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Resource Center Official Says… Denver Archbishop’s Talk On Humanae Vitae Inspired Her

March 11, 2018 Frontpage No Comments

By DEXTER DUGGAN

PHOENIX — Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila’s talk here to observe the fiftieth anniversary of Blessed Paul VI’s encyclical

Humanae Vitae was an inspiration on how to deal with the “‘ anti- culture’ seeking to distort and damage our sexuality at every turn,” according to the coordinator of the Phoenix Catholic diocesan resource center that sponsored Aquila’s talk.

“ I was struck by Archbishop Aquila’s comments on encounter. Rather than immediately placing his reflections on ( Humanae Vitae) and human sexuality within the language of moral right and wrong, he chose first to create a context of encounter — a context of being fully present to others and a love that is restorative,” said Katrina Zeno, coordinator of the Phoenix diocesan John Paul II Resource Center for Theology of the Body and Culture.

Aquila spoke at the center’s February 24 encyclical celebration and fund- raiser at Xavier College Preparatory school for young women here. His topic was, “ Humanae Vitae: The Encounter that Leads to Freedom and Generosity.”

Wikipedia says that Theology of the Body was the topic of a series of lectures St. John Paul II gave during his Wednesday audiences in St. Peter’s Square between 1979 and 1984. “ It constitutes an analysis on human sexuality and is considered as the first major teaching of his pontificate.”

Zeno told The Wanderer: “ People pass each other, ( Aquila) said, but they do not encounter each other. This observation prompted me to rethink my own interactions with others, especially through electronic communication. Am I truly helping to build a ‘ culture of encounter’ or am I falling prey to quick and convenient communication, relating to others more like a commercial transaction rather than creating and sustaining truly personal bonds?”

The archbishop began his talk by saying he strongly believes “ that the Theology of the Body is one of the keys to the restoration of a truly Christian and Catholic culture.

“ Our society today is toxic when it comes to understanding human sexuality,” he continued. “ One has only to look at the Hollywood scene with the sexual misconduct of people like ( producer Harvey) Weinstein and so many others, the sexual- harassment accusations now playing themselves out among politicians on both sides of the aisle, and both men and women bringing forth accusations.

“ And then there is sexual trafficking of women and minors and the sexual abuse of minors in so many different sectors of society,” said Aquila, who reflected further on the pastoral letter he had issued earlier in February, The Splendor of Love, keyed to the Humanae Vitae anniversary. “ No laws can change the human heart. Only the discovery of the truth and meaning of human sexuality and the dignity of the human person will change the hearts of people,” Aquila said in his text.

“ People must be convinced in their hearts that they are created in the image and likeness of God, made to be in relationship with God, and that human sexuality is a gift given to man and woman for the blessing of children and for the love of the couple who become co- creators with the Creator,” he said. A man who was at the talk told

The Wanderer he estimated that 200 to 250 people attended.

Zeno, a native of San Diego who took her BA in theology from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, told The Wanderer: “ Additionally, the archbishop’s linking of freedom and generosity with God’s plan for our sexuality was enriching for me as a single person. In living out the single, chaste life, the temptation can be to limit and even shut down one’s total selfgiving.

“ Archbishop Aquila’s call to freedom and generosity across the spectrum of one’s life, which is likewise expressed in the conjugal embrace for married couples, reminded me of my own responsibility to ‘ promote a generous culture of encounter that images the Trinity’,” she said.

Referring to Aquila’s substance, Zeno said, “ I was challenged to examine my own ‘ false ideas of convenience and freedom’ and where I may have allowed Satan to ‘ mar the image and likeness of God in me’ and thus undermine my witness as a single person to generous Trinitarian Love in the world.

“ I walked away from this event with a new spring in my step and the all- important reminder, ‘ When you see love, you see the Trinity’,” she said. “ Even though I had already read archbishop’s pastoral letter celebrating the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae, hearing him speak in person about a culture of encounter, freedom, generosity, and Trinitarian Love lifted my spirits even more and consolidated the ‘ reason for the hope that is within me’ (cf. 1 Peter 3:15).”

Aquila told the Phoenix gathering that his goal in writing the pastoral letter “ was to affirm the Church’s beautiful teaching on human sexuality and to encourage people to live it out.”

He said his talk would “focus on how God’s plan for sexuality creates a culture in which encounter and generosity — not conflict and objectification — are the predominant markers of people’s experience.”

The Phoenix Diocese’s John Paul II Resource Center’s web page says: “ We offer talks, retreats, and training for individuals on ‘ Theology of the Body,’ St. John Paul II’s influential work. We offer workshops, teacher in-service retreats, age- appropriate classroom talks and more for parishes, schools, and other groups.”

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