Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Canadian Priest Questions The Sinfulness of Contraception And Its Linkage To Abortion

Recently I enjoyed a real discussion of some substance with a Catholic priest who questioned my claims that contraception was even sinful, let alone intrinsically evil, and then went on to dispute my abortion signage which characterized contraception and abortion as “evil twins.” He indicated that he would be open to studying a written clarification from me on this subject. The letter below was the response which I delivered him.

I might add that from our conversation it was most clear that this priest believed his fellow priests and bishops were quite on board with his thinking on the subject and that they would all consider my views quite preposterous, if not offensive.


Dear Father _________________,

Recently we had a conversation regarding the message on the signage I use for my abortion protests as well as the Church’s position on contraception (and abortion).  I thought it best to answer your concerns by putting my thoughts to paper and passing them along in this way.

As I see it, there are a few questions which need asking and answering.

1.       How are we to resolve the question of what is the teaching of the Magisterium on the subject of contraception?

It seems more than obvious that the ordinary Catholic will consult the current Catechism of the Catholic Church on any basic question relating to faith and morals. In October of 1992, when Pope John Paul II presented the current Catechism in his encyclical Fidei Depositum, some of his instruction was as follows:

It can be said that this catechism is the result of the collaboration of the whole Episcopate of the Catholic Church, who generously accepted my invitation to share responsibility for an enterprise which directly concerns the life of the Church. This response elicits in me a deep feeling of joy, because the harmony of so many voices truly expresses what could be called the symphony of the faith. The achievement of this catechism thus reflects the collegial nature of the Episcopate: it testifies to the Church's catholicity.


A catechism should faithfully and systematically present the teaching of Sacred Scripture, the living Tradition of the Church and the authentic Magisterium, as well as the spiritual heritage of the Fathers and the Church's saints, to allow for a better knowledge of the Christian mystery and for enlivening the faith of the People of God. It should take into account the doctrinal statements which down the centuries the Holy Spirit has intimated to his Church. It should also help illumine with the light of faith the new situations and problems which had not yet emerged in the past.


The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which I approved 25 June last and the publication of which I today order by virtue of my Apostolic Authority, is a statement of the Church's faith and of Catholic doctrine, attested to or illumined by Sacred Scripture, Apostolic Tradition and the Church's Magisterium. I declare it to be a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion and a sure norm for teaching the faith.


This catechism is given to them [Church's Pastors and the Christian faithful] that it may be a sure and authentic reference text for teaching Catholic doctrine and particularly for preparing local catechisms.

Given these bold pronouncements from the Pope, let us review the Catechism’s teaching on contraception:

Beginning at paragraph 2366, the text deals with “The Fecundity of Marriage” and continues through to 2372. The key statement concerning contraception is contained in 2370:

2370 Periodic continence, that is, the methods of birth regulation based on self-observation and the use of infertile periods, is in conformity with the objective criteria of morality. These methods respect the bodies of the spouses, encourage tenderness between them, and favor the education of an authentic freedom. In contrast, "every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible" is intrinsically evil:

    Thus the innate language that expresses the total reciprocal self-giving of husband and wife is overlaid, through contraception, by an objectively contradictory language, namely, that of not giving oneself totally to the other. This leads not only to a positive refusal to be open to life but also to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality…The difference, both anthropological and moral, between contraception and recourse to the rhythm of the cycle…involves in the final analysis two irreconcilable concepts of the human person and of human sexuality.

Not surprisingly then, we find in the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which is a “faithful and sure synthesis of the Catechism” according to Pope Benedict XVI:

"What are immoral means of birth control? Every action -- for example, direct sterilization or contraception -- is intrinsically immoral which (either in anticipation of the conjugal act, in its accomplishment or in the development of its natural consequences) proposes, as an end or as a means, to hinder procreation." (Compendium, n. 498)

Therefore there can be no doubt that the Catholic who seeks an answer to the question “What is the teaching of the Magisterium on the subject of contraception?” quickly discovers from authoritative sources that, in a nutshell, it is an intrinsically evil act which is contrary to natural law, human sexuality and married love. Spouses do not have recourse to contraception if they wish to space the births of their children.

2.       To press the point to a serious limit, even to questioning the essence of what the Pope asserted in Fidei Depositum, is it possible that this teaching on contraception was an orchestrated effort of Pope John Paul II to insert his personal views on this subject  and that the Magisterial teaching differs substantially from this view?

To answer such a bold charge it is sufficient to examine the express statements of other Popes in modern times who have sought to address the sanctity of marriage and family. Unsurprisingly, their statements were especially pointed to what each considered to be the principal threat against marriage and family in our time, i.e. artificial birth control.

In 1930 Pope Pius XI issued the encyclical Casti Connubii. This encyclical prohibited Catholics from using any form of artificial birth control and judged that contraception was intrinsically contrary to nature, gravely sinful matter and “those who commit such an action are stained with the guilt of grave sin.”

In 1951, Pope Pius XII, in an Address to Midwives said the following:

"Our Predecessor, Pius XI, of happy memory, in his Encyclical Casti Connubii, of December 31, 1930, once again solemnly proclaimed the fundamental law of the conjugal act and conjugal relations: that every attempt of either husband or wife in the performance of the conjugal act or in the development of its natural consequences which aims at depriving it of its inherent force and hinders the procreation of new life is immoral; and that no 'indication' or need can convert an act which is intrinsically immoral into a moral and lawful one.

“This precept is in full force today, as it was in the past, and so it will be in the future also, and always, because it is not a simple human whim, but the expression of a natural and divine law.”

In 1961, Pope John XXIII issued his encyclical Mater Et Magistra and reiterated that artificial birth control was contrary to the “inviolable and immutable laws of God” and was a “means … opposed to right reason.”

The transmission of human life is the result of a personal and conscious act, and, as such, is subject to the all-holy, inviolable and immutable laws of God, which no man may ignore or disobey. He is not therefore permitted to use certain ways and means which are allowable in the propagation of plant and animal life. (193)

They (parents) must instill in them (children) an unshakable confidence in Divine Providence and a determination to accept the inescapable sacrifices and hardships involved in so noble and important a task as the co-operation with God in the transmitting of human life and the bringing up of children. (195)

Genesis relates how God gave two commandments to our first parents: to transmit human life -- "Increase and mutliply"[44] -- and to bring nature into their service -- "Fill the earth, and subdue it."[45] These two commandments are complementary. (196)

Nothing is said in the second of these commandments about destroying nature. On the contrary, it must be brought into the service of human life. (197)

In 1965, Gaudium et Spes, one of the four Apostolic Constitutions resulting from the Second Vatican Council, was promulgated. It was explicitly confirmed in n. 51 of Gaudium Et Spes that :

"In questions of birth regulation the sons of the Church ... are forbidden to use methods disapproved by the Magisterium"

Precise reference was made to note 14 in which the passage quoting Casti Connubii  declares contraception to be a grave sin. Clearly Casti Connubii was considered to be authoritative teaching up to that point by the Council. The note further goes on to say that outstanding  questions on the subject of artificial birth control will be taken up by the Pope’s commission, after which “the Supreme Pontiff may pass judgment” which indeed took place in 1968.

In 1968, Pope Paul VI issued his encyclical Humanae Vitae condemning any use of artificial birth control. The Pope rejected the Majority Commission’s recommendations—the Supreme Pontiff’s prerogative—and refused to overturn opposition to contraception. A firestorm of dissent erupted from this encyclical and the storm continues unabated today. However, earlier and later statements by Pope Paul VI, including his General Audience immediately following publication of the encyclical, make clear that the Pope felt the grave burden of his ruling. As Fr Lino Ciccone, C.M., Professor of Moral Theology, in Lugano, Switzerland noted:

Nothing could be clearer than the fact that for Paul VI the problem and its solution had such weight and importance that one cannot accept the hypothesis that a slight moral disorder, on the lines of "venial sin", is at stake. It is clear then, merely on the basis of these few points, that for the Magisterium contraception is such a morally disordered form of behaviour that it constitutes gravely sinful matter.

True, Humanae Vitae was not an infallible pronouncement, but what Pope Paul VI, the Universal Shepherd and Teacher, said was not only in conformity to the established Magisterium of that day, but has proved to be eerily prophetic. How should the faithful respond? Returning to Gaudium et Spes:

“Religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic teaching of the Pope, even when he is not speaking infallibly; judgments made by him must be sincerely adhered to according to his manifest mind and will.”

In 1981, Pope John Paul II, echoing the voices of fellow Bishops in the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, began to make significant statements about Humanae Vitae. He said:

Thus, in continuity with the living tradition of the ecclesial community throughout history, the recent Second Vatican Council and the magisterium of my predecessor Paul VI, expressed above all in the Encyclical Humanae Vitae, have handed on to our times a truly prophetic proclamation, which reaffirms and reproposes with clarity the Church's teaching and norm, always old yet always new, regarding marriage and regarding the transmission of human life.

For this reason the Synod Fathers made the following declaration at their last assembly: "This Sacred Synod, gathered together with the Successor of Peter in the unity of faith, firmly holds what has been set forth in the Second Vatican Council (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 50) and afterwards in the Encyclical Humanae vitae, particularly that love between husband and wife must be fully human, exclusive and open to new life (Humanae vitae, 11; cf. 9, 12)."(83)

In a Wikipedia article on Humanae Vitae, Pope John Paul’s contributing thought is offered:

After he became pope in 1978, John Paul II continued on the Catholic Theology of the Body of his predecessors with a series of lectures, entitled Theology of the Body, in which he talked about an original unity between man and women,[51] purity of heart (on the Sermon on the Mount), marriage and celibacy and reflections on Humane Vitae, focusing largely on responsible parenthood and marital chastity.[52] John Paul II readdressed some of the same issues in his 1993 encyclical Veritatis Splendor. He reaffirmed much of Humanae Vitae, and specifically described the practice of artificial contraception as an act not permitted by Catholic teaching in any circumstances. The same encyclical also clarifies the use of conscience in arriving at moral decisions, including in the use of contraception. However, John Paul also said, “It is not right then to regard the moral conscience of the individual and the magisterium of the Church as two contenders, as two realities in conflict. The authority which the magisterium enjoys by the will of Christ exists so that the moral conscience can attain the truth with security and remain in it.” John Paul quoted Humanae Vitae as a compassionate encyclical, "Christ has come not to judge the world but to save it, and while he was uncompromisingly stern towards sin, he was patient and rich in mercy towards sinners".[53]

In 2009, Pope Benedict XVI, in his encyclical letter on the Church's social doctrine, Caritas in Veritate, referred to Humanae Vitae, affirming its importance "for delineating the fully human meaning of the development that the Church proposes" (Caritas in Veritate, no. 15). He pointed out that the teaching of Humanae Vitae could not be brushed off as simply a matter of "individual morality:"

Humanae Vitae indicates the strong links between life ethics and social ethics, ushering in a new area of magisterial teaching that has gradually been articulated in a series of documents, most recently John Paul II's Encyclical Evangelium Vitae (Caritas in Veritate, no. 15).

In the Wikipedia article on Humanae Vitae previously cited, we are reminded of Pope Benedict XVI’s explosive characterization of Humanae Vitae, likening it to a “sign of contradiction,” which, in Catholic theology, refers to someone who, upon manifesting the presence of Christ, is subject to extreme opposition:

On 12 May 2008, Benedict XVI accepted an invitation to talk to participants in the International Congress organized by the Pontifical Lateran University on the 40th anniversary of Humanae Vitae. He put the encyclical in the broader view of love in a global context, a topic he called "so controversial, yet so crucial for humanity's future." Humanae Vitae became "a sign of contradiction but also of continuity of the Church's doctrine and tradition... What was true yesterday is true also today."[54] The Church continues to reflect "in an ever new and deeper way on the fundamental principles that concern marriage and procreation." The key message of Humanae Vitae is love. Benedict states that the fullness of a person is achieved by a unity of soul and body, but neither spirit nor body alone can love, only the two together. If this unity is broken, if only the body is satisfied, love becomes a commodity.[55]

To summarize, beyond a reasonable doubt we can say that, even if we exclude the time frame before Humanae Vitae, in our present time the ordinary and universal Magisterium has taught against contraception definitively and infallibly.

3.       What of those who deny the teaching of the Church on contraception?

To deny all these—and more—official statements of Popes, including supporting evidence from Vatican II and various Synods of Bishops, in favour of arguments from theologians and others who, in many cases, promote and agitate for change with personal opinions in favour of contraception, is, I believe, to cross a dangerous red line. However, a few comments are in order.

In the world of faith and religion heresy is a real phenomenon. At least it surely is in the Catholic world. In regard to Church teaching on contraception, a knowing choice to reject the plain teaching of the Magisterium on this, as in any important matter of morality, constitutes formal heresy. Many Catholics are fully aware and publicly proclaim that the Church teaches the immorality of contraception, but then go on to repudiate the teaching. Again, by simple definition, this is an act of formal heresy.

What of the claim that whether the use of contraception is moral or not depends on the person’s judgment, i.e. his conscience or the advice of his confessor?

First, let’s address the conscience claim. Let the words of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI settle the question, from a 1990 address entitled Instruction on the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian delivered as Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect for Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Church’s highest doctrinal office. Pope John Paul II ordered its publication.

38. Finally, argumentation appealing to the obligation to follow one's own conscience cannot legitimate dissent. This is true, first of all, because conscience illumines the practical judgment about a decision to make, while here we are concerned with the truth of a doctrinal pronouncement. This is furthermore the case because while the theologian, like every believer, must follow his conscience, he is also obliged to form it. Conscience is not an independent and infallible faculty. It is an act of moral judgement regarding a responsible choice. A right conscience is one duly illumined by faith and by the objective moral law and it presupposes, as well, the uprightness of the will in the pursuit of the true good.

The right conscience of the Catholic theologian presumes not only faith in the Word of God whose riches he must explore, but also love for the Church from whom he receives his mission, and respect for her divinely assisted Magisterium. Setting up a supreme magisterium of conscience in opposition to the magisterium of the Church means adopting a principle of free examination incompatible with the economy of Revelation and its transmission in the Church and thus also with a correct understanding of theology and the role of the theologian. The propositions of faith are not the product of mere individual research and free criticism of the Word of God but constitute an ecclesial heritage. If there occur a separation from the Bishops who watch over and keep the apostolic tradition alive, it is the bond with Christ which is irreparably compromised(38).

Secondly, now look at an official Church document entitled Vademecum For Confessors Concerning Some Aspects Of The Morality Of Conjugal Life which instructs confessors (priests, Bishops, etc.) on the subject of contraception:

Prop. 2.4. The Church has always taught the intrinsic evil of contraception, that is, of every marital act intentionally rendered unfruitful. This teaching is to be held as definitive and irreformable. Contraception is gravely opposed to marital chastity; it is contrary to the good of the transmission of life (the procreative aspect of matrimony), and to the reciprocal self-giving of the spouses (the unitive aspect of matrimony); it harms true love and denies the sovereign role of God in the transmission of human life.33

Imagine the vast and profound damage done in a society such as Canada when Catholics who seek the forgiveness of God and whose intention is to lead better, reformed lives, are confused and deceived by confessors who, knowing the official teaching of Mother Church, fail to transmit the truth of the faith in clarity and simplicity. It is no surprise then that some, including Cardinal Edouard Gagnon, PSS (1918-2007), one-time President of the Council for the Family, have characterized the Canadian Catholic Church (i.e. the majority of the Bishops of the Canadian Catholic Church) as one in de facto schism with Rome and the Pope.

There are other heresies related to the teaching on contraception, e.g., that contraception, while immoral, is not intrinsically evil. These can similarly be refuted.

4.       Is it not possible to argue from the theological principle of probabilism that since there are good reasons and good authorities on both sides of the moral issue of contraception that Catholics are free to make up their own minds?

Some have claimed that Catholic theology retains a path to liberal pluralism in moral matters and this method is called "probabilism." Put another way, probabilism is said to “bless diversity of opinion in morally debated areas.” Many opposed to Church teaching posit that any significant debate among theologians and the faithful can constitute a sensus fidelium and invoke it in order to contest the teachings of the Magisterium. In fact, probabilism is used by a multitude of wayward Catholics to justify abortion, contraception, homosexual sex, same sex “marriage” etc.

Dr. Brian Clowes of Human Life International provides a useful summary of this principle and its proper application.

The fundamental principle of probabilism is “lex dubia non obligat” or "A doubtful law does not bind."  This leads to the obvious conclusion that an established law does bind, and that the principle of probabilism may never be used when a prohibiting law is certain, as is the Church's prohibition of abortion.9       Maguire's statement that "... probabilism taught that in respectably debated issues, where good people for good reason disagree, conscience is free" is obviously a thinly disguised endorsement of situational ethics, and is completely false.

Our Sunday Visitor's Catholic Encyclopedia describes the proper role of probabilism:  "Probabilism asserted that liberty from a law was to be held in possession until the opposite was held to probably be the case."10

Theologians originally proposed the principle of probabilism only for those very rare instances where scientific or theological knowledge of a subject was incomplete, or where the Church had not yet clearly outlined its teachings on the subject.

There is no doubt whatsoever about the Church's condemnation of abortion, sterilization and contraception.  Probabilism can never apply to a universal moral prohibition.  Therefore, the principle of probabilism does not apply in these cases.

---CFFC Argument #2: 2(a)

The ultimate extension of the principle of probabilism, when used to oppose Church teaching, is an argument for the primacy of conscience, superseding even the Magisterium.

5.       On what basis can abortion and contraception be characterized as evil twins?

It has been established that the Magisterium of the Catholic Church has taught that both abortion and contraception are intrinsic evils. Intrinsically evil actions are opposed to the moral law and may never be engaged in under any circumstances. There are many other evils named by the Magisterium, such as embryonic stem cell research, cloning, rape, incest, etc. but abortion and contraception can be uniquely paired as explained by Pope John Paul II in his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae.

It is frequently asserted that contraception, if made safe and available to all, is the most effective remedy against abortion. The Catholic Church is then accused of actually promoting abortion, because she obstinately continues to teach the moral unlawfulness of contraception. When looked at carefully, this objection is clearly unfounded. It may be that many people use contraception with a view to excluding the subsequent temptation of abortion. But the negative values inherent in the “contraceptive mentality – which is very different from responsible parenthood, lived in respect for the full truth of the conjugal act – are such that they in fact strengthen this temptation when an unwanted life is conceived. Indeed, the pro-abortion culture is especially strong precisely where the Church’s teaching on contraception is rejected. (my emphasis) Certainly, from the moral point of view contraception and abortion are specifically different evils: the former contradicts the full truth of the sexual act as the proper expression of conjugal love, while the latter destroys the life of a human being; the former is opposed to the virtue of chastity in marriage, the latter is opposed to the virtue of justice and directly violates the divine commandment “You shall not kill”.

But despite their differences of nature and moral gravity, contraception and abortion are often closely connected, as fruits of the same tree. It is true that in many cases contraception and even abortion are practiced under the pressure of real- life difficulties, which nonetheless can never exonerate from striving to observe God's law fully. Still, in very many other instances such practices are rooted in a hedonistic mentality unwilling to accept responsibility in matters of sexuality, and they imply a self-centered concept of freedom, which regards procreation as an obstacle to personal fulfillment. The life that could result from a sexual encounter thus becomes an enemy to be avoided at all costs, and abortion becomes the only possible decisive response to failed contraception.

So here we have two evil actions which have been described as fruits of the same tree, although their differences in nature and moral gravity have been acknowledged. Taking the analogy just a little further, any two fruits from the same tree are of the same species, like brothers or sisters, though they may have different outward characteristics. Being of the same species they both draw from the same genetic parental makeup so it is only a small step to call them twins. In this same sense abortion and contraception may be termed evil twins. They are both evils and they both originate from the same parents, moral indifference or rebellion.

In addition to being linked through a common mentality, as indicated by Pope John Paul II, abortion and contraception are linked in other more practical ways. As Father Frank Pavone of Priests For Life explains:

They are linked sociologically. Every culture and subculture which has opened the doors to contraception has likewise experienced an increased practice of abortion. The Alan Guttmacher Institute, a research division of Planned Parenthood, indicates the following as the main reasons women offer for their abortions. Ask yourself what resemblance they bear to the reasons for birth control. "On average, women give at least 3 reasons for choosing abortion: 3/4 say that having a baby would interfere with work, school or other responsibilities; about 2/3 say they cannot afford a child; and 1/2 say they do not want to be a single parent or are having problems with their husband or partner" (from the website www.agi-usa.org ).

They are linked in law and jurisprudence. In 1973, the Supreme Court's Roe vs. Wade decision legalizing abortion clearly built upon the recognized privacy right behind contraception. In 1992, the Supreme Court reaffirmed Roe in its Planned Parenthood vs. Casey decision, and explained that they could not remove the "right" to abortion from "people who, for two decades of economic and social developments, have organized intimate relationships and made choices that define their views of themselves and their places in society, in reliance on the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail" (505 U.S. 833, 835).

They are sometimes linked by being identical. Some "contraceptives" have a backup mechanism whereby a newly-developing life may be destroyed in its microscopic stages. These drugs and devices are abortifacients, capable of causing early and usually unknown abortions. The morally relevant point here is that "it is objectively a grave sin to dare to risk murder" (Declaration on Procured Abortion, 1974, n.12-13). If your action might kill a person, and you do it, you declare your willingness to kill a person (like shooting at what is behind the bush when you are uncertain whether it is a bear or a man).

Pope Benedict XVI at various times also highlighted the connection between the two evils. In 2010 he told a group of visiting Romanian bishops to resist the “scourges” of abortion and artificial birth control. Speaking to Latin American bishops in Aparecida, Brazil in May 2007, Benedict XVI also condemned abortion and contraception and laws that permit them. Such laws, he said, are “threatening the future of peoples.” We see here that Pope Benedict recognized that civil authorities had the duty to proscribe the evils of society and placed contraception in the same category as abortion, as an evil that civil authorities should outlaw.

Even Pope Pius XI in his 1930 encyclical Casti Connubii recognized the “evil twins” link. His encyclical repeats the Church's sweeping condemnation of abortion in every instance and observes a very real connection between parents who contracept and the same parents who will kill their unplanned children.

. . .those wicked parents who seek to remain childless, and failing in this, are not ashamed to put their offspring to death.

I believe, Father, that the message contained on the signage which I use outside various parishes is indeed 100% faithful to the teaching of the Catholic Church and is an urgent message needing courageous response from all Canadian Catholics, whether laity, priests or Bishops. Furthermore the graphic image of abortion which I use alongside the text message testifies to the horror of a current evil practice about which we, as a society, are more or less silent. God have mercy upon us!

May God guide you today and always.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Commissioning of Catechists, Corpus Christi Parish St. John’s NL

At 5:00 p.m. today, Corpus Christi Parish on Waterford Bridge Road, held its Vigil Mass, at which time Archbishop Currie commissioned Catechists “from various parishes within the Archdiocese of St. John's for their Catechetical ministry in their parishes this year.”

As I often do before Mass at various parishes throughout the Archdiocese, I held signs, as shown in this posting, outside the church just before 5PM Mass.

The Archbishop noted this event in his blog and rightly indicated:

I pray for all Catechetical Ministers who lead young people and their families to a deeper understanding of their faith and the Sacraments by what they say and how they say it as well as by who they are and how they live.

Thank you for teaching and empowering parents, grandparents and caregivers to hlep their families grow daily in their faith and to fulfill what Pope Benedict XV1 stated, "Christian parents are still called to give a credible witness of their Christian faith and hope. They need to ensure that God's call and the good news of Christ will reach their children with the utmost clarity and authenticity."

Pro- Choice Leslie Macleod Not Really Pro-Choice After All

So women can carry through on their choices to kill their unborn children but husbands/boyfriends can’t exercise their choices to kill their wives/girlfriends? Inferences acknowledged, I think that’s what Leslie MacLeod, Executive Director at St. John's Status of Women Council, just finished saying in a news story entitled: Province’s ‘Culture Of Violence’ Can Be Changed: Women’s Advocates. It’s blatantly obvious here that the pro-choice logic is fatally flawed since it is never consistently applied by feminists like MacLeod. But our laws ought to reflect good reason and the common good, not the insanity of feminist ideology, which dehumanizes the unborn child to the level of a bug or spider in order to crush the thing.

Once contaminated by such feminist ideology, we find these pathetic women engaging in the blindest and most absurd conversation. MacLeod acknowledges, “We have a culture of violence in this province,” and that, once upon a time, it was a hidden phenomenon but these days we are getting better at calling it what it is. One day, God helping us, we shall see that the greatest violence in our midst is abortion and we shall indeed name it for what it is and put away the evil of legalized killing once and for all.

MacLeod notes that “It was felt to be more respectful to the families” to simply downplay the violence, which of course is exactly what legalized abortion accomplishes. Out of respect for the survivors, we never deal with the true nature of the crime. Naturally, every thinking human being knows that such an approach will never deal with the problem. MacLeod noted, “ but keeping it hidden only made it harder to fight…”

“The first step is to talk about it,” said MacLeod. “We need to have the conversations.” Linda Ross, president of the provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women, said we need “to start with educating children on how to interact with each other, teaching them that pushing and hitting is wrong.” If pushing and hitting are wrong, how are we going to explain to our children what we are doing with 1000 unborn babies each year in our province, i.e. cutting them to pieces or suctioning them in a hundred pieces to their death? When are we going to be open about such conversations?

Ross also pointed to the need for change in cultural attitudes. “Look at what people are exposed to in music, in videos, in the social media, in movies,” she said, and then suggesting people need “to stop consuming pop culture that promotes violence and rape.” Forget the movies and social media, look at what we are doing in real life to thousands and millions of our fellow human beings through a murderous act of legalized violence. Do we really think that people don’t know, deep down, what happens to a child in the abortion procedure? Yet we are expected to keep that buried in our psyche, go on about our daily business and never allow it to surface in any meaningful way.

Speaking about the women victims, Ross said “It’s important that whatever a woman does, she knows that she can get support, she can get the help to get out of that situation.” In any civilized society there exists a multitude of resources and support services for those who feel vulnerable to abuse and violence, from laws to shelter homes, and rightly so. Yet think about the plight of the victim of abortion, or even those in the family who are tormented by the knowledge that a loved one is about to schedule an abortion. Where are the laws or the support services to intervene? After the crime termination has taken place where can you go to talk about the grief and shame?

RNC Const. Suzanne FitzGerald, domestic violence co-ordinator, summarized well the current state:  “I think that people need to stop looking at domestic violence as a personal, private matter. It’s a public-safety issue.” The killing of an unborn child by its mother is surely an example of domestic violence, if ever there was one. When 1 out of 4 children in Canada die from abortion, what else can you call it other than a public safety issue?

But if the “logic” of “pro-choice” gets its way, you will never be allowed to ponder such a horrible reality, or to consider any of the other obvious duplicity inherent in the words of “women advocates”.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Is The Canadian Catholic Church In De Facto Schism With Rome And The Pope?

From a posting by Heresy Hunter in October 2010:

Catholic Insight, edited by my hero Fr. Alphonse de Valk, has just published a detailed article by Msgr. Vincent Foy chronicling the times leading up to, and the aftereffects of, the Winnipeg Statement - a 1968 issuance by the Canadian Bishops. It is entitled: "Recovering Humanae vitae in Canada" (Catholic Insight, October 2010, vol. xviii, no. 9, pp. 8-14; this piece follows a similar analysis by Msgr. Foy, pubilished twenty-two years ago, "Tragedy at Winnipeg", Challenge, vol. 14, 1988 LINK).

In the article referred to, Msgr. Foy states the following:

Cardinal Edouard Gagnon, PSS (1918-2007), one-time head of the Committee of the Family and later President of the Council for the Family, expressed more than once the opinion that those Canadian bishops who supported the Winnipeg Statement were in schism. In truth, by the Winnipeg Statement, Canadian bishops became promoters of mass murder and complicit in turning thousands of sewers into tombs.

It was common knowledge that other Bishops' Conferences around the world expressed similar dissent. An article today published in Crisis magazine reads like it was a custom tailored critique of the schism in Canada. The article is published in its entirety below.


Is Schism Inevitable in Germany?

by Marie Meaney

The crisis in the Catholic Church in Germany declared itself 45 years ago with the “Königsteiner Erklärung,” a declaration of the bishops regarding Humanae Vitae in 1968. Therein they toned down the Church’s teaching, leaving it up to the conscience of individuals to decide whether to use contraception or not. The Austrian bishops did the same in the “Mariatroster Erklärung.” In 2008 therefore, Cardinal Schönborn, the head of the Austrian bishops’ conference, spoke These declarations have set the tone for the decades to come, and the faithful have in consequence become increasingly Protestant and heterodox in spirit.

A few days ago, a document from the archdiocese of Freiburg was leaked. The scandal was even greater than it should have been, since it first sounded like an official pronouncement. However, what came to light is bad enough. Zollitsch, who is head of the German bishops’ conference and archbishop of this diocese, which is the second-largest in Germany, explained that this paper had been issued without his permission, and was an unfinished working-paper for the diocesan pastoral conference, meant to discuss the improvement of the pastoral care for the divorced-remarried. The paper allows Catholics who are divorced and remarried to have access to the sacraments without repentance involving a change of life-style. All they need to do is have a few pastoral conversations, i.e. speak with a priest about the faith and the reasons their marriage broke down, in order to be allowed to receive communion again. The sacraments which are open to them in the list are communion, confession, confirmation, and the sacrament of the sick. Furthermore, they are allowed to be elected into a parish-council, an office from which they had been barred so far. Finally, they are offered a benediction for their second marriage, if they so wish. In order to distinguish it from their first marriage, which is still considered valid in the eyes of the Church, it is given less prominence; the ceremony is therefore not to be held the day of their civil wedding (in Germany, because of the separation of Church and State, the civil wedding has to precede the religious wedding anyway).

Zollitsch tried to smooth the troubled waters by sending out a letter to his fellow-bishops in Germany by explaining that this paper was leaked, but then stated that it nonetheless gives “provisional impulses” and is a “good contribution” to the discussion; he is thereby enforcing an already present nationalizing trend of the Church in Germany diverging from Rome.

One may well wonder how an archbishop of such prominence can propose ways of action (which are also going to be suggested at the episcopal conference) which can in no way be reconciled with the doctrine of the Church. This reveals what German Catholics have known for many years, namely that from the top down there has been a trend moving away from some of the “harder” truths of the faith in order to surrender to the Zeitgeist.

That the divorced remarried are in dire need of better pastoral care is clear. Pope Francis has called for this, and this concern will be addressed during the synod for the pastoral care of the family in Rome in October 2014. This needs to start with a better marriage-preparation, helping the faithful understand the nature of the sacrament and the seriousness of the step which they are undertaking. But how much spiritual help do the divorced and remarried actually get? How many dioceses offer support groups for the divorced to help them live their celibate life following Christ (thus helping them avoid the temptation of a remarriage)? How many offer to speak about their broken marriage and help (reconciliation, or an annulment, if there is a chance of it not having been a valid sacramental marriage, for example)? How many make known John Paul II’s wonderful invitation inFamiliaris Consortio: “I earnestly call upon pastors and the whole community of the faithful to help the divorced, and with solicitous care to make sure that they do not consider themselves as separated from the Church, for as baptized persons they can, and indeed must, share in her life.” How often is it made clear to them that they are very welcome to come to mass, even if they cannot receive communion (and why they cannot receive the Eucharist)? (As a response to the events in Freiburg, the auxiliary bishop of Salzburg, Andreas Laun, clarified the position of the Church, showing why it is no way lacking in mercy.) Are they encouraged to keep that longing for the Eucharist alive which might hopefully give them the strength one day to set things right—be it by leaving their second (invalid) union or by living chastely together while they are raising their children? Some may want to turn back to the church once their spouse has died; but if the relationship with the Church hasn’t been kept alive, then they are less motivated to return.

Why does one hardly ever hear about a celibate life as a real option for the divorced? This is a hard road to tread and a difficult cross to bear; in the eyes of the world it seems impossible. Hence the witness of those who are on this journey is so important. Good pastoral care should include the stories of people who have walked this path, even though it was painful. The strength for this can only be gathered through a life of prayer. Fortunately, there are groups like this in the United Statesand in France, for example. The continuous plea to God for help out of a situation where one foresees much suffering for oneself and others if one leaves a second marriage will not go unheard. The prayer which acknowledges one’s own brokenness touches God’s heart most; it is the way par excellence of St Thérèse of Lisieux. The man in the temple who says “have mercy on me, a poor sinner” prays from his heart, while the Pharisee who thanks God that he is not a sinner is not praying at all. Of course, God wants us to follow His commandments; without this, we cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven. But we can only do so by the grace of God. Hence the help one offers to the divorced and remarried needs to be a spiritual one, expressing itself as well through genuine human warmth and support; simply reiterating the teachings of the Church is not enough, and this is what Pope Francis meant in his statements in his interview with Spadaro, if I understand him correctly. Similarly, the prolife movement grasped many years ago that it was not enough to say that abortion was wrong; women in crisis pregnancy situations needed to be offered concrete help, and thus various elaborate forms of assistance were developed. Similarly, those who are divorced need concrete help, rather than a simple reminder about the teachings of the Church.

It is true that if one looks at the website of the diocese of Freiburg, one can find evidence, herehere, and here, that conferences are offered for those going through a separation or a divorce, or on how to build up a good marriage in the first place. I don’t know what people are told during these conferences or during private counseling in the diocese, but the working-paper does not bode well. Why not offer people a heroic choice? Christ did the same. He did not tell the Samaritan woman to leave her “husband”; instead, he confronted her with the truth which was that she had gone through a string of relationships which had broken down. But he only did so in the context of offering her the spring of life, namely Himself (John 4).  Only He can make us bear the loneliness this entails. Only He can give us the grace to make these heroic choices which feel like death, but ultimately give life. My guess is that each one of us is confronted with a heroic choice at some point in our lives. Most of us don’t have to shed blood for our faith, but many have to give up something they would have wanted tremendously, or at least a fake consolation to make up for its absence. Those who’d like to be married, but don’t find a spouse are called to celibacy, as are those in religious life, or those with same-sex-attractions; this is a daily cross they must embrace if they wish to follow Christ. Those married might meet somebody whom they find tremendously attractive, but they cannot give in to that attraction if they want to remain true to their marriage-vows and Christ.  Or this heroic choice might be situated in another domain, like refusing to make an unethical choice and therefore never getting the promotion they would have desired; or refusing to try IVF, though this means remaining childless.

Having been raised in Germany, I have heard for years priests in various parishes preach that “the official Church in Rome says this” (“die Amtskirche”), while they say the contrary on matters such as premarital sex, contraception, divorce (and sometimes not even making the distinction between doctrine and their own heterodox beliefs). When John Paul II did not want ecclesial institutions to be involved in the abortion-business (in Germany, every woman wanting an abortion has to have a counseling-session, for which she gets a certificate; this certificate becomes her ticket to an abortion, and the counselors thus become material cooperators, de facto signing the death-warrant for the child), it was a long tug of war between the German bishops and Rome before they agreed. Some members of official voice of the Catholic laity (Zentralkomitee der deutschen Katholiken) founded a counter-group, Donum Vitae, which is still involved in the counseling forbidden by Rome, and theZentralkomitee has generally adopted an agenda contrary to Catholic teaching concerning women’s ordination, divorce and remarriage, and contraception.

Will there be a new schism in the German Church? Some say it has de facto already happened a long time ago without having been openly declared. That it won’t take much to occur is certain, for the German Church is to a great extent already Protestant in doctrine and spirit. Benedict XVI was keenly aware of the direction the German Church was taking, and Pope Francis, we can assume, knows the situation well from his studies there. Let us pray that the worst can be avoided.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Are We Seeing An Increased Level Of Violence Against Pro-Lifers In The Public Square?

Remember three weeks ago when I said this:

I was strangely reluctant this morning to get out and do my regular protests at the parishes in St. John's area. Mostly I think this was a result of the troubling comments made recently by Pope Francis. Immediately that I read the transcript of his remarks I thought to myself that he has just made it doubly difficult now for anyone on the frontlines in the culture wars. Not only will we get the usual flack and venom from the secular side but we'll also have liberal Catholics and dissidents of all stripes reminding us that we "obsess" too much over abortion, contraception, etc....according to none other than the Pope.

Even before my day started, the psychological and spiritual damage from the Pope's words were, for me, quite significant. I predict there may well be a serious backlash to pro-life efforts on a widespread basis. I am not directly blaming the Pope for the attack which I endured today but I will simply say that considering I suffered a vicious attack from a fellow Catholic, I expect that future attacks from this quarter will be even more probable. In fact I was truly expecting some Catholics today to mock my protest using the Pope's words! It didn't happen today but I guarantee it will sometime soon.

Yup, that was the same day I was attacked viciously outside a Catholic Church by none other than a fellow Catholic, who immediately proceeded inside to attend Mass while I picked myself up from the street.

Since then I’ve been watching the news carefully to see if I can detect any upsurge in the frequency or degree of antagonism and violence against pro-lifers. It didn’t take long. LifeSite News reported this unbelievable story from our own nation of Canada a few days ago. Now today, this shocking report of violence against pro-lifers in Australia.

Just a coincidence? Too dramatic? Maybe. We’ll see as time goes on. But my thought is that when the Vicar of Christ muzzles the soldiers of God by sullying—wittingly or unwittingly—their faithful witness, a spiritual bomb explodes; the portals of heaven and hell are shaken and the demons are emboldened to more destruction.

And yes, on another point, it’s happened. Two weeks ago I had a Catholic parishioner confront me during a sign carrying protest outside one of the local parishes and ask me whether I respect what Pope Francis had to say about the Church being obsessed about abortion, contraception, etc.

Life Chain 2013 St. John's, NL

[Info supplied on YouTube video above:
LifeChain, an annual prayerful and silent public witness to life, was held October 6 at 2:30 PM in St. John's, NL, in front of the abortuary at 202 LeMarchant Road. Video supplied by Corina @Ash2Life. The video indicates a cold wet day, few pro-life witnesses by comparison to previous years, and a noisy group of disrespectful pro-abortion advocates.]

In the US, the first Sunday in October is regarded as Respect Life Sunday by the American Bishops. Canadian Bishops have no such day designated in October. Life Chain is scheduled on the same day as Respect Life Sunday and many dioceses organize to take full advantage of the Life Chain impact on pro-life awareness.

Life Chain founder Royce Dunn recently wrote the following in his Press Release for this year’s Life Chain event:

Life Chain is devoted foremost to prayer, but wise participants understand that prayer to end abortion is not of great value before God unless accompanied by love that will battle legal child killing and defend forsaken Preborns committedly.

Pro-life’s two leading stories in 2013, Life Chain’s 26th year, are unchanged in America and Canada: 

Abortions remain numerous, and the church remains bound by deception and apathy. All the while God mercifully waits. He waits to work through His sons and daughters to end the unspeakable horror, but the ears of His church do not hear and the eyes of His church do not see. The result is a church imprinted by shame and a calamity much larger than the German Holocaust. While 56 million chiefly surgical abortions have been reported in America and 3 million in Canada, the actual numbers are much higher, and hidden deaths from the abortive chemicals in birth controls may exceed the surgical deaths.

Mr. Dunn knows well what it will take to end legalized abortion and frames the challenge as one of prayer “accompanied by love that will battle legal child killing and defend forsaken Preborns committedly.” He knows also that God waits for His children to rise up from a Church bound by deception and apathy and put an end to “the unspeakable horror.”

You can read the outline of the Life Chain Principles (pdf) and see that Life Chain is a peaceful and prayerful public witness of pro-life individuals standing and praying for our nation and for an end to abortion. It is a visual statement of solidarity by the Christian community that abortion kills children and that the Church supports the sanctity of human life from the moment of conception until natural death. Furthermore, the guidelines state:

Use only approved Life Chain signs. Half of them should be Abortion Kills Children–Life Chain’s foremost life-saving message. Millions of our fellow citizens support abortion, but very few of them support “killing” unborn children. Do not use graphic signs. (They have purposeful uses, but Life Chain strives to move reluctant Christians from the pews to the sidewalks, and they are not ready for graphic signs.)

Can you possibly imagine any good reason that a Christian group or Church community would purposefully ignore, let alone marginalize, such a hugely successful international pro-life event? Don’t you imagine that every Church group that claimed the label of “Pro-life” would be anxious to publicize and support such a visible, powerful expression of solidarity with unborn children—and no controversial, graphic pictures allowed? Granted, some Protestant assemblies don’t self-identify as “pro-life” but think of the pro-life conscience of Catholic Church parishioners alone in our local area, with 40 parishes and approximately 110,000 Catholics. Certainly, one imagines the Archdiocese of St. John’s undertook a serious effort to organize for and participate in such an endeavour in order to raise the awareness of the plight of unborn children in Canada, and even more particularly, of the unborn children of NL being killed at the abortuary on LeMarchant Rd., precisely where the Life Chain event was being scheduled.

Yet, in the announcements page—the official communicator for all approved events—of the Archdiocesan website, on October 5, 2013, not a word was to be found about the Life Chain event. The Archdiocese instead chose to highlight a different event taking place on Sunday the 6th. Here is the text of the announcement:

10. Centre for Life: Please visit our new website at www.centreforlife.ca

Respect Life Sunday October 6th is observed in Canada and the U.S.  as a day  that acknowledges the precious gift of human life from conception to natural death. The following churches have offered these times for prayer and reflection on October 6th.   Salvation Army St. John's West Corps on Mundy Pond Road 2pm-4pm, Mary Queen of the World Topsail Road- Holy Hour with Exposition 3:30pm - 4:30pm.

Respect Life Sunday - The Centre for Life gratefully acknowledges the support of Archbishop Martin Currie and the Archdiocese with a collection on Oct. 6th. Your donation will enable the Centre for Life to continue to offer a compassionate presence in our community with our educational and supportive outreach.

Other announcements included a number of video series (some Catholic, some secular), a Development and Peace workshop, a new initiative for Multicultural Christians, a Christian Youth Conference, upcoming sessions on T’ai Chi Chih and Chow Qigong, but nothing about the Life Chain event.

So once again, we see the Archdiocese, and, by implication, the Archbishop, marginalizing the hi-impact, visual pro-life presence in the community by fostering only the prayerful, reflective side of the battle. As important as that aspect is, I agree wholeheartedly with the words of Mr. Royce Dunn, as stated above,

Life Chain is devoted foremost to prayer, but wise participants understand that prayer to end abortion is not of great value before God unless accompanied by love that will battle legal child killing and defend forsaken Preborns committedly.

Rather than work for unity in the pro-life cause in NL and support also the bold initiatives to defend the Unborn, or condemn abortion, or advocate for an end to abortion, we see the Archbishop putting his weight behind only the “private” affairs, away from the glare of lights and cameras…and the public’s view. Unsurprisingly then, his priests follow cue, speaking the “A” word only in private setting stuff at parishes; rarely, if ever, in homilies, prayers or announcements.

Sad to say, and with deadly consequences for one-third of our unborn children, my fears about Archbishop Martin Currie are coming to pass:

Alcock claims the rarity of pro-life appeals in parishes along with “virtual silence on the subject of abortion in homilies and prayers at Masses throughout the province insulates Catholics from any reminders of the child-killing taking place around them. It also serves to marginalize advocates of unborn children and distances them from the Christian community, portraying them as extremists.”

And so the battle to save little womb children rages on, with a shrinking number of us standing in the public square and making statements of condemnation of the murder taking place in our midst, while others who are commissioned to lead us instead portray us as radicals and extremists through their subtle tactics of silence and marginalization.

Are we surprised then that Life Chain, this latest pro-life public witness, had such a poor turnout this year? I remember just a few short years ago another Life Chain event.

…to be continued