Wednesday 20th September 2017

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

Catholic Replies

March 17, 2017 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Editor’s Note: At a time when some Catholics are afraid to stand up for their faith in the face of secular disdain and ridicule, Fr. George Rutler of the Church of St. Michael in New York City put things into perspective in a bulletin column the Sunday before Ash Wednesday:
“Exactly two years ago this month, twenty young Coptic Christian Egyptians were kidnapped by Islamic State militants while on a work crew in Libya. They refused to renounce Christ and chanted in chorus, ‘Ya Rabbi Yassou!’ — ‘Oh my Lord Jesus!’ A black youth from Chad, Mathew Ayairga, not a Christian, was watching and, when asked by the captors, ‘Do you reject Christ?’ he replied, ‘Their God is my God.’ He was baptized by blood when all twenty-one were beheaded.
While these martyrs had never heard of the theological disputes over grace and justification, they were confident that Christ can raise life eternal from dust and ash. The purpose of Lenten disciplines, not salvific in themselves, is to train voices to join their chorus of faith.”

Q. At Sunday Mass recently, I noticed several pews reserved for something called “Little Church.” Before the readings, those in the reserved pews — mostly preschoolers with parents — were then gathered before the altar and met by the celebrant. Then the “Little Church” group was sent out of the church to another site. Your comment? — M.S. Michigan.
A. We are familiar with this practice of dismissing the children (although not the parents) before the Scripture readings and homily, and then having them return for the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The point of the exercise, which is usually conducted by a layperson, is to have the children hear readings and an explanation suited to their age.
We have never thought that this was a good idea. We would prefer to have families together at Mass. If those in attendance are primarily children, then the readings and the homily can be adapted to them. If the congregation is mostly adults, there could be a class afterwards that would help the children to understand what they had just witnessed, or parents could exercise their role as the primary educators of their children and talk with them at home.

Q. Why is the Church so silent on birth control? As a Catholic mother of seven wee ones, and physically worn out from childbearing, I want to avoid another pregnancy. If I use birth control in my marriage, does the Church teach that I am likely to go to Hell? Am I really to sit out Communion and not go to Confession right now? With my Catholic hospital the one to initiate my birth control, and because of poor catechesis, I knew nothing of mortal sin, only that the Church frowned on birth control. When I decided to learn more about my faith and started reading more, did I suddenly burden myself with sin, whereas before I was innocent and Heaven-bound? This is upsetting to me, and I would love some advice. Can I still be a Catholic if I intend to use birth control? — Name and State Withheld.
A. First of all, if every Catholic guilty of committing sin ceased to be a Catholic, there would be no Catholic Church. The Church is made up of sinners and all are called to, in the words of Jesus, “repent, and believe in the Gospel” (Mark 1:15). No grave sin automatically sends a person to Hell; only persistent and stubborn adherence to that sin until the end of one’s life results in final damnation.
Second, the three conditions for a mortal sin are grave matter, sufficient knowledge that the matter is gravely sinful, and deliberate consent of the will. If you at first were truly ignorant of the sinful nature of birth control (more properly called contraception since one can control births by moral means), then you were not in a state of mortal sin. That may no longer be true since you now possess sufficient knowledge of the immorality of contraception. However, one’s degree of guilt or moral responsibility can be mitigated by such things as fear (of future pregnancies) or concupiscence (the rebellion of one’s passions against reason). You should discuss your situation with a priest who is loyal to the Church’s teaching on the immorality of contraception.
Third, the Church herself has never been silent on the evil of contraception. She has condemned this sin since the first century, and every Pope in the past century, as well as the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, has reaffirmed that condemnation. The definitive statement on the matter was issued in 1968 with the promulgation of Humanae Vitae by Pope Paul VI, who declared as immoral “every action which, either 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” (n. 14).
Fourth, while the Church’s Magisterium has always been vocal about the evil of contraception, many of her bishops and priests have been virtually silent, which is why so many Catholics, even today, think that there’s nothing wrong with practicing contraception. They have never been told by their clergy that contraception is not only a great moral evil, but it is also a betrayal of marriage as the mutual and fruitful self-giving of two persons to each other. Just as the Father and the Son pour out the gift of themselves to each other, and the Holy Spirit is the fruit of their self-giving love, so husbands and wives are to model themselves on the Trinity and make a free, total, sincere, and fruitful gift to each other.
Man and woman were made for each other. For one or both of them to say, “I give you all of myself, except my fertility,” is a lie and a betrayal of the self-giving love that the Creator intended in the beginning when He invented marriage.
Fifth, bishops and priests who failed to teach that contraception is evil will have much to answer for. In Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI specifically told the Catholic bishops of the world that their mission of safeguarding the holiness of marriage was “one of your most urgent responsibilities at the present time” (n. 29). The Holy Father had even stronger words for priests, telling them that “your first task…is to expound the Church’s teaching on marriage without ambiguity.”
He told them to “be the first to give, in the exercise of your ministry, the example of loyal internal and external obedience to the teaching authority of the Church….You know, too, that it is of utmost importance, for peace of consciences and for the unity of the Christian people, that in the field of morals, as well as in that of dogma, all should attend to the Magisterium of the Church, and all should speak the same language” (n. 28).
Sixth, perhaps these clergy who failed in their duty to guide their flocks were afraid of driving people away, and so they avoided homilies on contraception. How did that work out? Attendance at Mass still dropped from about 70 percent on Sundays before Humanae Vitae to around 20 percent today\ These members of the clergy should have heeded the advice of Pope Paul, that “to diminish in no way the saving teaching of Christ constitutes an eminent form of charity for souls. But this must ever be accompanied by patience and goodness, such as the Lord Himself gave example of in dealing with men. Having come not to condemn but to save [cf. John 3:17], He was intransigent with evil, but merciful to individuals” (n 29).
Seventh, here is the consolation that you are looking for — the knowledge that the Lord did not come to condemn, but to save us, to be intransigent with such evils as contraception but to be merciful to those individuals caught up in this web. We can identify personally with your situation, having once had seven “wee ones” ourselves under the age of nine. But with God’s help, we survived, even with the birth of two more children. Looking back, my wife and I wonder how we did it, but we did, and now we have 22 grandchildren as well.
Eighth, the answer to your plight is Natural Family Planning, which the Church approves as a method of spacing out the births of children, or of avoiding another birth for the time being, after taking into account what St. John Paul II called the “physical, economic, psychological, and social conditions” facing a family.
The beauty of NFP is that it involves the loving cooperation of both parties, rather than putting the burden on one spouse, usually the woman, who endangers her health by taking powerful drugs (the Pill) or using dangerous devices.
For information on NFP, check with the Family Life Office in your diocese or contact John Kippley of Natural Family Planning International at P.O. Box 112035, Cincinnati, OH 45211. His website is www.nfpandmore.org.

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Popular priest disinvited from Catholic University’s seminary after protests over his LGBT book

The Rev. James Martin, a popular priest who published a book earlier this year encouraging a bridge between the LGBT community and the Catholic Church, has been disinvited from giving an address at Catholic University’s seminary. Martin, who was planning…Continue Reading

Latin Mass fans celebrate 10-year anniversary _ without pope

Fans of the old Latin Mass descended on Rome on Thursday for their annual pilgrimage, facing indifference to their cause, if not outright resistance, from none other than Pope Francis. Ten years after Pope Benedict XVI passed a law allowing greater use of…Continue Reading

Pro-gay Vatican adviser gets Catholic group suspended from Twitter

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 12, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A faithful Catholic lay apostolate was suspended by Twitter last week after Vatican adviser Father James Martin complained about a tweet that teasingly stated the pro-gay Jesuit had been bested in a theological…Continue Reading

Durbin, Feinstein and Catholic judges

Washington is currently embroiled in one of its “gotcha” controversies, which often arise when minor missteps are blown into major crimes. It’s a game both parties and a variety of activists play whenever they see political advantage in it. The…Continue Reading

Pope issues new directives on revision, translation of liturgical texts

Vatican City, Sep 9, 2017 / 08:00 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Holy See has released a new “motu proprio” from Pope Francis outlining a shift in the responsibility of local bishops and the Apostolic See for the revision and approval…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke ‘treasured’ work with deceased dubia Cardinal to oppose ‘gravely harmful confusion’

ROME, September 6, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke paid tribute today to fellow dubia signer Cardinal Carlo Caffarra on his passing after a long illness. In a statement to LifeSiteNews, Burke said he was “deeply saddened” by the 79-year-old’s…Continue Reading

Some Personal Reflections on the Late Cardinal Caffarra

As Steve Skojec reported this morning, our beloved Cardinal Carlo Caffarra died today, in Italy. Our hearts are broken over this news since he was such a lovable and charitable and truthful man for us. Just to know that he was out…Continue Reading

Remarks by President Trump at Signing of Day of Prayer Proclamation

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  Americans have always come to the aid of their fellow countrymen.  Friend helping friend, neighbor helping neighbor, stranger helping stranger — we’ve seen it perhaps more so than at any time, so vividly at…Continue Reading

Bishop Schneider: The Pope who ‘seems to’ permit adultery bears a ‘grave responsibility’

POLAND, August 31, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia “seems to” go in the direction of a pastoral “discernment” that “allows the adulterers to continue in adultery,” says Bishop Athanasius Schneider. The consequences for many could be…Continue Reading

REPORT CARD: Faithful college praised for financial aid; Praying for Notre Dame; ‘Pride Prom’ at Marquette

With college affordability becoming an increasingly prominent (and problematic) issue, Thomas Aquinas College’s recognition by The Princeton Review’s national Financial Aid Honor Roll is especially refreshing. “We are pleased that, once again, The Princeton Review has featured Thomas Aquinas College in its annual guide,”…Continue Reading

JEFFERSON CITY’S CATHEDRAL SCHOOL RESISTS LGBT POLICY

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (ChurchMilitant.com) – The flagship school for the diocese of Jefferson City has updated its handbook with clear Catholic instruction to counter the LGBT agenda being foisted on schools. Just in time for the new school year, St. Joseph…Continue Reading

Australian priest rips confession proposal as government ‘intrusion’

An Australian priest has called the Royal Commission’s recent proposal to enforce law requiring that clergy face criminal charges if they do not disclose details of sexual abuse revealed in the confessional a breach of religious tolerance. Fr. Kelvin Lovegrove,…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

Today . . .

Pro-Life Speaker Ben Shapiro Answers Pro-Abortion Student’s Question With an “Epic Takedown”

Popular conservative author and speaker Ben Shapiro continued to impress his audience Thursday at UC Berkeley when he rapidly refuted a young man’s abortion arguments. Shapiro’s speech at the liberal California university drew massive media attention because of the violent protests that have broken out on campus during past conservative speakers’ talks. The university and local police increased security, and several people were arrested Thursday. Inside the sold-out auditorium, Shapiro received a huge applause when…Continue Reading

Cardinal Sarah: Reverent liturgy is essential to fighting the culture of death

ROME, September 15, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – One of the chief antidotes to a world “marked by the blight of Godless terrorism, of an increasingly aggressive secularism” and an “advancing culture of death” is to restore primacy to God in the Catholic liturgy, Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, said Thursday. The cardinal was speaking to an international gathering of cardinals, priests, religious and laity at the Fifth Roman Colloquium on Summorum…Continue Reading

Pope to new bishops: ‘Discernment’ means avoiding ‘rigid’ answers to moral questions

ROME, September 14, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis told a group of newly ordained bishops that “authentic discernment” cannot be reduced to repeating “rigid” moral formulas to persons whose situations “can’t be reduced to black and white.” Discernment, the pope said, “can’t be reduced to repeating formulas such as ‘high clouds send little rain’ to a concrete person, who’s often immersed in a reality that can’t be reduced to black and white.” He cautioned bishops…Continue Reading

Catholic leaders defend Trump after Pope challenges his pro-life views

September 12, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-life Catholic leaders are defending President Trump against Pope Francis after the Pontiff questioned Trump’s pro-life views, despite the fact that Trump has racked up major pro-life accomplishments during his short time in office. “If Pope Francis is so concerned with the commitment of others to the defense of preborn children, he should consider his own words and actions, as well,” said Michael Hichborn, founder and president of the Lepanto…Continue Reading

Sex, sanity, and beliefs that ‘live loudly’ within us

“I do not know any country where, in general, less independence of mind and genuine freedom of discussion reign than in America.” — Tocqueville, “Democracy in America” Alexis de Tocqueville was the great French chronicler of the early United States.  Nearly 200 years ago, he spotted a basic tension in our national character.  It’s this:  Americans place a big stress on individual rights.  But we’re also big conformists.  The dynamic of self-assertion and fear of being…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)

20 State Attorneys General Lauded… For Opposing Pro-Abortion Judge Orrick’s Gag Order Against CMP

By DEXTER DUGGAN PHOENIX — “It is definitely very encouraging, and it’s great news” that 20 state attorneys general filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court to oppose the gag order against videos by pro-life investigators, an official with one of the law firms representing David Daleiden and the California-based Center for Medical…Continue Reading

Preparing To Enter Into The Awesome Mystery Of The Mass

By JAMES MONTI For every Catholic, there can be no more important event in one’s spiritual life than Holy Mass. For in the mystery of the Holy Eucharist we encounter our God in a more intimate manner than in any other sacrament, sacramental, or form of prayer. I recall hearing of a modern writer who…Continue Reading

Moral Judgments — Facts Or Opinions?

By ARTHUR HIPPLER (Editor’s Note: Dr. Hippler is chairman of the religion department and teaches religion in the Upper School at Providence Academy, Plymouth, Minn.) + + + Allan Bloom began his Closing of the American Mind with this memorable observation: “There is one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of: almost every student entering the…Continue Reading

The Complete Thinker

By DONALD DeMARCO “The Complete Thinker” is borrowed from the title of Dale Ahlquist’s 2012 book, the subtitle of which is The Marvelous Mind of G.K. Chesterton. “Thinking,” for Chesterton, “means connecting things.” Ahlquist regards G.K.’s thinking as “complete” in the sense that it deals with a wide variety of subjects and integrates them in…Continue Reading

Our Lady Of Fatima: The August Apparition

By FR. SEAN CONNOLLY (Editor’s Note: This is the seventh in a series of articles on the one hundredth anniversary of our Lady’s apparitions at Fatima. Fr. Connolly is a priest of the Archdiocese of New York.) + + + During the entirely misnamed age of the “Enlightenment,” movements to dethrone prominent Catholic monarchies began…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

A Leaven In The World… Can Division In Worship Bring Unity Of Faith?

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Pope Francis has given authority through a new motu proprio, Magnum Principium, issued this month, to local bishops’ conferences to approve translations of the liturgy from Latin into local languages. By doing so he hopes to accomplish a couple of things. First, as we know by now Pope Francis places full trust and confidence in…Continue Reading

God The Sanctifier Of Men… Other Christs

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 3 In a previous article, I mentioned that sanctifying grace makes us brethren of Christ. It is, by the way, one more reason to have devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ and Mother of us, our common Mother. The reason is quite simple to understand: Christ is the Head of the…Continue Reading

The Effects And Fruits Of Anointing Of The Sick

By DON FIER The proper time for receiving the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick for a baptized Catholic “has certainly arrived when the believer begins to be in danger of death because of illness or old age” (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], n. 1528). However, as we saw last week, the sacrament is not exclusively for those who…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. Please clarify 1 John 5:16-17. Does this refer to mortal sin? What is meant by not praying for one in deadly sin? Isn’t deadly sin a top priority for prayer? — P.S., Indiana. A. The passage in question reads: “If anyone sees his brother sinning, if the sin is not deadly, he should pray to God and he will…Continue Reading

Magnify The Lord!

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Fifth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR A) Readings: Isaiah 55:6-9 Phil. 1:20c-24, 27a Matt. 20:1-16a In the first reading today, God says that His thoughts are not our thoughts nor are His ways our ways. He adds that as the heavens are high above the Earth, so high are His ways above our ways. Certainly this…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Thomas Villanova

By CAROLE BRESLIN Our Lord drew amazing men and women from the population of Spain to protect that country from the ravages that swept through Germany and the Scandinavian countries in the Reformation era. Two events marked by Augustinian monks sparked these events. In Germany, an apostate Augustinian monk who fell from grace led hundreds of thousands into error —…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Simon De Rojas

By CAROLE BRESLIN The subject of this article lived in a time of great saints, great Spanish saints, so it is not surprising that he is little known. St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) who wrote the Spiritual Exercises, St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) who reformed the Carmelites and wrote The Interior Castle, and St. John of the Cross who wrote…Continue Reading