We begin today with Charlie’s Corner, dedicated to PRI’s longtime friend, prolife ally, and board chairman.Professor Rice comes first because today is the 48th anniversary of Humane Vitae, the Encyclical on Human Life promulgated by Blessed Pope Paul VI on July 25, 1968. Of course, that document was met with outrage not only from the usual advocates of the Culture of Death, but also many within the church as well, listening more to the siren song of the decadent contraceptive culture then to the teaching of Holy Mother Church.Here I’m going to let Professor Rice pick it up when he celebrated this anniversary four years ago.“Consider this: my colleague on the Notre Dame faculty,” Professor Rice writes. “Professor Gary Gutting has proclaimed in the New York Times that “it is not for the bishops but for the faithful to decide the nature and extent of episcopal authority,” and that, in matters of sexual morality, “Catholics have decisively rejected it.” Therefore, Professor Gutting concludes, “The immorality of birth control is no longer a teaching of the Catholic Church… the issue has been settled by the voice of the Catholic people.”Professor Gutting really believes that. But he’s wrong. Here’s why.Let’s start with Lambeth.The Anglican Lambeth Conference of 1930 was the first time any Christian church ever said that contraception could be a morally good choice. In fact, until 100 years ago, the Catholic Church, every Christian denomination, and virtually every major religion in the world condemned not only abortion but contraception as well.The Lambeth Conference in 1908, convened by the Anglican Communion, had condemned contraception in words that could have been written by John Paul II or Benedict XVI. Since Lambeth 1930, Pius XI and the succeeding Popes have continued to teach that contraception is wrong, first, because it deliberately separates the unitive and procreative aspects of the conjugal act; second, by so changing the nature of the act, the man and woman make themselves, rather than God, the arbiters of whether and when life shall begin; and third, contraception frustrates the total mutual self-donation that is essential to the conjugal act. Contraception also implies that there is such a thing as a human life not worth living—the life of the child whose existence the contraceptors choose to prevent.Then came what Prof. Rice calls The Truce of 1968. With the advent of the Pill in the 1960s increased the use of contraceptives to the point that many Catholics, both lay and religious, were willing quietly to tolerate their use. Thus, when Blessed Paul VI published this beautiful document, it precipitated a storm of dissent.
In 1968, Cardinal Patrick O’Boyle of Washington, D.C., bravely supported Pope Paul, and disciplined nineteen priests who had dissented – publicly defying Church teaching – from Humanae Vitae. The priests appealed to Rome, and, three years later, the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy ordered Cardinal O’Boyle to lift canonical penalties from those priests who told him privately that they agreed that the teaching on “the objective evil of contraception” was “an authentic expression of [the] magisterium.” The Congregation explicitly refrained from requiring that priests who had dissented publicly must retract their in dissent publicly. George Weigel described the effects of this “Truce of 1968”:
“The Truce of 1968 (exemplified by the settlement of the Washington Case) taught various lessons to … the Church in America.”
The Truce of 1968 taught theologians, priests and other Church professionals that dissent from authoritative teaching was, essentially, cost-free.
The Truce of 1968 taught bishops inclined to defend authoritative Catholic teaching vigorously that they should think twice about doing so, if controversy were likely to follow; Rome, fearing schism, was nervous about public action against dissent. The result… was that “a generation of Catholic bishops came to think of themselves less as authoritative teachers than as moderators of an ongoing dialogue whose primary responsibility was to keep everyone in the conversation and in play.”
And Catholic lay people learned … “that virtually everything in the Church was questionable: doctrine, morals, the priesthood, the episcopate, the lot.” Thus the impulse toward Cafeteria Catholicism got a decisive boost from the Truce of 1968: if the bishops and the Holy See were not going to defend seriously the Church’s teaching on this matter, then picking-and-choosing in a supermarket of doctrinal and moral possibilities seemed, not simply all right, but actually admirable—an exercise in maturity, as was often suggested at the time.
Professor Rice continues: The American bishops, with exceptions, have miserably failed to educate Catholics and others on HV and the similar teachings of John Paul II and Benedict XVI. The bishops on the national level have made some commendable efforts to correct the situation. But generations of parishioners—and students whose religion classes focus on collages, banners and political correctness—are still paying the price. The result is an appalling ignorance among Catholics of HV and other Catholic doctrines and principles. A Gallup poll released in May 2012 found that 82% of Catholics in America believe contraception is “morally acceptable.” “If you love me,” said Jesus Christ, “keep my commandments.” But if someone had kept a log of homilies delivered in the United States over the past fifty years, what would be the ratio between generalized exhortations to “love” and specific explanations of the Commandments? No contest. But this cannot be blamed simply on parish priests. As Dean Emeritus Jude Dougherty, of the School of Philosophy of the Catholic University of America, put it: “From the pulpit, when have you ever heard a sermon on any one of the Ten Commandments, the sacraments, or the virtues? It takes a genius, and few have the talent, to make sense of the disparate biblical readings, which lend themselves to storybook repetition, rather than to the preaching of doctrine. And then there are those petitions, often self-contradictory, often the reflection of someone’s political and social agenda, as if the petitions in the canon of the Mass were not enough.”
Then came a crucial Wall Street Journal interview with Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). On March 31, 2012, he acknowledged both the failure of the bishops and the hunger, especially among young adults, for more authoritative teaching on sexuality:
Doesn’t the church have a problem conveying its moral principles to its own flock? “Do we ever!” the archbishop replies with a hearty laugh. “I’m not afraid to admit that we have an internal catechetical challenge—a towering one—in convincing our own people of the moral beauty and coherence of what we teach. That’s a biggie.”
For this he faults the church leadership. “We have gotten gun-shy… in speaking … on chastity and sexual morality.” He dates this diffidence to “the … 60’s, when the whole world seemed to be caving in, and where Catholics … got the impression that what the Second Vatican Council taught … is that we should be chums with the world, and that the best thing the church can do is become more and more like everyone else.”
The “flash point,” the archbishop says, was “Humanae Vitae,” Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical…. It “brought such a tsunami of dissent, departure, disapproval of the church, that I think most of us—and I’m using the first person plural intentionally, including myself—kind of subconsciously said, ‘Whoa. We’d better never talk about that, because it’s just too hot to handle.’ We forfeited the chance to be a coherent moral voice when it comes to one of the more burning issues of the day.”
Without my having raised the subject, says the interviewer, the Cardinal adds that the church’s sex-abuse scandal “intensified our laryngitis over speaking about issues of chastity and sexual morality, because we almost thought, ‘I’ll blush if I do…. After what some priests and some bishops, albeit a tiny minority, have done, how will I have any credibility in speaking on that?’”
Yet the archbishop says he sees a hunger, especially among young adults, for a more authoritative church voice on sexuality. “They will be quick to say, ‘By the way, we want you to know that we might not be able to obey it…. But we want to hear it. And in justice, you as our pastors need to tell us, and you need to challenge us.”
In a pivotal address to American bishops, Benedict XVI understated the point: “Certainly we must acknowledge deficiencies in the catechesis of recent decades, which failed at times to communicate the rich heritage of Catholic teaching on marriage as a natural institution elevated by Christ to the dignity of a sacrament, the vocation of Christian spouses in society and in the Church, and the practice of marital chastity.”
So said Pope Benedict. Was anybody listening?
The practice of contraception leads to loss of faith in God and the displacement of the law of God by the law of the State. As Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. (1914-2000) said: “[T]he single, principal cause for the breakdown of the Catholic faith in materially overdeveloped countries like ours has been contraception. St. James tells us that faith without good works is dead. What good is it to give verbal profession of the Catholic faith, and then behave like a pagan in marital morality?”
The Impact of Contraception
The abandonment of Humanae Vitae by the American Church has practical consequences. “If a person can violate [by contraception] the natural integrity of the marital act with moral impunity,” said Dean William J. Kenealy, S.J., of Boston College Law School two decades before Humanae Vitae, “then I challenge anyone to show me the essential immorality of any sexual aberration.”
Dean Kenealy was correct, as we know all too well today. It all started with what Pofessor Rice calls the “contraceptive mentality.”
In fact, “Contraceptive sex is the fundamental social fact of our time.” Mary Eberstadt of the Hoover Institution has analyzed social science data confirming that the sexual revolution triggered by the Pill is an accelerating disaster, especially for its main victims—women and children. If you make yourself the arbiter of whether and when life shall begin, you will predictably put yourself in charge of when life shall end, as in abortion, euthanasia and suicide. The contraceptive society cannot deny legitimacy to homosexual activity without denying itself. If it is man’s decision as to whether sex will have any relation to procreation, then the only objections to same-sex “marriage,” polygamy, bestiality, etc., are reduced to the aesthetic and arbitrary. The separation of sex from procreation undercuts any reservation of sex for marriage and any reason for permanence of marriage. It also encourages the objectification of women by pornography. Eberstadt correctly says HV “warned of four resulting trends: a general lowering of moral standards throughout society; a rise in infidelity; a lessening of respect for women by men; and the coercive use of reproductive technologies by governments.” Eberstadt fittingly quotes Archbishop Charles Chaput: “If Paul VI was right about so many of the consequences deriving from contraception, it is because he was right about contraception itself.”
Eight years ago today, On its 40th anniversary, Benedict emphasized the centrality of Humanae Vitae:
Forty years after its publication [HV] not only expresses its unchanged truth but also reveals [its] farsightedness…. The Magisterium [must reflect] on the fundamental principles that concern marriage and procreation. …. The truth expressed in [HV] does not change; on the contrary, precisely in the light of the new scientific discoveries, its teaching becomes more timely and elicits reflection on [its] intrinsic value…. The urgent need for education… primarily concerns the theme of life. I … hope that young people… will be given very special attention so that they may learn the true meaning of love and prepare for it… without [being] distracted by ephemeral messages that prevent them from reaching the essence of the truth at stake…. The teaching expressed by [HV] conforms with the fundamental structure through which life has always been transmitted since the world’s creation, with respect for nature and… its needs. Concern for human life and safeguarding the person’s dignity require us not to leave anything untried so that all may be involved in the genuine truth of responsible conjugal love in full adherence to the law engraved on the heart of every person.
Cardinal Dolan frankly admitted that the bishops have long doubted that the Catholic people of the United States would accept a forthright teaching of HV. But, as Benedict XVI noted in his homily on July 15, 2012, the prophet Amos preached “what God says and not what people wanted to hear.” In our times, Benedict said, “This remains the mandate of the Church: she does not preach what the powerful want to hear. Her criterion is truth and justice, even if that garners no applause and collides with human power.”
PRI’s Humanae Vitae Campaign urges faithful Catholics who believe in the Church’s teaching to support our bishops and the Holy Father. Encourage them and support them when they teach, as Pope Benedict puts it, even the hard parts.
Is your Bishop afraid to teach Humanae Vitae because he’s afraid it’ll make him unpopular? Well, let’s make it popular. Let our bishops know that we support church teaching, and that we will support them when they teach it.
Remember, being a bishop is a lonely job. As one Bishop put it, you never get good advice or a bad meal. But preaching on Humanae Vitae is the best advice we can offer – and the best way to make it happen is prayer—for our country and for our Church, especially through the intercession of Mary, the mother of Life. As John Paul II wrote in a letter to U.S. bishops in 1993, “America needs much prayer—lest it lose its soul.”
That’s Charlie’s Corner. You’re listening to PRI Review at pop.org. We’ll be right back.
We live in troubled times.
Catholic world news reports that 74% of the worlds population is living with high levels of restriction on religious activities.
To put it another way, 74% of the world’s population is actually suffering some kind of religious persecution.
In our program today we are going to address not only the international dimension of this problem, but the growing menace to Christianity in the United States as well.
First, the world.
Government restrictions on religion decreased slightly worldwide in 2014, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center.
In 2014, 24% of the countries surveyed had “high” or “very high” levels of restriction on religious activity. Since some of the most populous countries were also among the most restrictive, the survey concluded that 74% of the world’s people 5.6 billion people — live in countries with “high” or “very high” levels of restriction on religion.
In a more ominous trend, Pew reported a significant spike in the number of countries suffering from the effects of religious terrorism. The growing impact of the Islamic State, Boko Haram, and al Qaida were major factors in that trend.
In years past, we often heard such stories coming from the Third World, or countries ruled by outright dictatorships – communist China, for instance, persecutes not only Christians but members of the Baha’i and Moselms as well.
But today these persecutions are coming hard and fast and what was once Christendom – and that is unprecedented in the history of the West.
Let’s take Spain, once a bastion of traditional Catholicism.
A Spanish court has dismissed “hate crime” charges that were brought against Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera of Valencia after he denounced what Pope Francis has called “gender ideology.”
Several leftist organizations had filed complaints against the cardinal, saying that his words had incited hatred against homosexuals.
Bear in mind that this is a common charge in the United States as well. Here, LGBT and feminist activists have long insisted that the “equal protection” cause of the 14th amendment should include women, lesbians, and sodomites as protected classes.
The feminist effort to pass the so-called Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s happily failed, due to the efforts of many sensible Catholics who recognized the amendment simply as an affirmation of the sexual revolution and abortion rights.
But the assertion by sexual deviants that they deserve the same treatment under the law as African-Americans – in terms of affirmative action, preference in college admissions, and so on – has outraged many members of the black and Hispanic community, and with good reason. After an all, equal treatment before the law for those born with various ethnic and racial identities is fundamental to American jurisprudence.
On the other hand, the notion that one’s freely chosen sexual activities of a certain kind should put him at the head of the class is a little preposterous.
Why, then, does the leadership of the black and Hispanic communities go along with the LGBT hijacking of equal rights?
The answer is simple. Those who pretend to speak for these minorities are as left-wing as the feminists, lesbians, and sodomites. So they are willing to betray their own followers in order to pursue their ideological agenda.
And that’s what happened in Spain.
Under the terms of Spanish law, the formal charges required authorities to investigate the incident. However, after a brief investigation, a magistrate concluded that Cardinal Cañizares was exercising his freedom of speech, and his words showed neither a “criminal intent” nor a call to “hatred and violence.” The investigation was closed.
Nonetheless, one reckless ideological judge could have easily laid his judicial temperament aside and accept the argument that the Catholic teaching on homosexuality is in itself hateful.
Our long time friend, Dr. Charles Rice, once spoke in Canada to a university audience surrounded by police protection. A particularly hostile group of sodomy advocates had threatened violence if he condemned their sexual acts. But that isn’t all. Had he actually opined in his presentation on natural law that sodomy was both sinful and unnatural, it is he, and not the violent protesters, who would have been arrested. In Canada, advocating Catholic teaching in public is considered hate speech when it comes to the gender ideology.
“All I could do,” he told me, “was to affirm that I believe the teaching of the Catholic Church. Had I actually articulated that belief, I would have gone to jail.”
Well, this isn’t the only sign of budding persecution of Christians in the West.
In Italy, Catholics gathering at the church of St. Anthony in the coastal town of Ventimiglia in northern Italy were admonished to
‘Pray In Silence… Don’t Disturb The Migrants’
What what’s this all about?
Apparently, some of the faithful reciting the rosary at St. were told by Caritas volunteers they couldn’t recite the rosary and would instead have to pray in silence out of respect to migrants who are living there.
Now we must recall that Caritas is ostensibly a Catholic charity. Nonetheless, Breitbart News reports that much of the charity’s resources are spent on facilitating mass migration to Europe; the organization even boasts that it contributes to and seeks to influence European Union (EU) “asylum” policies. Caritas reports that they have been distributing 600 meals a day to migrants in Ventimiglia.
After one of the female parishioners requested that the migrants be taken to another church so that she could recite the rosary, went the parish priest, Don Rito, appeared and accompanied her and the other visitors to another church.
Apparently, the Moslem asylum seekers now have Saint Anthony’s Church all to themselves.
Here’s our Weekly Briefing from PRI – and this week we’re looking at the new abortion numbers from the International Planned Parenthood Federation.
IPPF reports that its affiliates ended the lives of nearly one million unborn children in 2015. In all, IPPF terminated 964,325 unborn children by chemical and surgical abortion in 2015 alone.
A million of anything is a staggering number. But the loss of nearly a million children by surgical or chemical abortion is a tragedy beyond reckoning.
If you were to read off the names of IPPF’s tiny victims—without sleeping, breaking or pausing—it would take you almost two years. In fact, you would never finish. By the time you finished reading the list of all the lives lost in 2015, IPPF’s abortion facilities will have added another two million lives to be accounted for.
Over the past 60 years, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and its affiliates have terminated the lives of millions more unborn children. At the same time, the American taxpayer has to supply tens of millions of dollars to pay IPPF, its affiliates, and other organizations that promote abortion and contraception worldwide.
IPPF strives to be “a leading advocate of sexual and reproductive health and rights.”
In plain English, that means they promote so-called abortion “rights”, graphic sex education “rights”, and contraception around the globe.
In pursuit of this agenda, IPPF has distributed approximately 1.7 billion condoms worldwide over the past ten years. That’s roughly equivalent to one condom for every man on the planet between the ages of 15 and 44.
The number of young people being bamboozled by Planned Parenthood in sexual matters has also exploded in recent years. An examination of the numbers indicates that, through the year 2015, 99 million young people completed sex education programs taught by an IPPF affiliate.
IPPF also lobbies governments to legalize abortion and, where abortion is already legal, it demands more access. Its goal is universal and free abortion worldwide. IPPF often works through Member Associations to make this happen. Where they exist, Member Associations are the primary conduit used by IPPF to advocate for changes in laws, policies, and directives from Ministries of Health.
IPPF will sometimes partner with other organizations as well, or even operate directly, or with other partners, in countries where it has not yet organized a partner network.
IPPF is active in 168 countries through its Member Associations and other groups. While Member Associations are independent organizations in and of themselves to one extent or another, they receive guidance and funding from IPPF.
How effective has IPPF been in changing laws and policies to promote abortion and contraception? Consider the following.
In 2014, Planned Parenthood of Ghana (PPAG), launched a full-fledged media campaign to lure young people into its clinics. According to IPPF, Planned Parenthood of Ghana ran frequent ads over FM radio and launched a mobile app to send out information about their services along with “diagrams relating to sexual and reproductive health.” The result of these efforts was an increase in the “number of clients provided with safe abortion services…by 25 percent.”
Between 2012 and 2014, IPPF’s European Network successfully petitioned the Europeans Social Rights Committee (ESRC) of the Council of Europe to condemn Italy for allowing too many doctors to claim conscientious objection rights when refusing to perform abortions. Because the vast majority of doctors in Italy will not perform abortions for reasons of faith or conscience, the curiously named “rights” committee ignored the rights of the unborn and accused the Italian government of not providing sufficient access to abortionists. It remains unclear whether doctors in Italy will lose their right to conscientious objection or even be forced to perform abortions in the future.
In Nepal, nurses were originally not permitted to perform abortions. But in 2014, the Family Planning Association of Nepal, an IPPF affiliate, successfully petitioned the government to gain approval for its nurses to perform abortions in some of its clinics. Can anyone doubt that the number of abortions performed in Nepal will now increase?
The list goes on. From Ireland to Kazakhstan, IPPF affiliates are lobbying hard, demanding always more abortions and “sexual and so-called reproductive health” services. IPPF credits itself with having played a part in influencing more than 800 policy and legislative changes globally to promote “sexual and reproductive health and rights” over the past decade alone.
In addition to achieve legislative victories, , IPPF also seeks to change public opinion about abortion and contraception in the public square. It claims to want to “destigmatize” abortion, by which the organization means that it wants to accustom people to the idea that it is perfectly normal to dismember unborn children. IPPF regularly promotes abortion as a “safe,” no matter how dismemberment abortion mutilates and murders the unborn child.
IPPF writes big checks to its Member Associations and other organizations every year to support their abortion and contraception activities. Between 2008-2015, IPPF gave out approximately US$600 million in grants, commodities and technical assistance to allied organizations the world over.
The money comes from a handful of wealthy Western nations including Sweden, Japan, the U.K., and Germany. U.S. Government funding of IPPF and foreign IPPF MAs is comparatively small—at least relative to the hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars given annually to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, IPPF’s affiliate in the United States. Even so, federal funding for IPPF is significant.
According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, known as the GAO, IPPF Member Associations collectively received approximately $23 million from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and an additional $3 million from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) between 2010-2012. The GAO did not report any direct funding for IPPF or the IPPF Western Hemisphere Regional Office itself; instead, funds were made available directly to the IPPF Member Associations themselves.
One must wonder why U.S. taxpayers have paid for $26 million to be given to an organization that performs nearly one million abortions a year and is actively involved in promoting the legalization of abortion in countries that protect the right to life for the unborn.
For details and documentation on our Weekly Briefing., please check out the complete text on our website at pop.org.
This has been the PRI Review from pop.org. Thanks for listening.