In 1969, a group of twelve highly educated American women met in a flat in New York City. Seated around a table, the women chanted the following “litany”:
“Why are we here today?” [the chairperson] asked.
“To make revolution,” they answered.
“What kind of revolution?” she replied.
“The Cultural Revolution,” they chanted.
“And how do we make Cultural Revolution?” she demanded.
“By destroying the American family!” they answered.
“How do we destroy the family?” she came back.
“By destroying the American Patriarch,” they cried exuberantly.
“And how do we destroy the American Patriarch?” she replied.
“By taking away his power!”
“How do we do that?”
“By destroying monogamy!” they shouted.
“How can we destroy monogamy?”
“By promoting promiscuity, eroticism, prostitution and homosexuality!” they resounded.
A witness to this meeting, Mallory Millet, would later convert to Catholicism and write about the damaging effects that the work of these radical feminists had on American society, particularly the family. These elite women had one goal, and that was to liberate the American woman by dismantling all inequality between the sexes. Their tools? Contraception and abortion. They aimed to influence young women so that, “as a practitioner of promiscuity… she becomes a wizard of prevention techniques.” Only nine years before, Dr. John Rock had created the Pill as an accessible and seemingly innocuous contraceptive. The following will explore how artificial contraception, lauded by radical feminists, contributed to the breakdown of the family and the culture of death. This will be contrasted with the Church’s teaching on contraception and abortion, as found in Humanae Vitae and Evangelium Vitae. It will be seen that ultimately, the solution to the culture of death is a return of women to Our Lady, through prayer and imitation of her virtues. As said by Venerable Fulton Sheen, “To a great extent the level of any civilization is the level of its womanhood.”
In Humanae Vitae, St. Pope Paul VI describes contraception as, “any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means. This definition was given to fulfill the aim of Pope Paul VI in writing this encyclical, that is, not to say whether contraception was wrong, but to define what it constituted. In the mid-1960s, the allegedly Catholic John Lock was arguing for the morality of his birth contraceptive, the Pill. He stated that the Pill simply extended a women’s natural infertile period, and thus the Catholic Church should pronounce it moral for women to use as part of the rhythm method. The Pill worked by mimicking progesterone through the synthetic hormone Progestin. Consumption of Progestin signals to a woman’s body that she is pregnant, preventing the release of the ova and therefore negating the possibility of fertilization between the egg and sperm at intercourse. Once the Pill was approved by the FDA, it became immensely popular – though Pope Paul VI had clarified the Church teaching that the Pill is indeed a form of artificial contraception, and is thus intrinsically evil. As stated in Humanae Vitae, spouses have a firm duty to “conform their activity to the creative intention of God” and thus “Each and every marriage act must remain open to the transmission of life.” For this reason, any use of the Pill constitutes a grave mortal sin.
The fast and widespread popularity of the Pill was largely thanks to the media. Pope Paul spoke to this in his encyclical, saying that the “clamorous outcry against the voice of the Church… is intensified by modern means of communication.” Although the Church faced great opposition, Pope Paul asserted that it “cannot renounce the teaching of the law which is, in reality, that law proper to a human life restored to its original truth and conducted by the spirit of God.” While the media did much to encourage the rampant acceptance of contraception, it was aided in its mission by several radical feminists and their “consciousness-raising” programs. One such woman was Kate Millet, whose consciousness-raising group’s litany was mentioned above. The sister of ex-feminist Mallory, Kate became popular after publishing her book Sexual Politics, in which she compared the family to “a den of slavery” posing “the man as the Bourgeoisie and the woman and children as the Proletariat.” Named by the New York Times the “Karl Marx of new feminism”, Kate promoted the idea of the destruction of the family as the only path to achieving equality between all. Her ideas became briskly widespread as Sexual Politics became a standard textbook in women’s studies courses in colleges and universities across the globe. There were three critical reasons why contraception would help to achieve Kate’s nefarious goal: it attacked monogamy, motherhood, and the truth about human nature.
In Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI explained the Church’s doctrine on contraception, saying that it was based on “the inseparable connection, willed by God and unable to be broken by man on his own initiative, between the two meanings of the conjugal act: the unitive meaning and the procreative meaning.” This connection is part of man’s human nature; it is upheld “According to the laws inscribed in the very being of man and of woman” – as stated by Pope Paul VI. However, Kate and others attempted to disregard this indissoluble connection by denying a women’s human nature, and thus the fact that sex was procreative and could lead to pregnancy. By disconnecting the procreative and unitive meaning of the sexual act, radical feminists encouraged promiscuity and the use of men for self-gratification. Thanks to Kate Millet, young women were told in countless gender study courses, that, “All women are prostitutes”, and wives were just “one-man whores.” Yet these lies would lead only to deep dissatisfaction and sorrow, just like any action which attempts to disregard man’s true nature.
This trivialization of sexuality helped Kate to further her second goal – destroying monogamy – by causing men to lose respect for their wives. The use of contraceptives allows men to forget the sacred and fertile nature of their wife’s body. As St. Pope John Paul II explained, when the two meanings of the sexual act are separated, “sexuality too is depersonalized and exploited: from being the sign, place and language of love… it increasingly becomes the occasion and instrument for self-assertion and the selfish satisfaction of personal desires and instincts.” Once the marital act has lost its symbolism and men no longer “risk” impregnating their wives, the consequences of unfaithfulness become increasingly minor. As predicted by Pope Paul VI, “how wide and easy a road would thus be opened up [with the use of contraceptives] towards conjugal infidelity and the general lowering of morality.”
With the loss of respect for women, came the loss of respect for motherhood. Radical feminists such as Kate and her comrade Germaine Greer, author of The Female Eunuch (1970), sought to take away all respect and honour from the occupation of motherhood. Germaine Greer wrote in her influential book, “A housewife’s work has no results: it simply has to be done again. Bringing up children is not a real occupation, because children come up just the same, brought up or not.” Contraception and abortion turn women from the nurturing and welcoming mothers they were created to be – whether biologically, or in some way spiritually – into barren, and hostile figures. (This is not to say that all women must have children – the single life, indeed any path, if lived well, fruitfully and generously, is fulfilling in its own way). But as voiced by Mallory Millet, “The goal of Women’s Liberation is to wear each female down to losing all empathy for boys, men or babies. The tenderest aspects of her soul are roughened into a rock pile of cynicism, where she will think nothing of murdering her baby in the warm protective nest of her little-girl womb.”
Carrie Gress is a Catholic author, wife, and mother of four, who holds a doctorate in philosophy from the Catholic University of America. In her work The Anti-Mary Exposed: Reclaiming the Culture from Toxic Femininity, Carrie speaks about the traditional image of womanhood, and its anti-type: The Woman of Folly. This Woman of Folly is referenced in the Bible in the persons of Eve, primarily, alongside Jezebel, Salome and others. She is a figure of seduction and destruction, warned against in Proverbs 14:1, “Wisdom builds her house but Folly tears hers down with her own hands.” And Proverbs 2:18, “For her path sinks down to death, / and her footsteps lead to the shades.” This Woman of Folly is becoming more of a reality in our world, where the virtues of motherhood are lambasted by feminists and the media, and where many would not hesitate to abort their children or euthanize their own parents.
Pope John Paul II recognized how these crimes against life would “poison human society,” saying that, “they do more harm to those who practice them than to those who suffer from the injury.” The practice, promotion, and normalization of abortion and contraception is both the effect and the cause of a universal darkening of conscience. As stated in Evangelium Vitae, “The moral conscience, both individual and social, is today subjected… to an extremely serious and mortal danger: that of confusion between good and evil.” Owing to the terminology used in public media, politics and health facilities, what was once considered a crime is now considered a right. Not only has the public conscience been blinded with regard to the dignity of life, but in all other areas affected by the trends of radical feminism, such as purity and virginity. This can be seen in countless examples of the people American society holds up as the paragon of culture. Just recently, at the 63rd GRAMMY Awards Show, singer Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion were applauded in front of the world for their performance of WAP, in which they simulated lesbian sex while singing the explicit song on top of a giant bed. Another disturbing example is singer Lil Nas X’s creation of “Satan Shoes” which reportedly “contain a drop of real human blood mixed into the red ink sloshing around inside the air bubble.” Even more alarming is the fact that all 666 pairs sold out in less than a minute, at the price of $1,018 each. While explicit and disturbing events such as these are receiving mass media attention, many conservatives are being “censored” or banned completely from social media. In fact, Carrie Gress’s The Anti-Mary Exposed has been banned from Facebook and Instagram as of January 2021.
Perhaps the only cure to this cultural darkening is an imitation of the virtues of Our Lady. St. John Paul II wrote, “The one who accepted ‘Life’ in the name of all and for the sake of all was Mary, the Virgin Mother; she is thus most closely and personally associated with the Gospel of life.” Our Lady was the only human to ever be both a virgin and a mother, showing the sacred character of both purity and fertility in a woman’s soul. In Scripture, the greeting of Our Lady and Elizabeth embodies a rejoicing and “eager expectation of life” from the moment of its conception. Our Lady experienced a deep peace and joy in welcoming Christ, which flowed from her humble trust in God. Hence, Evangelium Vitae states that Mary is “the incomparable model of how life should be welcomed and cared for.”
One particular way in which the culture of death can be fought is, ironically, by recalling the value of suffering. Pope John Paul II states that when suffering is seen only as a burden and “rejected as useless”, then in situations in which suffering cannot be avoided, “life appears to have lost all meaning and the temptation grows in man to claim the right to suppress it.” Our Lady shows the value of suffering through her entire “yes” to God at the Annunciation, offering all that she has and is for God’s will. As stated by the Dominican Father, Gerald Vann, “So to Mary in her stillness comes the announcement which is to summons to both suffering and glory… her vocation henceforth is to live and work and suffer for the fulfilment of his vocation.” A common argument in defence of abortion and contraception contends that if the child is going to suffer on earth, it might be better that he’s never born. Mary proves this argument wrong, for it was through her suffering as she stood at the foot of her son’s cross, that she was able to participate in the greatest act of salvation. It was then that Christ spoke the words “Woman, behold, your son.” And henceforth, at the moment of her greatest suffering, Mary became the mother of all the living.
When the Pill was created by John Rock, he expected to see it become a remedy to familial stress – simply allowing for an easier practice of the rhythm method. However, Pope Paul VI recognized the true and evil nature of this contraceptive. In his encyclical, Pope Paul wrote to warn of how the use of the Pill would contribute to the defilement of human society. However, the work of the radical feminists of the 60s, particularly Kate Millet and her followers, caused the pill to be seen as a woman’s right and the key to freedom from the “slavery” of motherhood and family. The Pill was not only promoted in women’s study courses and literature, but it became vastly popular thanks to the work of the media. However, rather than bringing freedom, the practice of contraception has brought innumerable suffering to women and families – by attacking monogamy, respect for motherhood, and woman’s true human nature. As the attitudes of many women began to change through the influence of a perverse feminist movement, the general level of American society continued to lower. St. Pope John Paul II aptly recognized the cure to such cultural decline, especially in the area of respect for life. In order to understand how women should respond to the dignity given by God to all His creatures, made in His image, one should turn to Our Lady. For, as found in Evangelium Vitae, it is “Through her acceptance and loving care for the life of the Incarnate Word,” that “human life has been rescued from condemnation to final and eternal death.”
Bender, Marylin. (1970, July 20). Some Call Her the ‘Karl Marx’ of New Feminism. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/1970/07/20/archives/some-call-her-the-karl-marx-of-new-feminism.html.
Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopaedia (2021, January 25). Germaine Greer. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Germaine-Greer.
Greer, Germaine. The Female Eunuch. McGibbon & Kee. 1971.
Gress, Carrie. The Anti-Mary Exposed: Rescuing the Culture from Toxic Femininity. TAN Books. North Carolina, 2019.
Merritt, Matty. (2021, March 29). Lil Nas X and MSCHF Sneaker Collab is Making Everyone Mad. Morning Brew. https://www.morningbrew.com/daily/stories/2021/03/29/lil-nas-x-mschf-sneaker-collab-making-everyone-mad.
Millet, Mallory. (2014, Sept. 1). Marxist Feminism’s Ruined Lives. Frontpage. https://archives.frontpagemag.com/fpm/marxist-feminisms-ruined-lives-mallory-millett/.
PBS. The Pope Issues Humanae Vitae. American Experience. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/pill-pope-issues-humanae-vitae-human-life/.
PBS. How the Pill Works. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/pill-how-pill-works/.
Pope John Paul II. (1995). Evangelium Vitae. Vatican City. http://www.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_25031995_evangelium-vitae.html.
Pope Paul VI. (1968). Humanae Vitae. Vatican City. http://www.vatican.va/content/paul-vi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_25071968_humanae-vitae.html.
Salai, Sean, S.J. (2017, June 26). Seeking Mary in a world of crisis: A Q&A with Carrie Gress. America: The Jesuit Review. https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2017/06/26/seeking-mary-world-crisis-qa-carrie-gress.
Sheen, Fulton J. Life is Worth Living. Ignatius Press. New York, 1953.
USCCB. New American Bible Revised Edition (NABRE). Proverbs 14:1.
Westen, John-Henry. (2021, March 24). Catholic author exposes toxic femininity…and its cure. The John-Henry Westen Show. https://shows.acast.com/the-john-henry-westen-show/episodes/catholic-author-exposes-toxic-femininityand-its-cure
 Millet, Mallory. (2014, Sept. 1). Marxist Feminism’s Ruined Lives. Frontpage. https://archives.frontpagemag.com/fpm/marxist-feminisms-ruined-lives-mallory-millett/.
 Sheen, Fulton J. Life is Worth Living. Ignatius Press. New York, 1953.
 Pope Paul VI. (1968). Humanae Vitae. Vatican City. http://www.vatican.va/content/paul-vi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_25071968_humanae-vitae.html. Par. 14.
 PBS. The Pope Issues Humanae Vitae. American Experience. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/pill-pope-issues-humanae-vitae-human-life/.
 PBS. How the Pill Works. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/pill-how-pill-works/.
 Pope Paul VI. Humanae Vitae. Par. 14.
 Ibid Par. 10 and par. 1l.
 Ibid. Par. 18.
Ibid. Par. 19.
 Bender, Marylin. (1970, July 20). Some Call Her the ‘Karl Marx’ of New Feminism. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/1970/07/20/archives/some-call-her-the-karl-marx-of-new-feminism.html.
 Humanae Vitae. Par. 12.
 Millet, Mallory. https://archives.frontpagemag.com/fpm/marxist-feminisms-ruined-lives-mallory-millett/.
 Pope John Paul II. (1995). Evangelium Vitae. Vatican City. http://www.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_25031995_evangelium-vitae.html. Par. 23.
 Humanae Vitae. Par. 17
 Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopaedia (2021, January 25). Germaine Greer. .https://www.britannica.com/biography/Germaine-Greer.
 Greer, Germaine. The Female Eunuch. McGibbon & Kee. 1971.
 Millet, Mallory. https://archives.frontpagemag.com/fpm/marxist-feminisms-ruined-lives-mallory-millett/.
 Salai, Sean, S.J. (2017, June 26). Seeking Mary in a world of crisis: A Q&A with Carrie Gress. America: The Jesuit Review. https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2017/06/26/seeking-mary-world-crisis-qa-carrie-gress.
 Gress, Carrie. The Anti-Mary Exposed: Rescuing the Culture from Toxic Femininity. TAN Books. North Carolina, 2019. Page 34.
 USCCB. New American Bible Revised Edition (NABRE). Proverbs 14:1.
 NABRE. Proverbs 2:18.
 Evangelium Vitae. Par. 3.
 Evangelium Vitae. Par. 24. (Italics added.)
 Evangelium Vitae. Par. 11
 Merritt, Matty. (2021, March 29). Lil Nas X and MSCHF Sneaker Collab is Making Everyone Mad. Morning Brew. https://www.morningbrew.com/daily/stories/2021/03/29/lil-nas-x-mschf-sneaker-collab-making-everyone-mad.
 Westen, John-Henry. (2021, March 24). Catholic author exposes toxic femininity…and its cure. The John-Henry Westen Show. https://shows.acast.com/the-john-henry-westen-show/episodes/catholic-author-exposes-toxic-femininityand-its-cure.
 Evangelium Vitae. Par. 102.
 Evangelium Vitae. Par. 45.
 Evangelium Vitae. Par. 102.
 Evangelium Vitae. Par. 23.
 The Anti-Mary Exposed. Page 125.
 NABRE. John 19:26.
 Evangelium Vitae. Par. 102.