CRUX’s “spirituality columnist” is “devastated” the Pope upholds Catholic teaching

Margery Eagan appears to be angling for a job as editor of National “Catholic” Reporter. Or perhaps spokesman for the LCWR: 

The news that Pope Francis has strongly defended the Church’s ban on artificial birth control left me, in a word, devastated.

Goodness. Even my Fundamentalist Protestant family members would have a good laugh at that one. “She does know the Pope is Catholic, right?” [Laughter and head shaking.] They would, understandably, miss the point: for Contracepting, Cafeteria Catholics, there is no greater good than the use and approval of pills and mechanisms that thwart the conjugal act. It’s not just that they want their religion to be pro-Pill and prophylactic; it’s that the Pill and prophylactics trump religion. No, they are religion, or at least the “sacraments,” if you will, of a pseudo-Catholicism that is as widely spread as it is intellectually shallow.

It is also unremittingly arrogant. Which is why Eagan writes, without a hint of shame or self-awareness: “I had hoped for so much more from this man.” Well, at least she gives lip service to one of the three theological virtues. But, seriously, who can doubt her religion zeal?

Although he has not lived it himself, I had thought he understood something about good people living real lives in real marriages. I had thought he even understood something about the beauty of sex in marriage, the need for sex in marriage.

Because, you see, all of those Catholics who are married, have sex, have children and follow the Church’s teachings on life, love, fidelity, sacrifice, and everything else bound up in the Culture of Life are simply idiots. Rubes. Morons. Dolts. Haters. And, no, I’m not putting words in her mouth. She writes:

In the United States, his words will have little practical impact. Most Catholic women have used birth control for decades. There are no more families with 12 and 14 kids in the Sunday morning pews. But his words do reveal a heartbreakingly backward perspective: that the highest calling of married women is sacrificing all to rear children, as many as come along, no matter those women’s talents or skills or dreams.

Three descriptives come to mind regarding this sort of arrogant posturing: stupid, slanderous, and sad. (The alliteration is free. You’re welcome.) And by “stupid” I do not mean native intelligence, but actual knowledge of not only what the Church teaches, but why She teaches it. Because, to state the obvious, Eagan’s beef is not, in the end, with just Pope Francis (or Paul VI or John Paul II or Benedict XVI), but with the Church. For example, consider these little known, rarely quoted words from Vatican II’s Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (“Gaudium et spes”): 

For God, the Lord of life, has conferred on men the surpassing ministry of safeguarding life in a manner which is worthy of man. Therefore from the moment of its conception life must be guarded with the greatest care while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes. The sexual characteristics of man and the human faculty of reproduction wonderfully exceed the dispositions of lower forms of life. Hence the acts themselves which are proper to conjugal love and which are exercised in accord with genuine human dignity must be honored with great reverence. Hence when there is question of harmonizing conjugal love with the responsible transmission of life, the moral aspects of any procedure does not depend solely on sincere intentions or on an evaluation of motives, but must be determined by objective standards. These, based on the nature of the human person and his acts, preserve the full sense of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love. Such a goal cannot be achieved unless the virtue of conjugal chastity is sincerely practiced. Relying on these principles, sons of the Church may not undertake methods of birth control which are found blameworthy by the teaching authority of the Church in its unfolding of the divine law. (par 51)

While the Church appeals to reason, human nature, natural law, divine revelation, the meaning of conjugal love, the goals of married life, etc., etc. Eagan does what all disciples of the Customized Church of Expressive Individualism do: she appeals to her feelings:

Pope Francis left me feeling foolish for even hoping that he’d somehow see his way to ending the Church’s completely indefensible contraception ban. Mostly, I just feel sad.

As least she gets one thing right: “I was wrong.” Yes. Agreed. 

Last October, I took Eagan to task for her slandering of orthodox Catholics as “bigoted” who uphold Church teaching about homosexuality. I wrote that “it’s not readily evident to me why Eagan is a ‘spirituality columnist’. Perhaps she was deemed suitable for the position because she has worked for the Boston Globe and she identified herself as Catholic, despite rejecting a fair number of Catholic teachings (yep, mostly having to do with the usual issues, centered on sex and gender).”

I ask again: why is Eagan a “spirituality columnist” for a site that claims to be “covering all things Catholic” when it is readily evident that 1) she doesn’t write much of anything about Catholic spirituality, 2) she uses her space to rant against clear Catholic teaching on moral issues, mostly having to do with sexuality, and 3) she constantly insults and jabs at those Catholics–including the Pope–who actually do accept, adhere to, and follow Church teaching? 

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About Carl E. Olson 1227 Articles
Carl E. Olson is editor of Catholic World Report and Ignatius Insight. He is the author of Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?, Will Catholics Be "Left Behind"?, co-editor/contributor to Called To Be the Children of God, co-author of The Da Vinci Hoax (Ignatius), and author of the "Catholicism" and "Priest Prophet King" Study Guides for Bishop Robert Barron/Word on Fire. His recent books on Lent and Advent—Praying the Our Father in Lent (2021) and Prepare the Way of the Lord (2021)—are published by Catholic Truth Society. He is also a contributor to "Our Sunday Visitor" newspaper, "The Catholic Answer" magazine, "The Imaginative Conservative", "The Catholic Herald", "National Catholic Register", "Chronicles", and other publications. Follow him on Twitter @carleolson.