Film screening shows conflicting cultures of sexual revolution and “Humanae Vitae”


Photo by: Monica Torreblanca

On the evening of Thursday, Jan. 24, in the Gentile Gallery, approximately 50 students gathered to watch a screening of a new film discussing the cultural effects of the sexual revolution and the papal encyclical “Humanae Vitae.”

The night began with the screening of the film, entitled “Sexual Revolution,” which traced the history of the sexual revolution and showed the problems that arose therefrom.

Alana Newman, creator and subject of the film, originally began this project to document her journey of finding her biological father. However, it quickly became a bigger project when she was inspired to delve deeper into examining the importance of parental presence. This led her to investigate the sexual revolution that began around 50 years ago.

Tracing the revolution back to its very beginning in the 1960s, Newman’s film follows the proceedings of two conflicting cultures: “free sex” versus “Humanae Vitae.” The film shifts back and forth between the development of the organic Billings Ovulation Method by John and Evelyn Billings and the development of artificial contraception by Gregory Pincus and Margaret Sanger.

While artificial contraceptives do pose numerous health risks, Newman argued that the consequences of these drugs go far beyond the physical and medical risks. She attributed the massive increase in divorce, family instability and single parenthood to artificial contraception.

Newman, along with several scientists, doctors, priests and theologians interviewed in the film, commented on how the sexual revolution attempted to break women free of the “bonds of fertility” but instead broke the bonds between love, marriage, sex and children.

Following the screening of the film, Newman performed her original song “Doctor, Doctor,” created in honor of Billings and Pope Pius VI.

Students responded with a renewed interest and determination to fight against the “free sex” culture. Sophomore Patrick Quinlan said that the film “illuminated the importance of fertility in connection with the human heart.” Quinlan also commented that Newman’s presentation has inspired him to do more in support of the “Humanae Vitae” culture.

“It is hard to tell stories like this,” Newman said, “but you can be proud to be Catholic. Our people are good people, and they love women, and they love children.”

Franciscan University of Steubenville’s Center for Bioethics hosted the screening of “Sexual Revolution.” Along with Newman, director Daniel DiSilva was also present for the screening.

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