7/29/2008

Viva Vitae Vindication!

Veni, vidi, vici-- the holy man who authored the infamous encyclical would be grieved to know that 40 years later he easily deserves to say, "I told you so."

According to this article, Paul VI was right. Here's how:

1. moral standards are lower than they were a generation ago
2. marital infidelity has increased
3. crimes against women by men have increased
4. governments have used contraception coercively

And all of this according to secular stats! People who actually oppose the Pope are finding themselves in league with his statements!

Best of all (or saddest of all and most irrefutable) is the debunking of the overpopulation myth by secular science. But the coup de grace I'll quote here:

By giving benediction in 1930 to its married heterosexual members purposely seeking sterile sex, the Anglican Church lost, bit by bit, any authority to tell her other members—married or unmarried, homosexual or heterosexual—not to do the same. To put the point another way, once heterosexuals start claiming the right to act as homosexuals, it would not be long before homosexuals start claiming the rights of heterosexuals.

Thus in a bizarre but real sense did Lambeth’s attempt to show compassion to married heterosexuals inadvertently give rise to the modern gay-rights movement—and consequently, to the issues that have divided their church ever since. It is hard to believe that anyone seeking a similar change in Catholic teaching on the subject would want the Catholic Church to follow suit into the moral and theological confusion at the center of today’s Anglican Church—yet such is the purposeful ignorance of so many who oppose Rome on birth control that they refuse to connect these cautionary historical dots.
And if anyone should think that I was a little too tough on the baby-boomers in my previous post, I submit the following excerpt:

As with the other ironies, it helps here to have a soft spot for absurdity. In their simultaneous desire to jettison the distasteful parts of Catholicism and keep the more palatable ones, American Catholics have done something novel and truly amusing: They have created a specific catalogue of complaints that resembles nothing so much as a Catholic version of the orphan with chutzpah.

Thus many Catholics complain about the dearth of priests, all the while ignoring their own responsibility for that outcome—the fact that few have children in numbers large enough to send one son to the priesthood while the others marry and carry on the family name. They mourn the closing of Catholic churches and schools—never mind that whole parishes, claiming the rights of individual conscience, have contracepted themselves out of existence. They point to the priest sex scandals as proof positive that chastity is too much to ask of people—completely ignoring that it was the randy absence of chastity that created the scandals in the first place.

In fact, the disgrace of contemporary American Catholicism—the many recent scandals involving priests and underage boys—is traceable to the collusion between a large Catholic laity that wanted a different birth-control doctrine, on the one hand, and a new generation of priests cutting themselves a different kind of slack, on the other. “I won’t tattle on my gay priest if you’ll give me absolution for contraception” seems to have been the unspoken deal in many parishes since Humanae Vitae.

A more obedient laity might have wondered aloud about the fact that a significant number of priests post-Vatican II seemed more or less openly gay. A more obedient clergy might have noticed that plenty of Catholics using artificial contraception were also taking Communion. It is hard to believe that either new development—the widespread open rebellion against church sexual teachings by the laity, or the concomitant quiet rebellion against church sexual teachings by a significant number of priests—could have existed without the other.
Reading this article was like savoring a fine wine. Unlike the author, I don't share her dire musing at the end of it. I believe the Church will stand firm while the rest of the world begs for a lifevest. It's why we exist: to save.

1 comment:

Joseph Behnke said...

If you want a run-down of what Humanae Vitae "really" did, you should read the editorial from the National Catholic Reporter: http://ncronline3.org/drupal/?q=node/1466

Apparently, consensus and 'personal conscience' supersedes Catholic teaching. Weird.

Love the blog and the writings. God bless.

JBehnke

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