Sunday, February 21, 2016
I wanted to briefly mention a few observations of discussions about the Holy Father's latest plane interview.
1. Astoundingly, when Catholics raise concerns about Pope Francis suggestion to women that they can use birth control pills and condoms to prevent perfectly healthy babies from being conceived because of a remote chance of birth defects, I am still seeing Catholics claim the press is misinterpreting what is being said.
I will not cite the dozens of examples, suffice it to say that the Holy Father has accountability for his own words and actions. His contradiction of Humane Vitae was as clear as a bell and Fr. Lombardi confirmed it. It's time to retire the talking points that we have a problem with the media.
2. Several Catholics continue to raise the question as to whether Catholics can raise concerns in the public square about what the Holy Father is saying and doing and not saying and doing.
When in doubt about whether something is consistent with Church teaching, patheos is not the source to turn to for guidance. Run to: a. Catechism. b. Canons; and c. review the history of Saints to see if any of them did it, under what circumstances and how they did it.
Having done the homework, these resources say it is actually a duty of a Baptized Catholic.
People referring to the Holy Father as "bergolio' and other disrespectful names are going about the duty with injuries. Perhaps they watching their children or brothers and sisters being robbed of the tools for salvation, but that neither diminishes the truth of the content or the duty of the Baptized.
We can and should raise the bar on the charity with which it is said - along with now raising the fervor to a decibel level that brings the Romans to their knees. We need to reach out to the CDF. More on this later. I cannot imagine Cardinal Müller letting this confusion stand but I am sure it would take time to think through. Meanwhile, we've got to seek clarification loud and clear.
3. Let's cut to the chase of the content of the theological errors.
First, lets discuss the use of the 'nuns in the Congo'.
Nobody can find any reference that it ever happened.
I presumed the dispensation was about placing the nuns on prophylactic contraceptives. This is peculiar for a number of reasons.
The nuns in the Congo in the 60s are not the only women in history threatened by madmen seizing households and raping women and children. It went on when the Moors invaded Ireland. This always goes on in warzones, particularly when islamic terrorists are the aggressors.
There is no doctrinal reference or guidance that one can use birth control pills to prophylactically prevent pregnancy in a war zone. Logic would have it, if this were an authentic exception, then we would have 2000 years worth of doctrinal references, most especially given to female soldiers who face the daily risk.
Why would the Church not explain this exception in infallible doctrine?
Moreover, why would the Church remain silent about this mysterious exception while women have been and are subject to this daily threat all over the world, in all kinds of circumstances?
Let's for a moment set aside the well-known fact that some birth control pills are abortifacients. It's a big put-aside, I know, because the Pope's preposterous suggestion includes approval of aborting children after conception by using birth control pills that work by preventing implantation after conception in circumstances of rape--which is...and I hesitate to use the word but it must be said...heresy.
Several sources are even suggesting that Pope Paul VI's exception granted the nuns the dispensation to use "the morning after pill".
Thankfully, my well-catechized readers will correct me if I am mistaken (and I don't have the time to go out and fetch doctrine), but to the best of my knowledge, the Church does not prohibit the use of a 'morning after pill' so long as there was a zero chance that the woman was anywhere near ovulation--which scientifically translates to preventing ovulation rather than disposing of a child conceived after ovulation. If the woman's cycle was unpredictable or if she is anywhere near the danger zone of ovulation, the Church DOES prohibit the use of the morning after pill.
The idea that a Holy Father, be it Pope Paul VI or Pope Francis, is suggesting an unrestricted use of the morning after pill is incoherent, incomprehensible and indefensible.
4. The more concerning theological error concerns the Pope's approval of the use of condoms and birth control pills when there is a fear of delivering a child with a birth defect.
What messages does that give to handicapped? The Pope believes they are unworthy of life? The Church's 'mercy' involves flushing them down a toilet? I'm having trouble drawing another conclusion, so please. enlighten this poor soul.
And again, if the authentic teachings of the Church are mothers over 35 can use condoms, birth control pills and abortifacients due to the threat of a genetic mutation of her egg, this is nowhere to be found.
I think we all know the reason the Church has been silent on these whoppers.
One final observation to those continuously harping on the raising concerns about theological errors is an insult to the Holy Father.
This is not about the Holy Father because the Holy Father is not the only person involved in the vortex.
It is about the salvation of our children and people we love, and it is about Christ and His Church. The Holy Father's feelings do not domineer whether we respond to our baptismal call.
Here is your license:
I charge thee, before God and Jesus Christ, who shall judge the living and the dead, by his coming, and his kingdom: Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season: reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine. For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables. But be thou vigilant, labour in all things, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill thy ministry.
The hour is upon us.
Oh, and one more very important point: The Holy Father seems to reference the Pope Paul VI use of the word 'discernment' in Humanae Vitae as if it meant Catholics are supposed to think about whether or not it's appropriate in their own life to use birth control pills to prevent a pregnancy.
That's an old misleading treachery thrown around for for years wherein the Church has a loophole called 'discernment' that can lead you to break the commandments without leaving mortal sin on the soul.
As if the Deposit of Faith are suggestions that can be overcome with excuses.
According to that myth, all you have to do is use your intellect to talk you into reasons why you should skip Mass, steal that car, hop in the sack with that person, kill that child, bear a false witness against another person.
Discernment as it pertains to Church teaching about the prohibition on the use condoms, birth control pills and other artificial means to prevent a pregnancy is not on the table. Discernment is about the use of abstinence during ovulation as it's a human action that circumvents the plans of God and changes the nature of sex in a marriage.
The Church doesn't grant a loophole called discernment for breaking the sixth commandment with some eye candy.
Discernment is in the form of how to avoid the near occasion of sin.
There's no loophole for taking a pill that prevents conception or implantation of an immortal soul created by God.
The content of theology in the latest plane interview was way, way out there. Way out with Pluto.
UPDATE: Our theologically impeccable and trustworthy Fr. Z confirms: the nuns in the congo is not an urban legend, it's a lie.
He brings another very wise observation: Why would the Holy See grant an exception to nuns but tell lay women they must bear the child?
The Romans are not going to wash their hands of this mess. You'll be hearing from us fellas! More on this later.