Monday 10th December 2018

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

A Parish Celebrates . . . “Humanae Vitae At 50” Welcomes Outstanding Speakers

August 3, 2018 Frontpage No Comments

By FR. SEAN CONNOLLY

(Editor’s Note: Fr. Sean Connolly, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, wrote a series on Fatima for The Wanderer during 2017.)

+ + +

The soon-to-be St. Paul VI on July 25, 1968 promulgated his highly controversial encyclical letter, Humanae Vitae — “Of Human Life.” While its content still remains the most hotly contested of the Church’s moral teachings, it becomes more apparent with each passing year how right Pope Paul was in both reaffirming and clarifying the Church’s teaching on the nature, purpose, and dignity of married love.
His reassertion that the use of artificial contraception is intrinsically evil and that the effects of its widespread acceptance would be detrimental to society have proven to be prophetic. The grave ills that characterize our society today — divorce, abortion, and perversion — all fall under the “general lowering of morality” Pope Paul clearly predicted.
This encyclical is indeed more relevant and needed today than it was 50 years ago. In light of this, it is good to see its teachings revisited in many circles in commemoration of this anniversary year. At the local parish level, I was very pleased to host a conference to do just that.
On Saturday, July 21 at my parish, the Immaculate Conception and Assumption of Our Lady in Tuckahoe, N.Y., we hosted a conference titled “Humanae Vitae at 50” which featured the well-known speakers and authors Peter Kreeft, Fr. Donald Haggerty, and Theresa Bonopartis. The day began with breakfast and then the proceedings moved into the church for solemn Lauds (Morning Prayer) from the Divine Office.
We moved to the church hall to hear our speakers analyze the encyclical’s teachings from divergent perspectives — theological, philosophical, and practical.
Our first speaker was Fr. Donald Haggerty, who is a priest of the Archdiocese of New York and has been a professor of moral theology at St. Joseph’s Seminary in New York and Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Maryland. He has a long association as a spiritual director for Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity and has authored three books on the spiritual life published by Ignatius Press, the most recent being: Conversion: Spiritual Insights Into an Essential Encounter With God.
In his lecture, Fr. Haggerty delivered a holistic presentation on the encyclical — its context, content, and reception. He explained how the turbulent sixties were a period of social and moral revolution. It seemed as if every institution was being questioned and changed — religion, marriage, and the family were certainly not exempt from this spirit of the time.
In this context Pope St. John XXIII established a commission whose membership was greatly expanded by his Successor, Pope Paul, to study the matter of the Church’s total ban on contraception. The Church’s labeling of the use of birth control as intrinsically evil was increasingly thought to be antiquated and rigid. The majority opinion of the commission recommended a change in the Church’s teaching that the use of contraception no longer be considered an intrinsic evil, but subject to the consciences of the faithful for use in certain circumstances.
This majority, but not unanimous, opinion of this commission, was leaked to the media which led to the widespread expectation that the Pope would alter the Church’s moral teachings on the permissibility of contraception. Priests in parishes and professors at Catholic universities were already teaching that contraceptive use in particular cases was permissible.
But to the surprise and disappointment of many, and against tremendous opposition, Pope Paul, in his finest moment, definitively clarified as an exception-less norm of morality that the use of contraception is intrinsically evil.
Fr. Haggerty detailed the tumult the encyclical caused. He noted in particular some of the newspaper headlines upon the encyclical’s release that read “Vatican Edict Condemns Birth Control” or “Pope Bars Pill” and “Vatican Outlaws Contraception,” which all imply a papal decision about a moral issue that was, until then, undecided.
But this is entirely false, of course. The use of contraception was not a matter of dispute in Catholic moral theology which was open to divided opinions. In fact, as Fr. Haggerty stressed, the core teaching of Humanae Vitae was nothing new at all.
The Church’s constant and continuing prohibition of contraception dates back to the Early Fathers of the Church. The prohibition was repeated over and over again through the centuries and even explicitly reiterated a mere 38 years prior to Humanae Vitae’s promulgation with the 1930 encyclical letter of Pope Pius XI, Casti Connubii.
When Pope Paul explicitly condemned all artificial birth control methods as intrinsically evil, that is, with no exceptions in any circumstances, he was saying nothing new but was simply repeating and reaffirming the Church’s perennial teaching on this matter.
A basic question underlies this whole study. Does every marital act require an openness to human conception or can conjugal love and fecundity be separated at times? In answer to this, Fr. Haggerty warns against those who propose the principle of totality by which the use of contraception can be justified in individual instances as long as the marriage is ordered to the favoring of fecundity in the totality of the married life.
Fr. Haggerty clarified: “It is not just a permissive openness to contraceptive use that is at stake with this erroneous view, but a breakdown in traditional moral theology and in understanding what constitutes a moral act that lurks in the shadows. The principal of totality — the view that it is the overall openness in the marriage to having children and not particular contraceptive acts that is decisive morally, is in effect a principle espousing allowance for exceptions to the prohibition ordinarily in place.
“One cannot speak, then, of an intrinsically evil act if exceptions are permitted. On the other hand, if an action is by its nature intrinsically evil, that is, evil in itself as an action, no good intention, no overall principle of totality can justify a deliberate choice of this action.”
In this first lecture of the conference, Fr. Haggerty was effective in articulating the perennial teaching of the Church that the use of contraception in every circumstance despite any “good intention” is intrinsically evil. There is an inseparability principle to the conjugal act. As the encyclical states: “. . . the inseparable connection, established by God, which man on his own initiative may not break, between the unitive significance and the procreative significance which are both inherent to the marriage act” (HV, n. 12).

An Icon Of The Trinity

The second speaker of the conference was the well-known philosopher and author, Dr Peter Kreeft. It was a great joy for all to have the opportunity to meet and listen to this renowned figure to explain the difference Jesus makes in weighing moral questions and in particular, the use of contraception.
Dr. Kreeft framed his discussion of moral questions by referencing the scene from Mel Gibson’s masterpiece, The Passion of the Christ, where the Lord Jesus meets His Mother on the Via Dolorosa. He mentioned the look of consternation upon the Virgin Mary’s face as if she was thinking, “Why O Son, must you have to go through with this?” The Lord gives His answer while embracing the cross: “See, Mother, I make all things new.”
Dr. Kreeft explained how this profound scene details the essence of Christianity which is the centrality of Christ in all things. As a result, His disciples must evaluate everything in light of Him. He changes everything and makes all things new to us. Every moral question must take His will, which never contradicts reason or the common good, into account.
With regard to the particular moral question of the use of contraception, Dr .Kreeft spoke of charity, that is, love, which Christians are called to exemplify in marital relations.
“Love,” he said, “is an icon of the Trinity. Most people think that God being love is a very nice idea but that God being a Trinity is a ridiculous one. But if God is love, He must be more than one person. If He is only one person than that would be self-love which is egoism. There must be an other in God. Our fundamental moral obligation as Christians must be to give of ourselves to our neighbor in charity. And so, in this, we see how the high calling of love is present in God, who is the essence of all reality.”
Eros (sexual love) is an image of agape, that is, divine love, which is charity, seeking the good of the other. Sexual love is a passionate desire to unite with one’s spouse. The conjugal union would no longer be an act of love mirroring God’s own divine love if it is obstructed by contraception and used only for one’s own gratification.
This point is articulated best, according to Dr. Kreeft, within Pope St. John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body” which he suggests is the needed antidote to the sexual revolution which, he says: “. . . is the most disastrous revolution to happen to Christianity. It is destroying the fundamental building block of every good and happy society — the family.”
In marriage the two spouses become one flesh. This is an image of God’s love for His Bride, the Church. The conjugal union between a husband and wife is an image of our ultimate destiny when we shall be one with God in Heaven. This union is only made possible by Christ and that is why He makes all the difference in any Christian’s evaluation of the morality of contraception.

Hope And Healing

The final speaker for the conference was the inspiring Theresa Bonopartis. After suffering hurt and sorrow from having procured an abortion, Theresa has devoted her life to the pro-life movement. She is the director of “Lumina: Hope & Healing After Abortion,” which is for those, both men and woman, who are suffering from the regret of an abortion. And she has published through Marian Press her book, A Journey to Healing Through Divine Mercy: Mercy After Abortion.
As Fr. Haggerty and Dr. Kreeft analyzed the subject of contraception from the theological and philosophical perspectives, Theresa approached the topic from the lived and practical experience. She framed the context in which the encyclical was written very well:
“It was 1968. We were the ‘Woodstock Generation.’ The peace symbol was our sign, and our slogans were: ‘Don’t trust anyone over 30’ and ‘Make love not war!’ Little did we know we were starting a new war that is still raging to this day. . . . .Changes were taking place in what the view of true love was. Society’s perception of human sexuality, marriage, and the family were changing. We saw too much hate in the world and we thought we had the answers in free love.
“But in truth we had no idea what that love was. Instead, we confused it with non-committed sex. We supported birth control to live lives that we saw as ‘freeing.’ It is this mentality that prompted Paul VI to write Humanae Vitae, seeing how it would open the door to a multitude of human sins and the deterioration of the moral order of society.”
Theresa detailed how Humanae Vitae’s warnings played out in her life before her conversion. Her story, other than her conversion, is not unique, unfortunately.
In a culture that accepts the use of contraception for “sex without consequences,” in a culture where even in marriage the procreative meaning of the conjugal act is excluded by means of birth control, only dysfunction and hurt ensue. There is no such thing as sex without consequences.
When the conjugal act is cheapened, the unitive meaning of love is also inevitably diminished. Contraception does not enhance relations between husband and wife as spouses become more selfish and less generous with one another. The high divorce rate in our culture testifies to this sad reality. And the cheapening of the conjugal act leads to a culture where life itself is considered cheap.
It is devalued, and the most unnatural act imaginable, a mother killing her own child, becomes accepted and even celebrated in the pro-abortion movement.
Theresa made a clear case that the widespread acceptance of contraception inevitably leads to the widespread acceptance of divorce and abortion. All of these are the great ills facing society today and all were warned about by Pope Paul in Humanae Vitae.
The conference closed with a panel question and answer session. The questions displayed a clear engagement of all the attendees with the lectures from our speakers. The message of Humanae Vitae was heard and accepted. The positive response of the attendees gives one reason to hope. There is probably nothing more controversial than the content of Humanae Vitae’s moral teachings.
But if it is taught clearly and with conviction, hardened hearts can be softened to accept the saving truths of God’s plan for the nature, purpose, and dignity of married love.
This was just one conference at one local parish. May there be many more initiatives such as this in the remainder of this anniversary year and beyond.

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

#Apple CEO Tim Cook took the mask off & said
They use Liberal Values to decide what content to censor

They once fought Big Brother
Now they & the rest of Big Tech
Are the #ThoughtPolice

Interview With Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke . . . The Faithful Are Suffering…But Schism Can Never Be Right - https://t.co/iwDMps3a5a

Load More...

Pro-LGBT priest promotes ‘rainbow’ rosary with prayers for ‘full acceptance’ of gay couples

December 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-LGBT Jesuit priest Fr. James Martin is promoting on social media a rosary with “rainbow” beads for one of the decades which are to be used, the rosary’s creators say, to pray for the “full…Continue Reading

Archbishop Viganò denies claims he defrauded his brother

ROME, December 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò today has denied claims he defrauded his brother, and has sought to clarify an October court ruling ordering him to pay his brother €1.8 million in inheritance. Many believe the ruling is being…Continue Reading

Vatican’s former doctrine chief: ‘LGBT’ has ‘no place’ in Church documents

VATICAN CITY, November 21, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – An influential cardinal says that pro-homosexual terminology such as “LGBT” has no place in the documents of the Roman Catholic Church. In a recent interview with LifeSiteNews, Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, formerly the Prefect of the…Continue Reading

$25 MILLION PAPAL FOUNDATION GRANT TO VATICAN REMAINS UNACCOUNTED FOR

PHILADELPHIA (ChurchMilitant.com) – After Cdl. Donald Wuerl spearheaded a $25 million grant to the Vatican earlier this year through the Papal Foundation, sources confirm the money remains unaccounted for, the Rome hospital designated as beneficiary apparently never having received the grant. Sources also confirm Wuerl…Continue Reading

Cardinal guilty of covering up sex abuse addresses US bishops’ conference

BALTIMORE, November 14, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A cardinal barred from public ministry since 2013 as a result of his systematic cover-up of sex abuse spoke at the U.S. Bishops’ General Assembly in Baltimore Tuesday, telling the bishops they “need to lead by witness.” In…Continue Reading

US bishops consider asking Pope Francis to release McCarrick documents

BALTIMORE, Maryland, November 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will consider officially asking Pope Francis to release any documents related to alleged serial sexual abuser Archbishop Theodore McCarrick. The motion was made from the…Continue Reading

U.S. Catholic Bishops Meet in the Shadow, Still, of Clergy Sex Abuse

This weekend, the Catholic bishops of the United States gather in Baltimore ahead of their three-day annual general assembly, which opens Monday. By coincidence, it will be 16 years exactly since their session in 2002, when they met to amend…Continue Reading

The Synodal Church

Antonio Spadaro, SJ – Carlos Galli Forty years ago, Jesuit Father Arij Roest Crollius wrote: “What is so new about inculturation?”[1] His reflection was a milestone in the understanding of that word and in welcoming a concept at the heart of…Continue Reading

National network of Catholic church leaders told to preserve all communications

The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has asked the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to preserve all electronic and paper documents in case other federal prosecutors need to look into accusations of sexual assault against current…Continue Reading

Cdl. Burke ‘strongly’ endorses new virtue education program for young people

October 26, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke, one of the Church’s most outspoken defenders of life, marriage, and family, has “strongly” endorsed a new virtue education program for children. “Alive to the World” is a continuous, story-based virtues/values program. Much…Continue Reading

Pittsburgh wants to revoke Chick-fil-A’s sponsorship of kids event over Christian marriage views

PITTSBURGH, October 24, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – America’s most successful Christian food chain may be driven out of a children’s community event in Pittsburgh over the owners’ Christian-based view of marriage and homosexuality, if the Pittsburgh City Council has its way.…Continue Reading

Australian bishop touts women’s ordination: ‘transformation of priesthood’ is underway

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand, October 23, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – An Australian bishop recently told priests that admitting women to the priesthood in the Church’s current state of affairs would be like pouring new wine into old wine skins, but that a “transformation…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Today . . .

Cdl. Burke: ‘Synodality’ suggests some kind of ‘new church’ where pope’s authority is destroyed

LIMERICK, Ireland, (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke has come out criticizing the concept of “synodality” that was barely discussed during the recently concluded “Youth Synod,” but, nevertheless, found its way into the final document, surprising many of the Synod Fathers. “It’s become like a slogan, meant to suggest some kind of new church which is democratic and in which the authority of the Roman Pontiff is relativized and diminished—if not destroyed,” said Card

Facebook unblocks image of Santa kneeling before Baby Jesus after LifeSite report goes viral

December 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Facebook is no longer censoring an image of Santa Claus kneeling before the Baby Jesus that it had deemed “violent or graphic content” after a report on LifeSiteNews about the matter went viral yesterday. Facebook had obscured the picture, explaining that the “photo was automatically covered so you can decide if you want to se

Pro-LGBT Catholic prof: Many German bishops don’t believe homosexual acts are wrong

December 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A Catholic German ethics professor calls Cardinal Müller’s recent remarks on homosexuality “unbearable” and claims that, just as the Church’s teaching on the death penalty has changed, the teaching on homosexuality is also open to change. Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), has been under constant sharp criticism since his 21 November interview with LifeSiteNews, in whi

Cardinal accuses EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo of attacking Pope Francis

VATICAN CITY, December 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – South African Cardinal Wilfrid Napier has come out swinging against EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo, accusing him of reporting “negatively” on as well as “attack[ing]” Pope Francis. The former Archbishop of Durban tweeted last night that Arroyo was like a “throwback” to Northern Ireland’s most notorious anti-Catholic “Ian Paisley & his ilk.” “The World Over” hosted by Raymond A

Taxpayer dollars help California Planned Parenthood surpass record high income level

November 30, 2018 (American Life League) – For the first time in the history of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, one of its 56 affiliates documented that its annual income surpassed $100 million. The affiliate is Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, headquartered in San Jose, California. In its latest official document (Federal Form 990) filed with the federal government, PPMM reported that in the fiscal year, July 1, 2016, to June 30, 2017, it had a…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)

Will Paris Riots Scuttle Climate Accord?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN In Katowice, Poland, all the signers of the 2015 Paris climate accord have gathered to assess how the world’s nations are meeting their goals to cut carbon emissions. Certainly, the communications strategy in the run-up was impressive. In October came that apocalyptic UN report warning that the world is warming faster…Continue Reading

Amid Veto Threat… Ohio “Heartbeat Abortion” Bill Nears Senate Vote

COLUMBUS (CNA/EWTN News) — The Ohio Senate was expected to pass legislation banning abortion on an unborn baby after he or she has a heartbeat, and there could be enough votes to override Gov. John Kasich’s promised veto, amid questions over whether the proposal could withstand U.S. Supreme Court scrutiny. Republicans control the Senate with…Continue Reading

Eleventh Circuit Court Of Appeals . . . EWTN Wins Lawsuit Over HHS Contraception Mandate

IRONDALE, Ala. (EWTN) — Following a legal battle that has lasted nearly seven years, EWTN Global Catholic Network has prevailed in its lawsuit against the U.S. government over what has become known as the “HHS Contraception Mandate.” In an order by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit published Thursday, November 29, 2018,…Continue Reading

Major Companies Take Action Against Porn

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Across the country, several major companies are taking action against pornography use. Tumblr, Starbucks, Comcast, and multiple hotel chains have all taken steps to reduce pornography access within their respective industry. These decisions come during a time of increasing awareness over the harms of pornography. “Companies are quickly realizing the harms of…Continue Reading

Marie Stopes International Is No Friend Of Africa

By DEBORAH M. PIROCH (Editor’s Note: Deborah M. Piroch is the PR director for Human Life International. HLI posted this article at their website, www.hli.org, on November 30. It is reprinted here with permission.) + + + FRONT ROYAL, Va. — HLI is delighted that the government of Kenya has banned Marie Stopes International (MSI)…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Authority Of Bishops… Can A Catholic Resist A Wrong Teaching Of His Bishop?

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 3 In the two previous articles we have learned from great Catholic theologians that a layman can resist a wrong decision of a bishop and even of the Bishop of Rome — the Pope. But — and this “but” is very important — wouldn’t such a resistance go against the teaching on papal infallibility?…Continue Reading

The Theological Virtues — Faith

By DON FIER As we transitioned last week from a lengthy treatment of the four cardinal virtues (and a brief overview of sanctifying grace) to the theological virtues, emphasis was given to the fittingness of the term “theological” (as derived from the Greek Theos and logos), for these virtues have God Himself as their Author, motive, and direct object. “Infused…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. For the benefit of those who do not have a computer or library access, could you please give us a list of the Doctors of the Church? I have a book entitled 33 Doctors of the Church, but I think some have been added since that book was published. — B.W., Florida. A. Doctor of the Church is a…Continue Reading

Interview With Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke . . . The Faithful Are Suffering…But Schism Can Never Be Right

Cburke3

By PEGGY MOEN (Editor’s Note: This interview took place in Rome on October 22, 2018, the Feast of St. John Paul II, during the final week of the October 3-28 Synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment and before its conclusion. See The Wanderer, November 1, 2018, p. 1 for an article based on this interview.) + +…Continue Reading

God’s Providence Is Perfect

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Second Sunday Of Advent (YR C) Readings: Baruch 5:1-9 Phil. 1:4-6, 8-11 Luke 3:1-6 In the second reading today, St. Paul states his confidence that the One who “began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.” This can certainly be applied in a variety of situations, for…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . Blessed Maria Virgo

By CAROLE BRESLIN When I visited my aunt in St. Louis, Mo., we would visit the basilicas, the museums, and other places of interest. She had many sites near her that were particularly special to her, such as her parish, The Little Flower, in Richmond Heights. In addition, she described a place where she frequently went for eucharistic adoration at…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Raphael Kalinowski

By CAROLE BRESLIN There are many terms we use in our language which are clichés. We hear people say that somebody “kicked the bucket,” meaning that he has died, or “I’ll send you to outer Mongolia,” meaning that they will ship you so far away no one will find you. Fr. Kalinowski not only went to a place just north…Continue Reading