In the early 1960s, two very different regimes attempted to remake humanity:
Still, the revolution was most astonishing not for its radical redistribution of wealth and resources, its abolition of most forms of private property, or its successful confrontation with the empire at its very doorstep. Its deepest ambition went further: to completely reform the individual. Thus the Cuban Revolution promised nothing less than the reinvention of humankind. The revolutionary leadership envisioned the creation of a “new man,” one tirelessly dedicated to the collective rather than driven by individual seIf interest.
–Revolution within the Revolution, Michelle Chase.
When Pope John XXIII convened the Second Vatican Council in 1962, bishops from many parts of the world hoped that the church would finally change its doctrine and allow priests to marry. But John XXIII died before the council finished its work, which was then overseen by his successor, Paul VI (one of the popes most strongly rumored to have been gay). Paul apparently felt that the sweeping reforms of Vatican II risked going too far, so he rejected the pleas for priestly marriage and issued his famous encyclical Humanae Vitae, which banned contraception, overriding a commission he had convened that concluded that family planning and contraception were not inconsistent with Catholic doctrine.
Opposing priestly marriage and contraception placed the church on the conservative side of the sexual revolution and made adherence to strict sexual norms a litmus test for being a good Catholic, at a time when customs were moving rapidly in the other direction…
The obsession with enforcing unenforceable standards of sexual continence that run contrary to human nature (according to one study, 95 percent of priests report that they masturbate) has led to an extremely unhealthy atmosphere within the modern church that contributed greatly to the sexual abuse crisis.
–The Sins of Celibacy, Alexander Stille
Both projects are modern, though they invoke the future and the past as justification.
They are examples of what Michel Foucault has described as biopower:
During the classical period, there was a rapid development of various disciplines—universities, secondary schools, barracks, workshops; there was also the emergence, in the field of political practices and economic observation, of the problems of birthrate, longevity, public health, housing, and migration. Hence there was an explosion of numerous and diverse techniques for achieving the subjugation of bodies and the control of populations, marking the beginning of an era of “bio power.”