Monday, January 23, 2012


PRESS HERE FOR HUMANAE VITAE, A SUMMARY This brief article tells of three bishops conferences in the 1960's (Canadian, Dutch and German)who "tried" to "validly" give a dispensation to this natural law based upon "conscience." The article rebuffs that with the following:
"Catholic Insight's editor: Nota Bene
The “Winnipeg Statement” has no teaching value. Its dispensation is null and void because its authority is flawed.

Two things are necessary for a teaching by a Conference of Bishops to be valid: 1) unanimity of all bishops belonging to the Conference; 2) approval by Rome. (See “The theological and juridical nature of Episcopal conferences”, Apostolic Letter by His Holiness John Paul II, May 21, 1998).

Neither of these conditions was achieved. There was no unanimity – at least six bishops rejected the document. And approval from Rome was neither sought, nor given. The Canadian bishops of the time may be said to have ignored the need for both internal and external collegiality."

If we lived in a perfect world, everyone would read Pope Paul VI encyclical, Humanae Vitae, study it and after having studied it and looked at the world the 1960's produced (affected),we would stand up and cheer for the wisdom of the Holy Father in not giving into the dark forces of unbridled enthusiasm and what man could accomplish on his own through technology and fomenting social change, and go back to the basics in honoring God by being obedient to natural law, divine law and the Magisterium of the Church in the matter of faith and morals, even those teachings, while not always presented in an "infallible way" are nonetheless authoritative and normative for Catholics.

Basically what the Holy Father taught in Humanae Vitae is that natural law reveals divine law and that divine law in imprinted in the very order of creation. Therefore one must understand natural law and honor it and by doing so one honors God. This has ramification for a number of moral teaching, many now evolving in the Church, that pertain to the nature of man, what God has created and what are the limits to man's engineering that changes the moral other because it disregards natural law.

Human sexuality is more than just the pro-creative act. It is that force, if you will, that enables us to love, to go beyond ourselves, to show empathy. It is an energy that is natural and necessary for a holy and whole life.

Why then is genital sex only permitted within the context of marriage? Because there are two aspects to genital sex, erotic love which needs marriage to keep it tame and wholesome and where spouses in the enjoyment and love of one another give each other totally to the other. Does this get corrupted even in marriage? Certainly, a man can use is wife for what he could do perfectly well on his own--there is no love or self-giving only selfish release (and that is why doing it on one's own is considered sinful--it doesn't fulfill the high calling of physical sex--it is selfish). And certainly a wife could use her husband for the same purposes, although somehow I think this is more a man problem than a woman problem, but I could be wrong.

But that brings us to natural law, how the human body is constructed and why certain physical acts and substance contribute to the begetting of new life. Genital sex is also for pro-creation, no two ways about it, in fact the pleasurable aspect is meant to serve the pro-creative aspect since if a man or woman had no sexual desire there would be no pro-creation.

The significance of the married state and in a life-long marriage is to provide a stable environment that is also loving to rear children and teach them the ways of God and prepare them for God's world. Single parenthood while not impossible is not to be preferred to a father and mother in a stable relationship modeling the roles of each gender and teaching through example how to love.

Artificial birth control rules out a significant aspect of what genital sexuality is meant to be. It also turns sex into an athletic endeavor for personal gain and satisfaction. It becomes recreational. It becomes that which it was not intended to be when the power of procreation is made impotent through mechanical devices and medication. It changes the meaning of sex and offend natural law and thus offends God who created all that there is including human sexuality.

Now, if children are seen as a disease, if sex is a recreation and in the course of that recreation an injury occurs and a child is conceived, it only stand to reason that a medical intervention is needed to eliminate the injury--the poor, innocent child that has been conceived because it is natural to conceive during sexual intercourse since it is built into the very nature of the act (natural law).

Only when we honor natural law, use self-discipline to avoid sex outside of marriage, which is also a part of natural law, and view human sexuality as a gift from God to be honored in its very nature, (as God intended) then we will see children as a gift from God to be nurtured and supported and not as a disease that needs to be eradicated. And if a child is conceived that cannot be supported by his or her mother or father, then adoption is the only moral way to "take care of the problem." The problem though is not the child, but the parent or parents who cannot care for the child and for whatever reason.

This is a difficult sell to a world that hates natural law and political systems that despise it even more. But Humanae Vitae is normative for Catholics and its teachings, if embraced, would reduce the number of abortions that Catholics are having. We need to start at home in limiting abortions. It is already "illegal" in Church law, but that has not stopped some Catholics from having abortions. Not until God's law is written in our hearts and we embrace it as a natural part of who we are as Catholics will we return to the normal moral order that is written in natural law.


Templar said...

Here's a question I "think" I know the answer to, but have never asked officially.

If either the man or the woman in a married state are rendered sterile through invountary means does the Church believe/teach that they should move from a Chaste Life to a Celibate Life because procreation is no longer possible?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Templar, in marriage one cannot neglect either aspect of natural law as it concerns the "marital act" since the pleasurable and the pro-creative are tied together but could also be abused independently. So the spouses who say they'll only have sex in order to pro-create would not be fulfilling the nature of marital love just as the couple who decides they'll only have sex for pleasure but not for pro-creation. One can certainly abstain from sex within marriage to avoid conception, but that abstinence is temporary and there is still openness to life when sexual intercourse resumes. But the couple who by nature can no longer conceive are still permitted to experience the motivation that encourages them to conceive and who knows what miracles God can wrought even in the sterile and elderly!

Anonymous said...

I remember being counseled that contraception was a matter of conscience that did not affect my relationship with the Church or God. This affirms my theory that our state of ignorance is what is hurting us. I can say without fear of contradiction that 'we' as the Catholic faithful are, as a group, savagely ignorant of what the Church teaches. We rely on often flawed information from our Bishops and priests who may have been misled themselves. This is starting to anger me.

As far as the genesis of those documents: Truth talks, BS walks.


Marc said...

Good answer, Father!

I am amazed at how prophetic this encyclical really is. I have read a few encyclicals that could have easily been written by the current Holy Father in their timeliness: Pope St. Pius X's encyclical on Modernism, Pascendi, is of course a very prophetic encyclical, as is Quod Apostolici Muneris, Pope Leo XIII's encyclical on Socialism. Even so, I think Humanae Vitae may be the most prophetic of them all.

Templar said...

Father: Thank you for the response.

rcg: I feel your frustration. I came of age having no clue on the Church's position on contraception. I never heard anything about HV from my Priests, in CCD, or even my parents. I was instructed on the moral obligations and advantages of abstaining from intercourse, but Natural Law never entered into the conversation. In a society which preached that contraception was not only a great idea, but a human right, I had nothing in the way of intelligent argument to place against it. Easy to conclude which argument won the day.

This becomes an issue for me on a great many things relative to The Church. If they will not teach it how will the laity learn it? And if those that want to teach things which are clear doctrine, get discouraged by their Bishops from doing so with a veiled, implied, or outright threat, then the Priests are actually in a worse position than the Laity since they're bound by obedience.

Where does one draw the line between obedience and conscience?

William Meyer said...

I have recently received instruction which I fear flies in the face of Church teaching. Rather than struggle to determine which priests are deviating from doctrine, I am inclined to turn to the CCC when I have any slightest doubt.

Anonymous said...

Templar, this is not really all that hard. There are 'legal' orders and 'illegal' ones. It is a shame that we have to second guess the people who we go to for confession to figure out if they even know what they are talking about. I can remember that specific confession as it was yesterday. I was preparing for marriage and the young, hip, priest with the big bush black mustache explained all that to me. I must have looked at him like he had two heads because he changed the subject. The priest scheduled to conduct the Mass would be well known, unfortunately, to many here, he has even been in the news the last year openly disagreeing with the Bishops. God Himself intervened and the liberal priest had to reschedule and the priest from my home parish officiated. Let Fr Dawid know this was an old school Polish priest who spoke with a rolling accent thick as coffee, who was very proud of his French! His English was only good enough to argue points with me in tennis matches.


Templar said...

Found these two bright spots on the web today. Thought it would be appropriate to share them on this thread:

In a sensitive area such as this, involving as it does issues over which reasonable men may easily and heatedly differ, I cannot accept the Court’s exercise of its clear power of choice by interposing a constitutional barrier to state efforts to protect human life and by investing mothers and doctors with the constitutionally protected right to extinguish it.

Justice Byron White-Dissent in Roe v. Wade (January 22, 1973)

SAY not the struggle naught availeth,

The labour and the wounds are vain,

The enemy faints not, nor faileth,

And as things have been they remain.

If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars;

It may be, in yon smoke conceal’d,

Your comrades chase e’en now the fliers,

And, but for you, possess the field.

For while the tired waves, vainly breaking,

Seem here no painful inch to gain,

Far back, through creeks and inlets making,

Comes silent, flooding in, the main.

And not by eastern windows only,

When daylight comes, comes in the light;

In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly!

But westward, look, the land is bright

Arthur Hugh Clough

Anonymous said...

A two word summary of the Winnipeg Statement: Non Serviam.

pinanv525 said...

Hey, it is Canada...a hodge podge of Frenchies, disaffected Brits,aging draft dodgers,socialist politicians,fly fishermen and the grizzly bears that eat them. There is no issue of birth control in Canada because it is too cold to mess around, anyway.