Those Darling Buds Are Here Again

The thing about spring is you forget how great it’s going to be. Life can be a drag. Winters can overstay. But spring is about hope, and hope is the thing that pokes its way out of a robin’s egg.

We take family walks. By the pond in the cemetery we happen upon a pair of turtles that are, um, trying to start their own family. I turn it into a teaching moment, but biology isn’t my best subject. The best I can do is sing.

“It’s a fact, it’s natural, everything is satisfactual.”

My kids have age-appropriate understandings of how baby turtles get made. They also know that nature isn’t only trees, streams, and four-leggedy things. People live here. We are the world, as the old song goes, not a thing apart.

This might not seem like prologue to a discussion of contraception, but it is. It has to be. The birds and the bees don’t do what humans do. They don’t interrupt the cycle. They don’t rewrite natural law. They don’t dream up ways to “terminate” their offspring.

Only we do that. Strange birds we are.

A few years back the media gleefully noted the 50th anniversary of the birth-control pill. This year is the 50th anniversary of the Catholic Church’s response.

Talk about a hot summer. From Paris to Chicago to Los Angeles to Saigon the world was on fire in 1968. In parts of the culture the embers still glow.

Against the backdrop of sexual revolution the Church made the truly rebellious choice to affirm its traditional teaching on the nature and purpose of sex. It wasn’t popular in 1968, and it isn’t popular today. The culture wants what cannot be—consequence-free conjugation. It doesn’t exist.

Ask the birds. Ask the bees. Ask the turtles. Ask the breeze.

Non-Catholics have the impression that every Sunday papists get a brimstone sermon on so-called social issues: the evils of promiscuity, divorce, abortion, contraception, and embryonic stem cells. You and I both know that most homilies are not that.

Next month the Basilica of St. John in Stamford will host a conference on Humanae Vitae. It’ll be a rare opportunity to hear smart people explain what the encyclical actually says—and means.

The legacy of 1968 is our oversexed culture. All of it sends the same message: sexual exploration is the route to self-realization; restraint is the route to self-harm. Children are portrayed as a burden rather than a gift. Faithfulness is equated with a lack of imagination.

Go all the way, then go further. Tonight’s gonna be a good, good night.

What gets left out is how great marriage is, how happy children will make you. It’s not easy, of course, to live right and do right, but no honest person would say that it is. The right thing and the hardest thing are often the same thing.

The wreckage is everywhere. Violent and perverted scandals in the news. Look at Washington, D.C. Look at Hollywood. Look what’s become of us.

I don’t see how anyone can argue that 50 years of permanent sexual revolution has left the country better off. Why deny the obvious?

It goes without saying that I’m a prude. I’m a dinosaur. I know people like me get called worse names than that. But I’m doing everything I can to teach my kids that they are loved by God and they don’t need to go along or get along to get to heaven.

I’ll keep doing it until I breathe my last. Then they can plow me under and let the worms have me. Maybe a baby robin will eat me for breakfast one day.

Won’t that be satisfactual.