“Whatever the doubts of disaffected journalists and sassy moralists, the bishops can surely have no doubt as to the binding power of Humanae Vitae and of their obligation to see that it is taught, and affirmed—to say nothing in making sure that it is not rejected in their diocese. I wish I really thought that that is going to happen…. What is there to dialogue on this matter…The problem is that a generation of priests has been trained on dissenting theology.
There are some who object to this emphasis on something as trivial as sex. Lift up your mind and take a spiritual view. How do you stand on justice and peace? Let’s feed the hungry and not get sweaty about what’s going on in people’s bedrooms. You’ve heard all that before. My answer is that to reflect on the message of Fatima provides the insight we need.
When Our Lady warns of what might lie ahead because of our sins, it is sins of the flesh that she emphasizes. A hang up of the pre-conciliar Church? I don’t think so. I think it’s simple realism.
Chastity and purity are indispensable conditions for leading a dignified human life, let alone a Christian life. How many of the horrors of modern life are traceable to a lack of virtue in the matter of sexuality? Will a lusty man be just? If he pursues his lust, he is thereby going to be sinning against justice.
There was reason to hope after Vatican II. And if things have not gone as planned, this is due, as the message of the Synod fathers noted, to sin and human weakness. So it is permissible to be optimistic now. Not naïve, but optimistic. Understanding that the bishops and all of us will be in need of prayer. There is, we have been reminded, a universal call to holiness. The proper response to that — that we can all meet merrily in heaven, as St. Thomas More put it.”
The following is an excerpt from a taped commentary by Professor Ralph McInerny on the 1985 Extraordinary Synod in Rome.