Friday, August 17, 2018

The Pennsylvania Grand Jury Anti-Catholic Lies! Fake News!


PENNSYLVANIA GRAND JURY REPORT DEBUNKED
Bill Donohue, Ph.D.
President
Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights
August 16, 2018

Unlike most commentators and reporters, I have read most of the Pennsylvania grand jury report. The purpose of this statement is to debunk many of the myths, and indeed lies, that mar the report and/or interpretations of it.

Myth: Over 300 priests were found guilty of preying on youngsters in Pennsylvania.

Fact: No one was found guilty of anything. Yet that didn't stop CBS from saying "300 'predator priests' abused more than 1,000 children over a period of 70 years." These are all accusations, most of which were never verified by either the grand jury or the dioceses. The report, and CBS, are also wrong to say that all of the accused are priests. In fact, some were brothers, some were deacons, and some were seminarians.
How many of the 300 were probably guilty? Maybe half. My reasoning? The 2004 report by the John Jay College for Criminal Justice found that 4 percent of priests nationwide had a credible accusation made against them between 1950-2002. That is the figure everyone quotes. But the report also notes that roughly half that number were substantiated. If that is a reliable measure, the 300 figure drops to around 150. During the seven decades under investigation by the grand jury, there were over 5,000 priests serving in Pennsylvania (this includes two dioceses not covered in the report). Therefore, the percent of priests who had an accusation made against them is quite small, offering a much different picture than what the media afford. And remember, most of these accusations were never substantiated. Importantly, in almost all cases, the accused named in the report was never afforded the right to rebut the charges. That is because the report was investigative, not evidentiary, though the report's summary suggests that it is authoritative. It manifestly is not. The report covers accusations extending back to World War II. Almost all the accused are either dead or have been thrown out of the priesthood. For example, in the Diocese of Harrisburg, 71 persons are named: 42 are dead and four are missing. Most of those who are still alive are no longer in ministry. There are some cases that are so old that they are unbelievable.
Consider the case of Father Joseph M. Ganter. Born in 1892, he was accused in 2008 by an 80-year-old man of abusing him in the 1930s. Obviously, nothing came of it. But the priest was accustomed to such charges. In 1945, at the request of Father Ganter, a Justice of the Peace interviewed three teenage males who had made accusations against him. Not only did they give conflicting stories, the three admitted that they were never abused by Ganter. But don't look to the media to highlight this case, or others like it.

Myth: The report was warranted because of the on-going crisis in the Catholic Church.

Fact: There is no on-going crisis—it's a total myth. In fact, there is no institution, private or public, that has less of a problem with the sexual abuse of minors today than the Catholic Church. How do I know? Over the past two years, .005 percent of the Catholic clergy have had a credible accusation made against him. No one knows exactly what the figure is for other institutions, but if there were a grand jury investigation of the sexual abuse of minors in the public schools, people's heads would explode—it would make the Catholic Church's problems look like Little League. But no district attorney or attorney general has the guts to probe the public schools. To single out the Catholic Church—without ever investigating any other institution—is akin to doing an investigation of crime in low-income minority neighborhoods while allowing white-collar crimes committed in the suburbs to go scot-free, and then concluding that non-whites are criminally prone. That would be a scam. So is cherry picking the Catholic Church.

Myth: The grand jury report was initiated to make the guilty pay.

Fact: False. It has nothing to do with punishing the guilty. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh "Salacious" Shapiro admitted on August 14 that "Almost every instance of child abuse (the grand jury) found was too old to be prosecuted." He's right. But he knew that from the get-go, so why did he pursue this dead end? Why did he waste millions of taxpayer dollars in pursuit of alleged offenders when he knew he couldn't do anything about it? Because he, and his predecessor, Kathleen Kane (who is now in prison for lying under oath and misusing her Attorney General's office) wanted to shame the Catholic Church. Kane and Shapiro have never sought to shame imams, ministers, or rabbis—they just want to shame priests. Nor will they conduct a probe of psychologists, psychiatrists, camp counselors, coaches, guidance counselors, or any other segment of society where adults routinely interact with minors. Shapiro, and those like him, are delighted with all the salacious details in the report. When it comes to non-priests, news reports on sexual misconduct typically note that a sexual offense has occurred, but readers are spared the graphic accounts. Not when it comes to priests—they love to get as explicit as they can. It's not just Shapiro who is interested in appealing to the prurient interest of the public. The lead story in the August 15 edition of the New York Times is another case in point: on the front page there is a photo of a handwritten note by a young male who describes how and where a priest allegedly touched him. Yet when accusations surface against the likes of Harvey Weinstein, all that is noted is the nature of the offense.

Myth: Shapiro is seeking to right these wrongs by pushing for legislation that would suspend the statute of limitations for sexual crimes against minors, allowing old cases to be prosecuted.

Fact: This is one of the most bald-face lies of them all. Neither Shapiro, nor Pennsylvania lawmaker Mark Rozzi, who is proposing such legislation, has ever included the public schools in these proposed bills— they only apply to private [read: Catholic] institutions. In most states, public school students have 90 days to report an offense. That's it. Which means it is too late for a student raped by a public school teacher to file suit if the crime occurred this year at the start of the baseball season. Public institutions are governed under the corrupt doctrine of sovereign immunity, and few politicians have the courage to challenge it. In the few instances where states have included the public schools in such legislation, guess who goes bonkers? The public school establishment. The teachers' unions, school superintendents, principals—they all scream how utterly unfair it is to roll back the clock and try to determine if the accused is guilty of an offense that took place decades ago. They are right to do so; lucky for them they are rarely called to action. The reason we have statutes of limitation is because many witnesses are either dead or their memories have faded. The public school industry understands the importance of this due process measure, and rightfully protests when it is in jeopardy. So why is it that when bishops make the exact same argument, they are condemned for obstructing justice? The hypocrisy is nauseating.

Myth: The priests "raped" their victims. Shapiro said that "Church officials routinely and purposely described the abuse as horseplay and wrestling and inappropriate contact. It was none of those things." He said it was "rape." Similarly, the New York Times quoted from the report saying that Church officials used such terms as "horseplay" and "inappropriate contact" as part of their "playbook for concealing the truth."

Fact: This is an obscene lie. Most of the alleged victims were not raped: they were groped or otherwise abused, but not penetrated, which is what the word "rape" means. This is not a defense—it is meant to set the record straight and debunk the worst case scenarios attributed to the offenders. Furthermore, Church officials were not following a "playbook" for using terms such as "inappropriate contact"—they were following the lexicon established by the John Jay professors. Examples of non-rape sexual abuse found in the John Jay report include "touching under the victim's clothes" (the most common act alleged); "sexual talk"; "shown pornography"; "touch over cleric's clothes"; "cleric disrobed"; "victim disrobed"; "photos of victims"; "sexual games"; and "hugging and kissing." These are the kinds of acts recorded in the grand jury report as well, and as bad as they are, they do not constitute "rape." As for the accusation that Church officials described sexual misconduct as "horseplay," one would think that there would be dozens of examples in the report where officials described what happened as nothing more than "horseplay," especially if it is part of the Church's "playbook." Here's the truth: In over 1300 pages, the word "horseplay" appears once! To top it off, it was used to describe the behavior of a seminarian, not a priest.

Myth: The abusive priests were pedophiles.

Fact: This is the greatest lie of them all, repeated non-stop by the media, and late-night talk TV hosts. There have been two scandals related to the sexual abuse of minors in the Catholic Church. Scandal I involves the enabling bishops who covered it up. Scandal II involves the media cover-up of the role played by gay molesters. Let me repeat what I have often said. Most gay priests are not molesters, but most of the molesters have been gay. Not to admit this—and this includes many bishops who are still living in a state of denial about it— means the problem will continue. Indeed, there are reports today about seminaries in Boston and Honduras that are disturbing. How do I know that most of the problem is gay-driven? The data are indisputable. The John Jay study found that 81 percent of the victims were male, 78 percent of whom were postpubescent. Now if 100 percent of the victimizers are male, and most of the victims are postpubescent males, that is a problem called homosexuality. There is no getting around it. How many were pedophiles? Less than five percent. That is what the John Jay study found. Studies done in subsequent years—I have read them all—report approximately the same ratio. It's been a homosexual scandal all along. It won't help to say that the John Jay report did not conclude that homosexuals committed most of the offenses, even though their own data undercut their interpretation. The professors played the self-identity game: they said that many of the men who had sex with adolescent males did not identify as gay. So what? If a straight priest who abused a teenage girl said he thinks of himself as gay, would the researchers list him as such? Self-identification that does not square with the truth is a lie. I recently spoke to a person in the media about this. I told him that I consider myself to be a Chinese dwarf—even though it is obvious that I am a big Irishman—and asked if he would describe me that way in his story. He got my point. Shapiro fed the myth about this being a "pedophile" scandal when he said the victims were "little boys and girls." This is a lie. Anyone who actually reads the report knows it is a lie. Most were postpubescent. This doesn't make the molestation okay—the guilty should be imprisoned—but it is wrong to give the impression that we are talking about 5-year-olds when more typically they were 15-year-olds. The New York Times, which has been covering up for homosexuals for decades, found it convenient to highlight the minority of cases where females were allegedly abused. So did many in the media who take their talking points from the Times. The Times is so dishonest that it mentions a "sadomasochistic clerical pedophile ring in Pittsburgh that photographed boys they had posed to look like Jesus Christ, then gave them gold crosses to show they had been groomed." The section of the report that discusses this alleged offense cites Father Gregory Zir was as the ringleader. Every person whom he groped was a teenager, meaning this was a homosexual ring. But, of course, the unsuspecting reader doesn't know this to be the case. In short, this is a ruse: the Times wants the reader to believe that this is a pedophile problem, and that females are as much at risk as males, thus discounting homosexuality. This is patently untrue, but it feeds the lie that this is not a homosexual scandal. It also allows people like Anthea Butler, who calls God a "white racist," to say, "The Catholic Church is a pedophile ring."

Myth: Bishops who sent abusive priests back into ministry did so out of total disregard for the well-being of the victims.

Fact: This lie is perpetuated by the grand jury report when it ridicules bishops for having priests "evaluated" at "church-run psychiatric centers." The fact is that in the period when most of the abuse occurred— the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s—almost all persons in authority who dealt with sexual offenses, in any institution, relied on the expertise of those in the behavioral sciences. Quite frankly, it was a time when therapists oversold their level of competence, and many continue to do so. There were very few psychologists or psychiatrists at the time who didn't overrate their ability to "fix" offenders. It was they whom the bishops relied upon for advice. Yet the media rarely hold them accountable for misleading Church lawyers and the bishops.

Myth: Cardinal Donald Wuerl is so guilty that he needs to resign.

Fact: This accusation, made by a CBS reporter, as well as others, is based on pure ignorance, if not malice. Shapiro played the same game when he lamented how "Bishop Wuerl" became "Cardinal Wuerl" after he allegedly "mishandl[ed] abuse claims." This is a scurrilous statement. No bishop or cardinal in the nation has had a more consistent and courageous record than Donald Wuerl in addressing priestly sexual abuse. Moreover, the grand jury report—even in areas that are incomplete and unflattering—does nothing to dispute this observation. Why do I call Wuerl "consistent and courageous"? Because of Wuerl's refusal to back down to the Vatican when it ordered him to reinstate a priest he had removed from ministry; this occurred in the early1990s when Wuerl was the Bishop of Pittsburgh. The Vatican reconsidered and agreed with his assessment. Who, in or out of the Catholic Church, has ever defied his superiors, risking his position within the company or institution, over such matters? Wuerl did. Who in Hollywood or in the media has? The people now attacking Wuerl are doing so for one reason: as the Archbishop of Washington, he is the biggest fish the critics have to fry. Here's one more nugget. Shapiro proved how dishonest he is when he refused to excise a baseless charge against Wuerl. There is a handwritten note in the report attributed to Wuerl about his alleged "circle of secrecy" involving a priest who was returned to ministry. But it is not Wuerl's handwriting. More important, Wuerl's legal counsel informed Shapiro that "the handwriting does not belong to then-Bishop Wuerl," but nothing was done to correct the record. So they intentionally misled the public.

Conclusion

The guilty should pay, and the innocent should not.

This is a pedestrian axiom that is being trashed today when it comes to assessing priestly misconduct, something the Pennsylvania grand jury report has contributed to mightily. No amount of compassion for those who have been violated by priests should ever be done at the expense of telling the truth, no matter how unpopular it may sound. To do otherwise is cowardly, shameful, and unjust. What is driving the current mania over this issue is not hard to figure out. I am a sociologist who has been dealing with this issue for a long time, having published articles about it in books and international journals. Here is what's going on. There are many vicious critics of the Catholic Church who would like to weaken its moral authority, and will seize on any problem it has to discredit its voice. Why? They hate its teachings on sexuality, marriage, and the family These very same people delight in promoting a libertine culture, one which ironically was the very milieu that enticed some very sick priests and their seminarian supervisors to act out in the first place. There is nothing wrong with Catholic teachings on this subject: If priests had followed their vows, and not their id, we would not have this problem. Those who refuse to use the brakes God gave them, straight or gay, should be shown the gate or never admitted in the first place.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

"The Real Crisis" Will Produce "The Church of Faith" --Ratzinger

"...[I]t seems certain to me that the Church is facing very hard times. The real crisis has scarcely begun. We will have to count on terrific upheavals. But I am equally certain about what will remain at the end: not the Church of the political cult, which is dead already--with Gobel--but the Church of faith. It may well no longer be the dominant social power to the extent that it was until recently; but it will enjoy a fresh blossoming, and be seen as man's home where he will find life and hope beyond death." 105-106

"In faith and prayer [the Church] will again recognize its true center, and experience the sacraments again as the worship of God and not as a subject for liturgical scholarship." 104

"The Church will be a more spiritualized Church, not presuming upon a political mandate, flirting as little with the Left as with the Right. It will be hard going for the Church , for the process of crystalization and clarification will cost it much valuable energy. It will make it poor and cause it to become the Church of the meek. The process will be all the more arduous, for sectarian narrow-mindedness as well as pompous self-will will have to be shed. One may predict that all of this will take time. The process will be long and wearisome as was the road from the false progressivism of the eve of the French Revolution--when a bishop might be thought smart if he made fun of dogmas, and even insinuated that the existence of God was by no means certain--to the renewal of the nineteenth century. But when the trial of this sifting is past, a great power will flow from a more spiritualized and simplified Church. Men in a totally planned world will find themselves unspeakably lonely. If they have completely lost sight of God, they will feel the whole horror of their poverty. Then they will discover the little flock of believers as something wholly new. They will discover it as a hope that is meant for them, an answer for which they have always been searching in secret." 104-105

Joseph Ratzinger, Faith and the Future, Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1970.

All News is Fake News


According to the prevalent relativism ideology there is no truth. There is only your truth and my truth. Therefore, ex professo, there can be no such thing as reporting "only the facts" and certainly never all of the "facts," because the reporter and the news agency themselves can only really have their biased truth. There is necessarily always a perspective on everything, and one aspect of a thing is emphasized while many aspects of that same thing ignored or neglected. That is one problem. It is fundamental to human contingency. And that must be humbly acknowledged and honestly corrected at every turn.

A further question regards the intentions and the veracity of the journalist. What is clear is that the major networks conspire every day to present the news in a way which is favorable for the anti-Catholic perspective in the name of "rights" which deliberately kill the unborn and promote every type of sexual perversion, (beginning with adultery and contraception) which is always abuse, at every level. They are agreed to oppose and distort traditional values and anyone who stands in the way of their dictatorship of "tolerance." They systematically propose and promote Catholics which misrepresent the Catholic faith and the truth about man which She guards and promotes. So, for example, they opposed Alan Keyes and enthusiastically promoted Barack Obama.

It took the New York Times until July 16, 2018 to finally release their story about Theodore McCarrick, when the entire world had the news for a month, and the same professional journalists had access to that story for decades as they watched him rise in the ranks! They never touched him because he agrees with their gaydom ideology.

As an example of the of personal agenda preferences, consider the attitude of the mainstream media towards Pope Francis, as opposed to Benedict XVI or even John Paul II.

The real question is not whether the news is fake, but in what way it is fake. What type of fake. What is the agenda behind the news makers. That fact that people are starting to ask these types of critical questions about the manipulators of information is a very good thing.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Protestants are (at best) Maternal Bastards!

God, not needing a Mother, needed one, Maria.
You, dearest Protestant, needing a Mother, pretend you don't need Her.

Exsules filii Hevae!

A man born of unknown paternity is a bastard. The Protestant, while claiming to know his Father does not know his Mother!: a bastard of unknown maternity, he's a man without a mother!

Assumpta est Maria!

Every man needs Mary and the Church, as God Himself does. How can you presume to need less than God Himself has decided to need? Wake up! Be born again, in Maria, in Ecclesia!

Man, know thy Mother! Amen!

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Father Brown Chesterton Distorted


Many summers ago I read the entire collection of Father Brown mysteries: delightful excitement, every one!

One of the characteristic features of the plays which impressed me most was that, even with their unimaginable variety and labyrinth of intriguing details and infinite unforeseen possibilities, there was a complete absence of any reference to sex. Never did anything remotely having to do with any erotic purpose even enter any of the richly tapestried dramas. I remember thinking, at the time, of the tremendous contrast between G.K. Chesterton's refreshing genius in this, soaring far above the cheap banal eroticism found in much of the fiction of modernity.

The most recently aired episodes of the PBS "Father Brown" television series are both a betrayal of Mr. Chesterton and an indictment of the lack of imagination of the authors who should perhaps be sued for claiming to base those shamefully dark and repeatedly dirty shows on the chaste work of Chesterton. They are often downright pornographic, though, we are spared any nudity. Surely the authors must know that there is a large clerical following among the international viewers. So they are purposefully trying to titillate the clergy unawares. Shall we call it, well, "clergy abuse," to re-define a term. They are using the cassock and the saturno to abuse and corrupt the good Catholic clergy and laity.

The BBC needs to be told to clean up its act. We see what they are up to. Let's not be hoodwinked.

The "Anti-Bully" Lie

Everyone knows, or should know, that the sudden and ubiquitous "Anti-Bully" movement in America is a thinly veiled conspiracy to silence any type of opposition to the present hydra of sexual perversions being touted as "lifestyles," "orientations," "identities," etc., all misnomers just like their illegitimate Mother, the Father of lies, the Prince of darkness.

This movement itself has been bullying through every crevice of American society and crushing every voice opposed to it, for well over a decade. And, everyone also knows, that the biggest and most unrelenting and intolerant voice against that great distortion of reality is Jesus Christ Himself, as personified in the Catholic faith. Anti-Bully really is a chic veneer for anti-traditional sexual moral principles as believed by all Christians and Jews for forty centuries, from the time of Abraham, no, from the Creation of Adam and Eve!

Just for example of how ridiculous the campaign is. It is self-contradicting to be pro-LGBTQRSTUVWXYZ and Anti-Bully, because the LGBTQRSTUVWXYZ's are themselves the greatest bullies. The perverse sexual perversions and actions which these designations indicate and promote, and which are roundly paraded for required approval of all, themselves are an unspeakable abuse against everyone involved at any level, physically, psychologically, and socially. We are all being brainwashed in Sodom. We cannot come out unsullied and unconfused!

We are being forced not to criticize the bullies!

The bullies will label you a bully if you attempt to correct, examine, criticize them in the least.

Thinking has become a crime in the new America, and we have spread the error all over the world.

The anti-God communists have won. It is time for clandestined Christianity again. It is time for bold intolerance of the real abuse and the real abusers.

We need to sober up and consider anew the age-old universal precept: "Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery!" Why? Because adultery is abuse! Abuse of oneself, abuse of the spouse, abuse of the law, abuse of the family at every level, and abuse of society.

If you are against "abuse" you must be against every form of sexual immorality!

On a related note, you should also know that the french dictionary defines onanism (contraception by coitus interruptus, the sin of Onan, Genesis 38:8) as masturbation, another word for which is "self-abuse!"

Virginity, chastity, celibacy, Jesus Christ, the Most Blessed and Ever Glorious Virgin Mary, Mother of God and our mother, therein alone is freedom in the truth and peace and security.

This thought came to me as I was considering Mr. and Mrs. Jeff Besos' (his net worth at $157,000,000,000 according to the latest estimates) support of both campaigns, and they are supposed to be smart people. Just goes to show that all the money in the world does not buy true freedom or common sense. They seem to have to go along in the flow of the moral sewage.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Lack of Truth, the Major Disease of our Age --Joseph Ratzinger


Veracity is a fundamental priestly virtue which must be cultivated in seminary.

"...[T]he lack of truth is the major disease of our age. Success and results have outstripped the truth everywhere. Renouncing the truth and escaping into group conformity are only apparently a way to peace. Such types of communion are built on sand. The pain of truth is the condition for real communion. It has to be accepted day in and day out. Only in truth's humble patience do we mature from the inside and become free from ourselves and for God." 166

"[In the seminary we need to educate] people to the truth, to be truthful. People are often uncomfortable with the truth; it is probably the best guide to selflessness and true freedom." 165

From "Preparation for Priestly Ministry" (Würzburg Seminary, 1990) in Joseph Ratzinger, A New Song for the Lord, New York, Crossroad, 1997.

Ars Gratia Artis: Participation in the Creativity of God


Having just seen the Gary Cooper court speech of "The Fountainhead" yesterday, I thought it might be necessary to add something. Man exists, not for his own sake, but for God. Man is indeed beholden to the things of this world, but under God, not as a slave of men or of any other base end. God, and God's perfect will is man's purpose.

https://www.dailymotion.com/video/xtymi7

Consider, in light of the secular humanistic "art for art's sake," on which that speech is based, what the book of Exodus says about artists. There are three essential elements.

1. The artists themselves do not plan what might be worthy of God and beautiful. Humans are not capable of inventing this on their own. It is rather God himself who discloses to Moses the shape of the [sacred tabernacle], right down to the details. Artistic creation reproduces what God has shown as model. It presupposes the inner view of the exemplar; it is the conversion of a vision into a form. Artistic creativeness as the Old Testament sees it is something completely different from what the modern age understands by creativity.
Today creativity is understood to be the making of something that no one has made or thought of before, the invention of something that is completely one's own and completely new. In comparison with this, artistic creativeness in the book of Exodus is seeing together with God, participating in his creativity; it is exposing the beauty that is already waiting and concealed in creation. This does not diminish the worth of the artist, but is in fact its justification. For this reason it is also said that the Lord "has called by name'' Bezalel, the principal artist for the construction of the sacred tabernacle (Exodus. 35:30): the same set phrase or formula is valid for the artist as well as for the prophet.

2. Furthermore, artists are described as people to whom the Lord has given understanding and skill so that they can carry out what God has instructed them to do (36:1).

3. Finally, the fact that every artist's "heart was stirred" (36:2) belongs here as a third component."

From "'Sing Artistically for God': Biblical Directives for Church Music", 1990 in Joseph Ratzinger, A New Song for the Lord, New York, Crossroad, 1997, 102-103.

P.S. Gary Cooper, a notorious and recidivist adulterer, finally converted to the Catholic faith (of his wife and daughter) to acknowledge the good God had always done for him: “I’d spent all my waking hours, year after year, doing almost exactly what I, personally, wanted to do; and what I wanted to do wasn’t always the most polite thing either. … This past winter I began to dwell a little more on what’s been in my mind for a long time [and thought], Coop, old boy, you owe somebody something for all your good fortune. I’ll never be anything like a saint. … The only thing I can say for me is that I’m trying to be a little better. Maybe I’ll succeed” (The Hollywood Greats by Barry Norman).

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Stop Googling. Let’s Talk.


OPINION
By Sherry Turkle
New York Times
Sept. 26, 2015

COLLEGE students tell me they know how to look someone in the eye and type on their phones at the same time, their split attention undetected. They say it’s a skill they mastered in middle school when they wanted to text in class without getting caught. Now they use it when they want to be both with their friends and, as some put it, “elsewhere.”
These days, we feel less of a need to hide the fact that we are dividing our attention. In a 2015 study by the Pew Research Center, 89 percent of cellphone owners said they had used their phones during the last social gathering they attended. But they weren’t happy about it; 82 percent of adults felt that the way they used their phones in social settings hurt the conversation.

I’ve been studying the psychology of online connectivity for more than 30 years. For the past five, I’ve had a special focus: What has happened to face-to-face conversation in a world where so many people say they would rather text than talk? I’ve looked at families, friendships and romance. I’ve studied schools, universities and workplaces. When college students explain to me how dividing their attention plays out in the dining hall, some refer to a “rule of three.” In a conversation among five or six people at dinner, you have to check that three people are paying attention — heads up — before you give yourself permission to look down at your phone. So conversation proceeds, but with different people having their heads up at different times. The effect is what you would expect: Conversation is kept relatively light, on topics where people feel they can drop in and out.

Young people spoke to me enthusiastically about the good things that flow from a life lived by the rule of three, which you can follow not only during meals but all the time. First of all, there is the magic of the always available elsewhere. You can put your attention wherever you want it to be. You can always be heard. You never have to be bored. When you sense that a lull in the conversation is coming, you can shift your attention from the people in the room to the world you can find on your phone. But the students also described a sense of loss.

One 15-year-old I interviewed at a summer camp talked about her reaction when she went out to dinner with her father and he took out his phone to add “facts” to their conversation. “Daddy,” she said, “stop Googling. I want to talk to you.” A 15-year-old boy told me that someday he wanted to raise a family, not the way his parents are raising him (with phones out during meals and in the park and during his school sports events) but the way his parents think they are raising him — with no phones at meals and plentiful family conversation. One college junior tried to capture what is wrong about life in his generation. “Our texts are fine,” he said. “It’s what texting does to our conversations when we are together that’s the problem.”

It’s a powerful insight. Studies of conversation both in the laboratory and in natural settings show that when two people are talking, the mere presence of a phone on a table between them or in the periphery of their vision changes both what they talk about and the degree of connection they feel. People keep the conversation on topics where they won’t mind being interrupted. They don’t feel as invested in each other. Even a silent phone disconnects us.

In 2010, a team at the University of Michigan led by the psychologist Sara Konrath put together the findings of 72 studies that were conducted over a 30-year period. They found a 40 percent decline in empathy among college students, with most of the decline taking place after 2000.

Across generations, technology is implicated in this assault on empathy. We’ve gotten used to being connected all the time, but we have found ways around conversation — at least from conversation that is open-ended and spontaneous, in which we play with ideas and allow ourselves to be fully present and vulnerable. But it is in this type of conversation — where we learn to make eye contact, to become aware of another person’s posture and tone, to comfort one another and respectfully challenge one another — that empathy and intimacy flourish. In these conversations, we learn who we are.

Of course, we can find empathic conversations today, but the trend line is clear. It’s not only that we turn away from talking face to face to chat online. It’s that we don’t allow these conversations to happen in the first place because we keep our phones in the landscape.

In our hearts, we know this, and now research is catching up with our intuitions. We face a significant choice. It is not about giving up our phones but about using them with greater intention. Conversation is there for us to reclaim. For the failing connections of our digital world, it is the talking cure.

The trouble with talk begins young. A few years ago, a private middle school asked me to consult with its faculty: Students were not developing friendships the way they used to. At a retreat, the dean described how a seventh grader had tried to exclude a classmate from a school social event. It’s an age-old problem, except that this time when the student was asked about her behavior, the dean reported that the girl didn’t have much to say: “She was almost robotic in her response. She said, ‘I don’t have feelings about this.’ She couldn’t read the signals that the other student was hurt.”

The dean went on: “Twelve-year-olds play on the playground like 8-year-olds. The way they exclude one another is the way 8-year-olds would play. They don’t seem able to put themselves in the place of other children.”

One teacher observed that the students “sit in the dining hall and look at their phones. When they share things together, what they are sharing is what is on their phones.” Is this the new conversation? If so, it is not doing the work of the old conversation. The old conversation taught empathy. These students seem to understand each other less.

But we are resilient. The psychologist Yalda T. Uhls was the lead author on a 2014 study of children at a device-free outdoor camp. After five days without phones or tablets, these campers were able to read facial emotions and correctly identify the emotions of actors in videotaped scenes significantly better than a control group. What fostered these new empathic responses? They talked to one another. In conversation, things go best if you pay close attention and learn how to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. This is easier to do without your phone in hand. Conversation is the most human and humanizing thing that we do.

I have seen this resilience during my own research at a device-free summer camp. At a nightly cabin chat, a group of 14-year-old boys spoke about a recent three-day wilderness hike. Not that many years ago, the most exciting aspect of that hike might have been the idea of roughing it or the beauty of unspoiled nature. These days, what made the biggest impression was being phoneless. One boy called it “time where you have nothing to do but think quietly and talk to your friends.” The campers also spoke about their new taste for life away from the online feed. Their embrace of the virtue of disconnection suggests a crucial connection: The capacity for empathic conversation goes hand in hand with the capacity for solitude.

In solitude we find ourselves; we prepare ourselves to come to conversation with something to say that is authentic, ours. If we can’t gather ourselves, we can’t recognize other people for who they are. If we are not content to be alone, we turn others into the people we need them to be. If we don’t know how to be alone, we’ll only know how to be lonely.

A VIRTUOUS circle links conversation to the capacity for self-reflection. When we are secure in ourselves, we are able to really hear what other people have to say. At the same time, conversation with other people, both in intimate settings and in larger social groups, leads us to become better at inner dialogue.

But we have put this virtuous circle in peril. We turn time alone into a problem that needs to be solved with technology. Timothy D. Wilson, a psychologist at the University of Virginia, led a team that explored our capacity for solitude. People were asked to sit in a chair and think, without a device or a book. They were told that they would have from six to 15 minutes alone and that the only rules were that they had to stay seated and not fall asleep. In one experiment, many student subjects opted to give themselves mild electric shocks rather than sit alone with their thoughts.

People sometimes say to me that they can see how one might be disturbed when people turn to their phones when they are together. But surely there is no harm when people turn to their phones when they are by themselves? If anything, it’s our new form of being together.

But this way of dividing things up misses the essential connection between solitude and conversation. In solitude we learn to concentrate and imagine, to listen to ourselves. We need these skills to be fully present in conversation.

Every technology asks us to confront human values. This is a good thing, because it causes us to reaffirm what they are. If we are now ready to make face-to-face conversation a priority, it is easier to see what the next steps should be. We are not looking for simple solutions. We are looking for beginnings. Some of them may seem familiar by now, but they are no less challenging for that. Each addresses only a small piece of what silences us. Taken together, they can make a difference.

One start toward reclaiming conversation is to reclaim solitude. Some of the most crucial conversations you will ever have will be with yourself. Slow down sufficiently to make this possible. And make a practice of doing one thing at a time. Think of unitasking as the next big thing. In every domain of life, it will increase performance and decrease stress.

But doing one thing at a time is hard, because it means asserting ourselves over what technology makes easy and what feels productive in the short term. Multitasking comes with its own high, but when we chase after this feeling, we pursue an illusion. Conversation is a human way to practice unitasking.

Our phones are not accessories, but psychologically potent devices that change not just what we do but who we are. A second path toward conversation involves recognizing the degree to which we are vulnerable to all that connection offers. We have to commit ourselves to designing our products and our lives to take that vulnerability into account. We can choose not to carry our phones all the time. We can park our phones in a room and go to them every hour or two while we work on other things or talk to other people. We can carve out spaces at home or work that are device-free, sacred spaces for the paired virtues of conversation and solitude. Families can find these spaces in the day to day — no devices at dinner, in the kitchen and in the car. Introduce this idea to children when they are young so it doesn’t spring up as punitive but as a baseline of family culture. In the workplace, too, the notion of sacred spaces makes sense: Conversation among employees increases productivity.

We can also redesign technology to leave more room for talking to each other. The “do not disturb” feature on the iPhone offers one model. You are not interrupted by vibrations, lights or rings, but you can set the phone to receive calls from designated people or to signal when someone calls you repeatedly. Engineers are ready with more ideas: What if our phones were not designed to keep us attached, but to do a task and then release us? What if the communications industry began to measure the success of devices not by how much time consumers spend on them but by whether it is time well spent?

It is always wise to approach our relationship with technology in the context that goes beyond it. We live, for example, in a political culture where conversations are blocked by our vulnerability to partisanship as well as by our new distractions. We thought that online posting would make us bolder than we are in person, but a 2014 Pew study demonstrated that people are less likely to post opinions on social media when they fear their followers will disagree with them. Designing for our vulnerabilities means finding ways to talk to people, online and off, whose opinions differ from our own.

Sometimes it simply means hearing people out. A college junior told me that she shied away from conversation because it demanded that one live by the rigors of what she calls the “seven minute rule.” It takes at least seven minutes to see how a conversation is going to unfold. You can’t go to your phone before those seven minutes are up. If the conversation goes quiet, you have to let it be. For conversation, like life, has silences — what some young people I interviewed called “the boring bits.” It is often in the moments when we stumble, hesitate and fall silent that we most reveal ourselves to one another.

The young woman who is so clear about the seven minutes that it takes to see where a conversation is going admits that she often doesn’t have the patience to wait for anything near that kind of time before going to her phone. In this she is characteristic of what the psychologists Howard Gardner and Katie Davis called the “app generation,” which grew up with phones in hand and apps at the ready. It tends toward impatience, expecting the world to respond like an app, quickly and efficiently. The app way of thinking starts with the idea that actions in the world will work like algorithms: Certain actions will lead to predictable results.

This attitude can show up in friendship as a lack of empathy. Friendships become things to manage; you have a lot of them, and you come to them with tools. So here is a first step: To reclaim conversation for yourself, your friendships and society, push back against viewing the world as one giant app. It works the other way, too: Conversation is the antidote to the algorithmic way of looking at life because it teaches you about fluidity, contingency and personality.

This is our moment to acknowledge the unintended consequences of the technologies to which we are vulnerable, but also to respect the resilience that has always been ours. We have time to make corrections and remember who we are — creatures of history, of deep psychology, of complex relationships, of conversations, artless, risky and face to face.

Sherry Turkle is a professor in the program in Science, Technology and Society at M.I.T. and the author, most recently, of “Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age,” from which this essay is adapted.

A version of this article appears in print on Sept. 27, 2015, on Page SR1 of the New York edition with the headline: Stop Googling. Let’s Talk..

Sunday, August 5, 2018

My Humanae Vitae Homily Today

Here please find the homily I delivered for today's Mass (XVIII B), my Humanae Vitae homily for the 50th anniversary of that heroic document. Mine is an adaption based on the Father Jay Scott Newman homily last week.

Fifty years ago Pope Paul VI published an encyclical letter on the transmission of human life, known commonly by the first two words of the Latin text, Humanae Vitae.

The Pope wrote that letter to resist the sexual revolution by declaring the use of birth control pills to be immoral, even for married couples. But very few people have actually read the full text of that letter. So I encourage you to look up Humanae Vitae online this week, and read the short text in one sitting, a task which will take only a few minutes.

Humanae Vitae is a brief statement of the Church’s belief that the revealed Word of God teaches us the full truth about love, marriage and sexuality; and in the context of that revelation, the Church has always known that it is contrary to human dignity and to the purposes of marriage, to attempt to have sexual intimacy, while also intending to prevent the possibility of conceiving a child. (Cf. Genesis 18:8) For this reason, the use of any means to prevent the conception of a child, including chemicals or sterilization, is always immoral, so too is the use of abortion, whether by chemicals or surgery, to prevent the birth of a child w1ho is already conceived.

Furthermore, as he restated thereby the Church’s ancient and unchangeable teaching, on the beauty, dignity and full meaning of sexual love the Holy Father also described the consequences for any culture which rejects the truths that are woven into our nature by the Creator, truths that are accessible to right reason, and confirmed by divine revelation. Blessed Pope Paul predicted that a contraceptive mentality, if it ever took hold in a culture, would inevitably lead to an increase in adultery and divorce, the weakening of family life, a general increase in sexual immorality, a reluctance to have children, and an assault on the dignity of women, who would be reduced for too many men from life-long spouses in a sacred covenant of love, to objects of sexual desire to be used and discarded, as lust waxes and wanes. In other words, in 1968 Pope Paul VI foresaw the #MeToo moment in our debauched culture, along with all the other sexual confusions of the past fifty years, and the holocaust of contraception and abortion, which is now reaching the level of a civilization-ending catastrophe.

When Humanae Vitae was published in 1968 the Western world was on fire, and almost noone payed attention to the Pope. Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy had both been murdered that Spring. Race riots had convulsed many of our great cities, including Washington, Baltimore and Chicago. The streets of Paris were burning with the fevers of revolution and with the violence that always attends such eruptions. The campuses of our elite universities were aflame with protests and the rhetoric of Marxist insurrection. And, three weeks after the publication of Humanae Vitae, the nation watched in horror as the democratic national convention in Chicago descended into a miasma of chaos, incoherence and violence. In effect, the attention of the world was not focused on the small papal encyclical that appeared in July 1968, except, that is, for one odd part of the story. The world, you see, did notice that the Pope’s teaching was immediately rejected as false by no small number of Catholic priests and theologians, many of whom had not actually read the letter before they denounced it in public proclamations. Revolution had come not just to our universities and city streets but to the Church. And the content of Pope Paul’s letter was lost in the storm which was unleashed by the spectacle of priests telling their people to disregard the solemn teaching of the Church, too often with the silent consent of their bishops.

There was an odd coincidence for this fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Humanae Vitae as one of the most influential American bishops of our time is exposed as a homosexualist predator and abuser who for several decades continued to rise ever higher in the Church even as he committed grave sins against boys and young men entrusted to his care as a pastor, a shepherd of Christ’s flock, a successor of the apostles, and a cardinal pledged to shed his blood in defense of the Church. The report of his alleged crimes is sickening and almost beyond comprehension. But, even worse than this man’s personal disgrace, is the failure of the rest of his brother bishops to decry the notoriously well known scandal of his homosexual behavior in the Church, which all of the clergy knew for years. Most bishops have not spoken, and too many of those who have, sounded more like liability lawyers or company spokesmen protecting their interests than like the prophets and apostles who denounce unrighteousness and call God’s people to repentance and conversion, contrition, confession and amendment of life.

The priesthood is a beautiful and essential gift to the Church. And, I believe that celibacy should remain a permanent part of that gift in the Western Church. But, the truth is that the clerical culture in which priests and bishops live is in many ways diseased and deformed, and must be made new by the fire of divine love, and the truth of the Word of God.

I have been a priest of God for over twenty years, and, day after day, despite my own sins, I have done my best to proclaim and explain the gospel of Jesus Christ, including the hard sayings that so many of us have difficulty hearing and accepting. In our time, of course, many of those hard sayings concern sexuality, marriage and family life. But the task of every preacher is to proclaim the gospel in season and out, to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, and to call the Church to fidelity to God’s revealed Word. In fulfilling that duty I have never been surprised at the opposition to this task by “the world,” meaning, that part of creation which is in rebellion against the Creator and His eternal plan for our salvation. In fact, a preacher expects opposition to the gospel from the world. But what is not expected is opposition to the gospel from pastors of the Church, most especially from Her bishops, and least of all from members of the sacred college of cardinals. This is among the many reasons why the treason of Theodore McCarrick is a damnable abomination. But while his sins are appalling, they are merely the crimes of one man, a man who is a sinner like all of us, and who is called to conversion, and may yet, we pray, repent and find redemption from his sins in Jesus Christ.

Worse, however, than the sins of one man is the systemic corruption of priests and bishops who do not believe what the Church teaches but continue to preach anyway. They swear at their ordination to teach the gospel as it has been revealed by God and transmitted in the Church, but then with a wink and a nudge they encourage cynical disregard for the revealed truth of God’s eternal Word and create a new religion of their own devising, a faith that will not disturb the indulgence of their ambition and lust and which encourages the people of God to disregard the solemn and sacred truths about love, marriage, sex and the gift of children. In retrospect, we should not have been surprised that the fiftieth anniversary of Humanae Vitae would be interrupted by the obscenities of a fallen bishop and cardinal which would bring scandal to the universal Church and encourage derision of the priesthood around the world. No. The sorry tale of bishops and priests who harm others by false doctrine or evil conduct, or both, is summed up in the miserable life of Ted McCarrick, and helps explain better than I ever could, how and why the beautiful truth taught by Blessed Pope Paul VI fifty years ago was rejected by so many people, even bishops and priests of the Church.

I expect that in the weeks ahead there will be more misery, more stories in the press, more accusations of misconduct by the clergy, and it will all be sickening. But, while the filfth continues to spill out, we must all cry out with Saint Paul, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, for in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith, as it is written: ‘he who through faith is righteous shall live.’” But, while we are never ashamed of the gospel, we should always expect shame to accompany the disclosure of the sins of bishops and priests. And we must be mindful that the only one who profits from those shameful sins is the Father of Lies. Strike the shepherd, scatter the sheep. Discredit the messenger and you discredit the message! That is the strategy of our ancient Enemy, the fallen one, who does not want us to hear and heed the Word of God. But friends we are at war, war with principalities and powers, and we must not be deceived by Satan’s lies.

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Ted McCarrick from the college of cardinals and has imposed on him a hidden life of prayer and penance while the charges against him are reviewed and the Pope decides what to do with him. If the Church’s investigation convicts him of his alleged crimes McCarrick will be laicized, or, as the press usually puts it, “defrocked.” Every bishop whose advancement he promoted should also be scrutinized to ensure that this homosexual corruption of the Church does not continue. We also should make plans right now for what we can do to help heal and reform the Church. As the scriptures for today’s Mass teach us, what we have to offer is never enough. But, with God’s grace there is always more than a sufficiency to meet our needs. And so, here’s what I suggest.

First, read Humanae Vitae, this week, and then change whatever in your life must be changed to live according to God’s plan for marriage and sexuality.

Second, study part three of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, called, “Life in Christ.” Part three includes a concise explanation of each of the ten commandments and places the drama of our moral choices directly in the center of living a virtuous life of grace through faith in the Son of God.

Third, decide right now to go to Mass every Sunday with your whole family, and, when possible, every day. “I am the bread of life, says the Lord. He who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall not thirst.” When we come to receive the most holy Eucharist worthily, we are strengthened by God’s grace to live the law of love through an authentic gift of self, especially in the holy love of marriage.
Forth, we should go to Confession regularly, even every week, and subject our lives to a ruthlessly honest examination of conscience in the light of God’s revealed Word.

And finally, pray for those, all those, who stumble and fall, including bishops and priests. “All men have sinned, and are deprived of the glory of God.” This is the heart of the gospel. And this is why we need the Savior. And, while the sins of the clergy should always disappoint us, they should never surprise us. After all, even those who have been justified by grace through faith in Jesus Christ discover that the mystery of lawlessness remains strong and active in their hearts. That is why Saint Paul says “that henceforward you are not to walk as the Gentiles walk in the futility of their mind, having their understanding clouded in darkness, estranged from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart. For they have given themselves up in despair to sensuality, greedily practicing every kind of uncleanness.” (Ephesians 4: 17-20) My friends, “ecclesia semper reformanda et purificanda.” The Church is always in need of being reformed and purified, because everyone in the Church is a sinner in need of being reformed and purified, including priests and bishops, starting with priests and bishops. Starting, in fact, with you and me. “[You]...have heard of [Christ] and have been taught in him (as truth is in Jesus) that as regards your former manner of life you are to put off the old man, which is being corrupted through its deceptive lusts. But be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new man, which has been created according to God in justice and holiness of truth.” (Ephesians 4: 22-24).

This October, Blessed Pope Paul the Sixth will be canonized, acknowledged as being now among the angels and saints who worship the Lamb once slain who lives forever. Pope Paul’s prophetic words remain a sure path through the wreckage of the sexual revolution to a life of authentic and fruitful love, a life made possible by grace through faith in God the Son.

On the fiftieth anniversary of Humanae Vitae God be praised for His infinite mercy, for His unconditional love, for His redeeming grace, and for the freedom from sin and the grave revealed by the death and resurrection of the Son of Mary, the Word made flesh, the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the One Who is, Who was and Who is to come, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Additional Marian Litany Titles

Rubus Ardens (Burning Bush)
Aaronis Virga (Aaron's Staff)

In Regensburg's Alte Kapelle blessed sacrament chapel last month I saw depicted on the ceiling these two titles in the litany of Loreto which were unfamiliar to me as part of that Litany.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

How the Fags are in Charge


There are many dioceses with a strong homosexual subculture in the clergy, and in many of those same dioceses the queers are in control of the diocese: the Gay Mafia, the Lavender Mob.

The press is not at all interested in opposing that subculture, because the liberal press deems the Catholic Church’s God-given teaching regarding homosexuality and homosexual acts as wrong, and it hopes that the Church would change that doctrinal position and approve homosex; and, of course, consequently, accept priests' engaging in it. The media does not oppose, but rather promotes, the homosexualization of the clergy. That is one of the reasons they let Theodore McCarrick ride so high for so long, because he promoted their homosexualism. McCarrick flaunted that homosexualism for decades, in plain view. While some discretely complained, no one apparently cared, because the corrupt culture teaches us that we are supposed to tolerate and approve of "honest" homosex between consenting adults. When will we learn anew that no tolerance of sexual immorality is honest or good!

Pope Benedict XVI spoke of cleaning out the filth in the stables, indirectly referring to the sexual immorality of the clergy. It is because of the ideologically driven tacit approval of this perverse homosexual subculture that the immoral behavior of priests involving boys and young men can be hidden for so long, as only lately exposed in the McCarrick case. "Uncle Teddy" was part of and fed that larger subculture, which protected him. And the Uncle Teddy's are many. It would be a great blessing for the Church if the whole Catholic clerical homosexual subculture were exposed and rejected for all to see. We must hope and pray that the McCarrick affair will be the beginning of a full exposure of the evils of the vice of homosexuality and its attendant vices, and that "the filth will be cleansed from the stables."

May Christ regain the full leadership of His Church, wresting it back from the fags. God grant that they all, along with McCarrick, be swiftly and effectively ejected and disgraced, to the glory, honor and praise of God and the exaltation of our holy Mother, the Church.

Cf. The Effeminate in Scripture

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Homosexual Bishops and Sex Education in Parochial Schools

"It all began quite innocently enough. It was the summer of 1987 and I was completing my first full-length book Sex Education--The Final Plague. Near the end of my final chapter 'The Vatican and Sex Education--A Sorry State of Affairs,' I noted:
The Sex Education Movement ...has, as one of its key objectives, the promotion of a pansexual or bisexual agenda in which homosexuality and pedophilia play a key and pivotal role. The growing number of homosexual and pedophile priests and brothers, including homosexual bishops, as well as lesbian nuns, have formed a sixth column withing the Church in the United States. Many of these individuals have played important roles in the development and promotion of the new sexual catechetics in parochial schools, which, like the Unites States Catholic Conference 'Sex Education Guidelines' and the Kosnik Report, promote homosexuality and bisexuality as a variation on the norm, not a perversion.
 I recall the first sentence of this particular paragraph rather well because when the book initially ran in serial form in The Wanderer, the editor, on her own initiative, had removed my reference to 'homosexual bishops.'

In any case, I remember promising myself that, as soon as The Final Plague went to press and my familial and pro-life duties...would permit, I would take a closer look at the members of the Catholic hierarchy who were pushing homosexuality on parochial school children.

A few months later, I began what would be more than a decade-long journey into the homosexual maelstrom--without and within--the Roman Catholic Church.

I started with a re-read of Reverend Enrique T. Rueda's 1982 definitive study of the homosexual movement in the United States, The Homosexual Network--Private Lives and Public Policy, that provides a detailed description of the movement's strategic inroads into organized religious bodies in America with a special case study on the movement's infiltration and colonization of the Roman Catholic Church in the 1970s through the early 1980s.

It has ended, more than fifteen years later, with The Rite of Sodomy--Homosexuality and the Future of the Roman Catholic Church."

Randy Engel, The Rite of Sodomy: Homosexuality and the Future of the Roman Catholic Church, Export, Pennsylvania: New Engel Publishing, 2006, ix-x.

Lupus et Sus

Parturiebat sus; pollicetur lupus se custodem fore fetus. Respondet puerpera lupi obsequio se non egere, oratque, si velit pius haberi, longius abeat; lupi enim benevolentia constabat non praesentia, sed absentia.

Non sunt cuncta cunctis credenda; multi enim suam operam pollicentur non tui amore, sed sui, suum quaerentes commodum, non tuum.
Gänsepredigtbrunnen: Regensburg Bishofshof

Response to Church Prelate's Disgrace

BISHOP SCHARFENBERGER’S LETTER TO CLERGY STATING ABUSE REVELATIONS ARE SIGN OF "PROFOUNDLY SPIRITUAL CRISIS"

July 29, 2018
Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger sent the following letter to members of the clergy (vicars, priests, deacons, seminarians) on Friday afternoon. It was also copied to Parish Life Directors and Department Heads at the diocesan Pastoral Center: 
My dear brothers in Christ,
A psalm-prayer this morning from the Office of the Hours reads: “Lord Jesus, you were rejected by your people, betrayed by the kiss of a friend, and deserted by your disciples. Give us the confidence that you had in the Father, and our salvation will be assured.”
Like Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, many of our faithful are now feeling betrayed and abandoned by their spiritual fathers, especially the bishops. Perhaps you share this feeling, too. No doubt you have been and will be hearing from your people about how shaken and discouraged they are over public revelations of despicable behavior on the part of a very popular and charismatic Cardinal with priests and seminarians in his care. One holy and faithful Catholic gentleman – a medical professional and a dear friend – texted me just this morning about his family’s utter despondency over this and that the USCCB should disband itself: “[t]heir credibility is shot, probably for decades.”
More words are not going to repair, let alone restore, the damage that has been done. Lawyering, pledges and changes in the bureaucratic structures and policy – however well intentioned – cannot do it either. I do not see how we can avoid what is really at the root of this crisis: sin and a retreat from holiness, specifically the holiness of an integral, truly human sexuality.
In negative terms, and as clearly and directly as I can repeat our Church teaching, it is a grave sin to be “sexually active” outside of a real marriage covenant. A cardinal is not excused from what a layperson or another member of the clergy is not. A member of the clergy who pledges to live a celibate life must remain as chaste in his relationship with all whom he serves as spouses within a marriage. This is what our faith teaches and what we are held to in practice. There is no “third way.”
“Sexual activity” includes grooming and seduction – the kind of experience that one of our brothers tells of in a recent interview in America magazine that you may have seen. The psychological and spiritual destructiveness of such predatory behavior, really incestuous by a man who is held up as a spiritual father to a son in his care – even if not a minor – cannot be minimized or rationalized in any way. On that, it seems to me, we are experiencing an unusual unity amidst the many political and ecclesial tensions in our communities.
Abuse of authority – in this case, with strong sexual overtones – with vulnerable persons is hardly less reprehensible than the sexual abuse of minors, which the USCCB attempted to address in 2002. Unfortunately, at that time – something I never understood – the Charter did not go far enough so as to hold cardinals, archbishops and bishops equally, if not more, accountable than priests and deacons. 
It is my belief that the vast majority of clergy – priests, deacons and bishops alike – live or, at least, are striving to live holy and admirable lifestyles. I am ashamed of those of my brothers, such as the Cardinal, who do not and have not. As your Bishop, you can be sure of my support for you and all the faithful during this very difficult time. As the Holy Spirit impels me, I will use every power my office holds on all levels at which I serve, local and national, to further this charge.
We should be grateful for all of those who have come forward to expose these patterns of sin in the lives of some – as well as the institutional sins of denial and suppression of those brave witnesses whose warnings went unheard or unheeded, so that some of the harm might have been prevented. 
I hope and pray that others who may have suffered such traumatic experiences at the hands of their spiritual fathers will find the courage to say so. To you, if you are among them, and to them I offer my support and assistance in any way the resources I have can muster.
Let me be clear, however, in stating my firm conviction that this is, at heart, much more than a crisis of policies and procedures. We can – and I am confident that we will – strengthen the rules and regulations and sanctions against any trying to fly under the radar or to “get away with” such evil and destructive behaviors. But, at its heart, this is much more than a challenge of law enforcement; it is a profoundly spiritual crisis.
Blessed Pope Paul VI prophetically warned us in Humanae Vitae of the long-range consequences of the separation of sexuality and sexual behavior from the conjugal relationship. Contemporary culture in our part of the world now holds it normative that sex and sexual gratification between any consenting persons for any reason that their free wills allow is perfectly acceptable. This is not a sexuality befitting of human beings that responds to the need and true desire of every human person to be respected and loved fully and unconditionally. 
All of us who are ordained to preach what the Church teaches must practice what we preach and teach. We also need to uphold what our faith proclaims about the gift and beauty of human sexuality, fully lived in its essential conjugal meaning. A culture of virtue and chastity – in short, personal holiness – rooted in a trusting and committed relationship with Jesus Christ is the path toward healing and wholeness, even as we seek to drive the evil behaviors among us from the womb of the Church.
Our preparation for the upcoming Eucharistic Congress on September 22nd in the Shrine of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs will be a time of spiritual renewal for all of us seeking to follow in the footsteps of our Lord and Master who was himself betrayed by his closest friends, but died for us to save us from ourselves and to offer us a way to living our humanity fully in this life and in the heaven to come.
I invoke upon you and all of those whom you lovingly serve, the Lord’s blessing, through the intercession of Mary Immaculate, to whom our Diocese is consecrated.
In the peace of Christ that surpasses all understanding,
Your brother and servant in Christ,

+Edward B. Scharfenberger
Bishop of Albany

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Humanae Vitae Dissent, Homosexualist Clergy, McCarrick

Here is a timely, 17 minute homily by Father Jay Scott Newman of Charlotte on the connection between heresy, sexual perversion and sexual abuse today.

Below is the Plinthos transcript of this homily which should be preached--even verbatim--by every priest of the world during this golden jubilee of the landmark encyclical Humanae Vitae on the true meaning of Marriage and marital love, the double and inseparable meaning of the marital act: procreation and unity. The integrity of the marriage itself is destroyed when the primary end of marriage, procreation, is thwarted.


Father Jay Scott Newman
Humanae Vitae Homily
Sunday July 29th 2018
17th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

Fifty years ago last Wednesday, Pope Paul the Sixth published an encyclical letter on the transmission of human life, known commonly by the first two words of the Latin text, Humanae Vitae.

Everyone knows, or thinks [he] knows, that this letter was written to resist the sexual revolution by declaring the use of birth control pills to be immoral, even for married couples. But very few people have actually read the full text of that letter. So I encourage you to look up Humanae Vitae online this week, and read the short text in one sitting, a task which will take only a few minutes.

Humanae Vitae is a brief statement of the Church’s belief that the revealed Word of God teaches us the full truth about love, marriage and sexuality; and in the context of that revelation, the Church has always known that it is contrary to human dignity and to the purposes of marriage, to attempt to have sexual intimacy, while also intending to prevent the possibility of conceiving a child. For this reason, the use of any means to prevent the conception of a child, including chemicals or sterilization, is always immoral, so too is the use of abortion, whether by chemicals or surgery, to prevent the birth of a child who is already conceived.

But Pope Paul did not simply restate the Church’s ancient and unchangeable teaching, on the beauty, dignity and full meaning of sexual love. No, he also described the consequences for any culture which rejects the truths that are woven into our nature by the Creator, truths that are accessible to right reason, and confirmed by divine revelation. The Pope predicted that a contraceptive mentality, if it ever took hold in a culture, would lead inexorably to an increase in adultery and divorce, the weakening of family life, a general increase in sexual immorality, a reluctance to have children, and an assault on the dignity of women, who would be reduced for too many men from life-long partners in a sacred covenant of love, to objects of sexual desire to be used and discarded, as lust waxes and wanes. In other words, in 1968 Pope Paul the Sixth foresaw the #MeToo moment in our debauched culture, along with all the other sexual confusions of the past fifty years, and the holocaust of contraception and abortion, which is now reaching the level of a civilization-ending catastrophe.

When Humanae Vitae was published in 1968 the Western world was on fire, and almost no one payed attention to the Pope. Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy had both been murdered that Spring. Race riots had convulsed many of our great cities, including Washington, Baltimore and Chicago. The streets of Paris were burning with the fevers of revolution and with the violence that always attends such eruptions. The campuses of our elite universities were aflame with protests and the rhetoric of Marxist insurrection. And, three weeks after the publication of Humanae Vitae, the nation watched in horror as the democratic national convention in Chicago descended into a miasma of chaos, incoherence and violence. In other words, the attention of the world was not focused on the small papal encyclical that appeared in July 1968, except, that is, for one odd part of the story. The world, you see, did notice that the Pope’s teaching was immediately rejected as false by no small number of Catholic priests and theologians, many of whom had not actually read the letter before they denounced it in public proclamations. Revolution had come not just to our universities and city streets but to the Church. And the content of Pope Paul’s letter was lost in the storm which was unleashed by the spectacle of priests telling their people to disregard the solemn teaching of the Church, too often with the silent consent of their bishops.

For the past several weeks, in anticipation of this anniversary, I had planned to preach today about all of this as a prelude to explaining what the Church actually does teach about marriage, sexual intimacy and openness to the gift of children. But then, two weeks ago, news broke about the grotesque personal sins of Theodore McCarrick, a now disgraced former archbishop of Washington. What an odd coincidence that the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Humanae Vitae should take place even as one of the most influential American bishops of our time is unmasked as a serial predator and abuser who for several decades continued to rise ever higher in the Church even as he committed grave sins against boys and young men entrusted to his care as a pastor, a shepherd of Christ’s flock, a successor of the apostles, and a cardinal pledged to shed his blood in defense of the Church. If you’ve been following it you know that the story of McCarrick’s crimes is sickening and almost beyond comprehension. But, even worse than this man’s personal atrocities, is the failure of other bishops to decry his sins and the damage he has done. Most bishops simply have not spoken, and too many of those who have, sounded more like liability lawyers or company spokesmen protecting their interests than like the prophets and apostles who denounce unrighteousness and call God’s people to repentance and conversion, contrition, confession and amendment of life.

As you saw three weeks ago at my silver jubilee, I believe that the priesthood is a beautiful and essential gift to the Church. And, I believe that celibacy should remain a permanent part of that gift in the Western Church. But, the truth is that the clerical culture in which priests and bishops live is in many ways diseased and deformed, and must be made new by the fire of divine love, and the truth of the Word of God.

I have now stood in this pulpit for seventeen years, and, week after week, despite my own grave sins, I have done my best to proclaim and explain the gospel of Jesus Christ, including the hard sayings that so many of us have difficulty hearing and accepting. In our time, of course, many of those hard sayings concern sexuality, marriage and family life. But the task of every preacher is to proclaim the gospel in season and out, to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, and to call the Church to fidelity to God’s revealed Word. In fulfilling that duty here I have never been surprised at the opposition to this task by “the world,” meaning, that part of creation which is in rebellion against the Creator and His eternal plan for our salvation. In fact, a preacher expects opposition to the gospel from the world. But what is not expected is opposition to the gospel from pastors of the Church, most especially from Her bishops, and least of all from members of the sacred college of cardinals. This is among the many reasons why the treason of Theodore McCarrick is a damnable abomination. But while McCarrick’s sins are appalling, they are merely the crimes of one man, a man who is a sinner like all of us, and who is called to conversion, and may yet, we pray, repent and find redemption from his sins in Jesus Christ.

Worse, however, than the sins of one man is the systemic corruption of priests and bishops who do not believe what the Church teaches but continue to preach anyway. They swear at their ordination to teach the gospel as it has been revealed by God and transmitted in the Church, but then with a wink and a nudge they encourage cynical disregard for the revealed truth of God’s eternal Word and create a new religion of their own devising, a faith that will not disturb the indulgence of their ambition and lust and which encourages the people of God to disregard the solemn and sacred truths about love, marriage, sex and the gift of children. In retrospect, I should not have been surprised that the fiftieth anniversary of Humanae Vitae would be interrupted by the obscenities of a fallen bishop which would bring scandal to the universal Church and encourage derision of the priesthood around the world. No. The sorry tale of bishops and priests who harm others by false doctrine or evil conduct, or both, is summed up in the miserable life of Ted McCarrick, and helps explain better than I ever could have, how and why the beautiful truth taught by Pope Paul VI fifty years ago was rejected by so many people, even within the Church.

I expect that in the weeks ahead there will be more misery, more stories in the press, more accusations of misconduct by the clergy, and it will all be sickening. But, while the filth continues to spill out, we must all cry out with Saint Paul, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, for in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith, as it is written: ‘he who through faith is righteous shall live.’” But, while we are never ashamed of the gospel, we should always expect shame to accompany the disclosure of the sins of bishops and priests. And we must be mindful that the only one who profits from those shameful sins is the Father of Lies. Strike the shepherd, scatter the sheep. Discredit the messenger and you discredit the message! That is the strategy of our ancient Enemy, the fallen one, who does not want us to hear and heed the Word of God. But friends we are at war, war with principalities and powers, and we must not be deceived by Satan’s lies.

In the midst of this carnage there was a little good news from Rome yesterday. Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Ted McCarrick from the college of cardinals and imposed on him a hidden life of prayer and penance while the charges against him are reviewed and the Pope decides what to do with him. I hope that McCarrick will be laicized, or, as the press usually puts it, “defrocked,” and that every bishop whose advancement he promoted will be scrutinized to ensure that this disease does not spread. But, whatever may happen to this wretched man, and those like him, we should make plans right now for what we can do to help heal and reform the Church. As the scriptures for today’s Mass teach us, what we have to offer is never enough. But, with God’s grace there is always more than a sufficiency to meet our needs. And so, here’s what I suggest.

First, we should read Humanae Vitae, this week, and then change whatever in our lives must be changed to live according to God’s plan for marriage and sexuality.

Second, we should study part three of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, called, “Life in Christ.” Part three includes a concise explanation of each of the ten commandments and places the drama of our moral choices directly in the center of living a virtuous life of grace through faith in the Son of God.

Third, we should go to Mass every Sunday, and, when possible, every day. “Do this in memory of me,” the Savior commanded. And, when we fulfill that commandment by receiving the most holy Eucharist worthily, we are strengthened by God’s grace to live the law of love through an authentic gift of self.

Forth, we should go to Confession regularly, probably about once each month, and subject our lives to a ruthlessly honest examination of conscience in the light of God’s revealed Word.

And finally, we should pray for those, all those, who stumble and fall, including Ted McCarrick. “All men have sinned, and are deprived of the glory of God.” This is the heart of the gospel. And this is why we need a Savior. And, while the sins of the clergy should always disappoint us, they should never surprise us. After all, even those who have been justified by grace through faith in Jesus Christ discover that the mystery of lawlessness remains strong and active in our hearts. And that is why “we do the evil we should not,” and why “we do not do the good we should.” My friends, “ecclesia semper reformanda et purificanda.” The Church is always in need of being reformed and purified, because everyone in the Church is a sinner in need of being reformed and purified, including priests and bishops, starting with priests and bishops. Starting, in fact, with me.

This October, Blessed Pope Paul the Sixth will be canonized, acknowledged as being now among the saints and angels who worship the Lamb once slain who lives forever. And Pope Paul’s prophetic words remain a sure path through the wreckage of the sexual revolution to a life of authentic and fruitful love, a life made possible by grace through faith in God the Son.

On the fiftieth anniversary of Humanae Vitae God be praised for His infinite mercy, for His unconditional love, for His redeeming grace, and for the freedom from sin and the grave revealed by the death and resurrection of the Son of Mary, the Word made flesh, the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the One Who is, Who was and Who is to come, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Humanae Vitae Revisited -Professor Roberto de Mattei


Below you will find two recent LifeSiteNews articles, one by Professor Mattei on his assessment of Humanae Vitae and the recent papal commission's study of it, and the other a follow-up interview by Diane Montagna regarding the claims of that article.

Professor Mattei says that the denial of procreation as the primary end of marriage is a serious mistake which comes from political correctness and contradicts divine revelation.


New facts about origins of Humanae Vitae emerge from ‘secret’ Vatican commission
Roberto de Mattei

ROME, July 19, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — At the beginning of 2017, Pope Francis set up a “study commission” to prepare for the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae (July 25, 2018). The existence of this “secret” commission was brought to light some months after by two Catholic publications, Stilum Curae and Corrispondenza Romana.

The commission, coordinated by Monsigno Gilfredo Marengo, was tasked with finding in the Vatican archives the documentation relating to the preparatory work on Humanae Vitae which took place during and after Vatican Council II.

The first fruit of this work is the volume by Monsignor Gilfredo Marengo, The birth of an Encyclical. Humanae Vitae in the light of the Vatican Archives [La nascita di un’Enciclica. Humanae Vitae alla luce degli Archivi Vaticani], published by the Libreria Editice Vaticana. Other publications perhaps will follow and other documents presumably will be submitted, privately, to Pope Francis.

From a historiographical point of view, Monsignor Marengo’s book is disappointing. On the genesis and consequences of the encyclical Humanae Vitae, within the context of the contraceptive revolution, the best book, to my view, is Renzo Puccetti’s, The Poisons of Contraception [I veleni della contraccezione] (Dominican Edizioni Studio, Bologna 2013).

Monsignor Marengo’s study does, however, contain some new elements. The most relevant is the publication of the complete text of an encyclical De nascendi prolis (pp. 215-238), which, after five years of agonizing work, Paul VI approved on May 9, 1968, fixing the date of its promulgation for the Solemnity of the Ascension (May 23).

The encyclical that Monsignor Marego defines as “a rigorous pronouncement of moral doctrine” (p.194), was already printed in Latin when there was an unexpected turn of events. The two French translators, Monsignor Jacques Martin and Monsignor Paul Poupard, expressed strong reservations about the document’s overly “traditional” approach. Paul VI, disturbed by the criticism, worked personally on numerous modifications of the text, changing above all its pastoral tone, which became more “open” to the cultural and social demands of the modern world.
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Two months later, De nascendi prolis was transformed into Humanae Vitae. The Pope’s concern was to ensure that this new encyclical “would be accepted in the least problematic way possible” (p. 121), thanks not only to the reformulation of its language, but also to the devaluation of its dogmatic character (p. 103).

Monsignor Marengo recalls that Paul VI did not accept the invitation of the Archbishop of Krakow, Karol Wojtyla, to issue a “a pastoral instruction reaffirming, in no uncertain terms, the authority of the doctrine of Humanae Vitae, in face of the widespread protest movement against it” (p. 128).

The objective, or at least the result of Monsignor Marengo’s book, seems to be that of relativizing Paul VI’s encyclical, which is presented as a phase in a complex historical journey that has not been concluded by the publication of Humanae Vitae, or with the discussions that followed it. One cannot “claim to have said the ‘last’ word and to close, if it were ever needed, a decades-long debate” (p.11).

On the basis of Monsignor Marengo’s historical reconstruction, the new theologians who refer to Amoris laetitia will say the teaching of Humanae Vitae has not changed, but must be understood as a whole, without limiting oneself to the condemnation of contraception, which is only one aspect of it. Pastoral care — it will be added — is the criterion for interpreting a document that reminds us about the Church’s doctrine on the regulation of births, but also about the need to apply it according to wise pastoral discernment. In the final analysis, it is a question of reading Humanae Vitae in the light of Amoris laetitia.

Humanae Vitae was an encyclical that caused great anguish (as Paul VI himself called it) and was certainly courageous. Indeed, the essence of the ’68 Revolution was captured in the saying “it is forbidden to forbid,” a slogan that expressed the rejection of every authority and every law, in the name of the liberation of instincts and desires.

Humanae Vitae, in reiterating its condemnation of abortion and contraception, recalled that not everything is permitted, that there is a natural law and a supreme authority — the Church — which has the right and the duty to protect it. Humanae Vitae, however, was not a “prophetic” encyclical. It would have been so, had it dared to oppose the false prophets of Neo-Malthusianism with the divine words “Be fruitful and multiply.” (Genesis 1:28; 9:27).

Yet it did not do so, because Paul VI, in his fear of coming into conflict with the world, accepted the myth of the demographic explosion, launched in 1968 by Paul Ehrlich’s book, The population bomb. In 2017, Ehrlich himself was invited by Msgr. Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo to reiterate his theories on overpopulation at the conference organized by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. The conference was titled: Biological Extinction. How to save the natural world on which we depend. (February 27 - March 1, 2017).

In his book, the author describes the catastrophic scenarios that the inhabitants of Earth would have to face if measures were not taken to contain population growth. What the encyclical rightly condemns is artificial contraception, but without rejecting the new “dogma” of the necessary reduction in births. Humanae Vitae replaced Divine Providence, which up to that point had regulated births in Christian families, with the human calculation of “responsible parenthood.”

The Magisterium of the Church dogmatically affirms, however, that contraception is to be condemned not only because it is an unnatural method in itself, but also because it is directly opposed to the primary end of marriage, which is procreation. If one does not affirm that the procreative end prevails over the unitive one, one can maintain the thesis that contraception can be lawful when it undermines the “intima communitas” of the spouses.

John Paul II vigorously reaffirmed the teaching of Humanae Vitae, but the concept of conjugal love that spread under his pontificate is at the origin of many misunderstandings. In this regard, I refer to the precise observations of Don Pietro Leone, the pseudonym of an excellent contemporary theologian, in his book The Family Under Attack: A Philosophical and Theological Defense of Human Society (Loreto Publications, 2015).
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Over the last 50 years, due also to a misguided conception of the ends of marriage, papal teachings have been disregarded, and among Catholics the practice of contraception and abortion, extra-matrimonial cohabitations, and homosexuality have become widespread. The post-synodal Exhortation Amoris laetitia represents the result of an itinerary that has been a long time coming.

Repeating almost verbatim the words spoken on October 29, 1964 by Cardinal Leo-Joseph Suenens in the Council Hall: “It may be that we have emphasized the word of Scripture, ‘Be fruitful and multiply,’ to the point of leaving in the shadows the other divine word, ‘The two will become one flesh’,” Pope Francis said in Amoris laetitia. “We often present marriage in such a way that its unitive meaning, its call to grow in love and its ideal of mutual assistance are overshadowed by an almost exclusive insistence on the duty of procreation” (n. 36).

Reversing these words, we might say that in recent decades we have almost exclusively emphasized the biblical words, “The two will become one flesh,” to the point of leaving in the shadows the other divine words: “Be fruitful and multiply.” It is also from this word, so rich in significance, that we must again set out towards not only a demographic rebirth, but also a spiritual and moral regeneration of Europe and the Christian West.

This article originally appeared in Italian at Corrispondenza Romana. This translation for LifeSite was done by Diane Montagna.


Humanae Vitae was courageous, but not prophetic: Catholic historian
Diane Montagna

ROME, July 24, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Humanae Vitae should be celebrated for upholding the Catholic Church’s ban on contraception and abortion but, at least in one sense, it was not prophetic, a noted Catholic historian has said.

The Catholic Church will mark the 50th anniversary of Paul VI’s 1968 controversial encyclical on Wednesday, July 25th.

In a recent article, Professor Roberto de Mattei discussed new facts that have emerged about the origins of Humanae Vitae, as a result of a “secret” Vatican commission’s investigation of archived documents relating to the preparatory work of the encyclical.

The commission’s findings are chronicled by one of its members, Monsignor Gilfredo Marengo, in a new book titled, The birth of an Encyclical. Humanae Vitae in the light of the Vatican Archives.

Now, in this follow-up interview with LifeSiteNews, Professor de Mattei speaks more in depth about the genesis of Humanae Vitae, explains what magisterial authority it has, and discusses the encyclical’s strengths and weaknesses.

De Mattei argues that Humanae Vitae did not express the Church’s doctrine on the ends of marriage with sufficient clarity. Quoting Pope Pius XII, he explains that the Church has always infallibly taught that procreation is the principal end of marriage:
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“The truth is that marriage, as a natural institution, by virtue of the Creator’s will, does not have as its primary and intimate end the personal perfection of the spouses, but the procreation and education of new life. The other ends, inasmuch as they are intended by nature, are not equally primary, much less superior to the primary end, but are essentially subordinated to it. This is true of every marriage, even if no offspring result, just as it can be said of every eye that it is destined and formed to see, even if, in abnormal cases arising from special internal or external conditions, it will never be possible to achieve visual perception” (Pope Pius XII, Address to midwives, October 29, 1951).

De Mattei is an Italian historian and president of the Lepanto Foundation. He has taught at various universities and has served as vice-president of the National Research Council, Italy’s leading scientific institution. He is also a member of the recently established John Paul II Academy for Human Life and the Family.

Christian marriage, he says, is aimed ultimately at “giving children to God and to the Church, so that they might be future citizens of Heaven.” Fifty years after the promulgation of Humanae vitae, de Mattei insists that “we need to have the courage to re-examine” the Church’s teaching on the ends of marriage, “motivated only by a desire to seek the truth and the good of souls.”


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LifeSite: Q. Professor de Mattei, on July 25, 1968 Paul VI promulgated the encyclical Humanae Vitae. Fifty years later, what is your historical judgment on this event?

De Mattei: Humanae Vitae is an encyclical of great historical importance, because it recalled the existence of an immutable natural law at a time when the benchmark for culture and customs was a denial of lasting values amid historical change. Paul VI’s document was also a response to the ecclesiastical revolution that attacked the Church from within after the close of the Second Vatican Council. We must be grateful to Paul VI for not yielding to extremely strong pressure from media and ecclesiastical lobbies that wanted to change the teaching of the Church in this regard.

Q. Unlike many people today, you claim that Humanae Vitae was not a prophetic document. Why?

In common parlance, prophetic is defined as the ability to foresee future events in the light of reason illumined by grace. In this respect, during the years of the Second Vatican Council, the 500 Council Fathers who demanded that communism be condemned were “prophets” in their prediction that this “intrinsic evil” would soon collapse. Those instead who opposed this condemnation — in the conviction that communism contained something good and would last for centuries — were not “prophets.”

In those same years, the myth of the demographic explosion was spreading, and everyone was talking about the need to reduce the number of births. Those like Cardinal Suenens, who asked that contraception be authorized in order to limit births, were not prophets; while Council Fathers like Cardinals Ottaviani and Browne, who opposed such requests by recalling the words of Genesis: “Be fruitful and multiply” (Gen. 1:28), were prophets.

The problem facing the Christian West today is certainly not one of overpopulation but of demographic collapse. Humanae vitae was not a prophetic encyclical, because it accepted the principle of controlling births in the form of “responsible parenthood,” even though it was a courageous document in reiterating the Church’s condemnation of contraception and abortion. In this respect it deserves to be celebrated.

Q. Some have suggested that Humanae Vitae offered a new teaching in recalling the inseparability of the two ends of marriage, the procreative and the unitive, and put these ends on an equal footing? Do you agree?

The inseparability of the two ends of marriage is part of the doctrine of the Church, and Humanae Vitae rightly recalls this. However, in order to avoid any misunderstanding, we have to remember that there is a hierarchy of ends. According to doctrine of the Church, marriage is, by its very nature, a juridical-moral institution elevated by Christianity to the dignity of a Sacrament. Its principal end is the procreation of offspring, which is not a simple biological function and cannot be separated from the conjugal act.

Indeed, Christian marriage is aimed at giving children to God and to the Church, so that they might be future citizens of Heaven. As Saint Thomas teaches (Summa Contra Gentiles 4, 58), marriage makes the spouses “propagators and preservers of spiritual life, according to a ministry at once corporal and spiritual,” which consists in “generating offspring and educating them in divine worship” (Eph. 5: 28). Parents do not directly communicate supernatural life to their children, but must ensure its development by passing on to them the inheritance of faith, beginning with baptism. For this reason, the principal end of marriage also involves the education of children: a work — as Pius XII affirms in an address on May 19, 1956 — which by its scope and consequences far surpasses that of generation.

Q. What magisterial authority does Humanae Vitae have?

In an attempt to soften the doctrinal clash with Catholics advocating contraception, Paul VI did not want to attribute a definitive character to the document. But the condemnation of contraception can be considered an infallible act of the ordinary Magisterium, where it reaffirms what has always been taught: any use of marriage in which, using artificial methods, the conjugal act is prevented from procreating life, violates the natural law and is a grave sin. The primacy of the procreative end of marriage can also be considered an infallible doctrine of the ordinary Magisterium, since it was solemnly affirmed by Pius XI in Casti connubii and reiterated by Pius XII in his foundational Address to midwives on October 29, 1951 and in many other documents.

In fact, Pius XII states clearly: “The truth is that marriage, as a natural institution, by virtue of the Creator’s will, does not have as its primary and intimate end the personal perfection of the spouses, but the procreation and education of new life. The other ends, inasmuch as they are intended by nature, are not equally primary, much less superior to the primary end, but are essentially subordinated to it. This is true of every marriage, even if no offspring result, just as it can be said of every eye that it is destined and formed to see, even if, in abnormal cases arising from special internal or external conditions, it will never be possible to achieve visual perception.” The Pope at this point recalls that the Holy See, in a public decree by the Holy Office, “proclaimed that it could not accept the opinion of some recent authors who denied that the primary end of marriage is the procreation and education of offspring, or who teach that the secondary ends are not essentially subordinated to the primary end, but are on an equal footing and independent of it” (S.C. S. Officii, I April 1944 - Acta Ap. Sedis vol. 36, a. 1944 ).

Q. You note in your article that one of the new elements included in Monsignor Marengo’s book is the complete text of the first draft of the encyclical, which was titled De nascendi prolis. You also note how, through a series of events, this encyclical was transformed into Humanae Vitae. Can you tell us more about how this transformation occurred?

The history of Humanae Vitae is complex, and it caused great anguish. The beginning of this story is the Council Fathers’ rejection of the preparatory schema on family and marriage, drawn up by Vatican II’s preparatory commission and approved by John XXIII in July 1962. The chief architect of the turning point was Cardinal Leo-Joseph Suenens, the Archbishop of Brussels, who had a profound influence on Gaudium et Spes and “piloted” the ad hoc commission on birth control established by John XXIII and enlarged by Paul VI.

In 1966, this commission produced a text in which the majority of experts expressed their support for contraception. The following two years were controversial and confusing, as the new documents published by Monsignor Gulfredo Marengo confirm. The majority opinion, announced by the National Catholic Reporter in 1967, was countered by a minority opinion opposing the use of contraceptive methods. Paul VI then appointed a new study group, directed by his theologian, Monsignor Colombo.

After much discussion, they arrived at De nascendi prolis. But then another unexpected turn of events occurred, because the French translators expressed strong reservations about the document. Paul VI made new modifications, and finally, on July 25, 1968, Humanae Vitae was published.

The difference between the two documents was that the first was more “doctrinal,” while the second had a more “pastoral” character. According to Monsignor Marengo, they felt “the wish to avoid that the search for doctrinal clarity be interpreted as insensitive rigidity.” The traditional doctrine of the Church was confirmed, but the doctrine on the ends of marriage was not expressed with sufficient clarity.

Q. In your article, you write that John Paul II “vigorously reaffirmed the teaching of Humanae Vitae, but the concept of conjugal love that spread under his pontificate is at the origin of many misunderstandings.” Can you say more about this?

I am grateful to John Paul II for his clear reaffirmation of moral absolutes in Veritatis splendor. But John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, which is partly taken up by the new Code of Canon Law and the New Catechism, expresses an understanding of marriage centered almost exclusively on spousal love. After fifty years, we need to have the courage to re-examine this question objectively, motivated only by a desire to seek the truth and the good of souls. The fruits of the new pastoral ministry are there for all to see. Contraception is widespread in the Catholic world, and the justification given for it is a distorted view of love and marriage. If the hierarchy of ends is not established, we risk doing precisely what we wish to avoid; namely, creating tension and conflict and, ultimately, a separation of the two ends of marriage.

Q. But isn’t the marriage bond also a symbol of Christ’s intimate union with the Church?

Certainly, but St. Paul’s famous expression (Eph. 5: 32) is almost always applied to the conjugal act, while married love is not only emotional, affective love, but first and foremost rational love. Rational love, elevated by charity, becomes a form of supernatural love and sanctifies marriage. Emotional, sensitive love can be degraded to the point of considering the person of one’s spouse as an object of pleasure. This risk can also arise from an overemphasis of the spousal character of marriage.

Moreover, referring to the image of Christ’s union with his Church, Pius XII states: “In both the one and the other the gift of self is total, exclusive, irrevocable: in both the one and the other the groom is the head of the bride, who is subject to him as to the Lord (cf. ibidem, 22-33); in both the one and the other the mutual gift becomes the principle of expansion and source of life” (Address to newlyweds, October 23, 1940). Today the emphasis is placed only on mutual self-giving, but there is silence about the fact that the man is the head of his wife and family, just as Christ is the head of the Church. The implicit denial of the primacy of the husband over the wife is analogous to the omission of the primacy of the procreative end over the unitive. This introduces into the family a confusion of roles whose consequences we are witnessing today.

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