in the modern era to the matter of child-bearing and rearing has been unprecendented. Formerly, child-bearing and rearing was given a very high value. The incidence of women dying during labour and of the death of babies and young children was always quite high. And, partly because of this, married people and society wanted a high birth rate. Only in the modern era has this statistic diminished to such an extent that spouses and societies have needed a new way of approaching child-bearing and rearing.
It was in response to the circumstances of the modern era that the Church presented, through the voice of Paul VI, a concrete vision of responsible parenthood - how spouses should approach their mission of transmitting human life now that the death during childbirth is scarcely heard of.
We know what the response of most has been to the beauty of Paul VI's Humanae Vitae - it is a vision and a teaching which has been overwhelmed by a holocaust. It is hard to think that anyone today could refer to child-bearing and rearing in anything but a tramelled way, since just about everyone living in the western world is a survivor of a holocaust. And not just a survivor, for we are living in the midst of an intensification of the holocaust. The plans of the President of the USA for this are scarcely credible. Our perspective, yours, mine, is coloured not so much by the vision of responsible parenthood but by the decisions of many which say - we only want life for ourselves, and if for children, then only for a very few.
Why is the world today having difficulty in accepting God's plan? Becuase the darkness of the holocaust which we are in is obscuring God's generosity. Abortion and the contraception mentality is certainly a political issue, it is a social issue and a personal one, but first of all it is a spiritual one. We are the subjects of God's love and becuase of that we can make other people the subject of our love. Humanity's greatest need today is to emerge from the holocaust and stand before God. Mother Teresa was right when she so many times taught that abortion is the cause of the world's ills. Any one who can see this, and especially spouses who are embracing the vision of responsible parenthood which was meant for the world today, are great lights. We should all reserve a particular space in our spiritual lives for bringing supporting graces to all those who are beacons of truth and light, and for the overcoming of this holocaust and the turning towards God by many. This is a central task for all of us who have any glimpse of light at all.