Thursday, February 20, 2014

PROMOTING HUMANAE VITAE WITHOUT EVER MENTIONING IT AND ALL THE NEGATIVE INFLUENCES THAT DISTORT MARRIAGE, HUMAN SEXUALITY AND FAMILY LIFE


Today, Pope Francis opened the Consistory of Cardinals who will deliberate on Family Life and called them not to fall into  “casuistry”. Here are the Holy Father's words:

Dear brothers,

I extend a warm greeting to you all and, with you, I thank the Lord who has given us these days of meeting and working together. We welcome especially our brothers who will be created Cardinals on Saturday and we accompany them with our prayers and fraternal affection.

During these days, we will reflect in particular on the family, which is the fundamental cell of society. From the beginning the Creator blessed man and woman so that they might be fruitful and multiply, and so the family then is an image of the Triune God in the world.

Our reflections must keep before us the beauty of the family and marriage, the greatness of this human reality which is so simple and yet so rich, consisting of joys and hopes, of struggles and sufferings, as is the whole of life. We will seek to deepen the theology of the family and discern the pastoral practices which our present situation requires. May we do so thoughtfully and without falling into “casuistry”, because this would inevitably diminish the quality of our work. Today, the family is looked down upon and mistreated. We are called to acknowledge how beautiful, true and good it is to start a family, to be a family today; and how indispensable the family is for the life of the world and for the future of humanity. We are called to make known God’s magnificent plan for the family and to help spouses joyfully experience this plan in their lives, as we accompany them amidst so many difficulties...

Definition of  “Casuistry”: The application of general principles of morality to definite and concrete cases of human activity, for the purpose, primarily, of determining what one ought to do, or ought not to do, or what one may do or leave undone as one pleases; and for the purpose, secondarily, of deciding whether and to what extent guilt or immunity from guilt follows on an action already posited.

OR and BETTER YET:

"clever but unsound reasoning"

MY COMMENTS: Although the Holy Father asks that the deliberations of the Cardinals not all into "casuistry" he seems to do so (that is, extend guilt) in the very next sentence when he says: "Today, the family is looked down upon and mistreated."

But I think I understand where the Holy Father is going. He wants to present the Church's teaching on the family and its fecundity in a positive way rather than basing it on a complete negative, blame game of what has gone wrong in society that has thus malformed Catholics and family life, whether that family life be Catholic or something else.

So, how could we do that?

Rather than condemning the contraceptive mentality that has led to infertile marriages thus compromising through chemicals or contraptions the true nature of human sexuality within marriage that has led to the lessening of family life and opened up a contorted ideology of marriage based solely on disordered sexual practices incapable of fecundity, the cardinals could say that true marriage, based on natural law alone, brings "male and female" into a permanent commitment of love and life for the begetting of children through the natural order and forming these children in the ways of natural law and thus becomes "an image of the Triune God in the world." Husbands and wives respect each other and all people as persons rather than objects.

In doing so, one promotes the teachings of Humanae Vitae without even mentioning in a condemning way what failure to follow it has created.

It upholds the Church's constant teaching on the permanence of marriage without ever using the term divorce.

It upholds the heterosexual nature of marriage without ever mentioning same sex unions and the disordered sexual practices of those of same sex or opposite sex attraction.

Is this the way to go in the world today, leaving  “casuistry” behind and presenting the Church's teaching in a productive way by elaborating on what Pope Francis says to the Cardinals, "We are called to acknowledge how beautiful, true and good it is to start a family, to be a family today; and how indispensable the family is for the life of the world and for the future of humanity. We are called to make known God’s magnificent plan for the family and to help spouses joyfully experience this plan in their lives, as we accompany them amidst so many difficulties..."

What do you think?



5 comments:

John Nolan said...

In English, "casuistry" has undertones of "sophistry", i.e. specious but fallacious reasoning. I don't know about Italian, which was presumably the language the Holy Father used.

An opening address should not anticipate subsequent discussion or give the impression of setting a detailed agenda. So Pope Francis is probably right to keep to generalized comments.

Bernard Fischer said...

That's not the definition of casuistry that I found. The primary connotation is "clever but unsound reasoning". That seems to fit the context well.

rcg said...

I think we may be applying a common morality to the situation by eschewing condemnation of immorality. I do agree that we should present positive goals for people, but are flirting with syncretism if all goals are equal in outcome.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

BF, I've added that to the post. Thanks.

John said...

It depends how one defines family. This is one of the most crucial points in the current debate. Secular society's definition of the family does not = Catholic definition of family.