Archive for the ‘Humanae Vitae’ Category

Natural Family Planning and Response to a Dissenter

Sunday, May 19th, 2019

I was theologically active at the time of Humanae Vitae.  I examined the arguments offered by the dissenting theologians.  I found them so inadequate that I wrote a book defending the received teaching and criticizing the dissenters’ arguments.  For its second edition I retitled it as “Birth Control and the Marriage Covenant.”  It was that edition that found its way into the hands of Kimberly and Scott Hahn when they were students in a Protestant seminary.  It helped persuade them of the truth of the received teaching affirmed by Humanae Vitae, and such acceptance was a step towards their entry into full communion with the Catholic Church.  An expanded version is now published as “Sex and the Marriage Covenant” by Ignatius.  In March 1971, the generally liberal journal Theological Studies published my article “Continued Dissent: Is It Responsible Loyalty?” in which I showed that the decision-making principles of arch-dissenter Fr. Charles Curran could not say NO even to spouse-swapping.  To the best of my knowledge, no one ever accused me of making a “straw-man” argument.

I suggest that you read those things before you waste lots of time and effort trying to support the dissenting position, a position that is unsupportable except in the context of situation ethics which is incompatible with Christian discipleship.

The only thing really surprising in Humanae Vitae is an amazing omission in Section 17 which deals with the consequences of the societal acceptance of unnatural forms of birth control.  In 1930 when the Anglican bishops were debating birth control, their conservatives pointed out that the acceptance of marital contraception would logically entail the acceptance of sodomy.  Not only were they correct, but today the Anglicans accept as bishops those who are openly involved in the practice of sodomy and calling it marriage.  I regret that Pope Paul VI did not include this important bit of history.

At our website you can find lots more to support Humanae Vitae and to uphold the dignity of women as mothers.  Nowhere else will you find so much support for the kind of breastfeeding that actually DOES naturally postpone the return of fertility.  We have to call it “Ecological Breastfeeding” to distinguish if from the styles of breastfeeding that have little or no effect on the return of fertility.

Future historians will record Humanae Vitae as a bright spot in Catholic history.

John Kippley
Sex and the Marriage Covenant

Who are the faithful laity?

Sunday, December 16th, 2018

Cardinal Walter Brandmuller, an esteemed Church historian, has called for a new level of cooperation between bishops and committed lay Catholics to renew and revive the Church.  This is the subject of a full-page editorial by Robert Moynihan in the November issue of Inside the Vatican.  As the Cardinal urges and as Moynihan agrees, this could be very helpful.  “The more the hierarchy, from the Pope down, feel supported by the effective resolve of the faithful to renew and revive the Church, the more a true housecleaning can be performed, he (the Cardinal) says.”

Certainly we agree.  From our experience, however, a question arises.  Where are the bishops going to find these laity resolved to renew and revive the Church?  According to surveys, 95% to 98% of fertile-age Catholics are using unnatural forms of birth control.  As Martin Luther pointed some 500 years ago, unnatural forms of birth control are a form of sodomy.  And the sin of marital sodomy is in the same class as sins of mutually acceptable sodomy by the unmarried, whether lay or priests.  Both marital sodomy and priestly sodomy are violations of their respective covenants, both take apart what God has put together as the norm for human sexuality, and thus both are intrinsically dishonest.

Thus it is important that a screening process takes place before numbers of laity are called upon to work with the bishops for authentic renewal within the Church.  At the very least, all prospective lay cooperators should sign a statement of full acceptance of the teaching of Humanae Vitae And, of course, that should be required of all bishops who are engaged in any effort to bring about authentic renewal within the Church.

John F. Kippley

 

Four reasons to pray for our bishops this week

Sunday, November 11th, 2018

First, see 1 Cor 12:26 about hurting.  I maintain that when 95% of Catholics, to say nothing about other baptized persons, are hurting by reason of their sinful contraceptive lives, then 100%  of the body is really hurting because so many are not pulling their weight in the work of building up the Body of Christ.  That sinfulness makes it more difficult for priests, as well as everybody else, to be chaste.

Second, the bishops have not yet repudiated as horribly wrong what they or their predecessors wrote in their 1968 response to Humanae Vitae, namely their “Human Life in Our Day.”  It contains a section titled “Norms of Licit Theological Dissent.”  Obviously, if there can be dissent against the centuries of teaching against marital contraception, there can be dissent against the centuries of teaching against sodomy.  The acceptance of marital contraception is the acceptance of the idea that we modern men and women can take apart what God has put together in the marriage act and, by logical extension, everything else in the area of love, marriage and sexuality.  There is no such thing as licit dissent from Humanae Vitae or the teaching regarding sodomy.

Third, the bishops have failed to emphasize that God has built into the human sexual act its intrinsic meaning.  Humanae Vitae teaches that the contracepted marriage act is “intrinsically dishonest.”  That means there must be a marriage act that is intrinsically honest.  JPII introduced to Papal teaching the idea of the marriage act as a renewal of the marriage covenant.  I submit that this meaning can be summarized this way: “The human sexual act is intended by God to be, at least implicitly, a renewal of the marriage covenant, for better and for worse including the imagined worse of possible pregnancy.”  First, only a marriage act.  Second a renewal of the marriage covenant.

Fourth, we don’t need more abject apologies that stop there.  We need our bishops to reaffirm confidently and firmly that the priestly sex abuse Scandal clearly points up what happens when priests do not accept and live by what the Church teaches.  The disaster of the whole sexual revolution including the current huge out-of-wedlock pregnancy rate shows what happens when fertile-age people do not accept the biblical norm that the human sexual act ought to be exclusively a marriage act. 
 
“What God has put together let no one take apart.” It applies with equal force to the marriage act and to marriage itself. 

Pray for our bishops as they meet this week.

John F. Kippley