I don’t have a lot planned for this week.
Last week, I got a post up most days of the week about NFP. See here:
My NFP Posts page has a few more posts with reflections how NFP has impacted my life.
This week…I got nuthin’.
But our priest delivered the most amazing homily yesterday at Mass and gave permission to share on social media so, I will share it here for today’s entry (Please share — tweet –etc). We need more priests to step up and preach on this issue in our times.
In support of the Church on the 45th Anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae
Homily by Father Vince Rogers
St. Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church
Gladstone, Mo. 64118
July 21, 2013
The Church has a lot to say about the human person and the choices we make. And the Church has been teaching about these matters since the Lord first breathed life into Her on Pentecost.
Frankly, we should listen to the Church more. She’s wiser than any of us individually, because She comprises the collective wisdom of the ages.
She’s fought battles that most of us have never even heard of. I only know about them because I had to study them. Montanism, Sabellianism, Arianism, Pelagianism, Nestorianism, Iconoclasm, Jansenism…just to name a very few. These are footnotes in history which I don’t expect you to know. What I do want you to know, however, is that your Church was fighting against false teachings way before you were around.
These teachings were widespread. Some of them taught that there was no sin–others, that everything was a sin! Some claimed that Jesus was not divine. Others, that the human body was evil and you could do no good, or, the opposite, that you could do anything you want with your body. Still others claimed that the Eucharist is just bread. Some said that making statues and images was sinful. I could literally wear you out with all the heresies your Church has had to correct over the last 20 centuries!
So, why do I tell you this? Well, because, here we find ourselves in these modern times thinking that our issues are so unique and completely different from anything the Church has had to deal with. But they’re not! Homosexuality, polygamy, infanticide, abortion, euthanasia, contraception… were around through all of human history before Christ. The Church has been teaching about these things in every age since.
This week marks the 45th anniversary of a letter from the pope that is hardly ever spoken about, but which affects almost everyone in society. In this letter, entitled Humanae Vitae, the Holy Father reiterated what the Church had always taught about the sacredness of marriage, about responsible parenthood, and about contraception and sterilization.
Many people misrepresent and oversimplify this teaching by saying that the Church is anti-science. Does that make sense to you in light of the fact that our own Church runs some of the finest medical schools in the world and in our country? Boston, Creighton, Fordham, Notre Dame, Georgetown…We heard the same argument when we were in the middle of the embryonic stem cell debate. Our Church is pro-science. Science is part of the reason why we have concluded that human embryos are human beings, and they shouldn’t be destroyed in order to harvest their cells–anymore than someone shouldn’t kill you for your kidneys.
So contraception is wrong because it violates the meaning of marriage, which is for love and procreation. Furthermore, contraception and sterilization involves an anti-life mentality. God cares about what is in our minds and in our hearts. He wants to be Lord of our life, not just in church, or work, or in the kitchen, but also in the bedroom. Some say, “Keep the Church out of our bedroom!” I suppose you could do that, but you shouldn’t keep God out, and the Church is the voice of God in the world today.
Interestingly, when the pope wrote this letter in 1968, he outlined a number of things that would happen if contraception became widespread (many laughed at him then). He said that it would lead to marital infidelity, divorce, and a general lowering of morality. He also said that men would lose respect for women, considering them as mere instruments of sexual pleasure, and not as respected and beloved companions. Moreover, he warned that widespread contraception would lead to manipulating our fertility, treating it, not as a blessing from God, but as a disease or an infection to be attacked. It’s a very short leap to having the same view about unborn life.
They laughed at the pope in the late 60’s during the sexual revolution. Who’s laughing now? Other than Satan, I can’t think of anyone.
This is not an easy subject for me to discuss, but I do it because a feel compelled to speak about the truth of the fullness and beauty of our faith. Having said that, I feel less sorry for me and more sorry for the women who have to live in this society which glorifies ultra-skinny over normal, living together over marriage, careerism over family, and contraception over motherhood.
The priest with whom I’m closest in my life shared something with me. He said that, “I learned something about my mother that maybe was a little too late because she has already died.” “My mother,” he continued, “was always right. The reason she was always right was because she was continuously looking out for me. She was never seeking her own good, but was always seeking what was good for me.” The same could be said for the Church. The Church, in Her motherhood and in her wisdom, is looking out for the needs of her children. And while it may be difficult for us as children to listen to the advice of our Mother, we should remember that She is our Mother and She is right.
We come to church, among other things, to pray for the grace and the strength to do what is right. May God give us the strength to do what is right, even when it is difficult.
Father Vince Rogers