RNS Press Release Service

American priests & deacons remember, honor, and defend silver anniversary of Huma …

SAN DIEGO – We, the priests and deacons of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy in the United States, declare our solidarity with our brethren of the British Province of the CCC particularly in their recent statement on the fiftieth anniversary of Humanae Vitae. We, too, profess our total acceptance of the infallible Ordinary Magisterial teaching contained in this historic papal encyclical. Blessed Paul VI solemnly reaffirmed the perennial doctrine that conjugal love is essentially and necessarily oriented to love and life. Furthermore, all sexual acts outside of marriage or those not disposed to unity and procreation are intrinsically evil and are therefore always sinful.

Since 1968, dissent from this official teaching among some theologians and non-adherence among many people have precipitated the dire predictions of the pope that promiscuity, pornography, divorce, remarriage, artificial conception and unnatural intercourse, would proliferate. Contraception has infected society with a culture of death that sees abortion not as the murder of innocent unborn, rather as a mere personal choice. Marriage, family and even gender are being reinvented and distorted.

Like our colleagues in Great Britain, we recommit ourselves to defending Humanae Vitae as it is based on the immutable Natural Moral Law and the Magisterium of the Church. We, too, fear the intrusion of the state and secular powers to interfere with Divine Justice by promoting and even compelling acts against the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family. We urge and exhort our ordained brothers as well as all the faithful to reacquaint themselves and those under their care with the encyclical and vigorously defend it and implement it for the common good of humanity itself. We repudiate the efforts by governments and other institutions to compel people especially those in need to embrace a contraceptive mentality and attitude as a prerequisite to receiving charitable assistance.

Rev. Fr. John Trigilio, Jr., PhD
president

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Rev. John Trigilio
(717) 957-9309
[email protected]

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  • I’m reposting this comment from yesterday’s article by Mary Henold on Humanae Vitae which lasted all of about five minutes before it was swiftly buried away somewhere on this site where no one can find it (thanks, RNS):

    Humanae Vitae was promulgated mainly because the Vatican didn’t want to have to admit that it was ever wrong about anything. What most people don’t know is that the Roman Catholic Church’s teaching magisterium once taught, for well over a millennium, that the human sperm cell contained all that was necessary for the formation of life, the human egg merely being a receptacle for the precious sperm. Hence the hilarious musical number “Every sperm is sacred” from the Monty Python movie “The meaning of life.” See here if you haven’t already:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUspLVStPbk

    Once it was scientifically proven beyond any measure of reasonable doubt that the church had gotten it all wrong, the church had to come up with another rationalization for its long-held policy which taught that contraception, like masturbation or homosexual sex, was wrong. So it developed its current teaching that “all sexual activity must be open to the possibility of life.” Curiously, it leaves an out of sorts with its ridiculously named “rhythm method,” which nearly everyone agrees is a total farce.

    The Roman Catholic Church will go to great lengths to argue that it has never gotten anything wrong with regard to its official teaching. You see, to do so would risk having the entire house of cards come tumbling down and its credibility along with it, and they can’t have that. Sadly for that church’s hierarchs, their credibility was shredded with the clergy abuse scandal and is not likely to ever return to the glory days of the fifties when the New York Archbishop’s palace was referred to as “The Powerhouse.” Those days are long gone, as are the number of people who hang on the bishops’ every word.

  • Humanae Vitae was NOT promulgated mainly because the Vatican didn’t want to have to admit that it was ever wrong about anything.

    It is consistent with everything that denomination taught before it and its entire view of the sexes, the purpose of the sex act, and why abortion, contraception, same sex sexual relations, and so on are inconsistent with both revelation and the natural law.

    Mary Joanne Henold, somewhat like Patricia Miller – formerly an editor with Catholics for Free Choice – who used to issue attacks on Catholicism at Religion Dispatches, is an ex-Catholic professor at a Lutheran college who has made a side career of sniping at her former denomination.

    In order to attack the Catholic position intelligently you need to actually understand its position, which neither your nor she do.

  • Actually, virgin birth mythology was nothing new when Christianity co-opted it from paganism as it did so many other things, like the birth of Christ on December 25th so as to co-opt the pagans’ festival of the sun god, which my avatar, the Syrian Roman emperor Elagabalus, worshiped. For more info on virgin birth mythology, see here:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miraculous_births

  • I never said that mythology has no place either in religion or in modern-day life, did I?

  • The propers for August 15 don’t seem to indicate mythology.

    You’ll find it on page 192 in the BCP at the top of the page or in the middle of page 243.

    And “co-opted it from paganism” expresses a different source than mythology, it express syncretism and falsification.

  • Two fairly minor nitpicks.

    First, I don’t mind RNS posting sponsored content. They have bills to pay like everyone else. But I do wish they’d do a better job distinguishing actual news from advertising. This isn’t so much a press release as it is an advertorial, which is fine. But it should be more clearly identified as such.

    And, second, a silver anniversary is 25 years. Humanae Vitae has been around for 50 years, which would make this its golden anniversary. A little proofreading never killed anyone.

  • Proofreading costs money.

    You might wish to take a look at recent press on Religion News’ financial situation.

  • Is “Humanae Vitae”, as “R.A. Bob” asserts, “consistent with everything [the Church of Rome] taught before it…”

    Apparently not.

    See https://www.ncronline.org/feature-series/humanae-vitae-at-50/stories?_ga=2.263227012.984645469.1530125671-1079421507.1517871025. See, in particular, “Overwriting tradition: ‘Humanae Vitae’ replaced real church teaching” and “‘Humanae Vitae’ and the sensus fidelium”.

    Rev. Trigilio writes, in part: “We, too, profess our total acceptance of the infallible Ordinary Magisterial teaching contained in this historic papal encyclical. Blessed Paul VI solemnly reaffirmed the perennial doctrine that conjugal love is essentially and necessarily oriented to love and life. Furthermore, all sexual acts outside of marriage or those not disposed to unity and procreation are intrinsically evil and are therefore always sinful.”

    In 1968, the Vatican made clear that “Humanae Vitae” (hereinafter “HV”) was not a papal infallible pronouncement. Papal encyclicals are not used to convey papal infallible teaching. There are only two other modes of infallible teaching, namely, infallible pronouncements of ecumenical councils and infallible teaching of the so-called “ordinary and universal magisterium” (a.k.a. “teaching authority”) of the Church. Regarding the latter, have the world’s Catholic bishops, while dispersed in their local churches and in communion with the pope, *always* and *everywhere* taught that contraception is morally wrong and that such teaching is to be given firm and definitive assent by all Catholics? Whether bishops have *always* so taught is questionable. Canon 749.3 comes into play here: “No doctrine is understood as defined infallibly unless this is manifestly evident.” The teaching burden is on the bishops.

    As to the phrase “intrinsically evil”, it is bandied about as if it means very serious sin. In fact, the phrase simply means “always sinful”. It does not address the moral gravity of an act. As theologian Cathleen Kaveny noted a few years ago, there are some behaviors that, while not “intrinsically evil”, are much more evil than other actions labeled “intrinsically evil”.

  • bob why dont you also mention for centuries popes,theologians and canonists hailed sex in marriage a necesarry evil unworthy if not sinful.Hence Aquinas holding priests need to be celibate unless they touch the sared vessels defiled(a.k.a marriage and sex). Nolan,a top moral theologian over a hundred years ago referrd to marriage sex as Dirt

  • Their cannot be a universal ordinary magesterium where the bishops take a oath of unconditional obedience to the pope and are forced to tow the line.Also bishops teaching in union with the pope that something is definitive without reception from the laity—nullifies and renders void such claims. It is also noteworthy that for centuries popes,theologians and canonists hailed sex in marriage unworthy if not outright sinful ,one leading moral theologian over a 100 years ago, last name Nolan, referred to it as dirt

  • JPII and B16 certainly made life hell for any bishop who did not “tow the line”. Local bishops became lackeys of the Vatican. JPII’s episcopal synods were completely controlled — and their reports written — by the Vatican. One theologian quoted a returning bishop describing the synod he attended as “a farce”. JPII made it virtually impossible for national episcopal conferences to act with any authority. This background helps explain the difficulty Pope Francis is having in trying to get bishops involved in church decision-making: they’re accustomed to taking orders from Rome.

    As for ecclesial reception, all magisterial teaching (as you’ve suggested) is “proposed”. Vatican II clarified that it is the Church itself, i.e., all the baptized, that is infallible at all times. If a proposed doctrine (infallible or not) is not received by the church at large, it may need more time and/or better articulation for eventual reception, or it may be the case that a proposed teaching was never infallible or otherwise legitimate.

    As you’ve noted, if bishops cannot render independent thinking on disciplinary or doctrinal matters, they effectively cede their rightful authority to Rome, thereby nullifying the idea of an “ordinary and universal magisterium”. JPII and B16 were truly “control freaks”.

  • AMEN ! to that statement. Pius XII also saw the bishops as simply carrying out papal orders.

  • The miracle is that God became man—aka Jesus. If the one true God did it thru the virgin birth or with Joseph and Mary in a act of marital love and a conception ocurred,but expressed in scripture as a allegory,is irrelevant. As Cardinal Ratzinger (formally pope benedict ) said “Christs divinity is not dependant on him not having a human father” The IISUE is the message of the Gospel, not different ways the one true God can do

  • Poppycock from a few Catholics, most of whom are not married and none of whom are female.

    “You know nothing, John Snow” would fit if any of these people had the capacity and the courage to learn.

    Pope Francis, this is poppycock and you need to learn to listen to women, listen to the reality of life lived by most women and the men who love them.

  • The teaching office was given to 12 Apostles, none of whom were female and only one or two were married.

    But you know better than Jesus Christ.

  • Or about fornication for that matter.

    Is there a point you’re trying to make, because you’re not making one.

  • http://word.johnjschneider.com/?p=1184

    “It is true Jesus never said a word about homosexuality. But there are many evil practices He didn’t specifically address. Are we to search out those and proclaim them as approved by Him merely because they weren’t mentioned? The closest Jesus came on the subject of sexual misbehavior is the story of the woman caught in adultery in John chapter 8. Yes, Jesus was full of compassion and mercy toward the woman, and He did confront her accusers. But look at the story’s conclusion. He told her “Go. From now on sin no more.” He recognized in her heart an admission that what she did was wrong and He sensed she was willing to change. This is the essence of what He wanted for everyone. Change from sinful behavior, on any and every level, and sin no more.”

    Matthew 5:17 – “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.”

  • The point is that the Church made it up based on what they considered to be the epitome of reasoning as formed by pagan cultures far different from that into which Jesus was born. More, Jesus wanted to change his own culture. They made it up, Bob, on LGBT and contraceptives and much else. More, they thought they could articulate rules and laws for all time even though God created humans to evolve, grow, change, create. Remember, Jesus said there was more to learn but we were not yet ready to hear it.

    Oh, and one more thought along that line. The Holy Spirit speaks to all of us – not just to a few celibate men in the Roman Catholic Church. The clerical guys really need to learn to listen to the lived experience of the non-clerical people of the faith – the sense of the faithful tell them when they have got it wrong and, boy, that voice is loud and clear on contraceptives, the roles of women in the Church, and the recognition of the beauty and grace of love in heterosexual and LGBTQI unions. Oh, and democracy is not evil, charging interest on loans is okay, slavery is evil, and the Earth circles the sun.

  • That “the Church made it up based on what they considered to be the epitome of reasoning as formed by pagan cultures far different from that into which Jesus was born” is your text, not a point.

    In order to be a point you would have to conclusively demonstrate that hypothesis to be true, which I don’t believe is possible.

    What the Church appears to have done is to incorporate the beliefs of the Jews into Christianity, which was consistent with what Jesus said: that he was not going to change one jot or tittle of the Law.

    LGBT and contraceptives and much else come directly from that Jewish teaching.

    Yes the Holy Spirit speaks to all of us – not just to a few men in the Roman Catholic Church. Celibacy, of course, is irrelevant.

    However, as this particular document makes clear:

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19641121_lumen-gentium_en.html

    it does not talk to all people for the same purpose in the same way. In particular in that particular church its divine foundation is hierarchical, and the teaching authority resides in that hierarchy which exercises a particular charism which lay folks do not.

    We’ve discussed your “The clerical guys really need to learn to listen to the lived experience of the non-clerical people of the faith – the sense of the faithful tell them when they have got it wrong and, boy, that voice is loud and clear on contraceptives, the roles of women in the Church, and the recognition of the beauty and grace of love in heterosexual and LGBTQI unions.” multiple times.

    It’s a rather sad echo of the dissent of a half century ago which has gone nowhere because it makes no sense at all and flies directly into that denomination’s understanding of itself. It surprises me to still run into all this time later, but it has no currency at all with young, which is why every meeting of the various dissenting organizations is notable by its superannuated attendees.

    Were you to switch to, say, the Episcopal Church, you could finagle your way into being a triennial General Convention delegate and vote for any zany thing you might wish. And, by golly, if you got enough votes that would be a church position (I hesitate to use the word “teaching”).

    You might consider going where you actually fit in.

  • most were married except John and Paul only chose celibacy because he thought the end of the world and the second coming of Christ was near and that a crisis was on hand 1 cor chpt 7 25-31. pOpe francis also confirms this interpretation in Amoris Laetila or however its spelled. The apostles wern”t priests. If you make their maleness an issue,then priests need to be circumsized and converted jews as the 12 were

  • Jesus did mention fornication from the heart as making a man unclean in the gospel of Mark

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