When Benedict gave his now infamous "gays and rain forests" speech, I wrote that the new framework for presenting natural law sexuality would be phrased in ecological terms. I saw this as an effort to blend Church teaching on sexuality and gender with the green movement in order to justify it to younger generations. Since then the message has been consistent. Benedict again mentioned this notion of human ecology in his January 1st Message For The World Day of Peace. And in spite of all the flack Reuters has taken for their interpretation of the Rain Forest speech, the Vatican has not attempted to correct Reuters interpretation. That too is telling.
As suspicious of Vatican motives as I am, even I was not prepared for this latest ecological salvo:
The contraceptive pill is polluting the environment and is in part responsible for male infertility, a report in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano said Saturday.
The pill "has for some years had devastating effects on the environment by releasing tonnes of hormones into nature" through female urine, said Pedro Jose Maria Simon Castellvi, president of the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations, in the report. (Wow, I guess we women better stop peeing, or start disposing of our urine in some toxic waste dump.)
"We have sufficient evidence to state that a non-negligible cause of male infertility in the West is the environmental pollution caused by the pill," he said, without elaborating further. (You mean as in citing valid scientific studies and any collaborating evidence?)
"We are faced with a clear anti-environmental effect which demands more explanation on the part of the manufacturers," added Castellvi.
The article was promptly dismissed by several organisations. (I wonder why?)
"Once metabolised, the hormones contained in oral contraceptives no longer have any of the characteristic effects of feminine hormones," said Gianbenedetto Melis, vice-president of a contraceptive research association, quoted by the ANSA news agency.
The hormones contained in the pill such as oestrogen "are present everywhere... in plastic, in disinfectants, in meat that we eat," added Flavia Franconi, of the Society of Italian Pharmacology. (This notion is backed up with valid studies.)
Pope Benedict XVI in October reaffirmed the Roman Catholic Church's condemnation of artificial birth control. (and in December he began his human ecology/natural sexuality comparisons.)
What this Vatican article fails to mention are the real causes of male infertility and the biggest cause is the temperature with in the scrotum. Fertility experts even suggest parents not use disposable diapers on boy babies because they serve to increase the body temperature around the scrotum and decrease sperm counts. At least this makes some sense.
This is the same sort of scientific inventifacting the Church uses about porous condoms and HIV. It's not science, it's criminal fraud. If the Vatican is really worried about the very real decrease in sperm counts, they should advise men to wear boxers, stay out of hot tubs and saunas, quit smoking and stop drinking alcohol.
Oh, but that would imply men have some responsibility for their own infertility. Much better to blame it on women and the pill.