Another assault on John Paul II

A new book released by the Vatican Publishing House, titled Theological Ethics and Life: Scripture, Tradition, and Practical Challenges, proposes nothing less than a radical change in the way the Church teaches about the moral life.

Pope John Paul II prays during a Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican in 2003. (CNS photo by Alessia Giuliani, Catholic Press Photo)

On May 13, 1981, Pope John Paul II had lunch in the papal apartment with Dr. Jerome Lejeune, the renowned French pediatrician and geneticist who identified the chromosomal abnormality that causes Down Syndrome.

Dr. Lejeune was a prominent pro-life advocate and the two men discussed initiatives the Vatican might take to advance the cause of life through a sound moral theology informed by the best of modern science, and through public policies supportive of a culture of life. It’s not hard to imagine that John Paul and Dr. Lejeune also discussed what the Pope would describe in the 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae as a corrosive “culture of death.”

The irony, of course, was that, a few hours after that lunch, one form of the culture of death asserted itself when Mehmet Ali Agca shot John Paul II in the Pope’s front yard, St. Peter’s Square.

That lunchtime conversation between two men of genius influenced the creation of two new institutions in Rome: The John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family, centered at the Pontifical Lateran University, and the Pontifical Academy of Life. The Academy was to be an in-house Vatican think-tank, in which men and women of goodwill from all over the world could work together to build cultures capable of cherishing life, especially the lives of the weakest and most vulnerable. The Institute, for its part, was intended to be a high-octane intellectual center for the renewal of Catholic moral theology in the 21st century and third millennium. Both initiatives were special gifts of John Paul II to the universal Church.

The John Paul II Institute flourished for three decades, training a generation of theologians dedicated to re-grounding Catholic moral theology in a sound and contemporary philosophical concept of the human person, while re-centering Catholic moral reflection on the virtues and the Beatitudes (the Magna Carta of the Catholic moral life). The Rome-based institute quickly spun off affiliate institutes around the world, the most formidable of which would be based in Washington, D.C. To visit any of these academic centers was to enter a world of great theological adventure, full of men and women apostolically committed to converting the cultures in which they lived.

All of this caused consternation within the dominant Catholic theological guilds of the time, caught as they were in the quicksand pits of a Sixties-based concept of moral theology in which there are no moral absolutes, nothing is always evil, and the moral life is considered an ongoing negotiation involving fluctuating ethical norms, society and the individual conscience. It need not be doubted that this anorexic theological project was heavily influenced by the sexual revolution. And it is not too harsh to suggest that “proportionalism” (as this negotiation-model of the moral life came to be called) evolved into a form of surrender to that cultural tsunami.

The guilds are now having their revenge.

In 2021, the Pontifical Academy of Life sponsored a conference whose proceedings have now been released by the Vatican Publishing House under the title Theological Ethics and Life: Scripture, Tradition, and Practical Challenges. The book proposes nothing less than a radical change in the way the Church teaches about the moral life: a “paradigm shift,” as one author put it, that would enshrine proportionalism (and its refusal to admit that some things are simply wrong, period) as the Church’s official method of moral reasoning.

To do so would, of course, mean repudiating the teaching of Pope St. Paul VI in the 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae, and the teaching of Pope St. John Paul II in the 1993 encyclical Veritatis Splendor and the aforementioned Evangelium Vitae. Discussions of such a repudiation have not been lacking in recent years, however, at the reconstituted John Paul II Institute in Rome (a husk of its former self) and at Rome’s Jesuit-run Pontifical Gregorian University.

In their distinctive ways, Humanae Vitae, Veritatis Splendor and Evangelium Vitae all rejected proportionalism as contrary to the Gospel and to a truly humane understanding of the moral life. All three encyclicals caused the dominant theological guilds in the West to writhe with contempt and seethe with fury.

And according to recent media reports, those guilds are now pressing for a new papal encyclical: one that would take the Church into the promised land of moral “discernment,” which lies “beyond” what proportionalist guild-speak now caricatures as John Paul II’s “black-and-white morality,” “rigorism,” and “fundamentalism.”

Surely one assassination attempt against the Pope whose teaching and example animate the living parts of the world Church was enough.

Related at CWR: 
“The undermining of John Paul II in the name of Veritatis Splendor continues” (July 14, 2022) by Larry Chapp
“Pope Francis, Bishop McElroy, and Amoris Laetitia (Jun 2, 2022) by Larry Chapp
“The Truth is Still Splendid: Veritatis Splendor at 25″ (August 2, 2018) by Dr. Samuel Gregg
“The Four Cardinals and the Encyclical in the Room” (November 28, 2016) by Carl E. Olson


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About George Weigel 407 Articles
George Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of Washington's Ethics and Public Policy Center, where he holds the William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies. He is the author of over twenty books, including Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II (1999), The End and the Beginning: Pope John Paul II—The Victory of Freedom, the Last Years, the Legacy (2010), and The Irony of Modern Catholic History: How the Church Rediscovered Itself and Challenged the Modern World to Reform. His most recent books are The Next Pope: The Office of Peter and a Church in Mission (2020), and Not Forgotten: Elegies for, and Reminiscences of, a Diverse Cast of Characters, Most of Them Admirable (Ignatius, 2021).

64 Comments

  1. James says, “The wisdom from above is FIRST OF ALL pure.” The half-true mixed-up carnal wisdom of this papal regime is pure all right…pure baloney. It is”natural, unspiritual, demonic.” There is no other biblical way to describe it.

    • People (e.g., the “Church of Nice,” as Voris calls it) will call your assessment harsh. But how else can we see the repeated behavior of those in authority? They are slaves of sin, either knowingly using the veneer of religion to hide or blind to the identity of their true master. God save us.

    • the “wisdom of this papal regime is pure”. Yes, indeed it is the best that is humanely possible. We are fortunate to have such a wise and faithful Vicar who is trying to take our Lord’s Church along the difficult but correct path. Instead of a family that is united in Jesus, we see ourselves merely as members of a religious group defined by our rituals and prayers – like other religious groups do. Jesus did not establish a religion; he established a family (Church) and we are asked by our Founder to go out, as Brian Young below reminds us, and “proclaim the gospel.” Pope Francis tells us that this proclamation needs to be done by the way we live and love.
      And, by the way, Pope Francis truly respected Pope John Paul 2. He continues, and adds to, the messages we have received from JP2 and other Popes. That is his commission.

  2. What sets the church apart is Christ crucified. God’s forgiveness through Christ’s death and resurrection. Are we proclaiming this in the church? Are we giving people hope and a godly direction?

    Mark 16:15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.

    Exodus 4:10-12 But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.”

    2 Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

    Remembering those who have given much and who’s example has encouraged us and moved us forward.

    • Are you suggesting we move forward as you did earlier by preaching false compunction ? Brian, pietistic obeisance is not the answer to an obvious attempt by this Vatican to deliberately dismantle what John Paul II accomplished for the Church. Francis, who you affectionately call Papa, nothing wrong there except you neglect that Papa is promoting a contextual doctrinal relativism that in effect compromises doctrine.

      • Thank you for writing. When I am mistaken, it is well appreciated to be corrected. You mentioned that I was “preaching false compunction”. Could I ask you to explain?

        Consecrated reverence or “pietistic obeisance” as you state it, might be the hallmark of the great saint John Paul II.
        However, I may be mistaken and seek your guidance.

        We can agree that censure is given to the present See of Rome. His work is taxing, yet we pray that his reliance is upon Jesus.

        God bless you and looking forward to your response!.

    • Jesus said the truth sets us free. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Truth is immutable, unchanging. There is no magical mystery land of “Forward!” We don’t move on from our sins until we acknowledge our sins. We can’t run away from them with sophistry, even when sophistry comes from high places.

  3. Pygmies, lilliputians, mindless midgets all scurrying about screaming at the top of their lungs “LISTEN TO ME!!” while they mouth their mindless moronic masterpieces.

    This too will pass.

    • Just as the first assassination attempt failed so too will this one. The first attempt was the desperate measure of a failed experiment as is the second.

      Non abbiate paura.

  4. One more sign of the demise of the voice of reason & understanding from those who are controlling behind the scenes of this failed & confused papacy…

  5. More profound than continual assassination attempts against St.JPII and his teaching is the ‘death’ sentence Roman authorities once imposed upon the Christ. That didn’t last long. Neither will the current assaults against St.JPII’s good theology, continual though they be.

    Nothing will keep us from the love of Christ. All things work for His good. “Listen to Him,” then continue to expose the wolves and false prophets wherever they weasel their misshapen mangy heads.

  6. To beat a dead horse, the “paradigm shift” thingy traces back to Thomas Kuhn’s 1962 book, “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” (1962). Scientific, as in the shift from a Ptolemaic paradigm to a Copernican paradigm.

    The bankruptcy of the Pontifical Academy of Life in 2021 is in proposing that advancement of the natural sciences is directly transferable to divine revelation and coherent moral theology. Plagiarism by another name…

    Something like many high churchmen asserting that they have never violated their “vow of celibacy,” because in their minds such a vow does not apply to non-heterosexual appetites–like undercover male insemination of another male colon. In fact, it is exactly the same thing–except now between the covers of a book.

    Not only is the Academy’s predictable propaganda morally false and diabolical; it’s preposterous. Someone turn the lights on.

    • I am a former atheist physicist. Now I am a Catholic physicist. In the name of common sense what does it take for a mind to figure out the self-evident truth that science has absolutely nothing to do with value judgments. Can the idiots who believe it can, provide an emphatic defense for Josef Mengele? I’d like to hear it.

      The favorite movie of my late wife, who would have gone far in a lookalike contest for Audrey Hepburn (I was way overmatched) was “A Nun’s Story.” We would watch it with wistfulness for a Church gone by where Catholics had the practice of examining their life for any potential for sins of pride as a daily practice. Now it seems many Catholics take pride in their pride.

  7. The Church has lost all credibility by not excommunicating Pelosi and Biden. Forgive me for saying it…but the Church is an accomplice of murder because of Biden.

    • Leander – What you said is indeed harsh, but I really think you’re correct, and such has been the case for DECADES now, going back to Kennedy and Kerry in the US Senate and their outspoken support for abortion. To me and I think to you and many others it is beyond obvious that these ‘catholics’ have effectively excommunicated themselves by their actions.

      The refusal of Church ‘leaders’ – up to and including the Pope – to make it ‘official’ for whatever reasons they may conjure up, which refusal has been going on for decades now, serves but one purpose – to make the whole thing worse.

      History teaches us that reform in the Church begins at the lowest level – with the laity. That means it’s up to us – start with prayer and fasting, which will be heard and noticed.

  8. satan is not satisfied with simply doing evil for its own sake. He also needs to let everyone know how brilliant he is, how insightful, how superior.

    So his assault on Christianity — which we know as leftism — isn’t just an assault on Christianity. It’s a sneering, leering, nihilistic imitation of Christianity, which the evil one inserted into human history in France in the middle of the 18th century.

    Like Christianity, leftism claims to benefit the poor, the weak, the marginalized, victims of bias, workers, etc.

    But, in fact, it benefits none of those people. Instead, it pits group against group, person against person. It claims to be more virtuous, more tolerant, less rigid and less judgmental than Christianity.

    Whereas the reality is that leftism trades on hatred, intolerance, violence and threats of violence, and — ultimately — in every circumstance — ending in death. In murder. On a massive scale.

    Which, considering the nature of its creator, is hardly surprising.

    By contrast, true Christianity is and has always been dedicated to fostering love, charity, forgiveness and life.

    (Bear with me, please. I’m about to tie in this observation with Mr. Weigel’s excellent article.)

    It is no surprise, then, that the evil one has also initiated an evil doppelgänger of the Catholic Church — one that exists *inside* the Church itself. This faux church is dedicated to undermining the Catholic teachings given us by Jesus and supplanting them with a leftist caricature that superficially resembles Christianity but is not. A caricature that is, rather, self-centered, toxic and coercive.

    We can easily discern the members of this mock catholic church, although I am not about to sit in judgment on anyone by naming names. Besides, they have revealed themselves and the master they serve clearly and repeatedly.

    In his article, Mr. Weigel is delineating a key objective of satan’s faux catholic church — to undermine Catholic moral teaching. Catholic morality is, in effect, God’s user manual for a happy life. By sabotaging Catholic morality, satan seeks to enhance human misery, promoting nihilism and despair. Undermining Catholic morality encourages selfishness and destroys families and lives.

    In his film, ‘The Passion of the Christ,’ Mel Gibson gave us the perfect portrayal of leftism.

    Remember, during Jesus’ scourging scene, when satan walked past, holding an adult dwarf like a child and grinning evilly? That tableaux was a satanic mockery of the Madonna and Child revered by Catholics.

    It was a perfect depiction of leftism — its falsity, its mockery, its perversion, its defiance.

    The fact that the male figure of satan was impersonating the female Mary adds just adds that special, piquant sprinkling of madness that today’s audiences will recognize as they ponder how to deal with the left’s efforts to normalize the sterilization and mutilation of “trans” children.

    And, by all means, leftism is “trans” in every way — trans humanity, trans reason, trans decency, trans good.

    We need to stop being surprised at this organized cadre of churchmen who seem at every turn to be disputing Catholic authority and doctrine and promoting dissent among the faithful.

    The fact that the Vatican leadership often seems to be a part of that cabal shouldn’t surprise us either. Judas sat at the same table as Jesus when the Sacrament of the Eucharist was first instituted.

    • Well said. God have mercy.

      Note that Satan is a person, so you capitalize his name (not from respect, of course; rather, to recognize what the Jesuit leadership no longer does).

    • And from the cabal and other interested parties–it is a distinct impression–we hear again about an apparent ambiguity on whether the merciful Christ excluded the unrepentant sinner Judas from the Eucharist, or not. Or, maybe whether Judas (unlike Biden and Pelosi et al) hastily excluded himself.

      And yet, from John’s Gospel, where we understand a very clear distinction between the Passover meal and the later institution of the Eucharist (which John, unlike Matthew, Mark and Luke, does not describe), when Judas was already long gone: “No sooner had Judas eaten the morsel than he went out. It was night” (Jn 13:30).

      • Peter, I believe that Jesus is prepared to enter every home. Where he is welcomed, he will abide in it for a while. Where he (or his message) is not welcomed, he will wipe the dust from his feet and go away.
        So, anyone who received the Eucharist but is not in communion with the Lord (or his Church) will not have the Lord abiding in him. This applies to all of us – Judas, Biden, me, you …

    • Brilliant, simply brilliant.

      You write: “And, by all means, leftism is “trans” in every way — trans humanity, trans reason, trans decency, trans good.” You omitted one other – trans truth. The only antidote to the Father of Lies is to speak the unblemished truth. I just disagree with one thing: we really do need to call out the perverse liars by name. Truth demands specificity. We have nothing to fear from God’s judgment if we speak the Truth in good conscience. Catholics have been “nice” and “polite” at the expense of Truth for far too long now. Time’s run out.

  9. To deconstruct the clarifying moral witness of twentieth century giants of Catholicism is not merely an affront to their legacy, it is a direct attack on God.

    I always describe my core principle as Ed’s law which says that there are only two philosophies; everything else is derivative: Either God is a fool or we are. Since the latter part of the proposition is the accurate part, it is for this reason that we fail to see that truth is immutable, which includes moral truth. It is impossible for God, Who is not a fool, to abandon us to a capricious understanding of how we ought to order our lives together. Numerous moral theologians of the “new theology” have been moral idiots, whose intentions have been to show people how to avoid feeling guilty for the evil that they do. It’s not complicated. To not understand the evilness of junk theology, you have to have a mind so corrupt and foolish as to believe it is positive good to “accompany” those on their road to destruction.

  10. “The theology of the Catholic eggheads I’m aligned with was about good faith people of all walks of life coming together to listen to science, love life, and understand geniuses when they explain the value of sunshine. It was perfect then and perfect forever shall it be. The theology of the Catholic eggheads I’m not aligned with was a death-loving murder cult that demanded we surrender our bodies to the ravenous horde of hippy sodomites…”

    Now I’m just an agnostic armchair theologian egghead, with no dog in this fight, but how do you think such a myopically unbalanced framing is going to come off as credible or convincing to anyone who doesn’t already agree with you?

  11. Here’s something with which we all need to come to terms: this is happening. It is happening now, before our very eyes. One would have to be intentionally obtuse not to see that it is happening. So three or five years from now, when the Church finds a way to bless sodomitic unions, to ordain women, and to permit artificial contraception, where will that leave us. I keep reading people saying the Germans (et al) are headed into schism, but from where I am sitting that does not appear to be the case. I believe the Germans (et al) will be in communion with the bishop of Rome. Won’t it be those of us who refuse to accept these things who will be in schism? And for those of you who say “It can’t happen,” I suggest it is happening right now and at lightning speed. It will all be over by the end of this diabolical “synod on synodality.”

    • You are 100% correct.

      The late Fr. Paul Mankowski wrote an essay confronting Rev. James Martin, and he began with this question:

      “Is sodomy a sin?”

      What you say is happening is undeniably happening, and the blatantly obvious situation in the Church is that it is run by frauds, and they are (literally) hell-bent on endorsing sodomy.

      We are watching the emergence of the great apostasy.

  12. It was disappointing to learn that the John Paul II Institute in Rome was being reconstituted to reflect the Theology of Marriage and Family of Pope Francis. I am not opposed to the Holy Father promoting and developing his theology but I am opposed to using the JP II Institute as the means to do so. The Institute’s mission was to reground marriage and family life in traditional philosophy and Catholic morality in the spirit of St. John Paul II. To do otherwise is a disservice to his thought and its promise for humanity.

  13. George Weigel has never been more correct, more significantly candid on what’s been in process within the Church since 2013. If as staid a diplomatic Catholic cultural apologist calls it as it is, the deaf and blind need emergency intervention.

  14. Do not fear. The Church must face her trial. How is the Lord asking her to do that? The graces are in the answers. How lovingly has she has been prepared.

    There are other factors at large. The Synod will be too unwieldy. There will be erroneous immersion of issues and ideas. Agreement will fall short and they will be facing the proposals from a patchworks. It will reveal an ugly quilt. It has happened in secular society before now and they will not know how to stop it from happening again -there. They will have to contend with what has no control. And they will arrive to the point they do not wish to hold.

    The role of Judas has a good instruction in it. He took it upon himself to be a go-between. Yes, it is true it was much contrary to the call. The real falseness of it is found where his loyalty was aimed and this measures out a truly human tragedy; whereas it is his dedication on it even to a desecration, that shape out its enormity.

    The day belongs to the Lord. The night does not end it. Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

  15. I think that Father Begany’s has put a finger on what is an act of deceitfulness by the Pontiff Francis and his “Team Francis,” (as Austin Ivereigh calls them), by stealing the name of Pope John Paul II, while erasing his moral theology, and teaching their own contrary and immoral theology (including their publicly announced promotion of sodomy by “Eminence” Hollerich) in an institute under his name.

    That’s pretty low.

  16. This is why we have sacred tradition: to counter attempts to reinterpret what is already known to be true. You don’t “progress” what’s timeless. “Catholics” who think tradition is backwards don’t seem to realize: they think they know better than God. Not exactly a little white sin.

  17. It seems to me that rejecting Veritatis Splendor means rejecting Scripture and Natural Law and Common Sense, since Veritatis Splendor is a communication of what these things have to say about moral reasoning.

    • In contrast with Alice in Wonderland and magic-trick theology: “The Church is no way [!] the author or the arbiter of this [‘moral’] norm” (Veritatis Splendor, n. 95).

    • Well Mr. Jenner:

      I’m sure the readers all wait with great anticipation for the light you will be shedding with your own “philosophical literacy.”

      It’s going to be awesome, I’m guessing.,,

      Let ‘er rip…

  18. Soon after Jesus said “On this Rock _I_ will build _my_ Church”, Peter took the inheritance for himself, that is he grabbed Jesus, and Jesus called him Satan for being on the side of man.

    Every twice named Biblical person was a man against his father, including Simon Peter bar Jonah. And within the household there were 3 against 2, 2 against three as Jesus and Isaiah foresaw.

    The powers of the heavens were shaken, and all the stars of the heavens fall – egotism, worldliness, disciples fighting among themselves – Pachamama abomination and of course treachery against life.

    Nothing new under the sun. We all need to repent or we will all go to hell. There is no door to mercy without repentance according to all the ancient Church Fathers, but the modernists imagine themselves smarter and more “enlightened” somehow. We need knee time to pray for repentance in tears, to pray for the delusional papacy of worldly power and most of all our egocentric sins. There simply is no other way.

    Judas abounds but love prevails.

    • Simon was given this unique position by the Founder of the Church. At this stage, Jesus had not yet completed his mission. It was now that he was telling them about the events that were to follow, and Jesus made it clear that no one would stop him from completing his journey, which was something that Satan wanted.
      Peter was not not only the “rock” – strong, permanent, firm – on which our Lord built his Church, but he was also given the keys to the kingdom of heaven, and assured that whatever he would bind on earth would be bound in heaven.
      Anyone who doubts this, is doubting Jesus.

      • Peter’s power of the keys and the power to bind and loose is not as broad as you believe it to be in your misapplication of Scripture, plus the power to bind and loose (pertains primarily to expelling some from Communion with the Church and/or reconciling them back to Communion with the Church) was also granted to the other apostles in union with Peter and thereby extends to all successor bishops as well.

        Crisis Magazine editor Eric Sammons, in an article for Catholic Answers, correctly sets forth Church teaching on the limits of Papal authority and writes the following:

        “Although Vatican I is seen by many today as a robust expansion of the authority of the pope, in certain ways it narrowed it. Within the ranks of the nineteenth-century ultramontanists, there was debate as to exactly how far papal authority went. Yes, a pope was infallible, but when? Whenever he taught? Whenever he said anything? Vatican I made clear that the pope was infallible only when teaching ex cathedra; in other words, when intending to define a teaching in faith and morals for the whole Church to hold definitively. If someone suggests that a non-ex cathedra papal declaration is infallibly binding, then he would be an ultramontanist under the latest definition.
        …..
        As it is commonly defined, ultramontanism is a heresy, for it warps the limits of the papal charism of infallibility. Yet the term should be applied only when someone is truly expressing the belief that a pope’s non-ex cathedra statements are in fact infallible. Perhaps one day the term will evolve yet again and mean something else, but until then, a Catholic should not strive to be a ultramontanist but simply someone who accepts papal authority as defined at Vatican I and reiterated at Vatican II.” (Catholic Answers, 2019)
        ______

        Accordingly, anyone who doubts Church teaching on the limits of Papal authority as defined in councils, the teaching Magisterium, and also set forth in the Catechism, is also doubting Jesus and the authority He gave to the Church that goes beyond and necessarily corrects anyone’s individual interpretation of Scripture.

    • Well said and done. Thank you for sharing your wisdom to the world.

      Almighty. “We need to pray because
      the fruit of prayers is deepening our faith. The fruit of faith is love. The fruit of love is
      service. The fruit of service is peace. We need to pray to have a clean heart. When we
      have a clean heart, we see God. Then, naturally we begin to love one another and live
      to serve each other.” This is the Beginning of Holiness by Mother Teresa.
      This is the way we, Catholic show to the world our love. use this as the mentor and practice it with oneself, family, community. Don’t let the frame and politic and power dictate our faith .

      • Thanks you, Trini Catalina. That is indeed a beautiful prayer. To love and to serve one another is what our Lord asked us to do. This is also the message from our pastoral Pope.

  19. And who is the person ultimately responsible for the wrecking of the Pontifical Academy of Life and this second attempt at the assassination of JPII?. Only those many Catholics with their heads buried in the sand would not know the answer. Let’s be aware that for this person process is more important that space.

  20. This support of contraception by the Pontifical Academy for Life is very disturbing. Contraception was universally held as an intrinsic evil by the entire Christian community up until 1930 when the Anglican’s voted, in conjunction with the Lambeth Conference, to allow contraception under very limited circumstances. Reformers Luther and Calvin even went so far as to declare contraception a form of murder. Initially, mainline Protestant churches were highly critical of this Anglican break from tradition, but that mindset soon dwindled when the 1931 Federation Council of Churches in America passed a contraception resolution in accord with the Lambeth Conference. Basically, the Lambeth Conference opened “Pandora’s box” and contraception spread rapidly under almost all circumstances.

    The Catholic Church responded through the December, 1930 release of the encyclical “Casti Connubii” authored by Pope Pius XI, in which he unequivocally condemned artificial contraception under all circumstances, referring to it as “shameful actions and intrinsically dishonest.” Thus, formal condemnation of artificial contraception extends back over 90 years. Pius XI’s teachings on contraception were further confirmed by Pope Pius XII in many of his writings.

    The issue came to light again in the 1960’s with the appearance of the “pill” igniting the argument that it didn’t interfere with the natural nature of the pro-creative act itself. This was, of course, answered with Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae. John Paul II offered further substantiation with Evangelium Vitae and Theology of the Body.

    The bottom line is that Pope Francis has no authority to change Church teaching on contraception, which has been openly declared an intrinsic evil by, at least, four Popes and, and as such, has become part of the deposit of faith.

    • James Whitney may I contribute to this discussion.

      The main justification proposed for contraception is said to be stopping becoming pregnant. There is a rationalization involved that goes unspoken, which is to be able to enjoy the sexual encounter without its responsibilities. The whole thing is a complicated setting of irresponsibility and reset of reality, since they are using sex between them of whatever relationship, or non-relationship, purely for gratification and self-indulgence. People who do this put themselves into a dystopia and bring those who are in their society, into it. Meanwhile, if the contraception fails and conception takes place, the child is now in harm’s way if the lingering effects of the contraception can kill him or maim him. Also the parents might entertain abortion when it becomes clear the baby is living.

      Another proposed justification for abortion is that it facilitates sex without infectivity if the married partner is ill with STD; the idea involved that being married they have a right to enjoy sexual relations.

      The justifications are false. The falsehood is the same in both cases: you can not close off the reproductive nature of the sex act, nothing permits it. The principle of double effect has no application one way of the other.

      In the second case, with the STD, it is lately being argued, aside from the principle of double effect, that using the contraception is the “lesser evil” where the intention to deflect the infectivity of otherwise legitimate relations; however, it is a non sequitur simply by the very nature of the way the thing is constituted.

      There is forgiveness in confession for the very grave sin of contraception. It is forgivable without strange argumentation going on outside the confessional, trying to justify it. By using those arguments you are adding two evils, besides. You are 1. proclaiming falsehood and 2. implying that there is nothing that would really need to be forgiven because it is justified and understandable.

        • The chemical contraceptive for the woman can sometimes fail to prevent conception. When this happens a child is now present.

          At this point the lingering chemicals can either kill the conception “embryo”- abortion; or can prevent implantation in the uterus – abortion; or can fail to prevent implantation but then kill the the child nonetheless after implantation – abortion. Or the lingering effects of the contraception can have the potential to maim the child even though it comes to birth.

          So now they are trying to justify the use of such contraception in cases of rape, whether for the lay woman or for the nun. Where there is a risk of pregnancy, the obligation arises that care has to be taken that the child will be protected.

          While it is true that PREVENTION of pregnancy in case of rape, would qualify under the double effect rule; the double effect rule can NOT accept a consequence of homicide or maiming. The particular type of contraception envisaged offers no protection to the new life should its preventative activity fail; and therefore there is no permit for it via double effect.

          Same for “lesser evil”. Similarly, the morning after pill or “Plan B” taken subsequent to the rape, can kill the conception if it has already taken place, or run through the cycle described above; so that it can not qualify. And whereas washing out can legitimately help to prevent pregnancy, washing out with a toxic chemical could also result in abortion or harm and is not permissible.

          The idea that “doctrine must develop” may not be the issue; and may be misleading in addition. Something developed in the society and it offends doctrine. That is the proper orientation for the particular subject matter; and it also arrives at its final composition for the items in covers. What is being led by doctrine is a right attitude, making the way for the pregnancy to be wanted. The lay woman or nun who gives birth this way can put the child for adoption; and take it into a part of the vocation to ask for the reparation from God, as needs be.

          Is there a contraception that the woman can take to stop pregnancy happening from a rape, without endangering the conception if it occurs? No, there is none.

  21. Non-doctrinal unity by itself can not and will not suffice for doctrinal unity. And non-doctrinal unity does not necessarily yield or sustain Christian fruit.

    The other problem is one of EFFERVESCENCE. Dialogue toward non-doctrinal unity, evaporates; or, attains ONLY partial agreement and PARTIALITIES. And dialoguing toward the doctrinal without marking the certainties and the departures and digressions, will meander everywhere and pass through every TRANSIENCE.

  22. The author’s prejudice is on show here. The Church has to consider the reality of marriage, its nature and problems, in today’s society. Changes are taking at a rapid pace in our world and the Church must respond accordingly. The original aims have not been lost, but new targets have been introduced.
    Over the years, we and our families, have had to adapt to changing conditions while maintaining our Catholic faith, so also Catholics as individuals and as a Family (Church) we also need to do the same.

  23. Thanks you, Trini Catalina. That is indeed a beautiful prayer. To love and to serve one another is what our Lord asked us to do. This is also the message from our pastoral Pope.

  24. Reasons why St. (Pope) John Paul II should be officially named/proclaimed a “Doctor of the Church” – as of 2022 there are 37 officially proclaimed Doctors of the Church as well as the non-officially proclaimed “Doctors/Teachers of the Church”, the 12 Apostles and the 2 supreme Teachers – Jesus and Mary:
    (1) On 13 May 1981 in an assassination attempt St. John Paul II was wounded but forgave his would-be assassin and called him a brother thereby imitating Jesus’ act of forgiving His crucifiers;
    (2) On 25 March 1984, St. John Paul II consecrated Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and in 1989 he met (Russia’s) Mikhail Gorbachev in Vatican heralding the end of deadly atheistic Marxism in Russia and elsewhere – in October 2004, months before his death in 2005, a Russian army choir feted Pope John Paul II in Vatican with Polish and Russian songs to honour his 26th anniversary as the Roman Pontiff;
    (3) St. John Paul II mediated a serious border dispute (and a potential war) between Argentina and Chile which was successfully resolved with a Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Argentina and Chile on 29 November 1984;
    (4) In 1985, St. John Paul II initiated the World Youth Day;
    (5) In 1991, St. John Paul II introduced a more realistic, biblically-based “Via Crucis” or the Stations of the Cross instead of the 17th century “Via Crucis” whose 5 of the 14 stations depict ”imagined” events of Jesus’ Passion without biblical foundation but ignore some other events of His Passion that are of great salvific importance such as Jesus’ promise of Paradise to the Good Thief, “Behold your Mother”, piercing of Jesus’ side and Jesus’ descent to hell/hades/sheol/underworld on Good Friday (Matthew 12:40, Ephesians 4:9, 1 Peter 3:19, Apostles’ Creed, https://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P1R.HTM, https://hopepei.com/2017/03/07/st-john-paul-iis-scriptural-stations-of-the-cross) – St. John Paul II thus made “Via Crucis” theologically more meaningful and pastorally more relevant especially for Protestant Christians;
    (6) St. John Paul II was instrumental in the publication of the monumental “Catechism of the Catholic Church” in 1992;
    (7) In 1992, St. John Paul II apologized for the 17th century Church mistreatment of the Italian scientist Galileo Galilei and in 1999 he expressed regret for the 1415 Council of Constance burning at the stake of the Czech priest Jan Hus; during his papacy, St. John Paul II also apologized for historical Christian participation in the denigration and injustices against women, for Church abuses against the Natives of the Americas as well as for Christian slave trade and slavery in Africa and the Americas, et cetera;
    (8) In 2000, St. John Paul II established the Feast of the Divine Mercy to promote devotion to Jesus’ Divine Mercy;
    (9) In 2002, St. John Paul II corrected a glaring deficiency in the inventory of the Rosary mysteries by adding significant events/mysteries from Jesus’ public life (except Jesus’ Passion), the 5 “Luminous Mysteries” – their seamless integration into the traditional Rosary framework of “150 Psalms and 15 promises” could still be done;
    (10) In 2003, St. John Paul II foresaw the destructive consequences of the American invasion of Iraq (destructive especially for
    Christians) and he campaigned against it – but no Nobel Peace Prize for the Pope;
    (11) throughout his pontificate, especially by his liturgical profession of the original Nicene Creed, by apology for the European Crusaders’ sacking of Constantinople in 1204 and by the Apostolic letter “The Light of the East” (sublime beauty and utility of traditional sacred images/icons, et cetera), St. John Paul II promoted Church unity thus endeavouring, in a “Pentecostal” / multilingual way, to realize Jesus’ wish “that they may be one”, one holy, catholic and apostolic Church “breathing with 2 lungs”, western and eastern – Jesus, Peter and other apostles, whose Gospel enlightened western Christianity, Europe and the whole world, originated in Asia, in the Near/Middle East!
    By the above it can be said that John Paul II fulfilled the three requirements needed to be declared a doctor of the Church, which are as follows – according to https://thecatholictravelguide.com/doctor-of-the-church:
    (1) holiness that is truly outstanding, even among saints;
    (2) depth of doctrinal insight; and
    (3) an extensive body of writings which the Church can recommend as an expression of the authentic and life-giving Catholic Tradition.

4 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Another assault on John Paul II | Passionists Missionaries Kenya, Vice Province of St. Charles Lwanga, Fathers & Brothers
  2. Another assault on John Paul II | Franciscan Sisters of St Joseph (FSJ) , Asumbi Sisters Kenya
  3. Another assault on John Paul II – Via Nova Media
  4. THVRSDAY EDITION – Big Pulpit

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