Contraception is Not the Answer

The Response to Humanae Vitae is One of the Great Tragedies of the 20th Century

By  Human Life International:

Troubling rumors have been swirling around Rome for months now about an alleged papal commission tasked with undertaking an “historical review” of Blessed Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae. Despite initial denials about the existence of the commission, it appears that a Vatican official has just confirmed that there is, in fact, such a commission at work.

Of course, it’s not inherently troubling that the Vatican should study the encyclical, which celebrates the 50th anniversary of its publication this June. Humanae Vitae, which reiterated Church teaching against artificial contraception, is both one of the most important, and also one of the most opposed, misunderstood, and least taught encyclicals in Church history.

contraception

The response to Humanae Vitae is one of the great tragedies of the 20th century Church, one which contributed mightily to ensuring the dominance of the Culture of Death. A Vatican-led study oriented towards strongly reaffirming Humanae Vitae and developing a strategy for how to better present its teaching to the faithful would be very welcome.

However, there are reasons to be concerned that this may not be the primary intent of the commission. It is no secret that ever since its publication, there has been an ongoing, concerted, and often successful campaign by many theologians and some high-level clergy and church officials to “reinterpret” Humanae Vitae.

This effort received its most dramatic backing in the “Winnipeg Statement,” the Canadian bishops’ official 1968 response to Humanae Vitae. In that statement the bishops conference gave an official wink and a nod to contraception, stating that if a couple “tried sincerely but without success to pursue a line of conduct in keeping with the given directives [of Humanae Vitae], they may be safely assured that, whoever honestly chooses that course which seems right to him does so in good conscience.”

The Winnipeg Statement, the most authoritative statement of dissent in the Church against Humanae Vitae, has never been retracted. In light of the news in Rome, many pro-life leaders are naturally nervous about what sorts of findings this new, and surprisingly secretive papal commission might arrive at. Any statement even remotely resembling the Winnipeg Statement coming from the Vatican would be disastrous for souls, families, and efforts to build a Culture of Life.

St. John Paul II’s prophetic (and timely) message

For this reason, the timing couldn’t be better for the recent publication in English, for the first time, of a prophetic speech by St. John Paul II, defending Humanae Vitae from its many detractors. I urge you to read the speech, which was delivered to a conference on “responsible procreation,” in its entirety.

John Paul II had stern words for those, including some “in the Christian community,” who would oppose the teaching of Humanae Vitae. “[T]hose who place themselves in open contrast with the law of God, authentically taught by the Church, guide spouses on a wrong path,” warned the pope. “What the Church teaches about contraception is not a matter of free discussion among theologians.”

In response to those who would argue that following Humanae Vitae in some cases is “unfeasible” for spouses, John Paul II called for greater efforts to support couples, and greater faith in the power of God’s grace. “The grace of Christ gives spouses the real capacity to fulfill the whole ‘truth,’ of their conjugal love,” he said. “As the Tradition of the Church has constantly taught, God does not command the impossible, but every commandment also entails a gift of grace which helps human freedom to fulfill it.”

The pope was sympathetic to the struggles of married couples, but also unwilling to extend to them a false compassion that was inconsistent with truth. Following the moral law can be challenging, he acknowledged. The solution is not for couples to give in to temptation or to listen to the myriad voices of the world, but rather to rise to the challenge, resorting to “constant prayer” and “frequent recourse to the sacraments and the exercise of conjugal chastity.”

“Today more than yesterday, man is again beginning to feel the need for truth and right reason in his daily experience,” the Holy Father concluded. “Always be ready to say, without ambiguity, the truth about the good and evil regarding man and the family.

In this speech the sainted pope was providing a template for authentically compassionate pastoral teaching: expressing understanding for the trials of Christians, but also standing firm in the truth, and challenging couples to holiness, rather than capitulation to the world.

Uganda’s sad experiment with contraception

Why is it that so many are so afraid of upholding the beauty of Church teaching? In these past five decades we have done little to nothing to assist young couples and families as they are assaulted by a sex-saturated, anti-marriage culture. Countless Catholics have never even heard Paul VI’s teaching about the dignity and meaning of conjugal love expressed to them with both clarity and compassion. Consequently, a large majority of Catholic couples openly reject that teaching in their conjugal relations. The practical consequences have been catastrophic.

I just experienced this in Uganda where contraception is being pushed mercilessly by powerful international NGO’s and foundations. Uganda was once a very, very rare success story in Africa in the fight against AIDS, experiencing a sharp reduction in AIDS rates throughout the 1990s. How did Uganda accomplish this extraordinary feat? By a public awareness campaign heavily stressing abstinence and faithful, monogamous relationships as the only reliable ways to avoid infection. Condoms were only presented as last resort.

This message prioritizing behavioral responsibility didn’t sit well with the sex-obsessed Western foundations and governments pouring their poisoned “aid” into the country. In response to pressure, Uganda gradually began putting a greater emphasis on sexual “freedom” and condom use for prevention. The result? The end of Uganda’s success in combating the disease, with Uganda joining the few countries seeing AIDS rates increase rather than decrease. What a tragedy!

And this is only one of the most obvious negative consequences of the decision to embrace contraception, rather than responsibility and virtue, as the answer to the complexities of human sexuality.

Contraception is not the answer

Every day the Church is being proved more right: Contraception is not an answer to poverty and economic difficulties in under developed countries; nor is it a solution to the frustrations that married couples naturally feel at times in their efforts to abide by the moral law and pursue responsible procreation.

While rejecting the truth may at times appear to offer a welcome solution to difficult or painful circumstances, experience shows the costs always outweigh the apparent benefits. Paul VI warned us of this in his encyclical. He predicted at least four significant negative consequences of embracing contraception, including: a) an increase in infidelity in marriage; b) “a general lowering of morality”; c) that men would increasingly treat women as “mere instruments of selfish enjoyment,” and; d) that governments would push coercive population control on their citizens.

Who can possibly deny that each of these consequences – and many more that even Paul VI may not have envisioned – has dramatically come true?

Where the Church should be acting as the vanguard, Her representatives too often have crumpled at the first sign of opposition, afraid of appearing not with the times or “uncompassionate.” Fortunately, however there are also courageous prelates who recognize the spiritual dangers of our contraceptive, sex-obsessed culture. One of these is Archbishop Samuel Aquila, the bishop of Denver, who recently released a pastoral letter urging priests to warn their flocks of the dangerous of contraception.

“While the 1968 reception of Humanae Vitae was mixed, the fulfillment of Blessed Paul VI’s prophetic wisdom is undeniable and points to the truth of the teaching contained in Humanae Vitae,” said the bishop. “Furthermore, those communities of faith which have gone the way of the world in their teaching on human sexuality have not filled their churches but only emptied them. As Jesus made clear in the Gospel, apart from him and his life-giving teachings, we cannot bear fruit.”

The archbishop concluded, urging his priests,”[D]o not be afraid to proclaim the truth of God’s plan for human love with gentle clarity and charity.”

Let us pray for all bishops and pastors that they may be filled with similar zeal for the truth, and love for their flock. And let us pray for the members of the Vatican’s commission, that they may strongly reaffirm Church teaching, and help the Church chart a courageous path forward, finding new ways to reach the human heart with Christ’s life-giving message of salvation, including in the contested area of human sexuality.

Bishop Rhoades Admonishes Notre Name’s Decision on Contraception Coverage

STATEMENT OF BISHOP KEVIN C. RHOADES 
REGARDING NOTRE DAME DECISION ON CONTRACEPTIVE COVERAGE 

Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades

Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades

“I strongly support the decision of the University of Notre Dame to stop the government-funded provision, through its third party administrator, of abortion-inducing drugs and sterilization procedures. I am also happy that the University will provide natural family planning services in its insurance plans. At the same time, I strongly disagree with Notre Dame’s decision to provide funding for contraception in its health insurance plans, which involves it even more directly in contributing to immoral activity. The Catholic Church clearly teaches that contraception is an immoral action that contradicts the truth of marital love.

As Bishop of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, the local Church of which Notre Dame is a part, I wish to remind all the faithful of the diocese, including the faithful who are part of the Notre Dame community, of the Church’s definitive teaching that “every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible is intrinsically evil” (Catechism of the Catholic Church #2370). I encourage all who struggle with this teaching to study prayerfully this teaching of the Church, and I especially recommend the study of the encyclical of Blessed Pope Paul VI, “Humanae Vitae,” during this 50th anniversary year of the encyclical, as well as the rich teaching of Pope Saint John Paul II in his catecheses on the “theology of the body.” Many Catholics have come to a greater understanding and appreciation of the Church’s teaching through such study and prayer.

I understand Notre Dame’s desire to respect other religious traditions and the conscientious decisions of members of the Notre Dame community on this issue. Members of the community who decide to use contraceptives, however, should not expect the university to act contrary to its Catholic beliefs by funding these contraceptives. Notre Dame bears prophetic witness to the truths of the Catholic faith in its words and actions on many issues of importance for the good of our society. Not providing funding for contraception would not be popular with some, but it would truly be a prophetic witness to the truth about human sexuality and its meaning and purpose. I hope and pray that the University will reconsider its decision.”

Canada Bishop Makes Powerful Statement

‘We Will Not Be Bullied’

The Diocese of London is telling the federal government to keep its money.

Bishop Ronald Fabbro

Bishop Ronald Fabbro, the head of the Diocese of London, has indicated Catholic churches in the region will take a stand against controversial changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program by not participating this year.

Religious groups across Canada have been speaking out over a new clause introduced in December that requires applicants of the program to sign an attestation on abortion and LGBTQ2 rights.

“I believe that we need to take a stand against the position of the Government of Canada, and say that we will not be bullied into even the appearance of collusion on this issue,” Fabbro said in a letter released Tuesday. “While others may take an alternative path, we can make a powerful statement by saying ‘no’ to the conditions as set down by the government.”

Fabbro went on to write that the Diocese is asking the government to remove or change the attestation, which he calls “a regrettable infringement of freedom of conscience and religion.”

Not-for-profit organizations, public-sector employers, and small businesses with 50 or fewer full-time employees can apply for funding to hire students through the program. But the new attestation states that their organization’s core mandate and all duties of the job be respectful of individual human rights. That includes reproductive rights, and the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

The Diocese of London, through various groups, had been planning to apply for just under $35,000 in grants from the program. Fabbro hopes churches can raise that amount of money on their own.

“Monies collected would be portioned out accordingly to those who intended to apply to the [Canada Summer Jobs] program. I am confident that we can respond to this challenge, pooling our resources to support our camps, our interns in the Archives office and in IT services, and our youth in general,” Fabbro stated.

The deadline to apply for funding through the Canada Summer Jobs program is Friday.

Discover the 6 Principles of Discerning God’s Will in Your Life

By Msgr. Charles Pope, Community in Mission:

As a priest and pastor I am often called to spend time with people as they discern the voice and the will of God in their life. I have about twenty lay people for whom I provide spiritual direction. In addition, I am sometimes approached by people who are facing a critical time in their life (e.g., a family crisis, an important career decision, discerning a vocation) and would like careful guidance as they discern the best course of action or the best decision.

Thank God that many of the faithful are actually trying to learn what He would have them do. Too many people run off and make big decisions about things such as marriage or a major career move without asking God. It is always refreshing when someone says, “What would God have me do?”

How to discern in moments like these? Are there any rules? Is there at least a structure to follow to be reasonably certain of the right course of action? Are there any ways to learn how to recognize the voice of God and distinguish it from our own voice, the voices of others, or even the voice of the devil? There are, of course.

While many great spiritual masters have written far more eloquently than I about the art of discernment, I would like to offer a few things I have learned in my own discernment and in walking with others on their journey. The list of principles I offer here is by no means complete, but I have compiled it based on my study and experience as a parish priest dealing with ordinary members of the lay faithful. For a far richer treatment of the topic of discernment I recommend Fr. Thomas Dubay’s Authenticity: A Biblical Theology of Discernment.

Let’s begin with a definition of the word discernment. Many people use discernment as a synonym for “deciding,” but it is a richer and deeper concept that, while related and antecedent to it, is distinct from it. The goal of discernment is to see beyond the external manifestations of something and to probe its deeper significance.

The word discern comes from the Latin dis (“off, or away”) + cernere (“to distinguish, separate, sift, set apart, or divide. Thus, to discern is to sort out what is of God and what is of the flesh, the world, or even the devil. Discernment is something that ought to precede a decision and aid in making it.

As we discern, either a course of action or simply whether what we think or “hear” is of God or not, we must often admit that while some things are purely from God others are admixed with things not of God, things which must be sifted or separated out.

And so we come to some basic norms or principles that I humbly offer, not as a spiritual master but as a simple parish priest. These principles are most often applicable when discerning a course of action, but many can also be applied in determining whether the promptings and urges we sense in our walk with God are truly from Him or just from us.

1.  State in life – There are many different states in life, some temporary, some long-lasting, and some permanent. We may be single, married, a priest, or a religious. We may be young or old, healthy or frail. We may be a student, a parent, a worker, a boss. We may be rich or poor. Being clear about our state in life can help us discern if a call is from God or not.

For example, a woman might sense a call to spend extended hours before the Blessed Sacrament. Of itself this is surely a fine thing, but what if she is the mother of four young children? Would God ask this of her? Probably not. Perhaps one hour would be more in keeping with her state in life. On the other hand, a single woman might be free to do this; it might even be part of her understanding her vocation to the religious life. Other things being equal, it is more likely that this call is of God in the latter case.

State in life helps to do a lot of sorting out. A priest is not going to hear from God that he should leave the priesthood and marry the woman in the front pew. A feeble, elderly man is not going to hear a call from God to walk the 500 mile El Camino de Santiago in Spain. We can be fairly certain that such notions are not of God. Calls that seem to be in keeping with one’s state in life are something to remain open to.

2.  Gifts and talents  People have different combinations of virtues, talents, gifts, and skills. In discerning the will of God regarding a course of action or accepting an offer/opportunity, we ought to carefully ponder whether it makes good sense based on our skills and talents.

God has equipped each of us better for some things than for others. I am a reasonably good teacher of adults, but I am not at all good with young children. Thus, when offered opportunities to teach or preach, I am much more open to the possibility that it is God’s will if it involves presenting to adults. If I am asked to address young children for more than a few minutes, I am quite certain that God is not asking.

In this stage of discernment, we should ask, “Is what I am being asked to do, am considering doing, or want to do, a good match for the gifts and talents God has given me? Does it make sense based on what I am equipped to do?” God doessometimes want us to try new things and discover new abilities, but it is more typical that He will ask of us things that are at least somewhat in the range of the possible based on our individual gifts.

Age can be a factor as well. Young people are often still in the process of discovering their gifts and talents and should be more open to trying new and challenging things. Older adults are more likely to discern God’s will a little closer to their current, well-known skill set.

3.  Desire – That desire can be a principle of discernment is a surprise to some people. We are often suspicious of our desires—and not without reason. When it comes to most things in the realm of moral law and doctrine, our desires and feelings are largely irrelevant and should not be used to discern God’s will. For example, that we should not commit adultery remains the clear will of God no matter how much we might desire it. That Jesus is God is true no matter how we feel.

But when it comes to deciding among various courses of action that are each good (e.g., marriage and the priesthood), feelings and desires do matter and may help to indicate God’s will. When God wants us to move in a particular direction, He often inspires in us some level of desire for it. He leads us to appreciate that what He wants for us is good, attractive, and desirable.

Therefore, learning to listen to our heart is an important method of discernment. For example, a good activity might be proposed for us to do but we feel no joy or desire to do it. Such feelings should not necessarily be dismissed as mere selfishness or laziness. It is possible that our lack of desire is a sign that it is not God’s will. On the other hand, we might experience a joy and zeal to do even things that are challenging; such desires can help us to discern that God has prepared us and wills for us to do that very thing. Hence desire is an important indicator in deciding between courses of action that are good. Ultimately God’s will for us gives joy.

4.  Organic development – This principle simply articulates that God most often moves us in stages rather than in sudden, dramatic ways. Although there are times of dramatic change, loss, and gain in the life of most people, it is more typical for God to lead us gently and in stages toward what He wills for us.

In discernment it is valuable to ask, “Does this seem to build on what God has generally been doing in my life? Is there some continuity at work if I move in this direction? Does progressing into the future in this particular way make sense based on how and where God has led me thus far?”

It is generally a good idea to exercise caution about “biggie-wow” projects and “out-of-the-blue” rapid changes. It is better to ask, “What is the best “next step” in my life?”

While sometimes “life comes at you fast,” God more often works through slow, steady, incremental growth, and asks us to be open to changes that make sense for us as the best “next step.”

5.  Serenity – When God leads us, the usual result is serenity and joy. In my own priestly life, I have at times been asked to move from one assignment to another. At such times there was great sadness, because I had to say goodbye to people I greatly loved. Yet when it was God’s will that the time had come for moving on, in spite of my sadness I also felt a deep inner peace, a serenity.

Serenity should not be underestimated as a tool for discernment, because pondering change is stressful, even frightening. Beneath the turmoil of weighing difficult decisions, we must listen carefully for a deeper serenity that signals God’s will.

If serenity is wholly lacking, if there are no consolations but only desolation, we should carefully consider the possibility that the proposed course of action is not God’s will. Amid the stress that often surrounds making important decisions, being able to sense serenity is more difficult; hence, we ought not to jump to the conclusion that serenity is lacking. Sometimes we must wait a while to sense serenity’s still, small voice. When it is present we have an important indicator that this is God’s will.

6.  Conformity to Scripture and Tradition – Some may think that this principle should be at the top of the list and you are free to put it there, but I prefer to say that the Word of God and the teachings of the Church have the last word in any decision.

One may go through the first five principles and feel quite certain of a particular course of action, but the final and most important step is to be sure that our insight or conclusion squares with the Lord’s stated revelation in Scripture and Church Teaching.

If a person were to think that God was telling him of a fourth person in the Godhead and that he should build an altar and spread devotion to this fourth person, we would rightly conclude that she was dead wrong.

God’s revelation trumps every other principle of discernment. Were a wayward priest to think that God had summoned him to found a new Church featuring more “up-to-date” teachings, it would not matter that he thought he desired it, it comported with his state in life, it matched his skills, it was an organic development for him, and it gave him serenity. Sorry, Father; you’re overruled. God is saying no such thing.

On the other hand, one might hear a call from God to be more faithful in prayer or more generous to the poor, and in response go through the five principles of discernment above before arriving at this last one. While Scripture and Church Teaching may have little to say on the method of prayer or the amount of money to be given, surely such notions are in keeping with God’s revelation and would not be overruled by it. One could confidently proceed to discerning when/how to pray or how much to give and to whom alms should best be directed.

Disclaimer – These principles should not be read as absolutes (except perhaps for the last one). They admit of limits and distinctions. They are merely principles to guide further reflection. In a brief post such as this, not everything can be fully said. You may wish to use the comment section to add some of your own thoughts and distinctions. Second, while not every principle applies to every situation, as a general rule these principles ought to be used together. It would be wrong to apply just one principle and think discernment complete. In general, they are all part of a process and their evidence should be considered collectively.

Contraception: Planned Parenthood’s Little Baby

Father Acervo’s Corner:

One could say that 1968 was a memorable year (I say this as one who had not been born yet).  Locally, it was the year that the Tigers beat the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games to win the World Series.  This might be a nice memory to hold on to during what could be a tough season for our baseball club!  In the Church, 1968 was the year that Pope Paul VI wrote his Encyclical Letter Humanae Vitae(“Of Human Life”).  This letter sent shockwaves in the Church throughout the world and continues to do so fifty years later.  From the moment that it was promulgated, Humanae Vitae was mocked and derided as “controversial” and “divisive”.  It was rejected by many even in the Church.  Many clergy refused or were afraid to preach on it. Today, there are still dissenters even within the Church who call it “outdated”.  We need to pray that the pope won’t succumb to any calls to “update” Paul VI’s encyclical which affirms the Church’s unchangeable teaching on the transmission of human life.  So where are we now fifty years later?

Unfortunately, contraception has become the norm in our modern culture.  It wasn’t always that way.  As recently as the early part of the 20th century, contraception was almost universally acknowledged as immoral.  Even those who didn’t consider themselves religious saw contraception as unnatural.

History

Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood’s Founder, was a champion for the contraception mentality.

But then a movement in favor of contraception began to form led in large part by Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood.  They cited things like economic burden, overpopulation, the potential for greater freedom for those who choose career over family, greater harmony and peace in married life if couples weren’t “burdened” by children, and the promise of taking control over our bodies – which are not really ours, but the Lord’s – through science and technology (“fake news” existed back then too).  But what mostly fueled the movement was a desire to de-moralize the culture paving the way for people to do whatever they wanted seemingly free from all consequence.

Unfortunately, many yielded to the increased pressure to accept contraception.  The Christian community, however, resisted.  But in 1930 at the Lambeth Conference, the leadership of the Anglican church caved and approved the use of contraception.  One by one, other Christian denominations followed suit.  The Catholic Church, however, remained steadfast, and today she almost alone in the world condemns contraception as being intrinsically evil.  Like the Lord Himself, the Catholic Church is a sign of contradiction (cf. Lk 2:34).  In response to the contraceptive movement, Pope Pius XI wrote his 1930 Encyclical, Casti Conubii (“On Christian Marriage”), affirming Church teaching that the primary natural end of the marital act is procreation and that any unnatural means used to deliberately frustrate God’s plan for marriage is intrinsically sinful.

The contraceptive movement, however, continued to gain momentum and by 1950 had all but won over public opinion.  The Catholic Church would feel increased pressure as it was the last major Christian denomination to remain condemning the practice.  The pill would be released not long after to the public which would fuel the sexual revolution of the 1960’s.  The convenience of the pill removed the need for self-discipline and abstinence and started the culture on the path of accepting and normalizing the “hook-up” culture, abortion, divorce, and same-sex unions.  One worries about what will be next (#genderconfusion)

It was in that culture that Paul VI wrote Humanae Vitae reaffirming and further clarifying that contraception is an intrinsically evil act.  Pope St. John Paul II would continue to reaffirm the Church’s teaching on life in his Theology of the Body – a series of instructions that explained the Church’s vision (which is really God’s vision) of the human person, marriage, family, and life.  Marital love, he said, must be free, total, faithful, and fruitful.  Contraception is none of these.

It’s called contraception because it is “against conception”, meaning that it is an act against the beginning of new human life.   It is also against marriage and the family.  Recall that Sr. Lucia of Fatima said that “the decisive battle between the kingdom of Christ and Satan will be over marriage and the family” and that “those who work for the good of the family will experience persecution and tribulation”.  We must be on the right side of this battle.

Fifty years later, we are still experiencing the terrible fruits of contraception.  In Humanae Vitae (paragraph 17), Pope Paul VI made certain predictions about what the consequences of contraceptive use would be. He argued (in 1968) that there would be more marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards, that more men would forget the reverence due to women, instead considering them mere instruments for the satisfaction of desire (Hollywood may just be figuring this out.  Maybe), and that governments “who care little for the precepts of the moral law” might adopt coercive population control measures (“they may even impose their use on everyone”).

As Catholics, we must be faithful to God’s divine plan for marriage and family, that the marital act was created by God to strengthen the bond between husband and wife and to beget children (“babies and bonding”).  This would be a good year for all of us to take another look (or perhaps a first look) at Humanae Vitae and pray for the courage to follow God’s plan for life and love.

Yours in Christ,
Fr. Acervo

Faith, Reason, Law, and Abortion

Fr. Christopher Pietraszko, Fr. Pietraszko’s Corner:

There has been a great deal of “buzz” in Canada since Canada’s liberal Prime Minister recently barred those who are pro-life from working in summer jobs, as well as cutting off funding from supporting groups that have this disposition.  Things are beginning to add up, and Canada is looking more and more out-of-touch with its religious citizens.  Rights have been known to rub up against each other.  We wonder where does “hate speech begin” and “freedom of speech end?”  We have discussed women’s reproductive rights but debate how they impact the life of the unborn.  Values compete with values, and if we do not use logic, reasoning, and have a sense of a hierarchy of principles, the end result is that ethical laws are not developed, rather popular anthropologies are indoctrinated, that support the values of the majority.

Value-systems are largely defined by a subjective consensus of people in a social-group.  Values can pertain to a religious community, a secular community, a cultural community, and varied alternatives.  What values lack is their defensibility when we enact them into law.  Laws are not meant to respect values, but rather are meant to be ordinances of reason, that are promulgated by the state for the sake of the common-good.  This has been the basic thrust behind most law since the dawn of civilization, and under the influence of totalitarian regimes, it has often been the “values” of an individual leader that have guided the process of arbitrary laws.  Those arbitrary laws have even been known to be backed by scientific communities who promoted eugenics and advocated for the dehumanization of particular groups during war-times.  Presuming such bigotry to be “scientific” many were gagged from offering criticism as they would be considered sentimental and out-dated in their own basic way of rejecting such laws.  Jews were removed as professors, teachers, doctors, enabling German society to perpetuate and control the false and unjust narrative about the Jews.  Once this particular religious group was removed from the public sphere, science was no longer open to any other interpretation than the racist one that funded their research, tortured and experimented upon such individuals in concentration camps.  This slow process of weeding out from society those who society latently resented and wanted to persecute began by a prohibition to work in various fields because of their race and/or beliefs.20120605-203703.jpg

In Canada, a similar thing is beginning to happen.  Even if it is not the direct intention of the leaders, it would be naïve that it will end in any other way.  Doctors who are pro-life, are forced to offer effective referrals for abortion and euthanasia.  Yet so many people see absolutely nothing wrong with this.  They will create the narrative that such procedures are the “rights” of private citizens, and they should not be denied what is entitled to them.  Therefore, doctors and pharmacists can be weeded out from the medical and scientific community as a result of their views, effectively gagging an alternative view on ethics in order to enforce a false-narrative about the morality around this subject.  This alternative view is gagged, regardless of whether it is proposed from a logical standpoint, apart from an appeal to faith.  The so-called rights of these individuals, in this narrative, are matters of “reproductive rights” for women.  A clever term that couches this matter in a way that is completely oblivious to the actual reality at hand:  a human has already been reproduced and is now developing.  Therefore it isn’t about reproduction, it is about having the right to euphemize/dehumanize a person into somethingof less dignity so that it can be killed.

Not only have workers for the government in the Party of the Liberals and NDP been disallowed to vote according to their conscience on matters of the unborn, they have been entirely excluded from their own respective parties.  Furthermore, even private citizens who do not work in these professions can be arrested for protesting and expressing disagreement with abortion in areas where a bubble zone is erected.  In other words, the law now views public-disagreement as synonymous with harassment, because it simply cannot cope with the idea that people disagree with the pro-choice view.  It therefore is slowly working its way through Canada, fostering the narrative that a pro-life view is a thing of the past, and Canada has to let it go, and gag its opponents by a threat of 6 months in jail or more during a second offense for breaking this so-called bubble-zone.

As I said:  it’s adding up – and going in one particular direction.  So how can it be overcome?  First of all, moments like these need to wake people up who are ambiguous on this matter.  Second, the issues need to be framed properly when it comes to changing the law on abortion.  Third, one should resist the government and do so by being involved with it as much as we can be, and voting according to what will properly prevent moral tyranny from prevailing in our country.

Responding to ambiguous responses to this subject:

There are many people who personally disagree with abortion, but are silent on the matter.  This could be for a few reasons.  Perhaps discussing it with others could cause division, especially family members who have had abortions.  Perhaps wanting to avoid conflict is a main contributor.  Perhaps we have some strange ways of looking at morality, and do not believe that the killing of the unborn is substantially the same thing as killing a new-born.

Let me put these matters to rest.  If you do not want to be criticized, do nothing, say nothing and be nothing.  The best way to avoid a life where we make a positive impact on the world is to go-along with it, and convince ourselves that our private disagreement absolves us from our responsibility to speak up.  But be assured, it does not, and our voice is something justice demands.  Justice is something we should want our family to ascribe to, and if they do not, then that ought to divide us.  If you love your family more than what is morally right, your family will naturally be corrupted by all sorts of vice, and never have the peace it really should have – it will be a false peace, built on fake-peace.  That is to say that not wishing a family to be just and at peace with reason and a good morality is to actually fail to love your family.DecisionMaking

Abortion is the killing of a dependant young human-being, and is not substantially different than killing a new-born.  Therefore, to see if we are truly being consistent with logical thinking, if there is no ontological or substantial difference between a fetus and a new-born, then why would it be a crime to kill a new-born but not the unborn?  Is there some sort of magical science that happens when the baby leaves the womb?  Is the womb a superstitious-magical place, where up to the day before the child is birthed, it can be chopped into pieces or killed as in a partial birth-abortion?  While this rarely would ever happen at such a stage, did you know there was no law preventing it?  To be indifferent to this, would be like saying, “rarely do children get fed to bears as a form of entertainment, so I don’t see why would make a law preventing this?”  In fact, there are laws preventing it, yet someone could nonetheless get away with a partial-birth abortion and be entirely legally protected, and seemingly no one cares to make that a concern.  That is to finally say a child prematurely born, and less developed has more rights than a child who is further developed but still united to its mother’s womb.  Does this make sense logical sense, and how does biology factor into this assessment?

One cannot be personally against the killing of a race of individuals, but that it would be up to each statesman to decide according to his own preference.  It is either killing a human being or not.  In a democratic society, we become morally culpable for not allowing our voice and vote to be expressed in this regard.  Indifference permits evil.

Why do people rarely change their mind?

In discussing this with people who disagree, they might deflect comments in order to gag the conversation.  In my experience, as a priest, I will often hear people bring up the sexual abuse crisis, as if that is what I should worry about, but not abortion.  The frank response to this is that people should not exploita very real and evil action in order to silence a conversation that pricks their conscience.  It usesthe pain of the victims to morally posture in order to distract the conversation from an effective dialogue over the subject at hand.  Logicians call that a “red-herring.” The two issues are not competitive either – killing children and sexually abusing them are things that should never happen.  Why would one frame an argument as if we have to tolerate one evil over another, such as these?

One of the real reasons why very few people change their minds on this subject during a debate is not due to the science or the philosophy – which support the pro-life stance.  Rather, it is due to the very challenging consequences of admitting that we might have to come to terms with what we have been supporting or in some cases, what we have chosen.

I know some Germans who lived in Germany during world-war II.  They, to this day, are still in denial that the holocaust took place.  This I can understand, because it might be difficult to think of oneself being morally responsible (via silence or advocacy) for something that is shameful, tragic, socially condemned, and has marked the history of mankind.  Think now of the women that might think that on the other side of the argument there is nothing but despair in knowing that what I really did was “kill my own child.”

For those who are involved in pro-life work, we have to understand the grave difficulty that is associated, psychologically, with coming to a place where we might have to accept something so horrible about our behaviour: the truth.

The thing is – the pro-life movement is not interested in shaming women who have had an abortion.  In fact, we generally tend to celebrate women who have publically admitted or quietly admitted that they regret their abortion.  We celebrate that because it takes a great deal of interior strength, integrity of mind and hard work to be able to do this.  It also beings a process of healing – and healing can only take place when we are honest about our self-inflicted wounds.  So for those women, who have that gnawing feeling that they did the wrong thing, but pretend behind a façade of jokes, bitterness, and raw-raw events, that gnawing feeling will never go away, no matter what false-narratives you create.  The gnawing feeling only goes away when you come to terms with the decision you have supported in others or for yourself, and realize that you are still loved, wanted, and a remarkable part of society.  For those who have faith, you would be forgiven, and the memory of the choice could be healed.  For those who might be in need of such healing, I highly recommend looking into groups like PROJECT RACHEL which offer support to both men and women who mourn lost parenthood.

It would also be beneficial for pro-life people to consider the social pressure that is placed on women to have abortions in various circumstances.  We currently live in a society where it is not only easy to believe that a fetus isn’t a person as sociological result of the law enforced that permits their killing, but that there are also those who create circumstances that make women think this is their only option/choice.  In these cases, what is required from pro-life people is for us to not stand in moral-competition, but rather recognize that had we been in the same circumstances, we might have done the same thing.  None of this suggests that what they have done is acceptable, but rather that we can relate to its tempting nature as a supposed “solution” to an unwanted pregnancy.  Understanding that we are all people capable of making bad decisions, helps us not make this a matter about being morally superior to others, but rather about saving children from death.  It also helps us discover ways to discourage abortion by changing the social policy that shapes the social narrative/attitude around the subject.

Reframing the matter of faith and reason in regard to law:

Although most objections to the Prime Minister’s new direction of ideological dictatorship frames this matter under religious liberty, I would argue that it is much worse than that.  For Catholics, human law is defined as:  “An ordinance of reason, promulgated by the state for the sake of the common-good.”  That is to say, dogmatic matters of faith really do not have much to do with the logistics of making law.  Furthermore, while one can abhor abortion from the lens of faith, one can also do so from the lens of reason.  This is why various groups, such as “Atheists for Life” exist.  It is also why the Church has an argument that doesn’t even appeal to faith, but rather science and philosophy in order to object to abortion.  Here lies the biggest problem, the Trudeau government has canonized a particular type of anthropology for human beings in general, and excluded all discussion on this matter, even when such arguments are made from a logically cohesive presentation.  In other words, law now is an “ordinance of popular belief, promulgated by the state for the sake of our subjective/existential preferences.”  In other words, reason itself has been excluded from the process of making law.

Would such pro-choice proponents characterize this as the case?  No.  The reason they would not is because they have compartmentalized this issue to merely a matter of faith, which in their minds is nothing more than a sentiment and superstition.  So in their mind, saying that a person is pro-life naturally carries with it the false assumption that those who are pro-life only believe as such because they have a religious creed.  For this reason, Catholics have a long-standing tradition of being able to defend our position without appealing to scripture or Divine Tradition.  We would argue that much of the moral law can be known by human beings who can use reason to discern.  Therefore, a universal moral system can be created whereby mankind can develop an understanding of right from wrong without an appeal to religion.bible-thumper

This for instance is why atheists are not necessarily running around shooting and killing everyone – they are human, and know through natural reasoning the difference between right and wrong, good and disordered conduct.  Yet our society doesn’t question the murder of innocent full-grown adults, nor do those who protest such acts appeal to their “faith” as the sole rationale behind why they condemn such behaviour.  Likewise, this is the case for abortion for many of those who are pro-life.

Therefore, objectively the very idea of a rational debate and dialogue in the chambers of law-makers on this matter has been silenced by a deceiving lie, that this is merely a matter of religions imposing their personal beliefs on others either by neglect or by protestation.  Click Here to listen to a podcast that offers an explanation that is a logical, philosophically reasoned explanation as to why abortion is immoral, and not substantially different than killing a newborn.  This link/podcast does not appeal to faith to make its case.

How do we end this false-narrative?

Fundamentalists who do not adhere to the view that science should never contradict faith are a problem to correcting this false-narrative.  In the protestant reformation, we do note that by making a false-dichotomy between faith and reason (fideism and rationalism) the subsequent consequences were secularism/communism and fundamentalism.  The view heralded the idea that God could break the law of non-contradiction, and that his laws and moral precepts could be self-contradictory.  Philosophers would suggest that God could make something like a “square-circle.”  In this line of thought, universities were encouraged to disconnect faith from reason, not by way of a distinction (which is healthy) but by way of antagonism.  As if God’s created world somehow contradicted God’s own nature and will.  Therefore, what I am suggesting is that the pro-life movement distance itself – when attempting to make new law – from such platitudes which portray the false-narrative that abortion is only wrong on the grounds of divine-revelation.  Human law, cannot ever reasonably contradict Divine-law, yet with fideism, it is imagined as possible.  In this case, the fruit of fideism and rationalism today has really fostered the false-dichotomy and false-narrative of this issue today, and we need to take responsibility for that.

Many Protestants may think that by me mentioning this that I am in some way suggesting that our faith has to be repressed, therefore, in order to change the law.  On the contrary, rather what I am suggesting is that we meditate on scripture which has written the moral-law in our hearts.  Scripture reveals to us that morality can be known, plainly by seeing the things God has created.  Using our brain to discern right from wrong is complimenting God, by using one of the greatest gifts He has given us.  In this way, we glorify God with our bodies, which help us discern the natural-moral truths, without contradicting those moral truths that are divinely revealed to us.  I also do not discourage people from speaking the truth about abortion from the perspective of faith.  All I ask is that in that presentation that it not be presented as antagonistic towards what philosophy and science also suggest.   Faith can add a deeper context to the problem of abortion, but reason can also be a force that couches this matter in regard to laws changing.

Toward those who push the false-narrative from the pro-choice view, we need to unrelentingly continue to use true-words to describe what abortion is, never allowing soft language to soften the perception of what abortion truly is.  You’d be surprised how impactful this can be, and therefore helpful.  What Trudeau has unwittingly done is awoken a large giant within our country that is now ready to react to all such laws.  In this sense, by the faithful organizing and moving forward towards such positive change, the pro-life movement has become even more alive, as Christians and Muslims fight for their conscience-rights, both from reason and faith.

It is also important that we realize that there are people who pretend to be pro-life who create social-media accounts to purposefully make our view seem ridiculous.  They peddle the false narrative.  So accusing such people of having a false-account, or purposefully mischaracterizing the position will help to avoid the manipulation that others might ascribe to in such a dialogue.  I pray hope that pro-life people themselves do not engage in such dishonest forms of manipulation.  A good argument doesn’t need to subject itself to a straw man – both actions associate arguments with a lack of credibility.  Satire is only useful when it is known to be Satire.

What can I do?

Any government is temporary.  The idea that we will keep going in this direction unstopped is merely an illusion meant to discourage us from being pro-active.  Rather, we should speak about this subject without sugarcoating our words.  We ought to also be compassionate, while recognizing that when we speak the truth, it has an impact.  I would also encourage people to get involved with groups like 40 Days for Life (faith-based-groups) or politically active groups such as Right Now (reason-based groups).  Bring the subject down to earth in your minds, recognizing that despite what the culture desensitizes us based on artificial and empty arguments, our nation is still killing its own young.  Out of love for Canada, lets make it our mission to no longer be a country that celebrates such death, but encourages life and justice for all people, regardless of age, development, having Down Syndrome, or sex (i.e. legalized selective-abortions).  True inclusivity doesn’t judge a person’s value based on whether we’d prefer they exist or not, but on who they objectively are:  which is a human being.

Here is a homily on the matter!

Priest, Preach the Truth! Even if it Means Your Job.

DOCTRINE: WHY WE CAN’T CRACK

A young priest with whom I was once a seminarian is now on Facebook like me. About a year ago, he posted the account of how he asked an old priest if young priests would save the Church. The old priest said “No, Jesus will save His Church,” or something like that. Of course, this post had a ton of “likes.” For one, it seemed so humble for a young priest to admit that we young priests would not “save” the Church. Secondly, it tapped our modern Catholic desire to prove to Protestants that we only look to for Jesus for salvation.

Both are true, and I have no problem with either motivating factor for a lot of “likes” for that. But it diverts readers from the fact that God always sends real saints in the flesh like St. Catherine of Siena to fix real crises in the Church. When we all sit back and say “Don’t worry, Jesus is going to take care of it” (as everyone always tells me), well, that sounds very trusting and even saintly, but it is not Catholic. It misses the teaching of the Mystical Body of Christ, namely, that from the very beginnings of Christianity, Christ came first in the head (the Incarnation as Jesus Christ) and then in the body (His saints and martyrs.) See here what the Holy Spirit teaches about His own Catholic Church as the Mystical Body of Christ:

“And [Christ] is the head of the body, the Church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything He might be preeminent. For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross…Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the Church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints.”—Col 1:18-20, 23.

Notice two things from that quote:

1) The Apostle Paul was so confident that he was a living and real extension of Christ in the world that Paul could go so far as to say under inspiration of the Holy Ghost: “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of His body, that is, the Church.”—Col 1:23. So what is lacking in Christ’s sufferings? Nothing except my participation. Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was 100% propitiatory, of course. Evangelical Protestants and Catholics agree on this. But what most people miss in this quote is my participation in Christ’s redemptive act lived in the world can actually be missing. And when we don’t participate in the sufferings of Christ, the Church enters a crisis. Now we have the greatest crisis of faith ever seen in the Catholic Church, but if we take the Bible literally, it is because we in the Mystical Body want Christ without the Cross. It’s right there in Col 1:23.

2) Jesus is the head of the Mystical Body of Christ, but “Christ” includes the whole body of every baptized member, down to the smallest. Every time the littlest one suffers, it is still Christ suffering, as when we saw Jesus say to Saul while the latter was persecuting the Church: “And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ And he said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said, ‘I am Jesus.’”—Acts 9:4-5a. In fact, St. Augustine went so far as to say: “If by Christ you mean both head and body, the sufferings of Christ are only in Christ.” Re-read that quote from St. Augustine a few times and let it sink in to get the Catholic idea of how we are all cells in the Mystical Body of Christ and that Jesus is the head and Mary is the neck (the mediatrix of all graces.)

Think how a modern Protestant or a modern Catholic would think it extremely arrogant if a modern pastor were to now claim that only Christ lived in that pastor: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”—Gal 2:20. But this is how the saving act of Christ continues on in the Church, by acting as loving and as bold as Christ in all our vocations. It is not to keep kowtowing backwards in doctrine for the sake of being “pastoral” that the Church will continue in the West.

We need a lesson from the East, from the Coptic Catholics and Chaldean Catholics and other Christians who balk at the threats of Muslims to abandon Christ, taking the knife the throat before capitulating to false-ecumenism.

St. Augustine taught something very profound on the mysteries of Christ’s Ascension and Pentecost. He wrote this: “And He [Christ] departed from our sight that we might return to our heart and find Him there. For He departed, and behold, He is here.”–St. Augustine. What St. Augustine means is that Christ went up at the Ascension, but He is now found on earth in His people after baptism and Pentecost. Thus, Christ saving the Church will happen through saints on earth, not a Protestant idea of a non-incarnate mystical body of Jesus just magically making things better at an emotional level. That idea is not Catholic. It’s not even Scriptural.

This is why St. Teresa of Avila wrote: “Christ has no hands but yours.” This includes the hands of bloggers.  So, in a doctrinal crisis in the Church, it matters that no one ever capitulate on doctrine, no matter how high the price. The first Great Commandment (love God) comes before and flows into the second Great Commandment (love others.) That means that we must love God before neighbor. We must say the right thing, of course in charity, but always regardless of what we guess to be the unintended negative consequences at the pastoral level.

Without this rather-reckless philosophy, Jesus never would have made the Pharisees angry enough to crucify him. When Peter put Jesus’ own awesome ministry of teaching and miracles above of the cross, Peter was called a “Satan.” So also, we who work for the Catholic Church (cleric and lay alike) must do the right thing, regardless of consequences even at the ecclesial level.  We can all be masters of our own deceit on what it means to be people-pleasing under the pretext of “pastoral.” We can all trick ourselves to say that cracking on doctrine for the sake of being pastoral will save souls.

It never will!

The end doesn’t justify the means, and this includes sins of omission.  If I fail to speak up for the truth in charity in a crisis in the Church for the sake of keeping the peace or keeping people in my pews or pleasing other clerics…I am sinning. I am literally sinning and harming the two primary missions of the Church: 1) The glory of God. 2) The salvation of souls.

Christ’s attitude to the Pharisees is all we need to assure us of this. Was it worth Christ angering the Pharisees that led to their jealousy that ended His ministry? Yes. We would never have the salvation of the cross if Christ had calculated in His sacred humanity the perfect way of pleasing everyone.  Of course, the Son of God would never do this, but just realize you are called to be as bold if we take Catholic Ecclesiology to the extent of how St. Paul and St. Augustine saw the Mystical Body of Christ on earth.

Or really any saint: Christ has no hands but yours. This means writing the truth when it is not popular. You are making a difference. Priests, this means preaching the truth, even if it means losing your jobs. You can never commit a sin of omission for the sake of a future good, for the end doesn’t justify the means. Why can I write this so confidently?

Because I very much believe deep in my heart: God is always faithful

The 4 Prophetic Catholic Warnings on the Effects of Chemical Contraception

By Fr. John Hollowell, On This Rock:

“Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?  ..the immoral person sins against his own body.  Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you… Therefore glorify God in your body.”

As every scripture scholar acknowledges, St. Paul is here warning the Corinthians about a particular type of sin – sexual immorality that was so rampant at the time in Corinth

Pope Paul VI

I read an article this week not even preparing for this homily, but it ended up talking about how this letter from Paul to the Corinthians that we have this weekend was the FIRST sexual revolution – a preaching to Corinth a way of viewing sexuality which would have been almost completely foreign to them and the rest of the world

There is a certain basic reality that St. Paul is speaking to that makes Catholicism unique in so many ways – the idea that each of us have a body and a soul and that our bodies and souls are not a ghost and a machine

Virtually no one else holds the classic Catholic understanding of the body and soul relationship.

1)   Some go really far towards the bodily and material: “all that is real is what is the physical world”

2)   Others go too far to the spiritual: “everything that matters is only on the spiritual realm and what we see around us, all that is “bodily” is bad or is an illusion”

3)   and most everyone else has the problematic view that body and soul are real but almost completely unrelated – “I can do with my body whatever I want, and my soul will remain unharmed.  And I can do whatever I want on the spiritual plane, it will not affect me bodily”

That’s why St. Paul URGES the Corinthians: “Glorify God IN YOUR BODY!”

2018 is the 50th Anniversary of the most talked about encyclical of all time: Humanae Vitae

It too, like St. Paul to the Corinthians, seeks to speak to humanity about the importance of keeping the body and soul together.

A central idea of the encyclical is that in married love, the coming together of spouses (the unitive dimension of married love) must always be linked, in every act, to the procreative dimension of married love (the openness to life)

The Church has always condemned contraceptives that, in a physical way, intervened in married love, but a new question arose with the advent of the birth control pill.  Would it be permissible for marriages to allow a chemical form of birth control?

Pope Paul VI wrote the encyclical, then, and ruled that no, couples could never use chemical means of birth control either, that chemicals also serve to sever the unitive and procreative – the body and the soul of marriage

Pope Francis reaffirmed all the teachings of Humanae Vitae last year with his letter Amoris Laetitia (paragraph 80, among others)

What I’d like to look at for the moment is the prophetic nature of Humanae Vitae.  It is probably the most prophetic Church document of all time

Humanae Vitae made 4 predictions if use of the contraceptive pill became widespread in our wider culture:

1)   An increase in marital unfaithfulness and a general lowering of morality

  1. Would anyone deny that over the last 50 years that has happened?
  1. In 1968 he was mocked for worrying about this, but only a couple of years after the contraceptive pill was legalized in the United States, the divorce rate doubled, some of those divorces caused BY infidelity

2)   Objectification of women

  1. Again, many in 1968 would have asked what the worry is about?
  1. In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal and so forth, would anyone deny this now?  With pornography being the number one thing the internet is used for, would anyone question his prophecy now?

3)   Governments would begin to use contraception and encourage it on their populations

  1. Surely in 1968 people probably thought he was crazy
  1. In 2018, when China and other countries have done this for years
  1. In 2018 when our own country and Canada and others have been guilty at times of tying our foreign aid to countries only if they are distributing to their people contraception.  As Mary Eberstadt rightly noted: “This spectacle of pale people in increasingly barren societies telling certain other people not to have their own children is going to look grotesque in history’s rear view mirror” Mary Eberstadt
  1. In 2018, when the Little Sisters of the Poor are still in appeals courts and are currently required to pay for contraception for people, would anyone call Pope Paul VI crazy now?

4)   People would begin thinking they have total dominion over their bodies

  1. In 1968 – what does that even mean?
  1. In 2018, when people say that if you are male, but you think you are female, then you are – that merely thinking something in your mind is enough – would anyone say that in 2018 Pope Paul VI was off the mark?

These 4 predictions – to those who mocked them 50 years ago today, Paul VI might say today “you mocked me 50 years ago, but can you hear me now?”

St. Paul said the body and the soul are one, nothing can come between them

Pope Paul said the body and soul of a marriage are one, nothing can come between them

Bishop Fulton Sheen put it this way “Nothing is more psychosomatic that the union of two in one flesh; nothing so much alters a mind, a will, for better or for worse.  The separation of soul and body is death.  THOSE WHO SEPARATE SEX AND SPIRIT ARE REHEARSING FOR DEATH.”

As we think about these warnings of Paul VI in Humanae Vitae, the warnings about separating body and soul in married love, we of course have likely heard about those who have, over the last 50 years, not given their assent to the teaching.  But St. John Paul II said the following – “Humanae Vitae’s teaching on Contraception does not belong to matter that can be freely disputed among theologians.  To teach the contrary is equivalent to leading the moral conscience of spouses into error.” Address of June 5, 1987

Solution put forward by Humanae Vitae – Natural Family Planning

Again, just as the proof of the accuracy of Paul VI’s predictions are obvious and apparent, equally impressive are the positive statistics of those who utilize Natural Family Planning that Humanae Vitae proposed

1)   Natural Family Planning has a success rate of 97-99% for those who discern that they ought to abstain during fertile windows for the time being for various reasons discover in prayer before God.

2)   The divorce rate for couples using NFP is between 1-3%

May our world recapture the Christian vision of human persons as embodied souls, may we recognize the link between our bodies and souls, and thus begin again to affirm, as a culture, that our bodies are Temples of the Holy Spirit, and we are called, by Paul in today’s reading and also called by the Church in all Her teachings, we are called to glorify God in our bodies.

May we again be people who are able to say, in different ways, to all those we are called to love, may we say what Christ says to those HE loves: “This is my Body, given up for you!”

Read humanae vitae by clicking HERE

What to learn more about Natural Family Planning?  Click HERE