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Speaking of Subjects Not Often Brought Up

  /   Friday August 23, 2002  

This one may get me in some real trouble, but I must speak. The excerpt below is from Casti Connubii, the encyclical letter of Pope Pius XI on Christian Marriage written in 1930.

I was speaking with a couple of friends in my Frassati Society. How many times have we heard a homily preached on the teaching against contraception? In 11 years as a Catholic, I’ve only heard it mentioned twice. One of those was at a daily Mass. Now, I’m not suggesting that it be mentioned every Sunday, but it is a known fact that this teaching is widely misunderstood and widely ignored. It is also a known fact that artificial contraception is an objective mortal sin. I’m aware that there are children in the church during Sunday Mass, but one can mention that people take medicine to prevent children from being born without explaining how they got there. Children are aware that women get pregnant and have babies. Anyway, note what paragraph 57 has to say about the matter.

56. Since, therefore, openly departing from the uninterrupted Christian tradition some recently have judged it possible solemnly to declare another doctrine regarding this question, the Catholic Church, to whom God has entrusted the defense of the integrity and purity of morals, standing erect in the midst of the moral ruin which surrounds her, in order that she may preserve the chastity of the nuptial union from being defiled by this foul stain, raises her voice in token of her divine ambassadorship and through Our mouth proclaims anew: any use whatsoever of matrimony exercised in such a way that the act is deliberately frustrated in its natural power to generate life is an offense against the law of God and of nature, and those who indulge in such are branded with the guilt of a grave sin.

57. We admonish, therefore, priests who hear confessions and others who have the care of souls, in virtue of Our supreme authority and in Our solicitude for the salvation of souls, not to allow the faithful entrusted to them to err regarding this most grave law of God; much more, that they keep themselves immune from such false opinions, in no way conniving in them. If any confessor or pastor of souls, which may God forbid, lead the faithful entrusted to him into these errors or should at least confirm them by approval or by guilty silence, let him be mindful of the fact that he must render a strict account to God, the Supreme Judge, for the betrayal of his sacred trust, and let him take to himself the words of Christ: “They are blind and leaders of the blind: and if the blind lead the blind, both fall into the pit.[46]

NOTE: I’m aware of at least one (and I’m sure there are more) instance where this encyclical was used against Natural Family Planning. This is not meant as an endorsement to that view, which is contrary to Humanae Vitae.

Category: Posts imported from Danger! Falling Brainwaves, Uncategorized



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