Skip to comments.Catholics Need To Heed The Prophetic Voice Of The Church!
Posted on 07/21/2012 3:37:16 PM PDT by NYer
This past January I had the opportunity to attend the pro-life march in Washington DC with some high school kids from Montgomery. Its a good trip, and I think its a worthwhile practice for students and parents to go to it at least once. But thats not what I want to say about it. I want to tell you what left the deepest impression upon me.
I remember seeing a sea of people on those streets of our nations capital. These wide avenues packed with thousands upon thousands of people, mostly young people, many carrying signs or banners. Many, many Catholic groups there. It had to be, literally, three or four hundred thousand people in all. One report I read estimated five hundred thousand. Think about it: five hundred thousand people peacefully protesting about the most sensitive social-political issue of our age, crowding the national mall and the streets of the US Capitol building and in front of the Supreme Court .
I had gone once before, in 2009, and that year the major networks each mentioned it briefly in their evening newscasts. This year, not one of the major television networks gave it even ten seconds mention on the evening news
That combined experience of seeing this major event and then seeing nothing about it in the major media astounded me. It continues to astound me. Regardless of what one thinks of the issue, any protest of that magnitude of people in this country regarding any social or political issue is a news event.
After thinking about it, I came to realize: the pro-life protest didnt fit the narrative. The event did not fit the way those media want to present the world; it didnt fit their approach to reality. So, it was ignored.
I think thats what happened with Jesus in our gospel today. Here he is in his hometown of Nazareth, and his preaching about the Kingdom of God amazes the people and he is performing great works in front of them
And yet, they looked at him and all they saw was this lowly carpenters son. Who is this guy from this nondescript family, who is he to be saying and doing such things?
They were astonished by Jesus presencebut they didnt let it affect their hearts. Jesus didnt fit their narrative.
And Jesus in turn was astounded by their lack of faith
The Church Has Been The Prophetic Voice That Society Has Ignored
I think many of us are coming to realize that we Catholics today, we are the prophet who is ignored in his own land. Beginning with Pope Paul VI and his issuance of the encyclical Humanae Vitae over 40 years ago, our Church has been the prophetic voice that our society has ignored.
Paul predicted that if society went down the path of uncritically embracing the new technologies of artificial contraception, it would have a devastating impact on human relationships, because in severing the connection between the unitive and procreative aspects of marriage, dimensions of married life that belong together, it would undermine the dignity of the human person by undermining marriage, the family, and the proper understanding of human sexuality.
Consequences Of Widespread Use And Acceptance Of Artificial Contraception
In Humanae Vitae Pope Paul predicted that widespread use of birth control would have four major effects: there would be a general lowering of moral standards; there would be an increase in marital infidelity and illegitimate births; there would be a tendency to reduce women to objects used to satisfy men; and, finally, government would attempt to force the use of contraceptives on everyone.
Is there any doubt that these four predictions have come true? And not only did our society wholeheartedly embrace this technology, but a significant number of Catholics, most of whom have probably been well-meaning, have as well. And Pope Pauls predictions have proven, quite tragically, to be prophetic.
If you dont believe that these predictions have come true, consider the following facts:
* in 1960 illegitimate births were 5.3% of all births in America; by 2010 they were 40.8%
* in 1960 married families made up almost three-quarters of all households; by 2010 they accounted for just 48%
* there are ten times as many people cohabiting in 2010 compared to 1960
And is there any doubt that our society has experienced moral decline? And is there any doubt that theres been an explosion in pornography, which reduces women to objects
And Now The HHS Mandate
And now with this HHS mandate the government is trying to force us to pay for contraception, sterilization, and abortifacientswithout even providing a reasonable exception for those who object on religious grounds.
Clearly, in this case the facts of history prove in a fairly obvious way the correctness of Church teaching.
So, Pope Paul VI was a prophet whom the modern world has ignored when it comes to the issue of artificial contraception Just as our society ignores it when prolifers come out in the hundreds of thousands to proclaim the inviolability of unborn human life
I think this Gospel scene of Jesus at Nazareth presents us Catholics today with a clear challenge: Do we ourselves recognize that the Church teaching has proven prophetic? Are we willing to recommit ourselves to listening to the Church, trusting in the teachings of the Pope and Bishops, those whove been given the authority by Jesus to lead, to teach, and to sanctify
Catholics Must Heed The Prophetic Warnings Of The Church
We Catholics desperately need to listen to and to heed the prophetic voice of the Church when it speaks about the most fundamental issues of creation and human life. Politics is not our goal but it is part of our concern: as Catholics we understand, as Catholics have always understood, that not just our actions at Church but all of our behaviors, our private behaviors as well as our participation in civil societyall of our behaviors bear upon our relationship with God and thus upon our salvation.
Our young people in particular need to commit to chaste behavior and to modesty in dress. All of us need to support Archbishop Rodi and the bishops wholeheartedly in the battle against the unjust HHS mandate. We need to adhere to Church teachings on the sanctity of human life, the nature of marriage as between one man and one woman, and the importance of the procreative dimension of the marital union
Let us recommit ourselves to recognizing Christ as the prophet who comes among us through the Church and her teachings, teachings which exist for our well-being, and for the well-being of our society. Our Lord who died that we might have life is the same God who loves us and wishes that we honor Him by acting in a manner that promotes human flourishing and a civilization of life rather than a culture of death.
May God help us to be faithful members of His body, the Church. And may He have mercy on our wayward society.
In 1968, Pope Paul VI issued his landmark encyclical letter Humanae Vitae (Latin, "Human Life"), which reemphasized the Churchs constant teaching that it is always intrinsically wrong to use contraception to prevent new human beings from coming into existence.
Few realize that up until 1930, all Protestant denominations agreed with the Catholic Churchs teaching condemning contraception as sinful. At its 1930 Lambeth Conference, the Anglican church, swayed by growing social pressure, announced that contraception would be allowed in some circumstances. Soon the Anglican church completely caved in, allowing contraception across the board. Since then, all other Protestant denominations have followed suit. Today, the Catholic Church alone proclaims the historic Christian position on contraception.
Contraception is wrong because its a deliberate violation of the design God built into the human race, often referred to as "natural law." The natural law purpose of sex is procreation. The pleasure that sexual intercourse provides is an additional blessing from God, intended to offer the possibility of new life while strengthening the bond of intimacy, respect, and love between husband and wife. The loving environment this bond creates is the perfect setting for nurturing children.
But sexual pleasure within marriage becomes unnatural, and even harmful to the spouses, when it is used in a way that deliberately excludes the basic purpose of sex, which is procreation. Gods gift of the sex act, along with its pleasure and intimacy, must not be abused by deliberately frustrating its natural endprocreation.
Is contraception a modern invention? Hardly! Birth control has been around for millennia. Scrolls found in Egypt, dating to 1900 B.C., describe ancient methods of birth control that were later practiced in the Roman empire during the apostolic age. Wool that absorbed sperm, poisons that fumigated the uterus, potions, and other methods were used to prevent conception. In some centuries, even condoms were used (though made out of animal skin rather than latex).
The Bible mentions at least one form of contraception specifically and condemns it. Coitus interruptus, was used by Onan to avoid fulfilling his duty according to the ancient Jewish law of fathering children for ones dead brother. "Judah said to Onan, Go in to your brothers wife, and perform the duty of a brother-in-law to her, and raise up offspring for your brother. But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so when he went in to his brothers wife he spilled the semen on the ground, lest he should give offspring to his brother. And what he did was displeasing in the sight of the Lord, and he slew him also" (Gen. 38:810).
The biblical penalty for not giving your brothers widow children was public humiliation, not death (Deut. 25:710). But Onan received death as punishment for his crime. This means his crime was more than simply not fulfilling the duty of a brother-in-law. He lost his life because he violated natural law, as Jewish and Christian commentators have always understood. For this reason, certain forms of contraception have historically been known as "Onanism," after the man who practiced it, just as homosexuality has historically been known as "Sodomy," after the men of Sodom, who practiced that vice (cf. Gen. 19).
Contraception was so far outside the biblical mindset and so obviously wrong that it did not need the frequent condemnations other sins did. Scripture condemns the practice when it mentions it. Once a moral principle has been established in the Bible, every possible application of it need not be mentioned. For example, the general principle that theft is wrong was clearly established in Scripture; but theres no need to provide an exhaustive list of every kind of theft. Similarly, since the principle that contraception is wrong has been established by being condemned when its mentioned in the Bible, every particular form of contraception does not need to be dealt with in Scripture in order for us to see that it is condemned.
The biblical teaching that birth control is wrong is found even more explicitly among the Church Fathers, who recognized the biblical and natural law principles underlying the condemnation.
In A.D. 195, Clement of Alexandria wrote, "Because of its divine institution for the propagation of man, the seed is not to be vainly ejaculated, nor is it to be damaged, nor is it to be wasted" (The Instructor of Children 2:10:91:2).
Hippolytus of Rome wrote in 255 that "on account of their prominent ancestry and great property, the so-called faithful [certain Christian women who had affairs with male servants] want no children from slaves or lowborn commoners, [so] they use drugs of sterility or bind themselves tightly in order to expel a fetus which has already been engendered" (Refutation of All Heresies9:12).
Around 307 Lactantius explained that some "complain of the scantiness of their means, and allege that they have not enough for bringing up more children, as though, in truth, their means were in [their] power . . . or God did not daily make the rich poor and the poor rich. Wherefore, if any one on any account of poverty shall be unable to bring up children, it is better to abstain from relations with his wife" (Divine Institutes 6:20).
The First Council of Nicaea, the first ecumenical council and the one that defined Christs divinity, declared in 325, "If anyone in sound health has castrated himself, it behooves that such a one, if enrolled among the clergy, should cease [from his ministry], and that from henceforth no such person should be promoted. But, as it is evident that this is said of those who willfully do the thing and presume to castrate themselves, so if any have been made eunuchs by barbarians, or by their masters, and should otherwise be found worthy, such men this canon admits to the clergy" (Canon 1).
But, back to Pope Paul VI, he wrote:
Neither is it valid to argue, as a justification for sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive, that a lesser evil is to be preferred to a greater one, or that such intercourse would merge with procreative acts of past and future to form a single entity, and so be qualified by exactly the same moral goodness as these. Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good," it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it (18)in other words, to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general. Consequently, it is a serious error to think that a whole married life of otherwise normal relations can justify sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive and so intrinsically wrong.
Apologies for the lengthy response but it is important to have a solid comprehension of how such decisions are made within the Catholic Church.
To view the big picture, I refer you to Humanae Vitae - TO ALL MEN OF GOOD WILL, ON THE REGULATION OF BIRTH
...five hundred thousand people peacefully protesting about the most sensitive social-political issue of our age,
But, how will they vote on November 6?
Are you Catholic Bashing?
How will the Jews vote?
How will the Baptists vote?
How will the Presbyterians vote?
How will the Lutherans vote?
Are you Catholic bashing?
First of all, don’t be so sensitive. The article was about Catholics, not all the other religions you listed. There are a lot of Protestants who “supposedly” are Pro-life who will vote for Obama. There are a lot of Jews who should be pro-Israel, but they will vote for Obama. Point being: Just because people get pissed at Prez dude over one or two issues does not guarantee that they will vote against him; UNFORTUNATELY.
BTW, if I wanted to bash Catholics, it would be over The Catholic Church covering up the crimes of all the faggot priests who raped little boys. Now, go work on that “sensitivity” issue you have.
Wow! Thanks for that. So, that makes it o.k. I guess. Of course it does; two wrongs always make a right don’t they? Wow!!! Thanks again for enlightening me. Now I won’t have to look at every priest I see with “suspect”.
It's not those 500K we need to be concerned about. While there may be some confusion among them concerning Romney's positions (yes, positions) on right to life issues, almost all of them will be able to see clearly that Obama is the more dangerous threat to life.
It's the other self-identified Catholics not engaged in the Church or this discussion that are the concern.
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