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Table of contents
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.1
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.2
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.3
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.4
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.5
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.6
FOOTNOTES
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.1
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.2
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.3
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.4
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.5
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.6
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.7
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.8
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.9
MARRIAGE-10.1
MARRIAGE-10.2
MARRIAGE-10.3
MARRIAGE-10.4
MARRIAGE-10.5
MARRIAGE-10.6
MARRIAGE-10.7
MARRIAGE-10.8
MARRIAGE-10.9
MARRIAGE-10.10
MARRIAGE-10.11
MARRIAGE-10.12
FOOTNOTES
THE ART OF LOVE-11.1
THE ART OF LOVE-11.2
THE ART OF LOVE-11.3
THE ART OF LOVE-11.4
THE ART OF LOVE-11.5
THE ART OF LOVE-11.6
THE ART OF LOVE-11.7
THE ART OF LOVE-11.8
THE ART OF LOVE-11.9
THE ART OF LOVE-11.10
THE ART OF LOVE-11.11
FOOTNOTES
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.1
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.2
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.3
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.4
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.5
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.6
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.7
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.8
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.9
FOOTNOTES
INDEX OF AUTHORS

 

 

What is true of Great Britain is true of all other civilized 

countries, in the highest degree true of the most civilized 

countries, and it finds expression in the well-known phenomenon 

of the decline of the birthrate. In modern times, this movement 

of decline began in France, producing a slow but steady 

diminution in the annual number of births, and in France the 

movement seems now to be almost, or quite, arrested. But it has 

since taken place in all other progressive countries, notably in 

the United States, in Canada, in Australia, and in New Zealand, 

as well as in Germany, Austro-Hungary, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, 

Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. In England, it has 

been continuous since 1877. Of the great countries, Russia is 

the only one in which it has not yet taken place, and among the 

masses of the Russian population we find less education, more 

poverty, a higher deathrate, and a greater amount of disease, 

than in any other great, or even small, civilized country. 

 

It is sometimes said, indeed, that the decline of the birthrate 

is not entirely due to the voluntary control of procreation. It 

is undoubtedly true that certain other elements, common under 

civilized conditions, such as the postponement of marriage in 

women to a comparatively late age, tend to diminish the size of 

the family. But when all such allowances have been made, the 

decline is still found to be real and large. This has been shown, 

for instance, by the statistical analyses made by Arthur 

Newsholme and T.H.C. Stevenson, and by G. Yule, both published in 

_Journal Royal Statistical Society_, April, 1906. 

 

Some have supposed that, since the Catholic Church forbids 

incomplete sexual intercourse, this movement for the control of 

procreation will involve a relatively much greater increase among 

Catholic than among non-Catholic populations. This, however, is 

only correct under certain conditions. It is quite true that in 

Ireland there has been no fall in the birthrate, and that the 

fall is but little marked in those Lancashire towns which possess 

a large Irish element. But in Belgium, Italy, Spain, and other 

mainly Catholic countries, the decline in the birthrate is duly 

taking place. What has happened is that the Church--always alive 

to sexual questions--has realized the importance of the modern 

movement, and has adapted herself to it, by proclaiming to her 

more ignorant and uneducated children that incomplete intercourse 

is a deadly sin, while at the same time refraining from making 

inquiries into this matter among her more educated members. The 

question was definitely brought up for Papal judgment, in 1842, 

by Bishop Bouvier of Le Mans, who stated the matter very clearly, 

representing to the Pope (Gregory XVI) that the prevention of 

conception was becoming very common, and that to treat it as a 

deadly sin merely resulted in driving the penitent away from 

confession. After mature consideration, the Curia Sacra 

Poenitentiaria replied by pointing out, as regards the common 

method of withdrawal before emission, that since it was due to 

the wrong act of the man, the woman who has been forced by her 

husband to consent to it, has committed no sin. Further, the 

Bishop was reminded of the wise dictum of Liguori, "the most 

learned and experienced man in these matters," that the confessor 

is not usually called upon to make inquiry upon so delicate a 

matter as the _debitum conjugale_, and, if his opinion is not 


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