Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Contraception? No Eucharist!

“Happy Are Those Who Are Called to His Supper” - “Married Love and Gift of Life”

The bishops of the United States in Conference on November 13-14, 2006 have issued four “statements,” one dealing with the Eucharist, another with Contraception, and the other two dealing with homosexuality and Iraq.
In the document on the Reception of the Eucharist, “Happy Are Those Who Are Called to His Supper,” it says: “In order to receive Holy Communion we must be in communion with God and with the Church. Mortal sin constitutes a rejection of communion with God and destroys the life of grace within us…. If we are no longer in the state of grace because of mortal sin, we are seriously obliged to refrain from receiving Holy Communion until we are reconciled with God and the Church.”

In the document on Contraception, “Married Love and Gift of Life,” it says: “When married couples deliberately act to suppress fertility… sexual intercourse is no longer fully marital intercourse… (T)hey [the spouses] should never act to suppress or curtail the life-giving power given by ‘God… This is what the Church means by saying that every act of intercourse must remain open to life and that contraception is objectively immoral.”
Conclusion: The two documents working in tandem inexorably affirm an absolute: if one is contracepting, one should refrain from receiving the Eucharist.
Newspaper Comments:

ST. LOUIS - It has been so long since most American Catholics have even debated the moral implications of contraception (1965?) that statisticians no longer regularly ask them what they think of birth control.

Recent poll numbers are scarce, but those that do exist suggest around 90 percent of American Roman Catholics ignore their church's teaching on contraception.
"When it comes to that particular tenet of faith, it's a lost cause in America," said Tom Smith, a senior research scientist with the National Organization for Research at the University of Chicago.
But Catholic church teaching doesn't change based on statistics, even if that teaching is ignored for a couple of generations.
"The Catholic church articulates what we believe to be true and we don't stop believing what's true because it's statistically unpopular," said Belleville Bishop Edward Braxton in an interview last week at the fall meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore. "We are counter-cultural in that sense."
Somewhat lost in reports from the meeting was the approval of a new document from the American church's pro-life committee aimed at engaged and young married couples. Called "Married Love and the Gift of Life," the document reaffirms the church's stance that artificial contraception is immoral, even between husband and wife. Its target audience is young Catholics.
The document passed with 95 percent of bishops voting in its favor and no debate on the floor.
The bishops were as unified behind their teaching on contraception as their flock and the culture in which they live has become against it. Last week, the phrase "counter-cultural" came up repeatedly in conversations with bishops.
There is no question that Church teaching on contraception has remained the same for centuries or that American Catholics have largely ignored that teaching for the last 50 years. The real question about "Married Love and the Gift of Life" is: Why now?
Bishops in Baltimore answered that question by pointing to what they see as a trend: young Catholics are increasingly seeking out the church's ancient teachings. In this sense, the bishops' repeated use of the counter-cultural phrase has additional meaning.

The idea that a new generation of Catholics will reject the perceived sexual freedoms gained by their parents and grandparents over the last half-century and align with a theology that teaches sex for procreation is truly, as they see it, revolutionary.
"The real radical idea is not `don't use contraception,'" said Christopher West, a research fellow and faculty member of the Theology of the Body Institute in West Chester, Pa. "The real radical idea is connecting sex and God; that sex is meant to express divine love."
The new document is the first about birth control from the collective body of American bishops since 1968's "Human Life in Our Day."
Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kan., a member of the bishops' pro-life committee and former St. Louis auxiliary bishop, said that was too long. American bishops, he said, have failed to properly educate Catholics about the church's teaching on contraception. "We haven't been clear enough or effective enough as teachers," he said in an interview.
Not everyone thinks American Catholics will be convinced by the bishops' renewed focus on contraception. "It seems to me extremely unlikely it will make much difference to most people," said James P. Hanigan, a professor of moral theology at Duquesne University who has studied the church's teaching on birth control. "For most people, this issue's been resolved."

The church's ancient view on contraception (the roots of its opposition can be traced back to the second century) was most famously reaffirmed by Pope Paul VI in his 1968 encyclical, Humanae Vitae, or "of human life." Most other Christian churches accept artificial contraception as a responsible method of family planning. The Catholic church teaches that since artificial contraception suppresses the possibility of procreation, and therefore violates the natural law, it is always wrong.

"Suppressing fertility by using contraception denies part of the inherent meaning of married sexuality and does harm the couple's unity," according to "Married Love and the Gift of Life." "The total giving of oneself, body and soul, to one's beloved is no time to say: `I give you everything I am - except.'"
The new document sets the church's teaching within the context Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body, a set of 129 short talks he gave between 1979 and 1984 that reflected on sexuality and divinity. West, who is scheduled to give a talk in St. Louis at the invitation of the Archdiocese in February, said the message of Theology of the Body is that eros, or erotic love, is meant to express agape, or divine love.
"When a married couple cuts off the eros from the agape," said West, they "render the sexual act sterile . . . they won't find the sexual happiness they went in search of, instead they will find disillusionment, despair and societal chaos."
The church has come a long way since the "rhythm" or "calendar" methods it advocated as natural birth control decades ago. The new term is Natural Family Planning, which, according to the bishops' Web site, is an umbrella term for "certain methods used to achieve and avoid pregnancies based on observation of the naturally occurring signs and symptoms of the fertile and infertile phases of a woman's menstrual cycle." Only four percent of Catholic married couples use Natural Family Planning, according to the bishops conference, despite years of research, promotion and effort.
"This is a quiet revolution," said Theresa Notare, assistant director of natural family planning for the bishops' pro-life office in Washington. "For decades we've constantly been going against the grain."
Hanigan said Natural Family Planning "has some devoted advocates, but how far that reaches is hard to say."
The St. Louis Archdiocese has had a Natural Family Planning office since 1998, according to Diane Daly, a registered nurse who heads it. Daly said her office sees about 450 new couples each year. She said "Married Love and the Gift of Life" will help young couples she sees because "it explains the basis for the church's teaching. It will be beneficial for people to not just hear that this is what the church says, but to understand why."
Naumann said that the new contraception document is important because many Catholics don't realize how wrong it is, in the eyes of the church, to use contraception even within marriage. While it is "a grave matter" to use artificial contraception, and Catholics who do (and who know better), must confess their sin before receiving Holy Communion, there are many young Catholics who simply don't know the church's position.

For many Catholics, however, the teaching is simple. "If God is love and you kick him out of the bedroom, I don't know what you're doing in there, but it's not love," said West.

The National Catholic Register:


“Authored by the conference’s Pro-Life Committee, Married Love and the Gift of Life is intended to help Catholics understand God’s plan for married life and clarify why the Church cannot condone contraception.
“This is probably the most misunderstood teaching in the Church,” said Theresa Notare, assistant director for the bishops’ Natural Family Planning Program. “People think it’s a quaint little teaching that’s unrealistic, and when the Church catches up to modern times, it can change. They don’t understand that these teachings are basic truths that have been handed down since the apostolic age, and are based in Genesis.”
Notare said the document is an easy resource that priests can use in marriage preparation and other stages of married life. It has been tested in marriage prep programs by several dioceses, and feedback from couples has been very positive. Many of the couples reported that the document was engaging and clarified Church teaching.
“This document can hopefully get the conversation going again about why it’s important for Catholics to pay attention to it,” said Notare. “It’s not supposed to supplant Humanae Vitae, but it certainly is trying to get people to take a second look.”
Father Jeffrey Gubbiotti, parochial vicar at Most Holy Trinity Church in Wallingford, Conn., is looking forward to the document because, he said, it’s hard to find good resources on the subject. The challenge in talking about contraception from the pulpit is that priests are mandated to preach on the Gospel, he said, and when it is possible, they have to be sensitive to younger age groups. The biggest challenge, however, is the sheer depth of the teaching.
“We’ve so lost our sense of anthropology of how the human person is. If you don’t understand that, you don’t understand why NFP is the best way to exact stewardship when it comes to fertility,” said Father Gubbiotti. “When there’s so much groundwork that has to be laid, there’s no way you can present the entire argument for the sinfulness of contraception in the course of one homily. You can only make a few points and hope that they’ll go out on their own and discover the beauty of NFP.”
The document sprang from committee discussions on the need to inform Catholics about the abortifacient potential of chemical contraceptives, said Notare. But the discussion soon turned to why Catholics shouldn’t be using any contraception.

Root Cause
Steve Koob, director of One More Soul, an apostolate promoting God’s plan for marriage and family, thinks that’s a wise approach.
“Contraception is wrong, period, not because it’s an abortifacient,” he said. “We should be opposed to it because it’s against God’s will, nature and the fundamental sexual act. It’s clearly been demonstrated what contraception has done to the culture. Hopefully this document will be a conversation starter.”
Notare echoed that sentiment.
“Society is really trying to cling to this idea that sex can be had with no consequences. But you don’t even have to be religious at this point; a thinking person can look at how poorly we treat sexual intercourse and connect the dots to pedophilia, the gross rise in pornography, abortion, divorce, delay in age in marriage, and the number of children we’re having.”
The conversation is starting to ripple through the pro-life community, which Koob said is a welcome sign because the abortion issue won’t be solved until contraception is addressed.
Many pro-life leaders, especially evangelicals, have maintained that contraception is not their issue, but they’re coming to see that it leads to abortion, said Ruben Obregon, co-founder of No Room for Contraception, a website that addresses the personal and cultural consequences of contraception.
“With contraception, abortion is skyrocketing, and non-Catholics are starting to see that it’s an inseparable issue that has to be dealt with,” he said.
As an example, Obregon posted an article on the website by Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, called “Can Christians Use Birth Control?” In it he wrote: “The effective separation of sex from procreation may be one of the most important defining marks of our age — and one of the most ominous. This awareness is spreading among American evangelicals, and it threatens to set loose a firestorm. … Most evangelicals responded with disregard to Pope Paul VI’s famous encyclical Humanae Vitae and became devoted users of birth control technologies.” But a growing number “are rethinking the issue of birth control and facing the hard questions posed by reproductive technologies. … The most important of these is the abortion revolution.”
Pro-Life Action Ministries decided to address contraception at its national conference in September. Director Joe Scheidler said they wanted to bring people from all areas of the pro-life movement together to see if they could come to a meeting of the minds on the root cause of the anti-life/anti-family mentality — contraception.
“We were told by other pro-life groups that we were committing suicide by even bringing it up, but we can’t dodge it anymore, and we don’t intend to,” he said. “It was hard to reason against the proof presented by people at the conference who aren’t even on the same wavelength as us.”
Presenters included Lionel Tiger, a professor of anthropology from Rutgers University and an atheist, who showed how the contraceptive mentality has affected men and possibly led to the rise in homosexuality. Allan Carlson of the Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society gave a history of how Protestant churches came to embrace contraception, and acknowledged that Pope Paul VI was prophetic.
“They can see that contraception is a plague,” said Scheidler. “We have to get to the root cause of this anti-life mentality. We’re using God’s gift for pleasure and not for what it was intended” [emphasis mine]. Barb Ernster - Fridley, Minnesota.


My Note


Observe in the above the specific references of the intrinsic connection between artificial contraception and all of the life issues, not least of which is homosexuality. At the root, it is because contraception undermines the ontological orientation of the person as gift, made in the image of the divine Persons.

This has always been difficult to see and as difficult to explain. It moves the perception of reality from “nature” as object (and with it the argument from “natural law” presuming an anthropology of man as substantial rational animal) to person. The explanation of “Humanae Vitae” with the intrinsic connection between love-making and life-giving cannot be explained adequately on the level of nature as object with primary and secondary ends, but on the level – or “horizon” – of person as subject. It is calling for a revamping of a metaphysics of being from substance-object (an abstraction) to person-subject, not unlike the tension that the homoousios introduced into the Greek metaphysics of substance. In a word, to be = to be for. The meaning of the being of the human person can only be understood by the meaning of the Being of Christ as “one in substance with the Father” (Nicene Creed). Human sexuality – and therefore the human person - cannot be adequately understood on the level of substance since it abstracts from the constitutive reference-to-the-other. Contraception is the praxis of this abstraction, and therefore the existential undermining which appear in the consequences listed above.



[Amy Welborn commented "Some bishops thought both topics [?] should have been included, and also wanted to add contraceptive use to a list of reasons that Catholics should refrain from communion. An earlier report indicated that only 4 percent of Catholic married couples of child-bearing age practice the church-recommended natural family planning.
Bishop Arthur Serratelli of Paterson, N.J., said that the drafters did not include contraception because it was not intended to be a comprehensive list of sins and there was a concern that this "particularly difficult pastoral problem" would distract from everything else in the document. Bishop Salvatore Cordileone, auxiliary of San Diego, argued that not mentioning it would draw even more attention.

"If we are silent on this issue, perhaps people won't go so far as to say we are winking at it, but at least we would easily create the misperception that this is not an issue involving grave matter." "Grave matter," along with informed reflection and willful intent, constitutes mortal sin.
The move to name contraception as a reason to refrain from communion failed 148-75 ."
The list of sins of the document was the following:
• Believing in or honoring as divine anyone or anything other than the God of the Holy Scriptures
• Swearing a false oath while invoking God as a witness
• Failing to worship God by missing Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation
without a serious reason, such as sickness or the absence of a priest1
• Acting in serious disobedience against proper authority; dishonoring one’s parents by neglecting them in their need and infirmity
• Committing murder, including abortion and euthanasia; harboring deliberate hatred of others; sexual abuse of another, especially of a minor or vulnerable adult; physical or verbal abuse of others that causes grave physical or psychological harm
• Engaging in sexual activity outside the bonds of a valid marriage1
• Stealing in a gravely injurious way, such as robbery, burglary, serious fraud, or other immoral business practices
• Speaking maliciously or slandering people in a way that seriously undermines their good name
• Producing, marketing, or indulging in pornography
• Engaging in envy that leads one to wish grave harm to someone else

However, in spite of the non-inclusion of contraception or homosexual activity to the list of sins rendering reception of the Eucharist unworthy, the final vote on “Married Love and Gift of Life” that explicitly named contraception asobjectively immoral” was virtually unanimous: 220-11 with one abstention.


* * * * * * * * * * * *


From the Document: “Happy Are Those Who Are Called to His Supper”

“It is most desirable that we receive the Lord’s Body and Blood, so that Holy Communion stands out clearly as a participation in the sacrifice actually being celebrated. Indeed, we should all cherish the grace given to us in the Eucharist. We should strive to receive Holy Communion regularly, gratefully, and worthily. We may find ourselves in situations, however, where an examination of our conscience before God reveals to us that we should refrain from partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ. Moreover, we should be cautious when making judgments about whether or not someone else should receive Holy Communion.
Lack of Sanctifying Grace:

“In order to receive Holy Communion we must be in communion with God and with the Church. Mortal sin constitutes a rejection of communion with God and destroys the life of grace within us. Mortal sin is an act violating God’s law that involves grave matter and that is performed with both full knowledge and complete consent of the will. If we are no longer in the state of grace because of mortal sin, we are seriously obliged to refrain from receiving Holy Communion until we are reconciled with God and the Church. While we remain members of the body of Christ and continue to be part of the Catholic Church, we have become lifeless or dead members. We no longer share in the common bond of the divine life of the Holy Spirit. Because our sin has separated us from God and from our brothers and sisters in Christ, we have forfeited our right to receive Holy Communion, for the Eucharist, by its very nature, expresses and nurtures this life-giving unity that the sinner has now lost. St. Paul warned the Corinthians that `whoever eats the bread and drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord’ (1 Cor. 11, 27). Manifesting the Father’s mercy, Jesus instituted the Sacrament of Penance precisely to allow us to confess our sins in repentance, receive absolution from the priest, and so receive again the grace of the Holy Spirit, who once more makes us living members of Christ’s body, the Church.
[1]

“Objectively, certain thoughts, actions, and omissions entail grave sinful matter. As Catholics, we are obliged to form our consciences regarding what constitutes grave matter in accordance with the Church’s teaching. While it is not possible to make a complete list of thoughts and actions that involve grave matter [here they chose not to include homosexual activity and contraception] , they would all be serious violations of the law of love of God and of neighbor. If we follow the order of the Ten Commandments, some examples of such thoughts and actions would be:” [Thus, the non-comprehensive list that is given above. This also makes clear the remark of Bishop Serratelli, paraphrased by Amy Welborn: “the drafters did not include contraception because it was not intended to be a comprehensive list of sins and there was a concern that this `particularly difficult pastoral problem’ would distract from everything else in the document.”].


[1] See Pope John Paul II, Encyclical Letter On the Eucharist (Ecclesia de Eucharistia), no. 37: `The two sacraments of the Eucharist and Penance are very closely connected. Because the Eucharist makes present the redeeming sacrifice of the Cross, perpetuating it sacramentally, it naturally gives rise to a continuous need for conversion, for a personal response to the appeal made by Saint Paul to the Christians of Corinth: `We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God’ (2 Cor. 5, 20). If a Christian’s conscience is burdened by serious sin, then the path of penance through the sacrament of Reconciliation becomes necessary for full participation in the Eucharistic Sacrifice.’

6 comments:

GEO. Sm[th said...

FATHER
You left your confession cloth (not an alb)at my house.tell me what you would like me to do about it.
George

Anonymous said...

[b]its here [/b]

[url=http://phentermine.myeasyseek.info]phentermine search[/url]
[url=http://phentermine.viagram.info]phentermine[/url]
[url=http://tramadol.themysearch.info]tramadol[/url]
[url=http://cialis.ringtoners.info]cialis[/url]

Anonymous said...

[url=http://phentermine.networkfindwork.info]Phentermine[/url]
[url=http://phentermine.worksearchuk.info]Phentermine search[/url]
[url=http://ringtone.worksearchsolutions.info]Ringtone search[/url]
[url=http://tramadol.eworksearch.info]Tramadol[/url]
[url=http://phentermine.uniqringtone.info]Phentermine[/url]
[url=http://cialis.goodtone.info]cialis[/url]

Anonymous said...

[b] Relax and enjoy [/b]

[url=http://casino.myeasyseek.info]Casino[/url]
[url=http://viagra.themysearch.info]viagra[/url]
[url=http://myownlook.info]tramadol[/url]
[url=http://cialis.workfinda.info]cialis[/url]

Anonymous said...

Tramadol, viagra

[url=http://viagra.themysearch.info]viagra[/url]
[url=http://myownlook.info]tramadol[/url]
[url=http://cialis.workfinda.info]cialis[/url]

Anonymous said...

Latest news. Viagra, cialis

[url=http://viagra.rxworlddata.info]viagra[/url]
[url=http://cialis.rxtvinfo.info]cialis[/url]
[url=http://tramadol.rxplusinfo.info]tramadol[/url]