DAILY CATHOLIC MONDAY February 8, 1999 vol. 10, no. 26
Pat Ludwa's VIEW FROM THE PEW
To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO
Humanae vitae - the moral cornerstone which the builders of the "spirit of Vatican II" have rejected!
Everyone is familiar with the story of "The Pied Piper of Hamelin." How the piper used pleasing music to lead the children of Hamelin to their doom in revenge for their not paying him his due. Well, since about 1968, we've had our own 'Pied Pipers' telling people what they want to hear instead of what they need to hear.
When Pope John XXIII opened Vatican II, it was meant to be a 'pastoral' Council, not a doctrinal one. No pressing issues were looking for definitions, only guidance for a Church faced with rapid advances in technologies, science, etc., unprecedented in human history. As he said; "The greatest concern of the ecumenical council is this: that the sacred deposit of Christian doctrine should be guarded and taught more efficaciously." Nothing substantial was changed or to be changed.
However, one issue was reserved for the Pope and the Pope alone, the issue of artificial contraception. At John XXIII's death, he had not yet made a decision, and since the Council was still in session, it was logical that it wasn't ready. His successor, therefore, picked up were John XXIII left off. This was tragic for a variety of reasons, which I will touch on later.
In 1963, the Second Vatican Council completed it's task. The first mistake was that what it taught was not widely disseminated, leaving many confused as to what it taught. And this allowed the inclusion of many teachings 'not' in accordance with Vatican II. But still, little really changed until 1968 when the long awaited encyclical Humanae vitae was published.
Many 'presumed' the Pope would change the Church's ban on artifical contraception. In fact, many priests, counselors, and theologians taught as though the ban had already been lifted. When Humanae vitae reaffirmed the Church's teaching, the notion of 'loyal dissent' was born. In fact, even before the official release of the Document, a large number of these 'loyal' dissenters ran an article in the NY Times, rejecting the Encyclical. (Even before they read it)
Theologians, such as Fr. Curran, Fr. Meier, Fr. Hans Kung, and others, went about telling everyone that they could, in good conscience, reject Humanae vitae if they deemed it beneficial to do so. This set up a 'rival' magisterium, the real one, the Magisterium, the teaching authority of the Church, and one made up of 'dissident' theologians. This latter 'magisterium' told us that we were free to pick and choose, to review and decide whether to follow on our own. So, today, we hear arguments dissenting Church teaching with "According to Curran (or Kung, Rhuether, et al)…."
Part of their defense is that Vatican II was "Democracy in action." You're probably familiar with the 'catch words'. "We are Church", etc. They content themselves on rejecting 'authentic' Church teaching by saying that "Many respected theologians dispute the Church's teaching on that issue." They forget, or chose to ignore, that two of the Church's most preeminent theologians are Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Ratzinger. They bemoan John XXIII's death, presuming he would have supported them and that Pope Paul VI was 'forced' to turn a blind eye to the 'logic' of artificial contraception. From this simple event, a stream of 'unauthentic' Church teachings came about, all under the title of the 'spirit of Vatican II.'
Firstly, if we are free to choose what to follow and what not to, then there is no need for a 'teaching authority', no need for Popes or Bishops since 'the people of God' can determine the truth on their own. This is a new form of the heresy 'Montanism' that saw the Holy Spirit bestowing His teaching gifts to all the members of the Church. So we hear people speaking of the Pope opposing the 'prompting' of the Holy Spirit.
At the Call To Action Conference in Detroit, Sr. Maureen Fiedler (head of the "We Are Church Referendum), said that they were not the cause of division in the Church, but that the Hierarchy was for not "listening to the people of God." (during the 20th anniversary meeting of the Women's Ordination Conference in the Washington D.C.; November 10- 12, 1995, Sr. Fiedler remarked "we need people with chisels inside (the Church) chiseling away at that institution or it is never going to fall.")
If we look at Humanae vitae, we see that Paul VI was prophetic in his teaching; " Upright men can even better convince themselves of the solid grounds on which the teaching of the Church in this field is based, if they care to reflect upon the consequences of methods of artificial birth control. Let them consider, first of all, how wide and easy a road would thus be opened up towards conjugal infidelity and the general lowering of morality. Not much experience is needed in order to know human weakness, and to understand that men - especially the young, who are so vulnerable on this point - have need of encouragement to be faithful to the moral law, so that they must not be offered some easy means of eluding its observance. It is also to be feared that the man, growing used to the employment of anticonceptive practices, may finally lose respect for the woman and, no longer caring for her physical and psychological equilibrium, may come to the point of considering her as a mere instrument of selfish enjoyment, and no longer as his respected and beloved companion. " (Humanae vitae; #17)
Today, premarital and extra-marital sexual contact is seen as the norm, instead of the exception. Even a top ranked television show has it's characters jumping in and out of beds. And if 'heterosexual' contact is ok, then so too is homosexual. After all, sex is now 'recreation' and not 're- creation'.
"Let it be considered also that a dangerous weapon would thus be placed in the hands of those public authorities who take no heed of moral exigencies. Who could blame a government for applying to the solution of the problems of the community those means acknowledged to be licit for married couples in the solution of a family problem? Who will stop rulers from favoring, from even imposing upon their peoples, if they were to consider it necessary, the method of contraception which they judge to be most efficacious? In such a way men, wishing to avoid individual, family, or social difficulties encountered in the observance of the divine law, would reach the point of placing at the mercy of the intervention of public authorities the most personal and most reserved sector of conjugal intimacy." (Ibid)
We have seen the Cairo Conference seek to 'impose' abortion and artificial contraception on a Third World we deem as too poor and over populated to help. Rather than developing them, it's easier to 'control' them. Any nation wishing to receive a loan from the World Bank, or a US loan must allow abortion.
They, of course, use Vatican II to justify their 'demands', especially Gaudium et spes (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World) But what they fail to see is that Vatican II has 16 other 'Constitutions' which define the Church, how it operates and works. Gaudium et spes speaks of how THAT Church is to be the salt of the modern world, NOT how that Church has to change to suit the modern world.
Yet one part of Vatican II which they conveniently forget, or overlook, is Lumen gentium Chap. III. It's title, "The Church is Hierarchal" puts a big hole in their argument that 'Vatican II was 'democracy in action'.
In it, it teaches: "religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra; that is, it must be shown in such a way that his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will." (LG #25) Even when he is NOT speaking 'ex cathedra', that is infallibly.
I can only recommend Catholics actually read Vatican II and read the Catechism. Otherwise, even the most well intentioned can and will be lead astray. In closing, pray and consider these passages: "For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths. As for you, always be steady, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil your ministry" (2 Timothy 3-5).
"For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty" (2 Peter 1:16).
"So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter." (2 Timothy 2:15).
Pax Christi, Pat
VIEW FROM THE PEW