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Catholic Education Daily


Franciscan University Speaker Dispels Myths of the Sexual Revolution

The best way to defend Catholic teaching on contraception is to remain on the offense and utilize secular statistics, Adam and Eve After the Pill author Mary Eberstadt told an audience gathered earlier this semester at Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Eberstadt emphasized that contraception and its consequences are not “just a Catholic thing.”

“There’s a lot of misconception and ill will out there in the secular universe, particularly toward the Catholic Church. The sexual revolution and its repercussions are an everybody thing,” Eberstadt said.

Eberstadt became intrigued by the sexual revolution while doing research for an article she was writing on Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical, Humane Vitae. From her research Eberstadt developed extensive arguments rooted in studies conducted by secular scholars that supports Humane Vitae’s teachings. This, she said, is the key for engaging society in this topic.

“The sexual revolution has had a … sometimes catastrophically negative fallout for men, women, and children across the globe, and the secular world remains indignantly ignorant … (and) in denial about that fallout, even as the secular evidence continues to mount,” she said during her talk.

Eberstadt presented myths created by the sexual revolution and reasons why the information presented in those myths is false. For example, she said, the argument that women are happier while on birth control is flawed, because there is increasing evidence that women complain more about their lifestyle - about men, marriage, their job - when on the pill.

“This is not the language of people who have been liberated,” she said. “It is the language of people who have given up on human relationships. It is the language of defeat and unhappiness.”

There is hope, though, in the notion that the sexual revolution is not a permanent fixture of society.

“History is littered with movements that claimed inevitability for themselves and that are now as outdated as typewriters and telephone extension cords,” said Eberstadt. “No social movement gets a special dispensation from history, no matter how badly some people might want it to.”

Eberstadt’s talk was part of Franciscan University’s 2013 Distinguished Speakers Series, which hosts leaders whose integration of their faith and public life inspire the next generation to be a transforming presence in the Catholic Church and society. 

For a full-length video of Mary Eberstadt’s talk, plus presentations by many other Franciscan University speakers, visit, select ‘Channels,’ then ‘Toward a Culture of Life.’

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