The Church in America: Low Grade Civil War




Dale Price over at Dyspeptic Mutterings is being brilliant again:


Fr. Thomas Massaro would like you all to calm down.
I’m not going to fisk this, because it’s an admirable sentiment, as far as it goes. Which means it stagged a step or two before dropping in a messy heap.
Yes, it would be nice if things in the world were more civil and respectful. That’s fine.
But the problem with his call for civility is that he sees the white-hot anger as the problem rather than the symptom. It’s not–the real problem goes far, far deeper than that, and has been savaging the Body of Christ for decades now.
The HHS mandate is just the catalyst causing it to explode to the surface.
The real problem is that the Church in America has fractured into at least two churches. If it hadn’t been this issue, it would have been a dispute over the language of the liturgy, or the latest pronouncement from the Vatican, some university conferring honors on someone who is an open enemy of Catholic teaching or even the renovation of the local cathedral church. The struggle–more bluntly, low-grade civil war–between the churches has been going on since the last bit of incense dispersed at Vatican II. We don’t agree on how to worship, what our schools should teach, what laws should be enacted/opposed, what canons apply and when or even what our parish church should look like. In fact, we can’t even agree on whether or not Jesus actually rose from the dead.
And for forty five years, our shepherds have been trying to keep it together by careful tacking, including soothing rhetoric, trying to give everyone half a loaf or so (depending on the year, bishop and constituency) and generally trying not to see the coal pile in the ballroom.

Go here to read the brilliant rest.  This would be the same Father Massaro who signed a petition supporting Sebelius, the political ally and protector of the late Tiller the Killer, foremost practitioner of that barely disguised infanticide known as partial birth abortion, for secretary of HHS.
I do not believe for a second that Father Massaro cares a fig for civility. He is simply on the side of the Obama administration and all this fuss is hurting his team.

As I have noted here, this is an Elijah on Mount Carmel Year for American Catholics.  This is a time of choosing for all American Catholics, and, to quote Lincoln, the dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present.  Storms ahead indeed.


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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.


  1. “…generally trying not to see the coal pile in the ballroom.”

    It’s not a coal pile. It’s a pile of Uranium-235 at 90+ percent enrichment about to go prompt critical. That’s when delta-K goes greater than beta bar. You don’t need to know what that is technically, because we’re all about to see it happen.

    The neutrons are about to fly!

  2. Yes. The Church has been split asunder. Only the educated and wealthy remain for Mass. That is a disservice to everyone and God will punish both the right wing and the left.

  3. That is not true Dan as I can attest at my parish, where the rich, the poor and the middle class sit in the pews, and where the members of the parish have all sorts of educational backgrounds. The divisions within the Church today are ones of faith, and the lack thereof.

  4. “Opinion is not truth. ” Plato

    Some believe social justice is the alibi for all sins.

    Recently, this was about the second time I can remember in the past 45 years, one of our holy, young priests preached on sin. There was noticeable squirming in the pews.

  5. Recently one of our priests (3rd year) gave his first talk on contraception. He apologized for not doing it before. He said that he, his fellow priests and bishops have failed us. He said it is a difficult topic; I suspect because it is so polarizing and ‘Catholics’ complain about hearing it. And then he laid into the whole thing and when he finished his excellent homily – men and angels clapped with resounding applause and I saw a line of people thanking him after Mass.

    Our priests need encouragement and prayer – some more than others. Some may also need a slap in the face – given as fraternal correction in a spirit of Charity – remember, we are required to do spiritual works of mercy as well, including counsel the ignorant – especially ignorant clerics.

  6. First off, the Catholic Church is wrong about contraception. It is not a sin, it is not evil, and it does not become either of these things simply because you say so.

    Second, the CC is accustomed to taking positions on moral issues from a standpoint of Natural Law. You can’t do it this time- haven’t you noticed? Natural Law- a system of law determined by nature, thus universal. It refers to the use of reason to deduce binding rules of moral behavior. By way of contrast, see Positive Law, or man-made law. Right now (and for the past 50 years or so), the CC has faced a situation in which Natural Law determines that contraception (at least in most of its forms) is perfectly moral, and that conclusion is the basis and standard for judging or critiquing the Positive Law of the CC.

    Third, we must examine the relationship between the first two points and tie them together. Once more, the CC is wrong about contraception, and we the American people are using Natural Law to judge the CC and its Positive Law. You’re not used to this, nor are you used to being judged from within by other Catholics. Even more significant than the contraception issue in and of itself is the specific groups of people that it affects. No, not insurance agencies, but Catholic institutions of higher education and Catholic hospitals, both of which employ and serve non-Catholics just as much as Catholics and neither of which are cloistered from the non-Catholic realities of the country in which we live. More to the point, however, you’re looking at two groups of people that are uniquely gifted in the expertise that is required to assess Natural Law on this issue- medical expertise, along with logic, reason, philosophy, ethics, law and government, you name it and some aspect of academia covers it. These are the people who assess Natural Law and render judgment on the Positive Law of the Catholic Church. The people with relevant expertise are in charge of it- not the US College of Catholic Bishops. They don’t have the relevant expertise.

    You might not like it, but really, what are you going to do about it? Judgment is being rendered by Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Natural Law is what it is- and really, this battle was fought and won decades ago. This is an election-year kerfuffle, and it will go away just as soon as Obama wins re-election with the help of the Catholic vote- just like last time. Then things will go back to the way they’ve been- in the foreground, most of us will go on with our lives with the knowledge that contraception is moral, permissible, and generally a good thing. We might even make a snarky remark about the Catholic Church here and there, and you’ll fume but do nothing. Meanwhile, the currently-vocal minority of Catholics will fade to the background and wonder why people stopped caring about you. I can give you a preview, though- they stopped caring because it stopped being an election year. And I’ll just tell you in advance- despite the GOP’s best efforts to get the Catholic vote in 2012, it won’t work. The Catholic vote will go to Obama again. The GOP might find some other reason to go back to the well in an election year to be named later, but the Catholic response on the current attempt will disappoint them just a bit.

    These predictions will prove to be accurate, and I’m sure you won’t be pleased when it happens. If for not other reason than it will make a couple of people look foolish for the ignorance they’re about to attribute to me.

  7. Mike,

    It’s so cute how you use big words to make an argument about which you know nothing. Natural Law is easily discernible by reason alone; however, if you lack that capacity, then it just becomes a cool term to use to obfuscate your confusion.

    When your reason begins and ends below the belt, it is difficult actually think; but, at least, you’re educated enough to know how to write the big words. Perhaps you may actually want to find out what they mean.

    Oh, and although our bishops all went to college, they are not a college, rather, they’re a conference. You may have confused them with the College of Cardinals, to which some of our bishops do belong, most recently Timothy Cardinal Dolan. Yet, I suspect the difference is lost for you because all you see is ‘evil clerics’. Those bastards, all they do is try to keep us out of hell and get us to heaven – how dare they!!!

  8. Mike: If someone does not love you enough to want to have more of you, or if you do not love another to want more of them, it is a lie and lust, not love. Why should any citizen be forced to pay for somebody’s lust, be that they are going to hell?

  9. Mike,

    So many words, and yet so much FAIL. You may want to brush up on the Natural Law. However, if that doesn’t do it for you, you might want to check out the phenomenologist approach. The truth is out there, and frankly you have missed it.

  10. Mike, alas, has failed to enlighten us on the Natural Law (it’s not the product of the contemporary consensus of the Degreed in anything save his mind).

    However, he has amply demonstrated to us the deleterious effects of the emphasis on self-esteem in public education. And he feels good after his verbose exercise in condescension.

    So everyone’s a winner here–hurray!

  11. Paul,

    Thank you for including me in your comment. Pithiness is not my forte. Hoorah for spiritual acts of mercy – specifically counseling the ignorant and admonishing the sinner. Mike, you’re welcome and we love you.

  12. First off, the Catholic Church is wrong about contraception. It is not a sin, it is not evil, and it does not become either of these things simply because you say so.

    Let me put Mike’s analysis in the form of a syllogism:

    I want to have contraceptive sex;
    The Church says it’s immoral;
    Ergo the Church is wrong.

    Natural Law shows that the natural end of the procreative act is… wait for it…wait for it… procreation.

    If you cannot grasp that fundamental point, then please leave Natural Law to the grownups.

  13. Mike, you are making a fundamental error by confusing Catholics (individual practitioners of the Catholic faith to varying degrees of fidelity) with the Catholic Faith.

    It very may well be that the “Catholic” vote may go for Obama, if by that you mean more individual practitioners will vote for the O rather than other candidates. But that does not the Catholic Faith make. All it means is that there are probably a lot of misinformed, malformed, or outright rebelious Catholics. While that is a grave concern that needs to be addressed, it does not mean that the O or any of his positions are in conformity with the Catholic Faith. Morality is not determined by majority vote.

  14. As part of my professional milieu I find that the biggest lies are told in the most civil tones, in the most civil forums, by the most civil people…..and “civility” is then demanded when caught. Otherwise, it is the use of the mask of civility to commit the most uncivil wrongs that I find most reprehensible.

  15. Mike,

    Do you know the first Commandment God gave? Hint: It’s why God embedded strong sexual attractions between men and women (oops, opened another can of worms!)

    If you think consistent 2,000 years-long teachings of Holy Mother Church are erroneous, congratulations, you have self-identified as a heretic. Look it up.

    re: voting for Obama.

    How does $8 a gallon gasoline sound?

    The Obamateur Hour (or How I Keep Hearing How Stupid is Sarah Palin): “We have subsidized oil companies for a century. We want to encourage production of oil and gas, and make sure that wherever we’ve got American resources, we are tapping into them. But they don’t need an additional incentive when gas is $3.75 a gallon, when oil is $1.20 a barrel, $1.25 a barrel. They don’t need additional incentives. They are doing fine.” Oil was $107 a barrel at close yesterday.

    How much of that $3.75 a gallon is taxes?

  16. Mike, you know what else is a sin in Catholic Church teaching? (I don’t think I should tell you if you’re this upset about the teaching of artificial birth control.) Oh, you are not going to like this one. It is a sin against the 5th Commandment to harbor “religious and racial prejudice.” It “is a sin against justice as well as charity.” But here is the part where it really starts getting good: “THIS IS PARTICULARLY TRUE IN THE CASE OF JOINING AN ORGANIZATION WHICH PROMOTES SEGREGATION OR ANY OTHER DENIAL OF HUMAN RIGHTS.” (my emphasis). There is more, read on.

    This is a teaching in the book, “Life In Christ – Instructions in the Catholic Faith” published in 1958 with authority of a Nihil Obstat and an Imprimatur. I just confirmed this past week with a high ranking clergy official in the Catholic Church that that is still the teaching of the Church. Do you know what the following teaching means: “This is particularly true in the case of joining an organization which promotes segregation OR ANY OTHER DENIAL OF HUMAN RIGHTS?” Are you sitting down?

    It means “joining” the Democrat Party is a sin against the 5th Commandment. The Democrat Party denies the right to life, both in word and action, to unborn children by their support and defense of keeping abortion legal in their organization platform and their votes in Congress and state legislatures. Catholics who are registered to vote in the Democrat Party are committing sin against the 5th Commandment (interesting that it happens to be THAT commandment) and remain in sin as long as they are registered in that party, besides voting for that party. I’m waiting on word of how serious a sin it is. But I think Catholic Democrat culpability is high in the continued murder of unborn children because the power the Democrat Party comes from their large numbers of registered voters, of which, Catholics are their single, largest voting block, and consequently a large number of Democrat candidates are able to be elected who defend and implement pro-abortion regulations. Abortion could not remain legal if large numbers of Catholic Democrats discover that their salvation depends on whether they choose to be Catholics or Democrats. I would think that they would choice to save themselves rather than the Democrat Party which would lose elective power with the loss of a large portion of that voting block. Consequently, the party would have a lot fewer elected representatives to defend and support their pro-abortion positions, especially in the Senate which would enable prolife nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court to be confirmed.

  17. I guess that is why the closest approximation to the outer circle of hell in our country (barring the Washington Beltway) is being in the Demoncratic Party.

  18. Mike, after the election year when you go back to your life, happy about your predictions, and are being a little snarky about the Catholic Church for amusement because it is your Constitutional right to speak your mind; I suggest you think about the Four Last Things which Catholics hold to be true, and, also to wonder whether, if these are true, it’ll be Heaven or Hell for you and your compatriots.

  19. Wow, looks like I got a live one here.

    For the record, I am actually a moderate who tends to vote conservative. The fact that American Catholics will vote for an eventual winner rather than voting on some sort of principle is a long-standing failure that I’m pointing out, while predicting more of the same in the immediate future.

    @Stillbelieve- I encourage you to run the “Catholic + Democrat = Sin” findings past some Catholic apologists at EWTN. Your best bet is Catholic Answers Live on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6 eastern 5 central and so forth- oh, and look at this, you can also call on Monday next week. Akin and Blackburn have an extra appearance. Try to get it down to a pretty short question, though, and know ahead of time exactly how you want to word your question. The screener does write it down word for word and posts a recap of the questions for that segment on their calendar.
    If that doesn’t work, visit Catholic Answers Forums and look up PJM and anyone else that he recommends. He’ll put as much time and effort into this as you have, and he has some excellent resources as his disposal as well. See what you come up with. Also, ask him how he knew John Hardon.

    I’ve never self-identified as a Democrat, and if the CC does deem Democrat affiliation to be a sin, add it to the list of Catholic no-nos that few understand and even fewer care about. I don’t think it does, though, and you’ll find this out if you do more research and ask the right questions of the right people. As to why a non-Democrat would favor the contraception aspect of the HHS mandate- that’s what being a moderate is all about. I get to do that.

    @American Knight- you’re right in pointing out that it is rather necessary to make a distinction between Natural Law in contemporary Catholicism and Natural Law in contemporary jurisprudence. (That is what you were doing, yes?) And you’re right, I said “college” where I should have said “conference.” It’s probably best that I ignore the rest of what you wrote.

    @Mary de Voe- if I ever get married and then have sex (in that order), I won’t ever engage in sexual intercourse with the understanding that I don’t want my wife to be the mother of my babies. There is a distinction here, however- there might be some times when we decide, together, that making a baby during this particular month is not what’s best for our family right NOW. But of course we still have sex, because that is very good for a marriage- particularly during the time of the month when this hypothetical wife would be at her most aroused. Rawr.
    As far as when we might not want to have a baby- perhaps in the first year or two of being married, although this depends on a variety of circumstances financial and otherwise. Assuming we’re fertile (which doesn’t always happen, you know), we’ll basically come to an agreement on how long we need before having another one, and I’m sure we’ll have some idea of the total number of kids we’d like to have going in. Then there’s the issue of long-term financial planning and assessing the number of children we can reasonably support, and of course there’s the approximate age range of 35-45 during which women can have babies but steadily climb to an unreasonable level of risk for complications, miscarriages, birth defects and so forth. If we have a child with special needs we will obviously meet all those needs (which I happen to be uniquely well-suited to do, I might add).
    The reason I felt the need to add that is this: I’ve had this same conversation before, and I’ve had it with people like you. You’ve already told me that any use of any form of contraception for any reason is tantamount to a blanket statement like “I don’t love you enough to have more of you.” So I already know where this is going- as soon as I mention that an unreasonably high risk for a high-risk pregnancy is a legitimate reason to use contraception regularly over a long period of time, I know you’re going to accuse me of hating special needs kids and wanting to kill them. I haven’t given you a response yet and I already know you want to go there. How do I know? Because it’s evident that you’re an unreasonable person who enjoys frustrating people.

    @c matt- your summary of my analysis is a joke. I laughed. You do raise a good point, though, and it does get us down to the basics of this thing. You actually left out a couple of points pertaining to Catholic teaching on the natural end of the procreative act. It was initially presented in the following manner- a twofold purpose, as a remedy for concupiscience and for procreation. More recently, however, the unitive aspect has been introduced to the ever-Newness of Catholic tradition as it develops. It is good that the CC recognizes that sex is a unitive act, in a relational sense as well as psychological, emotional, and so forth. I can only hope that you one day begin to see that sometimes, depending on the exact situation, one of those things can get in the way of the other- and that certainly doesn’t mean a married couple is obligated to abnegate themselves of them both. For example, following the birth of a child, there’s usually about a year (or at least a few months) between the birth and physical recovery on the part of the mother to the point where the unitive act can come back into play. That doesn’t mean you stop having children, of course- sometimes, one thing gets in the way of the other, and it’s not a bad thing. Likewise, there are times in a marriage when it’s not reasonable or feasible for the couple to have another child. That doesn’t mean you need to abstain from sex, though. It’s still just as much of a unitive act when you’re using contraception.
    @thesecondpostofcmatt- I actually wasn’t confused about that. I’m just pointing out how Evangelical voters in America can be mobilized on principle to vote for someone eventually loses the general election in a presidential race, whereas the voting habits of Catholics- at least on the national stage- are consistently and notoriously anything but “set apart.” I bring this up as a chastisement to Catholics who feel the need to preach at Evangelicals, especially when it’s done without any realistic hope of meaningful engagement- perhaps you should begin with converting Catholics to Catholicism.

    @T Shaw- so I’m a heretic? I suppose you must think the OCA and the Russian Orthodox are heretics as well. I have news for you. The Catholic Church is in schism, and you only speak for the Western portion of the Church. After all, the Church- by your own definition of Church with a capital C- does include the Eastern Orthodox who maintain apostolic succession. Does. It. Not. (With qualifications, of course, in that it’s the “other lung” of the Church and it’s an imperfect unity that you hope to see in its fullness one day, but let’s stay on point, you do see them as being part of the Church. With imperfect unity, I know that. But a part of the Church. With imperfect unity, I get it. Part of the Church. There’s that part, too).
    But do you make an exception for the Eastern bishops who maintain that an Eastern Orthodox Christian, with the guidance of his bishop in the economy of salvation, may at certain times be cleared to use contraception for certain kinds of reasons provided that it’s not done for purely selfish reasons? Are those heretical bishops who lead flocks that you now call “ecclesial assemblies” because they have willfully separated themselves from the Church in the exact sort of manner that would distinguish a schismatic thing from a heretical thing?
    In other words, are you engaging in ad-hoccery with your “heretic” claim, or will you indicate an acceptable level of consistency with your assessments?
    Moving on. $8 for a gallon of gas sounds expensive. Obama has no direct control over gas prices, though, and the degree to which any president of the US can have indirect control over the price of gas is either comically exaggerated or realistically suppressed in your mind depending on who’s in office. Obama happens to know that the price of gas will continue to rise, but he’s not making it do that. What he is doing is passing energy initiatives that force American car companies to make cars more fuel-efficient. That sounds nice. I hope he’s right about how Detroit automakers will progress over the next 12+ years. They say they’re on track for cars that go nearly 55 to the gallon on average, doubling current mileage standards. If that’s accurate- and that is a big if- 8 per gallon is doable.

    @PM- who are you referencing when you say “your compatriots”? If it was my decision, I would start by saying my compatriots are “other Christians.” But if I wanted to be more specific, I would go on to say “Christians, not just in name only, for whom matters of faith and morals are of primary importance, who are primarily concerned with becoming better Christians.” I hope that includes you, in spite of the disagreements that we do have. I regret to inform you, however, that most of your compatriots- that is to say, Catholics who live in America- are not my compatriots. “Not just in name only” eliminates a majority of them all by itself.

  20. Mike: You said the Church was wrong on contraception.

    Good for you!

    Tertullian defined a heretic as one who replaces Church teachings on Faith and morals with his opinions.

    I happen to agree with the Church: coincidence or the Holy Spirit?. If I did not, I would not say I’m a Catholic. There are few worldly benefits for trying to be a Catholic, sonny.

  21. What exactly is wrong with the teaching of Humanae Vitae?


    As section 17 points out, contraception leads to women being treated as mere sex objects, and enables government to say who should reproduce and who shouldn’t. Furthermore, the conjugal act in marriage is supposed to be both unitive and procreative. Saying, “I have the wisdom to decide when conception may occur” is no different than Eve partaking of the Fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. We don’t have the rightfully authority to tell God when He may or may not create new life. Contraception assumes we do. That is the height of hubris and arrogance.

    BTW, calling Mary DeVoe an unreasonable person who enjoys frustrating people is unkind, intolerant and divisive. But please feel free to call me that.

  22. @T Shaw- funny thing about Tertullian. He is responsible for the earliest Trinitarian language that looks anything like “three persons, one substance.” You knew this, of course, but this is what’s funny about it. Tertullian wrote this after becoming a Montanist, and his ideas were initially rejected as heresy. But later, they were accepted as Christian orthodoxy. One other funny thing- upon his death, Tertullian was not in union with Rome.
    You have aligned your opinions with those of Rome. Coincidence or the Holy Spirit? I don’t think those are the only two viable options. It’s a matter of authority, and we’ve been over this already. Authoritarian people on one hand who rely primarily on “because I said,” and people with relevant expertise on the other hand who rely on proofs of natural law in the sense that it applies to contemporary jurisprudence- not in a strictly Thomistic sense, of course.

    @Pasta Primavera- What exactly is wrong with the teaching of HV? Wow, dude, if you have some kind of problem with the way I’m talking to people that is exactly the kind of question you do NOT want to ask. Are you sure you want this? Is that really what you want me to get into?
    Wrt your assertions, there is no causative link between contraception and “women as sex objects.” This is the kind of thing that must be proven, and you cannot prove it. This has been examined and it has been debunked. As a matter of fact and not a matter of opinion, contraception- properly used within marriage- does not lead to women being treated as sex objects. It can certainly coincide with sex-object behavior outside of marriage, but contraception does not cause this. Rather, it is extramarital sex that causes women to be treated as sex objects.
    “I have the wisdom to decide when conception may occur.” All right, I didn’t actually say that, but you still put quotes around it as if I did. But since you insist, go ahead. Tell me why I don’t have the wisdom to decide when conception may occur- or, to be a bit more accurate, tell me why I don’t have the wisdom to decide when there will be a 1 in 3 chance of implantation provided that conception does actually occur, which is also something that happens less than 100% of the time even under the best conditions.

    Also, for what it’s worth, the only thing a married Christian man is “telling God” while having sex with his wife is “Thank you for this.” And then God says “You’re welcome; I’m glad that you’re enjoying this for its physical pleasure and unitive purpose.” He does Not say “You’re not truly grateful unless you are doing everything in your power to make a baby right now, and this is something disordered that I never intended to allow.” That would be you, not God.

  23. The bottom line is this: if you don’t want to have a baby, then don’t have sex. Period. You have no authority to separate the unitive from the procreative. Ever. You do not get to place yourself in God’s position. It is arrogant snottiness of the most hubris sort to do so.

    Truly Yours,

    Pasta Primavera who thinks more of what Pope Paul VI said than what some self-made pontificator on theology and philosophy says.

  24. I am a sinner.

    Paul P. gets it. We agree with the Church b/c bc usurps God’s Will in deciding who will live and when we will participate with Him in His creation of human life.

    There is a ton of civil authority stuff that I completely ignore.

  25. @Pasta Primavera- how about this. You aren’t in charge, and you don’t get to say so. And by extension, I am saying this about the CC as well. How does that feel? I am not placing myself in God’s position; it would be far more accurate to say that I (and people who are more similar to me than to you) are preventing your religious leaders from usurping that position. Really now, do you see me going around saying I act in persona Christi? Really? Not me? Who, then? Because whoever is doing that- those are the people you need to talk to about arrogant snottiness and hubris.

  26. “And by extension, I am saying this about the CC as well. How does that feel?”

    Ahistorical, since God was the founder of the Catholic Church.

    “Pasta Primavera- how about this. You aren’t in charge,”

    Dial it back with the name calling Mike if you wish to continue to comment on this site, and I am in charge of this blog.

  27. Obama has no direct control over gas prices, though

    Yes he does. By restricting drilling in the Gulf, delaying Keystone XL (the Canada leg) and refusing to open up federal lands, he ensures that oil futures go up.

    Oh, and when he releases oil from the Strategic Reserve, the price immediately goes down.

    Yeah, the polls are properly taking gas out on him. I hope he refuses to listen.

  28. I do agree with Mike: I am not in charge. Rather, Jesus Christ is in charge, and He told Peter, “Thou art Rock and upon this rock I shall build my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail.” The Pope is the successor of Peter. So Christ is in charge, speaking through the Pope and the college of Bishops in union with him. Thus, Humanae Vitae, written by the successor of St. Peter, supersedes any opinion to the contrary.

    If a person engages in sexual intercourse, then that person has already made a decision to have a baby. It doesn’t matter if 6,999,999,999 people out of 7 billion disagree and think morality is different than what it really is. We human beings don’t get to determine what morality is. This is NOT a Democracy. It is a Monarchy and Jesus Christ is King absolute. Indeed, thinking that we can determine what is sin was in a sense the first sin – the eating of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Truth, however, is objective and eternal, and His name is Jesus Christ.

    Now if that person we just talked about doesn’t want a baby, then that person must abstain from sexual intercourse. All sophistry to the contrary is simply nonsense in verbosity. Does one have control over the passions of one’s lust – sexual longings or whatever else one may want to call it – or does one not have such self-control? Will we behave like mindless baboons, contracepting our way out of accountability and responsibility, or will we behave in the image and likeness of God Himself as we were created to do? God’s first command to Adam and Eve was, “Be fruitful and multiply.” It was not, “Abort and contracept.” Any pretense at being logical and rational and reasonable and scientific while maintaining a contraceptive mentality is simply oxymoronic.

    Indeed, the three sins in the Garden of Eden were (yeah, I probably got them out of order, but the order in Matthew 4 is different than in Luke 4):

    The Lust of the Eyes – Eve saw the fruit was pleasing to look on
    The Lust of the Flesh – Eve saw the fruit was good to eat
    The Pride of Life – The fruit would give Eve and Adam knowledge to be like God

    Christ had to face these temptations after 40 days in the wilderness:

    The Lust of the Eyes – Look at these kingdoms; just bow down and I’ll give them to you
    The Lust of the Flesh – Turn these stones into Bread; no need to go hungry!
    The Pride of Life – Cast Yourself down; nothing will happen! You’re special!

    Contraception is unique in all sins because it caves in to all three simultaneously.

    The Lust of the Eyes – She’s beautiful; go for it!
    The Lust of the Flesh – It’s sex! You need some pleasure in your life!
    The Pride of Life – Use contraception! No baby! No responsibility!

    1 John 2:15-16 sums this up quite well:

    16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world passes away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides for ever.

  29. Apology.

    In my statement of Friday, March 23, 2012 A.D. at 1:10 pm, I stated, “You do not get to place yourself in God’s position. It is arrogant snottiness of the most hubris sort to do so.”

    I apologize to Mike. I did not mean for those sentences to be a direct reflection onto him. That statement should have said, “One does not get to place one’s self in God’s position. It is arrogant snottiness of the most hubris sort to do so.”

    It is important to take the “personal” out of this as some have reminded me. As is often said in 12 Step programs, “Principles before personalities.” (Now that statement is likely to get me criticized for violating the 11th Tradition – can’t please everybody.) In our case, the principle is Jesus Christ and His Church, and that’s why we don’t get to contracept and abort our way to happiness. No one gets to tell God when He may start new life, or when life may end (the only exception being Romans 13:1-7 where God gives the State the authority to defend its citizens). Unfortunately, I sometimes (OK, too often) fail to place that principle above my own feelings (and I suspect I am not alone in that defect of character).

    PS, as far as being “Pasta Primavera,” I guess that title didn’t bother me all that much. Don’t know why. I usually take off like a ballistic missile when so “challenged”. Maybe it’s because I like “pasta primavera” as a food dish?

  30. A fine example of evangelization and cool-reason, this thread is.

    Mike, if you are still reading, there are two aspects to the topic of contraception that need separation: the ends and the means. The end of contraception is not always opposed by the Church. The means of contraception is always opposed by the Church.

    The end of contraception — not conceiving a child — is sometimes approved by the Church, and is actually mandated as a duty in cases where having a child would be destructive to a marriage and to a family. So the motives for using contraception can be good and reasonable.

    It is the means of contraception — the sterilization of the sexual act — that is always opposed by the Church. There are other ways of preventing conception that do not involve the sterilization of the sexual act, nor involve complete abstinence.

    So you’ve got two different moral challenges here. One is the decision of a couple to delay the conception of a child (perhaps indefinitely). The other is in how the couple affects the delay of that conception.

    The thing is that life is hard, and the path that leads to life is narrow. The sterilization of the sexual act is an easy way to have sex without having kids. The right way to have sex without having kids is to track cycles of fertility, and ultimately, to have a little faith in God that the conception of a child is a good thing (even if requiring not a bit of personal sacrifice).

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