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The Role of the Christian Family in the Brave New World
There is surely no more important time in the history of the Church when catechesis on the family needs to be carried out. In this article, Dr William Newton takes us back to the classic catechesis of John Paul II on the family. Unfortunately, not a little of what Aldous Huxley predicted in his 1931 novel, Brave New World, has come to pass, especially in regard to the break down of sexual morality and family life. In Huxley’s brave new world, circa 2540 A.D., there is universal promiscuity as a result of social conditioning from an early age, according to the adage: “everyone belongs to everyone.” In order to prevent pregnancy – a phenomenon long since defunct and considered a subject of conversation too crude for polite society – women are encouraged to carry contraception on them at all times. This is done by promoting as fashionable the wearing of contraceptive belts, adorned with pouches containing the requisite devices. Marriage is a thing of the past; as is normal procreation. All human beings are conceived and raised in “Hatchery and Conditioning Centres.” A Catholic living in 2012 can easily sympathize with the main character of the book – John the Savage. He is the only character in the story that is shocked and bewildered by the moral degradation. Circumstances have been such that John was raised outside the new world order and only introduced at as a young adult. For him, this brave new world is a world gone mad. For us, something like a share in John’s bewilderment comes from the fact that in 2012 (let alone 2540) we experience a similar moral vacuum. In my own country, the United Kingdom (quite typical of Europe), nearly 85% of couples who eventually marry (and an increasing number never do) cohabit before their wedding, 44% of children are born outside marriage, and 66% of the population think there is no difference between marriage and cohabitation. Of course, it would be an exaggeration to say that things in modern day Britain or Europe are quite as bad as in Huxley’s Britain of 2540. Certainly, we have IVF and we have State imposed amoral sex education, but this is not quite as bad or extensive as Huxely’s vision of the ubiquitous Hatchery and Conditioning Centres. One might ask why things are not as bad. I am confident that fallen human nature is certainly capable of going all the way with Huxley’s vision. So, is it just a matter of time? After all we have another five hundred years to go before we arrive at 2540.