23Jul Fifty years on and still a disputed question

Fifty years on and still a disputed question

Chris McDonnell CT Friday 20 July 2018

 

I only once remember the London Times offering a full broadsheet spread on its Letters page on one subject. It was in response to the encyclical of Paul VI on Contraception, known by its Latin opening, Humanae Vitae, ‘Of Human life’, issued on July 25th1968.

If ever a statement from Rome created a crisis of conscience, it was this encyclical.I recall all too well its publication and the subsequent anguish it produced among so many, both priests and laity alike. Good pastors of their people were forced from ministry as a chasm of credibility opened in the Church, a painful scar which remains to this day. One friend responded to my question about his future actions with the brief statement, ‘If I leave who will care for the people?’Ordained in 1954, he remained in ministry until his death last year.

There were those who saw no leeway in acceptance of its teaching then, nor do they see such an option to be available now; it was to become the litmus test of orthodoxy that demanded adherence.

Discussion of the issue of artificial birth control had been removed from the Council; instead a small Commission of six European non-theologians was established by John XXIII to evaluate the whole issue.Their meetings were limited, once in 1963 and twice in 1964. In the final weeks of the Council, Paul VI greatly extended membership and their final Report was completed in 1966. In it they proposed that artificial birth control was not intrinsically evil and that Catholic couples should be allowed to decide for themselves about the methods to be employed. This report was approved by 64 of the 69 members voting, a significant majority.

The final document of the Council, Gaudium et Spes, affirmed the duty of responsible parenthood yet, when it came to writing the Encyclical, Paul VI rejected the considered opinion of the Commission he established,  with consequences for the Church that are all too evident today.

It is hard to argue the case for responsible conjugal love with those whose experience is, by and large, that of the celibate looking-on. Without the day by day responsibility  of caring for a family, without experiencing the joy and attraction that first brought a couple together to exchange marriage vows, it is no small wonder that their perspective is limited.

In a recent survey reported on the web site of the Catholic Herald,nearly five hundred priests affirmed their adherence to the teaching of the encyclical. It was, I might suggest, a self-selecting group. If the same question were put to the laity, the result would be very different. But then as it is the Catholic family that is asked day by day to live with the consequences of this teaching, why bring them into the discussion?

Now we are witnessing a concerted attempt to represent arguments for acceptance of teaching that were not valid then and are still less so now, fifty years on. I wonder if every priest whose signature is included on that website were to offer their parishioners a voice, would our views be deemed of any significant value? Some who would dissent have already made their decision, evidenced by empty pews in so many churches. For others, the Church is our only home and an informed conscience our guide. We remain, in spite of the Encyclical, and will continue to be saddened by the consequences of the divisive teaching it offers. The fallacious argument that acceptance of the contraceptive pill leads to acceptance of abortion gets us nowhere, unless the means used for contraception are themselves abortive.

Responsible parenthood, lived through the experience of the Sacrament of Marriage, demands that love, one for another, extends to the care and well-being of children that are our blessing. This is not a numbers game but recognition that the needs of many require a realistic and compassionate view of family life.

So after fifty years, where do we now stand? Acceptance of Humanae Vitaeis a matter that has worried the consciences of older Catholics since it was first promulgated; for our children and grandchildren it is a matter of little consequence. Their decision has been reached in the light of practice and is unlikely to change.

Their parents continue to follow their conscience hoping and praying, that in spite of apparent contradiction, they will be able to encourage their families to live their Christian faith within the community of our Church.

An appreciation of human sexuality and its loving expression through conjugal love must be open to our developing understanding of  sexual attraction that is inherent in our being children of the God who made us.

 

16 Responses

  1. Mary Vallely

    “For others, the Church is our only home and an informed conscience our guide. We remain, in spite of the Encyclical, and will continue to be saddened by the consequences of the divisive teaching it offers.”

    Yes, Chris. Our only home. Where else would we go? That is the daily dilemma so many of us do battle with. The only comfort is that we are not alone in our struggle though sometimes I wonder if all these fora, these online conversations, are just a safety valve to keep us from having the courage to shout ‘no more’ at the archaic, creaking model of Church we have allowed ourselves to uphold all our lives. There is so much that is wrong with the model that I wonder if it is not just a waste of time and energy trying to repair it. Start again?

  2. Kevin Walters

    Mary Vallely @ 1

    “There is so much that is wrong with the model that I wonder if it is not just a waste of time and energy trying to repair it. Start again?

    No! transform it.

    It could be said that the present system of the Sacrament of Reconciliation in some way divides us, because it permits us to avoid revealing our individual vulnerabilities, and in doing so, to some degree many retain the status quo (Continue as before)

    The problem of the credibility of the Priesthood to-day can only be resolved by an onward manifestation of priestly transparency in all things. A possible way forward, James 5:6 “tell your sins to one and other”… as in, reveal your selves (Confessing) to one and other in brotherly love, led by the Bishop been open, in unity, with all his priests (Once a year) as truth is the mortar that holds His house together, in this way accountability for anything that might bring the Church into disrepute, is shared/confronted. This would create an accountable, humble priesthood, one that serves/leads in humility, before God and His people. Trust would be restored as they/we endeavour to create a culture of transparency/humility.

    In this scenario individual confession to a fellow priest should only be administered in an emergency, as in near death. As the ‘true intent’ to confess annually (Openly) would be the basis of an act of perfect Contrition’ (Forgiveness at that moment in Time) as “God will not despise a broken spirit and contrite heart”

    Extract from a previous post, see link
    “I believe that the Shepherd leader for a new invigorated church will be a humble one, with the capacity to discern and direct the potential in others, leading them also to become Shepherds, who together hold each other responsible for their combined actions, underpinned by total honesty, the serving of the Truth in all situations would be the binding mortar holding these new emerging structures together”…

    https://www.associationofcatholicpriests.ie/2018/01/let-laity-lead-parishes/#comment-93034

    I am sure that many will realise that my theme relates to the true image of Divine Mercy an image one of Broken Man, as it has the God given potential within it, to admit all to receive in humility (via Public Confession) the Bread of Life and live, no matter that their state of being.

    I am not proposing a ‘full’ Public Confession by all the laity, before or during Mass, but rather creating a culture of coming together in humility, before each other and our Father in heaven, leading to the full Sacrament of Reconciliation via the True Divine Mercy Image, for those who presently cannot receive the said Sacrament, as they are ‘entangled in on-going sinful situations’ these situation cover a wide range of circumstances, from individuals who have been compromised, the divorced who have taken civil partners, and all those couples that have ‘committed’ themselves to the use of artificial contraception. And in this honesty, grow spiritually, as a humble heart, is not a perfect one, but a developing ongoing one.

    So should we not want for others, that which we have been given ourselves that is the faith to live in His Divine Mercy, in humility, because isn’t that what being a Christian is all about.

    It could be said, that for true emotional inter-dependence to come about with others, we need to show/tell our vulnerability, for when we do so, it confers authenticity.., a place from where we can truly share the communal meal and our life with others.”

    kevin your brother
    In Christ

  3. We Are Church Ireland

    Call for Synod on Human sexuality

    The publication of Pope Paul V1’s encyclical, Humanae Vitae, on 29th July 1968 caused dissent and division within the Catholic Church not seen since the Reformation and fifty years later its legacy remains as controversial as ever, stated We Are Church Ireland.
    In spite of Catholic couples having already decided on the legitimacy of their dissent against the hierarchical Church’s teaching on birth control Popes, Cardinals and Bishops still strenously support the teaching of Humanae Vitae opposing artificial contraception.
    This conflict between the sensus fidelium of the people of God and the teaching magisterium still remains unresolved with the institutional Church remaining implacably opposed to recognising the right of conscientous dissent against fallible hierarchical teaching.
    This unresolved situation has greatly added to the growing lack of credibility of the teaching authority of the magisterium, both inside and outside the Catholic Church
    While the ban against artificial birth control may be irrelevant to Catholic couples in Western Europe and North America who have rejected it in both theory and practice however in Asia , Latin America and Africa the Catholic hierarchical Church uses its diplomatic and political influence to oppose responsible family planning and the use of condoms even in life and death situations which adversely affects the lives of the most vulnerable families in these regions.
    ‘After 50 years it is imperative that this controversial issue be revisited and reevaluated by a Synod representative of the total people of God so that a credible positive theology of sexuality based on the dignity of every human person will be its outcome.’ stated Brendan Butler spokesperson, We Are Church Ireland.

  4. Kevin Walters

    “So after fifty years, where do we now stand? Acceptance of Humanae Vitae is a matter that has worried the consciences of older Catholics since it was first promulgated; for our children and grandchildren it is a matter of little consequence. Their decision has been reached in the light of practice and is unlikely to change.”

    And because of this Western society is not conducive to sound family life, as consumerism drives high social expectations, and we see this in the encouragement of contraception. You could describe contraception as anti-child in other words we have become a “thing-oriented” society rather than a “person-oriented society.

    An extract from a speech By Rev. Martin Luther King 4 April 1967… “I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered”

    The teachings with HV are beautiful, because they are in harmony with our Creator’s Will. To participate with His plan is a blessing and it could be said that it makes us ‘person-oriented’ rather than thing-oriented. Christians cannot change the values of the world, but they can influence them by demonstrating our beliefs ‘honestly’ before mankind.

    HV.20. “The teaching of the Church regarding the proper regulation of birth is a promulgation of the law of God Himself. And yet there is no doubt that to many it will appear not merely difficult but even impossible to observe”…

    So yes, if we are to be ‘honest’, is not this the reason why so many justify using contraception. But rather than accept our (I speak generally) limitations before God, we have created self-serving consciences and in doing so we hide our nakedness (Shame) before Him. It could be said that our self-serving natures, have facilitated abortion on demand in many countries, as we have colluded through human weakness with the use of contraception, while playing lip service to the ideals of a person oriented society.

    So rather than hide in the bushes and cover ourselves with leaves (excuses) we have been given the means by our Lord himself via The true Divine Mercy Image, one of Broken Man, to come out into the open and show our nakedness in humility to each other before our Father in heaven, while still ‘bearing witness’ to true Christian values, teaching others, ( especially the youth of the day) by our example, to serve the Truth and walk in humility before our Creator and in doing so, encourage all to confront that which enslaves mankind, our own sinfulness.
    So, is an act of humility too much to ask?
    kevin your brother
    In Christ

  5. Brian Fahy

    This human life

    I was 21 years of age and working the summer as a volunteer in a Simon Community House for the homeless in Liverpool. I was a seminarian. I had never been with girls and I knew nothing much about sex and sexual relationships. I was going to be a priest! When ‘Humanae Vitae’ came out I happened to phone my mum at home in Lancashire and I asked her, a mother of four, what she thought of the pope’s ruling. ‘I think the pope is right,’ she told me gently. I have always loved and respected my mother, and her intelligence, and her answer has always stayed with me.

    Some years later, I went to Rome, in my mid 30s and among other things I studied the writings of Pope John Paul II, and in particular his book, ‘Love and Responsibility’ with its thesis about the nature of human persons and the nature of love. I wrote my own study on that subject, but I am no expert on all the arguments around the subject. Like most people of my generation, I accumulated all the headaches that you can get from reading about the subject and trying to argue the case.

    Now fifty years later I picked up that book again this morning and browsed through it and I also went online to find some other interesting things to read. Although like many I always felt sympathy for people in their predicaments and questionings, I have also always held on to what my mammy said all those years ago.

    We are a people who turn to pills and medications to alleviate our problems. They can be very helpful even though they can also have side effects that are not so pleasant. In today’s world many people suffer from depression and we have pills for that as well. I do not despise them but coming from a religious/spiritual background I am much more enthusiastic for the human therapy of good conversation, the talking cure. I say this from personal experience of being in counselling for 15 months one time. It was a salvation for me in my own struggles to become a free and happy person. Indeed it is now said that taking pills for depression is okay as long as people are also being given counselling to help them through their troubles. But pills come cheaper than therapy sessions.

    The mental framework of good/bad and sin/virtue boxed the subject of birth regulation into a too narrow framework. Perhaps we make trouble for ourselves by the very way in which we approach any issue under discussion. The freedom of conscience and ‘do the best you can in your circumstances’ was made to clash with obedience to Church authority when that should never happen. We got ourselves into a right ‘fankle’ over it all, as we say in Scotland, and we need not do so. Conscience was given a respectful nod, but church authority was defended to the hilt, by some.

    Saint Paul in talking about love, says I will show you a better way and perhaps the teaching of Humanae Vitae is trying to be that. The uproar of protest that it met did not give it much chance to be heard fifty years ago. Maybe we should not think about it in terms of right and wrong, but in the scenario of good and better.

    The world people live in is not always conducive to doing the best. So many human relationships are fraught with troubles and difficulties and pastoral care is about helping people do what they can.

    My deep respect and conviction about Pope Paul VI and his office and my listening ear to my own mammy have always stayed with me, even as in pastoral care I always urged people to think for themselves and to do the best they cold.

    Reflecting on things today I am minded about pills and therapy. Both address the issue in different ways. Pills can do so much, but therapy is far more humanly beneficial and healing, it seems to me.

    Brian Fahy

  6. Kevin Walters

    Brian Fahy @ 5

    “The world people live in is not always conducive to doing the best. So many human relationships are fraught with troubles and difficulties and pastoral care is about helping people do what they can”

    Yes we do need to acknowledge that we live in a broken world, there are many social, economic and health reasons why people use contraception, form downright selfishness to the other end of the spectrum, one of very low income, poverty, bad housing, poor education, abusive marriages, mental health issues, substance abuse, HIV, broken relationships as in one partner refusing to have sex without the use of contraception. Many of these are cultural Catholics and often poorly educated ones, who have never really committed to the faith, also for many in these badly fractured life situations, NFP is ‘totally impractical’

    We are taught that the “Sacrament of Marriage is an outward sign of Inward grace” this grace is manifest by reciprocal love given by those who love Him, in their unhindered participation with Him in the creation of new life. And this Truth could be described as the beacon that enlightens our conscience and is conducive to the Common Good.

    “The two shall become one flesh” and the Truth of this statement can be seen in any offspring the couple may be blessed with, and this visual Truth defines marriage as been ‘open’ to the life process. The greatest gift we have received is the gift of life, given by God through the action of our parents, refusing to fully partake in His creation by deliberately denying another the opportunity of life, is sinful and this sin is known innately by mankind.

    Father “Thy Will be done on earth…”

    “Maybe we should not think about it in terms of right and wrong, but in the scenario of good and better….”

    Father “Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil” (the subtleties of relativism)

    “The mental framework of good/bad and sin/virtue boxed the subject of birth regulation into a too narrow framework…”

    But “small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it.”

    “Perhaps we make trouble for ourselves by the very way in which we approach any issue under discussion. The freedom of conscience and ‘do the best you can in your circumstances’ was made to clash with obedience to Church authority when that should never happen…”

    Humility is the fruit of a lively conscience, so humility is the key, as we are set free when we ‘truly’ bend our knee, before His inviolate Word (Will), as sin can never be justified, as in ‘one iota’

    The deliberate denial of goodness (Not to bend one’s knee) before His Inviolate Word (Will), is to darken the bright beacon of Truth and in doing so is to take the lead, to lead others onto the broad highway of destruction.

    “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength:

    To do this we have to totally trust in Divine Providence, we must follow the Word (Will) of God, not the doctrines (relativism) of men. So yes “do the best you can in your circumstances” but self-justification has no part to play within a Christian heart, as we can only stand in our brokenness/humility before Him.

    So is an act of humility too much to ask?

    kevin your brother
    In Christ

  7. Paddy Ferry

    A contribution from Fr.Charles Curran to this debate, link from NCR.

    https://www.ncronline.org/news/people/humanae-vitae-and-sensus-fidelium?utm_source=June+25+_+Humanae+Vitae+Resend&utm_campaign=cc&utm_medium=email

  8. Paddy Ferry

    I have read a lot about Humanae Vitae(HV) over the years beginning with Hans Kung’s little masterpiece on infallibility “Infallible?”. Fr.Kung, if I remember correctly, devotes most of Chap. 1 to HV explaining, among other things, that it had little to do with sexual morality and everything to do with Pope Paul’s obsession with maintaining the credibility of the magisterium following the Lambeth Conference of the Anglican Bishops in 1928 and the response of Pius IX with Casti Connubii in 1930. Some writers cite 1930 and 1932 as the actual dates. However, whatever the years, most contributors to this site will be familiar with Hans Kung’s explanation.
    Then in Peter De Rosa’s Vicars of Christ, he explains how in the debate on The Church in the Modern World at the Council Cardinals Leger, Suenens and Allfreck spoke strongly about the need to change the teaching on contraception. However, another star of that debate and perhaps one of the real stars of Vat II was the 87 year old Patriach Maximos IV Saigh who famously spoke of ” a bachelor psychosis on the part of those unacquainted with this section of life.”
    Having read all of that, I still would say that Angela Hanley’s excellent “Whose Á La Carte Menu?” probably gives more details of the shenanigans that went on before HV than any other book that I have read.
    Ultimately, I don’t think Pope Paul really believed that the case for maintaining the ban was convincing. I think this becomes clear in para. 28 of HV.
    This, after all, was a Pope, unlike many others before and even after him, who held as the philosophy of his pontificate that the faithful have got to be convinced, not coerced.
    I sense from reading para 28 that he realised the arguments would not convince this time. Having studied and read as I have, I find it difficult not to agree with a much more theologically knowledgeable priest friend who once told me that HV has not got a theological leg to stand on.

  9. Con Devree

    What are the intrinsic biblical arguments in favour of the use of artificial contraception technology?

    What are the intrinsic “theological legs” on which the rejection of Humanae Vitae stand on?

    What if Humanae Vitae were true? Where’s the proof that it is not true intrinsically in itself? Assuming its truth and seeking to be faithful leads to a particular attitude to the Divine will, (not the movement of the same name), to Divine providence and the works of grace. It often embraces “the cross.”

    Monsignor Marengo, an advocate of artificial contraception, headed a four-person committee appointed secretly by the Pope in 2017 to reconstruct the genesis of Humanae Vitae. He has published a book on his findings. It’s difficult to get. Relying (I stress “relying”) on commentaries and reviews of it that I’ve read, it would appear that Marengo seemingly laments two “extreme” attitudes to Humanae Vitae – 1) a prejudicial rejection of its teaching, and 2) a defence – without ifs and buts.

    It can be anticipated with some probability therefore that sometime in 2018, under Marengo’s patronage, the Pope will play down fidelity to HV’s doctrinal teaching, relegating it in favour of accompanying couples who though mired in sin nonetheless advance progressively though imperfectly towards a life of full conformity to the Gospel, that is, to the teaching of Humanae Vitae!

    The implication is that Humanae Vitae itself has theological legs as vibrant as those possessed by the teaching on marriage indissolubility on foot of Amoris Laetitia. This being so, the second probability is a series of new but less vociferous divisions among dioceses; new competition for followers among the different competing religious denominations or associations who claim exclusive valid representation of Catholicism.

    50 years?

    “Seventy is the sum of our years or eighty if we are strong.” The psalmist never heard of the sexual revolution.

  10. Joe O'Leary

    “the Pope will play down fidelity to HV’s doctrinal teaching, relegating it in favour of accompanying couples who though mired in sin nonetheless advance progressively though imperfectly towards a life of full conformity to the Gospel, that is, to the teaching of Humanae Vitae!”

    That was what Paul VI urged, too. So “no change”?

    And no one will pay the least attention!

  11. Kevin Walters

    Joe O’Leary @ 10

    “That was what Paul VI urged, too. So “no change”?

    Can you amplify (Give clarity) to the above statement as in “the Pope will play down fidelity to HV’s doctrinal teaching”.
    kevin your brother
    In Christ

  12. Joe O'Leary

    Pope Francis has not determined anything new about Humanae Vitae. But he hsa given signs that he is anxious to walk back that disastrous encyclical. The utter silence of the Vatican on the 50th anniversary sends a loud message.

    Now that the Church has had to eat humble pie about clerical child abuse, rescinding the ban on artificial contraception, which in any case has been rejected by the vast majority of Catholics, should not be as unthinkable as it seemed.

    Wishing for it to become a dead letter is not going to work, because it is weaponized (along with church teaching on homosexuality) by very busy activists such as Michael Voris of Church Militant, to paint the Church in the most unattractive colours and to foment ideological warfare.

  13. Con Devree

    #13
    One person’s disaster is often seen by another as success.

    In the OT the people of God tended to be slow in recognising paths to disaster for what they were. They viewed the counsel of the prophets as, well, disastrous in the sense of being unfortunate, and doomed.

    A theory.

    Is it just coincidence that the sexual abuse by clergy (pursuit of pleasure without responsibility) coincided with the rejection of Humanae Vitae by Catholics, its insipid support from many bishops, and its snubbing by most priests?

    In the OT continued disregard for the counsel of the prophets had a tendency to lead to disaster.

    Vatican II and HV were in fact necessary clarifications and warnings to the Church, then on the cusp of intensified absorption of/by the ambient culture. They were capable of success, if tried. Together both address moral judgements in many areas, but HV obviously took in hand the emerging vogue that so long as sex is consensual and no one gets pregnant, it has no higher meaning. The latter, to date, among other things, has lead naturally to what is known as gay marriage, whose version of conjugal relations is dubious, but naturally impervious to procreation.

    Consensual sounds good. Unfortunately it centres on consent, not necessarily agreement, which adds a whole lot of complex difficulty, as exemplified in the MeToo argument and in clerical sexual abuse.

    Breaches of teachings on sexual matters which were traditionally accepted, transposed into rejection of those teachings (the sexual revolution) – this was perhaps an early Divine warning. Depleted attendance at Holy Mass followed. Then came revelations of clerical sex abuse, which in 2018 have spread to hierarchy, involving current Vatican favourites, and to date, resulting in coverups rather than public Vatican chastisement – the highest placed individuals claiming not to know what everyone else had heard. These are just another in a series of warnings, to shepherds and laity.

    The crisis is deepening. Perhaps the silence of the Vatican, of many bishops and priests on Humanae Vitae, rather than being a source of celebration and/or of divine inspired righteousness, amounts in fact to preoccupations with yet more fiddling while the house burns. Is it time to listen to 2 Chronicles 7:14 (RSV): “if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land?”

    End of theory.

  14. Joe O'Leary

    The “theory” that the proscription of artificial contraception is the neglected antidote to the Church’s problems is countered by another “theory” that the vast stretches of double-think the proscription necessitated created just the climate for the various evils you mention to flourish unchecked.

  15. Kevin Walters

    Joe O’Leary @12, thank you for your response

    Yes it is true that Pope Francis has not determined anything new about HV because he cannot as it bears witness to the Truth.

    Yes “the utter silence of the Vatican on the 50th anniversary sends a loud message” One of spiritual feebleness.

    Yes the Church is indeed eating ‘humble pie’ but sadly not digesting it, as the continuing scandals testify.

    Yes the vast majority of Catholics have rejected teachings within HV (Contraception) but through human weakness rather than an enlightened conscience. While others have left the Church as they accepted that they cannot live to its demands, fortunately the true DM Image creates the means to approach the Lords Table in humility rather than self-justification. But ‘faithful’ Catholics have not rejected teachings within HV.

    Humility is the key but apparently the leadership cannot bend their knee (Look at themselves honestly) and because of this the church will continue to dissipate.

    kevin your brother
    In Christ

  16. Con Devree

    The theology underlining Humanae Vitae portrays the spiritual significance of sexual intimacy.

    Created in God’s image the human body is a symbol revealing truths about God. As Christopher West says, the “body … is capable of making visible what is invisible: the spiritual and the divine. It was created to transfer into the visible reality of the world, the mystery hidden since time immemorial in God, and thus to be a sign of it.”

    The human body reflects God’s Trinitarian nature – how multiple persons can exist as one essence. This is profoundly reflected when husband and wife become “one flesh” described in Genesis 2:24.

    But Trinitarian life and love is but one of the mysteries the one-flesh union reveals. Pope St John Paul II taught that it reveals the mystery of Christ’s relationship with the church. Ephesians 5:31-32 says: For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is a profound one, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.”

    Christ gives of himself totally to the Church which in turn seeks to give itself totally to Christ. Christ accepts the Church in her totality and she seeks to accept Him likewise. This total mutual giving and receiving is constitutive of sexual intimacy enabling it to become one of the more joyful forms of prayer (distractions included). Sexual intimacy reflects the human being’s relationship with Christ.

    This elevates the human body and sexuality to a whole new level. The body is not merely a container or an instrument; it is a symbol with deep, spiritual meaning.

    Artificial contraception not only prevents conception. It also restructures and impoverishes and frustrates a profound spiritual symbol and activity. It is inseparably associated with an attitude associated with sexual incontinence in all its forms.

    The purpose of Pope, (Vatican), bishops and priests is to teach, and seek the grace to teach, Church teaching. After that the faithful’s response is a matter between God and them, in all the aspects thereof. Perhaps Jeremiah and the prophets also encountered percentages of complicity as low as 20%. 20% would have saved Sodom. Perhaps we are going through a period where 20% is akin to that measure of faith which Christ will use to keep the Church alive.


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