Saturday 22nd February 2020

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The Contraception Conundrum

November 30, 2019 Frontpage No Comments

By CHRISTOPHER MANION

In recent years, surveys have indicated that a large majority of Catholics approve of contraception. Apparently many bishops don’t consider that a problem — at least they don’t spend so much preaching and teaching time on the subject as they do about guns, global warming, and other items on the Democrats’ policy agenda.
Now the question arises, what would happen if our bishops and priests made teaching Humanae Vitae their truly first priority? How would the laity react? I’m sure the bishops have asked that question as well. Is our possible reaction that’s making them reluctant?
A few years back, in Adam and Eve After the Pill (Ignatius Press), social critic Mary Eberstadt identified a pathology that emerged from the rejection of Humanae Vitae, a condition that arose in both contracepting couples and homosexual-friendly clerics. In both cases, sex, its meaning, and its consequences became increasingly trivialized. The cavalier and casual had consequences: Abortion became just another form of birth control, sort of a “retroactive” contraceptive, while many clerics became less troubled not only by active homosexuality in the clergy, but in the homosexual abuse of boys as well.
So, in pulpit and in practice, the precious gift of married love, and all that it involves, has been widely untaught for years. What would happen if our shepherds suddenly came to their senses, dropped their political agendas, and issued a unanimous clarion call — “Bring Back Humanae Vitae”?
We wonder: Is a “silent majority” of bishops afraid that they would risk losing a majority of their flock if they made this marvelous encyclical their first priority? And perhaps more to the point, consider: We learned from the recent meeting of the USCCB that 69 American bishops don’t consider abortion to be a “pre-eminent issue,” more pressing than their passel of political agenda items.
Well, if a third of U.S. bishops don’t think abortion is that big a deal, how are we to expect them suddenly to arise in defense of an unpopular doctrine on contraception that they were taught in seminary would be overturned by now anyway?
Moreover, there is a clique — who knows how large — in the hierarchy that just doesn’t have time for it, period. They’re apparently too busy reaching out to the “peripheries” of sodomites, adulterers, fornicators, trannies, and, these days, even practicing pagans. To put it bluntly, Humanae Vitae is the last thing that audience wants to hear, so they aren’t going to teach it.
Look at it from their point of view: We’ve known since 2002 that well over half of U.S. bishops who adopted the Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People had covered up for abusers. That’s why they voted to exempt themselves from their own law. Cardinal McCarrick led the way, arm-in-arm with then-USCCB President Bishop Wilton Gregory, who is today the archbishop of Washington and a prime candidate to receive the red hat and membership in the College of Cardinals.
When the rest of our shepherds plainly see what gets a bishop ahead in this world — what constitutes success, what brings him acclaim, applause, and promotion — do we even stand half a chance?
Perhaps we can understand why so few of our bishops have been willing to stand up for Humanae Vitae’s hard, unpopular moral truths. Because it will get them nowhere but Heaven, accompanied by their grateful sheep whom they faithfully lead, rather than betray.
This Thanksgiving, we owe them our thanks indeed. May their number increase!

Should Unelected
Bureaucrats Run The Country?

A couple of weeks after Ronald Reagan won the 1980 election, a Washington, D.C., talk-radio host suggested the topic for the evening: Should we abolish the State Department?
At the time, this writer happened to be driving down Constitution Avenue, past the White House and toward State Department headquarters on “C” Street. I imagined the howling echoing down the halls that day, as President Carter’s appointees and the Deep State lifers rent their garments in wrath and, no doubt, more than a little dash of terror.
This fond memory arises as the “impeachment” hearings drone on over at the House Intelligence Committee. It comes to mind that the State Department and that particular committee have something in common: Functionaries at both bodies believe that they are indeed endowed with a modicum of “intelligence” that others lack — especially elected Republican presidents like Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump.
The same sense of bequeathed superiority abides at the Central Intelligence Agency, which by its very name endows its apparatchiks with a swagger that they wear with pride, even when their intelligence is proven lacking, which comes to pass with troubling frequency.
Catholic writer Michael Novak once observed that “when a person is hired for a post in the bureaucracy, his IQ automatically rises by twenty points.” Clearly, the folks behind the nameplate at countless bureaus, offices, and agencies embrace that appealing fantasy. And the charade certainly prevails at State. There, all too often, disagreement with the president’s foreign policy quickly morphs into resistance, and then subversion.
In the spring of 1981, a State Department Foreign Service Officer [FSO] and I were stuck at a Honduran military camp. We were in the jungle, halfway between the capital of Tegucigalpa and the country’s border with El Salvador. Our helicopter had been forced down by a storm. In the makeshift officers’ bar, the FSO “expert” explained to me what he and his colleagues clearly understood to be the facts of life: President Reagan knew very little about foreign policy, you see, being a politician, and not a very smart one at that. So “we [at State] have to keep him honest.”
Fast forward to our current unpleasantness. For several weeks, a parade of career FSO’s have unloaded their frustration that the president is making foreign policy. Isn’t that their expertise? Why, they’re shaken, they’re frustrated, they’re downright offended that their superior acumen is so blithely ignored!
Ergo, the president must be impeached. Q.E.D.
While the “impeachment” charade drags on, we should bear in mind this curious contradiction: The career foreign policy “experts” at State, so fond of exporting democracy abroad, seem nonetheless to be constantly undermining it here at home.

Day Of Prayer And Reparation

Four exorcists have issued a joint statement asking Catholics worldwide to dedicate December 6 as a day of fasting, prayer, and reparation, “for the purpose of driving out any diabolic influence within the Church that has been gained as a result of recent events,” reports Bree Dail.
On December 6, Catholics around the world will be praying the Sorrowful Mysteries live every hour from 12:00 noon to 11:00 p.m. EST. Want to join them? If you have an iPhone or iPad, you can join us by downloading “TheRosary.Live” app from the Apple Store. (Android not yet available.) The app is free and should be online by December 1.
Once you open the app, be sure to sign in (your email, and a password you choose). Don’t neglect this important but simple step. Once the app is on your phone and you were signed in, simply hit the “join” button on the top of the hour from noon until 11 p.m. Eastern standard time. There is no upside limit to the number of the faithful who can join in, worldwide. Prominently displayed in red as well as listed under audience will be the exact number of people praying with you.

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Today . . .

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Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

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