Wijngaards Institute: the case for rethinking Humanae Vitae

18/09/2016Print This Post

 

hv-header

The controversial 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae

Catholic Scholars’ Statement on the Ethics of Using Contraceptives

In preparation for the 50th anniversary of the publication of “Humanae Vitae: On the Regulation of Birth,” the Wijngaards Institute gathered an interdisciplinary task force of experts to re-assess the ethics of using contraception. The Statement below presents a summary of their work).

Its conclusions are based on interdisciplinary scholarship which can be verified independently. For that reason, we are submitting the Statement for wider world endorsement and have been invited to launch our Report at a UN-hosted meeting in New York on 20th September 2016.

Our goal is to encourage the Catholic hierarchy to reverse their stance against so called “artificial” contraceptives. To this end, we will make the Statement’s findings known to Catholic church officials and opinion leaders (e.g. bishops, priests, religious sisters, management and medical staff of Catholic health care facilities, Catholic social workers, journalists, etc.), as well as ordinary Catholics.
Our findings and theological materials will also be made available to all UN departments and development agencies who are trying to navigate the relationship between religious belief and women’s health as they work towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research, August 2016

Summary: The official papal teaching banning the use of “artificial” contraceptives for family planning is based on the belief that the biological “laws of conception” show that each and every act of sexual intercourse has procreation as their natural “finality” and “significance.” From such a belief, the moral requirement is inferred that couples engaging in sexual intercourse must always be open to procreation.

However, the vast majority of acts of sexual intercourse do not have the biological “capacity” for procreation, and therefore they cannot have procreation as their “finality” or “significance.”

As for the intention of the agents, the Bible identifies a variety of morally worthy non-conceptive motives for engaging in sexual intercourse. This is confirmed by the evolutionary biology of human reproduction, and sociology, among other disciplines.

The use of modern contraceptives can facilitate one or more of sexual intercourse’s non-conceptive meanings, as well as have additional morally worthy purposes – e.g. family planning, following the requirements of responsible parenthood (HV §10).

Therefore, the decision to use modern contraceptives can be taken for a variety of morally worthy motives, and so it can be responsible and ethical.

For the extended argument on which this summary is based, click here.

Comments

39 Responses to “Wijngaards Institute: the case for rethinking Humanae Vitae”
  1. Michael Ewbank says:

    So, “. . . it is mistaken to derive a moral prescription directly from a factual description, i.e. a judgment of value (about what morally ought to be) directly from a judgment of fact (about what is) . . .”

    Yet, one can, in spite of the above injunction, infer from the fact that “the vast majority of acts of sexual intercourse do not have the biological “capacity” for procreation, and therefore they cannot have procreation as their “finality” or “significance” that one licitly, morally, can freely and directly intend to contracept, one supposes, “a vast majority of acts of sexual intercourse” and still claim moral integrity?

    Of course, the statement and signers offer a litany of supposed circumstances and motives to supposedly redeem the human integrity of such a chosen intention.

    Yet, the whole business seems to hint strongly of mere utilitarian or consequentialist reasoning, which I doubt the signers would desire to be applied to innumerable other human domains of freely chosen action.

    It is little wonder that this statement has evoked counter-responses on the part of many, the majority of whom are specifically trained in ethics, theology and directly pertinent fields.

  2. soconaill says:

    I can see this point, Michael – but why exactly could not the same objection be made to ANY action aimed at the successful avoidance of conception while engaging in intercourse, including so-called ‘natural’ methods? Since 1968 I have never been able to see how any deliberate act whatsoever that is intended to prevent conception as a consequence of intercourse can leave intercourse ‘open’ to the ‘transmission of life’.

  3. Kevin Walters says:

    Hi Sean, you have made this comment many times on the ACP Site no one ever responds myself included
    I have always understood that the rhythm method of contraception is still open to new life as no artificial means are employed to prevent new life from forming.
    Recently I made a Post on the ACP see link below my Post @9
    http://www.associationofcatholicpriests.ie/2016/11/thinking-for-ourselves/
    That dealt with contraception I wrote that “by refusing to fully partake in His creation in a deliberately act of denying another the opportunity of life, is sinful and this sin is known innately by all of mankind”, with this statement I had to conclude that the rhythm method is a contraceptive if it is a deliberate act within the heart to deny life
    I have since read the Church teaches that the rhythm method is not permitted for contraceptive purposes.
    It may only be permitted to improve the timing, and potential wellbeing, of children.
    We are judged on our intentions before God if we are open to His Will and the sexual act is open to new life which it still is with the rhythm method to try (Not guaranteed) to improve the timing of a new life we can walk in good conscience it is not the same as a deliberate act using artificial means that is guaranteed to deny life. It is fair to say that the majority who use the rhythm method have the option to use artificial means that is guaranteed to prevent the ‘transmission of life’ they choose not to do so remaining open to the possibility of new life with every act of sexual intercourse
    Your point is valid but the Church in her wisdom leaves this decision of it been a deliberate act of Contraception or an act still open to life with the possibility to improve the timing of the arrival of a new life, to our own conscience.
    kevin your brother
    In Christ

  4. soconaill says:

    Thanks, Kevin. That’s interesting.

    But why is an attempt ‘to improve the timing’ of conception not also an attempt to prevent conception at a particular time – as in e.g. the use of a barrier method?

    If your answer is ‘because it may fail’ it seems that Humanae Vitae is indeed recommending ‘Vatican Roulette’ as a means of ‘improving the timing’ of births.

    Why not simply agree that it is morally legitimate to regulate the timing and number of births, leave to couples the choice of method, and continue to insist that there is a horizon of happiness beyond sexual union – to do with participation in the miracle of ‘new life’?

  5. Kevin Walters says:

    Sean,
    The barrier method prevents conception and is an act to deliberately deny another the chance of life while an attempt to improve the timing through the rhythm method leaves the possibility of new life open, it is not a deliberate act to stop the ‘transmission of life’. To have certainty you must deliberately stop the ‘transmission of life’ this is incompatible with the teaching of the Church “That every sexual act should be open to the possibility of new life”.
    I wrote above “by refusing to fully partake in His creation in a deliberately act of denying another the opportunity of life, is sinful and this sin is known innately by all of mankind” I include myself in this statement and I believe the vast majority if they were to look honestly at this statement would acknowledge it to be true but to practice the teaching of Humanae Vitae is beyond most of us, so self- justification has become the norm of the day.
    I wonder if anyone who reads this has the honesty and courage to serve the Truth by acknowledging that at some time in their life they have felt the natural inclination of a tinge of sadness or/and been aware that they have participated in the possible loss of a new life through an act of using a method of contraception, if you have and still use contraception (for many) this sadness/knowledge will be now buried under a self-justifying conscience as right judgement and spiritual growth will now be stifled. For this reason, Sean I cannot agree with your statement.
    —- “Why not simply agree that it is morally legitimate to regulate the timing and number of births, leave to couples the choice of method, and continue to insist that there is a horizon of happiness beyond sexual union – to do with participation in the miracle of ‘new life”—-

    Many who justify contraception say words to the effect “What is been asked is unrealistic”
    Would you agree Sean that it would be better to be honest by those who use contraception and acknowledge the Truths within Humanae Vitae in that they cannot live to the teaching (Demands) of Humanae Vitae through human frailty?
    Better to walk in humility before God trusting in His Divine Mercy rather than acting out any situation of self-justification that is not compatible with His Divine Will.
    Anyone reading this please consider reading on this site My Post link below Kevin Walters 30th June 2015 at 4:21 pm
    http://www.acireland.ie/aci-discusses-marriage-and-the-family-with-archbishop-diarmuid-martin/

    kevin your brother
    In Christ.

  6. Kevin Walters says:

    Replacement Post to the one above @10.39 am

    Sean,
    The Church teaches that the rhythm method is not permitted for contraceptive purposes and in doing so one must conclude acknowledges the rhythm method is contraception
    It may only be permitted to improve the timing, and potential wellbeing, of children as it is not directly in conflict with her teaching “every sexual act has to be open to the possibility of new life”
    You say “Why not permit a physical barrier in both cases the same potential conceptions are deliberately prevented”.
    I believe that the Church has made a moral judgement based on our individual intentions before God new life is always possible and as you put it “because it may fail” and I would add often does.
    For my part at one period in my life I participated in using the rhythm method I felt sadness in that I had deigned another the opportunity of life as I reflect on this I now realize that my motive was based on self-interest and that is why I felt guilty if my motive had been motivated by love for the wellbeing of another I would not have felt this sadness as I would have acted in good conscience I would not have hindered my relationship with God as the sexual act was still open to life. Christian Charity would still be at work “the friendship of man for God”, which “unites us to God”.
    To have certainty you must use artificial means to deliberately stop the ‘transmission of life’ this is incompatible with the teaching of the Church
    The barrier method prevents conception and is an open act to deliberately deny another the chance of life and it is this deliberate act of playing God with the life process which alienates us from God
    I wrote above “by refusing to fully partake in His creation in a deliberately act of denying another the opportunity of life, is sinful and this sin is known innately by all of mankind” I include myself in this statement and I believe the vast majority if they were to look honestly at this statement would acknowledge it to be true but to practice the teaching of Humanae Vitae is beyond most of us, so self- justification has become the norm of the day.
    I wonder if anyone who reads this has the honesty and courage to serve the Truth by acknowledging that at some time in their life they have felt the natural inclination of a tinge of sadness or/and been aware that they have participated in the possible loss of a new life through an act of using a method of contraception, if you have and still use contraception (for many) this sadness/knowledge will be now buried under a self-justifying conscience as right judgement and spiritual growth will now be stifled. For this reason, Sean I cannot agree with your statement below.
    —- “Why not simply agree that it is morally legitimate to regulate the timing and number of births, leave to couples the choice of method, and continue to insist that there is a horizon of happiness beyond sexual union – to do with participation in the miracle of ‘new life”—-

    Many who justify contraception say words to the effect “What is been asked is unrealistic”
    Would you agree Sean that it would be better to be honest by those who use contraception and acknowledge the Truths within Humanae Vitae in that they cannot live to the teaching (Demands) of Humanae Vitae through human frailty?
    Better to walk in humility before God trusting in His Divine Mercy rather than acting out any situation of self-justification that is not compatible with His Divine Will.
    Anyone reading this please consider reading on this site My Post link below Kevin Walters 30th June 2015 at 4:21 pm
    http://www.acireland.ie/aci-discusses-marriage-and-the-family-with-archbishop-diarmuid-martin/
    kevin your brother
    In Christ.

  7. soconaill says:

    How can use of the rhythm method ‘improve the timing of births’ without determining that at least some conjugal acts do not result in conception? Don’t its advocates argue for its dependability in that intent – of avoiding conception?

    I guess we must simply agree to differ on this, Kevin. I understand perfectly the point that to seek sexual gratification in marriage to the total exclusion of the possibility of new life is morally and aesthetically deficient. But just as the rhythm method for many couples may result in conception, so will the use of any method if deliberately not used throughout the entire course of the fertile period of the couple.

    Humanae Vitae was especially unfortunate as adherence to it became the key test of orthodoxy for bishops in the church, while almost universally bishops soon found that they could not persuasively convey this teaching to most married Catholics – and stopped even trying. Fearful of having to engage the open questioning of this teaching, clergy generally ceased to deliver a key promise and requirement of Vatican II: ongoing dialogue on ALL issues, in case of the questioning turning to that issue.

    This severely damaged the relationship of people and clergy, crippling the clerical teaching charism generally. As a teacher for three decades I know one thing for sure: an inability to engage with the questions and difficulties of the intended student will fatally undermine the whole teaching enterprise. That was a devastating handicap with which to confront the subsequent era of scandal – and we are still counting the cost.

    • Kevin Walters says:

      —-“As a teacher for three decades I know one thing for sure: an inability to engage with the questions and difficulties of the intended student will fatally undermine the whole teaching enterprise.”—-

      Sean, I have to agree in failing to engage with the laity many stopped going to confession as without the true intention to change you would become a hypocrite causing the sacrament of penance to be neglected by the vast majority of Catholics, so self-justification is now the norm and this is often expressed as been true to one’s own conscience. I would add initially that many had accepted the teaching of Humanae Vitae but sadly left the church taking future generations with them, as their own consciences created an intolerable position in their hearts and in some cases divided husband from wife and in other cases wife from husband, creating great discord in many relationships.
      Given that we must simply agree to differ on the teaching on the use of the rhythm method. In your previous post but one, you put this proposal to me which incorporates the full acceptance and legitimate use of all forms of contraception
      —- “Why not simply agree that it is morally legitimate to regulate the timing and number of births, leave to couples the choice of method, and continue to insist that there is a horizon of happiness beyond sexual union – to do with participation in the miracle of ‘new life”—-
      My reply (see above) to your proposal basically says, it dehumanizes the human heart as right judgement and spiritual growth will now be stifled. Contra to your proposal I have proposed a way forward for the Church (God’s people) in that we should proceed in humility in open acceptance of our fallen nature in acknowledging it before God and His Church (People). I value your opinion Sean as I have seen you (In many of you posts) home in on injustice and hypocrisy on the ACP site, will you now use the same astuteness to the difficulty the Church finds herself in having to uphold The Truth (Teachings of the Church) while embracing all her children no matter what their state and let Wisdom be seen in your reply to my proposal for the Church (Teacher) to proceed in humility in been able to engage with the questions and difficulties of All her children while at the same time ensuring their spiritual growth.
      kevin your brother
      In Christ

  8. soconaill says:

    I can indeed pray for the reign of truth in church and world, Kevin – and for my own progress in that respect. We all need to be able to rethink our positions, and to make room for the Holy Spirit to change us. Complacency is the enemy of genuine renewal and peace.

    • Kevin Walters says:

      Sean
      Thank you for your wise words

      “We all need to be able to rethink our positions, and to make room for the Holy Spirit to change us.”

      Endorsement Taken from Catholic Co-Signatories of the Statement by the Wijngaards Institute: the case for rethinking Humanae Vitae.
      Prof Mary McAleese. Former President of the Republic of Ireland
      “I still remember the evening our parish priest, in front of us children, lambasted my forty year old mother for having had a hysterectomy without his permission and while still of child-bearing age. She had by then had eleven pregnancies and a history of haemorrhages which had left her dangerously ill and chronically weak. He left her in a spiritual agony which lingers even today.
      All over the world good, decent, faith-filled men and women are infantilised and robbed by Humanae Vitae of their God-given right and obligation to make sensible adult decisions in the best interests of their health, their relationships and their children. The damage inflicted particularly on the poor, on women, on children, on relationships, on health, on society and not least on the Church itself, is a millstone around our necks and we are drowning. It needs to be removed in conscience, in justice and in Christ for as this Scholars’ Statement explains compellingly it has no basis in divine law.”
      Which is consistent with your statement —- “Why not simply agree that it is morally legitimate to regulate the timing and number of births, leave to couples the choice of method, and continue to insist that there is a horizon of happiness beyond sexual union – to do with participation in the miracle of ‘new life”—-
      Sean many of those like myself who defend Humanae Vitae have great empathy with Prof Mary McAleese statement and naturally would want to alleviate any form of suffering our defence of Humanae Vitae is not born out of complacency but rather obedience to the teachings of God’s Holy Church as my striving (and I am sure that of others) to bring about change through God’s Divine Mercy shows.
      Her last sentence in her statement states
      “It (Humanae Vitae) needs to be removed in conscience, in justice and in Christ for as this Scholars’ Statement explains compellingly it has no basis in divine law.”
      This statement is in direct opposition to supporters of Humanae Vitae so we are left with the unanswerable question
      What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?
      In view of this impasse your words are apt

      “We all need to be able to rethink our positions, and to make room for the Holy Spirit to change us.

      But how does the working of Holy Spirit in you harmonize with His Spirit working within me to break this impasse?
      kevin your brother
      In Christ
      To anyone reading this please consider reading my Post@5 Also Post 1.Padraig McCarthy and 2. Con Devree. In the link below.

      http://www.associationofcatholicpriests.ie/2016/02/thinking-outside-the-confessional-box/

  9. Isn’t the Great Commandment to love, rather than to know? And doesn’t it follow that we owe each other the obligation of love, even when we disagree over what we think we know?

    ‘I do not know.’ These have become the hardest four words for all educated people, because of the store we put on knowing best, and the shame we fear if we admit ignorance.

    There is much we do not know yet about the long term human impact of different methods of regulating births. All the more reason for keeping an open mind on the entire topic.

    In the meantime we need to bear with one another, and listen to one another. If we do that, is there truly an ‘impasse’?

  10. Kevin Walters says:

    –“There is much we do not know yet about the long term human impact of different methods of regulating births. All the more reason for keeping an open mind on the entire topic.”–
    I agree there is much we do not yet know about the long term human (Health) impact of different methods of regulating birth control methods (Pill etc) but does one close ones mind to the consequences it has had on society over the last fifty years?
    Low birth rate, this can be seen in the general populous now there are more over sixty-fives than under sixteens, abortion is been used by many as a justified form of contraception, euthanasia in is on the horizon, this is been held back by many of the older generation, out of fear and justifiable so, they are astute when their own self-interest is at stake, as society in general appears to have lost its moral compass etc.
    —“Isn’t the Great Commandment to love, rather than to know? And doesn’t it follow that we owe each other the obligation of love, even when we disagree over what we think we know?”—-
    Yes Sean we are even taught to love our enemies
    To know God within the heart is to love Him without knowing Him how can you and I truly love our neighbour?
    How does one brake down the impasse that separates you and me, on this matter is it not with prayer, reflection and guidance from the Holy Spirit?
    “For where there are two or three gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them”
    One of the seven gifts of The Holy Spirit is Right Judgement; will not His Spirit guide OUR judgement?
    Is not “I don’t know” the beginning of Wisdom and the fear of the admittance of ignorance Pride is not the way forward for all of us within the church from the leadership of the church down to proceed in Humility before God’s Divine Mercy and acknowledge we humans cannot square this circle as only His Divine Mercy can as His Mercy cannot be codified, legislated or judged?
    The greatest gift we all have is the gift of life given by God through the action of our parents to deliberately deny another the opportunity of life is sinful and this is innately know by all of mankind.
    —“In the meantime we need to bear with one another, and listen to one another. If we do that, is there truly an ‘impasse’?”—-
    This has gone on for many years, we need the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I have to I say yes Sean, we have an impasse.
    Wijngaards Institute: the case for rethinking Humanae Vitae. An Endorsement Taken from Catholic Co-Signatories of the Statement by the Prof Cynthia Crysdale, Christian Ethics and Theology, School of Theology, University of the South, Sewanee, Canada.
    And her statement could be described as a middle of the road approach as she struggles with her conscience,
    “There are definitely ethical issues in how, when, whether and for whom we provide contraception but the simplistic injunctions of Roman Catholic teaching in the last fifty years does not address these adequately.”
    Sean
    Within many of my Posts here and on the ACP Site (over four years) I have proposed away forward through venerating The True Divine Mercy Image an Image of broken man, without any response what so ever, would you be prepared to give me your opinion (discuss) on this matter. I am aware of your comment from your Post on The ACP Site 19.10.2013 With regard to another matter.
    “I believe it is Catholic doctrine, supported by St Thomas Aquinas that no private revelation can surpass, correct, improve, or complete what scripture tells us.
    To any reader please consider reading the article in the link below with my post@2
    http://www.associationofcatholicpriests.ie/2015/12/mercy-cannot-be-codified-legislated-or-judged/
    kevin you brother
    In Christ

  11. soconaill says:

    Although I do firmly believe in the importance of trust in divine mercy, I am not attracted to the particular devotion and iconography you mention, Kevin. My guess is that this goes for many others – the likely reason for the lack of response to your previous appeals. These matters are very personal. Catholicism for me is something far broader, something that does not impose a particular aesthetic or devotion as mandatory for anyone.

    • Kevin Walters says:

      Sean thank you for your comment, the image that I propose is not aesthetic or devotional it is a self-image before God of our inner self and when acknowledge (Is not mandatory) within the heart, is act of contrition. Catholicism for me also is something far broader and this is shown in my belief (Proposal) that any baptised Christian who for whatever reason (except the sin against the Holy Spirit) cannot receive the sacrament of absolution, should be permitted to partake in Communion by making an individual public acknowledgement of their need of God’s Mercy, prior to taking the bread of life, should not be turned away.
      The true Image of Divine Mercy would permit the Church to do this when it is acknowledged publically and accompanied in pray by the words “Jesus I Trust in You”
      Would you agree Sean that His Love is embraced when the Church serves all her children?

      “He who comes to me I will not turn away”

      Taken from the link below
      The Sacrament of pence should not be just confined to a box nor Gods children; ways need to be found to encourage the Sacrament of pence that resonate within the hearts of mankind as he is to-day especially in the West
      http://www.v2catholic.com/background/2015/03/2015-03-07Kevin-Walters-a-Church-of-mercy.htm

      kevin your brother
      In Christ

      • soconaill says:

        Every human-influenced image has an aesthetic, Kevin – a conception of what the originator considers to be beautiful or worthy of the respect and attention of the viewer. And as the Blessed Faustina ‘divine mercy’ movement is encouraging a particular devotion to that image, every divine mercy image has a devotional aesthetic.

        Just as many plaster statues have absolutely no appeal for me, the same applies to all of the ‘divine mercy’ images I have seen. It simply isn’t true that mercy cannot be prayed for outside the Faustina tradition, so can’t we just agree that we all need to pray in our own way?

        Although your posts are long, you do not respond to the particular questions I ask about the argued moral superiority of ‘natural methods’ of birth regulation. (For example, this question: “How can use of the rhythm method ‘improve the timing of births’ without determining that at least some conjugal acts do not result in conception?”)

        As we are therefore going around in circles fruitlessly, could we give this discussion a rest to allow us both see to other matters?

        • Kevin Walters says:

          Thank you for your comment Sean I will make this as short as possible for my part to conclude the discussion.
          I was talking about Blessed Faustina original picture that she painted although I have not seen it I am reasonable confident that it is not aesthetically beautiful, that was my point.
          I have never said mercy cannot be prayed for outside the Faustina tradition of course it can, Sean.

          “For example, this question: “How can use of the rhythm method ‘improve the timing of births’ without determining that at least some conjugal acts do not result in conception?”

          My first post to you, Hi Sean, you have made this comment (above) many times on the ACP Site no one ever responds myself included.
          I then made an attempt to do so, thinking you were searching for an answer.
          We all know that not all conjugal act result in conception it is well know that some are more prone to do so at a certain time of the monthly menstrual cycle, the point is that it not know by anyone which acts are fruitful and which are not they cannot be predetermined and you describe it as ‘Vatican Roulette’ The individuals only know that the chances of conceiving are lessened at certain times of the month providing possible breathing space between births. I can only leave it to any readers to decide if I have deliberately avoided you question.
          I am grateful Sean for giving me your time and responding to some of my questions.
          kevin your brother
          In Christ

  12. Lloyd Allan MacPherson says:

    Kevin, I live on an island. Is it possible, mathematically, that if there had been no available form of birth control on my wee little island, we would have been completely over-run with people and devoid of resources at this point? People have the built-in ability to figure it out. This doesn’t have to be a stone chiselled decree, does it? I understand the gross implications that the birth control pill has on the user and the environment. There is no room for it in this world.

    That being said, controlling a population in a family should be left up to the heads of that family, should it not? For people who do not wish to have children, for whatever reason, should these people not exist in your world?

    I’ve had three at a time when people would let on that one seemed like too many. We struggle, consistently, to get by. If I imagined that my situation were not to change and the number of children were to increase, I don’t know what we’d be doing right now.

    My parents stopped at 5. Were they wrong to have decided so? I guess I don’t understand how there can be a blanket statement on an issue that is so complex and situational. Luckily, God gave us the will to figure it out. I didn’t need anyone to figure it out for me nor did my parents.

    Gone are the days of our children tending to the family farm where more was certainly merrier. There was a certain strength in large families and both my father and mother were born into this situation so I know of what I speak. That age has passed us though. It would be nice if it returned but there would be much change in the world needed for that to happen.

    Can the Church see ahead of the curve? If the Church could foresee a time whereby an authority could create a financial dynamic that would restrict births, well that is a completely different topic – that’s less family planning and more economic policy. If the Church wants to lay down a blanket statement, they should start there with an imposition.

  13. Kevin Walters says:

    Thank you Lloyd for your comment, with my reply I am assuming that you have read my comments to Sean.
    We all have free will, for people who do not wish to have children they have the freedom and mean’s to do so, as do the majority of people in the West.

    “My parents stopped at 5. Were they wrong to have decided so?”

    I know couple who stopped at five, several years later an unplanned arrival, arrived, giving joy to the parents over many years, this child now an adult would surely be thankful (Although unplanned) that they did not stop at five. I am sure that many would agree with you parents decision but at the same time many would acknowledge that new life is never regretted (However difficult the situation at the time) once the new individual is known.
    Lloyd, I see the problem been one of honesty for Christians, rather than justify/deny the Truths within Humanae Vitae, would it not be better to acknowledge openly that one cannot live to its ideals? This humility would create cohesion within the Church based on honesty (Truth) before mankind and God. I believe that the true Divine Mercy Image gives the leadership of the Church the means to do this but this will require humility in acknowledging their/our own limitations.
    One of the greatest handicaps for the Church at this moment in time is its own dishonesty in ignoring (Colluding with) the situation in the West while at the same time strongly promoting Humanae Vitae in third world counties. It is most probable that many Catholics in poor third world counties will follow the West as they become better educated (More affluent) by rejecting the Truths/teaching of Humanae Vitae.
    I believe that the tide can be turned in the West by creating a less judgmental more compassionate church, in our accepting openly that we are not perfect and in so doing develop a lively conscience, this will have the effect of an increased birth rate as they/we become more attuned to the reality of our actions. In this statement I have to acknowledge the possibility in the short term of fewer births in third world countries. I say short term, as I believe many eventually will use contraception outside of church teaching and in doing so will alienate themselves psychologically or physically, perhaps both, from the church. Others will create a self-serving conscience were the true sensitivity to the value of their participation and wonder in the creation of new life will be lost. The innate knowledge that to deny another the opportunity of life is sinful, in time will be buried under a self-justifying conscience as right judgement and spiritual growth will now be stifled.
    Can the Church move beyond the carve by making room now for those who will eventual practice contraception and in doing so encouraging spiritual growth in them and their (Any) children by encouraging the laity who practices it, to acknowledge it openly before the Church in accepting their own human frailty.
    The True Image of Divine Mercy an image of broken man offers the Church away forward on Humanae Vitae, and for the divorced who have taken a civil partner.
    What I am proposing has many advantages for the Church as the Church will be seen to be honesty with herself and her children before God. The Church cannot sanction sin but it can sanction Divine Mercy and if they did so mankind would see the human face of Jesus Christ a face of compassion emanating from the Church drawing more people to her.
    Lloyd, would you accept what I am proposing has the potential for a way forward?
    kevin your brother
    In Christ

    • Lloyd Allan MacPherson says:

      “Lloyd, I see the problem been one of honesty for Christians, rather than justify/deny the Truths within Humanae Vitae, would it not be better to acknowledge openly that one cannot live to its ideals?”

      Better for whom Kevin – people who are truly in control of their family dynamic or the Church who feels they should be in control?

      Let me remind you, controlling births within a group dynamic such as a family is such an over-arching display of totalitarianism that a component of the Convention of Genocide is attributed. I understand that this is on the case of “preventing” but control is control and it should not be at the hands of the state, nor any state for that matter. Human beings understand this concept
      and they have moved on.

      Humanae Vitae predicted that the use of contraceptives would cause humanity to suffer. This is incorrect. What has caused our fertility numbers to suffer has been economic sanctions that have been placed on the middle class the last 30 years. The number one cause for divorce is not infidelity, it is financial reasons. This is an easy verifiable claim.

      So the claim to Humae Vitae as being prophetic, missed its mark and because of this, the Church should walk away from being any source of guidance for family planning other than “If God has given you the gifts necessary to make the proper choices for your family, why should
      we intervene.”

      If they had taken a higher road and used the strength in numbers (a gift we give them) and decided to rail against the reasons there is such economic disparity especially within developed nations, a shrinking middle class, at a time when profit margins have not been better for such a strict minimum of the global population, they might have come away with points in the “prophecy” department.

      The Church can’t admit that its prophesy in Humanae Vitae was inaccurate so seeing the need for anyone to acknowledge openly that they can’t live to its ideals is moot.

  14. Kevin Walters says:

    “Better for whom Kevin – people who are truly in control of their family dynamic or the Church who feels they should be in control”?—————–

    The Church teaches in Humanae Vitae that contraception is sinful you appear to be saying this is a tyrannical use of authority, to you and others it may appear that way but to those like myself it defends the most basic Truth known innately by mankind, that is to deny another the opportunity of life is sinful, in accepting this basic truth within our heart dismisses the assumption that that conscience can be formed simply by authority as this is the cornerstone of Humanae Vitae and the basis for our moral discernment in forming our conscience
    Many argue that celibates who are deprived of the experience married life with all its problems and difficulties should leave discernment to those with more experience of the issue in question, the married. When we are emotional involved it is difficult to be dispassionate but less so for those who can stand back and are less emotional involved. Many good men and women have left the Church as Humanae Vitae created an intolerable conflict within their hearts, others in the minority live to the teaching of Humanae Vitae while the majority practice contraception and this is justified in many different ways from it is not realistic, we do not want children, we cannot afford any more, I/we want to be in charge of our own life, my husband/wife is irresponsible, I have health problems etc, but this cannot be described as collective discernment by the people of God as it does not address this statement
    “The greatest gift we have received is the gift of life, given by God, through the action of our parents, refusing to fully partake in His creation by deliberately denying another the opportunity of life, is sinful”
    which is the basis of forming our conscience on this matter.
    So neither of the two propositions you site Lloyd but rather better for the individuals who would love God. I have read recently “Humility is so to speak, the mother of all virtues because it enables us to recognise who we are in our relations with our Creator and each other”.

    And this is what I am advocating Humility as the basis for cohesion and inclusivity within the Church. A Church that is truly universal where no one (Baptised Christian) is barred from partaking of the bread of life especially those who cannot receive absolution who openly (Publicly) acknowledge their need for God’s Divine Mercy just prior to receiving the bread of life should not be turned away. This would ensures spiritual growth for all her children no matter in what state, place or time she encounters them at the crossroads (difficulties) of life.

    You say

    “Humanae Vitae predicted that the use of contraceptives would cause humanity to suffer. This is incorrect. What has caused our fertility numbers to suffer has been economic sanctions that have been placed on the middle class the last 30 years. The number one cause for divorce is not infidelity, it is financial reasons. This is an easy verifiable claim”.

    My response; part taken from my Post above @ soconaill 6th January 2017 at 5:44 pm
    “Low birth rate, this can be seen in the general populous now there are more over sixty-fives than under sixteens, abortion is been used by many in society at large as a justified form of contraception, euthanasia in is on the horizon, this is been held back by many of the older generation, out of fear and justifiable so, they are astute when their own self-interest is at stake, as society in general appears to have lost its moral compass etc”. Also
    The dignity of individual humans has suffered. The fertility rate is lower in the West rather than for financial reasons I would cite social expectations and often unrealistic ones.
    “The Church should walk away from being any source of guidance for family planning”
    The church’s has an obligation to inform consciences.
    Honesty with each other in regards to sexual sin would create more space and energy within the church for honest discussion on social injustice, including economic disparity within developed nations and also between developed nations and third world countries, as there would be no need to debate to the same extent Contraception, The Divorced and remarried, and Committed Same sex attracted couples, as our energies in Unity of Purpose could then be released to diverge onto other social problems. Problems such global warming which you are a strong advocate for.
    It is not moot for one to acknowledge openly that you can’t live to the demands of Humanae Vitae, as internal honesty forms the basis for integrity within an individual and this (integrity) is the bedrock of a decent just society.
    In order to live a life based on honesty and integrity, you must know who you are and what you stand for.
    For Christians

    “Humility is so to speak, the mother of all virtues because it enables us to recognise who we are in our relations with our Creator and each other”.

    Would you Lloyd or anyone reading this, accept what I am proposing, based on humility, is a possible way forward?

    kevin your brother
    In Christ

    • soconaill says:

      “to deny another the opportunity of life is sinful”

      To choose deliberately to restrict conjugality to the infertile period must be to deny the opportunity of life to those who could otherwise have been born in the preceding or subsequent fertile period, so why is that not sinful?

      Remember, Kevin, that the church permits use of the infertile period not merely to space births but to limit the number, so it is approving a practice that denies the opportunity of life to all of those who would have been born if all attempts to regulate births were avoided.

      Why, finally, do you implicitly accuse those who simply cannot see the logic of Humanae Vitae of lack of humility? Mightn’t there be some lack of humility in that very accusation – in the assumption that you see things more clearly?

      • Kevin Walters says:

        Sean in answer to your questions based upon infertile periods.

        For couples who practice NFP there are no definitely known infertile periods so every sexual act remains open to the possibility of new life
        Church teaching; to be moral, each and every sexual act must be marital and unitive and procreative. NFP allows marital relations to be open to life and open to the will of God concerning procreation. The sexual acts of a husband and wife who use natural family planning always retain the unitive and procreative meaning. Therefore, the use of NFP is moral.
        You put this question to me previously
        “For example, this question: “How can use of the rhythm method ‘improve the timing of births’ without determining that at least some conjugal acts do not result in conception?”
        We all know that not all conjugal act result in conception it is well know that some are more prone to do so at a certain time of the monthly menstrual cycle, the point is that it not know by anyone which acts are fruitful and which are not they cannot be PREDETERMED and you describe it as ‘Vatican Roulette’ The individuals only know that the chances of conceiving are lessened at certain times of the month providing possible breathing space between births. I can only leave it to any readers to decide if I have deliberately avoided you question
        I think that we had already agreed that we will have to agree to disagree on this.

        “Why, finally, do you implicitly accuse those who simply cannot see the logic of Humanae Vitae of lack of humility? Mightn’t there be some lack of humility in that very accusation – in the assumption that you see things more clearly?”

        I stated that the root of Humanae Vitae is the gift of life, given by God, through the action of our parents, refusing to fully partake in His creation by deliberately denying another the opportunity of life, is sinful and this sin is innately known by mankind. I am saying that there is a lack of honesty (Humility) in not acknowledging this basic truth. In acknowledging this basic innate truth given by God to His creatures I am been honest with myself, because it is innate I know His Will, honest with my Creator by acknowledging this gift He gave me is to love Him, and in accepting the logic of Humanae Vitae which stems from this root, is to serve Him. This puts me in harmony with this teaching, to know Him to Love Him to serve Him.

        Do you accept this innate basic truth within yourself?

        kevin your brother
        In Christ

        • soconaill says:

          No, Kevin. I do not see what you see here. To me it is you who is engaging in self-deception – by arguing that on the one hand it is legitimate to seek to regulate births by choosing the infertile period, and that on the other you are not, by so doing, breaching your own principle of never denying life to possible offspring.

          There could be no point in advocating use of the infertile period other than to prevent SOME of those conjugal acts from leading to conception. The fact that you would not know in any particular case whether it was or was not a necessarily infertile act is immaterial. Your intention is to prevent SOME of those acts from leading to conception, and that to me is morally equivalent to seeking the same end for a particular act.

          You would never argue that although it is wrong ever to endanger the life of another, it is OK to fire a rifle at random into the air because MOST of those bullets would be harmless.

          I believe also that what you describe as an innate perception is in fact simply an innate capitulation to an external authoritarian direction that you feel innately obliged to rationalise in this way, to justify that external authority. (We were all raised to do just that!)

          Finally, to declare that what is ‘innate’ for you MUST BE ‘innate’ for everyone else is surely itself simple authoritarianism.

          • Kevin Walters says:

            Sean my post to you ends in
            Do you accept this innate basic truth within yourself?
            Your reply
            19th January 2017 at 8:24 pm opening line to me states

            “No, Kevin. I do not see what you see here.”

            For clarity are you saying that you do not have this innate basic truth within yourself?
            kevin your brother
            In Christ

            • soconaill says:

              As I do not accept that what you are calling an “innate basic truth” merits that description, it follows that I ‘do not have it within myself’.

              Were I to choose to use the infertile period to prevent conception, how on earth could I convince myself that each and every act of intercourse at that time was ‘open to life’? Uncertainty in relation to a fact, and the fact itself, are quite obviously entirely different things. Self-deception cannot be part of an innate morality.

        • soconaill says:

          “For couples who practice NFP there are no definitely known infertile periods so every sexual act remains open to the possibility of new life.”

          This is the root of your self-deception, Kevin. How can the uncertainty of a couple over whether an act is open to life make that act IN FACT open to life?

          Given that this couple will deliberately have chosen the infertile period to make conception unlikely, how could they in all honesty believe that ANY such act was open to life? They could only do that by deceiving themselves as you are doing.

          You are confusing a state of knowledge in relation to fact for the fact itself, and arguing that uncertainty creates reality. It is to confusion such as this that authoritarianism necessarily leads.

          • Kevin Walters says:

            Taken from my original post——–“Hi Sean, you have made this comment many times on the ACP Site no one ever responds myself included
            I have always understood that the rhythm method of contraception is still open to new life as no artificial means are employed to prevent new life from forming.
            Recently I made a Post on the ACP see link below my Post @9
            http://www.associationofcatholicpriests.ie/2016/11/thinking-for-ourselves/
            that dealt with contraception in it I wrote that
            “by refusing to fully partake in His creation in a deliberately act of denying another the opportunity of life, is sinful and this sin is known innately by all of mankind”,
            with this statement I had to conclude that the rhythm method is a contraceptive if it is a deliberate act within the heart to deny life”.———
            Up until that point in time I had never studied the Church’s teachings on NFP. When I made my statement above, in my own heart I had concluded that this applied to every individual sexual act;

            Extract from NFP document (Should be read in context to the full document)
            “It cannot be denied that in each case the married couple, for acceptable reasons, are both perfectly clear in their intention to avoid children and wish to make sure that none will result”(But the act must still be open to the possibility of life)
            Obviously this statement is not compatible with your shortened statement 17th January 2017 at 12:54 pm
            “to deny another the opportunity of life is sinful” as this statement is all embracing but my original statement is more specific
            “by refusing to fully partake in His creation in a deliberately act of denying another the opportunity of life is sinful”
            and refers to each individual act of sexual intercourse and the deliberate act of denying (by means of contraception- things that are done to prevent a woman from becoming pregnant) another the opportunity of life is sinful
            Catholic teaching on NFP states that every act of sexual intercourse has to be open to the possibility of new life.
            You say
            “To choose deliberately to restrict conjugality to the infertile period must be to deny the opportunity of life to those who could otherwise have been born in the preceding or subsequent fertile period, so why is that not sinful?”

            To answer your question fully I would have to explain fully catholic teaching on NFP it is not possible to do so here I have provided a Link for the NFP document http://www.catholicplanet.com/ebooks/Marital-Sexual-Act.pdf
            The premise within the document is based on this statement “That every individual act of sexual intercourse has to be open to the possibility of new life” and should fully answer your statement.
            You say
            “I believe also that what you describe as an innate perception is in fact simply an innate capitulation to an external authoritarian direction that you feel innately obliged to rationalise in this way, to justify that external authority”. (We were all raised to do just that!)
            Finally, to declare that what is ‘innate’ for you MUST BE ‘innate’ for everyone else is surely itself simple authoritarianism”.

            At this moment in time I stand by my full statement
            “The greatest gift we have received is the gift of life, given by God, through the action of our parents, refusing to fully partake in His creation by deliberately denying another the opportunity of life, is sinful and this sin is innately known by mankind”
            This innate knowledge reflected upon within the heart, is the basis for forming our conscience on this matter (Contraception).
            Before The Fall mankind’s innate knowledge was in harmony with our Creators Will after he rebelled (Separated from God) this innate knowledge was covered by a dense fog, remaining but corrupted by sin the only way to penetrate this fog is to look with honesty at The Truth given by God to His creatures but this can be painful as we see ourselves in our nakedness as our original parents did when they saw themselves for what they were in His sight, broken distorted but above all dishonest, this dishonesty stops us from seeing through the fog and stops us from truly embracing (Taking of the Tree of Life) our Father once again.
            The innate precept in my statement above cannot be seen by all although it is there in the fog of the intellect, many have seen this precept that is waiting to be absorbed into the heart but have pushed it back into the fog by justifying their actions within the heart, others have embraced it and this action could be described as an innate capitulation to an internal authoritarian direction imprinted on our hearts by our Creator, the fruit this capitulation is to share with our Creator the joy of new life and live in harmony with His Will
            For those who have glimpsed this precept and pushed it back into the fog it would far better to bring it out of the fog and embrace it with honesty (Humility) by acknowledge our own brokenness before a most merciful God and trust in these words
            “Jesus I Trust in You”
            to cover our own nakedness with the garment of humility (Honesty) And then take and eat of the bread (Tree) of life and live harmony with our Creator.
            kevin your brother
            In Christ

            • soconaill says:

              I can only repeat my previously expressed incomprehension – and my conscientious objection to believing two contradictory things simultaneously: that timing conjugal relations with the infertile period can both prevent conception and allow it.

              Simply for clarification, where have you found confirmation from an official church statement that the rhythm method is allowed because there can be no certainty that it will prevent conception in all cases?

              As far as I know, there has been no official statement to that effect, and the rhythm method is officially recommended as much for its reliability in preventing unwanted conceptions as for its moral acceptability.

              Sean O’Conaill

  15. Lloyd Allan MacPherson says:

    Kevin, when the Church is so bold to pronounce writings announcing their dominion over things like sexuality and family dynamics, do you ever question if this is the totalitarianism that St. Thomas Aquinas warned us about.

    In a general audience, Benedict XVI talked about Saint Thomas Aquinas and his thought, stressing how the “world of faith” and that of reason are “compatible” since both stem from the divine logos. There are “natural truths” like human rights that “no individual, majority or state can ever create, change or destroy, but can only recognise, respect and promote.” This rationality that is found in the hearts of men/women (and subsequently his/her families) comes before faith I’m sorry to pronounce.

    Those of you who think that faith comes before the logos (I’m not even sure to include you in this group Kevin) are sadly mistaken. They are both supremely compatible but the goodness that reigns in the hearts of men, is good, no matter what the Church may declare. Family dynamics in the hands of a State is nothing more than totalitarianism.

    Even in their majority, they can’t change the truth – the truth is that there is none where it concerns the family. Decisions made with the goodness of a family in mind, are to be on a case by case basis, left in the hands of where the logos resides and the Church should take up its matters with other “authorities” who make rearing children in the modern day, more challenging than what it should. That is a challenge worth tackling, is it not? Would this fit the requirement of a conscience the Church is required to inform? Terrible that they say don’t bite the hand that feeds.

    Honesty and integrity are not up for debate. People overstep their boundaries every day. I have already made my way forward Kevin and most people like me have as well, we are just waiting for the Church to find its place and come forward. My humility has no boundaries but my lifetime and that of the Church certainly does.

    • Kevin Walters says:

      Lloyd thank you for your response you may be aware that it is four days since you made your Post and that I have not responded I have a running debate going on with Sean at the moment that has forced me to research documents such as NFP etc I need to put my response to you on hold until I conclude my debate with Sean and then hopefully return to you I am sure that you will not mind, yours sincerely.
      kevin your brother
      In Christ

    • Kevin Walters says:

      Lloyd thank you for your response, you may be aware that I am not well educated I know little if anything about the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas most of my responses are based on intuitive knowledge and my own conclusions are based upon this knowledge.
      When the Church pronounce her teachings for the most part I do not see it as totalitarianism although I can accept that it may be seen by some as so, as some have used this teaching in the past in an intimidating manner but not recently .
      The Church has the promise from Jesus Christ that she will bear witness to the truth until the end of time and she does this by meeting her obligation to teach the truth to the faithful and I believe that this is seen by her teachings in Humanae Vitae as it appeals to the innate goodness within the hearts (It does not necessarily reign there) of men.
      The divine Word (Will, logos) harmonizes with our innate moral sense, intuitive knowledge often instantaneously bypasses the rational in men’s minds this innate moral knowledge is the base for rational thought to be reflected on within the heart I have stated that the root of Humanae Vitae is the gift of life, given by God, through the action of our parents, refusing to fully partake in His creation by deliberately denying another the opportunity of life, is sinful and this sin is innately known by mankind.
      I am saying that there is a lack of honesty (Humility) in not acknowledging this innate basic truth. In acknowledging this basic innate truth given by God to His creatures I am been honest with myself, because it is innate I know His Will, honest with my Creator in acknowledging this gift He has given me is to love Him, and in accepting the logic of Humanae Vitae which stems from this root, is to serve Him. This puts me in harmony with this teaching, to know Him to Love Him to serve Him.
      You say
      “the truth is that there is none where it concerns the family. Decisions made with the goodness of a family in mind, are to be on a case by case basis”.
      All men are created equal before God; this serves as a framework for making decisions regarding the ethical part of life, choosing between right and wrong within the context of the family and the family of mankind.
      Your statement:
      “Church should take up its matters with other “authorities” who make rearing children in the modern day, more challenging than what it should. That is a challenge worth tackling, is it not? Would this fit the requirement of a con-science the Church is required to inform? Terrible that they say don’t bite the hand that feeds”.
      I do not fully understand this statement.
      kevin your brother
      In Christ

      • Lloyd Allan MacPherson says:

        I’m not well educated either Kevin but I’m able to discern what is good for one, good for a group and good for humankind as a whole, but only when I’m part of those groups. Birth control exists in nature, not to mention our own environment, now taken from the confines of nature. The female of the species, apparent in some mammals in Canada, will abort their fetuses because the conditions of birth are not favourable (it is a species specific natural process that is triggered due to scarcity and poor conditions).

        How would you account for such a process?

        When I witness the signing of executive orders in the oval office with nothing but men standing over the president, it makes me think of this conversation and the decision that men in the church have made for the good of women. It wreaks of injustice not to mention, reduces our abilities to make sound judgements for our own.

        If God gave us free will, should it ultimately be hijacked by a hierarchical authority (that should not exist and opposes the very foundations of our religion) who in turn tells us what we can and can not do?

        The church, in proclaiming its opposition to contraception, washed its hands of the matter and left humankind on its own to fend for itself. They informed our consciences and closed the book. In the meantime, economic disparity has risen to it highest (hierarchical structure), and has created the conditions where “child rearing” in an affluent Western society is extremely taxing, economically not feasible for most, and with two adults needing to work in the household, not conducive to a sound family life.

        I enjoy our conversations Kevin. I’ve grown especially fond of your poetry as seen at V2Catholic. Keep it up. We might not agree with what should be considered “a sin” and what should not, but at least I hope we can agree that we are both entitled to our own opinions and within this agreement, no hierarchy should exist.

        • Kevin Walters says:

          Yes Birth control does exist in nature and includes some mammals and can also be seen in humans while the mother is breastfeeding, conception generally does not occur due to a chemical process in the production of milk this is a natural process and has the effect of delaying the next pregnancy this biological occurrence is given by our Creator. Humans too abort naturally due to many types of chemical imbalances these can be caused due to many factors from illness, diet to substance abuse etc.
          Yes it is true that men have made the decisions within Humanae Vitae which effect woman but it must be added it affects their husbands also.
          As I have said before the Church has a duty to teach the laity what it perceives as the truth with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
          “They informed our consciences and closed the book”.
          I do not think that the Church washed its hands of the matter as it encourages NFP which is based on sound moral principles.
          I agree that Western society is not conducive to sound family life as consumerism drives high social expectations and we see this in the encouragement of contraception, you could describe contraception as anti-child. Many parents today are faced with a sex education that teaches teenagers how to have sex “safely” with the help of condoms and pills, this has created a new class of parent and religious leaders and in some Western counties they have gained official recognition for an abstinence centred education that encourages the young to save sex for marriage.
          We are all part of the human family God gave us free will we have enacted civil laws that govern our behaviour generally beneficial for mankind often based from innate truths we accept these we cannot pick and choose from innate moral truth to that which fits our own circumstances/consciences.
          I have read recently that medical assistance in dying has been legal in Quebec for almost a year and in Canada for a few months. The Canadian Medical Association suggesting that medical assistance in dying could eventually allow the country’s health care system to save $139 million yearly. “Will pressures be exerted on individuals, to make sure they ask to be euthanized, because they’ve become a burden, an expense?” I believe contraception is at the root of this lack of respect for human life as it is constantly been undermined by society at large. Contraception, abortion (On demand) now Euthanasia will the next phase be the disabled the mentally ill, eventually will the driver, monetary value, be the guide placed on all human life?
          Before 1930 all Christian dominations rejected contraception only the Catholic Church holds firm thank God as Catholics we need to reflect carefully on the truths within Humanae Vitae and the full consequences of rejecting it for mankind and ourselves.
          The church’s hierarchical authority consists of children conceived and reared by the laity they are not an alien species we trust them to serve the Truth and on the matter of Humane Vitae they do, for my part I can deduce this form my own innate knowledge expressed in these words
          “The greatest gift we all have is the gift of life given by God through the action of our parents to deliberately deny another opportunity of life is sinful and this is innately known by all of mankind”.
          Thank you Lloyd for your comment on the poetry it is appreciated and of course we all are entitled to our opinions as we all answer individually for our own actions. I am grateful you find the time to give me your opinions especially considering your commitment to deal with global warming and bring about change, as can be seen on the ACP site, one cannot help but admire your tenacity.
          “No hierarchy should exist”.
          I have a post on the ACP link (with links within the post) below that deals with honesty and humility and if accepted would create a climate of hope and equality for all. Our faith needs to be simplified so that even the most simple can understand it and participate in true equality, simplicity of heart, as they could in our Saviours time and then the laity who serve the Inviolate Word of God IN UNITY OF PURPOSE male and female can take their rightful place as humble leaders within the Church.
          http://www.associationofcatholicpriests.ie/2017/01/reclaim-the-laity-before-its-too-late/
          kevin your brother
          In Christ

          • Lloyd Allan MacPherson says:

            You are most welcome Kevin. Tenacity lends itself to weariness at times and unfortunately, I’ve grown weary. To see details of the decisions of a hierarchical authority being pondered by every day citizens who are mentally fit enough to make decisions on their own frightens me to an extent. Here is an example.

            While Ireland has been debating the status of the unborn child, it has ranked 6th out of 15 world wide tax havens whose total tax avoidance calculates to 92bn euros each year. That resource capital could save 6 million children annually. I’m not saying don’t take a stand against something. What I profess is to carefully pick your battles – the thing you might truly stand for might be so far off from any sort of solution.

            I champion climate change because in the last 10 years, bubbling methane from the Arctic ocean floor has started to collect in rather expansive spaces under sea water. This is due to a natural process which has advanced quite significantly due to rapid deglaciation. This is a runaway climate change scenario that is controllable but only by human beings who are in tune with the problem and not chasing other issues. My passion on this topic, which is all encompassing and certainly affects every life as we know it on the planet, has no boundaries.

            So all the disturbances in the world like contraception and assisted suicide and immigration reform and like subjects simply serve as a distraction from the real big issue. Pope Francis was gracious enough to identify it for us and told us to “chill out” on other things for the time being. Rally around the reforms of the environment which are intrinsically linked to a putrid hierarchical structure (mainly financial) and at the same time, devaluing this pyramid structure might lend itself to feeding and caring for developing nations.

            When you think about it, doesn’t it make sense? Once achieved, it allows us to divert our attentions to other matters.

            For me, it’s an “all in” scenario.

  16. Kevin Walters says:

    Sean your post 23rd January 2017 at 11:08 am

    “Simply for clarification, where have you found confirmation from an official church statement that the rhythm method is allowed because there can be no certainty that it will prevent conception in all cases”?

    I have never said “that the rhythm method is allowed because there can be no certainty that it will prevent conception in all cases?”
    For clarification the closest statement that I have made to yours is
    “I have always understood that the rhythm method of contraception is still open to new life as no artificial means are employed to prevent new life from forming
    ———————————————————————————————
    Sean your statement

    “I can only repeat my previously expressed incomprehension – and my conscientious objection to believing two contradictory things simultaneously: that timing conjugal relations with the infertile period can both prevent conception and allow it”.

    Sean we have both been going around in circles with this statement of yours for me our debate has given clarity on the problem and thank you for I have come to a conclusion on this difficult question.
    I suppose the question is comparable to which came first the chicken or the egg we could go around in circles with this conundrum to answer we have to step back from the problem when we do we see that it is biologically problem that we can solve through the study of evolutionary developmental biology.
    To attempt to solve your conscientious objection in believing two contradictory things simultaneously we have to step back from the problem when we do so we see that it is a Spiritual problem that we can resolve through the study and reflection of the churches teaching on NFP and evolve our own understanding.
    If we apply the same logic on the spiritual plane to comprehend the logic behind your question as it is a spiritual question, a conscientious objection to believing two contradictory things is about your conscience. This Division in the mind can be resolved within the human heart
    For those who use NFP it is also a question of conscience I could quote much from the NFP document but to condense it one could say that those who truly practise NFP act in good faith, as the natural act of intercourse is unimpeded so remaining open to life before God it does not impinge on their conscience,
    Their loving union is acted act out in love by been open to God in their hearts as it is a question of the heart for the love of God by two individuals and of each other based on truth/love. Love of God in been true to His Will and mutual respect for each other based on self-given and honesty.
    The greatest gift we have been given by God is the gift of life through the action of our parents reciprocal love is given by those who love Him
    But those who by refusing to fully partake in His creation by a deliberate act (within the act of procreation) by denying another the opportunity of life, is sinful and this sin is innately known by mankind.
    To those who love Him there is no wilful act (Contraception) on their part as
    natural marital relations are open to life before God and each other, to practice NFP requires discipline with adherence to a strict moral code and mutual respect between the couple over 16 days of the menstrua cycle as they have to practise restraint, it is generally accepted that NFP has an average success rate of 75% it can be higher but also lower, at this percentage an average couple over twenty years would produce four to five children the majority of these couples could use contraception but choose not to, this bears witness to their integrity, love of God and each other.
    Sean your question cannot be answered on the worldly plane that is why no one has responded to your original question over so many years but it can be resolved in your heart.
    On the spiritual plane you will still be able to see the worldly contradiction but you could eradicate it form your conscience by letting it dwell deep in the heart/love, isn’t the Great Commandment to love, rather than to know?
    If you were to do this the impasse between us would dissolve into mutual respect, if you cannot I can take this no further but I will finish with your words from a previous post
    “And doesn’t it follow that we owe each other the obligation of love, even when we disagree over what we think we know?”
    kevin your brother
    In Christ

  17. Ben Flood says:

    The idea that ” artificial contraception ” is unnatural is to deny that human ingenuity is natural. The development of contraceptive techniques is natural as it flows from the natural thought processes of the human brain which is created by God.
    The Rythmn Method was devised by humans to satisfy the Catholic Church’s desire to have ” birth control” be as “natural” as possible.
    Also should an older couple refrain from sexual intercourse when they know that such activity is highly unlikely to result in pregnancy or what value does the church see for couples such as these in engaging in sex ?
    Anyway this debate is superfluous at this stage and as one American bishop said ” the train has left the station a long time ago on this issue”

  18. Ben Flood says:

    When using contraceptive methods be they the Rythmn Method , Barrier Methods or the Pill the intention is to avoid pregnancy. There are risks of pregnancy with all methods and none are 100% sure of avoiding pregnancy.

    • Kevin Walters says:

      Thank you Ben for your response
      The medical definition of Contraception (birth control) is it prevents pregnancy by interfering with the normal process of ovulation, fertilization, and implantation.
      NFP does not interfere with natural process and always remains open to life
      The thought process may be natural but it can be used for good or evil and for that reason we need an informed conscious.
      The Church teaches that under certain conditions older couples can practice NFP who have concerns over having more children also sexual intercourse is still moral when the woman is past child bearing age or the man is sterile but the definition of Contraception given above when practiced is always sinful.
      The train may have left the station a long time ago but its occupants could still have it turn around by dressing in the garment of humility ensuring its arrival at its true destination.
      Why is to dress in humility to bigger price to pay, to ensure entry into eternal life?
      The answer to your final question the
      “Intention is to avoid pregnancy”
      can be found in my response to soconaill above as it deals with intent within the human heart.
      Ben will you or anyone else respond to my proposal based on humility which also gives all those who cannot receive absolution the means to partake of the bread of life and live, Jesus embraced all, always encouraging those he encountered to change direction (Repent) in the present moment, this present moment is now and is the point we all continually start from within our heart each moment of the day.
      kevin your brother
      In Christ

  19. Kevin Walters says:

    Reply to Lloyd Allan MacPherson, 3rd Feb. 2017
    Lloyd you may grow weary at times as you have an almost impossible task on your hands but you are making a positive contribution to bring about change and I would encourage you to continue doing so. I see the problem been one of our fallen human nature I have given you the analogy before to the Tower of Babel mankind was scattered they were not of one tongue (Mind) self-interest was (and still is) the driver. We all know what needs to be done but we cannot come up with a worldwide consensual working plan, the top of the pyramid is often supported by many lower down the pyramid and those at the base can often be bought to serve the top. I am surprised that you rarely give links to the likes of https://www.sumofus.org/ this organisation has over twelve million subscribers which at times succeeds in curbing unethical practices within mayor corporations I would encourage anyone reading this to subscribe to receiving e-mails at no cost from them which offer you the opportunity to participate in bringing about change by acknowledging any of the projects they submit to you these often include global pollution, feedback is given and often the news is good, anyone can submit a project with certain conditions attached. Another advocate for justice is Avaaz in the USA and has over 44million members https://www.avaaz.org/page/en/
    I realize that what I stand for, a more honest and humble Church may be far off from any sort of solution but I have been able to point to a way forward for the Church through the means of the true Divine Mercy Image an image of broken man. I have hope and faith in what I am doing and I pray that good will come from this. We need to be of one mind that goes beyond self-interest the mind of Jesus Christ. If this were to happen it would allow us to divert our unified attention to other matters such as global warming.
    I lit the gas, for the kettle to boil
    The fridge is on, so that my food won’t spoil
    I took the car, I burnt some oil
    The washers on so my clothes wont soil
    I don’t want to work or toil
    I vacuum every day to keep the dust at bay
    The heating is on as I hum along
    The means for change are there
    But it is so hard to leave the teli
    from my comfortable chair
    A Wind Turbine near my home?
    Comfort and easy, but not near my home please
    All the lights are on, as Lemmings we scurry along.
    kevin your brother
    In Christ

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