The NCR dissents from Humanae vitae, the Church’s moral teaching

I imagine His Excellency Most Reverend Robert Finn, Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph (MO), has a very full schedule, and therefore doesn’t have time to read each issue of the ultra-leftist National Catholic Reporter (published nearly in His Excellency’s own backyard).

Just in case Bishop Finn doesn’t read it regularly… and I imagine not many people do… he ought to pay attention to this recent NCRep editorial about Humanae vitae.

Let’s read this with my emphases and comments.

Humanae Vitae at 40 years

By NCR Staff
Publication date:
July 25, 2008
Section:
C. Editorials

As we roll through 2008, the press is filled with 40-year anniversary stories. 1968 was a tumultuous year; some say it was a year that helped define America for years to come.  [It still divides much of Catholic America, for sure.]

The baby boomers recall vividly the Vietnam War Tet offensive in January; the April assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; the Paris Peace talks and riots in May; the June assassination of Sen. Robert Kennedy; and the August protest riots in Chicago at the Democratic convention among nation-shaping events that year.

Catholics might recall another 1968 defining moment, the July 29 encyclical called Humanae Vitae, literally “Of Human Life.” The encyclical was a sensitively written expression about the sanctity of marital love and the need to nurture life in marriage. But whatever else it stated, it has been remembered for only one thing: the upholding of the Catholic church’s ban on birth control.

The encyclical upheld Pope Pius XII’s support of the rhythm method (now called natural family planning) [I think there are significant differences between the old "rhythm method" and modern NFP.  However, I think this was put in for a reason.  The "rhythm method" was widely derided.  So, I am guessing that the intention is to paint NFP with the same brush, so to discredit it.  This helps to set up the point down the line.] and in doing so, revealed its particular understanding of natural law. [Did the "rhythm method" have a "particular understanding of natural law"?]  Its reasoning, theologians say, rested on the physiological structure of the act of intercourse while largely discounting the larger context of human love and family life.

Less than a decade after the encyclical’s promulgation, polls showed it was overwhelmingly rejected by Catholics. Eight out of 10 adult U.S. Catholics simply disregarded it. While bishops were largely upholding the document, many priests in pastoral settings, including confessionals, were saying it was a matter for individual conscience.

By any measure, a gulf between official church teachings and Catholic practice [Again, watch the word choice.  I think "official" is code for "something we don’t really have to pay attention to" because, after all, people who are moved by "the spirit/Spirit" are above that sort of backward view of the Church. All those rules stiffle real Church.] had begun to grow and was to continue to grow and to permeate a host of other Catholic teachings on sexuality and morality from homosexuality to the use of condoms in the fight against the HIV virus. The right of women to have special say in reproduction, then an almost exclusively male terrain, was soon added to the list.  [Note the shift to a feminist perspective that pits women again men.]

In the four decades since the encyclical was promulgated, the church hierarchy, fully recognizing Catholic lay resistance to the strongly stated ban on the use of birth control, dug in. Pope John Paul II affirmed Humanae Vitae as a pillar of Catholic morality — as well as a pillar of papal authority[the NCR just made this into a power issue.]

Meanwhile, Catholic lay confidence in the institution was eroding by the year.  [What "institution", the Church?  That is the "institutional" dimension of the Church?  Otherwise, perhaps the "institution" they are talking about is "papal authority"?  The antecedent isn’t entirely clear.  However, the intent is clear.  NCR is pitting an "official" or "institution" or "rule-bound" hierarchical Church against the lay people who are making up their own minds about things and the priests who advise them.]

Torn between following the advice of a partially lay pontifical commission, created to assess the birth control issue, a commission that eventually supported changes in church teaching, and his desire to remain consistent with earlier papal declarations, Pope Paul VI chose the later course. [Hang on.  What about Paul VI’s desire to do the right thing?  It wasn’t a simple choice between the past and the future.  It was about the truth.]  The need to assert church authority persuaded him. [Again, the NCR makes this into a power issue.  The purpose is to help the reader over to the position that because the decision had such a (low) motivation, those who are enlivened the "the spirit/Spirit" can discount the teaching of Humanae vitae and other rule-bound official Church teachings about morals because they are, after all, only rooted in the desire to maintain power.]

After all, he reasoned, how could the Holy Spirit have allowed the church to be wrong for so many years on an issue of such importance? [THAT is how they describe Paul VI’s reasoning?  How stupid do they think we are?]  His decision, in the end, was more indicative of church hierarchical dysfunction — the institution’s inability to look at matters, particularly sexuality, in light of new understandings and insights — than it was seemingly of any movement of the Holy Spirit[And there it is folks!  The "spirit/Spirit" is guiding the enlightened!]

Research conducted by sociologist Fr. Andrew M. Greeley found that the encyclical so shook Catholics that by itself, it would have reduced religious practice by almost one-half. That decline never fully occurred, and the reason it did not, Greeley found, was the favorable impact the Second Vatican Council was having on the lives of most Catholics[Right.  But we are not talking about the actual documents of the Council, but rather the "spirit", again, but this time the "spirit of Vatican II", the breaking of "institutions", the deconstruction of whatever was rule-bound or official.]

Repeated U.S. surveys find that Catholics regard church teachings on sexual morality increasingly out of sync with their lived experience and their understanding of love and intimacy. [You are to conclude from this that whatever conflicts with the majority opinion (the rule-bound institutional Church still trying to keep its grip on power by controling how people have sex) is therefore against love and intimacy.] They knew and still know [Notice the authority they give to this "knowledge".  It supercedes "official" Church teaching and any insight or motivation the "hierarchy" might have.] that sex between husband and wife is capable of creating far more than new humans. [Dog bites man.] They also know their gay sons and daughters are not disordered. [Another shot at the Church’s "official teaching" about the nature of homosexual orientation.] The surveys have confirmed Rome’s worst fears, [Remember, for the NCR the " Rome" (a bad thing) is only about men struggling to maintain power.] causing at times even more thunderous condemnations [HUH?] that have failed to win many converts. So the cycle of dysfunction and disbelief continues.

National Catholic Reporter July 25, 2008

Clearly, the Diocese of Kansas City doesn’t have much to do with publishing the NCRep anymore, but it seems to me that this editorial would be reason enough for the Bishop of Kansas City to weigh carefully the reasons why the NCRep, still has the name "Catholic" in its title.

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98 Responses to The NCR dissents from Humanae vitae, the Church’s moral teaching

  1. Memphis Aggie says:

    A lot to dislike in that editorial. By comparison Mary Eberstadt’s article at First Things is excellent.

  2. Geoffrey says:

    How can I get a subcription to the NCRep? I need something to line my cockatiel’s cage.

  3. The seeds of dissent began in the Vatican.Humanae Vitae was introduced by Archbishop Lambrucini,who announded that the encyclical was ‘not infallible’ or in his words “not irreformable” and invited a discussion on it.I remember whenthe encyclical was annouced,and I remember him saying that.Who was this guy Lembuschin?Whatver became of him?

  4. Susan says:

    It’s always about power with the NCReporter. They can’t stand the fact that Rome has it and they don’t.

  5. Doc Angelicus says:

    One good thing about NCRep is its readership consists in two kinds of people. One kind are the people who already agree with it–there’s no new arguments in there; I’m sort of surprised that they didn’t accuse Paul VI trying to win the world for Christ by having Catholics outbreed everyone else. And it is clear they didn’t actually read HV, or else they would realize how ignorant they sound accusing HV of disregarding love, intimacy, and the wider familial and social context. With respect to this first kind of reader, the NCRep is preaching to the motion ministry, an ever-shrinking group. The other kind are those like Fr. Z and his readers.

    I also object to the use of the word “ban.” Like, Cuban cigars are banned in the US. A ban is a temporary and sometimes punitive measure that can and ought to be lifted when conditions permit it or reason demands it. The Church has no “ban” on, say, murder or theft or blasphemy or sacrilege because neither conditions nor reason could ever justify them. (Likewise the use of “ban” for not having female priests. Perhaps one could say there is a ban on letting married men seek the priesthood.) But contraception and abortion aren’t banned any more than sacrilege and murder.

    Keep up the good work, Fr. Z.

  6. Baron Korf says:

    I have often wondered if the Catholic Church could somehow trademark the term Catholic. After all, we have been using it to describe ourselves since St Ignatius of Antioch. I mean, I don’t think I could get away with having a newspaper called the People’s Republic of China Reporter and print whatever I liked.

  7. Ed says:

    I’m sorry, Father, if I hit a tangent (delete if necessary) but I am so tired of people equating NFP with the rhythm method. I got this time and again from a deacon, who clearly used it as a pejoritive, in my moral theology class. First, by calling NFP the “rhythm method,” one suggests that it is not scientific and prone to failure. Second, and almost worse, as far as I’m concerned, in our sound-byte world it forces the NFP proponent into a defensive and utilitarian position, and once NFP is seen as entirely and only utilitarian (instead of holistic), it simply becomes another “contraceptive.” [Albeit more in line with Church teaching, but even NFP can be abused.] As an aside–as as my friends well know–as was thoroughly ridiculed for being such an “aggressive defender of Church teaching” by an avid National “Catholic” Reporter subscriber. [Memphis Aggie–this was in a class at CBU]

    On a positive, yes, Eberstadt’s First Things article was terrific. This link provides the Smith-Curran Humanae Vitae debate (that, I’m led to believe, Fr. Curran doesn’t want re-issued…I may be mistaken there…).

  8. Deusdonat says:

    Baron – funny you should say that. In Mohammedan countries, such as Pakistan, they have actually gone so far as trademark Islam. There are many sects within Islam; the largest in Pakistan being the Ahmadis, who of course consider themselves Muslim. In an effort so as not to confuse the two, the government of Pakistan ruled it blasphemy for an Ahmadi to proclaim themself a Muslim or their religion Islam.

    In the West, we have the legacy of freedom of speach, so that whole concept wouldn’t fly here. If Mormon’s can call themselves Christian, then anyone can pretty much call themselves whatever they want with impunity.

    At speaker’s corner in London, I once saw a group proclaiming to be “Christian Atheists”.

  9. Roger says:

    I read the editorial and also the criticisms and understand it well. As a younger person 50 yo, I do not have a clear remembrance of the 1960’s as others do.

    I had a question to put forth regarding the promulgation of HV. It was my understanding that Paul VI requested input into the direction of the promulgation and having assembled the committee’s recommendations, putting aside the majority decision for an allowance of certain types of birth control in favor of a minority rendering presenting HV in essentially the form it was promulgated.

    Again, this is a vague remembrance on my part and I was curious if others had a better recollection of the facts around HV.

  10. Johnny Domer says:

    How many ordinary Catholic laity actually READ Humanae Vitae and then rejected it? How many people found its arguments truly lacking? I can definitely see Joe Sixpack Catholic reading his freshly-printed copy of Humanae Vitae and saying stuff like, “Hmm, I think Paul is showing a limited understanding of natural law; come on honey, let’s go to the pharmacy!” The NCR are idiots to give us this BS that people just “disagreed”; people either rejected the Church’s teaching because everybody else was contracepting and they didn’t understand why the Church was against it, and/or their concupiscence and desire for sex without consequences was leading them towards contracepting anyway, and/or their UNFAITHFUL PRIESTS told them in “pastoral situations” that they could. How many Catholic priests at this time were actually explaining this encyclical, teaching their faithful what the Church’s stance was and WHY the Church took that stance? If Cardinal Stafford is to be believed (http://www.lovingit.co.uk/2008/07/the-bullies-of-1968.html#comments), it probably wasn’t very many in Baltimore.

    I’m beginning to get Mother Angelica-level angry at the “liberal Church in America” or whatever it was she called these dissenting so-and-so’s.

    I’d really like to see what research Andrew Greeley did to prove that “Vatican II” (whatever that means, since nobody was interested in actually implementing what it said, and since I always thought a ton of Catholics left the Church after it) saved half the American Church from leaving or whatever.

  11. Casti Connubii? Good. Humanae Vitae? Better. Theology of the Body? Best yet! A careful development of doctrine as a response to pastoral demands. To be sure, there are those who reduce NFP to the Rhythm Method but it’s a bit like reducing all cars to the Model T Ford! NFP is all about helping a couple understand and work with their own fertility. It helps achieve or avoid a pregnancy but all the while being open to life and to God’s Holy Will. With no interference in the unity between spouses and no dangerous doses of synthetic hormones, what’s not to like? If Paul VI hadn’t stood firm, would the exponential development in NFP have taken place? So much to be grateful for! (And the fact that it annoys the NCRep is just an added bonus.)

  12. freddy says:

    The whole thing is a howler, but I especially enjoyed this tidbit:

    “The right of women to have special say in reproduction, then an almost exclusively male terrain…”

    ‘Cause, you know, before the late 1960’s, it was the *men* having the babies.

  13. Dr. Bombay says:

    I believe if Bishop Finn attempted to bring some sort of canonical penalty to bear against the NCR for using the term “Catholic” it would merely raise the profile of what surely must be a dying enterprise. Perhaps that’s his thinking.

  14. LCB says:

    Well, if the newspaper is nationally published with massive cirulation, and the local bishop doesn’t object or censure after repeated dissent, one is forced to conclude that…. ?

    Sounds like the same reason my diocese still carries Fr. McBrien’s column.

  15. Logan says:

    Eamonn Gaines said,”It helps achieve or avoid a pregnancy but all the while being open to life and to God’s Holy Will.”

    Eamonn: Don’t your realize the contradiction contained in your statement?

  16. HQD says:

    The faith is not democratic…that is why we have pastors, bishops, and the pope…to guide us sheep. If the sheep ran the church…boy oh boy, we’d look like…Anglicans.

  17. bryan says:

    No contradiction in Eammon’s statement. Read it again.

    Allowing a husband and wife to express the unitive aspect of marriage in
    a fruitful manner without the use of chemicals, drugs, barriers (other than
    those naturally existing in the human body based on the phase of the cycle) is
    not contradictory, except when used solely to avoid any chance of pregnancy.

    It is God’s decision whether or not you conceive. Not yours. You can stack
    the odds one way or the other, but, it’s not ultimately up to you.

    We’re not called to propagate like rabbits. The gift also carries with it
    certain responsibilities in line with natural theology.

  18. Peggy says:

    I “love” This new “lived experience” line of argument. A reportedly solid Catholic scripture scholar, Luke Timothy Johnson, went off the reservation about homosexual morality when he learned of his daughter’s being an active lesbian. He’s twisting himself into a pretzel to find morality in his daughter’s lifestyle. He used the expression “lived experience” or something close to that to discredit the Bible and Catholic teaching. Poor man. Bp. Braxton prohibited Johnson from speaking at a Newman Center in the Belleville diocese this year because of Johnson’s public dissent.

  19. Geometricus says:

    Like Ed: this could be a bit of a tangent…

    The rhythm/NFP thing is a matter of science: the rhythm method, if its strict rules are followed actually has about an 85% effectiveness rate for postponing pregnancy. However, most couples who practiced it had little understanding of the science involved, and didn’t really follow the actual rules, but rather practiced a more “laid back” rhythm method. But they were also a little more open to life than most of today’s couples who wait so long to start having kids that there is really only time for one or two before they get too old.

    Modern NFP with thermometers and computer charts is proven 99% effective for those who practice it with an understanding of the science involved and the same self-discipline all adults need to negotiate their daily lives. But the effectiveness and the science and following the rules is the easy part. Many of today’s couples need to be more generous and less materialistic: that is the difficulty for them. They often choose a more comfortable lifestyle over the supreme good of having another child when they can well afford it. (Please, if you suffer from infertility, I am not talking about you! Please don’t take offense.)

  20. Jeff Miller says:

    Typical article for them, they walk the line of dissent without actually denying Church teaching. They hope for the death of a thousand blows by repeatedly questioning people’s reaction to it.

    Hey many people don’t give the preferential love to the poor that they should, I guess we should also throw out this Church teaching. Not everyone is yet a saint so I guess we should dump growing in holiness also.

    What about the “lived experience” of the saints?

    They need to have Catholic stripped from their name.

  21. Tim Ferguson says:

    It’s true that the National Catholic Distorter is deeply affected by the demographic solution – I think it’s a safe bet that, because of declining and aging readership, it will go monthly within 5 years (perhaps coinciding with a decision to only offer a large-print edition) and be completely irrelevant within a decade.

    Still, I would not be at all adverse to Bishop Finn launching a shot across the bow. Perhaps, instead of trying to take “Catholic” out of their name, he could launch a weekly newspaper, called “The National Catholic Reporter,” coming from a truly Catholic perspective and see if the current NCRep tries to sue him for infringement. THAT would make an interesting court case.

  22. Ed says:

    The perceived contradiction from Eammon’s argument rests in the translation by the Daughters of St. Paul that most English speaking readers of Humanae Vitae know. Paragraph 11 in the DSP translation reads, “Nonetheless the Church, calling men back to the observance of the norms of the natural law, as interpreted by their constant doctrine, teaches that each and every marriage act (quilibet matrimonii usus) must remain open to the transmission of life.” Dr. Janet Smith (ph.d. in classics) translates it this way: “But the Church, which interprets natural law through its unchanging doctrine, reminds men and women that the teachings based on natural law must be obeyed [observandis], and teaches that it is necessary that each and every conjugal act [matrimonii usus] remain ordained in itself [per se destinatus] to the procreating of human life.” (Here’s her translation.)

    In other words, as Bryan pointed out, the marital act is not to be altered by a human act (coitus interruptus, the pill, barrier methods, etc.). Now, should fertility be removed by some action outside the authority of human ability (infertile periods, pregnancy, menopause), the sexual act can “remain ordained in itself to the procreating of human life” (after all, that’s what genitals do) without resulting in conception and without the couple’s acting immorally by subverting the natural law. Obviously, they are not then seeking conception, but they’ve done nothing to detach the procreative and unitive functions of the sexual act. In such a way, they’ve “remained open,” as the DSP puts it (not to mention allowing, by not using contraception, for the random five-day sperm life and/or miraculous conception by the hand of God!).

  23. Matthew M. says:

    Geometricus, I see you are deploying that ‘99% effective’ statistic about modern NFP. I have looked around, and failed to find any evidence of this being true.

    Practical (anecdotal) evidence of speaking with other traditional Catholic familes indicates that ‘99%’ is quite an exaggeration. I have met many children conceived inadvertently while using NFP.

    Beyond that quibble, doesn’t it kind of defeat the anti-contraceptive presupposition of NFP to market it… as a highly effective means of avoiding contraception?

  24. Matthew M. says:

    sorry, I meant to end with the word ‘conception’.

  25. athanasius says:

    Eight out of 10 adult U.S. Catholics simply disregarded it

    I love it. First they maintain that a majority of Catholics reject it, then they give you figures for the United states. We are supposed to accept American practice as the model for the whole Church? What about Latin America, what about Catholics in Europe? What about Asia? Such an all encompassing claim and it is not even backed up. Of course it wouldn\’t be hard in Europe, but I think Latin America would yield better statistics, not to mention that today, there are many more Catholics that accept the Church\’s teaching. Not that that is a determiner of truth anyway.

    Given that America is the largest exporter of Satan\’s medium, pornography, has the largest percentage of its population in jail of any nation in the world, and has the largest number of men going over seas for under age prostitutes, I would say anything done in America is a model of how not to do it elsewhere.

  26. Ed says:

    Matthew–the 99% effective stat is always given in conjuction with this caveat: “as long as the rules are followed.” Odds are that those families misinterpreted data and/or, frankly, decided that vacation shouldn’t be wasted. ;)

  27. athanasius says:

    Now, should fertility be removed by some action outside the authority of human ability (infertile periods, pregnancy, menopause), the sexual act can “remain ordained in itself to the procreating of human life” (after all, that’s what genitals do) without resulting in conception and without the couple’s acting immorally by subverting the natural law. Obviously, they are not then seeking conception, but they’ve done nothing to detach the procreative and unitive functions of the sexual act. In such a way, they’ve “remained open,” as the DSP puts it (not to mention allowing, by not using contraception, for the random five-day sperm life and/or miraculous conception by the hand of God!).

    Ed,

    There is a far more succinct way to put this, “procreation is not equivalent to conception”.

  28. Matthew M. says:

    I apologize for writing so much here, but I have one more question.

    NFP is often characterized with words like “Modern NFP with thermometers and computer charts”. I can’t help but wonder: what is ‘natural’ about thermometers and computer charts, together with mucus samples and the other details of the NFP system?

    It sounds more like a laboratory experiment It sounds nothing like a natural, loving, holy, romantic sexual union fulfilling the sacrament of marriage.

    In a world where facets of our human nature – our fears, desires, the shapes of our personality – are constantly medicalized and assembled into a therapeutic construction, why should Catholics happily consent to – and celebrate! – the medicalization, this scientific rationalization, of sexuality, one of the greatest wonders of God’s creation?

    I understand there are grave circumstances where NFP can be introduced into a marriage as a tool to either avoid a pregnancy (or to make it more likely to happen!). But the very nature of the word ‘grave’ would mean ‘not the norm’, right? So why is NFP pushed with evangelical zeal as a harbinger of spiritual unity and marital intimacy?

    One test I think we can apply to anybody who thinks there is something new under the sun in Catholic teaching: what about the past 20 centuries? I have seen it suggested by a Catholic theologian that perhaps the 20th century needed NFP moreso because of long commutes to work (seriously!) and several other laughable reasons. But – we live in the wealthiest society the planet has ever seen! Surely our ‘grave reasons’ must be pretty rare?

  29. Mark says:

    A wretched piece of progressive propaganda that pretends to speak for the Catholic “masses”. I find it revealing that the lowest common denominator for progressive causes in our Church usually is sexuality. The so called “sexual liberation” they are still enthralled with has been a boon to the worst instincts of the male, a source of hidden misery for many females, and the beginning of serious psychological problems for the children caught in this maelstrom. Describing this sick reality as some kind of worthy quest of liberation is worthy of Potemkin and his “villages”.

  30. Matthew M. says:

    Ed, I hear what you’re saying: the 99% stat must be accompnied by the ‘so long as you do everything correctly’ caveat. But when somebody says ‘99%’ that is a hard figure – it should be backed up by evidence. Evidence would be a controlled, scientific study.

    What surprises me is, nobody seems to know of any such study. I am open to the statistic – maybe it’s really true, but surely, then, somebody would actually be able to cite a primary source for it?

  31. Ed says:

    Athanasius–I wouldn’t say that “procreation is not equivalent to conception.” The difference in meaning that I tried to convey in the translations is that HV 11 deals with the objective reality of the marital act whereas we typically think of “remain open to life” through a more subjective lens. Dr. Smith’s translation helps to emphasize Paul VI’s objective intent. My apologies for my poor articulation.

  32. Doc Angelicus says:

    Thanks, Ed. I was going to point out the translation problem. The act must be what husband and wife do to have children. The “openness” of the spouses (an emotional/psychological state) is somewhat irrelevant.

    JP-II in Theology of the Body does point out that NFP can be used contraceptively. What is at stake here is the end and the means in light of the circumstances.

    If the circumstances with an informed reason following a well-formed conscience dictate “now we should postpone pregnancy” as a legitimate end (“grave reasons”), then it becomes a question of means. Any means is fine, as long as the act remains what a husband and wife do to have children (per se destinatus). Spouses can’t “do what spouses do to have children” and contracept simultaneously. The spouses might not be open to the transmission of life (due to grave reasons) but their act can and ought to remain ordered to it.

    If those grave reasons are not there, such that an informed reason following a well-formed conscience can’t say, “now we should postpone pregnancy,” then no means of postponing pregnancy can be good, including NFP.

    NCRep talks about love and intimacy. If they deprive the conjugal act of its ordering to transmission of life, then they also deprived it of its ordering to love and intimacy. It is therefore ordered to other things.

  33. David Cheney says:

    In the early years of the National Catholic Reporter the Diocese did sue over the name. The Diocese lost the lawsuit.

  34. Ed says:

    Matthew M.–the “natural” part of NFP’s name is that the scientific method used requires no pills, chemicals, artifical barriers, etc. There are “tools of the trade,” so to speak, to measure. Still, I see your point–and NFP can and is abused. JPII actually spent several ToB talks on that problem. Using NFP, however, certainly points one toward the realization of the need to let go of his own selfishness and trust that God desires more children far more than any contraceptive/contraceptive mentality could. Again, though, I do see, and agree to an extent, with your point.

    Also, here’s a link to CCLI’s on-line article, “Natural Family Planning Effectiveness.” It’s not as detailed as I’d like–no graphs, etc.–but it does proves some numbers. I hope it’s helpful!

  35. With modern methods of NFP, there is no guesswork or prediction of any kind. The problem with such methods is that they expect a couple to interpret menstrual signs in the most conservative manner, which means sex can be very infrequent, if a woman has ambiguous signs or irregular periods. So it’s 99% effective, but for some couples, it means only having sex a few times per month. Of course, in theory, some couples could have sex every day of the month except for maybe 8-10 days of possible fertility, so it varies.

    In any case, if a couple demands 100% “protection” against conception (which not even the Pill provides), their union is nothing but the vile spawn of lust, no matter what method they use.

    To use NFP, a couple needs to accept the possibility that the act may lead to conception, thus there should be no inadvertent or accidental children. That mentality is contrary to the moral use of NFP. It’s like firing a loaded rifle, yet being surprised when the gun goes off because you expected it to jam.

  36. KK says:

    It amazes me still how the NCR and Angelus Press are mere blocks from each other and the chancery.

  37. Prof. Basto says:

    Interesting to note that they mention “Catholic lay resistance” to the this teaching of the Magisterium, instead of just, for instance, “lay resistance”; “Catholic practice” of disregarding this moral docrine, as if there was something Catholic about it.

    One cannot be Catholic and reject the Church’s teaching on matters of morals at the same time.

    Why is it that this newspaper is still allowed to display the Catholic name????

  38. Matthew M. says:

    Ed, I appreciate the ccli.org link! There is considerable substantiation of numbers.

    Alas, reading the summary of the methodology used within some of the research only highlights the unhappily …technical nature of NFP.

  39. wmeyer says:

    It’s worth noting, too, that Fr. Andrew Greeley, in his many novels, has routinely taken shots at then Cardinal Ratzinger, painting him as somewhat to the right of the members of the John Birch Society. A look at Fr. Greeley’s blog, for those who may not be familiar with him, makes plain that his own position on social matters tracks closely that of Barack Obama and Fr. Pleger.

    But none of that, of course, would have influenced in any way his scholarly conclusions, would it?

  40. Ed says:

    A biography of JPII I read some time ago called Man of the Century claimed that Fr. Greeley purported to have attempted to fix the October 1978 conclave. (He didn’t like the outcome.) It’s too bad with Greeley, really–aside from his obvious disagreement with HV and his dislike of JPII, his book The Catholic Imagination is, for the most part, rather good.

  41. Jayna says:

    The “cycle of dysfunction and disbelief”? Seriously? Are we entirely sure this is a Catholic newspaper?

  42. BobP says:

    “If Paul VI hadn’t stood firm, would the exponential development in NFP have taken place?”

    It wasn’t quite like that. The Pope’s actions, changing the liturgy, allowing the vernacular, relaxing the Friday abstinence, issuing Progressio Populorum (read paragraph 37), and making it seem that the birth control issue was going to be a slam-dunk as most of the theologians he invited were pro-ABC, easily convinced even his own priests to start the “use your own conscience” approach with their parishioners. Let’s fact it, once you hear what you want to hear, you’re not going to obey HV. Or even NFP.

    Had Pope Paul issued the HV in 1963 or 1964, it would have definitely been more firmer.

  43. LarryD says:

    Great job, Fr Z. The editorial staff doesn’t even have the intestinal fortitude to put their actual names to
    this screed.

    I’d like to recommend Cardinal Stafford’s reflection printed by the Catholic News Agency, called The Year Of The Peirasomos. He was present at
    the August 1968 meeting of priests in Baltimore, called by Curran. He was the priest not to vote “no” on
    Humanae Vitae. It’s a great piece.

  44. Rose says:

    Speaking only of the practical level, I think the Church could support scientific research into user-friendly, reliable and immediate fertility monitoring. The Church is often seen as anti-science because it is reduced to protesting against artificial means of birth control or abortion; maybe we can turn the focus to actively supporting and funding reasearch into NFP.

  45. LCB says:

    “It amazes me still how the NCR and Angelus Press are mere blocks from each other and the chancery.
    Comment by KK — 28 July 2008 @ 5:33 pm”

    Proof that God has a sense of humor.

  46. Giusébio Chocolio says:

    The Church teachings have always been in sync with my lived experience. Sometimes, and so help me God, I am not in sync with the Church teachings.

  47. Virgil says:

    The beauty of NFP is that it springs from the “lived experience” of the couples who use it. The charts and thermometers and samples are a very holy way of “living,” an enhanced awareness of a woman’s procreative being. And it invites her spouse’s awareness of his wife’s body.

    Perhaps “80%” have a different “lived experience.” But their awareness of their own bodies and sexuality is probably compromised. The message of Humanae Vitae is that these folks miss the boat because they are living less.

    It amazes me that the Earth Mother types at the NCR don’t seem to understand. NFP should be a no-brainer for any feminist, because it keeps her and her husband aware of the beauty of her body and its functions. Now THAT is power!

  48. Virgil says:

    I caution folks against this idea that NCR, or any other “dissenter” from particular bits of orthodoxy, should be banned from use of the “Catholic” trademark.

    Remember that they might make the argument in the reverse direction. Many of my friends are subscribers to the NCR, and they are quite convinced that it is a mainstream publication. In my experience it is exactly that: it’s not a stretch to believe that 80% of the priests and other fulltime Catholic leaders in the US and Europe find its opinions in synch with their own beliefs about what the “Church” teaches. (“Church” is, of course, “People of God” and “Primacy of Conscience” and “The Theologians” and “Spirit” and a dozen other things in addition to the Bark of Peter.)

    Our job is not to rip the word “Catholic” from their masthead. Our job is to be a wee thorn in their side, reminding them of what the word means, and encouraging them to wear it more proudly.

  49. What do you think the USCCB wold have to do if ‘Catholic’ became a trademark of The Vatican?

  50. mcitl says:

    There ARE significant differences between the rhythm method and NFP. Differences like, say, the difference between abysmally low effectiveness for rhythm and 99% effectiveness for NFP.

    Is that different enough?

    See http://www.ccli.org for more info.

  51. Mary Conces says:

    Thanks to Larry D. for the link to Cardinal Stafford’s poignant and profound memoir.

    Mary Conces

  52. Sharon says:

    Just to add to the comments about NFP, there is a system called the Creighton Model of Fertility. It is purely observational (no thermometers) and utilizes a specialized charting system. The model is used for gynecological health as well as conception (or avoidance of pregnancy). The charting method can point to signs of hormonal imbalances, which is serious, for example, if a woman conceives but has low levels of progesterone. I found that out through tragic circumstances. The charting can also indicate health issues. Part of the learning process is to involve both spouses; it is even suggested that the husband do the recording.

    But it is true that any system can be abused.

  53. Anonoymous says:

    Aren’t the blue hared, ex-hippie disenting “Catholics” who read the NCR past the age to be fussing with contraception?

  54. Annibale says:

    I find it’s best to read a bit of the Wanderer and a bit of the NCR, then filter out their biases and find the truth existing pretty much in the middle. Find that “America” strikes a pretty good balance between the two extremes.

  55. I don’t think they’d be able to win a lawsuit to strip them of the name Catholic. Look at abortion advocate Kissling’s so-called “Catholics for Choice” or the website “Catholics for Obama.”

    But, we need the USCCB to denounce NCR firmly and stated publically that it is not a Catholic publication. We also need bishops to get a little more interested in the book racks in the back of churches. Perhaps they could call in the pastors who offer such heretical literature.

    Sometimes I hear people say, “I buy it to know what their saying.” I find this bogus. If all the people who think this way stopped buying such garbage, the publication would go out of print. Should we buy porn magazines to see what people are looking at?
    Why drink from foul stagnant waters of heresy when the fresh and pure streams of orthodoxy are available? Otherwise you just pollute your mind.

    Finally, NCR says, “the July 29 encyclical called Humanae Vitae.” Humanae Vitae dates itself to JULY 25!!! Was it released on the 29th?

  56. Rachel says:

    Sharon,

    that is the method that I use. I think it might be the easiest. You make the observations when one is in the restroom and chart at the end of the night. It does not require any thermometers, etc. It isn’t intrusive like some of the other posters have stated and yes…it does help to indicate if there is something wrong with the hormone levels. I’m getting more confident in using the system. As for as the men charting..lol..I know that that is suggested but…I think the woman ends up doing that. What the husband is there to do is to be supportive so that together they can make the decisions they need for their family with God’s help of course :)

  57. Are you nuts, Annibale?
    How can you compare the Wanderer and NCR?
    You would only be correct if the Wanderer endorsed heresy.
    NCR clearly does endorse heresy. If you can’t see that I suggest you read the Catechism.
    You’ll find the Truth there not in “filtering.”

  58. RBrown says:

    Research conducted by sociologist Fr. Andrew M. Greeley found that the encyclical so shook Catholics that by itself, it would have reduced religious practice by almost one-half. That decline never fully occurred, and the reason it did not, Greeley found, was the favorable impact the Second Vatican Council was having on the lives of most Catholics.

    Fr Greeley is inadvertently referring to the fact that a lot of people have had the false notion that VatII freed them from obligation to moral doctrine. They saw no contradiction between being a practicing Catholic and practicing contraception. Of course, this notion has been expanded to extra marital sex, incl homosexuality.

    Once Latin liturgy was replaced by the vernacular, respect for the authority of the Church began to wither, a phenomenon that should not have surprised anyone who has read Veterum Sapientia.

  59. Mark says:

    I just have one quick comment about NFP method just because it seems that some posters are completely unfamiliar with the practical aspects, the nuts and bolts, of NFP. My wife and I have been practicing NFP our entire marriage, which admittedly is not very long (we have only been married seven months and are in our early 20s). We have learned it, in conjunction with delving deeply into the Church’s teaching on the matter and by trying to live JPII’s TOB in our marriage. NFP is far from some oppressive, clinical, or scientific dissection of a woman’s cycle. With a conscience formed in our faith and 100% behind the Church’s teaching (after all what is the point of being Catholic if you want to pick and choose parts of the faith? It is an all or nothing gig.), we try every month to evaluate whether God is calling us to be parents at this time or whether we have a grave reason to abstain. This is the discussion that it requires which can be fruitful to a marriage, not discussions of mucus and temperatures. It requires us (not that we wouldn’t do it anyway) to deeply and prayerfully examine our motives and to always be open to God’s gift of life regardless. But I digress… Practically speaking about the method, my wife wakes up the same time every day, orally takes her temperature (you would be surprised how many people think it is some other kind of temperature taking), which takes all of a minute. When I get up, I write it down. Simple as that. Regarding the mucus sign, she observes during the day when she goes to the bathroom and we chart it at the end of the day. We spend probably 2 minutes total spread throughout the day on the physical observations. Armed with this knowledge and applying very basic rules (which believe it or not are not as “conservative” so as to reduce marital relations to a handful of times a month–regardless of how crazy a cycle may be), we prayerfully consider throughout the month what God is calling us to do. It is simple as that. (on a side note all NFP is is fertility awareness and periodic abstainince — it is quite a substantial bit different from contraception)

  60. The dissenters from Humanae Vitae are largely Proportionalist.
    In the early 1960’s Peter Knauer laid the groundwork for this heretical moral system by isolating the criterion of proportionality out of the 4 criteria of the principle of Double Effect.
    This was especially strange since the principle of Double Effect is only used in extraordinary circumstances.
    Making a whole moral system out of proportionality, the Proportionalists (Haring, McCormick, Curran, Gula, etc)invented the concept of “premoral” evils and said you can’t call indidivual actions in themselves morally evil. They also adopted a false notion of “fundamental option” which basically allows one to do knowingly that which is grave matter but not commit mortal sin. Eventually, they would say that it is not invidival decisions and actions in marriage that matter but the totality of these decisions. They justify contraception as long as the totality of the marriage is open to life. Proportionalism thrives on ambiguity and can conveniently say it is not understood when its illogical conclusions are countered.

    Proportionalism is bogus with its discredited onion model of the human person. God certainly chose Pope John Paul II who exposed their heresies. Only some ageing fools like those on the staff of NCR cling to proportionalism which conveniently can justify any sin that thrills ya.

  61. mcitl says:

    Thanks, Mark. Awesome insights and witness…

  62. Please, let me direct anyone interested in a New York Priest’s poignant anecdote comparing the contraceptive mentality against that of faithful Catholics in 1965 to a short excerpt from Msgr. George A. Kelly’s ”Keeping the Church Catholic with John Paul II” (New York: Doubleday, 1990): pp. 40-41:
    http://auferanobis.blogspot.com/2007/11/humanae-vitae.html

  63. ta1275 says:

    Bishop Finn has been the target of a smear campaign by the NCR in the past. I am sure he is quite aware of what goes on at that paper.

  64. PMcGrath says:

    Through a post from His Heremenuticalness, I’ve just read an article by none other than James Cardinal Stafford, the Major Penitentiary, entitled The Year of the ????????? (Peirasmòs) – 1968. The ????????? (temptation) in question was the extreme pressure put on then-Father Stafford to sign a newspaper ad publicly dissenting against HV. That pressure was exerted by hundreds of fellow Baltimore priests!

    It would take too long to excerpt it here — read the whole thing, as they say.

  65. Quote from aricle: “Its reasoning, theologians say, rested on the physiological structure of the act of intercourse while largely discounting the larger context of human love and family life.”

    Excuse my ignorance but what does this mean? The best I can come upwith is that they are caliming that family considerations etc. outweigh the morality of the act itself. Or hae I still got it wrong?

  66. Kate says:

    My husband grew up (protestant) in KC, so it was no suprise when my Mom passed on a NCRep with a cover story about B. Finn, KC’s new bishop. After reading the hatchet job, my husband and I decided to subscribe to The Catholic Key, the KC diocesan newspaper. Why? Because the NCRep stressed the fact that mean-old B. Finn had instructed the editor to stop carrying McBrien’s column. The editor quit and according to the article, many subscibers had cancelled their papers because Finn pulled the heretic…

  67. Eric says:

    For those of you who equate NFP to contraception. Engaging in the marital union during infertile times is not a sin and not engaging in the marital union during fertile times is not a sin. Certainly a couple can be guilty of selfishness but that is entirely different sin than an intentional frustration of the marital union. They are not the same.
    As for judging someone elses “grave reasons”, that is up to them and their spiritual advisors.

  68. Fr. Z.,

    Your friend, Mr. John Allen, had a thoughtful piece in the New York Times of all places, on HV 40 years later. Would he be willing to let you post it for comment?

  69. Cathomommy says:

    “It amazes me still how the NCR and Angelus Press are mere blocks from each other and the chancery.

    Comment by KK — 28 July 2008 @ 5:33 pm”

    Must make for some interesting moments in the lunch line at the neighborhood Wendy’s. Especially on Fridays:

    Angelus Guy: “Ummmm, I’ll have a baked potato…no bacon bits…and a side salad…”
    NCR Guy: “Yeah, I’ll have a triple bacon cheeseburger….extra bacon, please!”

  70. Bud Norbert says:

    NFP represents the spiritual median between the Culture of Death found in Klan Parenthood and the
    wreckless procreating of our ancestors in the pre-industrial age when infant mortality was high

  71. Victoria says:

    Out to dinner with three practising Catholic families – 19 living children – the conversation turned to NFP. Apparently there is an elderly scientist in Australia who has developed a foolproof method of charting the fertile and non fertile periods which is easier to put into practise than the NFP method. He is looking for someone to whom he can pass on his stats. So far, in Australia, there are no takers.

  72. Logan says:

    Muslims will take over Europe & possibly the USA, not
    by forece of arms, but in the hospital materntiy wards.

  73. Logan says:

    May I suggest a relevant book?

    The Death of the West: How Dying Populations
    by Patrick Joseph Buchanan.

  74. LCB says:

    What’s reckless about procreating? Children are the greatest gift God gives, a person is extraordinarily blessed by having more children. Each child is a life God has decided to create. How, exactly, is accepting God’s blessings reckless?

  75. TJM says:

    Children create “Global Warming.” The planet is far more important than people, in lefty world. Father Greeley, by the way, keeps trotting out that old
    canard that Humanae Vitae caused a steep drop in Sunday Mass attendence in the US. Humanae Vitae was issued in 1968 and the “reforms” of the Mass began in 1964. By
    1968 there had already been a significant drop in American Catholics who attended Sunday Mass, an “incovenient fact” which undercuts Father Greeley’s
    theory. Tom

  76. Matt says:

    “wreckless procreating ”

    Nowhere in Church teaching or Scripture will you find any child to be considered anything other than a blessing. Judge not the generosity of prior generations to the call of God to create saints.

    Gobless,

    Matt

  77. Matt says:

    oops, that is “God Bless”…

  78. Josh says:

    One of the annoying (there are many) parts of the negative criticism on Humanae Vitae is the notion that
    the encyclical advocates NFP for married couples. Rather, the encyclical advocates being open to life,
    and the use of NFP to adjust the timing of births only for serious reasons.

  79. athanasius says:

    Reckless Procreating

    That is what I despise about the modern NFP mentality found among some Catholics. Grave reasons, sure, serious conditions that create danger for the mother, sure. However it is essentially contraceptive in intent to declare that everyone must use NFP to avoid being “reckless”. That is the exact same argument Margaret Sanger advanced for the pill in the 30s. It automatically has determined that the number of children must be restricted because it is “reckless” to have too many. That is sheer nonsense and inherently unCatholic.

    Catholics of past generations trusted in God to give to them exactly what they needed, not what they wanted or determined for themselves was reckless. I’ve never used NFP and never would, because I have faith in God’s providence rather than my ability to make judgments and restrictions on the gift of life, and sure enough, He has given us what we need in 3 years of marriage without NFP.

    I think John Galvin’s essay of a few years ago criticizing the short comings in Humanae Vitae’s approach to that issue is most apt on this subject.

  80. athanasius says:

    Actually, here is the essay. Above is a response to criticism from the Wanderer, which caused me to cancel my Wanderer subscription years ago.

  81. LCB says:

    Athanasius, the response by the author caused you to cancel your Wanderer subscription? It seems good form to publish a response from someone after a 4 part series lambasting (and rightly so) their position.

  82. athanasius says:

    No, the response by the Wanderer, not the author! Sorry what I wrote was so ambiguous. I felt the Wanderer was demagoguing the issue, which is why I canceled them. Never looked back.

    I’m all with Mr. Galvin.

  83. Crusader Airman says:

    OK…I’m a little surprised that there is still so much mis- and dis-information on NFP out there…

    My wife and I practice NFP and our relations are decidedly not “very infrequent” nor is the method complex. We use the Billings Method now, we’re in our 40’s, but we used the “Creightion Sympto-thermal” method when we were trying (successfully) to conceive our daughter.

    The “Rhythm Method” was merely counting and guesswork….and hasn’t been used by anyone except shy teenagers in decades. Certainly not by NFP couples.

    http://www.onemoresoul.org & http://www.ccli.org

  84. Guy Power says:

    Repeated U.S. surveys find that Catholics regard church teachings on sexual morality increasingly out of sync with their lived experience and their understanding of love and intimacy.

    Isn’t that “bass-ackwards”? Shouldn’t it truly read, “Repeated U.S. surveys find that Catholics, with their lived experience and their understanding of love and intimacy, are increasingly out of sync with church teachings on sexual morality.

  85. Laura says:

    I think there is some truth there with what those dissenters from HV say. In our marriage, we only use NFP. Now we have two kids, and sometimes life is quite exhausting, even with two of them. “Intimacy” or “love” between spouses can really be challenged when waking up every night for over a year and running after the older child all day. Sometimes life with two little bunches of joy can be, well, anything but happy. It gets better, though, as years go by. But who wants that to start all over again after having succesfully gone that through two times…?
    I admire you, mothers and fathers (who do your part!) of big families but don’t feel called to have one. I think babies should be wanted. It is great, if somebody wants a big family and is able to take care of all the kids, too.
    But it’s kind of sad, if babies (hey, they are human beings! They have needs! They also need peace, privacy, good education, parental concern… of course, in poorer counties, most of the children don’t get what they need, but that is not a reason to deny these good things from children born in here) come as “God pleases”. How can you know God’s will so surely? What if the whole family is happier with fewer children, when the mother also has some time for herself? What if the parents want to use their brain, too? (and not just wash and clean and organize and wipe noses etc)
    Are we entitled to enjoy life, too? sometimes, quite often, actually, life with small children is anything but enjoyable -at least, for the mother. Again, those with larger families and enjoying it, congratulations! Maybe you are the chosen people. Say a prayer then, for a poor woman out here who also wants to use her brain to study and understand and enjoy beauty of music and do things with friends and relatives -and with my dear children,whose company I enjoy day and day more, after a good-night’s sleep and their growing understanding. Yes, not all the catholic mothers are happy with 10 children.

  86. LCB says:

    Laura,

    You asked, “How can you know God’s will so surely?” Well, you conceived. It’s now clear what God’s will is.

    You asked, “Are we entitled to enjoy life, too?” Part of the vocation to parenting is learning that life isn’t about you. It’s about God, others, and self-sacrifice.

    If children are the single greatest blessing God can give, then wouldn’t a person want as many as God will give?

  87. Dave Lewis says:

    http://contraskeptic.blogspot.com/2007/01/use-nfp-it-doesnt-work.html

    A few years ago, the neo-con Crisis Magazine published a tongue in cheek article on NFP that sent the Popquacks nuts. Any one have the entire article?

  88. Cathomommy says:

    Laura,
    I second what LCB said: the greatest thing parenting has taught me is to die to self. It is not about me. I have 4 boys ages 6 and under, and a 5th baby on the way. Do I wish that my home were quieter and more peaceful? Sure. Would I enjoy some more time to myself now and then? Of course. But is any of that worth NOT having the children I now have, or future children? Emphatically no. The blessings and joy that I get from my children have much more lasting (eternal) consequences than a few extra minutes to myself would. Christ calls each of us to a life of self-sacrifice, according to our station in life. If a married Catholic woman rejects the creation of an immortal soul in favor of her “quiet time,” priorities are definitely askew.

    This is the whole contraceptive mentality, even if you are using NFP. The methodology is certainly less obectionable, but the mindset is the same. You seem to say, “We’ll let God bless us with new life, sure, but only if it fits into our schedule and lifestyle.”

    No, it is not sad “when babies come as God pleases.” It is joyful and it is a blessing. Do you really mean to say that if a child can not have “peace, privacy, good education” it would be better off not being conceived in the first place?

    Also, to imply that women do not “use their brains” in caring for their children is completely incorrect. Not to mention insulting.

  89. Laura says:

    I am saying that life must also be worth living. I am not condemning anybody, on the contrary! I am glad if somebody really wants to devote herself/himself to a large family. But there ae other options and rightfully so. We are not all made of the same stuff, our characters (and those of our children) differ, our emotional and financial situations vary, some people just are more positive and can bear more stress than others -and enjoy it! That is very good.
    Sorry if the comment about using one’s brain was insulting. I didn’t mean so. Surely with a large brood you have to use your brain! Though, not maybe in a way, that scholars in the universities use. I am more like that. Still, I am married. Should all those women with university decree and willing to use it, not marry? Are you really saying, that the only way of being a catholic woman is either be a mother of many children or live a life of celibacy? What about working women? Should working outside the home be stongly discouraged by he church?
    I am pretty sure there are many people here who think it should. However, that is not the model I am going to teach to my girls. One can be a faithful catholic mother and still work outside he home (provided, of course, that the children get a good education and maybe that means that he working day not be so long).

    Judge not, so that you won’t be judged. people who are happy with their lives do not have to judge other peoples motives or choices. One can only pray, and be a good example -and enjoy life, as our Lord has given the gift to everyone of us!

  90. Contra Mundam says:

    Laura: “life must also be worth living”

    Hmmm, that sounds awfully familiar. Who was it who first claimed that there was life unworthy of living? Lebensunwertes Leben ?

    ……

    Goebbels, wasn’t it?

  91. Cathomommy says:

    Laura,
    An individual’s happiness and their enjoyment of life is not the “summum bonum,” the highest good. God does not promise us happiness here on this earth.

    I am not judging you as a person, or the state of your soul. But we are allowed, indeed we are supposed to discern a person’s actions, or in the case of a word-related medium such as the Internet, the things a person says.

    Like you, I also have a university degree. And before I married, I used it in the working world. I can honestly say I “use” more of my brain in raising and educating my children than I ever did in a job. Is publishing papers and teaching classes a higher use of one’s brain than teaching one’s own children in academics and the faith?

  92. LCB says:

    Laura,

    It comes down to trust. Do you trust God to do what is best for you, even if you don’t understand it?

    Homeschool your children, teach them latin and other languages, teach them the authentic Christian faith, teach them the real liberal arts (instead of the pig slop that passes for an education in most schools), and you will raise brilliant scholars.

    More importantly than teaching them that they can have a family and a career… you will teach them that their #1 goal in life is getting to heaven.

  93. Tom Weber says:

    Forgive me if this has been mentioned before, but it seems to me there is one NEW argument they are trying to use here. It has been widely observed in recent years that the changes resulting from flawed readings (or no reading at all) of the documents of VII have resulted in a precipitous drop in practice among Catholics — not to mention a slowing of conversions to the faith. But the following paragraph suggests that were it not for the dissidence rampant within the church, HV would have single handedly caused the dismantalling of the faith altogether. Hence, in their reasoning, thank God they dissented, or there would be no church at all:

    “Research conducted by sociologist Fr. Andrew M. Greeley found that the encyclical so shook Catholics that by itself, it would have reduced religious practice by almost one-half. That decline never fully occurred, and the reason it did not, Greeley found, was the favorable impact the Second Vatican Council was having on the lives of most Catholics.”

    It is clearly meant to trump the reasoned logic that by abandoning the bedrock of the faith, droves have stopped practicing the faith. Or is it just the delusions of the the first stages of Alzheimers for the aging hippies?

  94. Louis E. says:

    As I periodically remind people here,I am not a Christian,and I don’t agree with Humanae Vitae.But neither have I time for religious hypocrites.
    If you are successfully able to complete the sentence,
    “(name of religious faith) INCORRECTLY teaches ____________”,you should NOT hold yourself out as a believer in that faith,much less qualified to teach others what it means.The Notionally Catholic Reporter seems little different from the “Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities” in this regard.If (as I do) you see reasons not to be Catholic,have the courage of your convictions,otherwise you are akin to trespassers and identity-thieves.

  95. athanasius says:

    I second what LCB said: the greatest thing parenting has taught me is to die to self.

    Here here! I used to blog often, now it is once in a while. I used to read very widely, now it is once in a while. I have only one son, and he takes a lot of my free time. I’ve spent a lot of time around large families, once there are more children, it becomes easier to spend time with the younger children because as the others get older, they can accomplish chores within the range of their abilities and age, taking responsibility off of Mommy!

    Second, the perceived idea that children cost too much really comes down to lifestyle in many cases (not all, and I’m not judging you, just making an observation). Does one by the name brand clothing, or buy less expensive clothing? The name brand shoes, or less expensive ones? Designer baby clothes? Does one have cable tv, see movies often, eat out often, etc? Many people I have known who said they couldn’t afford a child often could have done so easily if they merely cut back on those extra expenses.

    I work and my wife stays home. I work nearly 60 hours a week, and we pay a mortgage and buy food, because we don’t go out, we don’t have television, we don’t use much electricity and we don’t buy anything unless we have cash in hand. The savings are phenomenal even on my meagre check. Is it hard? Of course it is. But we find joy in all adversities. Pope Pius XII put it beautifully:

    As for you, parents and children of large families, keep on giving a serene and firm testimony of your trust in divine Providence, and be assured that He will not fail to repay you with the testimony of His daily help and, whenever necessary, with those extraordinary helps that many of you have been happy to experience already.

    (online source)
    (Emphasis mine)

  96. Catholic Mom says:

    Two years ago I published this post about NFP. This is my perspective as a Catholic physician, wife, and mother of four. In our current contraceptive culture, the default position is to avoid having children. When a couple is “ready”, they stop whatever contraceptive method they are using and try to conceive a child. Once they have this child, they return to their default position of contracepting. If one tries to make NFP the “contraceptive” method of choice and maintain this same contraceptive mentality, it does indeed appear cumbersome and impractical to think of temperature charts or observations of fertility for the twenty-five years or more of a woman’s fertile married life. However, the Catholic view is that the default position is to be open to life. When after prayer and discernment, a married couple finds that it is best to avoid conception, then they have recourse to the periodic abstinence of NFP. This is considered the exceptional state of the marriage, not the rule. You can read this in this 2006 statement by the Pontifical Council for the Family.

  97. I always understood Collegiality of the bishops to be understood as the bishops’ assisting the Pope in running the universal Church, not the other way around. Apparently some of the dissenting bishops (like cardinal Suenens of Belgium) thought that their teaching charism superceded that of the Pope.

  98. Catholic Insight faces attack on yet another front. You will also be interested to know Catholic Insight has been put on a Heritage Canada watch list for communicating Church doctrine it deems denigrating to homosexuals, Catholic Insight may lose it’s postal subsidy as a result. Heritage Canada has no difficulty funding a Gay Pornography magazine receiving the same subsidy however.

    http://blazingcatfur.blogspot.com/2008/08/heritage-canada-letters-to-catholic.html