On the night of my last full day on Facebook (yep, I quit it!), I jumped into (and immediately out of) a contentious debate on Abby Johnson's page. I only left one comment and then scurried away forever, but I had to get in that word.
Abby, former Planned Parenthood director and author of Unplanned, had reminded her (mostly pro-life) readers that not only can the Pill act as an abortifacient, but its routine use for treating menstrual disorders and other pathologies is ill-advised and even dangerous to a woman's health (the Pill can cause life-threatening conditions and is a Group 1 carcinogen according to the World Health Organization). Abby went on to say that there are always better means of addressing women's health issues, including treatments offered through NaPro Technology*.
Several commenters went into attack mode then, defending the use of the Pill for treating all kinds of female problems. They simply could not live without the Pill, they said, to get relief from their endometriosis, menstrual dysfunction, debilitating pain from ovarian cysts, etc. These pro-life women were angry, and they were standing by their Pill.
The quick comment I added to the thread simply reiterated Abby's point. The Pill only masks symptoms, it doesn't address or cure the underlying pathology. It doesn't restore a woman's health. Women who have disorders of the reproductive organs and cycle, I wrote, should look to NaPro or other medical interventions to identify and actually fix their disorders.
I want to be clear: There is nothing inherently immoral about taking the Pill to ease the symptoms of a disorder. But while swallowing a pill to cover up symptoms is easy, women are left living with the same pathology in the end. By contrast, curing the disease or addressing the disorder at its root is much more difficult: It requires more personal care, more thought, more individual strategy, and often tedious, time-consuming work -- lab work, months of hormone panels, even surgery. But the end result is restored health and wholeness.
The choice seems obvious, but sadly most women don't get this choice, as these days the Pill seems to be the only tool in most doctors' toolboxes.
I used to talk a lot about this sort of thing when my audience and interest was largely the Catholic infertility bloggers (man, do they know a lot about true reproductive health, women's issues, fertility, and NaPro!), but up until now I never thought about how this concept of masking vs. healing the disorders of the body applies to how the Church deals with the whole human person, body and soul.
We've talked about the physical, but it's true of the emotional and spiritual planes, too, isn't it? We love the quick fix to mask our existential pain, pleasure-seeking to make us forget our despair and loneliness, the avoidance of suffering at all costs. Masking the pain seems so much easier than working to fix the underlying problems in our fallen, sinful selves, and for a while it is easier. But as with the Pill, we are ultimately left with the same pathology in the end, only this time it's our soul that remains sick.
The Church's approach is so different from the world's! The Church wants to heal, not mask, and to restore integrity of body and soul. To walk the way of Christ is to take the long view and the narrow road (with a cross on one's back). It's tedious to set things right, it's laborious to make things work according to their nature, and it's painful to bring order out of disorder. It takes heroic virtue and sacrificial love fueled by the grace of the Sacraments, and it is the work of a lifetime.
Christ, the Divine Physician, warns that the process will hurt, but that in the end, we will be completely healed, whole and holy.
Body and soul, I'll take the real cure over a mask any day.
|Jesus Christ, the Divine Physician|
*Aesthetically speaking, NaPro has the worst website, painful to the eyes, and I keep praying that someone will make it attractive and appealing. Even the best product or service in the world needs to be presented beautifully in order to be well-received! Sigh. That said, please don't let the schlockiness of the website fool or deter you. NaPro is legitimate and effective modern medicine.