Thursday, January 11, 2018


Using the footnote of Amoris Laetitia, Holy Communion may in some circumstances be given to those who are technically or in reality still in a sacrament marriage which the Church has not ruled as annulled. Thus technically these people are in a state of adultery, public adultery.

Now there is talk of pastoral guidance to confirm Catholics who are using artificial birth control.

And in Germany so corrupted by governmental handouts that has produced the richest Catholic Church,in the world, no surprise, their newly elected head of their Bishop's Conference suggests that the Church come up with a blessing for those in same sex civil unions.

Of course, I have suggested that if pastoral guidance of a priest leads to those in adultery given permission to receive Holy Communion, why not in the Name of God and all that is Holy, can't the priest also offer them a sort of blessing of their adulterous union? Shouldn't the Germans come up with a blessing for that too?

It is all very logical and predictable, no?


Catholic Mission said...

JANUARY 11, 2018
Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos must ask Pope Benedict to recant and end the doctrinal crisis in the Church

TJM said...

Germans: they are either at your feet or at your throat. And their Churches are EMPTY

Victor said...

"... if pastoral guidance of a priest leads to those in adultery given permission to receive Holy Communion, why not in the Name of God and all that is Holy, can't the priest also..." lead those in other sins against the 10 commandments to give permission to receive Holy Communion?

Marc said...

The time-bomb to undo Humanae Vitae is contained within the logic of the document in that it had the effect of essentially undoing Casti Connubii. Until Humanae Vitae, it had been the constant teaching that all forms of birth control, including the so-called rhythm method, were not proper except when grave circumstances existed for their use. In the aftermath of Humanae Vitae, the rhythm method was rebranded as NFP and promoted as normative for Catholics. Whereas the patristic witness suggested that monitoring cycles was appropriate, Paul VI inverted the patristic reasoning: whereas the fathers taught that cycles should be monitored so that couples only engaged in sexual relations at a time would pregnancy could result, Paul VI suggested that couples could licitly monitor cycles to prevent pregnancy. At the same time, the allowance of acceptable reasons for doing so was greatly expanded so that "grave reasons" were no longer required.

And so you now have a situation wherein couples are made to learn NFP during marriage preparation. But logically, assuming artificial birth control is not abortifacient, there is no difference between NFP and artificial birth control insofar as the will and intention of the people using either method are the same.

The path to the allowance of artificial birth control, then, is laid in the move from a limited use of cycles to ensure pregnancy to a contrary purpose and then the move from the grave reasons to a plethora of reasons. Now the intentions are the same in the case of NFP and artificial birth control, so there is little legitimate moral argument against artificial birth control under this moralizing scheme.

Adam Michael said...

Of course, once the subjective culpability of the individual is the criteria upon which sacramental discipline is predicated, there is no logical reason why same-sex couples, sexual abusers, users of contraception, or any other class of mortal sinners may not be admitted to Penance and Holy Communion (and the other sacraments too). These sinners may lack full consent, just as (in some cases, more so) than public adulterers. Some may attempt to limit this logical fallout by erecting new rules (e.g. this allowance of the sacraments doesn't apply to those in relationships that violate the natural law of male and female union, as argued Cardinal Coccopalmerio), but these new rules are man-made and just ape Protestantism.

Regarding a blessing on the second union - how is the invitation to partake fruitfully of the Bread of Heaven not an affirmation that the couple in the new union is on the way to heaven? This is the essential purpose for which any ecclesial recognition of the new union is given. All that is missing are the blessing ceremonies, which are unessential in any case.*

*One will recall that Eastern Orthodox oikonomia began as an allowance for reception of the sacraments by those living actively in a second or third union, not in the performance of "penitential weddings" in the church, which only developed as a result of the Byzantine state's requirement that all legal marriages be registered with the Church.

Henry said...

"Of course, I have suggested that if pastoral guidance of a priest leads to those in adultery given permission to receive Holy Communion, why not in the Name of God and all that is Holy, can't the priest also offer them a sort of blessing of their adulterous union? Shouldn't the Germans come up with a blessing for that too?"

Because the priest who leads his people into mortal sin thereby condemns his own soul?

Anonymous said...

"But logically, assuming artificial birth control is not abortifacient, there is no difference between NFP and artificial birth control insofar as the will and intention of the people using either method are the same."

The will of the couple engaging in intercourse in non-fertile periods is to enjoy the gift of human sexuality as it was given by God. (Women are naturally not fertile continually.) The intention is to deepen the marriage bond through the God-given gift of sexual intimacy and to enjoy that intimacy.

How is this contrary to Divine will?

rcg said...

I guess we can blame Vatican II. It seems we had a revolt similar to the Protestant Reformation led by numerous clergy internal to the Vatican. But this time they refused to leave. Like the students who seized professor's offices in the '60s, or maybe more like post adolescents that refuse to leave mom's house and get their own job, these revolutionaries have remained in the barn. Through some sort of pseudo moral hegemony they have tricked themselves into believing that since a human can be consumed by lust then he should not feel any guilt for succumbing to it or even facilitating it. Is the Love of God sexual? Why do we bless sexual activity of any sort as Love? It is a duty of married men and women and has some spectacular collateral benefits, but it is still not the same Love.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

All of this stuff was discussed in the 1960's and is rearing its ugly head again as though it is something new and we are walking forward when in fact it is the musty trappings of the hippie generation of the 1960's hopefully breathing their last hurrah.

I think from a pastoral point of view, all of these things were being done in most dioceses and parishes around the country. It is well documented. Allowing Non Catholics to receive Holy Communion at Mass, blessing illicit marriages and inviting those in second marriages to receive Holy Communion was all common.

What is uncommon this time is that for the first time since Vatican II we have a pope sewing confusion and not clarifying what he means and that he often offers double speak.

Adam Michael said...


Good points on the change of culture regarding family planning in the Catholic Church. It is ironic that despite the heat that Eastern Orthodoxy often receives regarding some non-official innovative opinions on contraception in her members, she preserves a sober and very restricted approach to family planning (e.g. often resorting to any family planning only in serious circumstances, involving the spiritual father in any thoughts about family planning, no Theology of the Body or modern mystical speculations on marital sexuality). As in most areas, the Catholic Church of the future will need the Orthodox spirit and approach to family planning (in general, not in the forms of family planning) to recapture her own pre-Vatican II approach to the topic.

Adam Michael said...

I would add, however, that I believe that there is a difference between NFP and artificial contraception. NFP involves the intention to deny procreation, of which the Holy Fathers disapproved. Artificial contraception is onanism, which is a contraceptive action always harshly condemned and penanced as a form of murder by the Church. NFP may deny procreation in intention, but it does not deny procreation in an action that distorts the sexual act. Humanae Vitae follows in the line of papal approval of denying procreation in intention in certain cases (publicly since the 1850s), but condemning onanism in all cases. I don't see any time bombs.

Adam Michael said...

"Allowing Non Catholics to receive Holy Communion at Mass"

Sometimes Non-Catholics may receive Holy Communion at Mass, per Canon 844.4. Unlike the other examples that you mention, non-Catholics may communicate in certain cases. However, it is true that this permission has exceeded canon law in cases.

Anonymous said...

Bee here:

The Church's role is to teach God's truth so that people can know how to live just lives, so as to please God, and to do His will and be able to be with Him in heaven after they die.

If the Church waters down God's truth, and people follow it, knowingly or unknowingly they commit sin. I do not know how God handles those who sin but did not know they were sinning if they did so because they followed the teachings of a Pope or Cardinal or Bishop or priest who was in error. However, I have great confidence in the Holy Spirit, who speaks to our hearts, and in reality, if we are sincere, lets us know we are offending God. What we choose to do with that information is then up to us.

I do know one thing: those who manipulate the laws of God and play as if they can use loopholes to get around the spirit and intent of God's Commandments are only fooling themselves. God's not fooled at all.

Jesus had something to say to those who teach people to do such things "...whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea." Matt. 18:6 So that's a warning to the Popes and Cardinals and Bishops and priests.

But those who know they should not do what they are doing, and do it anyway, and allow themselves wide margin, exempting themselves from the Commandments because of all the contingencies of their circumstances, (which often they themselves created), all the while thinking God agrees with, or does not know their inner thoughts, are just playing games, and walking farther away from God, not toward Him.

There's a saying in civil and criminal law: ignorance of the law is no excuse. The same is true in the spiritual life. It's up to each of us to know God's expectations. Telling ourselves a sin is not really a sin because of our unique circumstances is a rationalization.

The Pope and Cardinals and Bishops and Priests will be punished for their sins. But we will be punished for our own. God is not mocked.

The spiritual life is not for sissies. It's a little tough for human nature. I guess it's like anything else of great value: it doesn't come easy. It requires sacrifice and diligence and perseverance.

I think it may be time to pray for all the souls that will be led away from God and torn to pieces by wolves in sheep's clothing.

God bless.

Anonymous said...

The man ultimately responsible for church discipline is the pope.
He is Christs vicar on earth.
Something is terribly terribly wrong when the church authorities responsible for the care of souls make an about face on two millennia of settled teaching concerning the reception of the sacraments.
Conscience is not autonomous as explained beautifully in Veritatis Splendour, the encyclical of St Pope John Paul Two .
Conscience is there to enable fallen humanity become free.
This can only happen with a conscience informed by the truth of taught by his church.
Why would anybody respect the credentials of a church that now seeks to radically alter the teachings of previous popes?

Such alterations on core matters of morality would indicate that Christs will changes on these issues.
That, as any Catholic will tell tell you is not possible.

So why now is core settled teaching about adultery being changed ?
I have studied this matter carefully and the propositions in Amoris Laetitiae seek to make such core changes in my view.

Therefore I have also come to a view that the document is contrary to previous church teaching.

The outcome of this is a loss of trust by me in church leaders.
A loss that started with the interim relatio published by the Synod on the family.

Since many cardinals are prepared to reject church teaching on homosexuality and since many of these self same cardinals participated in the 2013 conclave one is left with grave doubts concerning the current papacy.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

As I have written, none of this is new. It began fomenting in the 1960's and well into the 1980's until Pope St. John Paul seem to get things under control, especially with Cardinal Ratzinger at his side. Thus in the early 70's when more teenage boys were being abused by clergy than in any other period of recent Church history, we had a pastoral theology developing that would care for those who were homosexual, pedophiles and ephobophiles and the theology of realized eschatology on earth could allow human beings in the Church to cure all kinds of maladies and return priests to their previous ministry. We see how well this mortal sin of pride has worked out and now we are seeing it again from a papacy still mired and enamored with the various revolutionary theologies of the 1970's. It is all about healing when in fact some illnesses are terminal. it is all about comfort for the perpetrator with little or no regard for the victims, be it an ex-wife or husband and their children or the damnation of souls due to persistent and institutionalized mortal sin.

It is a culture of enablement.

Things once settled up to 2012 are not up in the air again as we regress to the upheavals of the 1970's and recover that upheaval.

Marc said...

Adam Michael, When the intention with NFP is to avoid conception, that is onanism. When it comes to sin, the intention is important -- in fact, the intention is key. When the intention behind the use of artificial contraception is the same as the intention behind the use of NFP, they are essentially the same, differing only in methodology.

The distinction you draw between artificial contraception and NFP is non-existent. Although you argue that artificial contraception "distorts the sexual act," your argument is not based on anything concrete. One could just as well say that NFP "distorts the sexual act" as there is no objective basis for either statement.

So there is certainly a timebomb in Humanae Vitae and in the associated post-Vatican II teachings where, as we see another commenter suggest, the unity of the spouses is a legitimate purpose to engage in sexual relations even when conception cannot occur. It is that sort of mentality, coupled with the similarity of intention and widespread allowance of NFP, that will ultimately be the path toward the allowance of artificial birth control in the Catholic Church. I suspect this will include some statements that science has now evolved and shown that certain artificial methods are not abortifacient, serving as the springboard for a re-evaluation of the question.

As for the Orthodox practice, in my opinion, it is generally a bad idea to import Orthodox practice into the Roman milieu. The ethos of Orthodox morality is markedly different from the Roman ethos. Among other things, the difference in ethos is expressed in the spiritual fatherhood relationship that is the method by which economia is handled. If Rome wishes to undo centuries of moralizing, I suspect the change in the ethos that requires will likewise take centuries. Rome has gotten itself into knots as of late in an attempt to recreate Orthodox practice where there is not a commensurate Orthodox ethos or understanding (see the situation with marriage where the Roman "theologians" seem to find it impossible to comprehend the Orthodox practice).

TJM said...

Father McDonald,

Be of good cheer - these double-knit dinosaurs will soon be gone to their "reward." Hell is paved with religious who break their vows.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Yes, the Church recognizes that the marital act is two pronged. It is unitive and procreative and I would say it is "unatural" to go against God's plan for the marital act intentionally.

Thus even the the pre-Vatican II Church, it was taught that spouses have a natural right to the marital act even when pro-creation is not possible, the husband is sterile or the wife is or beyond menopause. As married couples live past the procreative stage (at least women do more so than men) they still have a natural right to the marital act.

There is a big difference between natural family planning, which is natural, does not go against natural law and artificial contraception which eliminates the pro-creative aspect of the marital act through mechanical or medicinal means and has nothing to do with the NATURAL cycles of the woman's fertile and non fertile periods.

Thus the morality of contraception hinges on THE NATURAL AND THE UNNATURAL and not on the act of contraception. Natural contraception is perfectly natural. Artificial contraception isn't natural and thus it is sinful while natural conception isn't sinful.

Marc said...

Father, as I expect Francis (or his predecessors) to make clear in the near future, the distinction that you're making between natural and unnatural does not actually exist. And again, the intention is significant. Where the intention is the same, the methodology does not turn a sinful action into a non-sinful action and vice versa. So that is how I see Rome changing its stance on this moral issue.

Personally, I would argue that charting a woman's cycle with the intention of avoiding offspring is unnatural. It is qualitatively different than taking a pill to accomplish the same end, but both are unnatural.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Marc even before Vatican II the Church taught that one could plan their families in a responsible way by using what was then called the rhythm method. This presumes that one has sex when the wife is not fertile or likely to conceive and does not have sex when she is fertile--abstinence was the method of contraception in other words which is natural.

But the intention is also important, that when one engages in the marital act either when the woman is fertile or not, that there is openness to conception.

I would suggest that this is true also of the unnatural contraceptive devises used, that a Catholic who picks an immoral method of artificial contraception should still be open to procreation if it occurs which is possible.

Anonymous said...

Hello Marc.
Your conflation of intention with method is erroneous.
On your argument a married couple who avoided all intercourse until the woman was post menopausal would be acting against nature.
The use of NFP is permitted to help married couples plan their fertility in an ordered way using natures own gifts.
It does not deliberately introduce artificial materials or chemicals between husband and wife.
It is the deliberate use of artificial means of birth prevention that offends God.
Married couples who use NFP remain open to the possibility of the transmission of life even when using this knowledge.
Married couples who use artificial methods decisively close off their union to the transmission of life.

The intentions and the methods are quite different .
The teaching in Humanae Vitae is critical to catholic marriage.
Should any successful effort be made to alter it,s core message by church authorities it will lead to a church schism.
There has been enough waffle about divorce and annulments and should this now enter the critical moral arena of human reproduction it will be the last straw for faithful Roman Catholics.
Regards from John.


Marc said...

John, I believe it to be exceedingly unlikely that an attempt to alter Humanae Vitae would lead to a "church schism." If Francis' tinkering with marriage hasn't done so, I see no reason why tinkering with contraception would.

The teaching in Humanae Vitae is unquestionably critical to Catholic marriage. It is unquestionable that the failure of the vast majority of Catholics to follow that teaching has, in many ways, resulted in the situation where there are so many "divorces" as to lead to Rome's changing its teaching on the divorced.

The point remains, though, that the Catholic teaching was changed in Humanae Vitae and in the Vatican II documents such that the two purposes of marriage -- the unitive and the procreative -- were given equal footing; whereas, prior to that, the procreative was given precedence. And so the methodology by which Humanae Vitae will be undone is contained within the document itself, as read through the lens of Vatican II and the situation ethics of Amoris Laetitia.

As for your particular point about intention, your argument fails. If users of both NFP and ABC have the same intention, and are similarly open to the possibility of life should their chosen birth control method fail, then there is no moral dissimilarity. You do not escape that conclusion by citing to "nature's own gifts" as if nature only has a role to play in the case of NFP use. Chemicals, after all, exist in nature: those chemicals that change fertility cycles are no less natural than the artificial monitoring of cycles. And in both cases, the intention of preventing pregnancy is the very same.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

We cannot judge to be immoral the intention of a man and wife who, during periods of infertility, engage in intercourse for the sheer joy of it (unitive purpose). It is not immoral to use a God-given gift for the purpose for which it is intended.

A couple who engages in intercourse during infertility is not intending to avoid pregnancy, but to be joined more fully in their marriage.

The addition of the unitive to the procreative purpose is an addition to the Church's teaching - for the good. If the procreative had been eliminated, that would be another matter.

As it is, the unitive/procreative dyad is a richer understanding of the purpose of marriage and the gift of human sexuality.

Henry said...

"On your argument a married couple who avoided all intercourse until the woman was post menopausal would be acting against nature."

Isn't the purpose of marriage to "be fruitful and multiply"?

Marc said...

And so everyone can see Michael proving my point.

Rood Screen said...

I just want to be a good Catholic. Enough with this Jesuitical and Modernist crap.

Anonymous said...

It boils down to what a married couple do.
There is a big difference between an intention that introduces chemicals/barriers to prevent conception and an intention that utilises natures own cycle to help regulate conception.
One is entirely natural and in harmony with nature itself.
The other is not, is deliberately wilful and intended to thoroughly divorce procreation from conception.

NFP seeks to avoid conception in the same way that abstinence does.
Artificial conception seeks to prevent conception.
There is quite a difference.

Adam Michael said...


Onanism, which derives from the spilling of the seed of Genesis 38, was a term reserved for the deliberate wasting of the seed (excluding what occurs naturally). Are couples deliberately wasting the seed by deliberately choosing to have relations when conception cannot naturally occur? If so, then the couple's intention is sufficient to change the ontological nature of the woman's infertile time. However, intention alone cannot make the infertile period sinful, and thus forbidden for intercourse. It's nature is already either permissible or inadmissible for sexual union. If inadmissible, all use of this time is sinful (at least materially), which is not reflected in the marriage discipline of the ancient Church, which in the East has always permitted the marriage of infertile couples. However, if permissible, it is not sinful to engage in sexual union during this time, no matter how defective or sinful you argue the intention to be. The defect in this argument, thus, resides in an anti-conception intention, which abuses sex, but not in use of the infertile period, itself. For this reason, the charge of onanism fails.

Regarding intention - In order for one’s intentions to establish commonality of action, the intentions must truly be identical, not only partially similar (e.g. anger at someone may be similar to murder, but it is not murder). Those using NFP intend to avoid conception but do not intend to change the nature of sex as designed by the Creator. Those using artificial contraception intend to both avoid conception and change the nature of sex to make it something that God did not design. This is a different intention and thus the actions cannot be equated on the basis of common intention alone.

You maintain that there are no concrete reasons why artificial contraception violates the nature of the sexual act. This is mere secular fideism, for it is clearly evident that prophylactic intercourse does not effect sexual union (at least as designed by the creator of humanity). Please explain how the use of artificial contraception is fundamentally different than self-abuse or non-traditional forms of intercourse. Also, please explain how NFP changes the nature of sex. Even if God intended the use of sex only for procreation, NFP would be a selfish indulgence and/or abuse of the gift of sexuality, but it can hardly be argued that such abuse changes the nature of the gift, itself.

Regarding the violation of the natural law caused by the use of artificial contraception – natural law cannot be reduced to what occurs in nature. Rather, the natural law is God’s design and will for man that may be (but not absolutely) congruent with what occurs naturally in the world. In other words, the Church’s morality focuses on accomplishing God’s will and plan for mankind, not in approximating natural conditions (e.g. artificial means may be used to enhance chances for pregnancy but not in a way that violates the design of the sexual act or the sanctity of human life or artificial means may prolong life but not in a way that purposely damages the body).

I agree with what you said about Rome’s wholesale adoption of an Orthodox ethos (however, this really only applies to a healthy Rome, the Western Church of the near future will have little choice to adopt Orthodox praxis in order to remain fruitful). However, the Orthodox spiritual practices that I referenced were those shared in common between Catholicism and Orthodoxy before Vatican II (e.g. sober appraisal of marital sexuality, rare use of family planning, involvement of clergy in discussions of family planning) not specific Orthodox spiritual practices like oikonomia (which is not possible in the West since there is no longer an ancient canonical tradition of excommunication from Holy Communion for confessed grave sins).

Adam Michael said...

The comment "However, intention alone cannot make the infertile period sinful, and thus forbidden for intercourse" should read "However, intention alone cannot make use of the infertile period sinful, and thus forbidden for intercourse."

George said...

I think one should consider differing intentions and circumstances when looking at this.

Consider the couple of limited means who have children and would like to have more children, but eventually decide to practice NFP. They do so because circumstances, such as burdensome medical expenses, have placed the family in a dire financial position for instance, or perhaps they would just like to be able to afford to send their children to Catholic school. Again, it's important to keep in mind that the couple have not given up the intention to have more children. Certainly there are those who would consider it a better choice, that by mutual agreement the couple decided to forego NFP and abstain from the marriage act altogether, until such time as they were ready to have more children. The problem would be if one of the spouses did not want to
abstain from the marriage act.

The Church has never frowned on giving up something pleasurable for a noble end.

St. Waltrudis or Waudru, was the daughter of Saints Walbert and Bertilia and sister of St. Aldegunus of Maubeuge. She married Vincent Madelgarius who likewise was eventually canonized a saint. Waltrudis gave birth to four children, Landericus, Madalberta, Adeltrudis, and Dentelin, all of whom are also saints. After their children were grown both Waltrudis and her husband separated with the intention of devoting their lives more to God. Her husband chose to become a monk in the monastery he founded at Hautrnont, France and she established a convent at Chateaulieu in Belgium. The intention of this holy couple was to forfeit having any more children in order to serve God in a different way.
The decision by Waltrudis and here husband to enter religious life meant abstinence from the marriage act. Abstaining from the marriage act
need not mean that there exists an alienation from Church teaching. One must consider all circumstances and intentions.