One very important issue is only briefly mentioned in the Synod’s Instrument Laboris, yet the issue of fertility within marriage is a very complex reality that is associated with human sexuality since the creation of the world. Rightly the document underscored the need to “discover the message of Humanae Vitae of Pope Paul VI” and “its wealth and wisdom”, however, in reality, there was no development of this subject. Published in 1968, it was badly received, rejected and relativized by the clergy, and then consequently by the faithful. This truly prophetic encyclical began the post-conciliar crisis, which resulted in a systematic questioning of the teaching Magisterium of the Church.Yet the encyclical came from an integral vision of the human person, the person’s spiritual and physical dimensions. It predicted the consequences of the separation of sexuality and human fertility, which today has become even more more radical, as a consequence of the increasingly widespread use of contraception. We read: “the adoption of measures and methods of artificial birth control to limit […] open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. […] Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection. Finally, careful consideration should be given to the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. […] It would allow state authorities to intervene in the most personal and intimate responsibility of the spouses” (Humanae Vitae, 17). These predictions, unfortunately, in most cases came true….Read the rest here.
Most calls for the Pill to be made more broadly accessible—ideally free and without a prescription—all share the same subtext. Denying access to the Pill isn’t merely denying health care, it’s denying women’s rights.
Yet this is not about the right to get the Pill but rather, the right to not get pregnant.
This stems from the modern idea that men and women are only equal in dignity when we are exactly the same. As a result, we think that if men can have sex without the responsibility of childbearing, then women should too. This is why some feel so strongly that it is wrong for women to not have access to the Pill (Source).
There’s a really easy way for women to level the playing field with respect to sex without consequences: by saying ‘no’. Nobody gets none. Easy peasy.
But feminists can’t stand that idea. So the only alternative they’re left with is to say that women need performance enhancing drugs to be equal to men. That’s what feminism inextricably leads to. I can’t imagine a worse statement of vile discrimination against women.
Feminism reaches this paradoxical conclusion because it’s focused on utilitarianism, i.e. your worth is determined by what you can do. Well guess what. By that standard, women will almost always be inferior to men. On average, women will never run as fast as men. On average, women will never be as strong as men. On average, women will never have as long a career as men. Etc, etc, etc. That’s why men and women compete separately in almost any type of competition (even chess, believe it or not).
Utilitarian feminism is obsessed with accomplishments as the ultimate yardstick for personal worth. It’s all about keeping up with the Joneses (male Joneses, that is), which is a sure recipe for lifelong personal discontentment, emotional insecurity and envy because there will always be people who are better than you (ever wonder why feminist activists never seem happy?)
The Catholic Church, on the other hand, says that a person’s dignity is independent of their capabilities or accomplishments. When feminists complain that the male-only priesthood is discriminatory, they’re thinking in their utilitarian manner again, i.e. that women are being treated as inferior because they can’t be priests. So utilitarian. So boring.
I do stridently disagree with one sentence in the above article, namely that the Pill should be made available over the counter. We shouldn’t facilitate access to evil, even if we think we’re achieving a good (e.g. less pressure on pro-life doctors to prescribe it).
People are reacting in different ways to Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si, but there are several goodies that you won’t hear about from the media or your local left-leaning Catholic outfit. Take paragraph 155:
(155) Human ecology also implies another profound reality: the relationship between human life and the moral law, which is inscribed in our nature and is necessary for the creation of a more dignified environment. Pope Benedict XVI spoke of an “ecology of man,” based on the fact that “man too has a nature that he must respect and that he cannot manipulate at will.” It is enough to recognize that our body itself establishes us in a direct relationship with the environment and with other living beings. The acceptance of our bodies as God’s gift is vital for welcoming and accepting the entire world as a gift from the Father and our common home, whereas thinking that we enjoy absolute power over our own bodies turns, often subtly, into thinking that we enjoy absolute power over creation. Learning to accept our body, to care for it and to respect its fullest meaning, is an essential element of any genuine human ecology. Also, valuing one’s own body in its femininity or masculinity is necessary if I am going to be able to recognize myself in an encounter with someone who is different. In this way we can joyfully accept the specific gifts of another man or woman, the work of God the Creator, and find mutual enrichment. It is not a healthy attitude which would seek “to cancel out sexual difference because it no longer knows how to confront it.”
That rules out gender ideology and homosexual behaviour, which are a denial of the gift of sexual identity.
It also slams ideologies like radical feminism which can barely admit any difference between the sexes.
Finally, his statements about absolute control over our body and respect for its full meaning are a direct nod to contraception. The reason we’re made as male and female, the meaning of our body, is precisely to imitate and participate in the life-giving, self-donating love of the Holy Trinity and of His love for humanity. As Christopher West would say, those using contraception are choosing the fleeting pleasure of a sterilized orgasm over the possibility of participating in the divine life and love of Almighty God. Bad choice. Why go scrounging for scraps in the dumpster of half-baked sex when you can join a banquet of divinely-empowered sex?
h/t The Stream
Msgr Vincent Foy posted a new article on his blog here. It’s a detailed list of action items to save the Church.
He has some really good ideas. I’m impressed. He’s very thorough. There’s a strong emphasis on the family and sexuality, including Humanae Vitae, but he also covers the liturgy, parish life, schools and more.
There’s so much beauty and peace to be found in the Church. If only people knew how good God is. But how will they know if we don’t teach it and live it?
To be honest, I think that the Church has so far implemented many of Msgr Foy’s “pastoral” ideas which are grouped under a heading called Revive Parishes. But we’ve failed to implement the doctrine-related issues. How’s that working out for us?
A bunch of liberal clergymen and theologians, as well as a group of secular media outlets held a one-day secret strategy meeting this week. Full report here from the National Catholic Register.
There are many red flags in that article. One point that caught my attention was this bit:
Monday’s meeting is just the latest attempt to subtly steer the upcoming synod in a direction opposed by many faithful Catholics. A statement on the study day released by the German bishops’ conference May 26 said there was a “reflection on biblical hermeneutics” — widely seen as code words for understanding the Bible differently from Tradition — and the need for a “reflection on a theology of love.”
Critics say this, too, is undermining Church teaching. By replacing the theology of the body with a “theology of love,” it creates an abstract interpretation that separates sex from procreation, thereby allowing forms of extramarital unions and same-sex attractions based simply on emotions rather than biological reality. Gone, say critics, is the Catholic view of marriage, which should be open to procreation.
Which brings us right back to contraception, the demon that just refuses to die. It’s the foundational root of all this chaos.
The saddest thing about what Cardinals Kasper, Marx et al. are doing is that they appear to have given up on God’s love. They refuse to see that His plan for humanity is the only way to true happiness. They seem to think that they have to create a new way, because God’s way doesn’t do it for them.
If only they could trust that God loves us too much to have led us astray for 2000 years.
Read his letter here.
He also encourages his priests to preach about contraception. Imagine that!
What a great bishop.
With Canada’s Supreme court ruling last week in favour of assisted suicide, we are now seeing the poisonous fruit of contraception and abortion come full circle. The dignity of human life and the transmission of human life, when separated from its natural end, become a play thing of government planners. This sophistry that euthanasia will be administered by consent should fool no one. It will start by simply “recommending” to the patient that “their time has come”. There will be an “understanding”. And if there are no family members around (or perhaps they will be those who really don’t care or, shocking as it may seem, those who actually have a vested interested in moving along the inevitable), the medical “authorities” will simply pull the plug. No resistance? No problem. And when there is resistance? Well, that will warrant a level 2 response.
We’re a really perverse culture, if you really think about it. We put such a heavy emphasis on “consent” in ethical questions that we fail to realize the such a warm and fuzzy phrase is merely the triumph of the will over true morality and the laws that God has placed in every person’s heart. “Consent” over issues like sex and death is really quite superfluous. We don’t have massive sexual abuse or soon-to-be massive abuse over euthanasia because “consent” is the best ethical paradigm on which to run a society. In point of fact, “consent” is a joke because it doesn’t work. Just ask the former fans of Jian Gomeshi. Jian didn’t see a problem with consent, because sex was no big deal. Nobody gets too worked up over casual sexual entertainment, do they? Why should they when sex has been completely stripped of any kind of sacred significance? Just like no one will get too worked up about ending a life which is about to expire anyway. Who cares about consent when the fundamental immoral act is being legalized and has already been accepted by society?
Pope Paul VI said the following about contraception, but it can equally now be said about Euthanasia. In fact, it’s even more appropriate to speak of his prophesy about euthanasia, considering that the elderly and sick are less able to defend themselves than young parents:
Finally, careful consideration should be given to the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone. It could well happen, therefore, that when people, either individually or in family or social life, experience the inherent difficulties of the divine law and are determined to avoid them, they may give into the hands of public authorities the power to intervene in the most personal and intimate responsibility of husband and wife. (Humanae Vitae, 17)
The reality is that Euthanasia would never have obtained a foothold without contraception. It’s simply the back end of the same evil. And, sadly, the generation that ushered in the Pill is going to be the first generation on a large scale to experience the bitter pill which provided them a false freedom and now a lonely and tragic death.
Some people get it.
Archbishop Kurtz, president of the United States Bishops Conference argues that the Synod on the Family was never about changing the teaching of the Church on marriage, family life or sexual morality. Rather, Pope Francis gathered bishops from around the world to hear about the various challenges facing families, and to come up with a merciful and loving way of encouraging Catholic families to be faithful and fruitful.
Pope Francis has told us that as Church we need “to receive the needy, the penitent and not only the just or those who believe they are perfect!” He has even gone further to state that we must not only welcome the lost, but go out and find them!
This Synod was called in response to a crisis in our time: the crisis of the family. In Canada and in the West our crisis is caused by ideologies which oppose the sanctity of human life and the institution of marriage and the family. At the root of it is, as Pope Benedict called it, the Dictatorship of Relativism. We don’t get to make the rules. God makes the rules. Or rather, God has designed us beautifully, and written his plan for our happiness in our hearts and on our bodies. Another common error today is a false sensitivity or tolerance which suggests it’s good to allow people to continue down a dangerous path. As if misleading people is somehow more loving. Pope Francis describes such an approach as “deceptive mercy,” a false mercy which bandages wounds but fails to heal them.
The Holy Father ended this first portion of the Synod by beatifying Pope Paul VI – a heroic witness who wrote the brief but prophetic encyclical Humanae Vitae. He was encouraging Catholics to continue in the 2000 year history of celebrating the gift of sexual fruitfulness. Rather than resorting to contraception, Blessed Paul VI challenged us to find natural means for couples to be generous and responsible parents.
Please understand that I’m not here to condemn anyone. Together we make up a Church of humble sinners who must constantly strive towards sainthood, even if we stumble along the way. For all of us, God offers the gift of mercy, particularly through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, which we will have an opportunity to participate in later today. (Source)
What is problematic about this line is that no such “message” appears in Humanae Vitae. Of course, the interim report was written hastily and perhaps there is a bit of sloppiness of expression here, for it seems to state that the dignity of the person means that the person has the freedom to morally evaluate the methods of birth control. And “moral evaluation” here seems to mean, “has the right to decide which methods are moral and which are not.” This interpretation seems to follow one that was advanced by many theologians after Humanae Vitae that stated that spouses were free to do what their consciences dictate in respect to contraception. Whether that is what the authors of the interim report meant or not, it is surely not a concept present in Humanae Vitae. The conscience, of course, is not the same as our opinion or judgment about whether a certain kind of act is right or wrong.
This document is so full of garbage, you’d could create a market for shovels on it alone.