Christians, Contraception, and the Curse of the Coven

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Here's the introduction of a rather large essay John Pacheco and I have written for Challenge Magazine - an orthodox Catholic Canadian monthly - in which we demonstrate the historical and theological link between contraception and witchcraft:

Protestant fundamentalists often refer to their beliefs as That Ol’Time Religion. This is somewhat amusing from a Catholic perspective. After all, protestant fundamentalism is a relatively recent phenomena when compared to the age of the Catholic Church.

Nevertheless, one should never confuse That Ol’Time Religion with The Old Religion. The latter is an expression used by practitioners of wicca, paganism and witchcraft to refer to their particular belief system. Practitioners of That Ol’Time Religion and practitioners of The Old Religion would have one believe that their two religions oppose one another.

This holds true until one comes to the practice of contraception. Protestant fundamentalists who defend the use of contraception among married couples include such notables as Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family and Tim LaHaye who co-authored the Left Behind series. Not surprisingly, Dobson also sees the practice of masturbation among teenagers as harmless while LaHaye reportedly sees no biblical injunction against oral sex.

This is no coincidence; like contraceptive sex, both masturbation and oral sex are sterile sex acts. They separate the physical pleasure of sexual intimacy from the natural consequences of the act. They deny the married couple’s blessing of becoming co-creators with God. Their highest goal is the immediate physical gratification of those who practice them.

Sexual Gratification and the Occult

This philosophy is no different than that of Raymond Buckland, the author of several books on witchcraft and a disciple of Gerald Gardiner (the father of modern witchcraft). In Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft, the author’s best-selling introduction to the practices of modern witchcraft, Buckland provides a rather substantial entry describing what modern occultists call “Sex Magick”.

“This is one of the most potent forms of magick,” Buckland writes, “for here were are dealing very much with the life forces. Dr. Jonn Mumford, in Sexual Occultism, states the most important psycho-physiological event, in the life of a human, is the orgasm. Sex Magick is the art of using the orgasm - indeed, the whole sexual experience - for magickal purposes.”

For Buckland, sexual intercourse is about pleasure and power rather than procreation. “The sex act is obviously the best possible, and most natural way of generating the power we need for magick,” Buckland writes. Quoting Mumford, he then adds: “The firming modality, be it masturbation, homosexuality, or heterosexuality, is irrelevent. Only the end result (orgasm) is important and any form of sexual behavior is but a means to an end.”

Buckland mocks Catholic teaching on human sexuality as “early Christian propaganda,” then lists several alternatives to natural intercourse. “One alternative is mutual masturbation,” Buckland writes. “Another is oral sex. [...] Oral sex can be especially suitable, of course, when all chances of pregnancy must be eliminated.” Buckland recommends masturbation “for the solitary witch”. In other words, once marriage is neutralized within the equation, witches and fundamentalist protestants are not as far apart in their sexual theology as one would first imagine.

Catholic Teaching and the Natural Law

In contrast to the sterile teaching of That Ol’Time Religion and The Old Religion, the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) reminds us in article 1652: “By its very nature the institution of marriage and married love is ordered to the procreation and education of the offspring and it is in them that it finds its crowing glory.”

“Children are the supreme gift of marriage and contribute greatly to the good of the parents themselves,” the CCC continues. “God Himself said: ‘It is not good that man should be alone,’ and ‘from the beginning [He] made them male and female’; wishing to associate them in a special way in his own creative work, God blessed man and woman with the words: ‘Be fruitful and multiply.’ Hence true married love and the whole structure of family life which results from it, without diminishment of the other ends of marriage, are directed to disposing the spouses to cooperate valiantly with the love of the Creator and Savior, who through them will increase and enrich His family from day to day.”

This Catholic teaching seems rather novel in today’s world, however, at one time it was the common teaching of all Christians. Even the founders of protestantism vigorously condemned contraception and Onan’s spilling of his seed in the Old Testament.

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protestant fundamentalism is a relatively recent phenomena when compared to the age of the Catholic Church

The same goes for the neo-paganism you reference: it seems to be an early 20th-century invention. I suspect it comes from Romantic fascination with the exotic, identification with nature, and longing for a distant past.

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This page contains a single entry by Pete Vere published on January 8, 2007 12:50 PM.

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