Thursday, March 19, 2009

Forces promoting contraception are leading an all-out attack against the Holy Father and the Church

"Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. 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." (Pope Paul VI, Encyclical Letter Humanae Vitae, No. 17).

Related reading here.


Michael Cole said...

Even many "pastors" neglect to preach against the sin of contraception. This in turn has contributed greatly to the culture of death. Pope Pius XI said in his encyclical letter Casti Connubii that, "The Catholic Church, to whom God has entrusted the defense and purity of morals, standing erect in the midst of the moral ruin which surrounds her, in order that she may preserve the chastity of the marital union from being defiled by this foul stain, raises her voice in token of Divine Ambassadorship and through Our mouth proclaims anew: Any use whatsoever of matrimony exercised in such a way that the act is deliberately frustrated in its natural power to generate life is an offense against the law of God and of nature, and those who indulge in such are branded with the guilt of a grave sin."

We need to stand with the Holy Father as the culture of death boldly attacks him, the Church of Christ and the Commandments of God.

And to those "pastors" who refuse to speak out against contraception, know this: your judgment will be all the more severe.

Anonymous said...

I think the MSM need to stop contracepting the truth.

Anonymous said...

Rationalization and denial are the order of the day as the Sacrament of Penance continues to plummet:

Is Confession in Crisis?
by Russell Shaw

Is the sacrament of penance in crisis? One often hears that claim today, but it needs a closer look. My guess is that there's a crisis all right -- but not exactly this one.

Yes, Catholic confessions have plummeted in the last 40 years. But who would care to say that the awareness of guilt has disappeared? In some ways, in fact, the sense of sin appears to be thriving. People just don't care to admit it or do much about it anymore.

I was reminded of these things by the word from Rome that publication of Pope Benedict XVI's third encyclical is imminent. It will be on social justice, we're told. Actually, it was supposed to come out a year ago, but it got delayed for adjustments to reflect the global economic crisis.

Lately, Benedict has been giving previews about what's in the document. In one such talk, he said the fundamental source of the economic crisis is greed. Many other people have said the same thing. I surely would agree with that, although to greed I'd add arrogance and culpable stupidity.

This is not about the economic crisis, though. My point at the moment is that in an emergency like this one, people spontaneously look to moral failure as an explanation for what went wrong. Whether the analysis is correct is a different question. People take it for granted that it is -- that is to say, they place the blame for what happened on sin.

Now if human beings really do have some sort of innate, built-in awareness that sin is the root cause of many problems, why has the huge drop-off in reception of the sacrament of penance occurred in the last 40 years? Why do so many Catholics these days go to confession very seldom or not at all?

For me, a large part of the solution to this puzzle is symbolized in a particular event.

Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI's encyclical reaffirming the Church condemnation of artificial birth control, came out in late July of 1968. The following Sunday, I went to Mass at a certain parish and there was treated to a homily explaining why the pope was wrong and contraception was okay. When the priest finished, a substantial segment of the congregation stood and applauded.

I don't mean to say that sexual sins are the only sins or that contraception is the worst sin of all. I mention this incident instead because it so clearly illustrates the denial on the part of Catholics of the Church's ability to teach authoritatively about these matters.

But if these matters, why not other matters, too? For me, at least, the events of that Sunday morning more than four decades ago mark the starting point of the slippery slope that has led many Catholics to reject the authority of the Church on moral questions and, along with it, the sacrament of penance. It goes without saying that other people are welcome to situate the moment at which they first perceived this process at work somewhere else.

The observation has often been made -- and I'm not going to belabor it here -- that for years we've heard little or nothing in homilies and catechesis about personal fault for the kinds of sins most people actually commit. Frequently, of course, we are urged to take our responsibilities to God and neighbor seriously, but it's usually left unclear what those concrete, real-life responsibilities actually are -- and, especially, what the consequences of not living up to them might be.

Obviously the popular culture is of virtually no help at all here. Indeed, the prevailing consensus in popular culture appears to be that the only significant wrongdoing consists of denying somebody else his or her right to do whatever he or she wants, especially when the subject is sex. I am reminded of a sociologist's remark a few years back that the only commandment that seems to count for many Americans anymore is the new, eleventh one: "Thou shalt not judge."

And yet, as suggested, the reality of guilt persists -- widely denied, to be sure, yet eating away at many hearts.

There was a kind of residual guilt implied in President Barack Obama's announcement that he was taking the lid off federal funding of stem cell research that involves killing human embryos.

The president said he had ordered the drafting of "strict guidelines" to prevent "misuse or abuse." But if killing embryos by way of stem cell research is ethically clean, there's no need for guidelines; and if it isn't ethically clean, guidelines for doing it won't alter that fact but will merely reassure obtuse consciences that something that is ethically impermissible is permissible after all. The government says so, doesn't it?

But all that is neither here nor there at the moment.

As far as the Catholic community and the sacrament of penance are concerned, my guess is that the so-called crisis of penance isn't really that -- it's a crisis of bad conscience instead. Many people will not -- and, as a result of persistent catechetical failure, in a certain sense cannot -- face up to the fact of their sinfulness and guilt. Yet despite decades of rationalization and denial, the awareness of these existential realities persists.

And if it's true that it does, then the crisis is even more serious than we thought.

Anonymous said...

Harvard AIDS Expert Says Pope is Correct on Condom Distribution Making AIDS Worse

By John-Henry Westen

March 19, 2009 ( - Edward C. Green, director of the AIDS Prevention Research Project at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, has said that the evidence confirms that the Pope is correct in his assessment that condom distribution exacerbates the problem of AIDS.

"The pope is correct," Green told National Review Online Wednesday, "or put it a better way, the best evidence we have supports the pope's comments."

"There is," Green added, "a consistent association shown by our best studies, including the U.S.-funded 'Demographic Health Surveys,' between greater availability and use of condoms and higher (not lower) HIV-infection rates. This may be due in part to a phenomenon known as risk compensation, meaning that when one uses a risk-reduction 'technology' such as condoms, one often loses the benefit (reduction in risk) by 'compensating' or taking greater chances than one would take without the risk-reduction technology."

The Harvard AIDS Project's webpage on Green lists his book "Rethinking AIDS Prevention: Learning from Successes in Developing Countries". It is stated that Green reveals, "The largely medical solutions funded by major donors have had little impact in Africa, the continent hardest hit by AIDS. Instead, relatively simple, low-cost behavioral change programs--stressing increased monogamy and delayed sexual activity for young people--have made the greatest headway in fighting or preventing the disease's spread."

The full text of Pope Benedict XVI's exchange with the reporter, which has set off a firestorm around the world in the media, has been released by the Vatican press office.

The pope was asked, "Holy Father among the many evils that affect Africa there is also the particular problem of the spread of AIDS. The position of the Catholic Church for fighting this evil is frequently considered unrealistic and ineffective?"

Benedict XVI replied:

"I would say the opposite. I think that the reality that is most effective, the most present and the strongest in the fight against AIDS, is precisely that of the Catholic Church, with its programs and its diversity. I think of the Sant'Egidio Community, which does so much visibly and invisibly in the fight against AIDS ... and of all the sisters at the service of the sick.

"I would say that one cannot overcome this problem of AIDS only with money -- which is important, but if there is no soul, no people who know how to use it, (money) doesn't help.

"One cannot overcome the problem with the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, they increase the problem.

"The solution can only be a double one: first, a humanization of sexuality, that is, a spiritual human renewal that brings with it a new way of behaving with one another; second, a true friendship even and especially with those who suffer, and a willingness to make personal sacrifices and to be with the suffering. And these are factors that help and that result in real and visible progress.

"Therefore I would say this is our double strength -- to renew the human being from the inside, to give him spiritual human strength for proper behavior regarding one's own body and toward the other person, and the capacity to suffer with the suffering. ... I think this is the proper response and the church is doing this, and so it offers a great and important contribution. I thank all those who are doing this."

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