Thursday, August 01, 2013
Conversation at St Ann of Coppell Knights on August 1. 2013 from two articles from this week in the news
Conversation at St Ann Knights of Columbus, August 1, 2013 from this weeks news
Humanae Vitae at 45: An Epic War
BY JANET SMITH
| Posted 7/30/13 at 12:56 PM
When Joseph Ratzinger stepped out on the balcony and became Pope Benedict XVI, I fell in love with him immediately. I actually felt a bit like
an unfaithful spouse: I had loved Pope John Paul II so much, how could I so quickly transfer my allegiance? I didn’t love Pope Francis
immediately, but I have come to do so quickly. Pope Francis is just the pope we need at this time. He never ceases
exhorting us to grow close to Christ and to take his message out to the world. He wants us to build the civilization of love so beautifully
described by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI.
Sadly, for the last 45 years, there has been so much division within the Church that we have not been able to present a united front to the
world. That division began with the rejection by many of Humanae Vitae (The Regulation of Birth), following its release in July 1968, 45 years
ago. It is scandalous but true that priests were trained not to teach the truths of Humanae Vitae. Since dissent spread to virtually every other teaching, Catholics have
been woefully ignorant of the teachings of their own Church. The internal battle is certainly not over, but orthodoxy has the energy of the
youth, a large number of bishops and most of the young priests on its side. There is also a plethora of theological and catechetical material, plus media resources and more and more educational institutions that train people well to take the battle beyond the borders of the Church. (A really good example of an innovative effort in that regard is the website 1Flesh.org.)
That is very good news — since we are engaged in a war of epic proportions. (Yet how much better equipped we would be to fight it, had we maintained a united front over all these decades.) Some of us saw long ago the connection between the use of contraception and the debilitating scourge of unwed pregnancy in our culture,
which is the source of the “need” for abortion, of the ubiquitous practice of promiscuous sex and of cohabitation. More are seeing the connection between single parenthood and the terrible cycle of poverty besetting a frightening portion of our population. More are even seeing the terrible health effects and environmentally bad
effects of contraception. These are a whole set of bad consequences that have been accumulating for decades. But, in a way, even
worse ones have sprung up in the last year or so.
John Paul II, in Familiaris Consortio (The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World), famously called contraception a lie that falsifies the language of the body. The sexual act by its very nature “speaks” of the connection between sexual intercourse and the bringing forth of new life. The Father of Lies has exploited that
lie to advance a host of other vicious lies. The mainstreaming of same-sex relationships has been under way for two decades or so. The American voting
public has resisted the legalization of same-sex “marriages,” but the “gay agenda” received a huge boost from the recent Supreme Court decision that dictated that states have the “right” to recognize same-sex “marriages.”
Healthy people in healthy cultures have a natural revulsion to the thought of same-sex sexual acts, but that natural revulsion has been eroded by the fact that, for decades, our culture has made contracepted sex the norm. Contracepted sex, by removing the baby-making possibility from the sexual act, has led our culture to
embrace the idea that sex is just for recreation between individuals who are attracted to each other. No openness to children, no love or commitment is expected.
Currently, we hold that sex should be between only two relatively adult persons (of either sex), but soon logic will demand that we accept polygamous marriages and sex between adults and minors: If sex is just a physical pleasure and if marriage is whatever we say it is, we can’t say “No” to any sexual relationships or any
legal arrangements. Contracepted sex is itself deviant sex and thus paves the way for acceptance of other deviant sexual practices. Since we buy the lie that sexual relations are necessary to happiness, despite the overwhelming evidence that that is a lie, we don’t want to deny happiness to those who experience same-sex attraction — to our siblings, our children, our friends and co-workers. We love them and want the best for them. Yet the fact is that sexual relationships not rooted in indissoluble, faithful, heterosexual marriages welcoming to children generally result in heartbreak and misery.
Acts opposed to the natural law and revealed law offer only an allusion of happiness. But already many of our schools are teaching that same-sex relationships are equal to heterosexual ones and that people who oppose same-sex “marriages” are motivated by hate — the lie concocted by Justice Anthony Kennedy in the Supreme
Court’s June 26 overturning of the Defense of Marriage Act. It is telling that the battle for religious liberty in this country is being fought over a government mandate that
religious employers pay for contraception. Contraception, which cures no physical maladies and promotes individual sexual irresponsibility and societal ruin, is now considered so essential to our well-being that it is the only “health” care measure provided for free!
Our bishops have courageously and energetically fought the HHS mandate, but their task is made much more difficult by the fact that most Catholics have used contraception and do not understand or accept the Church’s condemnation of it. Pope Francis is tireless in his exhortations that we must live and preach the truth and also be aware that the devil will make every attempt he can to thwart our efforts. Again, among the worst evils of our day are the breakdown of the family, poverty, the acceptance of homosexual relationships and the growing hatred and suppression of religious belief. The rejection of the Church’s teaching on contraception contributes mightily to the growing presence of these evils. Forty-five years after the promulgation of Humanae Vitae, we must make teaching the truths of Paul VI’s
encyclical a priority of the New Evangelization. I pray that the day will come when the world at large realizes how lost it is concerning wisdom about sexual
morality. The Church really does possess the truth about sexual morality. Its members must be prepared to share that wisdom with the world.
Janet E. Smith, Ph.D., holds the
Father Michael J. McGivney Chair of Life Ethics
at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit
Ireland’s abortion bill the result of 40 years of bad moral theology: priest/professor
by Hilary White
Mon Jul 29 4:43 PM EST
DUBLIN, July 26, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The success of the Fine Gael/Labour Party abortion bill is due to the failure of the Catholic Church in Ireland to coherently and robustly present its teachings, a leading Irish moral theologian has said. According to Fr. Vincent Twomey, abortion has been all but legalised in Ireland because in the last 50 years, the Church has failed to articulate a moral and philosophical alternative to the left/liberal political and social agenda.
Fr. Twomey told LifeSiteNews that the result of the abortion debate in Parliament was due to a new kind of moral theology, taught in Irish seminaries since the close of the Second Vatican Council, which is “radically at variance with church teaching.” It is a moral theology that “denies there are any moral actions, even abortion, that are intrinsically wrong.”
In a recent op-ed in the Irish Times, Fr. Twomey had written that this new kind of moral theology has placed individual conscience above the moral law, “allowing Catholic politicians to put political expedience above their ‘private’ moral convictions.”
In his 2002 book, “The End of Irish Catholicism?” the theologian posed the question of why the Catholic Church in Ireland has been “unable to meet the challenges of the modern age… the onslaught of secularisation, the onslaught of relativism, etc.”
“I said it was because we have no tradition of serious, reflective theological study. The faith had become something you picked up as a child; you took it for granted. That encouraged conformism. And what we’ve done now is simply to exchange one form of conformism for another,” he told LSN.
He closely followed the passage of both the government’s gay “marriage” and abortion bills, and pointed to the same cause ultimate for both. It has been a decades-long work by the liberal faction in the Church, in conjunction with outside elements in the media and the political sphere, “to undermine the moral life of the people.”
“They’ve been working on this for the last 40 years at least,” he said.
“People would never be outright pro-abortion,” he said, but without clear moral teaching, “they’re left not quite sure what they’re against or how to make effective arguments against it.” This has been encouraged by trends among “priests, bishops and moral theologians, to say ‘these are just private issues; they shouldn’t impinge on the public domain.’”
This has come at the same time as a deliberate rejection of the Church as a leading force in society. “What I think has happened in Ireland over the last thirty years, has been an adolescence, a rejecting of the domination of the Church and an attempt to ‘do it our own way’ and to catch up with what all the so-called progressive nations of the world are doing.”
People were worn down by a strategy that started by portraying their moral convictions as “antiquated, outdated, not modern, not progressive.” But most significantly, the push started at the same time as the failure of the Church to vigorously respond to the claims of secular “liberalism,” leaving the people, including politicians, without intellectual defences.
“If you are being constantly barraged with this pro-liberal agenda, it has to affect you eventually,” he said.
This project has been greatly aided by the media that “adopted that agenda at least 35 years ago, and have been pushing through all these issues, divorce, contraception, euthanasia and ultimately same-sex ‘marriage’.”
The easy passage of abortion legislation, he said, was achieved politically by a combination of factors, including the power of “obfuscation, ambiguity and deception”. “The bill’s wording was very ambiguous and cleverly designed. The word ‘child’ was never mentioned, nor was the word ‘abortion,’ but only ‘termination of pregnancy,’ which could mean direct abortion or indirect. The title of the bill was ‘Protection of Life During Pregnancy’… it was all very Orwellian.”
The confusion all this created allowed the government to convince skeptical TDs that direct abortion was not being legalised. “Representatives of the lower house, whose anti-abortion views were well known, were targeted by the abortion campaigners to convince them that there was no change in the law.”
To this confusion and obfuscation was added the all-important factor of the dominant media consciously campaigning for legalisation. In particular, he said, they used the “tragic case of a beautiful Indian woman,” Savita Halappanavar, who died in a Galway hospital of sepsis while miscarrying. An inquest had found that an abortion would not have saved her life – and indeed that the law already provided for all the medical intervention she could have needed it.
The entire process, Fr. Twomey said, was a “superbly orchestrated ploy to get the bill through,” a “manipulation of politics to achieve a certain end, and totally undemocratic, in my opinion.”
He also laid part of the blame on the failings of the national character, saying that the Irish are “essentially a very pragmatic people.” With their long history of tragedy, famine, foreign domination and extreme poverty, he said, that “when the crunch comes, it is the economic element,” not moral issues, that will take hold of the public’s attention.
“The Irish, because of their history of being browbeaten for centuries by the English… are tolerant even of intolerance. We’re a beaten people, quite frankly. If you bully us sufficiently we give in.”
“People won’t like me saying this but I’m afraid it’s true.”
But he also pointed to strong signs of hope, particularly in the action of the small group of Fine Gael TDs who defied enormous pressure from the party to oppose the abortion bill, “and suffered for it.” At least one of these, he added, has contacted him asking for a public discussion on the role of conscience in political life.
He noted that one of the problems faced by the Irish hoping to turn the tide has been the failure of their Church to establish a “more vibrant” conservative moral alternative to the “dominant” liberal moral theology. This conservative subculture has grown in the US, bolstered by the papacy of Pope John Paul II and his successor, throughout the period following the 1960s social revolutions, but it failed to cross the Atlantic. It is only growing now in an Irish society just beginning to wake up to the consequences of unrestrained “progressivism.”
“We haven’t got that far in Ireland yet, but that will come.”
Overall, the debate on the bill has had some good effects in serving as “a wake-up call” on issues of conscience, he said. “The whole question of a free vote, which is very rare in Ireland, is related to the conscience issue – though they don’t use the term ‘conscience’. Quite a number of highly respected secular commentators have questioned the validity of a party whip on life and death issues, such as abortion,” he said.
Among the hopeful signs in the Church, he said, is the appointment of “half a dozen new bishops in recent months” with a more orthodox approach, as well as strong signs of a genuine renewal in the religious life at the local parish level. These include “new youth movements beginning to spring up, who are enthusiastic about the faith,” “young orthodox theologians,” both clerical and lay, and the admittedly “very few” but “good vocations,” of young men for the priesthood who are aware that they are “swimming against the tide” and who will be “much more effective in the future.”
“So, I’m full of hope for the future. I do believe that despite everything we have a very deep substratum of the faith in Ireland.”
One of his greatest interests, he said, is to try to establish “a dialogue between those who believe and those who are searching for faith.” He described a renewal of interest and openness among those who have never been exposed to religious ideas or whose parents may have rejected their faith.
“There’s a generation coming up now of people who have had no experience of the negative side of the Church. Who have been raised by parents who have lost the faith, who are much more open to truth and faith issues than their parents,” he said.
“In time, once we recover our spiritual heritage, the spiritual richness of the Irish tradition, then we’ll have the future. But there’s a huge amount of work to be done.”