By Patrick Coffin, 134 pages, Emmaus Road.
A small book that packs a lot of punch, Sex Au Naturel counters secularism's lies about sexuality, procreation, and family through clear arguments and strong philosophy. Coffin's method shows that secularism's way of arguing, with its dollar-sense and false notion of rights, needs to go the way of the dodo because of its profoundly evil, culture of death orientation.
By separating sex from babies, society has dehumanized us all. Children are no longer seen as gifts, but as nuisances. Then, when they are desperately wanted, prospective parents claim them as "rights", demanding reproductive technology services. Coffin makes the point that the abortion and IVF (in vitro fertilization) industries are tightly connected.
They are also linked by the same mindset: Whether a child is seen as a nuisance to be contracepted or aborted out of existence, or fabricated into life by a lab tech (with the attendant tossing away of the less-than-desirable fertilized ova), the person is dehumanized. The lab, the government and its regulations, the parent or parents (which include all manner of male-female, single-couple combinations) regard the clump of cells as if it is a product.
Coffin shows with his excellent Catholic reasoning that it all begins from the acceptance of contraception. This leads to abortion, and thence to reproductive technologies, which enable designer babies.
The commodification of babies, and therefore of all of us.
The Church has been crystal clear throughout its history, despite the claims by dissenting post-Vatican II theologians. The encyclical Casti Connubi, released in 1930, was Pope Pius XI's response to the Anglican Church's acceptance of contraception, and used much tougher language than the non-combative Humanae Vitae. The popes and Vatican II have been remarkably consistent on this teaching.
Coffin puts things into perspective. Humanae Vitae came out at the most raucous point of the de-civilizing work of the 1960s, with the sexual revolution and feminism in full swing.
The author offers his own experience at a Canadian Catholic university, where the nice professors, not out to destroy anyone's faith deliberately, were nonetheless dissenting theologians. In fact, some of the speakers invited to the Catholic campus, a who's who of theological rebels, were on the way out of Christianity altogether, having long ago jettisoned their Catholic beliefs.
Again, as any good Catholic theologian, Coffin turns to natural law. He notes that moral theology's main argument against abortion and contraception has long relied on the natural law. Humanae Vitae used this line of reasoning extensively.
Coffin offers a clear and much-needed definition of the natural law. It is human participation in divine wisdom, accessible to all humans and not only through the Bible or the Church. All humans everywhere have this law of good and bad written on their hearts. The 10 Commandments, aside from the enjoinder to keep the Sabbath, are a recapitulation of the natural law.
By rejecting this law, modern secular society has turned its back on historic Church teaching and has created the culture of death. Sex without procreation is a cornerstone of this society.