(Photo from Father Lawrence Lew, O.P. - God’s Excessive Love - Used With Permission)
" "In the first place it should be known that if a person is seeking God, his beloved is seeking him much more." — St. John of the Cross

Monday, July 22, 2013

Monday Musings - So When Can We Expect to Hear Humanae Vitae Preached at Sunday Masses?

(Image from Biblebios.com)
If God used Balaam’s donkey to get that prophet’s attention, I guess he can use me to get yours. May these periodic postings on the second and fourth Mondays of each month (God willing) generate fruitful discussion and faithful change.

I recently read a short but interesting article written by Father Michael Orsi. It is entitled How Same-Sex Marriage Won. You can read his article here at Catholic Exchange

As I am wont to do, I simply passed it along to several social media sites with the same question I posed in today's post. That's all I did. What a stir it created.  

I did not have time to join the on-going and often troublesome discussion but did forward another relevant piece I discovered on Homiletic & Pastoral Review (HP&R), entitled Celebrating "Humanae Vitae" 45 Years Later. You can find this excellent article by the well respected editor of HP&R and Jesuit, David Vincent Melconi, S.J., by clicking here 

Maybe I am naïve but I was caught off-guard by the nature of the discussion these two articles sparked. Reading some of the comments became excruciatingly painful - a hard but valuable lesson learned by this wannabe evangelizer.   

Even though you have not read the discussion to which I have been referring, I think you will understand the thrust of it by reading what follows:

Since I initiated this discussion, let me offer my final comments as we bring this discussion to a merciful conclusion.   

There have been so many twists and turns from the initial orientation of this discussion, I could not possibly respond to all that has been raised – save for expressing sadness and disappointment for the pain that denial of God’s Truth causes His Most Precious and Sacred Heart and for the times we have failed to be as charitable as we should have been in responding to the multiple issues raised herein.   

The sinfulness of contraception did not begin with the issuance of Humanae Vitae. No matter how many bishops, priests, theologians or lay people challenge the authenticity of Pope Paul VI’s courageous encyclical, contraception is and always has been an “intrinsic evil” and “grave sin” - not just for Catholics but for all human beings.  This fundamental and vital Truth and its eternal implications must be preached from all our pulpits. I suspect that will not happen unless and until we return to the primary mission of our Church – not alleviating the physical, material, emotional and addictive behaviors of the poor, oppressed and marginalized (all worthy efforts for sure) but the salvation of souls.    

I started this thread just to bring attention to the on-going failure in many parishes to teach God’s Truth in its entirety. No one can seriously question that our hesitancy, reluctance, and/or fear to teach, defend and promote the fullness of God’s Truth has contributed to the increase in sexual immorality, the decay of our secular society, and widespread dissent from the Truths of our Catholic Faith.  

I am not a theologian. I am a simple sinful Catholic man. I am not a conservative Catholic or a liberal/progressive Catholic. There are no such animals.    

I am a Catholic!  

This means I accept and must accept “all the truths which the Holy Catholic Church teaches, because God has revealed them who can neither deceive nor be deceived” – not just the ones I like. I must give my ascent to all of them – those I do not particularly care for, those I do not fully understand, and those that I find extremely difficult to practice and live. Picking and choosing from among the Truths of our Faith is not an option for me or for anyone claiming to be Catholic.  

I must reject, as all Catholics must, any promptings or inclinations of my conscience that suggest I can act in “opposition to the moral law and Magisterium of the Catholic Church”. None of those types of promptings could possibly originate with God. A properly formed conscience will not substitute a falsehood for the Truth – no matter how difficult or burdensome living that Truth may be.  

I can not let my feelings dictate whether or not I will comply with the Truths of my Faith. I must let those Truths dictate how I will act.   

I must not let “pastoral” concerns cause me to dilute or dissent from Church teaching. 

When the Catechism of the Catholic Church, for example, declares certain conduct to be “intrinsically evil” or “disordered” or “gravely wrong”, I don’t question that teaching. No Catholic can. I try to comport myself with it. I do not look for “loopholes” or try to persuade a majority of other people to pressure the Church to change its teaching on faith and morals – something it can never and will never do. I humble myself, accept all of its teachings, pray for the grace and strength to live them and seek God’s forgiveness when I don’t. To do otherwise is not to be Catholic.  

Remember the large numbers of Jesus’ early disciples who rejected His Eucharistic instruction as being “too hard” and who stopped following Him? He told them the Truth; they rejected It. Recall then that Jesus let them go. He did not beg them to return. He did not alter this teaching in an attempt to be “pastoral”.  

Truth is not determined by a majority vote or by individuals or groups of individuals (no matter how numerous) claiming the right to reject as untrue what the Church teaches as Truth. They have no such authority.  

We can “dialogue” until the cow jumps over the moon but not one iota of the Truth will ever change. Authored by God and implanted within the hearts of all human beings, God’s Truth, as promulgated and protected by His one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church, is unalterable and everlasting – no matter how many or how frequently or how loudly others may disagree.    

The greatest act of love, and among the more difficult things to do, is to share God’s Truth with someone who is objectively living in a manner inconsistent with God’s law. The uncharitable and sinful thing to do is to remain silent or, even worse, to encourage that individual to persist in such conduct.   

Tragically, those who dissent from Church teaching may succeed in misleading others to do so as well, but neither they nor those who follow them will ever succeed in changing one jot of God’s eternal and everlasting Truth.

May all we do lead to the salvation of souls, ours and those we know, love and serve. 


  1. When will it be preached? I think the priests who truly believe it and think it is important do preach it. Those who just accept it, or who don't agree with it aren't going to preach it--for one thing they'd feel like hypocrites. For another it takes work to come up with a G rated homily about sex

  2. Excellent, Michael! Truth is not determined by a majority vote. Like the abortion issue, the contraception issue always seems to bring out the defensiveness and anger from otherwise good people who have convinced themselves that contraception is a good thing. It is most definitely not a good thing and we are seeing the many and varied consequences of its acceptance. Pope Paul VI's encyclical was prophetic. See you soon...God bless...

  3. I am with you 100% as well. Well said. Like Ellen's comment too - "Truth is not determined by a majority vote." I keep saying that to deaf ears!

  4. We hear about H.V. and sexual sins pretty regularly from the pulpit.

  5. RAnn:

    Thanks for taking the time to post a comment.

    Our Lady told the children at Fatima that most of those going to hell go there because of sexual sin. Yet our Church, for the most part, has been silent not only about the intrinsic evil of contraception but about the eternal reality that sexual activity outside marriage is a mortal sin.

    How many souls have gone to hell because of the widespread dissent over this infallible teaching and the failure to preach this simple Truth?

    Teaching this Truth and the reason for it is essential. It is not complicated, nor does it take a great deal of time.

    Following it up with courses on the Theology of the Body and Natural Family Planning are tasks that properly formed and trained lay people can do.

    Just one person's opinion.

  6. Ellen, Barb and Colleen:

    Thanks for commenting. Whether or not ears accustomed to being tickled rather than being taught fundamental and eternal Truths of the Church hear the message or not is up to them. But our priests must speak that Truth clearly and frequently. The salvation of so many souls hangs in the balance.

  7. Christian:

    You are most fortunate. Many parishes have never heard those Truths.

  8. What a terrific response! I have been involved in one of these social media threads, and they are frustratingly difficult to engage in, especially because most of those dissenting do so because of their feelings. The fact is, those of us who defend the Truth do not do so because it is easier or because it always feels good, but because it is true and because we trust (and wish to encourage others to trust) that even though we may struggle to stay on the narrow path God will not abandon us in that struggle!

  9. Well said Heidi! Thanks for visiting and commenting.