Apropos of this post, the Times has an article recounting Cardinal Cushing’s role in the battle to legalize contraception in Massachusetts back in the 1960s. Legalization at that time meant just for married couple over the age of 21, but the battle was basically won (the Supreme Court struck down the restriction on contraception for unmarried couples in 1972, according to the article). And Cushing’s position seems to me to have been precisely right: in a plurastic democracy, one group shouldn’t seek to impose its moral views on the rest of society.
I came of age in the 1960s, and it seemed for a while back then as if the world was headed in the right direction, with the Vatican Council and the Civil Rights Act and Medicare. As a knee-jerk liberal even back then, I thought all these things were obvious benefits to humanity. But, being young and stupid, I saw no reason why things couldn’t continue along the same course.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks that the world (and, in particular, the Catholic Church) has swerved in the wrong direction since then.