When was the last time you heard a Bishop speak against contraception?

Fr. Tom Bartolomeo had the nerve to preach against artificial contraception, a topic which, before Vatican II, priests were required to preach on at least once per year, and he was removed from his parish for it.

Bishop Joseph Martino resigns shortly after Archbishop Michael Sheehan of Santa Fe says some bishops are too outspoken on “abortion and the other stuff.”

The USCCB’s “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship” document, supposedly a summary of Catholic social teaching, never even mentions “birth control” or “contraception,” even though Mater et Magistra says that

189.  Besides, the resources which God in His goodness and wisdom has implanted in Nature are well-nigh inexhaustible, and He has at the same time given man the intelligence to discover ways and means of exploiting these resources for his own advantage and his own livelihood. Hence, the real solution of the problem is not to be found in expedients which offend against the divinely established moral order and which attack human life at its very source, but in a renewed scientific and technical effort on man’s part to deepen and extend his dominion over Nature. The progress of science and technology that has already been achieved opens up almost limitless horizons in this held.

194. Human life is sacred—all men must recognize that fact. From its very inception it reveals the creating hand of God. Those who violate His laws not only offend the divine majesty and degrade themselves and humanity, they also sap the vitality of the political community of which they are members.

199. A provident God grants sufficient means to the human race to find a dignified solution to the problems attendant upon the transmission of human life. But these problems can become difficult of solution, or even insoluble, if man, led astray in mind and perverted in will, turns to such means as are opposed to right reason, and seeks ends that are contrary to his social nature and the intentions of Providence. 

Liberals continue to insist that Archbishop Charles Chaput (who supports the Neocatechumenate Way, Charismatic Renewal, and other heterodox lay movements) is a “far right conservative” just because he’s outspoken on abortion.

We hear from Cardinals Rigali, O’Malley and others say they will not support a health care bill that pays for abortions, which implies that they will support a health care bill that pays for contraceptives.

When was the last time the USCCB issued an official statement

We’re told of people like Fr. Bartolomeo and Fr. Christopher Buckner and Bishop Martino that it is their “pastoral style,” not their “orthodoxy,” that gets them in trouble.  Yet many saints have had a similar “pastoral style.”

We’re told that the “pastoral styles” of O’Malley and Chaput and Dolan are more effective.

Effective at doing what? 
Not actually teaching what the Church does?

Shouldn’t a pastor be making sure his sheep get through the gate?

One poll says 61% of Catholics think contraception should be up to laity and 75% say it’s possible to be a good Catholic and disobey the Natural Law on this matter

A Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Study found that 97% of Catholic women over 18 have used some form of artificial birth control in their lives, and a 2005 Harris Poll found that 90% of Catholics supported birth control.

These polls indicate the range of numbers I’ve heard on how many Catholics in the US support and/or use artificial birth control.

Attention, USCCB: the majority of your flock are headed straight to Hell, and you aren’t saying anything about it!!!

How are they supposed to repent if you don’t tell them to????

Instead, the few voices who actually speak on it are called “right wing extremists” or “judgemental” just for being willing to say what the Church teaches.

Has the USCCB ever issued a statement condemning birth control?

Has the USCCB ever issued a statement condemning the “overpopulation” movement or NSSM-200?

Until that happens, I’ll take Judie Brown or Fr. Tom Euteneuer over the fraudulent “shepherds” at the USCCB.

12 responses to “When was the last time you heard a Bishop speak against contraception?

  1. From your quote of Mater et Magisteria:
    “Besides, the resources which God in His goodness and wisdom has implanted in Nature are well-nigh inexhaustible,”

    I’m unaware that this is an infallible document- in fact, most of what the Pope writes fails the tests in the doctrine of infallibility. But this, while ok in 1962, is an outright contradiction with modern science, which conservatively sets an upper limit at 80 billion human beings, slightly less conservatively sets a limit at 24 billion human beings, in the center sets a limit at 7.5 billion human beings, and on the liberal side sets a limit at 2 billion Americans with everybody else killed off for greed and selfishness.

    Now admittedly, those conservative and even center of the road estimates give no reason to panic. But “well-nigh inexhaustible” cannot describe the resource assets of the human race anymore, it was just an illusion when our technology was nearly as good as now but our population was 1/3rd the size.

  2. Since we discussed this thoroughly in Facebook, I’m not going to reiterate the discussion here, but just point out that 80 billion is quite a lot.

    The main point of _Mater et Magistra_ is that Christianity is a complete package. You can’t just take the moral teachings, or the economic teachings, or whatever, in isolation. It all goes together, and it ultimately goes together under the banner of Trust God.

    And this is not taking into account Natuarl Family Planning. The official Church policy at the time of Bl. John XXIII was still, “Don’t even talk about it outside the confessional.” Paul VI changed that.

    And, as my wife and I always point out, one of the points of a “big Catholic family” is to produce vocations.

    And even in spite of our technologies, people still die at plenty young ages.

  3. Warning: when you equate the infallible statements with the less than infallible statements, you prepare on the right…groups of people to schism which has been going on for centuries and is a greater sin than sexual sins when they are in fact sins.
    Look at every schismatic group that left the Church: 1. they were from the “faithful” Catholic side of things 2. they equated their favored positions with infallibility when they were less than that
    3. And they left when the Church changed something that they as a group said was infallible all along.

    Concisely: when you conflate infallible positions with less than infallible positions and then say they are all of one piece, you are setting up some human beings to be knocked off by the devil into the sin of schism.

    Abortion has been infallibly condemned and contraception has not. Contraception is held by some theologians to be infallibly settled in the ordinary magisrerium as always taught but other and numerically more theologians said that was not the case.

    The answer is to look to Rome’s actions and Rome and each Pope have totally avoided the word “infallible” regarding birth control. They know others use the term like Ermenigildo Lio and Grisez but they like that but know that neither man is the answer nor is a source of infallibility. No Pope himself will say the simple sentence: it is solved infallibly. There is data discussed in theological periodicals that give them pause: the 14 day period up to which the fertilized ovum can split and produce two identical twins might infer that ensoulement cannot happen immediately (which Trent’s catechism said only happened in Christ’s case…see section on Incarnation).
    The Church will never approve abortifacient contraceptives but what is in question is when does that process happen if in fact ensoulment is delayed.
    Hence the reticence of Popes to say themselves that the matter is settled infallibly.

    • Sigh.
      1. The evil of contraception has nothing to do with “ensoulment.” Condoms are not abortifacient, but they are still evil.
      2. Contraception clearly violates the Natural Law.
      3. Ensoulment happens at conception. John Paul II declared that infallibly in _Evangelium Vitae_.
      4. Under your logic, it was OK for Catholics to support abortion before _Evangelium Vitae_.
      5. The language of “infallibility” hasn’t been used because there’s no question. The Church has *always* condemned artificial contraception. The Bible condemns it (read Psalm 127). The Natural Law condemns it (read C. S. Lewis’s _The Abolition of Man_). The tradition of the Church condemns it all the way back to the Didache.

      Ever hear of witchcraft? Do some research. Even the feminists admit that “witchcraft” condemned in the Bible = contraception.

      The whole “I don’t have to believe it because it’s not infallible” bit is stupid (and heresy). Under that reasoning, you can be an atheist, because the Church has never issued an infallible declaration that God exists.

      Malthusianism and eugenics are beneath contempt, and the only reasons to use artificial contraception are if one is a) Malthusian, b) eugenicist or c) greedy and materialistic.

  4. No John Paul did not say that ensoulment is immediate and he said the Church has not yet committed it itself to that proposition but that the embryo must be treated as though it were a person….here is the section and even it is not infallible but it is different than you reported it:

    end of section 60 EV:

    ” Furthermore, what is at stake is so important that, from the standpoint of moral obligation, the mere probability that a human person is involved would suffice to justify an absolutely clear prohibition of any intervention aimed at killing a human embryo. Precisely for this reason, over and above all scientific debates and those philosophical affirmations to which the Magisterium has not expressly committed itself, the Church has always taught and continues to teach that the result of human procreation, from the first moment of its existence, must be guaranteed that unconditional respect which is morally due to the human being in his or her totality and unity as body and spirit: “The human being is to be respected and treated as a person from the moment of conception; and therefore from that same moment his rights as a person must be recognized, among which in the first place is the inviolable right of every innocent human being to life”.59

    As for your equating witchcraft with contraception, no Church leader would want to be linked to you in that one.

  5. Paragraph 58:
    “But no word has the power to change the reality of things: procured abortion is the deliberate and direct killing, by whatever means it is carried out, of a human being in the initial phase of his or her existence, extending from conception to birth. ”
    In Paragraph 62, he specifically appeals to the standard Paul VI set in _Humanae Vitae_ to declare that abortion is always intrinsically evil. So it is ridiculous to say that EV’s statement on abortion and HV’s statement on contraception are somehow different in moral weight

    On the topic of witchcraft: throughout history, most cases of witchcraft involved women becoming infertile, women losing babies with which they were pregnant, etc. In the Bible, the word we translate as “witchcraft” is “pharmakeia”–potion making–and, in both Sacred Scripture and Patristic writings it is often listed amidst sexual sins. There are a number of far left pro-witch books that discuss this topic, and Canonist Peter Vere has published articles on the topic.

    But let’s get to the real question: Why are you so eager to defend the sin of contraception?

  6. You failed to admit that you misrepresented the Pope and the document on ensoulement and now you proceed to again actually cast doubt on your own school of thought by continuing the same lack of precision.

    The Paul VI reference in the beginning of the paragraph is not part of the infallible statement and you and your school must make it so to get HV to be infallible but if it were infallible, a Pope by now during a full 40 years has never said HV was infallible….Lio and the internet writer Harrison in a review of Lio have said it…period. Grisez and Ford and the greater part of the supporters of HV do not say that HV is infallible but that the issue is infallible by way of being universal ordinary magisterium but they fail to recognize that the tradition on it broke…..just as John Paul II broke the tradition on the death penalty and he broke it on husband headship and people like you slept throught that breakage without comment and yet you are all for unbroken tradition on contraception which is not in the Bible while husband headship is 6 times in the NT and Aquians thought the death penalty was once in the NT in Romans 13:3-4.

    So here you are having slept through the breakage of two scriptural issues and you are waxing eloquent about the didache which is a minor and sometimes bizarre work which no one reads and I did read beginning to end and so I know it is weird in places as when it says that lying leads to theft…..a riddle I am still tryint to decipher.
    But keep on defending the tradition but at some point someone with a brain at your cocktail parties is going to ask you why 29 Popes in a row from Sixtus V in 1589 til 1878 when Leo stopped it…..29 Popes in a row cooperated morally and formally with sterilization of 9 to 12 year old boys as castrati for the papal choirs.
    Leo objected after 29 straight in a row Popes but he let those already there continue til 1904 or so.

  7. I did not misrepresent anything, and I did not invalidate anything. I have a different reading of the text than you have. I see the operative words in EV being the declaration that life begins at conception–and life means ensoulment. The soul is the life principle. That’s what “soul” means.

    In Humanae Vitae, Paul VI says the unbroken tradition of Catholic moral teaching condemns contraception and he has no power to change it. He doesn’t use the “infallibility” formula. JPII chooses to use the “infallibility” formula, but he still says that the unbroken tradition of the Church condemns abortion and cites that very passage in HV. JPII’s the one who cites it; not me.

    I don’t go to cocktail parties.

    I have no idea what you’re talking about regarding breaking the principle of “headship.” A man is no longer the head of the family in Catholic teaching?

    Who denies that except for the kinds of feminist nuns who are under investigation by the Vatican?

    Yes, recent Popes have clarified the *abuse* of male authority and emphasized the co-equal dignity of spouses, but the husband is still the spiritual head. It is not a contradiction; just a clearer teaching. Read Dietrich von Hildebrand.

    Very few people read the Enchiridon. Heck, very few people read the Documents of Vatican II. The fact that few people read the Didache doesn’t negate its truth or its position as the seminal document of Apostolic Era moral teaching.

    It attests to the consistent rejection of contraception by the People of God.
    So you hate Catholicism, period?
    You liberals always fall back on pointing out some papal sin or hypocrisy to insist that Catholic teaching “changed.”

    It’s like slavery. People point to the fact that some Catholics prior to the Civil War supported slavery and say “See? The Church condoned slavery!” Just as people now point to pro-choice Catholics to say the Church condones abortion.

    You’re the one making the big deal about “infallibility.” We still owe obedience to the Holy Father when he speaks on matters of faith and morals, regardless of whether he does os infallibly.

    And, again, why are you so eager to defend Malthusianism and eugenics?

    What’s your agenda? Extermination of third world populations? Extermination of those of us whom you consider genetically “inferior”? Freedom to objectify women to the satisfaction of your desires? Freedom to indulge in your own material prosperity?

    There is no altruisim involved in the contraceptive agenda.

  8. No…you have now seen the passage wherein John Paul says that ensoulement ‘s time is something the Church is not yet expressly committed to and if you keep repeating your former version, even those who like aspects of your verbiage will shy away from you….and you’ll be fibbing from here on in.
    I’m some liberal. I totally support the death penalty and husband headship which latter is no where in Vatican II or in the catechism because John Paul II as to the ccc obfuscated it so much in Dignity of Women and in Theology of the Body that his messengers in the magisterium no longer knows what he meant and since they are not that glued to the 6 passages in the NT that are explicit about it…it’s absent in the ccc….that reliable guide to the Faith.
    It’s only spiritual headship in your and his mind; it is also jurisdictional headship in the pastorals which are concerned with order.
    I am neither liberal nor conservative. I am very aware of papal mistakes galore and you are not even aware that the canon law from the late 13th century til 1917 supported the slavery of those mothers who were slaves. You can find the citations in Aquinas who gives them in the supplement to the ST in the section on marriage and go to the section on marriage of a slave. Chattel slavery is given by God Himself to the Jews in Leviticus 25:44-46 using that word and denoting perpetual. Slavery is a contextual evil which is to say when humans do not need it to survive, it should not be done. John Paul said it was an intrinsic evil and he was wrong not knowing Leviticus 25 and in general not liking those aspects of the OT which dislike he stated in EV section 40.
    He also said that torture was intrinsically evil and the Church ecclesiastical courts used it for centuries as your friend Brain Harrison has pointed out so John Paul was wrong twice in section 80 of Splendor of the Truth and that is because Popes can be wrong alot when they do not use infallibility. That is Catholic Dogma. The Church allowed chattel slavery when the person was born to a slave mother and John Paul said it was an intrinsic evil that did not depend on circumstances. John Paul said torture was an intrinsic evil and Fr. Harrison showed how it was brought back into the Church in Ad Extirpandum 1252 AD. Then in 1530 Leo X condemned Luther for Luther’s condemnation of burning at the stake. Yet we have John Paul once again calling something intrinsically evil which the Church did itself for centuries.
    John Paul’s ideas went into half of Humanae Vitae according to the priest who worked with him on sending his ideas to Paul VI prior to HV. Then John Paul is recurringly praising an encyclical that according to his own secretary was half his ideas anyway.
    You don’t read enough books. Start with the encyclopedias in your library on the castrati. If you go to new advent where one would expect it, it has been totally absent…not a word. Transparency was called for by Benedict in his latest encyclical. New Advent is not there yet when it comes to 29 Popes who were in moral cooperation with the sterilization of boys for singing. Shop around. Catholics of your mindset say that it was a special religious order. Strange then that no one has written a book on this special religious order or that the Vatican has not written on it and placed it on its website. Give me a break. That is a 300 year break in the tradition that HV says was constant but if you go to HV’s footnote on that constancy (#4) you will see only the Trent catechism as the only reference prior to the mid 19th century.
    Quite a constant tradition there. From 1252 and for another 500 years at least, you could be burned for heresy. See Exsurge Domine by LeoX. Coercion invalidates Matrimony…ergo it invalidates tradition on sexuality because it prevents anyone from differing so as to produce healthy conflict and resolution.
    There goes another part of your constant tradition…about 800 years out of 2008 questionable to some very smart theologians of the 20th century….and now can you see why. I doubt it. I think you simply like not reading and simply repeating what you knew 10 years ago ad infinitum.

  9. You are a liberal. You are chalenging the authority of the Church. That makes you a liberal.
    I do read books. Fr. Harrison is not my “friend”; I have not read any thing he’s written, except by quotation.
    I have said consistently in this discussion and on this blog that “ensoulment” is a red herring. We cannot scientifically determine whether we even have “souls” in the immortal sense, so how can we know when it’s instilled?
    And why does that even *matter*?
    The topic is contraceptoin, and “ensoulment” has nothing to do with contraception.
    You accuse me of not being read up on subjects that I have said I am not interested in discussing in this context. I am neither denying nor justifying the practice of castrati nor the support of slavery.
    The theology of St. Thomas Aquinas is highly flawed, and I have often criticized it on this blog. Thankfully, the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas do not carry the charism of infallibility.
    Canon Law does not reflect doctrine but disciplinary rules. The Church’s primary concern was keeping families together, so the Church tried to deal with the situation of slavery in ways that best kept families together.

    You are the one who is poorly read, Mr. Bannon. You can spout historical data but do not understand the underlying philosophical or theological principles: for example, the tolerance of a lesser evil so a greater evil can be avoided.

    You say I haven’t read anything (yet you know nothing about me). I’ve read _Evangelium Vitae_ many times over. I refer to it frequently. I do not see in it what you see in it. That gets into questions of hermeneutics–and, more importantly, spirituality–that are too complicated for comboxes.

    What I see is that contraception is a sin. The Church teaches it’s a sin, period. The Church taught that it was a sin in 100 AD, and the Church teaches that it’s a sin in 2009 AD, even if most bishops and priests in this country have gone over to the Enemy–Cardinal Stafford described the inner workings of this trend in his memoir on the 40th anniversary of HV.

    You are trying to say that you have no obligation to obey this teaching of the Church because you think the Church is inconsistent and you challenge other moral teachings of the Church: in other words, you make up your own moral law. You are a liberal.

    But my extensive reading of philosophy, coupled with my own life experiences, and the practical realities of life, proves to me the Church’s teachings are in accordance with Natural Law.
    If anything, it has taken me a long time to accept that Natural Family Planning is even in accord with Natural Law, when Sacred Scripture and most religions praise large families and condemn those who are intentionally childless.

    Commentators from G. K. Chesterton to C. S. Lewis to John XXIII to Paul VI to Pat Buchanan ot the good folks at HLI have all predicted that allowance of contraception would lead to acceptance divorce, abortion, homosexuality, euthanasia, eugenics, sterilizatoin and other evils. They’ve predicted that contraception might lead to temporary prosperity but that that prosperity would be followed by a huge economic collapse when depopulation took away the workforce and consumer base necessary for an economy. C. S. Lewis predicted that contraception would influence a race of “men without chests,” a generation that, knowing it existed as perfectly planned by the generation before it, would lack a sense of human worth and virtue.

    Everything these people have predicted has come to pass or is coming to pass before our eyes.

    I ask again the question you avoid: why are you so eager to defend this evil?

    How does it mesh with the example of the saints and the teachings of the mystics to say that something the Church condemns as evil is “OK.”? How does it advance your relationship with God to follow not the path of self-denial but the path of self-justification and gratification?

    There is a deep hostility towards the Church inherent in your attacks. I have Googled your name and found some of your posts on other sites, where you attack, among other things, the Sacred Liturgy itself.

    You are challenging my intellectual credentials. I am challenging your loyalties. The object of an open mind is to shut it on something solid. Incapable of following a single line of discourse, you are jumping from topic to topic.

    You liberal trolls really have come out in droves since the Grand Eugenicist was elected last November. I’m sure you’re quite eager to see disabled people like me wiped off the map.

    We are looking at the same texts yet seeing completely different meanings in them. I know that my meaning is corroborated by the Popes, by the Saints, by visionaries, by the Natural Law, etc.

    I know that there are plenty of “very bright theologians” who threw out their credentials in the 1960s by saying that contraception was OK and the Eucharist was just a symbol: like their real Pope, John F. Kennedy, these false Catholics have sold their souls for worldly influence and power.

    And what does being “very bright” warrant anyone? Lucifer was the brightest of God’s angels, after all. As Fr. Corapi points out, there is only one character in the Bible identified as being subtle: that’s the Devil.

    The Devil works in subtleties. The Devil works in saying things like, “You don’t need to listen to that rule; it’s not infallible.” Whenever one hears those kinds of subtleties, one should hear the hiss of the Enemy behind it.

    I know that my reading of the text is in accordance with the saints, the Popes, the visionaries, etc. I know that I try to lead a life of prayer and virtue, though I have faults.

    I know nothing about you except that you have come to my blog to argue in favor of contraception, which I believe to be a reprehensible evil, and you have now challenged the foundations of the Magisterium. You claim to be “neither conservative nor liberal,” yet you amke all the philosophical presumptions of liberals. I question whether you are even Catholic.

    You have not even mentioned the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Like the Enemy, when tempting Jesus in the Desert, you conveniently quote the passages that are easy to manipulate, outside of context. I tried to provide the context, and you accused me of being illiterate.

    You suggest that I should read more. I suggest that you should spend more time in prayer and fasting, and stop polluting your mind with works that go against the Church. I propose that your mind is blinded by the influence of the Enemy, as your words are so subtly crafted as are his.

  10. PS-Did you pray along with Jack Black at the MTV “music” awards?

  11. No actually all Catholics must obey the papal position on birth control unless they conscientiously sincerely think it is deficient after prayer,counsel and thorough reading.
    Catholics like you were 100% sure that any interest on a personal loan at all was mortal sin for centuries. They denounced other Catholics. They no longer exist as a group.
    They proved to have been incorrect. Along came our sales machine…Catholic apologetics of the minor kind….and said that the Church wisely waited til money was now fertile in the modern period. Pure garbage. Calvin had our exact eventual answer in 1545….allowing moderate interest when the debtor was not poor. Our sales machine was incorrect.

    Leo XIII was part of our sales machine on slavery. He wrote a bull which described how the Church fought slavery and was the leader in that fight instead of the Quakers who actually were. He skipped in his history the years from 1452 til 1511 during which a series of Popes gave Portugal and Spain the right to “enslave perpetually” the natives in the new world if they resisted the faith. Those Popes turbo charged chattel slavery and then in 1537 Paul III wrote against exactly what they had done but the ball was already rolling down the hill full speed. And actually 10 years later Paul III spoke fondly of domestic slavery within Italy which did not help and was not reported by Leo XIII.
    Read way more detail. I’ll leave you now. Aside from contraception, remember this: if you overstate the infallibility of an issue, you may find right after death as your life is reviewed, that you caused some to become schismatic.
    The schismatic process is 1. hold something to be infallible 2. the Church changes a detail…eg condoms for HIV couples as when Arthur Ashe got HIV from a blood transfusion 3. the person who hotly denounced others on the issue now sees the Church as abdicating….because he overstated the issue all along.
    Goodbye Sir.

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