In Spring a young man’s fancy turns to…. vasectomies??
You may have seen something of this in the news this week. Apparently, some urologists have noted as much as a 50% increase in the number of vasectomies scheduled during or just before NCAA basketball’s MARCH MADNESS tournament.
The reasoning is this: If you’re going to be lounging around on the couch for a couple of days anyway, eyes glued to the television screen watching college basketball, why not have that vasectomy you’ve been thinking about?
One clinic—Urology Limited of Elgin, Illinois—has even advertised a new clinical promotion this week, offering what they term a “3-Point Shot Plan”. The Plan includes one vasectomy, one free pizza, and one weekend excuse to watch college basketball.
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The American Urological Association reports that the vasectomy is one of the most common birth control methods, after condoms, hormonal methods and tubal ligation. With roughly 500,000 performed each year across America, a vasectomy is a fairly simple procedure, typically taking only 15 to 20 minutes.
The procedure involves cutting and sealing the vas deferentia, also called the ductus deferentia—two thick-walled tubes in the male reproductive system that transport sperm from the epididymis, where they are stored prior to ejaculation. After the surgery, men are advised to limit their activity and to rest for one or two days before resuming normal activity.
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So, our contemporary culture asks, if you feel that your family is just the right size, and if you’re going to be sitting around on the couch all weekend anyway, why not just take this opportunity to get yourself “fixed” so that you don’t have to worry about condoms or birth control pills?
Well, here’s one reason: The Catholic Church teaches that vasectomies, like other forms of intentional birth control, are always sinful. Instead, married couples are asked to allow God to be God—to welcome His gift of new life, according to his plan. In some cases, a couple may determine that for good reasons (such as health, financial concerns, or family size), they may for a time prefer not to bring another child into the world. For those couples who, after prayer, determine that God is not calling them to have another child at this time, Natural Family Planning (NFP) is a suitable alternative to surgical or chemical birth control.
What makes NFP different from those other methods of pregnancy prevention? NFP is based on observation of the naturally occurring signs and symptoms of the fertile and infertile phases of a woman’s menstrual cycle. Couples using NFP to avoid pregnancy abstain from intercourse and genital contact during the fertile phase of the woman’s cycle. No drugs, devices, or surgical procedures are used to avoid pregnancy.
NFP reflects the dignity of the human person within the context of marriage and family life, promotes openness to life, and recognizes the value of the child. By respecting the love-giving and life-giving natures of marriage, NFP can enrich the bond between husband and wife.
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But don’t take my word for it.
Pope Paul VI, in his landmark encyclical Humanae Vitae, explained that the Church always opposes actions which prevent procreation:
“. . .the direct interruption of the generative process already begun and, above all, all direct abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children . . . Similarly excluded is 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.” (Humanae Vitae)
The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains the objection to sterilization or contraception another way:
“The regulation of births represents one of the aspects of responsible fatherhood and motherhood. Legitimate intentions on the part of the spouses do not justify recourse to morally unacceptable means (for example, direct sterilization or contraception).” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2399)
And Pope John Paul II, quoted in L’Osservatore Romano in 1983, said,
“Contraception is to be judged so profoundly unlawful as to be never, for any reason, justified. To think or to say the contrary is equal to maintaining that in human life, situations may arise in which it is lawful not to recognize God as God.” (Pope John Paul II, L’Osservatore Romano, October, 10, 1983)
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So who are the Really Manly Men to whom I refer in the title?
Oh, that’s easy:
- Really Manly Men are the men who love their wives enough to seek their good, and not to lead them into sexual sin by encouraging or forcing contraception upon them.
- They are the men who see God in His creation, and most especially in His most precious creation, a child—and who stand up to the challenge of raising up children for the Lord. Really Manly Men are not afraid to say “yes”, to learn about the reasons for the Church’s seemingly difficult teachings.
- Really Manly Men love their wives and their children, more than they love their own sexual gratification.