Follow the Science! by Fr. Blaise Berg, STD

June 2, 2023 Article by  

Follow the science! More than any other time in the history of the big wide world do we seem to adhere to this “sacred” dictum. Adhere to science we do, as long as it fits our apparent “sacred” needs. But when science reveals something that we do not like, for example, when it means we have to change our behavior, we find it convenient to ignore it. Let’s look at a few examples of how science has revealed some important facts about our bodies and our fertility. Two examples are presented in this issue of CANFP News. First, as Dr. Thomas Cavanaugh points out in his article, IUD’s work in three ways: two of which are contraceptive and a third which is abortifacient. Perhaps, most users of IUD’s are under the impression that the science tells them that IUD’s do not destroy human life; they only impede it. Yet, science tells us otherwise. The IUD can kill the fertilized egg. Thus, it causes the death of babies. Second, in her article, Sheila St. John reports that recently the American Medical Association has gone on the record to state that hormonal birth control and IUD’s increase the risk of breast cancer. Most NFPer’s have known this for decades. But to be given an official “scientific stamp of approval” by the AMA is a big deal. Does that mean that folks should stop using hormonal birth control and IUD’s? God forbid, we should change our behavior! No, as Sheila points out in her article, some doctors recommend that one stay the course, even if it means shortening one’s life, or more accurately a mother’s life. Thus, we have another “sacred” dictum: sacrificing the lives of children and shortening the lives of mothers is necessary so that we can continue to live the way we want.

I offer a third example. Recently, in Palo Alto, I attended a screening of the film, “The Detransition Diaries: Saving Our Sisters” Jennifer Lahl (a featured speaker at our 2015 CANFP Conference in San Francisco), President of the Center for Bioethics and Culture Network (CBC), Kallie Fell and Kirstin Wallace, also on staff at the CBC, were on hand for Q&A after the showing. “Saving Our Sisters” is a documentary which describes the journeys of three woman who thought they could solve their apparent challenges with gender dysphoria through medical prescriptions and even surgery. One of the women even had “top surgery” (a double mastectomy). In response to one question, Jennifer Lahl observed that the medical profession should not be carrying out amputations of completely healthy body parts. The rush to use medical treatments and surgeries to address a challenge that could be met through less invasive methods such as counseling seems to be the result of a rather convoluted understanding of the available scientific data, such as evidence that individuals experience just as much trauma post-transition as they do in the pre-transition period.

Follow the science! Yes, sure, science is important. But it is not the end all, be all. As a religious leader and a Catholic priest, I cannot help but point to the Creator and Redeemer of Science: the God who created us, sustains us in being and redeemed us through His Son. Only when we have a proper understanding of God’s Divine Order of all creation, and especially, of the human body and soul, can science take its rightful place in that order. That’s what NFP is all about, and that’s what CANFP strives to promote.

Fr. Blaise Berg, STD, President of CANFP, and Assistant Professor of Dogmatics at St. Patrick’s Seminary, in Menlo Park, CA., has served on the Executive Board of CANFP since 2003.