Skip to comments.Almost without meaning to, Francis has shot ‘Humanae Vitae’ dead
Posted on 04/22/2016 12:35:41 PM PDT by ebb tide
In 2009 the Catholic Churchs International Theological Commission proposed a fundamental change to the way the Church regarded natural law. It could not be presented as an already established set of rules that impose themselves a priori on the moral subject, it said. Instead, it is a source of objective inspiration for the deeply personal process of making decisions.
This raised some eyebrows, not least because of the way natural law had consistently been imposed a priori by moral theologians to explain and justify Catholic teaching regarding sex. The most obvious example was the way natural law was invoked as the basis of the case against contraception, for instance in Pope Paul VIs 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae.
But that redefinition of the role of natural law was just the opinion of a select group of theologians. Or at least it was until last Friday. That was when Pope Francis gave it the authority of his office when he adopted it as his own, in his apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia. At the start of the process of consultation that led up to Amoris Laetitia, including two international synods, a questionnaire had been circulated asking to what extent ordinary Catholics understood natural law. A summary of the responses strongly suggested they did not.
But there is a wider picture. There is a growing feeling in various parts of the Church of satisfaction among liberals and dismay among conservatives that under this Pope, Humanae Vitae itself has been falling apart at the seams. His undermining of the traditional way of using natural law followed his remarks, about the Zika virus in Brazil that intervening to prevent pregnancy could in such cases be the lesser of two evils.
This clearly allied him with those Catholic leaders who have suggested that the use of condoms to prevent infection from the HIV virus could be acceptable. The reason conservative Catholic leaders have resisted this is not because they want people to die of Aids, but because one exception is enough to drive a coach and horses through the whole thing.
Humanae Vitae was quite explicit. Artificial intervention to prevent pregnancy was against natural law. It was always wrong, always gravely sinful. That was the logic of it. There could be no relaxation for hard cases, no matter how dire the consequences. A married woman who had been warned by doctors that another pregnancy could be fatal, could either rely on the safe period, based on her menstrual cycle, or, if that was not safe enough, avoid sexual intercourse altogether. Or conceive, and possibly die. There was no question of a deeply personal process of making decisions because there was no other way.
Behind the phrase the lesser of two evils is, of course, the implication that one of those two choices is subjectively no evil at all. Very probably to protect health and life, for instance it is actually a moral good. In other words, if your reasons are sound enough, you may choose to use contraception.
If Humanae Vitae had said that in 1968, even with stern warnings against developing a contraceptive mentality and so on, things would have been very different. Tens of millions of Catholic women, and many men too, would not have turned their backs on the Church and would have stayed to listen to the positive and important things it had to say about personal relationships, such as the many wise words of Pope Francis on the subject.
So tenuous was the natural law basis for the 1968 decision that St Pope John Paul II saw the need to back it up with better arguments. He was urged to do so by the synod he convened in 1980. In a key passage in his post-synod exhortation Familiaris Consortio of 1981, he produced a developed form of the natural law argument, an appeal to anthropology.
He declared that the difference between using contraception and relying on the safe period is much wider and deeper than is usually thought, one which involves in the final analysis two irreconcilable concepts of the human person and of human sexuality. He goes on to assert his compassion for those who find the teaching difficult, but offers them no other choice, no lesser evil. He could not. He knew that to do so would undermine the entire edifice.
And now Pope Francis has done precisely that. Almost without meaning to, he has shot Humanae Vitae dead. And I have to say, it will not be missed. The Church will be better without it. Few papal texts have caused so much misery, or driven so many away.
One heretic praising another. And don't believe for one second that Francis did this without meaning. He has already chastised a Catholic mother of eight children for being "crazy".
And this article has been published in a Catholic Church's bulletin.
Sunday - Mass 10.00am and 7pm
Monday - Holy Communion 9.30am
Tuesday - Mass 9.30am
Wednesday - Mass 9.30am
Thursday - Mass 9.30am
Friday - Mass 9.30am
Saturday - Nuptial Mass 3pm
(No mention of times for the Sacrament of Confession,if any)
Thomas Aquinas turning in grave?
The parallels between the political and the religious machinery are uncannily alike.
Pope Paul VI made four rather general "prophecies" about what would happen if the Church's teaching on contraception were ignored:
Infidelity and moral decline
Lost Respect for Women
Abuse of Power
The authority of his office MY FOOT.
The Pope of Rome has NO AUTHORITY to change the deposit of the faith. Period. Full stop. Any Catholic who thinks he does is severely misinformed and ought to read up on Honorius I.
Liberal masquerade as for the common man, and they are the ones who, having procured an office, seek to expand its autocratic power beyond all reason.
The Pope has one job: to protect the revelation passed down by Christ to the Apostles. If he fails at that, he needs to be removed.
I sure hope SSPX doesn’t reconcile with the Vatican and compromise their positions. Then I’d be essentially without a truly Catholic organization.
Typical “New Order” church.
I’m not surprised, but then again it seems you and I are on the same page. Most seem to think Francis is an anomaly.
” Instead, it is a source of objective inspiration for the deeply personal process of making decisions.”
So the discovery of natural law through reason is replaced by “objective inspiration” mitigated (or vitiated) by the “personal process of making decisions”.
It would seem to be that when we can know natural law by reason its application is through Divine Law through revelation. Instead, we have trivial inspiration replacing reason and Divine Law. Either way we are left with an insipid theology.
One has to be blind not to see that Pope Paul was right. But we seem to be blind to reality, even to what is in front of us. No doubt that western society is decadent. No wonder that the scourge of radical Islam has emerged.
Truly, the more screamin’ obvious it becomes that Humanae Vitae was right, the more these shallow sophists flick it away like a piece of lint. It is breathtaking how obtuse people can be when they really want to be.
What if he speaks "ex cathedra"?
At this rate, everything any pope says is excused as “ex cathedra”, preserving the pretense of infallibility by never actually identifying any statement as such.
“What if?” Then he isn’t Pope.
We’ve been told not everything he says is official unless it’s ex cathedra. Are you saying otherwise?
Your question makes no sense because you don’t know how to use Catholic terminology properly.
Well by all means explain it to us.....if you can.
What’s your question?
Remember, it is Christ’s Church, not the Pope’s, and it is He who sustains its teaching authority and who ensures that the gates of Hell never prevail against it. If Christ let the Pope speak falsely ex cathedra, that promise would be null and void.
Remember how Paul rebuked Peter’s behavior, not his teaching?
And the case of Honorius is also instructive. He never taught Monothelitism, never formally proclaimed it. But he played cute with Sergius, refused to condemn his error, and for that earned an anathema from an Ecumenical Council.
The perpetual verginity refutes your statement.
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