What God Has Joined

In this month’s installment of John Kippley’s ongoing series leading up to the 40th anniversary of Humanae Vitae, he addresses the myth that contraception leads to a greater incidence of intact, fulfilling marriages. Rather, contraception undermines not only the procreative but also the unitive dimension of the marriage bond, thereby contributing to the alarming divorce rate not only on a societal level, but even among Catholics.

For a fuller discussion of the Church’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage, see my essay “The ‘Real Presence’ of the Marriage Bond,” found in Catholic for a Reason: Scripture and the Mystery of the Family of God (Emmaus Road, 1998). 

And now for Mr. Kippley’s article:

Contraception and Divorce

by John Kippley

One of the Big Lies about contraception is that it promotes happier marriages. It doesn’t, but the propaganda sounds so good. The hypothesis has long been that if a husband and wife have unlimited sex and very few children, they will be happy. The hypothesis has been widely tested, and its falsity has been demonstrated.

On the other hand, studies indicate that the divorce rate among couples who practice natural family planning is not over five percent.  That’s too high; every one is a tragedy, but that rate is only one-tenth the American cultural divorce ratio of 50%.

In 1910, the year of the last census before Margaret Sanger started her birth control organizations, the ratio of divorces to marriages was one divorce for every 11.4 marriages.  Currently it is one divorce for every two marriages.  That’s a 5.5-fold increase in the ratio of divorces to marriages. The numbers show that the culture that has overwhelmingly adopted the Planned Parenthood way of “family happiness” has experienced a 500% increase in its family unhappiness and dissolution rate.  The numbers show that the hypothesis is wrong. But why?

(1) Married couples have the God-given right to engage in the marriage act.  The Catholic Church defines this as the act of spouses that of its very nature is oriented toward the generation of children. The Church clearly teaches that the marriage act is intended to strengthen the bond between the spouses as well as to co-create new lives destined for eternal happiness with God.  Contraception, however, falsifies the would-be marriage act.  The contraceptive “marriage act” is not a true marriage act.  Therefore, while it denies the procreative aspect of the act, it also does not accomplish the bonding that God intended.

(2) Why isn’t it a true marriage act?  God intends that the marriage act should be a renewal of the marriage covenant.  It ought to say in a symbolic way, “Again, we take each other for better and for worse.”  However, the body language of contraception speaks loudly and clearly: “We take each other for better but definitely not for the imagined worse of possible pregnancy.”  Therefore the contraceptive marriage act is invalid as a renewal of the marriage covenant.  It is intrinsically dishonest. Which marriage is more likely to last: the one in which the couple regularly renews their marriage covenant, for better and for worse, or the one in which the couple keeps saying “for better but not for worse”?

(3)  Couples need the grace of God to persevere in faithful marriage “till death do we part.” Recourse to unnatural methods of birth control repudiates the grace-bearing commandment not to engage in contraceptive behaviors. The habit of saying “no” to God’s graces carries over into the rest of marriage.  Consider the common problem of marital disillusionment. You suffer from marital disillusionment when your feelings toward your spouse are such that if you had felt that way six weeks before the wedding, there wouldn’t have been any wedding. And the feeling may well be mutual. To overcome this problem, spouses really need to cooperate with the grace of God. How can spouses who feel hurt or irritated or alienated undergo conversion and exercise mutual forgiveness without cooperating with the grace of God? But what if their habit has been to refuse to cooperate with the grace of God, a habit of saying “no” to God every time they engage in the marriage act.
(4) The use of unnatural methods of birth control not infrequently leads to feelings of being used and being a people-user. To say the least, this is not conducive to the development of married love. Everything considered, the high divorce rate among couples who use unnatural methods of birth control is not surprising. A return to marital chastity is of crucial importance for a restoration of marital permanence. 

John F. Kippley is the president of NFP International. He is the author of Sex and the Marriage Covenant: A Basis for Morality (Ignatius, 2005); and Natural Family Planning: The Question-Answer Book, a short, easy-to-read, free, downloadable e-book available at www.NFPandmore.org. This website offers support for Humanae Vitae, ecological breastfeeding, and systematic NFP via articles, research, and how-to instruction.

13 responses

  1. A real Catholic study on this will never be done because one would have to factor into the Catholic and secular divorce rate…not just birth control….but the arrival of no fault divorce and the ascendancy of women making more and more money in the work place….neither of which obtained for the faithful til death marriages of the past centuries…be they Catholic or non Catholic. And around the issue of Catholics practicing birth control, one would have to separate out those who are using it with a sincere dissenting conscience and those who are doing it without going through any struggle of conscience. The former..a sincere dissenting conscience… is allowed even by such conservative moral theology tomes as Grisez’ when dealing with an issue that is not yet infallible under the clarity demanded by canon 749-3. And these tomes post date Lumen Gentium’s section 25 regarding religious submission of mind and will in the non infallible and such tomes have Church imprimaturs etc. (Grisez’ is used in seminaries).

  2. The point of my commentary was that despite the propaganda, contraception does not help married couples to have happier marriages. I certainly acknowledge the difficulty in developing statistically accurate studies. The fact remains that between 1910 and 1970 the ratio of divorces to marriages increased 500 percent, and this was in a age of increasing and then almost universal use of contraception. If contraception actually helped couples to have happier and healthier marriages, they would have been able to weather the storms of no-fault divorce and women increasingly in very attractive jobs in the workplace.

    John F. Kippley

  3. John
    But seen from the other end, is it NFP that makes marriages or the old world profile that NFP creates anew to some extent. The Jewish Hassidim for example have a very low rate of divorce (even though it is permitted) and they do not have Christianity with all its supports. But they have women with multiple children, no career oriented educations of the women to speak of in many cases and they have little dependence perhaps on meeting romantically in the first place. Excepting that last element, some NFP couples have a similar profile of a woman staying home and being dependent on her husband and the longer she stays home, the more that dependency increases and that itself makes divorce less likely historically. NFP is very new in the Church’s life and it was the Family Life Movement who used the old and far less accurate rythmn method that was interested and sent letters for change in Rome’s position during the latterly named papal birth control commission. No one on the net seems to know that history. And in the 19th century, while the natural methods were just being discovered in the scientific sense rather than the classical folk lore sense prior to that…that is when clergy sent dubia to Rome to ask whether Catholics might use the natural rythmns….to which Rome answered yes several times in the 19th century but that shows that the clergy was unsure and the fact that in the baroque period, Tomas Sanchez, a leading moral theologian, said that parents could sell a child into servitude without sin if the other children were suffering malnutrition….that detail shows that prior to the 19th century, Catholics were somewhat in a state of chaos in this area of life and did not limit births at all if they were devout.
    But the divorce rate was low because divorce was not allowed in Catholic countries and men made more than women financially.

    NFP is wonderful but very new and was not available to over 1950 years worth of Catholics who had low divorce rates for all types of reasons….some of which were strong but superficial compared to the ideals which you are seeing now as operative in the NFP couple. But the NFP couple may be under the influence of what influenced previous centuries also….the woman’s dependence on the superior financial earning power of the man even given an NFP woman who works now and then but whose resume suffers comparatively with the husband.

  4. With regard to the mid-19th century scientific findings that animals had fertile and infertile times: the efforts to extrapolate these findings to humans were completely erroneous, assigning fertility to the time of menses and shortly thereafter. But they did elicit those confessional questions in 1853 and 1880 that brought forth in principle the acceptance of periodic abstinence during the fertile time for purposes of avoiding pregnancy. The interesting thing is that the scientists of the day completely ignored the Bible. If they had consulted Leviticus with its prohibitions on the marriage act during menses and and the next seven days, and if they had taken into account the fertility of the chosen people, they could have concluded that this must have been the divine plan for increasing the children of Abraham–which it was. If they had asked their wives if there was anything going on about that time, they might have been told about the flow of cervical mucus. (It was well described in the medical literature about 1855.)

    Regarding the divorce rate, the low divorce rate figures in the United States in 1910 — one divorce for every eleven marriages — applied to the general population, not just Catholics. So also the 500% increase from that time to 1970. Catholics as well as most others benefited from increased levels of education, etc. And the Catholic divorce rate since Catholics as a whole accepted and lived by the sexual revolution is about the same as the rest of the culture. The exception is those who reject contraception.

    Many NFP wives have excellent educations; many put those educations to excellent use by homeschooling their children. If practicing marital chastity, having children, breastfeeding them for one or two years, staying home with them, and being dependent upon the husband as the breadwinner all contribute to the stability of the family, well that sounds quite normal to me. I don’t think anyone has argued that the practice of NFP is the sole criterion for a stable marriage, but with such a difference in the overall divorce rates of NFP couples and contracepting couples, the good effect of marital chastity cannot be ignored and should not be written off as due to other factors.
    John F. Kippley

  5. <p>Interestingly, a quick online search of “Bill Bannon” produces a list of other blogs that he has spoken on related to contraception. He is a professional confuter who benefits from attempting to confuse his readers on this issue. </p>
    <p>On this page, Bannon wrote:<br />
    “a sincere dissenting conscience… is allowed even by such conservative moral theology tomes as Grisez’ when dealing with an issue that is not yet infallible under the clarity demanded by canon 749-3.”</p>
    <p>Yet, how is it that on another website on the topic of contraception dated 3/8/06, Bill Bannon seems to contradict himself concerning Grisez on contraception, as follows:</p>
    <p>“… only Germain Grisez and a handful of non famous theologians think the issue (of contraception) is solved infallibly in the ordinary universal magisterium but they can’t prove that in accordance with Canon law 749-3 which requires that the infallibility be “manifestly evident”…. http://catholicprayer.blogspot.com/2006/03/artificial-contraception.html</p&gt;
    <p>However, Bannon seems to have gotten his opinion herein from a post he also responded to on 3/28/07, which stated:<br />
    “…birth control is in the OM and not clearly in the UOM (see canon 749-3) and falls under Lumen Gentium 25 and is not optional but can be sincerely dissented from by prayer, study, counsel and committment to silence about one’s choice”, which then cites this website:<br />
    <p>Elsewhere Bannon has argued that human life does not begin at conception, stating:<br />
    “…pre-implantation embryos are people…..which is absurd.”</p>
    <p>As far as being “manifestly evident” regarding the proposal of the doctrine of contraception:<br />
    Concerning the intention of Paul VI regarding Humanae Vitae, he stated to the College of Cardinals in his end-of-the-year address on December 23, 1968 that as a result of his long and scrupulous examination of the arguments against the traditional teaching on birth control, “this teaching showed itself to Us anew in all its severe and yet serene certainty”. See at http://www.rtforum.org/lt/lt43.html</p&gt;
    <p>Further, in clarifying this doctrine as doctrine, the Catechism of the Catholic Church declares all forms of contraception to be “intrinsically evil.” CCC 2370 The clear moral teaching here in the Catechism cites Humanae Vitae #14, BUT the Catechism adds a new level of clarity in specifically using the phrase “intrinsically evil” in regard to contraception, which was not part of the original HV citation. This means that the Catechism states that the doctrine of contraception is a moral absolute, that is, it is declared to be absolutely evil for everyone and in every situation, regardless.</p>
    <p>The Catechism’s authority needs to be explained here to demonstrate that this statement concerning contraception is not an opinion or changeable, but clear doctrine. John Paul II explains in his Apostolic Constitution, Fidei Depositum, that the Catechism is “a statement of the Church’s faith and of Catholic doctrine,” which is “attested to or illumined by Sacred Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition, and the Church’s Magisterium.” In other words, the Catechism, the Church’s most official text of sacred doctrine, must be actively utilized as the basic systematic Source for all of evangelization. Thus, as the Constitution states, the Catechism, which is comprised of doctrine, is “a sure norm for teaching the faith” because it is “a sure and authentic reference text for teaching catholic doctrine.” The Catechism is “an official text of the Church’s Magisterium, which authoritatively gathers in a precise form, and in an organic synthesis, the events and fundamental salvific truths” of the Faith, “without ‘presenting as doctrines of the faith special interpretations which are only private opinions or the views of some theological school.’” (GDC 124) In other words, the Catechism is a “comprehensive synthesis of the faith of universal value,” (GDC 121) which is “a doctrinal point of reference” (GDC 122) and “a particularly authentic act of interpretation of [the Word of God, proclaiming and transmitting it] in all its truth and purity.” (GDC 125)<br />
    To argue that contraception may be rightfully practiced by Catholics with a “sincere dissenting conscience” is simply absurd.</p>
    <p>Engaging in contracepted intercourse is regarded as seriously wrong—as constituting objectively grave matter, and thus is always grounds for mortal sin. In other words, the following of the Church’s teaching has always been taught to be necessary for salvation. The Church states that the contraception is murder, even when practiced within marriage: “Whoever, therefore, in marriage artificially prevents conception, or procures an abortion, commits a most serious sin: the sin of pre-meditated murder,” (The Roman Catechism, Matrimony, #13) and elsewhere states, “to prevent birth is anticipated murder.”(Declaration on Procured Abortion) The procreative good of intercourse, as God intends it, demands that every act of intercourse be open to life. Even between husband and wife, every completed sexual act must take place exclusively within natural, unobstructed intercourse. Church teaching honors the procreative good (“The Church in the Modern World” # 49-50; “To Live in Christ Jesus” p. 18) of every act of intercourse, together with the unitive good.</p>

  6. John
    I’ll just address this one section by you and get on to Kelly who apparently sees sin in dissent…”confuting”…. when in fact dissent would have stopped slavery within the Church religious orders in the 19th century and within the decretals which Aquinas approvingly cites in the Supplement of the ST in the section on marriage where he states that a freedom and bondage follow the mother’s side…and dissent would have stopped the burning of heretics just after torture was reintroduced with Ad Extirpandum (see the Catholic Encyclopedia on Inquisition) and dissent would have saved us from having Calvin’s 1545 answer on interest on a personal loan which we then agreed to in 1830.

    But to your post. You wrote: “And the Catholic divorce rate since Catholics as a whole accepted and lived by the sexual revolution is about the same as the rest of the culture. The exception is those who reject contraception.”

    John, what if you found out after death that that judgement which is found throughout posts on the net does a disservice to those who dissent sincerely as opposed to rashly. That is to say what if there are four groups of Catholics: those who agree with the modern popes on birth control….those including some of the most famous theologians of the 20th century who did not agree and knowing the traditional counsel to remain silent went public with their dissent and do group with them those educated who found their arguments cogent….and a third group who could not care whether birth control was moral or not and were going to use birth control no matter its morality….and a fourth group who were working class, uneducated and instinctively saw the Pope’s view to be unrealistic given their bills and their numbers of children and the insecurity of their employment and yet could not write down their position on paper if asked but sincerely felt they should live by their gut on this one….like my dad who never divorced his wife at all and lived til death with her for 40 years.

    I’m not seeking an answer from you. I’m stating that it is non realistic to see only two groups in the Church on this. There area at least four groups that I know of. Thank you for your lack of ad hominems like confuters though.

  7. Kelly

    You write:
    “Interestingly, a quick online search of “Bill Bannon” produces a list of other blogs that he has spoken on related to contraception. He is a professional confuter who benefits from attempting to confuse his readers on this issue.”

    How do I benefit? You’ll notice that I never bring up contraception as a topic but respond when I do see it. Which means a lot of you are bringing it up. Were I a devotee of the topic as you seem to be on searching into people’s pasts, I would actually introduce the topic as its leader. Heck I would open a blog called Catholic Confuters…but I have not and never will.
    I hope you do not do a search of all those who disagree with you but I doubt that I am the first you’ve done a search on…am I.
    The word “professional” means that one gains money and for all the work I have done on the internet, I could easily have started a blog and gotten money through penpal and I never did any such thing. I never earned a cent through religion and last week I could be found in Canaan House, a Catholic half way house for HIV patients in Jersey City where I donated a framed print of one of my seascapes. I am a gallery artist and independent investor and take no money for writing or the research that is behind it.
    You wrote further:

    On this page, Bannon wrote:
    “a sincere dissenting conscience… is allowed even by such conservative moral theology tomes as Grisez’ when dealing with an issue that is not yet infallible under the clarity demanded by canon 749-3.”
    Yet, how is it that on another website on the topic of contraception dated 3/8/06, Bill Bannon seems to contradict himself concerning Grisez on contraception, as follows:
    “… only Germain Grisez and a handful of non famous theologians think the issue (of contraception) is solved infallibly in the ordinary universal magisterium but they can’t prove that in accordance with Canon law 749-3 which requires that the infallibility be “manifestly evident”….

    There is no contradiction. Grisez is the most conservative moral theologian in the US and even he allows for dissent when the issue is not infallible and I thoroughly disagree with him on the other hand in his personally seeing birth control as infallibly settled in the ordinary magisterium since Pius XI noted in Tuas Libenter (online for your study) that in such cases of infallibility in the OM, one would see the common consent of theologians which this issue totally lacked from mid 20th century onward….among celibate theologians who had no vested interest…hundreds of whom signed their names to the dissent.

    You wrote:

    “Elsewhere Bannon has argued that human life does not begin at conception, stating:
    “…pre-implantation embryos are people…..which is absurd.”

    Me and the Catechism of the Council of Trent or Roman catechism that you later cite and which is online and you will see in article three of the Creed section these words:
    “and thus in the same instant of time He was perfect God and perfect man. That this was the astonishing and admirable work of the Holy Ghost cannot be doubted; for according to the order of nature the rational soul is united to the body only after a certain lapse of time.”

    During the 1980′s in the periodical Theological Studies where the most famous theologians debated (Grisez and Haring e.g.), this very debate raged and centered around the fact that as to the fertilized ovum, the cell has 14 days in which it can still divide and become identical twins and since Aquinas said that a soul could not divide then how could there be a person prior to nature making the identical twin choice and Rome knew of the debate and in no way sought to stop the debate which many of you on the net would certainly do if you were in the position to do so.

    As for the rest of your post, you will notice that you cite the same catechism I do above and it contradicts itself (Trent= Roman catechism). My passage says there is no soul until after a delay of time and your passage says that contraception is murder.
    Here I feel for you because it takes years of reading to understand the problem. Jerome and Augustine both had the very same contradiction in their writings. Both called abortion and contraception murder when they were younger and it is murder whenever the soul had been implanted but we do not know that time yet and John Paul admits that in about section 60 of Evangelium Vitae. But both called it less than murder after apparently both had seen the Septuagint version of Exodus wherein it required only a valuation if a preborn were killed inadvertently but was unformed but it required life for life if the pre born were “formed”.

    Here is St. Jerome prior to knowing the passage:

    Epistle 22 to Eustochium

    “…Some go so far as to take potions, that they may insure barrenness, and thus murder human beings almost before their conception. Some, when they find themselves with child through their sin, use drugs to procure abortion, and when (as often happens) they die with their offspring, they enter the lower world laden with the guilt not only of adultery against Christ but also of suicide and child murder. ”

    Now here is a later letter after he becomes aware of the Septuagint Exodus passage:

    Epistle 121.4 to Algasa

    “…seeds are gradually formed in the uterus, and it is not reputed homocide until the scattered elements receive their appearance and members”.

    Augstine has two almost identically contradictory passages as does the catechism which you cite and I cited to the opposite effect.

    I conclude with this one warning. Despite what any Pope says….nothing is infallible unless it is infallible under canon 749-3. Catechisms are not infallible nor as reliable as John Paul stated since this present one no where mentions wifely obedience which John Paul conflated with mutual submission and therefore contradicted the encyclical which only preceded him by 40 years: Casti Cannubii section 74 sentence one: 74. “The same false teachers who try to dim the luster of conjugal faith and purity do not scruple to do away with the honorable and trusting obedience which the woman owes to the man.”
    If you know your TOB you know that John Paul said that the wifely submission part without mutual submission simultaneously present…was the old way and not the gospel and new way. Thus he really saw no wifely submission unless the husband was simultaneously submitting which is incorrect. Mutual submission is what most moments in a marriage are. But there are stress times when two people disagree and one has to have jurisdiction over the other and Pius XI knew that and John Paul did not. He made the same mistake on the death penalty which the Church supported from the time of the Bible canon when Romans 13:3-4 became canon and the previous pacifism of the early fathers dissipates after the canon. Look at section 40 of EV and you will see him ascribe the violence of the early death penalties to the old unrefined culture of the Jews (not to God) which did not attain to the refinement of the sermon on the mount. He forgot Act 12 which was after the sermon and where God kills Herod for accepting the appellation “god” and John Paul forgot Acts 5 wherein God kills Ananias and wife through Peter and he forgot and never mentions once in EV Romans 13:3-4 which Aquinas rightly took as affirming the death penalty.

  8. Kelly

    Here by the way is the two different attitudes also in Augustine…..contraception as murder….and then in light of Exodus (shown at the bottom of this post) in the Septuagint, he also like Jerome talks much more cautiously:

    First the strict outlook:

    “Sometimes, indeed, this lustful cruelty, or if you please, cruel lust, resorts to such extravagant methods as to use poisonous drugs to secure barrenness; or else, if unsuccessful in this, to destroy the conceived seed by some means previous to birth, preferring that its offspring should rather perish than receive vitality; or if it was advancing to life within the womb, should be slain before it was born.”
    -De Nube et Concupiscentia 1.17 (15)

    Now the milder outlook:

    On Exodus 21:22…Augustine CSEL 8:147
    Here the question of the soul is usually raised: whether what is not formed can be understood to have no soul, and whether for that reason it is not homocide, because one cannot be said to be deprived of a soul if one has not yet received a soul. The argument goes on to say, “But if it has been formed, he shall give soul for soul”….If the embryo is still unformed, but yet in some way ensouled while unformed…the law does not provide that the act pertains to homocide, because still there cannot be said to be a live soul in a body that lacks sensation, if it is in the flesh not yet formed and thus not yet endowed with senses.

    The Hebrew version which is the trend now in biblical studies does not have this passage this way at all and only talks of the death of the woman not of the child… which you can see in your NAB…but Augustine placed the Septuagint as higher and argued against Jerome who preferred the Hebrew.

    What maybe you can now see in Trent’s catechism is both schools of thought in two different places in the catechism…the strict school on contraception….and the milder school in article 3 of the Creed section with its delayed ensoulment.

    Here by the way is Septuagint Exodus passage that caused the two schools even within two Fathers of the Church:

    21:22 “And if two men strive and smite a woman with child, and her child be born imperfectly formed, he shall be forced to pay a penalty; as the woman’s husband may lay upon him, he shall pay with a valuation.23 But if it be perfectly formed, he shall give life for life,24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.”

    What the Church should have done is make a decision of which version constitutes the inspired word of God at least in this case. Because I suspect the Septuagint version perhaps led to mild treatment of abortion in English Common Law through all these Christian writers who were authority figures more then than now for most people.

  9. Bill,

    I appreciate what you’re saying. And surely I don’t think it’s right or helpful to stereotype Catholics into two or four neat little categories. It’s not ours to judge whose dissent is sincere and whose is willful.

    However, dissent from authoritative Church teaching is objectively a sin against faith, and when that dissent occurs in the moral realm, it also leads to objectively sinful acts. This is precisely the case when it comes to dissent from Church teaching regarding the sinfulness of contraception, irrespective of one’s personal culpability.

    I just want to provide our readers two helpful cites in sorting this out:

    First, Catechism, no. 1792: “Ignorance of Christ and His Gospel, bad example given by others, enslavement to one’s passions, assertion of a mistaken notion of autonomy of conscience, rejection of the Church’s authority and her teaching, lack of conversion and of charity: these can be at the source of errors of judgment in moral conduct” (emphasis added).

    Second, in 1998 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under then-Card. Ratzinger issued “Doctrinal Comments on the Concluding Formula of the Professio Fide.” The teaching of Humanae Vitae, in a footnote, is envisioned in the category of “truths” treated in this quote:

    “Every believer, therefore, is required to give firm and definitive assent to these truths, based on faith in the Holy Spirit’s assistance to the Church’s Magisterium, and on the Catholic doctrine of the infallibility of the Magisterium in these matters. Whoever denies these truths would be in a position of rejecting a truth of Catholic doctrine and would therefore no longer be in full communion with the Catholic Church.”

  10. One other helpful quote comes to mind. This comes from the “Vademecum for Confessors Concerning Some Aspects of the Morality of Conjugal Life,” published in 1997 by the Pontifical Council for the Family in collaboration with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Apostolic Penitentiary.

    “The Church has always taught the intrinsic evil of contraception, that is, of every marital act intentionally rendered unfruitful. This teaching is to be held as definitive and irreformable. Contraception is gravely opposed to marital chastity; it is contrary to the good of the transmission of life (the procreative aspect of matrimony) and to the reciprocal self-giving of the spouses (the unitive aspect of matrimony); it harms true love and denies the sovereign role of God in the transmission of human life.”

    I kinda wish this quote (or even a good paraphrase) would find its way into the bishops’ new website on marriage . . .

  11. Leon
    Definitive is not the same as infallible and the term is strong but allows the Church to change in the future as it did on freedom of religion, just titled slavery, and torture which latter was condemned by one Pope in the 9th century and brought back by another in 1252 and now condemned again in Vat. II as shameful and in Splendor of the Truth sect.80 as intrinsically evil. Your sources themselves in each case are definitive and none of them are infallible as I think you know.
    In 2002 at the Karl Rahner Conference, Archbishop Amato, 2nd in command at the CDF even now, noted to John Allen that Rahner had been an
    “orthodox theologian”….and Rahner publically dissented from Humanae Vitae as did Haring and others. I’ll say no more. But process that incident.

  12. Bill,

    It indeed is infallible, but based on what you had written above I figured it wouldn’t be fruitful to “go there” with you. But even if we go with “definitive” and “irreformable” and “truth” which when rejected leads one “to be no longer in communion with the Church”–and you don’t seem to take issue with the veracity of those sources–then we know how faithful Catholics should land when it comes to this subject.

    I have found in my experience that dissent, when cultivated and pertinaciously defended and advanced, leads to a prideful sophistry that places one’s soul in serious jeopardy. I don’t know what the engine is that drives your dissent on this issue, but as a brother in the Lord I humbly call you to submit to the Church in this matter.

  13. Leon
    And you sir are overstating infallibility and were you correct, then Rome itself is negligent since 1968 and Humanae Vitae for not prosecuting in heresy proceedings over 90% of the Church….while all along prosecuting a number of persons and clerics during the decades who really did contradict infallible positions.
    Were 90% of the Catholic Church robbing banks twice a week, we are both sure that a special conference of all Bishops would be called to Rome and recalled to Rome until it was solved one way or the other. And yet in this issue, Popes continue their vacation schedules, concert attendance, canonization attendances and writings on the early Fathers and on the Gospel Christ….none of which they would do if 90% of the Church were robbing banks twice a week.

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