Wednesday 18th July 2018

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

Does Humanae Vitae Need To “Mature”?

June 16, 2018 Frontpage No Comments

By CHRISTOPHER MANION

Who wrote better stories than C.S. Lewis? Everybody loves his Chronicles of Narnia. They present in fiction many themes also addressed in his Screwtape Letters and Mere Christianity, but in a winsome way that only storytelling can. Take The Great Divorce. Who else could call divorce “great,” I thought, when I first ran across the book in my parents’ library years ago.
Surprise! The story the book tells is not one of a broken marriage; rather, it is an allegory of a broken cosmos, sundered by a “Great Divide” greater than the breadth of the universe itself. That “Divorce” separates Heaven and Hell.
Enjoying this captivating story requires that we set aside the Gospel passage where Dives, the rich man, gazes from afar as Abraham comforts Lazarus, the beggar whom angels have carried to paradise. There we see Dives asking Abraham for a drop of water to soothe his tongue parched by the fires of Hell. Abraham has to demur, and explain that “between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us” (Luke 16:26)
A sidebar: The Vulgate calls this chasm a “chaos magnum.” And a scholarly Latin dictionary defines chaos as “The boundless, empty space; as the kingdom of darkness, the Lower World.”
Back to our story.
Lewis asks, “Well, imagine: if those in Hell were able to cross that chasm, would it change anyone’s eternal destiny?”
To consider that prospect, Lewis describes the voyage of a tour bus that picks up passengers in Hell and drops them off on the outskirts of Heaven to look around. They can even stay if they want to. Things don’t turn out too well. In fact, it is chilling.
As the tourists from Hell alight from the bus, they are greeted by old friends from Earth, now saints, sent there by angels to convince them to repent — and stay. Alas, they find it’s a hard sell. Lewis presents us with a particularly tough case, a bishop (in his earthly life) who lost his faith and died an apostate. Will he repent? Will he stay?
No. His Grace clings belligerently to his dissent: “Honest opinions fearlessly followed — they are not sins,” he roars to his old friend.
Not sins? Why not?
He followed his errant conscience, the bishop brags. His conscience was, after all, his god, bowing before no one.
As they converse, the bishop is increasingly flustered by his friend’s invitation. Why not embrace and enjoy Heaven’s limpid reality, the Eternal Fact of God?
Suddenly it becomes clear: The bishop suddenly realizes that his friend actually wants him to repent. He recoils.
“Of course I can’t stay with you,” he stammers, “I have to be back next Friday to read a paper.”
In Hell there are apparently countless scholarly papers being given all the time. In this case, the bishop will speak on what a mature Jesus would have taught, had His life not been tragically cut short. Why, had it not been for the “disaster” of the cross, Jesus could have reached His “full stature!”
And off he goes, heading for the bus ride back to Hell.

Resolution? Or Revolution?

This year, an influential group of dissidents is lobbying for a “more mature” Church. They are writing and giving endless papers. They are demanding that the Church reconsider the nature of marriage and family, and they’re placing their bets on Pope Francis.
Specifically, they’ve pinned their hopes to the “new paradigm” that the Pope introduces in his apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia. Pope Francis has progressed far beyond his rigid predecessors, they explain. “He has moved away from the Catholic obsession with sex and birth control toward the beauty of a virtuous, just, and loving marriage,” they insist.
They are sure that, under Pope Francis, the Church will experience a “maturing of Church teaching” that “will lead to the revision of some absolute sexual norms” — norms like the prohibitions of adultery and contraception.
Of course, this movement has been seething for fifty years, almost without interruption, ever since Blessed Paul VI promulgated his encyclical on July 25, 1968. This latest effort to “update” Humanae Vitae was intended to use its golden anniversary to lay it to rest. However, early on, it confronted a strong pushback. Many clerics and prelates rose to the defense of the Church’s teaching, but happily, the support from the laity was even stronger.
This resounding support for Humanae Vitae could not be ignored. As a result, “update” advocates have retreated into careful prose meant to reassure the faithful that nothing of importance was going on at all. “Nothing to see here, move along.” Meanwhile, of course, they left the barn door wide open to a “maturing.”
One prominent figure in the discussion is Professor Gilfredo Marengo, of the Pontifical Theological Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family. For over a year, Marengo has been chairing a secretive “study group” on Humanae Vitae at the Vatican. He recently insisted that Blessed Paul’s encyclical “needs no updating” — a term he did not define — but he added a curious hint. Pope Francis “has invested a lot” to achieve “the resolution of polarization between pastoral and doctrinal issues,” he said.
And since when have pastoral duties and doctrinal truths become “polarized”? In the Church’s long history, haven’t they been in harmony?
Yes they have. But the revolutionaries of our age routinely hijack words and convert them into their opposites to create conflict. It’s the same old tawdry, tiresome dialectic that flows from Hegel to Marx to Teilhard. So when Professor Marengo says we have to “go beyond the polarization,” he relies on the dialectic to magically create a false conflict that in reality doesn’t exist at all.
But that’s fine with the dissenters. That “conflict” gives them the opportunity to be “peacemakers,” offering a “solution” that goes “beyond” the “polarization” they have themselves concocted.
The revolutionary’s Orwellian word games constitute nothing more than an intellectual shell-game that does its best to conceal the ultimate question: How can they please both those who want to preserve the Church’s timeless teaching, and those who want to change it?
A curious happenstance might help to explain the situation. Msgr. Pierangelo Sequeri, a member of Marengo’s study group, now heads Rome’s John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family.
Two years ago Sequeri replaced Msgr. Livio Melina at the Institute. And while the Marengo-Sequeri “study group” seeks to “go beyond the polarization,” Msgr. Melina has repeatedly made it clear that an objectively errant conscience, even if accompanied by a purported “pastoral care,” cannot condone a reversal of the Church’s moral teaching. That is the only way that Amoris Laetitia can be read, he insists. Period.
So we wonder: Why did Pope Francis remove Msgr. Melina and replace him with the more liberal Msgr. Sequeri — around the same time that the “study group” took shape?
Was Msgr. Melina’s removal a signal that the longed-for “resolution” would reaffirm Humanae Vitae in teaching and in practice? Or did it mean that it would indeed not be “updated,” but simply left in place — and easily ignored?
Time will tell. But it’s clear that the latter option would leave the barn door open so wide that even a bus could drive through it.

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter Elects New Superior General

LINCOLN, Neb. — The general chapter of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, a society of apostolic life that celebrates the extraordinary form of the Roman rite, Monday elected Father Andrzej Komorowski as its next superior general. The July 9…Continue Reading

Catholic-heavy Supreme Court moves right as the church moves left

(RNS) — With his nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, President Trump has succeeded in doing for the judicial branch what he has often failed or neglected to do in his administration: acting efficiently…Continue Reading

Election of the Superior General . . . Society of Saint Pius X

Election of the Superior General On July 11, 2018, Father Davide Pagliarani was elected Superior General, for a mandate of 12 years, by the 4th General Chapter of the Society of Saint Pius X. The new Superior General is 47…Continue Reading

Paradoxes and indicators of Capella’s and McCarrick’s cases

These days we will find out whether Monsignor Carlo Alberto Capella, the former advisor to the Washington nunciature that the Vatican sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for possession and distribution of “large quantities” of child pornography, will present an appeal…Continue Reading

Diocese led by pro-gay bishop says it’s ‘up to each parish’ whether to promote homosexuality

LEXINGTON, Kentucky, July 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A Catholic church in the heart of Appalachia has attracted media attention for the Gay Pride Month banner stretched across its front lawn. The local ordinary, Bishop John Stowe, has a record of collaborating with a…Continue Reading

Al Gore: Pope Francis a ‘moral force’ for solving climate crisis

(Vatican.news) Nobel Peace Prize Winner and former U.S. Vice President, Al Gore, is one of the world’s most vocal defenders of the environment. His 2007 documentary film, “An Inconvenient Truth”, won an Oscar and his Climate Reality Project recently hosted…Continue Reading

Catholic bishops heading to border to tackle family separation issues

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — A delegation of Catholic bishops from across the country are heading to the border on Monday. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, will lead the delegation in its visit to the…Continue Reading

Catholic Church teaching on homosexuality ‘evil’, McAleese says

The Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality is “evil”, former president Mary McAleese has said. Speaking ahead of her inaugural participation in the Dublin Pride event on Saturday, where she will march with her son Justin and his husband, the former…Continue Reading

Senate Will Vote Before Elections on Replacing Pro-Abortion Justice Anthony Kennedy

The United States Senate will vote before the elections this November on a replacement for pro-abortion Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made that announcement today shortly after the surprising but welcome announcement that the longtime abortion…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke, Bishop Schneider respond to Pope Francis’ inflight intercommunion comments

ROME, June 27, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — The reception of Holy Communion in the Catholic Church — even in exceptional cases — by a Protestant or other non-Catholic constitutes a “lie” that betrays the Apostolic tradition and the Church’s constant practice…Continue Reading

German Bishops Publish Intercommunion Handout with a Rhetorical Trick

Today, the German bishops have published their very controversial pastoral handout which allows Protestant spouses of Catholics, in certain cases, to receive Holy Communion. Since Pope Francis, on 21 June, objected to a national bishops’ conference publishing such an official text, the…Continue Reading

Vikings host ‘LGBTQ summit’ to promote ‘inclusion’ in sports

EAGAN, Minnesota, June 21, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Minnesota Vikings are hosting a conference and fundraiser today for “LGBTQ inclusion in sports,” the first of its kind in the National Football League (NFL). The event will include speeches, interviews, and…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 . . .

British pro-lifers say abortion clinic ‘buffer zones’ harm women and children

London, England, Jul 12, 2018 / 12:49 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- After a decision from the United Kingdom’s High Court, two women are attempting to overturn a ban on prayer and public discussion of abortion near a British abortion clinic. On July 2, the High Court of England and Wales upheld a “buffer zone” imposed by Ealing Council, west London, around a Marie Stopes abortion clinic. The zone prevents any pro-life gathering or speech, inc

Calligraphers face jail time for not promoting same-sex ‘weddings’

PHOENIX, Arizona, July 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Two Arizona calligraphy artists faced with fines and jail time for declining to take part in promoting gay “weddings” are asking the state’s Supreme Court to hear their challenge to the city of Phoenix’s law that compels them create artwork that violates their religious beliefs. Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski, owners of Brush & Nib Studio, face up to six months in jail, $2,500 in fines, and three

Bishop Paprocki disagrees with US bishops’ support for unions that fund abortion, LGBT

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois, July 11, 2018, (LifeSiteNews) – Hailed by free speech and religious liberty advocates alike, the United States Supreme Court recently ruled that public sector employees can no longer be required to pay mandatory fees to support unions which promote causes and political activities – including abortion – to which they are opposed. The ruling has also exposed a significant rift among the nation’s Catholic bishops. Despite public sector unions’ unabashe

Trump nominates Brett Kavanaugh to Supreme Court

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 9, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Brett Kavanaugh is Donald Trump’s choice to succeed the pro-abortion, pro-gay Justice Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court, the president announced Monday night. Trump praised Kavanaugh’s committment to “equal justice under the law” and called him a “brilliant jurist with a clear and effective writing style.” He is “universally regarded as…one of the finest legal minds of our time.” Kavanaugh formerly clerked for Kennedy. “Justice Kennedy devoted his career to…Continue Reading

Prof fired by Catholic university for defending marriage has huge court win

MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin, July 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The professor forced out by a Jesuit-run Catholic university for blogging about an undergrad student being assailed by his teacher for his having voiced defense of marriage has won in court. In a landmark decision Friday the Wisconsin Supreme Court said Marquette University violated John McAdams’ right to free speech when it suspended him for writing the blog post, and it ordered the University to restore McAdams immediately with his full rank,…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic … Old And New Tyrannies Borne Of Lust

By STEPHEN M. KRASON (Editor’s Note: Stephen M. Krason’s “Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic” column appears monthly [sometimes bimonthly]. He is professor of political science and legal studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also co-founder and president of the Society…Continue Reading

A Book Review… What Man Does Not Reverence, He Will Profane

By MITCHELL KALPAKGIAN Society and Sanity, by Frank Sheed (Ignatius Press: San Francisco, 2013), 261 pp. $17.95. Available from www.ignatius.com or at 1-800-651-1531. This new edition of Sheed’s 1953 classic work of apologetics brings to mind the famous myth of Procrustes’ bed. The wicked king captures his victims then tortures them if their legs do…Continue Reading

How Vice Can Absorb Virtue

By DONALD DeMARCO Just as the Devil is at war with God, so too, vices are at war with virtue. The Devil wants people to believe that God does not exist. He also wants people to believe that neither does virtue exist. He would like to demolish virtue. One way of achieving this is to…Continue Reading

Henan, China… New Limits Imposed On The Religious Freedom Of Catholics

BEIJING (AsiaNews) — The Chinese government is approving increasingly restrictive measures against Catholics in the central province of Henan. As Eglises d’Asie reports, five new rules have been imposed which include the requirement of religious working in the province to collect data and information on their faithful. A priest from the Diocese of Zhengzhou reports…Continue Reading

A Book Review… Solzhenitsyn Remembered

By JUDE DOUGHERTY Congdon, Lee. Solzhenitsyn: The Historical-Spiritual Destinies of Russia and the West. DeKalb, Ill.: NIV Press, 2017; 163 pp. This book is descriptive of the prophetic voice of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008), who was convinced that the West has set out on a road similar to that which “led Russia into the abyss.” Solzhenitsyn…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Sheep Without A Shepherd

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Sixteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: Jer. 23:1-6 Eph. 2:13-18 Mark 6:30-34 In the first reading today, God speaks a word of woe through the Prophet Jeremiah to the shepherds who mislead the Lord’s flock entrusted to their care. God says that these shepherds scattered the flock and drove them away and did not…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World . . . In Death The Church Gives Everything

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Funerals, as many priests have learned, can often be pastorally challenging and problematic episodes. Grieving family members who are not dealing with death on a regular basis by practicing their faith are suddenly confronted with its reality upon the passing of a parent or other family member. Parents who have to bury a child sometimes…Continue Reading

Martin Luther… The Man And The Myth

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 2 (Editor’s Note: As this October marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s nailing his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Raymond de Souza is taking a break from his usual apologetics to correct the popular image of Luther.) + + + In the last article, I quoted from…Continue Reading

The Anatomy Of A Moral Act

By DON FIER Last week, as we considered the role that human freedom plays in the economy of salvation, it was immediately acknowledged that “man’s freedom is limited and fallible” (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], n. 1739). Free will, so wondrously bestowed upon man as an essential element of his great dignity of being created “in the image and…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. What can one say to a teenage daughter or granddaughter who wears skimpy bathing suits? I know that is the “style” these days, but it seems wrong for many reasons. — M.M., Virginia. A. When our five daughters were teens, my wife and I ruled out the wearing of skimpy bathing suits, as well as skin-tight jeans or shorts…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Veronica Giuliani

By CAROLE BRESLIN In July, the month of the Precious Blood, the Catholic Church remembers saints by the name of Veronica. On July 12, the memorial of Veronica (meaning “true image”), the saint from the first century who presented her veil to wipe the face of Jesus, is celebrated. Three days before that, on July 9, St. Veronica Giuliani is…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati

By CAROLE BRESLIN Our Lord had a special love for the poor when He walked this earth. At one time He rebuked one of the apostles, saying, “The poor you will always have with you” (Matt. 26:11). Rather than avoiding the destitute or shun the homeless, Christians are called to love them as we love ourselves. At the beginning of…Continue Reading