Humanae Vitae

The Tyranny of Tolerance

When the Supreme Court re-defined marriage in the Obergefell v. Hodges decision to include same-sex relationships, it was immediately clear that this sea change would create a conflict between this newly-discovered constitutional right, and the first freedom listed in the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights: the right of religious liberty. Everyone from pundits [...]

Yes, Holy Father, You Are Right: “Let Us Not Play With Truths”

The position of Pope Francis in regard to homosexual “marriage” has not changed since he became a bishop in Argentina, according to John Allen Jr. on the Crux news site last year. Allen writes that, while the pope is against homosexual "marriage," he is willing to tolerate homosexual acts under the title of “civil unions.” [...]

Reconsidering Contraception and the Way of Life

Contraception was not always as widely accepted as it is now. This is important to remember, especially for those of us born after the so-called Sexual Revolution, when contraceptives have become nearly ubiquitous, even farcical to the point of absurdity, just ask the Little Sisters of the Poor. However, in the not-so-distant past, in the [...]

Is a “Winnipeg Statement” Lurking in Amoris Laetitia?

Hey, Amoris Laetitia, the 1968 Canadian bishops phoned and they want their strategic ambiguity back. That line may not mean much to anyone who isn’t familiar with the Canadian Conference of Bishops’ statement in response to the birth control encyclical Humanae Vitae. Dubbed the “Winnipeg Statement” for the last 49 years, it represents in the [...]

Three Feasts and Contraception

The flow of time in which we find ourselves, between Pentecost and Corpus Christi, is a bit strange liturgically. Pentecost ends the Easter Season and launches us back into Ordinary Time. The first weeks of post-Pentecost Ordinary Time include two major solemnities: Trinity Sunday (which used to be connected with Pentecost by a suppressed octave, [...]

Debate Continues Over Amoris Laetitia

The ambiguities of Pope Francis’s apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, continue to provoke a lively debate even as we pass its one-year anniversary. Allies of the pope marked the event by rallying to his support as they beseeched the faithful to contemplate this maligned papal document. On the other side of the ledger, orthodox theologians continue [...]

Procreation: Still the Primary End of Marriage

“The primary end of marriage is the procreation and education of children; its secondary end is mutual help and the allaying of concupiscence.” (Canon 1013, 1917 Code of Canon Law) Anyone familiar with the history of contraception and the Church in the 1960s will know the name of John T. Noonan. His singular 1965 work [...]

Does History Repeat With Amoris Laetitia Confusion?

The Holy Father actually said to the College of Cardinals: “In a matter of such importance it seems right that Catholics desire to follow one single law propounded authoritatively by the Church. So it seems advisable to recommend that for the present no one should arrogate to himself the right to take a stand differing [...]

Note to Pollsters: What “Practicing Catholic” Really Means

First consideration is due to the offspring, which many have the boldness to call the disagreeable burden of matrimony.  ~ Pope Pius XI, Casti Connubii If someone says “practicing Catholic,” what do you think of? If your first thought it involved Mass attendance, you’d be in good company. Pollsters and pundits tend to clump Catholics into [...]

A Defense of the Christian Teaching Against Contraception

Forty-eight years ago this past July, our story reached a dramatic climax. But it began in the dawn of Christianity, with a document called the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles (or Didache). Written thirty to fifty years after Christ’s death, it gives the earliest evidence of a Christian condemnation of contraception. For the next 1900 years, it was the [...]

The Unspoken Tragedy of the Orlando Massacre

In responding to the Orlando massacre at a same-sex nightclub, Bishop Robert Lynch of the Diocese of St. Petersburg found religion, including Catholicism, responsible for the slaughter. He wrote, “sadly it is religion, including our own, which targets, mostly verbally, and also often breeds contempt for gays, lesbians and transgender people.” And he is right [...]

Recommended Reading for Your College-bound Teen

“We were always encouraged to read, and had all the masters that were necessary.” ~ Miss Elizabeth Bennet The last thing a high school graduate wants is books—I get it. And high schoolers that grew up in bookish families want books least of all—I get that, too (although my two collegiate children would demur on [...]

More Reasons Why the Pill Can’t Be Used Against the Zika Virus

Much has already been written about Pope Francis’s controversial comments during his in-flight press conference traveling back to Rome from Mexico where he seemed to suggest that recourse to contraception could be a morally licit way to prevent the transmission of the Zika virus—with its possible yet still unproven link to microcephaly. He even tried to support [...]

Is Marital Indissolubility Only an Ideal?

One way that dissidents (including various episcopal conferences that had been derelict in teaching Catholic marital morality in the immediate periods before and after Humanae vitae) sought to dilute the clear Magisterial teaching the encyclical provided them was to reduce its vision of married sexual life to an “aspirational norm.” In other words, the idea [...]

Is the Ambiguity in Synod Documents Intentional?

Although it is unpleasant to discuss, there is a medical disorder (sometimes called “pica”) in which a person desires to eat non-nutritive, non-food substances like glass, plastic, dirt, wood, and apparently almost anything else one could imagine. Besides their disordered desire to eat harmful things, people with pica otherwise seem to be normal and are [...]

Abandoning the Full Meaning of Marriage

The case for Same Sex Civil Contracts for Sexual Services (SSCCSS, abbreviated as SCS and pronounced as one word, “sex”) rests on the theft of the term “marriage” in order to strip it of any reference to true marriage. No defense of real marriage can be sustained when it accepts this identity theft as definitive [...]

Humanae Vitae and the Sensus Fidelium

“In matters of faith the baptized cannot be passive.” ~ International Theological Commission “Easter is a big deal at St. John’s,” Doug Barnes observes about his church. “It’s like the second-biggest deal behind Christmas.” If you remember your Catechism, you’ll know that Barnes is dead wrong—at least from a theological and liturgical perspective. Easter (Alleluia! [...]

Reactions to the Pope’s Encyclical on Contraception

It is interesting now to look back at the various reactions when the pope issued his encyclical on contraception. I dug up the following, and I think they pretty much speak for themselves. It is hardly necessary to add any comments at all except to say how little things have changed. A leader from an [...]

In Praise of Catholic Motherhood

This is a week for celebrating life. In Washington D.C., the March for Life continues its long tradition of marking the anniversary of Roe v Wade with a massive demonstration in remembrance of the unborn. Appropriately enough, Pope Francis set the week off by affirming the Church’s stance on artificial contraceptives on his visit to [...]

Is Sexual Desire Holy?

At a recent conference, I had the privilege of listening to an excellent presentation on the topic of charity by a very well known Catholic apologist, who will remain nameless. At some point, his talk on Christian love shifted from a discussion of caritas to eros, and the presenter moved into the subject of sexual [...]

The Contradictions of Multi-Generational Liberalism

A recent study by the Pew Research Center finds significant differences between younger and older liberals, differences that are not encouraging either to orthodox religious believers or to the older liberals. The Next Generation Left (NGL) are at one with older liberals on the social issues, notably abortion and homosexual marriage, and it is primarily [...]

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