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2018: A Year Of Challenge, A Year Of Promise

December 30, 2017 Frontpage No Comments

By CHRISTOPHER MANION

Every new year offers the opportunity for resolutions. For 2018, Catholics everywhere can easily identify their most important one: to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae.
Why? Blessed Paul VI’s encyclical courageously and clearly resonates the Church’s teaching on marriage and the family that is indispensable to Western Civilization. When Jesse Jackson led students marching through the campus of Stanford University thirty years ago shouting, “Hey ho, hey ho, Western Civ has got to go,” his target was the Catholic Faith and Christendom. The Incarnation was the rock thrown into paganism’s pond, with ripples that revolutionized man’s pathetic plodding towards Hell with the promise not only of eternal life, but of civilized life here on earth. Christianity set the standard by which all history that had gone before could be judged as barbaric, idolatrous, murderous, and tyrannical. Alas, paganism persists, but can now be called by its proper name, even when it thrives in the midst of what was once the Christian West, polluting the good, practicing the perverse, promising perfection, plummeting into the abyss.
No one denies the coarsening, even chaos. But Humanae Vitae? At a time like this we should be talking about contraception?
Humanae Vitae is about a lot more than contraception, a lot more than sex. Yes, its enemies attack it as a curb on their base appetites, but they are affirming the old adage that without the truths of the faith, lust is all that’s left — lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and superbia vitae — the Pride of Life (1 John 2:16).
In an age that has experienced an unprecedented collapse of the family, and the consequent collapse of our culture and many of the golden threads that bind our national fabric, one would think that the teaching of Humanae Vitae is more necessary than ever.
Humanae Vitae also offers a roadmap of life under the natural law. It explains how beautifully that law written in our hearts harmonizes with divine law, focusing on the family as the core of history itself ever since the Garden of Eden. Humanae Vitae teaches that the principles of fidelity and fruitfulness are not unattainable “ideals,” but rather the foundations for both a happy family life and a bountiful social life, perpetuating a culture that allows men freely and responsibly to pursue the common good.
Humanae Vitae also offers a direct challenge to every secular popular culture, including our own; one might consider that to be an easy task, since we “live in a deranged age,” as Walker Percy writes. But even the concept of derangement suggests an alternative of a proper arrangement. In Orwellian fashion, today’s alternatives to the natural family require a burgeoning new universe of NewSpeak to describe the countless perversions, accompanied by tyrannical diktats from the courts conferring upon them the semblance of legitimacy.

Calling All Defenders Of Life

Five years ago, New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, serving as USCCB president at the time, told the Wall Street Journal that American bishops had suffered from “laryngitis” regarding Humanae Vitae ever since it was promulgated. Over that half-century, some valiant bishops have defended it, but many have left it on the shelf as they pursued more secular priorities. For this we can perceive a chain of causation with some fairly familiar links.
Sodomy is called the “unnatural vice” because it denies nature itself — and thus, it targets the core of Humanae Vitae. And since the 60s, dissent was accompanied by a parallel rise in homosexuality among future priests and bishops. Their force was so powerful that in April 2002, Wilton Gregory, then bishop of Belleville and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, noted that “there does exist within American seminaries a homosexual atmosphere or dynamic that makes heterosexuals think twice” about entering the priesthood, adding that “it is an ongoing struggle to make sure the Catholic priesthood is not dominated by homosexual men.”
As Mary Eberstadt argues in Adam and Eve After The Pill (Ignatius Press), that sad situation led to a perverse “deal” between homosexual priests and contracepting Catholics: “you forgive me doing my thing and I’ll forgive you doing yours.”
Ideas have consequences. As former USCCB pro-life lobbyist Mark Gallagher has recounted in Crisis Magazine, in the late 1970s the bishops’ conference made a conscious decision to soft-pedal the pro-life message for political reasons: the Democrat Party was the champion of the bishops’ welfare-state agenda, but was quickly becoming the pro-abortion party; leftist conference staffers feared that Catholic Democrats would jump ship to the pro-life GOP, thus weakening support for their agenda. So the conference made a cynical deal, manufacturing what came to be known as the “seamless garment”: abortion was just one of many “social justice” issues. This “fake news” gave pro-abortion Democrats a lifeline to millions of Catholic voters using the Bernardin-Cuomo contrivance of “personally opposed but.” The policy was accompanied, of course, by the bishops’ virtually unanimous decision to put Canon Law up there on the shelf with Humanae Vitae by refusing to condemn publicly the pro-abortion Catholic Democrats, from Tip O’Neil and Ted Kennedy to Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi.
Welcome to the Catholic Deep State
With the triumph of the conference relativists, the bishops’ “expert” staff in Washington became ever more politicized; and the more it worked with its leftist allies in government, the more it developed its own interwoven “Deep State,” the embedded permanent bureaucracy that considered bishops to be political appointees that come and go while the career “experts” run the show.
But wait — if they dissent why don’t they leave?
They would, if they couldn’t control. But they do control — and moreover, they know the orthodox faithful have nowhere else to go, so the dissident, pro-sodomite bureaucratic Left can speak in our name as well as that of Holy Mother Church.
Wanderer contributor Brian Clowes recalls how in 1996, at the meeting of the dissident Call to Action in Detroit, conference organizers publicly boasted that 60% of the 5,000 attendees worked in chanceries. That means that 3000 proud dissenters worked for some 177 dioceses and, of course, the USCCB’s national bureaucracy — which works out to an average of fifteen dissidents per diocesan staff, leaving 350 for the conference’s Washington headquarters.
Along with self-preservation, the Deep State also practices self-perpetuation. Examples abound. Ken Hackett, who served most recently as Obama’s ambassador to the Holy See, ran Catholic Relief Services for twenty years. During his tenure, CRS received billions of taxpayer dollars from the government’s most pro-abortion bureau, the Agency for International Development (AID). According to a senior AID administrator, Hackett once bragged that he had made sure that he never hired a Republican.
Hacketts abound in the bishops’ Deep State, and they have enjoyed phenomenal success. Just last month one Jayd Henricks, the USCCB’s longtime chief lobbyist for its welfare-state agenda, announced that he will be leaving the USCCB to head a program called “FORMED,” a “catechetical” program to which countless parishes (including this writer’s) subscribe with our money to teach about the faith using an Internet platform.
“Formed”? Or deformed? Whichever, we can be sure that Mr. Henricks has not left behind his political agenda. And he will have allies. Consider one Jeff Caruso, a lawyer who heads the lobbying efforts of Virginia’s two bishops in Richmond. Mr. Caruso apparently has the power, if not the authority, to dictate who can be permitted — or forbidden — to speak in any Catholic parish in the state. Under the Caruso regime, Virginia Catholics cannot discuss Islamic immigration on parish grounds. And this Deep State apparatchik links up as well as down. According to his online resume, this doorkeeper to hundreds of Virginia parishes also sits on an advisory committee at the USCCB.
This is how the Left’s Catholic Deep State works. Connive. Network. Hire and fire. Prohibit. Promote. Work at every level for the Democrats’ secular welfare-state agenda and the bishops’ federal funding. Bury the pro-life effort (and assure its failure — the USCCB’s support of Obamacare is a prime example). Place allies in key positions reaching down to individual parishes — all in the name of the faith, with the same radical social justice message — with assistance from their thousands of allies in chanceries across the country, of course.
From the USCCB through the chanceries to the parishes, the Catholic Deep State permeates the bureaucracies at every level. They are not going to help us support Humanae Vitae, much less celebrate its 50th birthday. What to do?
This year we will focus on that question. Humanae Vitae is the paramount issue of 2018, and we will defend it and teach it prayerfully and faithfully in the face of any and all opposition.

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