Archive for August, 2018

Natural Family Planning and the Church

Sunday, August 26th, 2018

 

The Church needs to recognize that there are two distinct forms of natural birth spacing—Ecological Breastfeeding and Systematic NFP.  Any definition of NFP that does not include  Ecological Breastfeeding does not correspond to the full reality.

In the “NFP movement,” breastfeeding tends to be treated more as a charting problem than something to be encouraged and as the healthiest form of baby care.  Not only teachers but every NFP student should learn the tremendous health benefits of breastfeeding AND that the frequency of Ecological Breastfeeding actually DOES act as an abstinence-free natural baby spacer.

I am convinced that the Church has a responsibility to share in the public health effort to increase breastfeeding of any sort and secondly to extend its duration.  The AAP recently came out with another effort to promote breastfeeding.  Also, a recent Dutch journal dealing with lung health strongly opposed formula-feeding for families with a history of asthma.  It speculated whether formula should be by prescription-only for such families.

If the Church has a responsibility to inform its members about the health benefits of breastfeeding, where can that be done better than in pre-marriage preparation and especially within a required NFP course?

John F. Kippley

 

 

Things That Need to be Said About the Scandal

Sunday, August 19th, 2018

Don’t judge the Church by those who do not accept and live by its teachings.

Judge the Church by those who accept and follow its teachings.  They live holy lives.  Only a few of them are canonized saints.  The vast majority of them are ordinary men and women including bishops, priests, and religious, both men and women, and many lay persons.  All of them lived by the teachings of the Church and thus lived holy lives.

Some will find that the horrible examples of some bishops and priests provide a temptation to leave the Church.  Again, don’t let other sinners lead you away from the Church.  The gospel words of Peter to Jesus are tremendously relevant.  “You have the words of eternal life (John 6:69).

Regarding Scripture, remember 1 Cor 12:26:  “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.”

Apply this to the Mystical Body of Christ. By living the Commandments of love, we help to build up the Church. When married couples practice marital chastity, they provide spiritual help for our priests to remain faithful to their promises of chaste celibacy. But for the last 50 years, it has been increasingly the Catholic thing to follow the dissenters and practice marital unchastity via the use of unnatural forms of birth control. This has contributed to the sins of those called to be our leaders. That is, when most of the married folks are sinning, the whole body suffers.

John Kippley

My Opposition to the Death Penalty in Contemporary America

Sunday, August 12th, 2018

I was recently offered a polite challenge to my opposition to the death penalty, and on the spot I did not spell it out well. My current thinking is based on three considerations

Social. In a former age, the criminal guilty of a capital crime was, in my opinion, more guilty of his outrageous behavior. Within my lifetime, however, the educational, judicial, and political systems have become more complicit in these crimes. The legal system has expelled religion and religious morality from the public school system in which the vast majority of American youth are educated. To paraphrase Romans 10:14ff, how can we expect people to believe and to do what is right if we do not instruct them? Public education has not only become complicit but teaches an intellectual and moral vacuum in which there is no objective truth, everything is subjective and there are no moral absolutes. Yes, the natural law is still written in the heart of every person, but the dominant cultural forces are combined to treat the silent entreaties in the heart as old fashioned taboos. The judicial system still permits the killing of the most innocent citizens at will; in fact such permission to kill the innocent is a foundation of the current Democratic Party. This combination has given us a culture that is toxic to basic morality. As Dostoyevsky had one of characters say, “If there is no God, you can do anything.” Thus society at large has to bear the burden of the humane imprisonment of those who commit capital crimes.

Repentance. I publish a rosary booklet (The Seven Day Bible Rosary) and offer it free to prisoners. I have distributed hundreds of these and have received only one letter saying “I didn’t do it,” and that was from a man on death row. Another death row prisoner made no such comment. Others have told me specifically that being sent to prison was the best thing that has ever happened to them. Without being specific, they admit that they had been living sinful lives. Now they are reading a Catholic newspaper in which I advertise and asking for something to help them pray the rosary. Some of these have had their first encounter with the Catholic faith in prison; others were raised in Catholic families but ignored what they were taught. Some have told me that it has taken years for them to get to this stage of repentance. Life imprisonment gives some prisoners the time they need to repent and grow in holiness.

Spiritual warfare. There is a spiritual warfare going on between the Lord Jesus and Satan for every person. Jesus gave his life for my sins, the sins of everyone who reads this, and also for the sins of every other sinner, some of whose sins are not only very serious but also public knowledge. I do not want Satan to win any of these battles— which he might do if some criminals are put to death before they repent.

The bottom line: Please join many prisoners who are praying the rosary every day as Our Lady of Fatima has asked us to do—for world peace, for the conversion of Russia, and for the conversion of sinners all throughout the world. I can hear it already, “Those folks have nothing but time on their hands but I am too busy.” It is a rare day when a person who wants to honor Mary’s request cannot find the time to do so. The daily commute provides many with plenty of rosary time. And the list of opportunities goes on.
The above was first written November 27, 2015. Obviously, I am in great agreement with some of the thinking of Pope Francis.

However, when he changes the text of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to reflect this, I have to interpret that in the way stated by a Dominican theologian who says the changed text is a pastoral statement, not a matter of doctrine. That is, it may be considered widely applicable in developed economies which have prisons in which inmates can live out a lifelong sentence. That may not hold true in some developing countries that would have a very hard time providing food, shelter, medical attention, and sufficient security for a life-sentenced criminal. It may not always hold true even in developed countries when a convicted murderer manages to murder one of his guards. Perhaps the certainty of a death at a certain date might help such a person prepare to meet his Creator and Judge.
—John F. Kippley, August 5, 2018,
https://johnkippley.com/the-seven-day-bible-rosary/