Breastfeeding and the Theology of the Body

September 23rd, 2018

In the light of the Scandal, it’s a good time to remind ourselves that the vast majority of priests, probably at least 95%, are truly good men. Here are comments about Breastfeeding and Catholic Motherhood (2005) by some priests including a bishop and a cardinal. In this book the theology of the body is applied to that wonderful bodily act of breastfeeding.

“Thank you very much for sending me your Breastfeeding and Catholic Motherhood. You have done much good in this area where all too little has been done through the years. I found it very enlightening.”
Fr. Paul B. Marx, OSB

“This book was an eye-opener for me.”
Fr. Bill McCarthy
My Father’s House Spiritual Life and Retreat Center
Moodus, CT

“It is with great pleasure that I send you the Foreword as my contribution for your new book in your continual efforts to sustain motherhood in one of its fundamental tasks.”
+Alfonso Cardinal López Trujillo
President, Pontifical Council for the Family

“By skillfully weaving together Scripture, scientific research and anecdotal evidence, Sheila Kippley has fashioned a solid case for what our grandmothers knew from experience: A breastfed baby makes for a happy, well-adjusted adult. Would that mothers today would rediscover this important secret!”
Bishop Victor Galeone
Episcopal Moderator for NFP
USCCB Pro-Life Activities Committee

“With easy-to-read simplicity and an eye for the basics, Kippley gives us a balance of religious truth, scientific facts, and practical advice. Present this book as a gift to a pregnant woman, if you wish to affirm in love a mother and her child.”
Fr. William D. Virtue
Author, Mother and Infant

“Your book gets a much needed message out to the public. It is something a good priest should know and where he can point people to learn more.”
Fr. David V. Meconi, S.J.
Teacher, writer

Sheila Kippley
PS: We closed the comments due to the many scams. Anyone wanting to be added to this or other blogs can contact us at the NFP International website and your comment will be heard.

The Scandal of 2018

September 16th, 2018

I think the only appropriate reaction to the revelation of the sexual abuse scandal is sadness.  Sadness for Pope Francis.  Sadness for the Church. Sadness for all those who have been adversely affected by sins and coverups dating back even to the Sixties.

The John Jay Report showed that in 1960 and again in 1968-69 there was a big spike in the number of “first experience” by homosexual priests.  That is, as they saw the widespread acceptance of the Pill and the whole Sexual Revolution in 1960, they apparently concluded that the acceptance of anything and everything applied to them as well.  In 1968, they could rationalize that such behaviors had been authorized by the widespread rejection of Humanae Vitae and traditional morality right within the Church. This whole unhappy scene stems from the widespread dissent from Humanae Vitae.

Some will rightly argue that in the case of the priests using minors, that was not only a crime but a wrongful use of influence and power.  I agree, but I think it is quite possible for these guys to have rationalized that what they were doing power-wise was like parents who use influence to get their kids to eat their veggies.  I mean, if these guys really believed that sodomy is a good thing, it is very possible that they rationalized that they were just sharing something good.  Perverse?  Of course.  But that’s what happens when a person lets the idol of sex become the Principle of his or her decision-making.  In 1971, Theological Studies published my article, “Continued Dissent: Is It Responsible Loyalty?” in which I showed that the decision-making principles published by archdissenter Father Charles Curran could not say NO to spouse-swapping. I am not aware of any published criticism of that article, and no one criticized me personally.

What can we do?  What every Catholic needs to do is to heed the request of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima 101 years ago:  pray the rosary every day for world peace, for the conversion of Russia and for the conversion of sinners all throughout the world.  And we can add a special emphasis for all the conversions necessary at every level within the Church.

John F. Kippley

Dissent from Humanae Vitae and the Sexual Scandals

September 9th, 2018

I have been involved in the effort to uphold and explain Humanae Vitae for the last 50 years, and I am writing this to place the scandals of priestly sexual sins in context. Nothing of what follows should be seen as an effort to whitewash or downplay the evils that have been done. However, convicting ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and other clerics and putting them into solitary confinement for the rest of their lives will not solve the problem.

The problem is that for 50 years all too many in the leadership of the Church in North America and elsewhere have been silent about Humanae Vitae, the teaching document of Pope Paul VI that reaffirmed the Traditional Christian teaching that using unnatural forms of birth control is the grave matter of mortal sin. They have also ignored the widespread dissent against this teaching, a dissent movement led by clergy.

What they were dissenting against was the key teaching of Humanae Vitae. “The Church…teaches that each and every marriage act must remain open to the transmission of life… That teaching…is founded upon the inseparable connection, willed by God and unable to be broken by man on his own initiative, between the two meanings of the conjugal act; the unitive meaning and procreative meaning” (n 11 and 12).

Let’s put that into ordinary language.

Who put together in one act what we commonly “making love” and “making babies”?
Those who believe in the Creator God have to say, “God Himself put together in one act what we commonly call ‘making love’ and ‘making babies’.”

What are contraceptive behaviors except the effort to take apart what God Himself has put together? That, of course, is precisely what contraception is all about.

Now, note four things very well. 1) The last 50 years of dissent have been based on the unprovable assertion that modern man can take apart what God Himself has put together in the marriage act; in the wider culture, this has been expanded to the acceptance of any imaginable sexual act between two persons who give mutual consent and are of legal age.

2) That assertion cannot be limited logically to unnatural forms of birth control. If married heterosexuals can tell themselves that they can ignore some 3,000 years of biblical teaching against contraception, it doesn’t take much imagination to realize that those with same-sex attraction can tell themselves the same thing with regard to the biblical teaching against sodomy.

3) This was pointed out when there was discussion in the papal birth control commission about these matters in 1966, but the pro-contraception group said that they did not accept sodomy. I take them at their word, but that was only their personal preference, not the logic of their argument.

4) What was their argument for accepting marital contraception? They said that contraceptive acts should be judged by the fruitfulness of the marriage as a whole. That was called the principle of totality; it was a big-picture morality that initially looks attractive—until you think about it. That would also be attractive to a person tempted to engage in adultery who could try to rationalize that the immorality of those acts is covered by the big picture of his or her fidelity the rest of the time. And certainly a cleric could try to rationalize sexual sins as covered by his fidelity to his vocation the rest of the time.

Pope Paul VI contradicted that big-picture morality by teaching, as we have seen, that each and every marriage act must be left open to the transmission of life. He responded further to the big-picture morality as follows: “Consequently, it is an error to think that a marriage act which is deliberately made sterile and so is intrinsically dishonest could be made honest and right by the ensemble [totality] of a fertile married life” (n.14).

Note that phrase, “intrinsically dishonest.” Blessed Pope Paul VI could have said “intrinsically evil” but he chose to use “dishonest.” That implies that there is an “honest” marriage act, one that is true to its God-given meaning. And there is. From sacred scripture and Tradition we can summarize it in 17 words.

“Sexual intercourse is intended by God to be, at least implicitly, a renewal of the marriage covenant.”

That is, the human sexual act can be morally good only within marriage. Within marriage, it ought to be a renewal of the fidelity and love and affection and commitment of their marriage covenant. It ought to say, “We take each other once again for better and for worse including the imagined ‘worse’ of an unintended pregnancy.” The contraceptive marriage act says, on the other hand, “We take each other for better but NOT for the imagined ‘worse’ of possible pregnancy.” Such acts contradict the marriage covenant. They are intrinsically dishonest.

Do our individual or married actions affect anyone except ourselves? Do they affect the Church as a whole? Yes. St. Paul puts it this way as he describes the various members of the body of Christ: “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together” (1 Cor 12:26). This is called the doctrine of the Mystical Body of Christ. If you and I are living in the state of grace and do good things by way of prayer and helping the less fortunate, we are helping to build up the body of the Church beyond those immediately affected by our good works. It’s a spiritual thing that helps everybody a little bit. On the other hand by our sins, we hurt everybody a little bit.

Surveys show that a huge majority of Catholics in their fertile years are using unnatural forms of birth control. I think this has a negative effect on the Mystical Body of Christ and makes fidelity even more difficult for many priests. I think it has helped some of them to fall. So if you or I point a finger at a fallen priest, it is good to remember that three fingers are pointing at ourselves.

The time has come for all Catholics to accept and to live out the teaching of Humanae Vitae. This applies to all Christians. After all, Humanae Vitae simply reaffirmed what all the Protestant churches taught before August of 1930. Need help? Come to Natural Family Planning International at www.nfpandmore.org. You and your friends and relatives can take the NFPI Home Study Course at your own home and pace.
John F. Kippley