Columns Opinion Thomas Reese: Signs of the Times

Humanae Vitae: Sex and authority in the Catholic Church

Pope Paul VI in 1963. His most famous encyclical, “Humanae Vitae” (“Of Human Life”), was published July 25, 1968. Vatican City official photo/Creative Commons

(RNS) — Fifty years ago, Pope Paul VI issued an encyclical that shook the Catholic Church to its core by declaring that every use of artificial contraceptives is immoral. The document, “Humanae Vitae” (“Of Human Life”), was a shocker because many Catholics had hoped the pope, with the widening availability of the pill after its appearance in 1960, would open the way for Catholics to use birth control.

The encyclical continues to be controversial, with the hierarchy, including Pope Francis, supporting it while most Catholics ignore it.

When the encyclical was published on July 25, 1968, the response from Catholic moral theologians was overwhelmingly negative. Although they liked many things in the encyclical, the universal prohibition against artificial contraception was not something they could support. They noted that almost all other Christian denominations approved of contraception and that the papally appointed commission to study the issue had recommended a more open position.

The opposition of theologians was not just behind closed doors. It was very public in scholarly articles, op-eds, news conferences and signed petitions. Both Catholic and secular media covered the dispute extensively. Disagreements in the Catholic Church over sex made good copy.

Pope Paul VI. RNS file photo

Nor were theologians the only ones to disagree. Some cardinals and bishops distanced themselves from the pope, pointing out that the document was not infallible teaching and that each person had to follow their conscience. The German bishops issued the “Declaration of Königstein” that left to individual conscience of lay people whether to use contraception or not.

And much of the laity worldwide did follow their own consciences. Polls have shown that the overwhelming majority of Catholics do not accept the hierarchy’s teaching that all use of artificial contraceptives is immoral. In 2016, the Pew Research Center found only 8 percent of American Catholics agree that using contraceptives is morally wrong. Catholic couples felt that they understood the situation better than celibate males.

It is uncertain how many Catholics left the church over this teaching, but it is clear that even more stayed, continued to go to Communion, and simply ignored it. This was a remarkable change for Catholics who had deferred to the clergy on moral and doctrinal teaching. It gave rise to the concept of “cafeteria Catholics,” Catholics who picked and chose which teachings they would accept.

Some in the hierarchy blamed dissenting theologians for leading the people astray. While it is true that the public debate eased the consciences of some Catholics, the vast majority of Catholic couples were making up their minds on their own. In fact, studies found that increasing numbers of Catholics were already using contraceptives in the 1950s.

Rather than shoring up the authority of the hierarchy with the laity, “Humanae Vitae” undermined it. In the laity’s mind, if the church could be so wrong on this issue, why should they trust the church in other areas?

“Humanae Vitae” was not just a dispute about sex. It quickly became a dispute over church authority.

A Pope John Paull II prayer card from 2014. Photo courtesy Pilot Bulletins

Cardinal Karol Wojtyla of Krakow, Poland, was a member of the papal commission studying the question of birth control. The man who would become St. John Paul II missed the last meeting where a majority of the commission voted in favor of changing church teaching. As a result, his position on birth control was not well known. We now know that he supported the minority position and wrote directly to Paul VI supporting the retention of the church’s prohibition against artificial birth control.

If his opposition to birth control had been widely known, would he have been elected pope? Certainly, any cardinal who supported changing the church teaching and voted for him regretted it later.

John Paul understood that the debate over “Humanae Vitae” was as much about authority as sex. He was scandalized by the opposition of theologians and bishops to papal teaching. As a product of a persecuted church, he understood the importance of church unity. Once elected pope, he launched an inquisition against moral theologians who had spoken out against the encyclical. He was ably assisted in this effort by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, whom John Paul made head of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Ratzinger succeeded John Paul as Pope Benedict XVI.

Since most of the theologians at that time were priests or members of religious orders, John Paul was able to use their promise or vow of obedience to get them under control. They were removed from teaching positions in seminaries and universities, forbidden to write on sexual topics, and told to profess their acceptance of the encyclical. The training of priests was put into the hands of those who stressed papal authority and following rules rather than the reforms of Vatican II.

Likewise, “Humanae Vitae” became a litmus test for the appointment of bishops. Loyalty to papal authority became the most important quality looked for in a potential bishop, trumping pastoral skill and intelligence. Over the almost three decades that he was pope, John Paul remade the hierarchy into a body that had little creativity or imagination in implementing the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. Rather, they looked to Rome for leadership and stressed the importance of following rules.

Today, many in the hierarchy are claiming that “Humanae Vitae” was prophetic in its conviction that contraceptives led to the separation of sex from procreation and therefore to conjugal infidelity, disrespect for women, gender confusion, and gay marriage. But the controversy was never over the encyclical as a whole; rather, it was over its prohibition of every single use of artificial contraception.  To say that contraception caused all of these other problems is absurd, an insult to all the good people who have used contraceptives at some point in their lives.

How should the church deal with this problem? It is probably impossible for it to simply admit it was wrong. The church is not very good at that. What it could do is say that abortion is a far greater evil, and anyone who might be tempted to have an abortion should practice birth control. The church should also stop supporting laws forbidding the sale or public funding of contraceptives. These would be small steps in reversing a 50-year-old mistake.

About the author

Thomas Reese

The Rev. Thomas J. Reese, a Jesuit priest, is a Senior Analyst at RNS. Previously he was a columnist at the National Catholic Reporter (2015-17) and an associate editor (1978-85) and editor in chief (1998-2005) at America magazine. He was also a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University (1985-98 & 2006-15) where he wrote Archbishop, A Flock of Shepherds, and Inside the Vatican. Earlier he worked as a lobbyist for tax reform. He has a doctorate in political science from the University of California Berkeley. He entered the Jesuits in 1962 and was ordained a priest in 1974 after receiving a M.Div from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley.

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  • I’m not sure it’s accurate to suggest that most rank and file Catholics chose all on their own to ignore Humanae Vitae. Most lay people don’t pay much attention to encyclicals. But at the retail level of church life they listen to their pastors (or did in the 60s, anyway), and the lukewarm response they were getting from priests in the pulpit — and especially in the confessional — probably mattered more than anything.

    There is a kind of common sense leveling that happens in the Sensus Fidelium. It takes time and sometimes the hierarchy has to be dragged along, kicking and screaming. But it does happen.

  • When Humanae Vitae was promulgated my late father said, “The pope isn’t paying my bills.” And so he and my mother made the informed conscientious decision to limit his family to that which he could afford using so-called “artificial” birth control. (I’ve never quite figured out what is artificial about something that works as advertised.) It was a wise decision that paid many dividends for my siblings and me. Thanks, Dad!

  • The 92% of Catholics who believe contraception should be fine should be ashamed of themselves. By continuing to support this Church they have indirectly caused much harm to millions of people throughout the world. They have blood on their hands. Shameful hypocrites that have kept a Church in business that would be struggling had they left it.

  • Every priest I ever heard was staunchly anti-contraception. So most Catholics heard the papal, encyclical message loud and clear. Hell, my “sex ed” in 7th grade was full of the nonsense. Took me 20 years to recover from the harmful teachings of the Catholic Church!

  • Very good! Most people are reasonable. Where they fall short is that they still call themselves CAtholic and support the crappy institution. It has boggled my mind for decades how stupid people are and how they can live in such a dishonest way.

  • Shocking and disappointing as this might be to hear, that fact that you experienced anti-contraception preaching does not mean that “most Catholics” did.

  • The claim that this colossal mistake of an encyclical (to repeat Fr. Reese’s well-chosen word) was “prophetic” stretches that good word well beyond the breaking point.

    Prophetic, my eye.

  • You really are trying peddle the crap that there were priests preaching it was okay to use contraception?! Seriously dude…incredulous.

  • Either way, of course, the fact remains that if people, even the priests were pro-contraception, they were all idiots to remain in the RCC which was obviously anti-contraception. I never have seen a congregation gathering at the archdioceses of America protesting the American Catholic Church’s attempts to restrict access to contraception, etc.

  • “It is uncertain how many Catholics left the church over this teaching, but it is clear that even more stayed, continued to go to Communion, and simply ignored it. This was a remarkable change for Catholics who had deferred to the clergy on moral and doctrinal teaching. It gave rise to the concept of “cafeteria Catholics,” Catholics who picked and chose which teachings they would accept.”

    These are the most despicable Catholics of all. At least conservative traditional Catholics believe the catechism and Church teachings and you know where they are coming from. They fully support the Church’s hatred of women, gays, divorced people, etc. The “progressive” Catholics are like good white people who still go to a white’s only country club despite believing blacks are equal. Their excuse will be that all their friends and family go to the country club and they really like the parties and brunches so it would be hard to leave. I know, as a gay man, I never ever trust a practicing Catholic who says they are pro-gay-rights – it is an impossibility to be so in reality.

  • It’s a profound document, coupled with Casti Connubii..they describe in a beautiful way what marriage is all about…and it’s not about mere license for mutual masturbation with one’s wife.

    Reese misses the mark.

  • But your lifestyle undercuts any argument you try to make. You don’t get what a conjugal union is. It’s a terminal defect.

  • Not peddling anything, just taking an honest look back at the times. The late 60s saw the first wave of post-Vatican II priests. They were, on the whole, fairly liberal. Some think that’s a good thing and some think it’s a bad thing, but it is undeniably a fact that there was not strong support for Humanae Vitae when it first came out among priests in the U.S.

    And, as I said, it was more about what took place in the confessional than in the pulpit.

  • Humanae Vitae taught lay Catholics that they COULD ignore the authority of the hierarchy. Then the pedophile cover-up taught lay Catholics that they SHOULD ignore the authority of the hierarchy.

  • It was prophetic in the sense that every ill it predicted would flow from wrong choices turned out to be prescient, in spades.

  • Humanae Vitae taught people they could ignore the authority of their Church and still pretend they were Catholics.

    Your second sentence is anti-Catholic silliness.

  • Over the long history of Christianity more often than not teachings were ignored, sometimes by the clergy.

    The difference in this case was the organized effort at making the ignorance both public and acceptable.

  • The Sensus Fidelium never contradicts the Magisterium.

    That’s a post-Vatican II theological error that was concocted to oppose Humanae Vitae.

  • Ah okay, ignored is not the same as approved of. Any Catholic would have always known it was against their religion to use birth control.

  • The future of the Catholic Church belongs to those who believe in Humanae Vitae not to those who openly dissent. Personally, while some people are whining about how the Church are losing members over its teachings, I for one am glad that the Church is becoming more faithful since those who remain in it are most likely the ones who follow its teachings.

  • And that is why Humanae Vitae was so prophetic. Those who followed it gave birth to good Catholics while those who didn’t and simply ignored it gave birth to (that is, if they even gave birth at all!) lukewarm Catholics or to people who eventually left the Church. The future belongs to the orthodox and to the faithful not to dissenters.

  • I was not speaking just of birth control; swearing, lying, stealing, fornicating, and so on.

    The difference was on this issue for the first time there was a counter-Magisterium which claimed it was not sinful.

    We are not far enough from it yet to see it clearly, but this was as significant to Christian history as the Reformation.

  • Interesting, I hadn’t heard that Humanae Vitae has played the same role in the Catholic Church that Roe v. Wade has played in US politics.

  • If I remember correctly the argument against birth control was based on the position that it violated “natures (or natural) law”! What many saw and still see is the hypocrisy.

    Vaccinations, blood transfusions, modern pharmaceuticals (as opposed to herbal medicines), artificial hip and knee joints, etc. etc. AND don’t forget airplanes, and automobiles, and many other modern day inventions we take for granted ALSO violate “natures (or natural) law! YET the church doesn’t object to these other things.

    You can’t base an argument on one premise and then ignore the same premise when it is inconvenient and NOT be called a hypocrite!

  • If I had to take one thing away from your column, father Reese, it would be that this is all about power: power in the church, power over society, power over the intimate lives of people whether they are members of your church or not. It’s all about power, and about nothing else but power.

    Look at how many times you use the word “authority”, A much nicer word for “power”.

    Well, it’s all about idiocy as well. “lookeee there! People are using birth control. gay marriage!!!!” Or infidelity. As if the Bible and Christian history aren’t full of it. Or disrespect for women. As if half of Christianity doesn’t disrespect women. As if none of this had ever occurred until people started wantingcontrol over whether they reproduced or not.

    You’re trying, Father Reese. Your last paragraph shows it. But it still all about power.

  • It is not “anti-Catholic” to recognize that the bishops lost credibility and “authority” after the clergy sex abuse problem, which is ongoing.

  • Rather, the future of the Church belongs to smarmy, sanctimonious jerks who need to be told what to do.

  • “I’m not sure it’s accurate to suggest that most rank and file Catholics chose all on their own to ignore Humanae Vitae.”

    I don’t agree, rock. Most of the Catholic women I knew back then were familiar with at least the basics of Humanae Vitae and did wrestle with the idea of using contraceptive, go through periods of “is this right/is this wrong”? Especially in the late 1960’s and through the 1970’s. And it was discussed in their marriages with spouses. I think some of them at least in the 70’s did take it to their priest and either got a lukewarm response or got a “No” and then learned to not ask any more.

    Do agree with you about the “common sense leveling that happens in the Sunsus Fidelium.” Now, if the powers-that-be would just acknowledge that the Holy Spirit speaks through the people of God just as much as She speaks through theologians and bishops, we would be further along in dismantling the mistake that was made by Paul VI and then perpetuated by the authoritarian JPII and BXVI.

  • Of course it’s about power. That’s how some people get enjoyment. If you can’t get enjoyment out of being in the world, out of sex, and thousands of other things, I guess you turn to exercising power over others.

    That’s how it’s been since the start of the church. That’s the origin if ideas like “original sin'”.

  • Yes, Catholics know it is against the teaching of the Catholic Church, and, yet, 80% to 90% of Catholics in so-called “advanced” countries use contraceptives and most don’t worry about what the Church says about it. They do not discuss it with the priest, they do not confess it. I think that for a time in the 1970’s and maybe into the 1980’s many Catholics did worry about it, fret over using contraceptive – but that generation is no longer in doubt. And younger generations I think also go through some soul searching – but do finally make a decision of conscience.

    With respect to another comment you made regarding the “idiots” who remain in the Catholic church, may I suggest you read a speech given by Kristina Keneally, an Australian politician and catholic, and a Catholic feminist. The address was given to the Catholic Secondary School Principals Association conference earlier this month in Cairns, Australia. She talks about being “openly Catholic”, which I think is how many Catholics practice and participate their faith these days. A copy of the speech is here:

    I hope you enjoy it.

  • It hasn’t up to now. But that is because the Church had no power to enforce Humanae Vitae in so-called “first world” countries, such as Europe, North America, Australia. And they have increasing lost the political influence to keep contraceptives out of South/Central American countries, the Philippines, and some other countries.

    There is still a great danger, however, to the Church limiting individuals ability to make their own choice of conscience. It comes from the limits Catholic agencies are required to place on making contraceptives available as part of their outreach to the poor, hungry, ill. Catholic services are not going to help the poor person who loses everything in a hurricane to replace the contraceptive prescription. It is so dangerous now in the U.S. because Catholic hospitals control such a large portion of hospital beds and limit what is allowed – especially sterilizations, morning after pills, and have tried to limit doctors associated with their hospitals in making contraceptive prescriptions. More, while being a major employer in the U.S. they want to limit the ability of their own employees and those who work from them from being able to make a choice about contraceptives by refusing to cover it in health insurance.

    Even though I am Catholic, I will not go to a Catholic hospital – but, then, I am lucky enough to live in an area where I have a choice. The danger is that the hospital industry is competitive and if I give any business to a Catholic one, I may be part of why a non-Catholic hospital has to close.

    My sense that the Catholic church is wrong on the issue of contraceptives does not mean that I think I have to leave the Church. Most Catholics use contraceptives and stay. It isn’t that big a personal issue any more for most Catholics.

  • I just remember the lack of enthusiasm for HV among the clergy of that era, at least those of my acquaintance. I do think that sent the message that contraception wasn’t as big deal as the document suggested — a message the laity was ready to hear.

  • It isn’t a personal issue for most Catholics. Because they live with blinders on. THEIR church fights vigorously around the world (even in the US – they sued the government and won for God’s sake!!) to deny (successfully) contraception to other women. So those Catholics who take the pill or slip on a condom?? First world entitled catholic women. Unintentionally (slightly) malicious b***ches. That is the only appropriate way to think of them.

  • I wrote a very good response but i am being censored now for criticizing harmful Catholics….

  • Probably because they meet the definition:

    hypocrite – noun: A hypocritical person.

    hypocritical – adjective: Behaving in a way that suggests one has higher standards or more noble beliefs than is the case.

  • Strange but his article never uses the word “power”.

    What the document itself rests on is authority. Whether it is a church, a scripture, a law, or an officer of the law, it is about authority, which is quite a different thing than power.

    Power – noun (mass noun):

    1 The ability or capacity to do something or act in a particular way.

    2 The capacity or ability to direct or influence the behaviour of others or the course of events.

    Authority – noun (mass noun): 1 The right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience.

    For example, the Supreme Court held and exercised the power to render its decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. ___ (2015). However, by contradicting the plain words of the Constitution it made clear exercised that power without authority.

    Power has to do with force, authority has to do with right.

    It is common among your peers to reject authority, which is more less required since most of the backgrounds of your peers involved religions which rejected certain behavior as immoral. There are limited number of ways to reach escape velocity from that, and most of them involve a rejection of authority.

    Of course once you go down that road, there is no end, which is one of the reasons you’ve been unable to come up with a philosophical grounding for minority rights.

    Once you reject the authority of the majority, all that is left is what you personally want.

  • Think about it this way. “The RCC” is not just the bishops and priests. “The RCC” is overwhelmingly all the baptized people of the Roman Catholic Church – and we usually include the Catholic Orthodox churches, too.. That obviously includes the priests and bishops, but it also includes all the baptized Catholics. And overwhelmingly all the baptized people of “the RCC” do believe that contraceptives are a matter of individual conscience and circumstances.

    That is, “the RCC” is obviously pro-contraceptive.

    Well, it is perhaps better to say “the RCC” is obviously pro-conscience when it comes to contraceptives.

  • Wrong. The RCC is the doctrines and teachings. One can believe contraception is okay but that is not a catholic belief. One should find a church that aligns with ones beliefs. If the RCC were pro contraceptive we wouldn’t see it fighting against access to it in the US and prohibiting it in other countries.

  • The Catholic Church is hierarchical.

    While everyone is at an equality in terms of dignity, not everyone is given authority, or the same authority, or a teaching charism.

    And every single member of the church is a sinner.

    The fact that every single person is a sinner does not detract from the moral law nor make sin normative.

    So, if every single Catholic decided to jump off the bridge, a person jumping off the bridge remains an id-ot.

    No conscience can be properly formed in direct and knowing conflict with the teaching authority. The Catholic Church is not congregational.

    The version you’re presenting is the circa 1968 version of dissent put together by Charlie Curran et al. As those folks die off, so is this odd theological construct fading away.

  • You’re really not quite the intellectual you would like to be.

    Airplanes, and automobiles, and many other modern day inventions we take for granted take advantage of natural laws.

  • Certainly vaccinations, blood transfusions, and modern pharmaceuticals violate natural law. They are against what God ordained for the human condition, Overpopulation can be traced, at least in part, to so-called “advances in medicine” that have enabled people to live longer — even though God would want some folks to die (quote) prematurely (endquote) to maintain a healthy balance between population and natural resources. Let people die naturally (even “prematurely”), and we can get back to what a loving God knows is best for us, namely, that healthy balance that facilitates human flourishing. If Jesus can die on the cross for us, some people can die “early” (starvation, war, violence, etc.) for the rest of us. Stop contraception.

    Deo gratias.

  • I don’t recall presbyters preaching much about sex and contraception in the years following HV. I think they tried to steer clear of it. Because I was single, it never came up in the confessional. “Let sleeping dogs lie” may have been the ecclesial environment where I lived.

  • “The Catholic Church is hierarchical.”

    And recent years have demonstrated how the hierarchy screwed the laity, whether it was widespread clerical sexual abuse or misuse of church funds for personal gain (condos, fancy lifestyles, etc.), “hush” payments, etc.

    It’s debatable whether hierarchy is truly beneficial to Catholic laity, i.e., those folks who “pay the bills”. Lay folks are still second-class members of the Church of Rome.

  • “The RCC is the doctrines and teachings.”

    Nope. You need to review JPII and Ratzinger’s CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH.

    As a reminder, HV’s prohibition of artificial contraception is not infallible teaching.

  • “The future belongs to the orthodox and to the faithful not to dissenters.”

    Your wildest wishes :o)

  • You “know what [you] have to do” because some smarmy, sanctimonious cleric or hierarch told you what to do. The word ‘kowtowing’ comes to mind.

  • There is no (quote) counter-Magisterium (endquote). You’re allowing your feelings/frustration get in the way of clear historical thinking:

    “At a broader official level still, the magisterium is the teaching authority inherent in and exercised by the hierarchy and theologians alike. It is known by some as the double magisterium and is rooted in both episcopal ordination (thus, the magisterium of the cathedral chair) and theological competence (the magisterium of the professorial chair).

    “Significantly, this distinction, based in the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas (the Quodlibetales 3.4.1 ad 3), was retrieved by the late Cardinal Avery Dulles (A Church to Believe In, p. 109), an eminent theologian in his own right.

    “There is an even broader meaning of teaching authority in the Church, namely, the teaching authority inherent in and exercised by every member of the Church. It is known simply as the magisterium of the whole Church, the Ecclesia docens (“the teaching Church”), and is rooted in Baptism.”


  • Okay you are right the RCC does nothing to deny people access to birth control. God you guys will come up with any excuse to justify evil behavior

  • You need to review the fecundity of marriage sections of the catechism. By saying one is catholic one is supporting all that is written in those. Enjoy your hypocrisy

  • I’m a Catholic and reject HV’s prohibition of ABC. You apparently have a lot to learn about the role of the Holy Spirit in the Church, i.e., all the baptized, not to mention the supremacy of conscience over official doctrine. Wallow in your kowtowing.

  • “Okay you are right the RCC does nothing to deny people access to birth control.” The hierarchs worked overtime to deny people access to birth control in the USA. Evil behavior? God help you.

  • Thanks for being part of the problem. You are directly responsible for harm done to so many people by your church. Shameful. Not sure how you all sleep at night.

  • Ps. Kowtowing is essentially what every catholic who doesn’t actually follow the church’s teaching but still puts money in the pot and lets the church ruin people’s lives does. Some of us learned long ago how to stand up for principles and realized one cannot support an evil hateful harmful institution like the RCC (I mean its actions are all based on doctrines and dogma…you know that right?!). So you leave. If one stays one supports what the church does. Period. End of story. As I coined elsewhere on here, your kind is unintentionally malicious. Sadly there is no way around it.

  • I am glad you finally see my point. Obviously I was being sarcastic. You were the one trying to make it sound like the church is somehow benevolent on this issue. Catholics who disagree with their church positions are the quietest people in public. No protests outside their archdioceses, etc. bunch of evil people.

  • Because I have a conscience and wanted to lead a moral life, I left the Catholic Church. No other option for those who want to lead a good life and be kind to others.

  • But since there was no resurrection, all this verbiage is a waste of time as the Pope has no Jesus/god authority as none exists.

  • So does birth control and abortion and pharmaceuticals and blood transfusions and everything else!

  • Speaking as one who left the church, not just over contraception—probably the worst decision the ‘church’ ever made, but because of what I consider to be a funementally flawed conception of natural law, and all theory and theology that followed. While the church may see itself as perpetually on the side of the angels, the question is which angels? If the church has an achillies heel, its understanding of human spiritual union and human sexuality would be it. As a subject that speaks virually to all humanity, I can imgine the whole of Christology crashing to dust by a single potential moral insight. One best expressed, not by the church but by a verse from Shakespeare, from his poem Venus and Adonis:

    Call it not love for love to heaven is fled
    Since sweating lust on earth usurp’d His name.
    Under who simple semblance man hath fed
    upon fresh beauty blotting it with blame,
    which the hot tyrant stains and soon bereaves
    As caterpillars do the tender leaves.

    Love comforteth like sunshine after rain
    but lust effect is tempest after sun.
    Love’s gentle spring doth always fresh remain.
    Lust’s winter comes, ere summer half be done.
    Love surfeits not, lust like a glutton dies,
    Love is all truth, lust full of forged lies.

  • NO Bob. In short my point was right on target. The basis for being against birth control was based on the position that it violated “natures plan”. All of those things I mentioned violate “natures plan” YET they are all dependent upon following “natures plan (natural laws) to make them possible.

    This is called a paradox. A word I am sure you aren’t familiar with!

  • I also left the Church of Rome — in my case, because of B16. I support women’s ordination and same-sex marriage because I value faith and reason. So far, the Vatican has not given me reasons (as opposed to excuses) to change my mind on such matters.

  • No, your point was off target.

    And the reason why your point was off target is you don’t know the difference between natural law

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    and the physical laws

    “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

    That you don’t know the difference but believe wholeheartedly you do, thus the howler, is a paradox.

  • I haven’t “put money in the pot” of the Church of Rome since the end of CY 2006. I’m not against dogma, and I think it important to keep in mind a Vatican II insight on doctrine in general: “When comparing doctrines with one another, [Catholic theologians] should remember that in Catholic doctrine there exists a ‘hierarchy’ of truths, since they vary in their relation to the fundamental Christian faith” (Unitatis Redintegratio-11). I’m aware of the “creeping infallibility” made popular by the authoritarian behavior of JPII. I would like to return to the Church of Rome someday, but a lot of reforms — best enacted through ecclesial renewal — would be necessary. For now, I remain Catholic if not “Roman”.

  • I did not see sarcasm in your comments. I saw lots of anger directed mistakenly toward me. I think Catholics should speak out and, if necessary, use their “power of the purse”.

  • This idea about who has authority is a cultural concept, not a God concept, unless it is the authority of God Herself. After the authority of God is acknowledged, all else is made up by human kind. We have different ideas in this day and age about how leadership is formed and the role of leadership in our communities, families, personal lives, and in living out a life of faith.

    Here is something to ponder: The RCC could still be the RCC with a different organizational structure. Jesus did not set in place the structure now in place, in grew and developed in the times the faith grew and developed until hitting a critical point when Constantine became a Christian. The magisterial Church has not figured out that we are no longer living in the Roman Empire or during the time of “divine right” kings.

    The Roman Catholic Church could and would still be the Roman Catholic Church with a more synodal form of governance, with females in leadership positions, with priests and bishops removed from their pretense of being “ontologically changed” into those who rule by “divine right.”

    The structure of the Church is the earthly structure to carry out the mission of evangelizing all the world. But men built that structure based on what seemed right for the environment of the time the structure was built. And it doesn’t work any more.

    It is only the structure around which the faith exists and was spread. It is not holy in and of itself. Don’t substitute the RCC for Jesus/God/Holy Spirit.

  • This idea about who has authority is both a biblical and a natural law concept.

    In both God created a world in which humans live in societies, societies only function with laws, and thus all authority ultimately derives from God.

    YOU have different ideas today about how leadership is formed and the role of leadership in our communities, families, personal lives, and in living out a life of faith.

    Unfortunately for your arguments the Catholic Church doesn’t share your ideas.

    For the most part, according to that Church, Jesus did set in place the structure now in place: the ministries of deacon, priest, and bishop, the residence of the teaching authority in the episcopate, the revelation once for all that ended with the death of the last Apostle.

    The Roman Catholic Church with a more synodal form of governance, with females in leadership positions, would be the Church of England.

    We can all see how that is not working out.

    From the standpoint of the Catholic Church it is not a pretense that the clergy are “ontologically changed” or that the episcopate rules by “divine right”. It is the very nature of the Church as divinely instituted. Read Lumen Gentium.

    If the Church has a mission of evangelizing all the world, it first must have a means of determining with what it is to evangelize. That means it must speak with authority. And it does work, although apparently for or to you it doesn’t work any more. I assume that occurred a half century ago or so for you when you decided to reject Humanae Vitae when comporting with it would have been difficult.

    Don’t substitute your personal musings on “Jesus/God/Holy Spirit” – e.g., “God Herself” – for the “RCC”.

  • “…the Supreme Court held and exercised the power to render its decision in
    Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. ___ (2015). However, by contradicting
    the plain words of the Constitution….”

    which plain words of the constitution did the supreme court contradict ?

  • You’ll have to have a copy of the decision handy to parse the answer.

    10th Amendment

    “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

    The power to regulate marriage is reserved to the States or to the people.

    14th Amendment

    “Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

    Sections 2 through 5 are not relevant.

    This was cited in the decision. Nothing in it provided the power to the Court to regulate marriage, which was reserved to the States or to the people in the 10th Amendment.

  • Susan Humphreys • 2 days ago

    “If I remember correctly the argument against birth control was based on the position that it violated “natures (or natural) law”! What many saw and still see is the hypocrisy.”

    Cites natural law.

    “Vaccinations, blood transfusions, modern pharmaceuticals (as opposed to herbal medicines), artificial hip and knee joints, etc. etc. AND don’t forget airplanes, and automobiles, and many other modern day inventions we take for granted ALSO violate “natures (or natural) law! YET the church doesn’t object to these other things.”

    Cites physical laws.

    “You can’t base an argument on one premise and then ignore the same premise when it is inconvenient and NOT be called a hypocrite!”

    You’ve conflated two different premises.

    Vaccinations, blood transfusion, prosthetics airplanes, automobiles, and other modern inventions utilize our knowledge of the physical laws.

    The argument against birth control was based on natural law, a moral law; two different things altogether.

  • If you think sexual intercourse with contraception is akin to mutual masturbation, then you need some serious remedial sex ed.
    Is the document meant to be read only by men, by the way?

  • I didn’t equate those, but contracepted sex as well as masturbation are half acts of unity…and so both are morally corrupt..and corrupt the marriage itself, if there is even a marriage present.

    I’ve noticed the ability for some people to think clearly is diminished…they tend to throw everything in the same bucket..and then give in to the low tendency to mock, as you did.

    And to my original point…contracepted sex is designed for mere mutual self-pleasuring…and that’s a very low aim, supernaturally speaking. It cuts God out of the picture.

    A “wall” is put up by the couple for mutual self-pleasuring a bare notch above mutual masturbation. They become a couple closed in on themselves; taking a half-gift.

  • Once again you run away from the clear import of your words. And once again you suggest, bizarrely, that sexual intercourse with contraception is little more than “mutual self pleasuring.” Believe what you want about the theological aspects of birth control, but your claim about the couple’s pleasure is factually wrong.

  • Anyone who uses the word import nowadays is engaging in mental masturbation, an act of self love, vanity

    Your comment reminds me of CS Lewis’s point:

    “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

    There is no ecstasy like the intimate and total abandonment of a couple into God’s arms.

    You’re thinking too little, you desire too little.

  • nothing in the plain text of the 14th amendment suggests that marriage is not part of the liberty of the person .

    the court found it there . you believe they are wrong . i believe you are wrong .

    in the meantime the supreme court decision is the law of the land .

  • “…theological construct fading away.”

    not at all . most catholics are making their moral choices with a respectful eye on what the official position of the church is, but not accepting the parts of it that simply don’t line with what a moral life demands .

    they live by the spirit of the law not the letter .

  • “…and thus all authority ultimately derives from God.”

    the theological basis for the beloved doctrine of james i of england : the divine right of kings .

    the catholic church never fully embraced that idea, and there is no reason that the pope, who is to feed jesus’ sheep, cannot move even more to a churchly focus. that is to say more orientated to the people of the assembly, and less focused on medieval hierarchical claptrap .

  • The Catholic Church teaches that all authority comes from God.

    John 19:10 So Pilate said to Him, “Do You refuse to speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You and authority to crucify You?” 11 Jesus answered, “You would have no authority over Me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed Me over to you is guilty of greater sin.”

    Catechism of the Catholic Church: 1899 The authority required by the moral order derives from God: “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore he who resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.”

  • Nothing in the plain text of the 14th amendment suggest that marriage is the subject of the amendment.

    Unless it is written plainly, it cannot supersede the 10th amendment.

    Yes, the decisions stands.

    The discussion was about authority versus power.

  • “Most Catholics use contraceptives and stay.”
    Nah, that might have been true back then but now people (especially those in the so-called “advanced and enlightened” West) are actually leaving the Church because they are unable to accept the teachings God gave her which means those who stay are basically those who really believe in the Church’s teachings.
    Personally, I’m fine with this development.

  • “Love is all truth, lust full of forged lies”
    Uh huh, funny how you mention that when your entire comment, minus Shakespeare’s poem is basically one giant forged lie.

  • If believing in the teachings of Jesus Christ, as passed on by the Catholic Church over the centuries, is what you call “kowtowing”, then I don’t mind one bit.

  • Putting of it to rest with the Great Kibosh:

    Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    • A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinkerbells? etc) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    “The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother’s womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. “

  • I have to agree that religion, as we have come to understand it, falls at the first and most important hurdle of purpose. But the only rational conclusion is that human nature exists in a profound ignorance of that potential reality: God. And history attempts to fill that vacuum, both unsuccessfully to my mind, with either theological or secular intellectual codswhallop. And that friction might even set up the conditions for resolving the question for all time:

    For as I turned, there greeted mine likewise
    What all behold who contemplate aright,
    That’s Heaven’s revolution through the skies.

  • “The Two Universal Sects

    They all err—Moslems, Jews,
    Christians, and Zoroastrians:

    Humanity follows two world-wide sects:
    One, man intelligent without religion,

    The second, religious without intellect. ”


    , born AD 973 /, died AD 1058 / .

    Al-Ma’arri was a blind Arab philosopher, poet and writer.[1][2] He was a controversial
    rationalist of his time, attacking the dogmas of religion and rejecting the
    claim that Islam possessed any monopoly on truth.”

  • To be clear, I’ve no problem with your adhering to your conscience. However, it’s important — certainly in matters of church discipline, e.g., women’s ordination and same-sex marriage — to examine the pros and cons of current teaching. Beware of falling into the trap of *believing* that all current disciplinary policies reflect the mind of God. Many Catholics who have studied such matters have concluded otherwise in good faith according to official Catholic teaching on supremacy of personal conscience. Simply accepting a disciplinary teaching/policy “because the Church says so” is an affront to God who gave each of us the ability to *think*. Vatican II taught that the Holy Spirit works among *all the baptized*, not just among presbyters or only the bishops.

  • God did help me — in my decision to leave the Church of Rome nearly 12 years ago shortly before my 59th birthday.

  • So all doctrines of the Church of Rome are “God’s teachings”???

    God approved of slavery (Jesus says so in sacred scripture). The Church no longer approves of slavery.

    Who was wrong, God or the Church?

  • MAJE – I think when you know that 80%-90% of Catholic couples use contraceptives and only 30%-40% have left, at least in this country, that means there are a lot of contraceptive using Catholics still hanging on.

    And I am glad of that. I think for most Catholics their love of their faith is built on many points – and that there is much they hold onto and don’t let doubts about one bit deny them the strength they get from all the other bits.

    I admit I don’t know where to draw a line. But I don’t think it is drawn on the issue of contraceptives.

  • The ideas of leadership in the Catholic Church were formed within the cultures in which the Church itself was formed. They are cultural. So are the concepts of leadership that are expressed in the Bible. I don’t think God designed it that way – I think that was the best understanding those who tried to understand God’s purpose could come to – and they, too, were influenced by the culture of their own times.

  • no argument that all authority comes from god . no question at all to us who are theists .

    the question is to whom it goes and how they come to that conclusion .

  • one does not leave a church because of disagreements on one or two positions . especially those that are conflicts concerning things that are not dogma .

    nor are the actions of the vatican salient as to one stays or goes . the vatican is not the whole of the papacy . it is a bureaucracy that one prays works for the betterment of the church but doesn’t always .

  • the supreme court has no power . it has only authority .

    and as usual i understand that you have strong positions . and as usual i and many and the supreme court disagree .

    and you need to explain why the less than clear 10th amendment cannot be superseded by the 14th amendment which is clear enough when you read the court opinion in obergefell .

  • If disagreements are based on dogma (as opposition to birth control, gay marriage, etc) are then leaving is the only course of action (for a decent person).

  • please re read my comment : it clearly stated i was speaking of “things that are not dogma.” so you response was superfluous .

  • Oh ok. Well the entire discussion before your comment is about things that are based on dogma. The church’s position on birth control is not ‘dogma’ itself but flows obviously from dogma. But pint taken. I suppose you kind of had no business interjecting a superfluous comment since it had little to do with the discussion at hand.

  • The Supreme Court only has the authority granted it under the Constitution.

    Quite clearly it lacked authority to regulate marriage.

    But as it demonstrated it had the power, and it did it.

    The 14th amendment is silent relative to the 10th – it gives not one more power to the Federal government than it possessed the day before the amendement was ratified.

    It’s not clear in Obergefell v. Hodges, which is why you’re not defending this excursion into states’ rights by quoting chapter and verse from the decision.

    You can’t.

  • The leadership in the Catholic Church was devised by Jesus Christ when he founded a church.

    He was pretty specific about choosing Apostles, giving the power of the keys, and all that stuff.

    Since he was fulfilling a divine mission and had total freedom, the argument that it was cultural has neither wings nor legs.

    If you don’t think God designed it that way, you don’t think Jesus was divine. That would not surprise me, but you should make that clear.

    Until the Reformation, and even then in England and in Sweden, no one believed that anyone but bishops – successors to the Apostles – had teaching authority; no one, not Catholic, not Orthodox, not Assyrian, not non-Chalcedonians, not the Ethiopians, not the Copts, no one.

    Whatever you are describing, it has literally nothing whatsoever to do with or in common with the Catholic Church.

  • i have looked into it . i have lived it .

    that you are unclear on things outside of your textbook doesn’t mean that others are .

  • You looked into and lived “to whom it goes and how they come to that conclusion”?

    Do tell.

  • I see you’re spreading yourself over more religious sites.

    They’ll figure you out soon enough.

  • I see you are still obsessing over me, following me around, and in general being you.

    Which means you will shortly be denying anything of the sort.

    Time to ignore you for th3 next 45 or 50 comments.

  • Bob, you are, as i understand it, not a catholic . i have been a catholic by birth, raised and educated as a catholic .

    i am not going to write a memoir for you . but i know it inside out . you seem not to . you seem to have but textbook knowledge of catholicism . not the lived experience .

  • “God approved of slavery”
    Uh huh, I guess that’s why he led the enslaved Jews out of Egypt right?
    “The Church no longer approves of slavery”
    Problem with that statement is that it never did, much of Medieval Europe, under the influence of the Church, forbade slavery. In fact, it wasn’t until the so-called age of “enlightenment”, when more people began to reject the Church, that slavery returned in bigger numbers.

  • Sometimes I wonder where people like you even get your numbers. If it’s from the usual survey organizations like Pew or Gallup, I wouldn’t take their numbers seriously. In fact, any survey that claims 90% of this or that is highly suspicious.
    And like I said, yes, back then “catholics” who believed that nothing was wrong with contraception did stay but not anymore. The children (if they even had any to begin with) of these lax “catholics” aren’t going to be inspired enough to stay in a church that their parents don’t even listen to. It’s one of the reasons why so many claim to be “nones” when it come to religion.
    “I admit I don’t know where to draw a line. But I don’t think it is drawn on the issue of contraceptives.”
    You’d be surprised how things you consider small is enough to tick of certain people. So yes, for many who left, the issue regarding contraception is enough to drive them away from the Church.
    Then again, considering how most young people these days don’t marry (out of economic considerations or because of their warped beliefs system) and have little to no children, and that the ones who do marry and have large families tend to be religious and believe that using contraception is a sin, I for one don’t find the exodus of lax “catholics” to be all that troubling.

  • Well good, that’s a win-win-win for me, you, and the Church. I and the Catholic Church don’t have to deal anymore with people who don’t believe in the teachings of Christ, and you don’t have to put up with us.

  • You keep talking about conscience this, conscience that, have you ever considered that your conscience is erroneous?
    There’s a reason why the previous pope coined the term “Dictatorship of relativism” to describe how some believe that if they think something is true, it must be true. The way you exercise reason is not true reason but an abomination of it.
    Lastly, regarding Vatican II it failed, do you know why it failed? It’s because of people like you who thought Vatican II was some sort of paradigm shift, some break from tradition, and started thinking that anything goes now and instead of properly applying it in accordance with tradition.

  • Thank for making it clear you have no idea at all what you’re writing about, you simply have an opinion based on having “the lived experience”.

    Every Catholic has the lived experience.

    That qualifies them to …. nothing.

  • Actually, for most of the young Catholic people I know who have left, the issue of contraceptives is a non-issue. They consider it a personal decision.

    A bigger issue has to do with the role of women in the Church, or lack thereof. And the sex abuse scandal has made clear that the bishops need to include lay voices, male and female, in running the Church. and the parish. Both these issues are important young Catholic males as well as young Catholic females.

    Of course, it isn’t everyone. But it is tens of millions in Europe, North America, Australia, and it is growing in South and Central America, the Philippines, Asia and Africa. As people become more educated and as communication increases, folks are finding that they are not alone in their discomfort with some Church teachings.

    What is sad is the radicalization of religion, including Catholicism, into cultish totalitarianism attitudes that are simply not open to exploring what is new and different.

  • to the contrary in many parishes across this country it qualifies them to a cup of coffee and a pastry after sunday service!

    “Every Catholic has the lived experience.”

    every catholic has, to the degree that their experience is earnest and their exposure to the teaching of the church broad, a deeper understanding of what being a catholic means . more than a person who just has book (or internet) knowledge .

  • You are wasting your time. Bob has never read or cited a Supreme Court decision correctly or honestly. When corrected he just repeats the same lies again. Not worth taking seriously at all.

  • Excellent point. It is suck that so many people who otherwise are decent people remain in the church. It is a scar on their character for sure.

  • why i don’t know, but Bob does bring out machocistic tendencies in me . thus i respond .

  • Folks never had problems ignoring the authority of their Church.

    The new twist was pretending they were loyal members.

  • I am really not interested in your particular life experience unless it bears directly on the discussion and illustrates or denigrates “book knowledge” as you call it.

    You do realize that the Bible is a book, right?

  • “You do realize that the Bible is a book, right?”

    and if you don’t live what you have learned from the bible, it is worthless . and the millions of people who are illiterate learn the bible by others speaking to them of the word of god .

    but you know that . you just need to continue this discussions for no reason . or are these training sessions for your bot ?

  • Okay, now I remember why I blocked you.

    “or are these training sessions for your bot ?”

    This is not a conversation, this is you making speeches.


  • i called you above for having only book knowledge . it is simple catholic understanding, really a christian’s understanding, that book knowledge is not sufficient for an understanding of what it means to be a follower of christ .
    that is not new teaching . but to you it denigrates book knowledge .

    which only points out that you don’t understand what it all about . cold words on the page seem to be all you are interested in .

    that and trying to argue until the other side walks off the stage exhausted trying to get the simplest point over to you . when you don’t yourself want to hear it . you simply mandate a position and insist that it is true . when someone notes a weakness in what you say you deny it and continue on . you don’t converse, discuss or give speeches . you dictate from your assumed elite position .

    yes, in frustration and twice, i have suggested that you are or use a bot . both time you have not denied, you simply say that i am blocked . that reaction suggests that i am getting too close to the truth about who you are and what you are about .

  • It was not about ‘regulating’ marriage, but due process.. the courts only took on the case when some states and the federal government were denying already married gay couple the same benefits they gave to other legally wed couples. In obergefell, ms Windsor was being taxed 350,000.00 dollars in taxes for properties and money her and her legally wed wife had accumulated over their lifetime together. the government does not do that to straight couples..not fair to do it to gay couples..there is no rationale for denying gay couples the same right to marry as heterosexual couples..

  • It was not about “due process”.

    If the right to regulate marriage belongs to the states, it can’t be a Federal due process matter.

    There is plenty of rationale for making different laws in different states regarding marriage.

    Fairness is a legislative issue.

    The Federal judiciary’s role is to apply the law to facts duly ascertained, not fashion remedies for perceived unfairness while stomping all over the Constitution.

  • Courts are the place we go to when we seek redress from injustice, or for being wronged or treated unfairly under the law, so yes this is most definitely a venue for the judiciary..and yes this is a federal issue also, many rights and benefits which married couples receive are managed by the federal government.. why does it even matter to you? Are you being forced to marry a same sex partner? It’s really none of your business who marries who..

  • Thank you, mon ami. We’ve got two or three different non-Roman progressive Catholic churches in my town. For now, I remain standing on the RC pier if no longer aboard the Barque of Peter (it’s been taking on water, and I’m not about to check out the engine room). B16 and his “reform of the reform” was too much for this Vatican II Catholic. I had to disembark for my own good nearly 12 years ago. So far, Rome has given me no reason to return.

  • My conscience has been informed by official Catholic teaching and by recorded church history. It was a future pope, Joseph Ratzinger, who wrote 50+ years ago that historical facts trump “pure” church doctrine (i.e., discipline, for purposes of our exchange). Faith AND reason. Not one or the other, but both.

    You’ve not demonstrated your contention that “[t]he way [I] exercise reason is not true reason but an abomination of it.” I don’t recommend expressions of frustration, no matter how displayed. It doesn’t help your argument (assuming, of course, you have an argument in the first place).

    In fact, Vatican II was a “paradigm shift” in terms of how the Church of Rome operates. Yes, JPII and B16 tried to reinterpret or minimize its impact, but their efforts failed.

  • I understand. I liked the few old Catholics I met, and recommended them to a number of exhausted RCC’s.

  • The problem with your reply is it illustrates your ignorance of the history of church and slavery.

  • “MAJE” is caught up in “creeping infallibility”, closed mind, kowtowing, ignorance, and God-knows-what-else that presents Catholicism contrary to Jesus’ teaching in the Gospel.

  • Oh, but if you continue to see my comments here and elsewhere, YOU will have to put up with me (after all, I’m worth your replies in light of your blogging :o)

  • If I were to move to a different dock, I’d be looking at ECUSA or ELCA, but, for now, I remain betwixt and between. I think Pope Francis illustrates the real limits that a moderate-to-liberal pope faces in church governance. I have faint hope of ever returning to “Holy Mother Church” absent some doctrinal and disciplinary changes. Not holding my breath.

  • “Actually, for most of the young Catholic people I know who have left, the issue of contraceptives is a non-issue. They consider it a personal decision.”

    And for some people that I know, the issue of contraceptives is an issue.

    “A bigger issue has to do with the role of women in the Church, or lack thereof. And the sex abuse scandal has made clear that the bishops need to include lay voices, male and female, in running the Church. and the parish. Both these issues are important young Catholic males as well as young Catholic females.”

    I’m pretty sure the sex abuse scandal was simply the excuse people needed to finally leave the church. As for female participation, most orthodox Catholic women are fine with the way things are. They’re not clamoring for priestesses or female deacons unlike the dissenters who have left.

    “Of course, it isn’t everyone. But it is tens of millions in Europe, North America, Australia, and it is growing in South and Central America, the Philippines, Asia and Africa. As people become more educated and as communication increases, folks are finding that they are not alone in their discomfort with some Church teachings.”

    So? God’s teachings aren’t suppose to appeal to everyone. Anyone can be saved, but not everyone will be saved. A more committed, faithful, and united church is much better than a massive one where everyone is arguing against one another and dissenting. As for communication and education, you do know that argument can be used the other way around, right? People are finding that they are not alone in their realization that the Church is right with regards to its teachings.

    “What is sad is the radicalization of religion, including Catholicism, into cultish totalitarianism attitudes that are simply not open to exploring what is new and different.”

    Oh yes, so radical, we’re blowing up buildings and killing people who don’t agree with us!
    As for not open to exploring, the Church did explore and found that such things are incompatible with nearly 2000 years worth of Church teaching. Not everything new and different is good, if anything many of them are bad. You sound like someone who tried a new and exotic dish only to be disappointed when everyone you know told you that it tastes digusting.

  • The error you made is in the phrase “unfairly under the law”.

    If we were Great Britain, you’d be on fairly solid ground.

    But because we have a written Constitution, the remedy is to seek legislation.

    In the instant case Justice Kennedy referenced one of his fortune cookie aphorisms and fashioned a right out of thin air.

    In doing so he exercised power which the Constitution reserved to the States and People, thus acting without authority.

    It is the law, but that can be remedied with an amendment to the Constitution.

    The logic of your position is that because Sally, who is 14, lives in Alaska and is married because Alaska law permits it, enjoys the tax advantages of filing a Federal income tax return married filing jointly, rubellapox2 can have a Federal court order Delaware – which limits marriage to those 18 and over – your home state to permit you to marry at age 14.

    That is legal hogwash.

    In a 2005 article published by National Review, one of our now Supreme Court justices wrote that “American liberals have become addicted to the courtroom, relying on judges and lawyers rather than elected leaders and the ballot box, as the primary means of effecting their social agenda” and that they are “failing to reach out and persuade the public”. In doing so, American liberals are circumventing the democratic process on issues like gay marriage, school vouchers, and assisted suicide, and this has led to a compromised judiciary, which is no longer independent. American liberals’ “overweening addiction” to using the courts for social debate is “bad for the nation and bad for the judiciary”.

    And that is precisely what you advocate.

    As to “why does it even matter to you? Are you being forced to marry a same sex partner? It’s really none of your business who marries who..”, the answer is rather simple.

    We live in a society. We are not an agglomeration of individuals engaged in “Bellum omnium contra omnes”. Our country was not founded as a Libertarian experiment.

    Folks get to fashion the society they want to live in.

    That’s why we have laws against public nudity.

    And it’s why we’re a Federal system of dual sovereigns. What the people in state A want may differ from what the people in state B want.

    Obergefell v. Hodges is, I believe, the high water mark of that line of “privacy” reasoning that also led to Roe v. Wade.

    Now we return to the Constitution and close the Legislature of Nine.

  • “My conscience has been informed by official Catholic teaching and by recorded church history.”

    No it isn’t. If it was, you’d understand that what you believe in is wrong.
    With regards to historical fact, I’ll give you a historical fact, everything that Humanae Vitae predicted has come to pass. Low fertility rates, the demographic aging of the West, high divorce rates, millions of babies aborted. Every denomination that has accepted what you are proposing (women’s ordination, same-sex “marriage”) have imploded (see “churches” like the Anglican Church) and are suffering from worse decline than the Catholic Church. Heck, hardline Catholics might constantly fear schism because of what Pope Francis does but that is nothing to the situation in less orthodox denominations like the Anglicanism.

    “You’ve not demonstrated your contention that “[t]he way [I] exercise reason is not true reason but an abomination of it.” I don’t recommend expressions of frustration, no matter how displayed. It doesn’t help your argument (assuming, of course, you have an argument in the first place).”

    Yes you have, perhaps you just refuse to see it. Heck, you just contradicted yourself just recently by claiming that you’re conscience is informed by Church teaching and recorded church history when you basically admitted already that you left the Church. How can you leave and claim that you’re informed by Church teaching? As for frustrated, last I checked, you’re the one who started commenting against me and claiming rationality from an irrational position. Am I suppose to calmly accept such irrationality?

    Lastly, no, Vatican II wasn’t a paradigm shift. It was a continuation of tradition. Stop trying to use that “spirit of Vatican II” nonsense as an excuse to start thinking that the Church should start changing its teachings. If anything, Popes JPII and BXVI have interpreted Vatican II more correctly (although not perfectly) than most people have. And their efforts haven’t failed either, rather their efforts are simply incomplete. One cannot expect something as huge as Vatican II to be correctly implemented in one papacy.

  • The only ignorant one here is you. You seem to be parroting the usual anti-Catholic historical myths that anti-Catholic Protestants, liberals, and secularists like to use.
    What’s next? Are you going to claim that the Medieval Period was some sort of dark age where everyone was miserable?
    Or perhaps you’d like to talk about how the crusades where an early example of Western colonialism against a peaceful civilization.
    Heck, why not throw in the inquisition since you guys love to also use the myth that the inquisition killed millions of people and resulted in the burning of suspected witches.

  • Considering how I haven’t seen you anywhere else, I doubt I’ll see you anywhere other than this article. If anything, you’re the one who seems to have a bone to pick since the one who started this reply chain was none other than you. Besides, speaking the truth is never tiring, so I don’t really find this all that bothersome.

  • For those with an interest in this sort of thing, here is source material for ATF45’s spiels:

    The Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church advocates for scrapping Lumen Gentium and adopting a Constitution for the Catholic Church which would make it another version of the Episcopal Church in the USA.

    “The Catholic Church must continue to adapt itself to changing times in order to remain prophetic.Is it not worrying that the Church still maintains a ban on women priests until this day, when the great majority of nations are striving to eliminate inequalities and promote gender equality throughout the world?”

    “The times are changing and so must the Church!”

    Membership in these organizations is superannuated, as both date back to the ’60s and an amalgam of hippies and “Spirit of Vatican II” types. Their children and grandchildren have either rejected their views or exited the Catholic Church.

    Major heroes included Charles Curran, Leonard Swidler, and Johannes Nicolaas Maria Wijngaards.

  • You know, MAJE, if you or some other “conservative” women don’t want to be priests, that is fine. Why is it not okay for some to want something different from what you want.

    I think the problem is that you want everyone to fit inside the old molds, the old roles. It doesn’t work. It is fine and just right for some to be stay at home moms who are fulfilled by all that goes into that role. Why isn’t it okay for some to be career women who limit family size, time when they will have children (for health and career reasons)? Both can make good Catholics.

    Most of the Catholic men and women I know don’t tell me that the “new and exotic dish” is disgusting. Most agree, at least on some points, but all agree that there is much more that binds us in faith than separates us.

    I believe there is room for those who think like you and those who think like me – even if it does sometimes take digging deeply for tolerance and remembering we are all God’s children.

  • I’m not “parroting [any] anti-Catholic historical myths.”

    You, on the other hand, have demonstrated a woeful ignorance of the Church’s involvement with slavery. (If, on the other hand, you have knowledge of such history, you need to quit playing the ostrich with its butt exposed. Ain’t a pretty sight for someone who pretends to know better.)

  • I respond:

    + Thanks for your expression of frustration. Correlation does not imply causation.

    + Ditto re: my decision to leave the Church of Rome. If your demonstrated behavioral response is accurate, I suspect I know more about the subjects mentioned than do you.

    + Yes, Vatican II was a paradigm shift in how the church operates. There were also doctrinal changes that even a schismatic group such as SSPX refused to embrace.

    You’re engaged in wishful thinking and, so far, have *demonstrated* nothing substantive.

  • I know, Joseph. It is the kind of fundamentalist attitude little different from that of fundamentalists of other religions or other Christian traditions. God is so much bigger, so much more than the box SHe is confined to by hardcore “tenets” composed by limited human minds formed out of particular experiences and cultures.

    I find hope here and there, in articles like this one from Iglesia Descalza, July 13, “Freeing Jesus” by Victor Codina. It is here: . Just scroll down to the date.

  • No, Bob, I rarely visit those sites, although I think they have interesting and thought provoking material.

    May I suggest the following:

    Iglesia Descalza – to get an idea of thinking among non-conservative Catholics in South America

    Catholica – a talk fest by a group of Australian Catholics or former Catholics on many subjects centered on what is happening to the Church and the faith in Australia these days.

    You may also enjoy these two sites out of Australia: A Jesuit publication
    and the John Menadue blog called “Pearls and Irritations” which is here

    Try Association of Catholic Priests Ireland here:
    And The Tablet, out of the UK, – although it takes a subscription to get the full content, it is permissable to register and get some free articles every month.

    And then there is always America Magazine, Commonweal, and National Catholic Reporter here in the U.S.


  • Thanks for this link. So apt. I’m going to share it with a friend. I forgot to add FEAR to the list of our fellow blogger’s traits. MAJE: High on attack; Low in substance.

  • in the sixties (which realisticly means in the seventies) we saw the rise of confessional shopping and parish shopping . the cause was not due to the priest, the cause was that when many heard humanae vitae from the pulpit, whether from strict conservative or lax liberal (to borrow inexact political terms), the response was negative . ‘are these people for real?’ was a good summation for it .

    if anything the sensus fidelium will move the hierarchy to revisit the issue .

  • as you see it . the subject of contraception is not a matter of dogma . it is long standing but that is different . where it is divine law . well show me the plain text that you love so much .

    its not in the bible . the teaching of the fathers are negative but contraception then was not the same as today .

  • “Jesus did set in place the structure now in place: the ministries of deacon, priest, and bishop….”

    jesus did not mention that structure . the only mention of priest suggested the priesthood of all . the structure that is mentioned by paul and by acts is of a community overseer (a bishop) and a servant or community doer (a deacon) . the only mention in paul concerning “priest” is his phrase that toward the gentiles he is acting in a priestly manner .

    and to base what was done then as currently relevant opens the chrism of the deacon to women as paul calls one women “deacon” and implies a second was .

  • “You know, MAJE, if you or some other “conservative” women don’t want to be priests, that is fine. Why is it not okay for some to want something different from what you want.”

    I’m not saying that it’s not okay for some to want something different, I’m saying that if people want women to be priests, why are you still in the Catholic Church? Join the Anglicans or the Episcopalians if you want priestesses, last I check they’re suffering more than the Catholic Church. And they believe in many of the things you do.

    “I think the problem is that you want everyone to fit inside the old molds, the old roles. It doesn’t work. It is fine and just right for some to be stay at home moms who are fulfilled by all that goes into that role. Why isn’t it okay for some to be career women who limit family size, time when they will have children (for health and career reasons)? Both can make good Catholics.”

    Once again you’re claiming I’m saying things that I never once said. I never once said that every woman has to be stay at home moms. There are Catholic women out there who use Natural Family Planning to better form their families. The problem is when you use contraception to disrupt the creation of children, which is morally wrong. And a Catholic who starts believing that church teaching is wrong and should “keep up with the times” isn’t a bad Catholic, that person ceases to be Catholic in the end.

    “Most of the Catholic men and women I know don’t tell me that the “new and exotic dish” is disgusting. Most agree, at least on some points, but all agree that there is much more that binds us in faith than separates us.”

    And most Catholic men and women I know would probably tell you that your exotic dish is not only disgusting, but poisonous for all humanity.

    “I believe there is room for those who think like you and those who think like me – even if it does sometimes take digging deeply for tolerance and remembering we are all God’s children.”

    I agree with regards to tolerance but I think in the long run, those who wish for church teaching to change will either find themselves unable to bear it and leave or their descendants (if they even had any) will have nothing to do with the church. The children of dissenters don’t make good Catholics and I predict they have less patience regarding the Church’s teachings.

  • “Thanks for your expression of frustration. Correlation does not imply causation.”

    True, but doesn’t change the fact that everything Humanae Vitae predicted came true. Perhaps your refusal to tackle it shows your own frustration and doubt about the future?

    “Ditto re: my decision to leave the Church of Rome. If your demonstrated behavioral response is accurate, I suspect I know more about the subjects mentioned than do you.”

    Once again, thank you for leaving, but hopefully you’ll realize how erroneous that conscience of yours is and swallow that pride and rid yourself of your vanity. Maybe you’ll find a way back into the Church before death comes. And as for knowing more about me, if I’m not mistaken you mentioned a previous comment of yours that you are in your 50s? They say with age comes wisdom, but you haven’t been showing any since we started this “dialogue” of ours.

    “Yes, Vatican II was a paradigm shift in how the church operates. There were also doctrinal changes that even a schismatic group such as SSPX refused to embrace.”

    Once again, it wasn’t. You should read about the guy (Pope John XXIII) that started the council. His beliefs did not differ from the popes that succeeded him. You want to talk about wishful thinking, the belief Vatican II was a paradigm shift is one such form of it.

  • “I’m not ‘parroting [any] anti-Catholic historical myths.'”
    Yes you are. And for someone claiming I’m ignorant of Church history, you seem to be ignorant of history in general.

  • MAJE – NFP is an intentional act. It is intended to allow sexual intercourse without the risk of pregnancy. It is no different in intention than taking the pill. More, NFP is not suitable for all women. Some women are not biologically as predictable as other women – all the timing doesn’t work for them. Some women are not as disciplined as NFP requires; and remember that the reason most women stop using NFP is because it failed them. But for most of the world the relationship between the woman and the man is not one of equals and sex is when he says he wants it. It is a cultural thing.

    There are many important values to contraceptives – including protecting women’s health, allowing women to pursue education and careers, limiting family size to that which the family can afford. What we need is a real doctrine of when contraceptive use makes sense, because it often does. There is much in Humanae Vitae that helps with that assessment – but what is not really explored and recognized is the life and humanity of the woman, apart from her biological role as a child bearer.

    I sincerely hope that those hundred million Catholics, men and women, who think contraceptives have an important role in building a family do not leave the faith but stick around to keep promoting for change. There is a valid role for contraceptives in the life of families. It would help if the Church joined in finding a path to making a life enhancing contraceptive decision rather than fight to deny it is necessary.

  • No, I’m not “parroting”. You’ve *demonstrated* personal opinion, nothing of substance.

  • “True, but doesn’t change the fact that everything Humanae Vitae predicted came true.” And, again, I remind you, correlation does not imply causation.

    I’m age 70 and have ~15 or more years of informal, leisurely study of Catholic history and doctrine. I’m no expert by any means, but it’s obvious I know more than you’ve *demonstrated*. Knowing the subject-matter is of inestimable value in blogging. Jesus has already saved *us*, i.e., all of us. His name means “God saves”, not “God saves if”. God’s love is unconditional, i.e., no strings attached. If you equate *demonstrable* knowledge with false pride, etc., that’s your problem.

    See historian John W. O’Malley’s “The Style of Vatican II” at In addition, I challenge you to research the four key doctrines from Vatican II that the SSPX leaders rejected.

    Don’t be an ostrich with head buried in sand. Not pretty sight.

  • John 23 believed in the Spirit leading the council and did not rely on his own self or curia.Thats why he opposed the curia only appointing their theologians.Popes are not the church but its the whole people of God. THe pope had absolutely no primacy in the church for over a 1,000 years.As raymond BRown,a scholar respected by the church authorities stated “Peter was no pope,nor was he a bishop”

  • Popes hailed for centuries that sex in marriage was unworthy if not sinful.To point to popes as some kind of special authority on sex is laughable.AS pope siricus hailed that sex defiles a man and pope gregory the great hailed a married man should wash himself before entering church because his will,having relations with his wife,remains evil.Even Aquinas, hailed priests should be celibate otherwise if their married they touch the sacred vessels defiled.

  • sorry to be slow to clear up what you haven’t yet seen in oberfefell . but it is there for anyone reading it :

    “Under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, no State shall “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” The fundamental liberties protected by this Clause include most of the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights. See Duncan v. Louisiana, 391 U. S. 145, 147–149 (1968). In addition these liberties extend to certain personal choices central to individual dignity and autonomy, including intimate choices that define personal identity and beliefs. See, e.g., Eisenstadt
    v. Baird, 405 U. S. 438, 453 (1972); Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U. S. 479, 484–486 (1965).

    “The identification and protection of fundamental rights is an enduring part of the judicial duty to interpret the Constitution. That responsibility, however, “has not been reduced to any formula.” Poe v. Ullman, 367 U. S. 497, 542 (1961) (Harlan, J., dissenting). Rather, it requires courts to exercise reasoned judgment in identifying interests of the person so fundamental that the State must accord them its respect. See ibid.
    That process is guided by many of the same considerations relevant to analysis of other constitutional provisions that set forth broad principles rather than specific requirements. History and tradition guide and discipline this inquiry but do not set its outer boundaries. See Lawrence, supra, at 572. That method respects our history and learns from it without allowing the past alone to rule the present.

    “The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times. The generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dimensions, and so they entrusted to future generations a charter protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning. When new insight reveals discord between the Constitution’s central protections and a received legal stricture, a claim to liberty must be addressed.”

    pages 10 and 11 of the opinion [not the syllabus] of obergefull v. hodges :

    you wrote, Bob : “The 14th amendment is silent relative to the 10th – it gives not one more power to the Federal government than it possessed the day before the amendement was ratified.”

    not even the conservatives on the supreme court believe that, as they have used the 14th to secure rights, as they see them, for people .

  • That former interpretation is nonsensical,put in by the curia(who had taken over the role of bishops),to demand unconditional obedience. tHe later was a interpolation,The Romans put to death Christ and then latter paul,were christ and paul evil doers ? were the authorities right in their execution ? finally the American revolution overthrew the British,were americans evil ? did they disobey God by wanting to go at it on their own ?

  • That is nonsense—recall Hitler, Stalin ? LBJ sending thousands of americans to die in Vietnam. THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION,WHERE THEY OVERTHREW THE British ,WERE AMERICANS anti christs ? the romans executed Paul,where they doing God^s WILL ,according to your interpretation,they did right in executing paul. Romans 13 was a interpolation

  • i think that your comment was was meant for Bob Arnzen . it certainly does not apply to what i wrote .

  • idiot,the pope is not the church.We have had popes condemn democracy and hold slavery as moral(Pius IX), condemn male and female children being taught in the same class (pius XI), condemn the railroad as work of the devil(gregory 16) and hail sex in marriage as necesarry evil tainted with sin(gregory the great,innocent iii). These individuals who had no primacy over the church for over a 1000 years(primacy of pope was non existant in first 1000 years), are not the church.tHe church is the whole people of God,one reason why things change is the people reject the teachings and they become dead letter,they lose force. get a history book

  • First its the people of God.The council fathers placed this first on purpose ahead of the teaching as church as hierarchical(hans kung,who was there) or in reality pope and curia,since the bishops are vassels of the pope,taking a oath of unconditional obedience not seen since Hitler

  • Then why did churches break away from rome in the reformation ? and why the long history of catholics rejecting various papal teachings.Remember interdicts ? the republic of Venice f(clergy and people alike) completely rejected one issued on them in the early 1600s,after that,the vatican issued no more interdicts

  • Thats why the vatican was the first sovereign country to recognize the legitimacy of NAZI Germany

  • Also where the hell did I ever say the pope was the church?! Some of you Catholics are truly pathetic!

  • Did you protest the church’s lawsuit against Obamacare? Against the church’s objection (successful) to birth control in Philippine? Didn’t think so

  • Good,then you6ll read that you have have the right to act according to conscience.As well as Conscience is the aboriginal Vicar Of Christ

  • Catholics dont waste their time on those things.Just like CAtholics dont waste their time distinguishing between artificial birth control and natural birth control

  • Oh okay – I was confused by your earlier posts then. It sounded like you were arguing that the Church is not against birth control. Clearly it is. And all Catholics (even if they put on a rubber or take the pill) are inherently against it.

  • Also – how sad that Catholics are so blind to the immense harm their organization does around the world. Truly despicable people on so many levels!

  • No in the catholic church not all teachings are of equal weight or authority.the church teaches in the supremacy of conscience—albeit an informed one. it also teaches what is called the sense of the faithful where catholics discern what is truly united to the gospel and what is peripheral or even erroneous.Usury was condemned in the harshest terms by the church but as economics changed,the laity saw it beneficial to charge a bit of interest,so the teaching on usury became dead letter,same as the church condemning democracy once

  • I like the “doesn’t apply to me” attitude of the liberal Catholics. Nice to see they don’t give a darn how their complacency affects others (especially us non-Catholics!). /s

  • It is funny that one can claim to have a conscience and that one’s conscience determines that “it’s okay for me to use birth control” and “it is okay that my church does all it can to deny people birth control” and “I’m going to keep supporting my Church” all at the same time. Talk about an awful conscience. Wouldn’t want to meet that person ever.

  • not really,as humans we have a legitimate diversity on how to apply moral principles, no more than anything else in life. Pope pius 9th condemned democracy but Pope paul vi approved it when he signed off on the Vatican II document Gaudium et spes that taught people have the right to elect their leaders, Pope pius 9nth upheld slavery as morally licit but pOpe JOhn paul II condemned it as intrinsically evil in veritatis Slendour 1993. Just because the pope teaches it,doesnt mean catholics agree,sometimes teachings are historically conditioned or upheld to protect papal power or sometimes teachings had no transparency to begin with,and the conscience after careful reflection,insight, says “hey there is something not quite right about this teaching….”

  • You say a lot about things popes said that have nothing to do with birth control. But interesting comment, never realized Catholics were all about relativism. Maybe I did, they only call something moral when it suits themselves. Truly the model hypocrites of the world. It is good for me but screw everyone. Great morality! That is why I knew at age 21 that if I were going to be an actual moral person I could not be Catholic.

  • Catholics may not ‘agree’ but they inherently support the official church teaching. Again, no Catholics outside the Supreme Court protesting the church’s lawsuit against brith control access for us citizens.

  • please…whats the latest poll,over 80 percent of catholics use contraception to regulate births

  • Your talking rubbish.Popes make blunders like everyone else.You form your conscience by adopting gospel values,loving God,neighbour,human experience,the aid and advice of competent people and yes respect for church teaching.Conscience has absolutely nothing to do with….whatever suits me or whatever feels good at the moment.As Cardinal newman says…Conscience has rights because it has duties,responsibilities. Conscience formation is a lifelong process and a serious one,we must seek truth and discern the moral good in life. Its simple but challenging at times ,stop pretending you dont see

  • No its not rubbish,you dont reject your American citizenship because of slavery or your German citzenship because of the Nazis. Nobodys track record is perfect

  • Nationality is completely different. Better analogy: I do reject my country club membership if they are racist and I claim to not be racist.

  • No its similair,you belong to the american community or nationality—-that send thousands to die in Vietnam for nothing.That supported slavery for a long time. renounce your citizenship since you claim communities must be perfect or else…,

  • The issue is that NFP doesn’t work and is a bunch of nonsense used to “pretend” that the Church wants women to be able to plan their families while tricking them into having five or six unplanned pregnancies.

  • No, it is not at all similar. You are born in a country. Do you know how hard it is to leave a country and change your nationality? In any event, you do not choose where you are born and what nationality you are. Also, many people protest what their government does. I know I do all the time. The government can change on issues as well – for instance I can now get married as a gay man in the US! The Catholic Church will never accept openly married gay people. Ever. (Dogma doesn’t change). You admitted earlier that Catholics don’t care what their Church does around the world to harm people as long as it doesn’t harm them. So…you can try to justify your despicable cult all your want with false equivalences. I think you should focus more on the country club example I gave you – much closer to the reality of your religious club. You know how wrong your church is and you know how it hates certain people and wants to deny certain people choices, etc. and you stay in it and praise it all the while pretending you are loving toward the people you hate by being associated with the Church.

  • You are right, kag. I wrote that it isn’t “that big a personal issue any more for most Catholics.” But I wish more Catholics who have come to that conclusion would recognize that just burying the issue, ignoring it, has created a real problem within the world – the problem you clearly stated in the control of health care by Catholic institutions. The Catholic hierarchy imposes limits on the ability of women and families to make health care choices and those limits disproportionately affect females and the poor. I really do see it as a social justice issue and the Catholic Church is on the side that disrespects conscience and harms the poor.

    If this is my friend kag from NCR – it is nice to talk to you again!

  • So sad – in many parts of the country, a Catholic hospital is often the only available place for care. So much harm done by the RCC to innocent people. And as many Catholics have expressed here, most practicing Catholics couldn’t care less about that harm.

  • Even in large cities it is an issue. The “network” for the cheaper health plan my company offered had Presence as the health system, not the other big name in Chicago, Advocate.

  • Exactly! Not only is our government pushing a theocratic agenda, so is our health care. Very scary times.

  • This was free markets, not government. Unfortunately people need to be careful about their networks.

  • Right…I was just pointing out that our government is imposing religion (well, Christianity) on us innocent people and the health care system (free market, not government) often does the same. Both carry awful consequences. Religious belief is fine in the privacy of one’s home. Once it gets into the public sphere it rarely does any true good. Christians in particular are more concerned that everyone is living life according to a checklist of rules (despite whatever they themselves are doing in private – oh like putting on a rubber).

  • Hi, ATF45. Forgive the intrusion into your conversation, but I wanted to let you know that I’ve been in dialogue lately with Monica DeAngelis from the old NCR site. She’s interested in putting together a discussion blog for some of the old NCR regulars, and maybe a few others. It wouldn’t be ideologically based, but it would be by invitation only, which, hopefully, would help keep the rancor to a minimum. Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll keep you up to date as things progress. And feel free to pass this on to others you run across from the old site.

  • Hi Kag. Forgive the intrusion into your conversation, but I wanted to let you know that I’ve been in dialogue lately with Monica DeAngelis from the old NCR site. She’s interested in putting together a discussion blog for some of the old NCR regulars, and maybe a few others. It wouldn’t be ideologically based, but it would be by invitation only, which, hopefully, would help keep the rancor to a minimum. Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll keep you up to date as things progress. And feel free to pass this on to others you run across from the old site.

  • Sure that would be fun. Please keep me informed about the progress. And I will pass along the information to anyone I run across.

  • I am absolutely, positively, breathlessly interested. How do we get in touch?

    Oh, and I don’t consider comments you make to be an intrusion.

  • Monica’s setting things up now and we should have some news in a few days. I’ll keep track of those who are interested and get back to you ASAP. This’ll be fun!

  • Response—–You can leave to another state,with different laws or apply to a country that speaks a similair language or culture like Canada.You can definitely apply for citenzship elsewhere thru legal immigration. JUst like you protest,so do people in the catholic church directly or indirectly—like most catholics voting and supporting democracy,charging interests on loan,buying contraceptives to regulate births …all positions the church once condemned or presently forbids.Church authorities see the teachinga are ignored.Hence the reality of change down the road. Canada and the USA once criminalized homosexuality but you give them a free pass—your the hypocrite,why dont you bash the good ol USA ?.The teaching on homosexuality is a doctrine not a dogma,a dogma is a rare infallible teaching that must meet strict conditions.The catholic church^s teaching on homosexuality is a authoritative but fallible doctrine,not a dogma.THe church again is not the pope or the bishop but the Whole People Of God,many catholics worldwide do the opposite in some teachings in order to help neighbour or promote the common good.Your confusing what comes down the vatican pike as the same thing ordinary catholics believe or practise.Reform is needed in the church,happened before and will happen again

  • Yes you can do many of the things you say above. I actually have looked into it when I was living in another country. Actually not as easy as you think. But regardless, we have established that nationality is nothing like the equivalent of church membership.
    Why is it hypocritical to like Canada and the US for giving rights to gays now? You do realize that countries change and get better right? The Catholic church will NEVER, I repeat, NEVER, give the same respect to gay people. For instance, it is impossible for the RCC to accept gay married couples because that would require a change in dogma that sex is for procreation*. Dogma has NEVER changed. It cannot, by definition. (Actually, since you brought up doctrine, doctrine doesn’t change either. Church practice does.)

    In any event, it is interesting to see you avoid the country club example. Probably hits a bit too close to home and you realize that it is despicable to be a progressive Catholic. Most hypocritical thing in the world actually.

    * Okay, I wrote too fast. Technically the dogmatic teaching is that God’s law is violated by non-married sex. But it is doctrine that would specifically need to change to cause the Church to respect non-celibate gay people. And that would never happen.

  • Doctrine has and does change—-condemnation of democracy,accepting democracy——slavery morally licit,slavery immoral—- etc. tHese are but a few out of many changes that have taken place in catholicism. Dogmas are very rare,a dogma is a infallible teaching like the Blessed Trinity or the Incarnation. These are teachings at the top of the shelf. Most teachings are doctrines not dogma. The CAtholic church including popes,theologians,hailed at one time sex in marriage as unworthy if not sinful ! here you have heterosexual sex in marriage being degraded.However most laity who are married(and they too are the church) did not agree with that,they thought it was absurd.Now the popes and church teaching hold sex in marriage as holy. idiocy sometimes happens in the church no different than the USA—-aka the vietnam war. Gay sex is a natural law teac,or has its basis in natural law.The same natural law that hailed slavery as licit once. In catholicism,if you take a stand in conscience,and a informed conscience ,that I as a gay man,am truly gay,and i desire a lifelong partner ,and I tried to be heterosexual,but this goes against my innermost being,then you are obligated by the church to FOLLOW YOUR CONSCIENCE

  • I did follow my conscience so I had to leave the church. Otherwise I could not live as a hypocrite ( which is what all practicing gay Catholics are sadly). Also there were never doctrines about skavery and democracy. There are doctrines about sex being for procreation. So the church will never change. It never has. I am glad you see the importance of conscience. Sadly you don’t take it to its logical conclusion that if your conscience tells you something is wrong with your organization then you have to leave. If I stay as a practicing gay person (why do I have to try heterosexual sex?!? That is messed up thinking) then I am responsible for the abuse and hatred of gay men and women where the church actively fights against their lives. I fear you have a very middle class or upper middle class approach to life. The church actually hurts a LOT of people. And it is easy to leave it and hopefully it will go away.

  • yes there was Pope pius IX who made a statement on slavery in his —–Instruction on june 20 1866 ,that slavery is not against natural law and that a slave can be sold. Quanta cura 1864 by Pius IX condemned democracy. Its is absurd to claim hypocrisy because you stay in the church on account of rejecting some non infallible doctrines.Its hypocritical to look past states and USA laws that criminalized homosexuality—-if your concerned about hypocrisy why dont you burn your american citizenship since its only recent that they approved gay marriage ?.If they didnt approve gay marriage would you of denied your american citizenship ? burned the US Flag ? I DONT THAT VERY MUCH. What state do you live in ? there still may be anti-gay laws in the book. Canada now is decriminalizing homosexuality which was a offense in its criminal code. AS Pope john paul ii stated in his book on the threhold of hop “If newman places conscience above authority he is proclaiming nothing new in the constant tradition of the church ” Me myself,I dont believe in gay marriage but I DONT BELIEVE SOMEONE SHOULD BE FIRED,BULLIED OR DISCRIMINATED against because their gay,if they desire a lifelong comittment perhaps calling it a civil union or common law partnership would be acceptable but not a marriage.The Romans tolerated homosexuality but acknowleged marriage to be only between man/woman. Again promiscuity whether heterosexual or homosexual is always wrong.

  • Weird worldview you have. Still never talked about the country club example. Much closer to your church reality than a nation. By the way the laws of the us and Canada changed. Because they could. Your church can’t change its view on gays for instance. Oh unless we are celibate and then we can be loved. Lol. Have a good night. Hard to change a Catholic’s stubborn thinking!

  • Also you need to read up on doctrine. There was no doctrine about skavery nor about democracy. As a catholic one was not proclaiming they were against it for slavery when one professed they were catholic. One does proclaim one believes gay sex is intrinsically disordered if one says they are catholic. I know it sucks and I would be embarrassed to face that fact and would come up with absurd false equivalencies as you have done as well!

  • THe country club example was not mentioned because it was nonsense.Similarity to the country club would only apply if you were excommunicated because your gay,of course your not excommunicated if your gay.I TOLD YOU BUT YOUR RUNNING ROUND IN CIRCLES,INFORMED CONSCIENCE HOLDS SUPREME,who cares what this pope or that pope thinks

  • Quanta Cura a document by Pius IX condemns democracy ,read Noonans—-development on catholic doctrine on slavery where he covers popes and theolgians approval of it. See also the Counciln of Vienne on usury,where any condemnation is given for any charging of interest on a loan,that too,now has gone out the window. Again you fail to realize that the USA and CANADA were harsh anti gay in law and punishment but of course i dont see you burning your citizenship like you did your membership in the church

  • Sorry but none of your examples are reversals of any church doctrine. And nationality has nothing to do with religious membership. Have a good one.

  • Excommunicated? The country club example has nothing to do with that. Just remember you might think you have a conscience but you are responsible for a lot of evil in the world because you support the church. You are anti woman and anti gay. Just like if you claimed to be non racist but were a member of a racist country club. You would be racist.

  • Here are a couple useful links to help clear up the confusion you have about a lot of these issues. I totally get it – the Catholic Church is hard to understand, even for most Catholics!

    I had the benefit (Ha!) of a good Catholic School education and even two years of seminary (ugh). I guess the good thing is it helped me know the truth about what it means to stand up and profess the creed.

    Regarding no change in “doctrine” about slavery:

    About how catechism is Church doctrine:

  • If you read the article,they did accept/approve slavery.We know firstthings,an ultra conservative sight is going to cover up with syrop and leave out the nitty gritty
    Pope pius IX “Slavery itself,considered as such in its essential nature,is not at all contrary to the natural and divine law….it is not contrary to the natural and divine law for a slave to be sold,bought exchanged or given.”
    Instruction june 20 1866
    the second Vatican council condemned slavery in its gaudium and spes as something that dishonours the creator and poisons society.
    thats why in the american civil war,unlike other christian churches,the catholic church remained silent.
    dulles wants you to believe that slavery is ok if you treat the slave with respect,however evidence shoes slaves often suffreed greatly.

  • But you cannot deny the following: a) there was no doctrine ever saying slavery was okay and b) there were many popes/leaders who said slavery was wrong or wrong in certain cases throughout the history of the church. It was never in the catechism. Birth control and hating sexually active gay people and being against gay marriage are in the catechism 🙂

  • Also, just correct your misleading statement: Dulles also does not want anyone to believe slavery is okay…he never even hints at that. He is just correcting (correctly!) Noonans’ claim that doctrine changed. Doctrine never changed on that topic.

  • Pius IX “Slavery is not contrary to the natural and divine law….it is not against the natural and divine law for a slave to be bought,sold or given” Instruction june 20 1866 The second vatican council in GAUDIUM ET SPES condemned slavery as something that dishonours the creator and poisons society.
    John Paul II HAiled slavery as a intrinsic evil in verutatis splendour 1993
    First things acknowleges slavery as part of acceptance…morally but leaves out the immense sufferings it caused.the cAtholic church unlike other churches were silent about it during the civil war. first things is just covering up dirty tracks.

    As far as usscb goes,they leave out the immense teachings and disciplines that have been changed or abandoned over the past 2000 years by the church like the Council of florence condemning circumcision regardless of why it is done as something that can cause you to lose your salvation.I am circumcized,needless to say im not gonna lose my salvation.Ask a catholic about indulgences,nobody seeks them out,they6ve become dead letter,people either dont believe or are indifferent to them

  • if your barred from a country club because of race that is like excommunication. If your gay and you are not promiscious and are looking for a permanent partner,in good conscience which the church requires you to follow ,you can recieve the sacraments and go to mass,please with the BS about being anti gay or woman . Again it is not of the gospel to be promiscious or fornicate —gay or straight

  • LOL. Suuuuure. Okay. Whatever helps you sleep at night. True – I was not excommunicated. The point is that the RCC constantly (through words and probably most importantly through actions) promotes discrimination and hatred of gay men and restricted freedom for woman. There is no way to actually, in good conscience argue against that fact. But I understand – you are probably a nice person in life and in order to go to Church on Sunday and think you are not complicit in making other people’s lives miserable, you have to ignore those facts. Most progressive Catholics do. You even admitted it a couple days ago when you said how CAtholics don’t care what the Church says about birth control – they are going to use it anyway and not worry about the people the Church is denying birth control to. It is the attitude of “eh, doesn’t concern me…why should I get involved”.

  • Quant Cura 1864 by pius ix—-” socialism and democracy are pests” pius IX in qui pluribus 1846 as well as the syllabus of errors.
    Gaudium et spes ” it is in full accord with human nature that juridical and political structures should afford all their citizens the chance to participate freely and actively in establishing the constitutional bases of a political community,governing the state,determining the scope of various institutions and CHOOSING IT LEADERS’ GS vatican II
    approved by pope paul vi 1965

  • Gays who have sex are always promiscuous in Catholics’ eyes, since they can’t get married. As a gay man, I kind of find that anti-gay and not “bs”. I understand that you would not see it that way since you can get married and f*** all you want 🙂 Typical maliciously unempathetic Catholic attitude.

  • Eventually women will be ordained.As reported to Paul vi in 1976 ,their is nothing as far as the new testament goes,where women cannot be ordained.Church for centuries hailed sex in marriage a necessary evil,you dont see me leaving.Get a life,follow the gospel,vatican knows a fair amount of clergy is gay.What church official say or do,is there business,most catholics dont agree with them on some issues.i dont understand why this doesnt sink in

  • He wants people to believe that the church while approving slavery was against mistreatment of slaves.Dulles became all the more conservative near his latter days.As noted the church approved slavery and rarely stood up against mistreatment though there may of been exceptions. As pius ix shows buying,selling,trading slaves like a commodity is ok. However JP II refers it as a intinisic evil and Vatican ii says it poisons society and dishonours God, Yeah oh yeah,i believe dulles and you that theres absolutely no change.Good argument

  • Yes, most Catholics don’t agree with what Church officials say. However, Catholics are supposed to accept the Catechism. That is lesson A in catechism school. I am no sure why THAT doesn’t sink in…that is whole debate here. It has nothing to do with what Pope’s “say” or priests “say” it has to do with what the Church believes. If you don’t believe it then don’t say you are CAtholic. If i hear someone say they are Catholic I know immediately that they are against gay marriage for instance. There is no way out of that…they might believe privately that it is fine…but they support the support the church’s catechism and therefore are hypocrites. They might believe gays can marry for instance privately but their organization, that they CHOOSE to be a member of openly and proudly for absolutely no legitimate reason (maybe there is a good spaghetti dinner or fish fry on Fridays?!), actively spends MILLIONS of dollars on a regular basis to deny gays rights – even gays who are not a member of the CAtholic cult!! How effed up is that? Oh well…no changing your mind…the brainwashing worked 🙂

  • Any official document from pope or council is a doctrine if it addresses a partuculair issue directly.Also its only in the last few centuries as popes accumulated more power that they issued documents for the whole church.As Lord Acton,a british politician once said as pius IX condemned democrocy,freedom of speech,freedom of religion etc “Catholics need not go crazy,every time a pope does”So what if their in the catechism,so is the supremacy of conscience

  • Ugh…no change in DOCTRINE. Please learn about your freaking church and what doctrine is…you might actually finally see the light and the fact that you are a member a hate group that will not change its DOCTRINES! How dim can you be? Seriously, I know you are a brainwashed Catholic but damn…

  • LOL. Alright I am done. I can’t continue to discuss this in circles. You are a member of a hate group. Glad that suits your “conscience”.

  • “Any official document from pope or council is a doctrine if it addresses a partuculair issue directly” Simply not true. It is only on matters of faith 🙁

  • Your getting dogma and doctrine confused.Dogma is a infallible teaching with strict conditions but their rare.Doctrine is a authoritative but fallible teaching involving faith or morals. tHe teaching on abortion or contraception are moral doctrines. its amazing that u dont know this

  • I give up. Of course I know the difference between the two. The contraception teaching is based on clear doctrine that is in the catechism. Every catholic has to believe it. I can’t believe you don’t know this…you are supposedly Catholic!!!

  • and the catechism says you must be loyal to your conscience,as well as the church is the people not just the pope.WHat ignorance you have

  • Troll… good one – keep your membership in the hate group. Pathetic excuse for an existence.

  • The Church is the catechism. The people are weak. You yourself explained how they don’t care how their Church harms people. They could not care less. Thanks to you many people suffer. I know I sure did!

  • tell that to the council of vienne that condemned usury but the vatican bank charges usury today

  • At least you are consistent in how you believe others should act. But you believe gays can’t have sex ever. Can’t show any physical affection for the ones they love. Nice guy 🙂

  • Also, what would Catholicism be if you can’t “condemn” people for having natural feelings! Seems to be a requirement in and of itself for membership huh?! LOL

  • so-called Catholic Answers is a reactionary,ultra conservative website that is far from mainstream catholic thought.THey state things that go against history,modern scholarship and VAtican Council II

  • SMoke and mirrors from a dodgy so called catholic sight.It acknowledges the condemnation of usury but conveniently leaves out that historically any charge of usury even the smallest was condemned.The 5th lateran Council acknowledged this and the council of Vienne declared heresy for anyone that charges any interest on a loan.It conveniently left out the council of Vienne. The present catechism speaks of it being wrong charging large amounts of interest ,conveniently omitting that the church condemned in the harshest way ,historically ,any charge whatsoever of interest,no matter how small.The council of lyon forbade proper christian burial for chargers of usury. The vatican often hides its past or distorts to cover its tracks.Evan pOpe Francis acknowleged great corruption in the vatican

  • Yes it has—-democracy,Galileo,usury,slavery,religious freedom,separation of church and state now accepted before condemned,sex in marriage a necessary evil,killing of heretics justified,historical criticism of bible now accepted before condemned,freedom of press licit(before condemned by gregory 16 ,pope leo xiii) , you can buy your way into heaven thru indulgences etc etc etc

  • and will go over this again,yes it has changed. Another example of doctrine changing is abortion.There was the teaching of ensoulment,if a abortion takes place before a soul is infused,pegged at 80 days,its not considered a abortion in the true sense,that got chaulked and now the church teaches life begins at conception

  • Your denial of the reality of church doctrine is really pathological. Best of luck to you. Fantasy is often a good coping mechanism!

  • AS history shows if the people reject something from the pope,its the pope that has to change,not the people

  • You are Catholic…sorry that is what you believe…and you did say that. Promiscuity and fornication (terms progressives would not use) are wrong you said. Since you love your church you realize it doesn’t allow gays to get married so therefore they can never have sex that is not fornication and sinful.

  • And then condemn people for promiscuity and fornication. And that illustrates the hypocrisy perfectly.

  • since you deny all i said is doctrine,then Ii^l deny theres a doctrine on homosexuality.tHe church has no doctrine on homosexuality,what makes you thing they have a doctrine on homosexuality ?

  • Sure they do. The doctrine is the complementarity of the sexes. Homosexual desire and actions are intrinsically disordered. Every catholic affirms that belief because it is clearly stated in the catechism. Your examples were neverdoctrines or part of catechism.

  • Yes they were doctrines but their not found in the present catechism because the teachings have been revised or changed or abandoned altogether. YOu point to the catechism as a official document and it quotes past documents in the footnotes,similarily the examples I gave you were from official documents(like the present catechism) and therefore they were doctrines too at one time,that have been abandoned. Using your logic their is no teaching on adam and steve,so come back to the church

  • Continue studying – you’ll figure it all out eventually. Not many Catholics do, but you seem motivated enough! There is a teaching against adam and steve – that is why i left the Church 🙂 And, since that teaching is based on doctrine, which never changes, I knew there was no reason to hang on. You probably have excellent intentions and are a good person. You will not change the Church’s doctrines on these matters. You would probably do better in a progressive Protestant church whose beliefs your share.

  • Yes doctrine changes. AS Cardinal ratzinger said in 1982 about the Second Vatican Council,that it was the Counter-Syllabus. IN other words it countered and rejected the official church teaching that pope pius IX promoted stated in his Syllabus Of Errors in the 1800s. You cant accept that the church can,does and has changed.Some popes would have heart attacks if they knew what the church teaches now as opposed to before,stop making excuses and come back.The church respects a informed conscience,their are catholic churches wear pastorally they accept homosexual couple in a comitted partnership with a sexual relationship.

  • Thanks. I do accept that the church changes practices and disciplines. I just know for a fact it does not change doctrines. I have moved beyond the limited thinking that only gay people in committed relationships should be the only ones accepted. I also no longer accept the fairy tale of the immaculate conception so there is little drive to return. But I do wish those congregations that at least are nice and loving to the select group of homosexuals would see the light and detach themselves from the hate group! Their actions don’t jive with their beliefs! One day it will click for them!