Hostile Reports regarding our Statement on the Ethics of Using Contraceptives
We call ‘hostile’ any reports in which Catholic scholars who express their honest views are labelled ‘dissident’, ‘unorthodox’, ‘unfaithful to Catholic teaching’, etc.
“Woe to you if everyone speaks well of you! That was the way their ancestors treated the false prophets . . .” [Luke 6,26]
UN Agencies Agitate For Change Within Religions
C-Fam Turtle Bay and Beyond – By Stefano Gennarini, J.D. | September 21, 2016
“Does religion matter to the Sustainable Development Goals conversation? Does tension between religion and sexuality help or hinder?”
Azza Karam of the UN Population Fund posed the question to a gathering of roughly 60 religious figures and representatives of faith based and other aid organizations that work on sexual and reproductive health policies on the margins of the ongoing United Nations General Assembly.
The event, titled “Keeping the Faith in Development: Gender Religion and Health,” was sponsored by three powerful UN agencies: UN Women, the UN Population Fund, and UNAIDS. Invited panelists were not shy about challenging religious authority
Lopa Banerjee of UN Women highlighted a “deep need to question the structures of patriarchy that continue within faith institutions and to challenge them from within.”
“Gender is not only about women and girls. It is a transformative vision for all of society,” she said. Banerjee made the case for working with religious groups in order to “reach” within societies and cultures to cement gains for the gender agenda and make them “irreversible.”
“We often feel a tension between human rights and religious rights. That comes to the question of patriarchy. We sustain our patriarchy usually on the backs of women” said Rabbi Burton Visotzky of the Jewish Theological Seminary. He was presented as the UN Population Fund’s “go-to rabbi.”
He urged religions to embrace a “common extra-religious moral authority” under the banner of the United Nations, human rights, and the sustainable development goals.
Rabbi Visotzky then reached in to his pocket and raised his arm high in the air and waved two condom packets.
“I picked them up in the bathroom, courtesy of UNAIDS,” he said with a grin, downplaying how Jews, Moslems and Christians alike had internal debates about the morality of contraception.
Then he added, “This is not only a useful thing to have in your backpack or pocket book but a symbol of the moral authority that unites us across different religious boundaries.”
“For decades the Roman Catholic hierarchy has been against reproductive health,” said Luca Badini-Confalonieri a theologian of the dissident Catholic group the Wijngaards Institute.
He presented a statement “On the Ethical Use of Contraceptives” signed by approximately 100 scholars that urged the Catholic Church to change its teaching on sexuality, including with regards to the morality of the use of artificial contraception, masturbation, homosexuality and in-vitro fertilization.
Badini-Confalonieri tried to make the case that the Church was not against the “spirit of reproductive health itself” but the “technical means of reaching the goal.” He said signatories of the statement included bishops, priests and nuns, all “committed” Catholics that “love the Church,” he said.
“Contraception for family planning purposes is not intrinsically evil” he explained was the conclusion of the statement. “Responsible parenthood”—which until now for the Church only meant Natural Family Planning—can be achieved by using “non-abortifacient modern contraceptives,” he added.
“The statement is not advocating promiscuity or population control!” said Badini-Confalonieri seeking to “ease concerns.” But even so, he said the Church should promote the use artificial contraceptives with a view to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The Church should “emphasize the social dimension of responsible parenthood” and “being aware of consequences of fertility on society, economic development, and environmental sustainability.” He called this a “more community oriented understanding of responsible parenthood.”
Badini-Confalonieri explained the statement in almost evangelistic terms.
“Once the morality of artificial contraception is accepted the Catholic Church will become a powerful force to promote responsible parenthood,” he said.
No official representative of the Catholic Church was present at the event. Over 500 scholars published a statement in support of the Catholic teaching against the use of artificial contraception at the same time and on the same day.
Not all the panelists were quite as sanguine about supporting a single UN guided understanding of reproductive health, or about openly confronting religious authorities.
Imam Shamzi Ali, President of the Nusantara Foundation cautioned about the need to engage “mainstream religious society” and not just the fringe, and the need to respect differing views within religions.
Mr. Anwar Khan of Islamic Relief warned against simply “dumping condoms” with the message to “stop having more babies” on the developing world.
“This is very sensitives, especially with people of color” he said, adding that “we have to realize we are not all on the same page.” He also warned that respecting religious communities was essential. “We represent the majority. We can either be an obstacle or an assistance,” he said.
Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, a Hindu religious leader in the WASH Alliance for clean water, sanitation, and hygene highlighted how girls need sanitation in order to succeed. She did not endorse wholeheartedly the message of reproductive health, explaining how Hindu religion is quite traditional on sexual mores.
During question time a handful of Christian and Muslim religious leaders expressed disappointment that panelists did not address gender identity, homosexuality, and sexuality more broadly.
I asked the panelists if they did not see a problem in three powerful UN agencies supporting and publicizing the views of dissenting Catholic groups like the Wijngaards Institute, particularly in an environment where Catholic aid and charity organizations that do not provide certain drugs are threatened domestically by the government or shut out of the international aid machinery altogether.
I also asked if the “transformative vision” of gender that Ms. Banerjee of UN Women referred to also included transgender bathroom bills for the entire world. A draft resolution on the rights of children that is currently being negotiated at the United Nations has dropped a reference to the need of adequate and separate sanitation facilities for girls in school settings. Specifically, I asked Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati what she thought of this.
There was no time for panelists to respond. But after the event Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati agreed that it was not a good idea to export bathroom bills to developing countries.
Also at the event, Ms. Karam presented a new UNFPA manual titled “Religion, Women’s Health and Rights” that outlines the doctrinal positions of major world religions on abortion and contraception alongside other less contentious issues affecting women. The manual lists several express condemnations of abortion by Pope Francis and Canon Law in the section on Catholicism and abortion.
Over 500 Scholars Hold Press Conference to Promote Positive Value of Humane Vitae
PATHEOS. Hosting the Conversation on Faith – September 20, 2016 by Dr. Greg
Today, Catholic University of America held a press conference announcing the release of a document drafted by dozens of Catholic scholars and co-signed by over 500 theologians, social scientists, lawyers, physicians and other academics who endorsed the positive impact, value, and continued importance of Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI’s letter promoting a consistent, comprehensive, vision of sexual love.
The new document announced today is a direct response to about 130 dissident Catholic scholars, including Vatican-censured theologian, Fr. Charles E. Curran, who sponsored an event at the UN attacking the Church’s teachings.
I was honored to be among the many scholars who contributed sections to the document supporting Humanae Vitae referenced by today’s press conference. Specifically, my efforts focused on the negative psychobehavioral and environmental impact of the hormonal contraceptives, but these were just two small parts of a very thorough and wide-ranging document that addresses both the problems with artificial contraception and the value of living the Church’s vision of love and sex.
Many thanks to Dr. Janet Smith for spearheading this effort and to all those who joined in to make this important event possible, in particular, Mary Hasson of the Ethics and Public Policy Center and Dr. John Grabowski, who is a moral theologian at CUA, and who, with his wife, Claire, is both a member of the Pontifical Council for the Family and a regular contributor to More2Life Radio. This document is a wonderful show of lay support for the incredible beauty and continued relevance of Catholic sexual ethics. Please check it out!
The Church’s Teaching on Contraception: Renewed Witness is Needed
US CATHOLIC CONFERENCE OF BISHOPS Blog By Most Reverend Richard J. Malone – Wednesday, September 21, 2016
What do men and women want? What do all of us yearn for? Certainly, love and happiness would be at the top of the list. We were made to love and to be loved. Unfortunately, today our culture is awash with multiple false messages on love and happiness, especially when it comes to sex and marriage. This confusion is not only present in our society, but has taken a toll within the Church for numerous decades. Catholics need help to understand and live the full Gospel of Christ.
This is why it is so encouraging to see a broad group of Catholic scholars standing up to promote and defend the Church’s teaching on married love and responsible parenthood and the fact that contraception and sterilization are morally unacceptable and cannot lead a couple to the happiness they desire. On September 20, 2016, at The Catholic University of America (view press conference here), the scholars released a statement entitled, Affirmation of the Church’s Teaching on the Gift of Sexuality. Among other things, the statement is a resounding affirmation of Blessed Pope Paul VI’s Encyclical On Human Life (Humanae Vitae) issued in 1968.
The Church’s teaching in this area is sometimes caricatured and maligned—more often, though, it is simply unknown or not understood well. The Affirmation statement beautifully and clearly summarizes the Church’s teaching. I encourage you to read the statement, to learn more about the Church’s teaching, and to pray about where the Lord might be calling you to witness further to His truth.
Sexual relations belong to marriage. Marriage is a unique and total gift of self between one man and one woman. By its very nature it speaks a language of love that is life-long, exclusive, and fruitful. In marriage, a husband and a wife give themselves totally to each other, not partially. This is the reality of married love, which is also a constant call to spouses to grow deeper in their love, as Pope Francis has taught so eloquently in The Joy of Love (Amoris Laetitia).
Couples who use contraception or resort to sterilization may not realize that such actions contradict the very nature of their marital love and God’s plan for them. They may not realize that, in addition to spiritual and relational consequences, such actions can be accompanied by harmful and unhealthy side effects to the body. They may also not realize that the birth control pill can at times operate as an abortifacient.
The so-called sexual revolution—erupting particularly in the 1960s by means of wide access to contraception through the birth control pill—was promised as a panacea to the challenges faced by men and women in marriages and relationships, especially women. But has it really made the world better? Do men and women truly see each other as gifts? The surge of sex outside of marriage, the proliferation of the “hook-up” culture, broken marriages, pornography use, ever increasing numbers of STDs in the U.S., absent fathers, relational wounds—all of these are signs pointing to the failure of the sexual revolution.
Another revolution is called for, one which has already been underway and given renewed impetus by the prophetic teaching of Blessed Pope Paul VI and Pope Saint John Paul II and the recent, incisive teaching of Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI and Pope Francis. This is the revolution of authentic love. Here, we need look no further than Christ on the Cross, who has given us the enduring meaning of true love—unselfish and seeking the true good of others, that they might have life. Love and life were inseparable on the Cross, and they are inseparable in marriage, which itself has become the very sign of the mystery of Christ and the Church.
All of us can grow in our witness to the love which Christ has poured out upon us through His Church.
To any Catholics who have chosen to contracept, I invite you to reconsider the Church’s teaching, to pray for light and mercy, and to meet with a priest and someone trained in the methods of Natural Family Planning (NFP) (or Fertility-Based Awareness Methods) to discuss what steps can be taken to follow God’s plan for your marriage. Your parish or diocese should have information on NFP contacts and education opportunities in your area. If you are unable to find information, please contact the bishops’ NFP Program at email@example.com, and staff will be happy to help you.
To Catholics who have embraced the Church’s teachings, even when difficult, I thank you for being—and encourage you to remain as—joyful and merciful witnesses who invite others to the fullness of the truth. Your witness is an inspiring light for your brothers and sisters and is needed now more than ever.
Lastly, to all those in positions of leadership in the Church, especially those with responsibility for catechesis, education and ongoing formation, thank you for all you do. May our efforts truly help all we encounter to embrace the full truth of the Gospel, which includes the Church’s teachings on human sexuality, marriage, and family life.
Even when following the Church’s teaching on married love may be difficult, no couple should feel alone. The Lord Jesus is here to carry our burdens and the Church is here to accompany us in our struggles. May our renewed witness to the Church’s teaching on human love in the divine plan help bring greater peace and joy to our families, parishes, communities, and nation.
Hundreds of Catholic scholars affirm ‘Humanae Vitae’ as dissidents blast Church teaching at UN
LIFE SITE NEWS by Claire Chretien – WASHINGTON, D.C., September 21, 2016
More than 400 Catholic academics released a statement affirming the Catholic Church’s teaching on contraception and human sexuality in response to recent calls for the Church to change her teaching as the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae approaches. Opponents of Catholic teaching presented those calls Tuesday at the United Nations.
Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI’s landmark encyclical upholding the Catholic Church’s long-held teaching on human sexuality, was released in 1968. In preparation for its upcoming 50th anniversary, the Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research released a statement titled On the Ethics of Using Contraceptives calling for the Church to accept the use of artificial contraception as moral.
It said the Church should issue an “official magisterial document … affirming that the use of non-abortifacient modern contraceptives for prophylactic purposes can be morally legitimate and even morally obligatory” and consider revising its teaching on in-vitro fertilization, homosexual activity, and masturbation.
To counter the so-called Wijngaards statement, the 400+ scholars released Affirmation of the Church’s Teaching on the Gift of Sexuality at a press conference at The Catholic University of America (CUA) yesterday. Numerous CUA faculty members, including President John H. Garvey, signed the statement.
Scholars: There is no Catholic argument for contraception
“The Wijngaards Statement seriously misrepresents the authentic position of the Catholic Church,” the scholars wrote. “Among the most erroneous claims made by the Wijngaards Statement is that neither Scripture nor natural law offers any support for the Church’s teaching that contraception is never compatible with God’s plan for sexuality and marriage. During the past half century, there has been an enormous amount of creative scholarly thinking around the Church’s teaching on contraception, thinking that includes profound reflections on the Theology of the Body, personalism, and natural law. In addition, there has been extensive research on and analysis of the negative impact of contraception on individuals, relationships, and culture.”
The Wijngaards Statement “offers nothing new to discussions about the morality of contraception and, in fact, repeats the arguments that the Church has rejected and that numerous scholars have engaged and refuted since 1968,” the document continued. One of the key inaccuracies of the Wijngaards Statement, the scholars assert, is its claim “that the argument against contraception in Humanae Vitae is based primarily on ‘biological laws.’ Humanae Vitae instead focuses, as it should, on the person’s relationship to God and to other persons.”
On the Ethics of Using Contraceptives “virtually ignored” Pope St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body that defended Humanae Vitae, the scholars wrote.
Affirmation of the Church’s Teaching on the Gift of Sexuality outlined 11 points about the nature of God, the nature of marriage, and faith and reason that are the basis of the Church’s teaching that artificial contraception “is not in accord with God’s plan for sexuality and marriage.”
Humanae Vitae’s ‘prophetic’ warnings coming true
“Humanae Vitae was prophetic” when it predicted that contraception would lead to marital infidelity, a general lowering of morality, and abuse of women for sexual pleasure, the signers of the CUA statement agreed. “Abundant studies show that contraception, such as hormonal contraceptives and intrauterine devices, can cause serious health problems for women. The widespread use of contraception appears to have contributed greatly to the increase of sex outside of marriage, to an increase of unwed pregnancies, abortion, single parenthood, cohabitation, divorce, poverty, the exploitation of women, to declining marriage rates as well as to declining population growth in many parts of the world. There is even growing evidence that chemical contraceptives harm the environment.”
Pope Paul VI also predicted that contraception would begin to be imposed on people after its widespread acceptance. This prediction makes the Wijngaards Statement rather ironic given that it says the Church should label the use of artificial contraception “morally obligatory” in some cases.
Also in tune with Humanae Vitae’s predictions, the Wijngaards Statement recommended that the Church “seek the opinion of Christian theologians and experts in other relevant disciplines … on the other areas of Catholic sexual ethics which will likely be affected by a revision of the present teaching banning the use of contraceptives for family planning, namely the negative evaluation of masturbation, homosexual relationships, and in vitro fertilization.”
The CUA statement, however, calls for governments and international organizations to “make instruction in Fertility Awareness Based Methods (FABMs) of family planning a priority” because “FABMs are based on solid scientific understanding of a woman’s fertility cycle, are easily learned by women in developing countries, are virtually without cost, and promote respect for women.”
“International organizations and governments should respect the values and beliefs of families and cultures that see children as a gift, and, therefore, should not impose — on individuals, families, or cultures — practices antithetical to their values and beliefs about children and family planning,” the CUA statement said.
Catholic Scholars Defend ‘Humanae Vitae’ Against Dissident Academics
CHURCH MILITANT by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th. – September 21, 2016
Blessed Paul VI focused “on the person’s relationship to God and other persons”
Two groups of intellectuals are battling over Catholic doctrine contained in Bd. Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical “Humanae Vitae,” which upheld the Church’s constant teaching that artificial birth control is spiritually harmful.
A group of more than 500 Catholic scholars released a statement titled “Affirmation of the Church’s Teaching on the Gift of Sexuality” during a press conference September 20 held at Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington, D.C.
The scholars’ statement was a response in anticipation of a report titled “On the Ethics of Using Contraceptives” released the same day by the dissident Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research at the United Nations Building in New York.
The institute, named after the Dutch theologian and laicized priest John Wijngaards, expressed its purpose in its statement made before the UN assembly September 20: “Our goal is to encourage the Catholic hierarchy to reverse their stance against so-called ‘artificial’ contraceptives.”
The heterodox statement was signed by 135 dissidents, including the notorious Fr. Charles Curran, who has been forbidden since the 1980s by the Vatican to teach Catholic theology. Another signatory was Fr. Peter Phan, current professor at Georgetown University, under investigation by the Vatican for heterodox teaching. Signatories of the anti-Catholic report also included more than two dozen professors associated with Catholic colleges in the United States.
One Catholic scholar, who signed the orthodox statement refuting the pro-contraception position, was Dr. Janet Smith, a seminary professor, author and prominent pro-life speaker. Smith, who was present at CUA’s conference via Skype, said when she first got wind of the Wijngaards statement a few weeks ago, she planned only to write a response to it; but as the reaction grew, she saw it as “an opportunity for us to show the world there are many, many Catholics who support ‘Humanae Vitae.'”
She made the observation that signers of the orthodox position were perhaps 15 years younger than the signatories of the dissident statement. She attributes this to the influence of Pope St. John Paul II’s teaching on sexuality, popularly known as Theology of the Body, which has caused many younger Catholics to support the Church’s teaching on contraception.
The faithful scholars in their response note that the major error in the dissidents’ declaration seeking to reverse the Church’s constant and consistent teaching against artificial contraception. “The Wijngaards Statement … misdirects the conversation from the start by claiming that the argument against contraception in ‘Humanae Vitae‘ is based primarily on ‘biological laws.’ ‘Humanae Vitae‘ instead focuses, as it should, on the person’s relationship to God and to other persons.”
Over 500 scholars affirm Church teaching on contraception
CATHOLIC CULTURE News- September 20, 2016
More than 500 scholars have signed a statement of support for the Catholic Church’s teaching on contraception.
At a press conference held at the Catholic University of America on September 20, the scholars unveiled an “Affirmation of the Church’s Teaching on the Gift of Sexuality.” The statement was issued as a rebuttal to the “Wijngaards Statement,” in which critics of the Church’s teaching had called for acceptance of contraception.
“Scholarly support for the Church’s taching on the gift of sexuality, on marriage, and on contraception has burgeoned in recent decades,” said the signatories of the “Affirmation.” They added that the Wijngaards Statement “offers nothing new to discussions about the morality of contraception…”
The Wijngaards Statement had argued that Humanae Vitae, the 1968 encyclical by Pope Paul VI reaffirming the Church’s opposition to contraception, has now been shown inadequate. The authors of the “Affirmation” emphatically disagreed,
John Grabowski, a theology professor at Catholic University who served as an expert for the 2015 meeting of the Synod of Bishops, said: “Unfortunately, the Wijngaards Statement fails to acknowledge the vindication of Blessed Paul VI over the last 48 years by the sciences, the social sciences, and its further elaboration by the teaching of St. John Paul II and its support from Pope Francis.”
The affirmation was signed by scholars including:
Janet Smith, a moral theology at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit; John Garvey, the president of Catholic University; John Haas, the president of the National Catholic Bioethics Center; J. Budziszewski, a philosophy professoar at the University of Texas at Austin; Father Wojciech Giertych, OP, theologian of the pontifical household; Traci Rowland, dean of the John Paul II Institute in Melbourne, Australia; George Weigel, biographer of St. John Paul II; and Michael Novak, visiting professor at Catholic University and Templeton Prize winner.
Faithful Catholic Scholars Fight Back Against Dissent From Humanae Vitae
CARDINAL NEWMAN SOCIETY – by Mallory Nygard / September 20, 2016 /
On the same day dissenting theologians are presenting a statement at the United Nations in New York intended to change Catholic Church teaching on contraception, more than 500 Catholic intellectuals released their own statement affirming the Church’s teaching during a press conference today at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
The statement of the faithful Catholic scholars, “Affirmation of the Catholic Church’s Teaching on the Gift of Sexuality,” outlines how contraception “is not in accord with God’s plan for sexuality and marriage.”
“We, the undersigned Catholic scholars, hold that the Church’s teaching on contraception is true and defensible on the basis of Scripture and reason. We hold that Catholic teaching respects the true dignity of the human person and is conducive to happiness,” the statement reads in part.
Among the signatories of the statement are Dr. Janet Smith, the Father Michael J. McGivney Chair of Life Ethics at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Mich. — one of the nation’s leading Catholic scholars on the use of contraceptives — and representatives from almost every Newman Guide-recommended college.
Patrick Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society, was also one of the supporting signers of the “Affirmation” statement along with the Newman Society’s Dr. Dan Guernsey, Dr. Denise Donahue and Dr. Jamie Arthur. The presidents of six Newman Guide-recommended Catholic colleges also signed in support of the statement, including John Garvey of The Catholic University of America, Dr. Glenn Arbery of Wyoming Catholic College, Dr. William Fahey of The Thomas More College of Liberal Arts, Dr. George Harne of Northeast Catholic College, Dr. Timothy O’Donnell of Christendom College, and Dr. William Thierfelder of Belmont Abbey College.
The statement refutes claims made in the report being released by the dissident Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research at the U.N., “On the Ethics of Using Contraceptives.” The signatories of the Wijngaards Institute report include more than two dozen professors associated with Catholic colleges in the U.S.
The Cardinal Newman Society reported last week on the planned release of the Wijngaards Institute report, issued in response to the upcoming 50th anniversary in 2018 of Blessed Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae. The erroneous conclusions espoused by the dissident theologians who signed the statement misrepresent the Church’s teachings on contraception and human sexuality.
Despite claiming that the Church does not have the authority to teach definitively on the use of contraceptives, the authors of the statement aim to “encourage the Catholic hierarchy to reverse their stance against so called ‘artificial’ contraceptives.” The report denies the inherent connection between the sexual act and procreation and claims that artificial contraception and Natural Family Planning are “morally equivalent.” The authors also urge considering changes to Catholic teaching on masturbation, homosexual relationships and in vitro fertilization.
The “Affirmation” statement released today on Catholic University of America’s website counters the unoriginal and previously refuted objections to Church teaching raised by the authors of the Wijngaards Institute report through contemporary developments in theology, like St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, as well as traditional understandings of human sexuality and love that the Church has held since its inception. The statement supports the Church’s authority to teach on the use of contraception and articulates the truths that underlie the Church’s teaching on contraception.
“The Wijngaards Statement seriously misrepresents the authentic position of the Catholic Church,” faithful Catholic scholars argue in the “Affirmation” statement. “Among the most erroneous claims made by the Wijngaards Statement is that neither Scripture nor natural law offers any support for the Church’s teaching that contraception is never compatible with God’s plan for sexuality and marriage.
“During the past half century, there has been an enormous amount of creative scholarly thinking around the Church’s teaching on contraception, thinking that includes profound reflections on the Theology of the Body, personalism, and natural law. In addition, there has been extensive research on and analysis of the negative impact of contraception on individuals, relationships, and culture,” the statement continued.
But the faithful Catholic scholars argue that the authors of the Wijngaards Institute report ignore all of this recent research and scholarship, instead “misdirect[ing] the conversation from the start” by characterizing Humanae Vitae as based primarily on “biological laws” instead of focusing on human beings’ relationship to God and to others.
The faithful Catholic scholars affirm that the Church’s teaching on contraception is true and defensible on the basis of Scripture and reason and that Catholic teaching respects the true dignity of the human person and is conducive to happiness
The scholars behind the “Affirmation” plan to release a longer document in the next few days entitled “Self-gift: The Heart of Humanae Vitae” that will elaborate upon the points made in the shorter document released today and will issue a point-by-point response to the Wijngaards Statement within the next month.
A complete list of the scholars and clergy who signed the “Affirmation” can be found here. The lead signers of the “Affirmation of the Catholic Church’s Teaching on the Gift of Sexuality” include:
Helen M. Alvare’, J.D.
Professor of Law
Scalia Law School at George Mason University
Editor, Breaking Through: Catholic Women Speak for Themselves
Maria Fedoryka, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Philosophy
Ave Maria University
John H. Garvey, J.D.
The Catholic University of America
Fr. Wojciech Giertych, O.P.
Theologian of the Papal Household
John S. Grabowski, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Director of Moral Theology/Ethics, School of Theology & Religious Studies,
The Catholic University of America
Board Member, The Academy of Catholic Theology
Author, Sex and Virtue: An Introduction to Sexual Ethics
Prof. John M. Haas, Ph.D., S.T.L., M.Div., K.M.,
President, The National Catholic Bioethics Center
Consultor to the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care for Health Care Workers, Vatican
Member, Pontifical Academy for Life, Vatican
Member of the Directive Council for the Pontifical Academy for Life, Vatican
Mary Rice Hasson, J.D.
Director, Catholic Women’s Forum, Ethics and Public Policy Center;
Editor, Catholic Women Reflect on Feminism, Complementarity, and the Church
Stephen M. Krason, J.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Political Science and Legal Studies
Franciscan University of Steubenville
President, Society of Catholic Social Scientists
Co-Editor, Encyclopedia of Catholic Social Thought, Social Science, and Social Policy
Mary Hayden Lemmons, Ph.D.
Association Professor of Philosophy, President of the University Faculty for Life
University of St. Thomas, MN
Founding President, Society for Thomistic Personalism
Editor, Women as Prophet in the Home and the World: Interdisciplinary Investigations
Steven A. Long, Ph.D.
Professor of Theology
Ave Maria University
Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas, Rome
Author, The Teleological Grammar of the Moral Act
Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.
The Ruth Institute
Author, Smart Sex: Finding Life-Long Love in a Hook-Up World
Distinguished Visiting Professor
The Catholic University of America
Author, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism
Rev. Thomas Petri, O.P., S.T.D.
Vice President and Academic Dean
Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception
The Dominican House of Studies
Deborah M. Savage, Ph.D.
St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity
University of St. Thomas (MN)
Mary Shivanandan, M.A. (Cantab), S.T.L., S.T.D.
Former Professor of Theology
John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage & Family at The Catholic University of America
Author, Crossing the Threshold of Love: A New Vision of Marriage in the Light of John Paul II’s Anthropology
Janet E. Smith, Ph.D.
Father Michael J. McGivney Chair of Life Ethics
Sacred Heart Major Seminary
Author, Humanae Vitae: A Generation Later
Mary Elizabeth Stewart, M.S., M.F.S., M.Ph., Ph.D.
Vice President General, World Union of Catholic Women’s Organizations
President-Elect, National Council of Catholic Women
Michael Waldstein, Ph.D., Th.D.
Max Seckler Professor of Theology
Ave Maria University, Florida
Translator, John Paul II, Theology of the Body
Helen Watt, Ph.D.
Senior Research Fellow
Anscombe Bioethics Centre, Oxford
Author: The Ethics of Pregnancy, Abortion and Childbirth: Exploring Moral Choices in Childbearing
Distinguished Senior Fellow
Ethics and Public Policy Center, Washington, D.C.
Author of two-volume biography of Pope St. John Paul II, Witness to Hope and The End and the Beginning
On Humanae Vitae, the Church is Right and the Wijngaards Institute is Wrong
The NATIONAL CATHOLIC REGISTER – by Brianna Heldt 09/20/2016
When I became Catholic, I went searching for answers to the elusive question of contraception — and found them in the impressive writings of Pope Paul VI, Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Pius XII.
Last week, I learned that a UK-based group of Catholic scholars is suggesting that Humanae Vitae got it wrong when it comes to artificial birth control. The Wijngaards Institute is proposing, as we approach the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s landmark encyclical, that the Catholic Church allow for the use of modern artificial contraception.
Who said being Catholic isn’t interesting?
Funnily enough, the wholesale rejection of birth control was not terribly hard for me to accept, as a formerly-contracepting convert. This was, I admit, largely because the pill had made me sick (and a little bit crazy) early on in my marriage. Plus, over time, I had begun to question this whole mentality of “kids are burdensome intruders on a marriage and must therefore be severely limited, at all costs”. That line of thinking, so prevalent among couples in my generation (I’m 35 years old), just didn’t square with the fact that married sexuality is, well, naturally ordered towards procreation. So when I went digging for answers to the elusive question of how men and women ought to approach family planning, I was more than a little impressed by the writings of not only Pope Paul VI, but also Pope Saint John Paul II, and Pope Pius XII. What they said and wrote both affirmed and reflected what had become my own experience. Their words were imbued with the dignity, beauty, and partnership of marriage. Clearly these were men who held women and mothers in high esteem, and who emphasized equality between spouses.
And, there was the unique ring of truth.
I had seen in my own marriage how children were a blessing to us, in spite of all the sacrifices and hard work. We fought less, were forced by sheer and utter necessity to find common ground, and came to love and respect one another all the more. I saw how siblings were a true gift to one another (particularly when I considered how my adopted children had lost so much so early in life), how the home had become a training ground for life and for virtue, and how being open to children necessitated a deep faith rooted in hope and love. Though I’d never envisioned myself having a large family, there I was. How grateful I was for the Catholic Church, which stood alone in proclaiming the truth about who I was created to be as a woman.
Of course, I realize that much of what I’ve shared here is purely anecdotal. And I am more than happy to leave the heavy theological and scholarly lifting to people much smarter than I — no doubt a rebuttal of sorts is in the works already. But I wanted to speak out when I read Mary McAleese’s position, that “good, decent, faith-filled men and women are infantilised and robbed”, by Humanae Vitae, of their “God-given right and obligation to make sensible adult decisions in the best interests of their health, their relationships and their children”. Because from where I sit, making “sensible adult decisions” is not inherently incompatible with a generous and responsible parenthood. Nor is reproductive health, or a strong marriage. You can (potentially) have all of those things without modern birth control.
It will certainly look different for everyone — not all couples will go on to conceive several children, for any number of reasons — but what our families all ought to have in common is a deference to God’s perfect design, and an embracing of the whole human person. The Wijngaards Institute’s Statement on the Ethics of Using Contraceptives is about so much more than simply opening up new possibilities for the spacing of children. To me, it appears to be not only an undermining of the Church’s authority on this matter, but also a subtle shift in the way we conceptualize love between spouses. In any case, it’s an opportunity to brush up on what our faith teaches, and why. (Think the Catechism, writings by the popes, and two of my favorite books of all time: Love and Responsibility, and Covenanted Happiness.) Then, as we look towards the golden anniversary of the incredibly prophetic Humanae Vitae, we will not grow weary of running this race, or of standing for love in a time of confusion.
Mary McAleese recalls how priest ‘lambasted’ her mother for having hysterectomy
Former president backs call to lift church ban on artificial contraception
NEWS TALK Irish Radio – 19 September 2016
Contraception has been criticised as an “attack on fertility” by one of the country’s most prominent Catholic theologian.
Fr Vincent Twomey, professor emeritus of moral theology at Maynooth, was speaking after 144 Catholic academics called for the church’s ban on artificial contraception to be reserved.
Mary McAleese was among a number of Irish scholars who backed the statement, which will be launched in New York tomorrow by the Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research.
The document states that using modern contraceptives can be a “responsible and ethical decision and even, at times, an ethical imperative”.
In her endorsement, the canon lawyer and former president described how her own mother was affected by the church’s control over family size.
“I still remember the evening our parish priest, in front of us children, lambasted my 40-year-old mother for having had a hysterectomy without his permission and while still of childbearing age,” she wrote.
“She had by then had 11 pregnancies and a history of hemorrhages which had left her dangerously ill and chronically weak.
“He left her in a spiritual agony which lingers even today.”
Mrs McAleese added that members of the church were “infantilised and robbed” by the Humanae Vitae proscription of their ability to make sensible adult decisions.
“The damage inflicted particularly on the poor, on women, on children, on relationships, on health, on society and not least on the church itself, is a millstone around our necks and we are drowning,” she said.
‘Goodness of fertility’
However, Fr Twomey insisted that there were biblical grounds to support current Catholic teaching.
In an interview on Newstalk’s Pat Kenny Show, he said: “The Old Testament is a paean to the goodness of fertility.
“The idea of infertility or sterility was considered a curse, as something to be avoided.”
Contraception has led to a “demographic winter” by separating fertility from sexuality, the former Maynooth professor claimed.
“A Jewish scholar I heard recently described the suicide of Europe; we are not producing enough to allow future generations to continue,” he said.
Fr Twomey also praised natural planning, the birth control method that involves abstaining from sex at times when women are most fertile.
“Men must be sufficiently self-controlled,” he said, adding that this option “enriched” couples by deepening their love for one another.
St Mary’s Twickenham professor endorses rejection of Humanae Vitae
EWTN Great Britain, SEP 6th 2016 By Deacon Nick Donnelly GB – https://www.ewtn.co.uk/news/latest/st-mary-s-twickenham-professor-endorses-rejection-of-humanae-vitae
Mary McAleese has endorsed the Wijngaards Institute’s statement rejecting Blessed Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae and has advocated the use of contraception explicitly in her capacity as Distinguished Professor in Irish Studies at St Mary’s Catholic University, Twickenham, London. While many academics have just added their names to the formal rejection of Humanae Vitae, Prof Mary McAleese stands out with Fr. Charles Curran in adding a personal endorsement. Prof. McAleese states:
“All over the world good, decent, faith-filled men and women are infantilised and robbed by Humanae Vitae of their God-given right and obligation to make sensible adult decisions in the best interests of their health, their relationships and their children. The damage inflicted particularly on the poor, on women, on children, on relationships, on health, on society and not least on the Church itself, is a millstone around our necks and we are drowning. It needs to be removed in conscience, in justice and in Christ for as this Scholars’ Statement explains compellingly it has no basis in divine law. Prof Mary McAleese, Distinguished Professor in Irish Studies at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, London; previously Director of the Institute of Professional Legal Studies, and Pro-Vice Chancellor, Queen’s University, Belfast.”
The Wijngaards Institute’s Statement on the Use of Contraceptives that Mary McAleese has endorsed in her capacity as a professor at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, also calls for the Church to revise its “negative evaluation of masturbation, homosexual relationships, and in vitro fertilization”. The Scholars Statement proposes that such a revision of these aspects of the Church’s moral doctrine would follow on from the Church accepting the use of contraceptives.
The signatories of the Wijngaards Institute Statement call for the Church to issue a magisterial document emphasizing that using contraceptives is sometimes a moral obligation, “An official magisterial document should be published affirming that the use of non-abortifacient modern contraceptives for prophylactic purposes can be morally legitimate and even morally obligatory.”
The Wijngaards Institute’s statement rejecting Blessed Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae entirely ignores the most fundamental reason why the Church rejects all contraception as degrading of the human person and a threat to married love and the family founded on that love — the inseparability of the unitive and procreative meanings of conjugal love (HV 12). Blessed Paul VI stated:
“This particular doctrine, often expounded by the magisterium of the Church, is based on the inseparable connection, established by God, which man on his own initiative may not break, between the unitive significance and the procreative significance which are both inherent to the marriage act. The reason is that the fundamental nature of the marriage act, while uniting husband and wife in the closest intimacy, also renders them capable of generating new life—and this as a result of laws written into the actual nature of man and of woman. And if each of these essential qualities, the unitive and the procreative, is preserved, the use of marriage fully retains its sense of true mutual love and its ordination to the supreme responsibility of parenthood to which man is called. We believe that our contemporaries are particularly capable of seeing that this teaching is in harmony with human reason.” (HV 12).
Though signed and endorsed by theologians and others who are Catholic, the Wijngaards Institute’s statement on the use of contraception totally ignores the fundamental truth that conjugal love is integral to the Sacrament of Marriage. By taking a utilitarian approach to contraception they completely ignore the sacramental dimension embodied by the inseparable connection between the unitive significance of the husband’s and wife’s sexual union and the inherent power of co-creation that is always present in their union, irrespective of whether a child is conceived or not. All types of contraception signify a rejection of the divine intention that conjugal love is a sacramental sign of God’s creative power, embodied by the ‘one flesh’ of husband and wife, made in the image and likeness of God.
The fact that the Wijngaards Institute’s statement doesn’t mention the word ‘sacrament’ once shows that they and the signatories have abandoned the sacramental worldview entrusted to us all by God. God thinks, acts and expresses Himself in sacraments, and expects all who have been baptised into His life to think, act and express ourselves sacramentally. Our Lord has shown us that sacraments require sacrifice, which all husbands and wives know is part of the sacrament of marriage, and is a rich source of grace to face the struggles of life.
It is common for biological utilitarians to dismiss this sacramental vision as ‘romantic’ and far removed from the hard realities of married life. My wife and I hoped for children for 23 years but refused to accept IVF which was the only therapy offered us by doctors. We held fast to God’s intention for our married love, knowing that co-operating with the ‘industrialistion’ of reproduction would damage and degrade the precious gift and trust of conjugal love. When the unitive and procreative dimensions of conjugal love are separated all kinds of evils follow, such as the killing of over 5 million embryonic human beings in the UK as a result of IVF. And St Teresa of Calcutta said, “Once that living love is destroyed by contraception, abortion follows very easily.”
We were given the grace to reject the ‘industrialisation’ of reproduction that is IVF because we live from God’s sacramental vision of marriage, which is the vocation and destiny of every Catholic couple. When we received the sacrament of marriage God bestowed on us the dignity and the duty of safeguarding the most precious gift that God has shared with us — His power of love to create. The Wijngaards Institute’s Statement on the Use of Contraceptives shows no appreciation or understanding of this.
This new attack on Humanae Vitae is either ignorant or disingenuous
CATHOLIC HERALD (UK) by Stephen Bullivant — posted Thursday, 15 Sep 2016
Some good friends of mine have signed the Wijngaards statement. But it overlooks some basic points
The UK-based Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research has released a ‘Catholic Scholars’ Statement on the Ethics of Using Contraceptives’. It says that “there are no grounds, either from the Bible or from nature, to support current Catholic teaching” on contraception.
Catholic theology being a fairly small world, I’m good friends with several of the signatories (and Facebook ones with rather more). During recent ill health, one prominent signee sent me a lovely message of prayers and good wishes; I once shared an office with another.
Still, as Aristotle pointed out long ago, when pleasing friends and pursuing truth come into conflict, it is the latter which must take precedent.
I’ve no intention here of offering a full, point-by-point critique of the Wijngaards statement (which is, in fact, only the summary of a promised longer text). But let me make three brief observations.
The first is simply to say that, well, “Some Catholic scholars disregard the Magisterium” hasn’t exactly constituted “news” for some decades. Nor, for that matter, is it surprising that the Wijngaards Institute – whose self-proclaimed “full independence from external pressures” evidently includes the norms and constraints of Catholic theology – should promote a view explicitly at odds with the established teaching of the Church. From its website, that would appear to be almost its sole raison d’être.
Nonetheless, if it’s international collections of scholars commenting on the rectitude and relevance of Humanae Vitae you’re after, then other providers are indeed available. (Like, say, this recent gathering of philosophers, theologians, sociologists, economists, lawyers, and biochemists – all under fifty, and several of them converts.)
Secondly, the Wijngaards statement (see §6) trades a great deal on the assertion that the Church’s opposition to artificial modes of contraception (the statement itself insists on putting “artificial” in inverted commas, as though the artificiality of either plastic sheaths or fertility-disrupting doses of hormones was an urban myth) has not been taught infallibly. Now, the infallibleness or not of a given teaching is a technical matter beyond my direct concern here – and on this precise matter, I have seen the case argued both ways. But for the sake of argument, suppose we conceded the point: the substance of HV is not infallible in the same sense that the Immaculate Conception is. Well, so what?
This imagined dichotomy between “infallible” and “theological free-for-all”, which one sees depressingly often, strikes me as the reddest of herrings. Sorry to go all “Vatican II” on you, but infallible or not, the sheer fact that something is taught by the Magisterium is a very strong, prima-facie argument in its favour (see Dei Verbum 10, among others). Furthermore, this particular teaching has been consistently taught by the Church since ancient times – and indeed was taught by pretty much every church until essentially, in the words of Mary Eberstadt, “the day before yesterday”. So simply to say, as does the Wijngaards statement, that “The Catholic Church’s ban on using ‘artificial’ contraceptives for the purpose of family planning is based on the arguments advanced in the 1968 encyclical letter Humanae Vitae”, is at best historically myopic, and at worst wildly disingenuous.
Thirdly and finally, in what looks, on the surface, to be a detailed engagement with the minutiae of Humanae Vitae, it is noteworthy that article 17 of that short document is passed over in total silence. For that is where Blessed Paul VI – he of “humble and prophetic witness” (h/t Pope Francis) fame – makes three predictions for the future if artificial contraception becomes the accepted norm. These are: i) the widespread prevalence (and acceptance) of infidelity and family breakdown; ii) the unremitting degradation and objectification of women; and iii) governments and other “public authorities” being unable to resist using these new methods and technologies for outrightly eugenic ends. Now, it strikes me that a persuasive case could be made that Pope Paul was stone-cold correct on all three points. And in fact it has been, several times (not least here).
(Incidentally, of relevance to the third point, I recently came across a truly remarkable article, by two University of Pennsylvania sociologists, showing in exhaustive detail that the volte-face on contraception by many American Protestant churches in the early twentieth century was precisely, and explicitly, due to fears about degenerate immigrants from southern Europe – i.e., Catholics – weakening the American gene pool.)
Anyway, that will have to do for now. Among other reasons, the principal fruits of my own “openness to life” – aged two and five – have some legitimate claims to my attentions.
But fear not. There is just under two years to go until the fiftieth anniversary of Blessed Paul’s seventh encyclical. (It was also his last, having – as I like to say – perfected the genre.) And I dare say that I will have occasion to say much more on the subject between now and then.
After all, what are friends for?
Humanae Vitae dissidents to oppose Vatican at United Nations event
LIFE SITE NEWS – https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/humanae-vitae-dissidents-to-oppose-vatican-at-united-nations-event
September 16, 2016 (Cardinal Newman Society) — With the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae approaching in 2018, dozens of 1960s-era dissenting theologians have dusted off their Rules for Radicals handbooks and launched what hopefully will be a final senseless ploy to challenge the Catholic Church’s teaching on contraception.
On September 20 at the United Nations, dissidents will release a statement signed by 135 scholars, including more than two dozen Catholic theologians and other professors at U.S. Catholic colleges. Among the signers are the infamous Father Charles Curran, who was ousted from The Catholic University of America by the Vatican in 1986 and now teaches at Southern Methodist University, and former Commonweal reporter Peter Steinfels.
They also include Georgetown University’s Peter Phan, whose 2004 book Being Religious Interreligiously was investigated by the Vatican and then the U.S. bishops for “serious ambiguities and doctrinal problems.” The Cardinal Newman Society has reported problems with other signers, including Fairfield University’s Paul Lakeland, Georgetown University’s Paul Lauritzen, and former professor Leslie Woodcock Tentler of The Catholic University of America.
“It is high time that Catholic colleges get it straight about the meaning and purpose of Catholic theology, first and foremost by ending their relationships with so-called theologians and other professors who publicly agitate against Catholic teaching and endanger the souls of their students,” said Patrick Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society. “The signers of the Wijngaards statement need to find a new line of work and stop the scandals.”
The so-called Wijngaards statement, organized by Dutch theologian and laicized priest John Wijngaards, aims to “encourage the Catholic hierarchy to reverse their stance against so called ‘artificial’ contraceptives.” The statement also urges that changes to Catholic teaching on masturbation, homosexual relationships and in vitro fertilization be considered.
The Wijngaards statement denies the inherent connection between the sexual act and procreation. “The vast majority of acts of sexual intercourse,” the authors claim, “do not have the biological ‘capacity’ for procreation, and therefore they cannot have procreation as their ‘finality’ or ‘significance.’” The authors claim that artificial contraception and Natural Family Planning (NFP) are “morally equivalent.”
Going further off the cliff, the signers argue that the Church does not have the authority to teach definitively on the use of contraceptives. It is “incorrect to deduce a divine command directly from the existence of a law of nature,” they argue, and the teaching of Humanae Vitae has never “been shown to be essential for the truth of the Christian revelation.” An appeal to the “constant tradition of magisterial teaching” is not enough for the authors to accept it.
Two of the statement’s authors and lead signers are Creighton University’s Michael Lawler and Todd Salzman. Salzman has been a theologian at the Jesuit university since 1997, and Lawler was a theology professor and dean of Creighton’s graduate school until his retirement in 2005. But the two have co-written works dissenting from Catholic teaching against premarital sexual activity and homosexual acts under certain circumstances, prompting protests from Omaha Archbishop Elden Curtiss. In 2007 he cut ties with Creighton’s Center for Marriage and Family, after The Cardinal Newman Society voiced concerns about Lawler and Salzman’s work with the Center.
Other signers from U.S. Catholic colleges include the following, with affiliations as described in the letter:
Prof. Maria Pilar Aquino, ‘Theology and Religious Studies’, San Diego University; co-founder of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians, USA;
Prof. Peter Beisheim, Religious Studies & Director Catholic Studies Program, Stonehill College, North Easton, MA, USA;
Prof. Sidney Callahan, Paul J. McKeever Chair of Moral Theology (Emerita), St. John’s University, Queens, New York, USA;
Prof. Paul E. Dinter,, Religious Studies, Manhattan College, New York, USA;
Prof. John Esposito, Religion and International Affairs, Georgetown University, Washington DC, USA;
Prof. Frederick Glennon, Religion, Social Ethics and Society, Le Moyne College, Syracuse NY, USA;
Prof. John F. Haught, Senior Fellow, Science & Religion, Woodstock Theological Center, Georgetown University, Washington DC, USA;
Prof. David Kelly, Theology and Health Care Ethics (Emeritus), Duquesne University, Pittsburgh PA, USA;
Prof. Paul Lakeland, Professor of Religious Studies & Director Center for Catholic Studies, Fairfield University, Fairfield CT, USA;
Prof. Paul Lauritzen, Theology and Religious Studies, John Carroll University, University Heights OH, USA;
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Prof. Kathleen Maas Weigert, ‘Women and Leadership’, Loyola University, Chicago IL, USA;
Prof. Joseph Martos, previously ‘Religion and Philosophy’ at various Catholic Universities; now independent author and scholar, Louisville, Kentucky, USA;
Prof. Michael McKale, Philosophical and Religious Studies & Director, Institute for Ethics, Saint Francis University, Loretto PA, USA;
Dr. Sr. Amirtham Metti, Theology, writer and guest lecturer at many colleges in India, visiting fellow Woodstock Theological Center, Georgetown University, Washington DC, USA;
Assistant Prof. Alex Mikulich, ‘Theology of social and political transformation’, Loyola University, New Orleans, USA;
Prof. Peter C. Phan, three doctorates: ‘Sacred Theology’ (Salesian University, Rome), ‘Philosophy’ and ‘Divinity’ (both University of London); now ‘Catholic Social Thought’, Georgetown University, Washington DC, USA;
Prof. Susan K. Ross, Theology, Loyola University, Chicago, USA;
Prof. Brian Stiltner, Theology and Religious Studies, Sacred Heart University, Fairfield CT, USA;
Prof. Peter Steinfels, Professor (Emeritus), Fordham University, founding co-director of the Fordham Center on Religion and Culture, New York City, USA;
Prof. Edward Sunshine, Moral Theology (Emeritus), Barry University, Miami Shores, Florida, USA;
Prof. Milburn Thompson, Theology (Emeritus), Bellarmine University, Louisville, Kentucky, USA;
Prof. Edward Vacek S.J., Religious Studies, Loyola University, New Orleans LA, USA;
Associate Prof. Tobias Winright, ‘Health Care Ethics’, Gnaegi Center for Health Care Ethics, and ‘Theological Ethics’, Dept of Theological Studies, Saint Louis University, USA;
Prof. Leslie Woodcock Tentler, History (Emerita), Catholic University of America, Washington DC, USA
According to Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), Tuesday’s release of the statement is co-sponsored by three United Nations agencies: “the U.N. Population Fund, U.N. Women, and U.N. AIDS, powerful agencies with combined budgets of more than a billion dollars a year.”
The statement was organized through the Wijngaards Institute, an organization based in England that seeks to change Church teaching on issues including the ordination of women. Its website promotes a disordered understanding of human sexuality, claiming that “sexual morality has ultimately to be decided by everyone’s own conscience.”
Reprinted with permission from The Cardinal Newman Society.
Powerful UN Agencies Pressure Catholic Church on Contraception, Homosexuality, Masturbation
CENTER FOR FAMILY AND HUMAN RIGHTS by Austin Ruse | September 15, 2016
NEW YORK, September 16 (C-Fam) Three powerful UN agencies are sponsoring the release of a document next week that calls for the Catholic Church to change her teachings on contraception, but also mentions that teachings on homosexuality, masturbation and in vitro fertilization should be changed as well.
The document was prepared by dissident ex-priest John Wijngaards, who is based in the United Kingdom, and has been signed so far by more than 100 dissenting Catholic academics and a small number of non-Catholics.
The document is being released in preparation for the 2018 50th anniversary of the Papal encyclical Humanae Vitae, which restated the ancient teaching of the Church that contraception is morally wrong and can never be allowed between married Catholics.
The Wijngaards statement takes aim at the infallibility of the Catholic teaching on contraception. The statement argues that Humanae Vitae cannot be considered infallible because it is not a “revealed” truth, nor does it explain or defend a truth of “Christian revelation.”
The scholars, from universities around the world, argue that the marital act need not be open to the transmission of life since the marital act has many other purposes including “pleasure, love, comfort, celebration, and companionship.”
The document calls for a new and democratic process in the Church whereby “experts” would examine various issues and determine what the new Catholic teaching might be. These experts would include more than just Catholics. The signers hope that such a conclave of experts would also look into changing Church teaching on masturbation, homosexual relationships, and in vitro fertilization.
The UN angle in the document is strong. It mentions the now-defunct Millennium Development Goals. Moreover, the release of the document is being sponsored by the UN Population Fund, UN Women, and UN AIDS, powerful agencies with combined budgets of more than a billion dollars a year.
Advocates of UN-style family planning, including in some cases the establishment of coercive programs of population control, have long viewed the Catholic Church as their primary opponent. They believe the Church stands in the way of universal acceptance of “modern means of contraception.”
According to the United Nations, the world is actually awash in contraceptives. There are only a few places on earth where contraceptives are not widely used. UN advocates assert that women suffer from what they call an “unmet need” for modern contraceptives. As Rebecca Oas of C-Fam has repeatedly reported, “unmet need” is a political rather than a medical term and includes women who have moral and religious objections to the use of contraceptives, and even women who do not use them because they want to have babies.
It is revealing that the document does not refer to Catholic teachings on contraception, which date to the ancient Church, but refers instead to the Catholic “stance” on contraception, as if it is no more than a policy prescription.
The man behind the document, John Wijngaards, has dissented from Catholic teachings for most of his career. He left the priesthood over Catholic teaching on women’s ordination.
The document will be released on September 20 at the Salvation Army Auditorium in New York.