Saturday, February 27, 2016

Is Pope Francis Promoting Contraception?

Birth control is the single biggest contributor to the immorality which is so prevalent in our world today.  Since the introduction of the birth control pill in 1960, sex has become nothing more than a way for two (or more) people to masturbate with one another.  Sex is no longer a means of expressing love between a husband and wife, and from that expression of love, to create new life.  Sex is now just another way to feel good.  Sex has become no different than alcohol, drugs, eating a good meal, or any other way people find pleasure in life.  Not only is love or any kind of concern for the other not a necessary component of sex, you don't even need to know or have any intention of ever seeing your partner again.

Prior to the widespread use of birth control, the element of procreation was an integral part of the sex act, as God meant it to be.  God did not give us sex just so we could experience pleasure.  Sex was meant to be a primary means of bonding a husband and wife together, and through that bonding, bring children into the world who would have the security and love of a mother and father in their lives.  With the introduction of birth control, people could engage in sex without creating new life, and thus sex lost all meaning.

However, separating sex from procreation did not remove the spiritual aspects of sex, and the mental, emotional and physical consequences that come from the misuse of sex. As a result, we now see people with an inability to commit to another person, rampant STD's, divorce and broken homes, one-parent homes, and of course, abortion. Homosexuality, which completely separates sex from its life-giving aspect, has become accepted in our world because sex without procreation has become accepted. When sex became just another way to feel good, then anything goes.

This was all beautifully examined and explained in Blessed Pope Paul VI's 1968 encyclical, Humanae Vitae. This document is also an excellent argument against same sex marriage, but that is for another time. Paragraph 13 explains the importance of the life-giving aspect of sex:
Men rightly observe that a conjugal act imposed on one's partner without regard to his or her condition or personal and reasonable wishes in the matter, is no true act of love, and therefore offends the moral order in its particular application to the intimate relationship of husband and wife. If they further reflect, they must also recognize that an act of mutual love which impairs the capacity to transmit life which God the Creator, through specific laws, has built into it, frustrates His design which constitutes the norm of marriage, and contradicts the will of the Author of life. Hence to use this divine gift while depriving it, even if only partially, of its meaning and purpose, is equally repugnant to the nature of man and of woman, and is consequently in opposition to the plan of God and His holy will. But to experience the gift of married love while respecting the laws of conception is to acknowledge that one is not the master of the sources of life but rather the minister of the design established by the Creator. Just as man does not have unlimited dominion over his body in general, so also, and with more particular reason, he has no such dominion over his specifically sexual faculties, for these are concerned by their very nature with the generation of life, of which God is the source. "Human life is sacred—all men must recognize that fact," Our predecessor Pope John XXIII recalled. "From its very inception it reveals the creating hand of God."
As can be seen from this passage, Blessed Pope Paul VI is telling us that ignoring and contravening the life-giving aspect of sex is sinful because "these are concerned by their very nature with the generation of life, of which God is the source." God gave us sex primarily to generate life. To change the use of the God-given sex act into nothing more than a means of self-gratification is sinful and inherently evil.

Blessed Pope Paul VI condemned all forms of life-preventing sex as a misuse and perversion of the sex act. Paragraph 14:
Therefore We base Our words on the first principles of a human and Christian doctrine of marriage when We are obliged once more to declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun and, above all, all direct abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children. Equally to be condemned, as the magisterium of the Church has affirmed on many occasions, is direct sterilization, whether of the man or of the woman, whether permanent or temporary.

Similarly excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means.

Neither is it valid to argue, as a justification for sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive, that a lesser evil is to be preferred to a greater one, or that such intercourse would merge with procreative acts of past and future to form a single entity, and so be qualified by exactly the same moral goodness as these. Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good," it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it —in other words, to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general. Consequently, it is a serious error to think that a whole married life of otherwise normal relations can justify sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive and so intrinsically wrong.
The Church has never wavered on this judgment, and she never will.  However, there was an interesting development during the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI.  The following is from an article from The New York Times in November 2010:
Pope Benedict XVI clearly acknowledged on Tuesday that the need to prevent diseases like AIDS could outweigh the church’s long opposition to the use of condoms.
It was a significant and stunning personal pronouncement from the conservative pope after more than two decades of heated debate inside the Roman Catholic Church and condemnation by health workers who said the church’s ban on prophylactics was morally indefensible during the AIDS crisis.
The Rev. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican’s spokesman, said that for Benedict, the use of condoms by people infected with H.I.V. could be “the first step of responsibility, of taking into consideration the risk to the life of the person with whom there are relations.”
“Whether it’s a man or woman or a transsexual,” he added.
Was Pope Benedict XVI going against Humanae Vitae and condoning the use of contraception? Hardly. The Pope Emeritus saw a great crisis in Africa in which more than 1 million adults and children (most of whom who contact AIDS in the womb) die from AIDS every year. It is impossible to tell hundreds of millions of people to abstain from sex. That just isn't going to happen. So do we just let them suffer and die, leaving millions upon millions of children without mothers and father and virtually destroying society? The purpose of the church is to protect life, and Pope Benedict XVI saw that, in this case, the use of condoms was not to prevent life but to protect life and protect the home.

As quoted in the New York Times article:
“We’re in a new world,” said the Rev. Jon Fuller, a Jesuit priest and a physician at the Center for H.I.V./AIDS Care and Research at Boston Medical Center. The pope is “implicitly” saying, he said, “that you cannot anymore raise the objection that any use of the condom is an intrinsic evil.”
In other words, if birth control is used primarily to prevent life, it is evil.  But in the instance cited by Pope Benedict XVI, the use of condoms would be to protect life.  That is a whole other ball game.

The NY Times article goes on to state:
Dr. Haas, a moral theologian, said he had seen an embargoed copy of a new book in which the pope conceded there might be extreme cases in which there were grounds for the use of condoms. “I told the publisher, ‘Don’t publish this; it’s going to create such a mess,’ ” he added.
In the book, “Light of the World,” which was released on Tuesday, Benedict said that condoms were not “a real or moral solution,” but that in some cases they could be used as “a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility.”
Benedict’s comments on condoms seem in some ways to be a profound provocation, indicating that although he is not changing church doctrine, he is insisting that condoms can be a responsible option in preventing disease.
The willful prevention of life is always sin, but it is certainly not sinful to prevent disease. On the contrary, it is sinful if we do not do everything we morally can to prevent and cure disease. Of course, if people lived moral lives in accordance with God's laws, we would not have this problem. However, we have to face reality, and that is that there is a major epidemic in Africa taking the lives of millions of people. We have to start where we can to help them. Pope Benedict XVI saw that first step in the use of condoms.

An example is given in The NY Times article:
In 2001, the Southern African Bishops Conference issued a landmark pastoral letter, which said that in a case of a married couple in which one spouse was H.I.V.-positive and the other was not, the use of “appropriate” protection to prevent the spread of H.I.V. was acceptable.
“The church accepts that everyone has the right to defend one’s life against mortal danger,” said the letter, which the Vatican never repudiated.
That notion had gained wider acceptance in the church, as became clear in 2004 when a priest from the conservative Opus Dei movement wrote an article in the British publication The Tablet that also supported the concept.
I write all of this as a way of attempting to explain Pope Francis' comments on the use of birth control to prevent birth defects caused by the Zika virus.

This issue, of course, has raised a resounding chorus of condemnation from the Catholic blogosphere, which seems to take great delight in condemning Pope Francis.  As I have written before, I often wonder if the entire Catholic blogosphere is really written by one individual.  All of these blogs and websites seem to state the exact same opinions and all on the same stories day after day.

For that reason, I go to a secular source for the facts of this story.  From an article from CNN:
At a press conference aboard a flight from Mexico to Rome on Thursday, the Pope was asked whether the church should consider contraception the "lesser of two evils" compared with the possibility of women aborting fetuses infected with Zika. The virus has been linked to an incurable and often devastating neurological birth defect.

The Pope first answered by calling abortion an "absolute evil" and a "crime."  [Funny how the Catholic blogs ignored this statement from the Pope.]

"It is to kill someone in order to save another. This is what the Mafia does," Francis said. "On the other hand, avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil."

The Pope then pointed to a narrow historical exception to the church's ban on most forms of birth control: A predecessor, Pope Paul VI, allowed African nuns to use contraceptives "in cases of rape," Francis said.
"In certain cases ... such as the one I mentioned of Blessed Paul VI, it was clear," the Pope said. Paul VI also wrote "Humanae Vitae," the papal document that solidified the church's stance against almost every form of birth control in 1968
Francis was likely referring to nuns in the Belgian Congo during the 1960s, who used anovulant, a form of contraception that prevents ovulation. They did so to avoid the possibility of becoming pregnant by rape, a threat during the country's political upheaval.
Many Catholic bloggers immediately called the Pope a liar and said that there is no proof that this incident in Africa ever happened.  Father Z - who has shown his bias and animus against Pope Francis many times - actually wrote a post in which he declared that this story was not just an urban myth but a lie.  The only real proof he gives is that he cannot find the story anywhere.  I'm sorry, but I cannot accept the word of a priest who, for starters, lies about Summorum Pontificum, praises people like radical traditionalists Michael Matt and John Rao, and calls prelate-hater Michael Voris his friend and someone who loves the Church.

The truth is that, even though Pope Francis never specifically mentioned this story, all the secular media sources knew exactly what he was talking about. The Vatican, in the over 50 years since this happened, has never denied the story. Are we to believe the Church has lied to us for over 50 years? No, I will believe the Church long before I will believe Father John Zuhlsdorf or the vast majority of the Catholic blogosphere.

Continuing with the CNN article:
"There was a legitimization of contraception at the time, and I think he's saying that a similar situation now exists in countries where the Zika virus is prevalent," said the Rev. James Keenan, an expert on Catholic sexual ethics and morality.
Keenan said the Pope's comments, although made in an off-the-cuff interview and not an official papal document, could have broad implications for health care providers, not only in Latin America but also the United States and elsewhere.
"This is not just about individuals. This is about the thousands of Catholic hospitals that can help women in this situation" by providing contraception.
Keenan compared the Pope's comments to remarks made by his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, in 2010. In a book-length interview, Benedict said that in some cases, using condoms to prevent the spread of disease could be the "first step" toward moral responsibility.
Francis' comments on Thursday take that argument several steps farther, Keenan said.
I will admit, when I first saw this story, I wasn't sure what to think.  It would be easy to follow the lead of the rest of the Catholic blogosphere and condemn Pope Francis.  But first and foremost, I always keep in mind that he is the Pope, the Vicar of Christ.  He is not allowed by the Holy Spirit to spiritually mislead us.  It is true that this was not said ex cathedra, but that doesn't change the fact that the Holy Father made this statement that there can be a moral use of condoms to avoid pregnancy.

Why would the Pope make this statement?  It is important to look at this situation closely.  The Zika virus can cause severe, permanent and even deadly birth defects in unborn babies.  From an article from NBC News:
The case of a Brazilian woman whose unborn baby died may show that Zika is causing even worse birth defects than feared, doctors reported Thursday.

The fetus had virtually no brain at all, and died seven months into the pregnancy, the doctors reported.

An autopsy showed Zika in the brain of the fetus but nowhere else in the body — a finding that supports what other doctors have found. Zika seems to pile up in the brains of babies killed by birth defects.
Perhaps even more worrying, the 20-year-old mother did not remember having had a Zika-like illness. That raises the possibility that the virus can cause birth defects even when it doesn't make the mother sick.
"The first indication of an abnormal pregnancy was the ultrasound finding of intrauterine growth retardation in the 18th gestational week," Dr. Albert Ko of Yale University and colleagues wrote in their report, published in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases.
The fetus was much smaller than it should have been. Later ultrasounds showed the fetus had hydranencephaly, a condition in which much of the brain is missing and fluid is there instead.

"The whole brain was filled with liquid," Ko told a recent meeting of researchers. The area around the lungs and in the chest was also filled with liquid.

This isn't just a matter of trying to prevent commonly seen birth defects such as autism. And this isn't just a matter of something randomly going wrong in a pregnancy. These severe and deadly birth defects are the result of disease. Further, many of these babies are born to families who have limited incomes and means of dealing with these babies. As the NBC article states, it is "in the densely populated slums where Zika is hitting hardest." 

Of course, the best way to deal with this would be if people would abstain from sex or use NFP, which is approved by the Church.  But as in the AIDS epidemic in Africa, telling people to abstain from sex or use NFP just isn't going to work.  In the meantime, this epidemic will continue to grow, causing untold misery and death to many millions of people.  Do we as a Church just turn our backs on these people and say, well, if you can't control yourself, you have to deal with the consequences of severely disabled and even dead babies?  Is that truly how Christ would show mercy to these people? We say we care about unborn babies - is this how we show it?

One person who commented here said that Pope Francis is promoting eugenics by allowing the use of condoms to prevent these birth defects. I think this shows a profound misunderstanding of the meaning of eugenics. Eugenics is about weeding out the weak and promoting the strong.  Pope Francis is not promoting anything of the kind.  He is trying to prevent unnecessary suffering caused by disease.  

From, Q&A about microcephaly:
Q: What are the consequences for the child?

A: In serious cases, early death. If the brain is under-developed, the body cannot function properly. In French Polynesia (one of the regions affected), these deformities have caused most of the babies to be stillborn, as the unborn infants simply cannot survive. - Andre Cabie, infections disease head at the University Hospital of Martinique.

A: For children who survive pregnancy and are born with microcephaly, the future is bleak. In the worst cases, children will be severely intellectually and physically handicapped. But even those less severely affected will likely struggle with psychomotor impairment — characterised by slow thought, speech and physical movements.

It is a real tragedy.” - Delfraissy
As Pope Francis said, abortion is NOT a solution to this problem.  Abortion is always, under ALL circumstances, inherently evil and sinful.  But is it wrong to try to PREVENT a pregnancy which is at risk?  Does this go against the spirit of Humane Vitae, which is all about promoting life?  In its most fundamental sense, just as Pope Benedict XVI's approval of the use of condoms to fight AIDS in Africa was not the prevention of life but of death, so is the approval of Pope Francis of the use of condoms against the Zika virus.  Pope Francis is saying it is not sinful to PREVENT the pregnancy of a child who may very well be die in the womb or shortly thereafter as a result of the Zika virus.  

Jesus Christ gave us a very important lesson when he said that the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.  He was condemned by the religious leaders of His time because he performed good works on the Sabbath.  The religious leaders of Jesus' time believed that all works - whether good or bad - were prohibited during the Holy Sabbath.  But Jesus said people were more important than rules, and when people's lives are at stake, we must do what we can to help them.  

For those who are strong enough to abstain from sex, that is most certainly the best way to go.  But as St. Paul warned us, a husband and wife are putting their marriage at risk when they do this (I Corinthians 7:5)
Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
I'm sure I will never convince those who have condemned and continue to condemn Pope Francis and everything he says and does.  But I offer this anyway and hope at least a few people will think about it before lashing out at the Holy Father.  

God have mercy on us all.  


  1. Thank you for this excellent post and continuing support of the Holy Father, as a single man who never married and never had relations with a woman and who doesn't have a clue about 'birthing babies' I don't understand all of the intricacies - I actually do not have a need to know. My confusion came along as a result of all of those who went after the Holy father and Fr. Lombardi. They seem quite convinced the Vatican is out to destroy the faith. An absurd POV, no doubt - and this is the source of my confusion.

    I trust the Holy Father, and if need be, I trust a definitive statement will come along to clear these issue up.

    In the meantime, I pray for the Holy Father almost continuously. I love him so much.

    Sadly this online chatter by those who mistrust him erodes confidence in the Magisterium and harms simple faith.

    I deliberately choose to be a child in faith and place all of my trust in Jesus, who called and chose every disciple to guide the Church.

    God bless you for this well thought out post. Never hesitate to exercise fraternal correction in my regard if and when I get things wrong.


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    1. CIB<<<Pope Francis is saying it is not sinful to PREVENT the pregnancy of a child who may very well be die in the womb or shortly thereafter as a result of the Zika virus.<<<<

      Dear Lady,

      I think you have captured the essence of what His Holiness said on the plane.

      The problem is that this contradicts what the Church has already said, repeatedly.

      Christ calls us to heroic courage. Bearing a handicapped child is a risk many take. There is no opt-out clause. Life happens and we must be willing to trust our Lord that He will provide us grace to bear whatever may come....

      I am providing a link to a post I did a long time back regarding what happens when a pope thinks he is so infallible that he can ignore the Church's plain teaching....

    2. I can't change your views nor do I wish to. If you believe that the Vicar of Christ can mislead, I can only think that you must really be struggling with your Catholic faith. It must be very difficult for you and I will pray for you and others who feel as you do.

    3. CIB>>>>Do we as a Church just turn our backs on these people and say, well, if you can't control yourself, you have to deal with the consequences of severely disabled and even dead babies? Is that truly how Christ would show mercy to these people? <<<<

      CIB, I do thank you for your prayers!

      On a less positive note, I'm afraid your sentence above is a carte blanche for the pill and condoms to anyone who might have a chance of producing severely handicapped infants. Who is not within that Venn diagram?

      Certainly some people are closer to the center of the circle, therefore you might say Francis is limiting the pill to hard cases, but regardless--if the former is the case, then Francis aiming special birth control efforts at reducing the population of defectives is the definition of eugenics.

    4. I think you need to re-read my post. Both Pope Benedict and Pope Francis - and Blessed Pope Paul VI, if you believe the Church - all condoned the use of contraception to batte crisis situations AIDS is literally killing millions of people in Africa and the Zika virus has the potential of doing the same. This puts everyone at risk, no matter what your health status or genetics are. Otherwise normal, healthy babies will either die or be born with a very poor prognosis of survving.

      Do you really think that if there is a way to avoid this, we should not do it? As I wrote in my post, that is equivalent to the Pharisees who condemned Jesus for healing on the Sabbath.

    5. >>>Both Pope Benedict and Pope Francis - and Blessed Pope Paul VI, if you believe the Church - all condoned the use of contraception to batte crisis situations<<<

      CIB, This statement is wrong, as far as I can see. Benedict addressed, I believe, the question of whether an aids infected homosexual prostitute might- in his own mind- be taking steps in the direction of being concerned about his customer by using a condom. That's not *contraception* as homosexuals cannot conceive, nor was it even condoning condoms. The question concerned the prostitute's subjective view of his actions. This would be similar to a mafioso who begins to tithe with his stolen income. It's a small subjective step in the right direction....objectively it's still out of bounds.

      Are you aware of an instance where Benedict really recommended the pill to eliminate society's 'undesirables'? Paul VI? Paul did tell us plainly and not in whispers....

      "Similarly excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means."

      Francis is taking us to a new frontier.

    6. I will pray for you. It must be so difficult to be in your position.

  3. just a correction to my above comment 'if the former is the case' should have said 'if the latter is the case' trying to be a little too high-falootin!

    CIB, one other sad thing about your post....your focusing on the severe debilitation including the unflattering pictures recalled to my mind the opening seconds of this film

    I think you know this, but I will try to remind you that adversity is not the end of the world. God gives some people very heavy crosses to bear. We may feel we are helping families--bending the rules for them, when all we are doing is stealing their "ticket to heaven"

  4. You rightly say that the best way to avoid pregnancy in the case of the threat of Zika is to abstain or use NFP. You continue by saying that telling people to abstain/use NFP isn't going to work. I agree but the implication then is that you would allow (because of people's weakness) the procreative act to be deliberately separated from the unitive act, and conception to be deliberately prevented. This is clearly and in ALL cases condemned by Humane Vitae. It is the committing of an evil for a good reason which is also unequivocally and in all cases condemned:

    "it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it —in other words, to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general."

    It's pretty clear.

    I love Pope Francis and feel compassion for those affected especially concerned parents but it is not real compassion to say it's OK to go against moral law because of the suffering that may come. That's a really really slippery slope - Besides, living outside of God's grace causes more evil and suffering than any human suffering.

    No. There must be a better way to help them.

    1. I understand what you are saying, and it does seem like a slippery slope. But that is what the Pharisees said about Jesus healing on the Sabbath - if you start to allow Jesus to heal on the Sabbath, then pretty soon, anything will go and the Sabbath will be completely desecrated.

      I will repeat what I wrote above: Pope Benedict XVI talked about allowing the use of condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS because just telling people to stop having sex was not and is not going to work. This was and is a crisis situation in which millions of people were affected and died, including many millions of innocent children. Outside of abstinence, the use of condoms is the most effective way to stop the misery, suffering and death.

      The same is true in this case. Yes, of course, abstinence and NFP are without a doubt the preferred way of dealing with this virus. But that just isn't going to happen. So do we allow people to take a chance on conceiving children who are destined to either die in the womb or be born with severe, permanent birth defects which will probably lead to an early death? Is that really what Humanae Vitae is all about? Humanae Vitae is about protecting life, and that is what Pope Francis is promoting and allowing.

      As the Pope said, once the children are conceived, there is no answer because abortion can NEVER NEVER NEVER be an answer. But it is not wrong to prevent the conception of these doomed children.

      If you can think of a better way, I'd sure like to hear it. Otherwise, to insist on forbidding the use of condoms is as merciless and uncaring as the Pharisees who condemned Jesus for healing on the Sabbath.

    2. Firstly, Pope Benedict never allowed condom use to prevent the spread of aids.

      What he said was quite different, was used in the context of male prostitutes (where life was never possible anyhow) and ONLY as it being a POSSIBLE step where the user starts to think about responsibility which may bring them to a proper understanding and use of sexuality.

      It is certainly NOT permission.

      Secondly, your compassion is clearly evident, and laudable. No question. But your Sabbath example doesn't hold water. For several reasons:

      Jesus cannot sin. Therefore healing on the Sabbath was never a sin. (Nor pulling one's donkey out of a well etc.) That the Pharisees thought it was was evidence of their own twisting of the law to suit them.

      Humanae Vitae clearly states use of contraceptives to prevent conception during the marital act as a sin. Always and in every case. NO MATTER HOW LAUDABLE THE REASON.

      The moral principal (not to do evil for a good reason) also clearly applies. Always and in every case. Full stop.

      The Pope, who has been given the authority to bind or loose, to forgive or retain sin has made it very clear.

      As for solutions, they need to come from medical advances, the assistance of the first world, vaccines. Terribly slow, but beats allowing immorality every time.

      I am not being merciless. That's a cheap shot. Jesus was not being merciless when he condemned adultery, even though by saying it would put lots of people off because they are weak. He didn't shy away from hard sayings. He has given us HIs example. Compassion - always! But one can't confuse mercy with permission to sin.

    3. I certainly did not mean to imply that you, personally, are merciless. I am saying that your approach - which is to condemn those who are unable to follow the teachings of the Church and instead allow them to suffer the terrible and unnecessary death of their children - is more concerned with rules than with caring about the needs of others.

      I found your article very interesting. The article states the exact words of Pope Benedict as such:

      "Seewald followed this up with a question about whether the Church is “actually not opposed in principle to the use of condoms.”

      Pope Benedict responded, "She of course does not regard it as a real or moral solution, but, in this or that case, there can be nonetheless, in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality."

      The article then goes on, without any further quotes from Pope Benedict, to show that he did not mean what he said. Sorry, but it just doesn't wash.

      As far as Jesus Christ healing on the Sabbath and the effect it had on the Pharisees - you must remember the importance of the Sabbath in the life of the Jews at that time. They were given an example from the book of Exodus of a man who was killed by the Lord for picking up sticks on the Sabbath. From Numbers 15:

      "32 While the Israelites were in the wilderness, a man was found gathering wood on the Sabbath day. 33 Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and the whole assembly, 34 and they kept him in custody, because it was not clear what should be done to him. 35 Then the Lord said to Moses, “The man must die. The whole assembly must stone him outside the camp.” 36 So the assembly took him outside the camp and stoned him to death, as the Lord commanded Moses."

      The Sabbath was the identifying sign of the Jews and held most sacred. Orthodox Jews still to this day still hold the Sabbath in the highest regard and reverence, as I see in my own neighborhood in which many Orthodox and Hassidic Jews live.

      When Jesus healed people, it was not necessary to do it on the Sabbath day. They were not in danger of dying on that day. He could have waited until the next day to avoid scandal and offense. But he didn't.

      Jesus commanded one man who was healed on the Sabbath Day to pick up his mat, which was completely against the Jewish laws, and as can be seen in the passage from Numbers, could result in death.

      But Jesus was telling us that doing good and helping people is always more important than rules. Yes, God's laws are of utmost importance, and I showed in my post, I completely understand and agree that birth control is morally evil and leads to many evils.

      I personally would never think to give people permission to use birth control to fight the Zika virus. But our Holy Father - in his wisdom and guidance from the Holy Spirit - has told us that it is not sin in this case. The Holy Father is a very prayerful man, always looking for the right path. He prays three rosaries every day, spends at least an hour a day in adoration, starting his day early in the morning with prayer. I see everything he does and says as being filled with mercy and compassion and leading people to Christ.

      That is how I viewed his comments about condoms and the Zika virus. And when I prayed about it and looked further into it, I found he was right.

      I am sure I will never convince you, nor will I try. But I do believe in a God of love and mercy, and I don't believe he expects more from us than what we can give. And to ask millions of married people to live without sex is, for many, an impossible request, as can be seen in the verse I quoted from I Corinthians 7.

  5. Firstly, Pope Francis speaks about avoiding pregnancy. Which has always been licit in certain circumstances (any NFP using couple will agree).

    He never stated contraceptives were licit means. The Pill certainly isn't, as it is an abortifacient, clearly condemned by Pope Francis. Condoms are certainly no failsafe either to prevent conception nor disease. I can go on.

    My first child has severe congenital abnormalities (diagnosed at 18 weeks) so I am no means blind to the suffering that this can cause. We live with it every day. And I thank God for His plan which far far exceeded my limited human understanding. And that God indeed is continually glorified through this. In so very many ways. My experience also does not convince me one bit that I could ever transgress moral law to avoid a possible evil, even an imminent one. I also know two couples (the wives are sisters) who lost 3 children between them to babies diagnosed early with anencephaly. Which is horrific. The baby dies in utero or within days after birth. Both couples were a powerful witness of how God brings love and mercy out of suffering. They loved their babies unconditionally and the siblings witnessed that too. The fruits of this were incredible. So don't limit God. "Though He slay me, still I trust in Him" - (Job 13:15).

    And as for St Paul, he said for some, abstaining from sex would be difficult, yes. He never said it was impossible. GOD DOES NOT ASK THE IMPOSSIBLE!! Besides. For God all things are possible, and St Paul reiterates this when he says: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4: 13)

    I also believe in loving and merciful God. But He does not allow sin due to weakness. Otherwise all manner of sexual behaviours would be allowed. Is this what you're suggesting? I think it is. Now, weakness may diminish culpability but the sin is sin is sin. God approving of sin is not God at all. What you are proposing is relativism.


    The last sentence here sums it up. Again. I suspect this will not change your opinion any more than you have changed mine, so I think we should leave it at that! But with all God blessings to you and every reader.

    1. You really need to get your facts straight. The pill does not cause an abortion. It stops ovulation which prevents pregnancy. Something like an IUD does not prevent pregnancy but aborts a fertilized egg. Of course condoms are not a 100% guarantee that they will work, but they are far more effective than when not used.

      You also misrepresent Pope Francis' statement. If he did not say birth control was okay to prevent pregnancy in this case, there would be no controversy. He did say it. The question is, are we trying to prevent the conception of life or are we trying to prevent passing on disease that will most likely kill any life that is conceived? You, like most people, seem to think there is no difference. But there is a huge difference. It is the difference between what is sin and what is not sin.

      God bless you in caring for your child. You carry a heavy cross, and I know that at the same time you are receiving many blessings. The difference in your situation and those who are under threat from the Zika virus is that the Zika virus is a crisis situation that is capable of killing potentially millions of children. Are we to just sit back and say, so sad, too bad, or do we do whatever we can to stop this terrible epidemic? Do we use the means we have to stop this epidemic, or do we allow the suffering and death? What is truly sin and what is not?

      Please give this more thought than just a knee-jerk reaction as so many have done.

  6. Mine was not a knee jerk reaction in any sense of the word. It is very considered.

    Actually, it is you who need to learn the facts. Evidently you don't know how the Pill works. It works in two ways. Step one is to prevent ovulation. Step 2, is, if ovulation occurs anyway (step one is not failsafe), then the lining of the uterus is made thin so it cannot sustain an embryo. Therefore, the embryo dies. By design. Hence it is also an Abortifacient.

    This has been known for a very long time. I could give more evidence.

    Moreover, there's evidence that the zika/microcephaly link is rather weak anyway, But even if it wasn't:

    Yes, we use all licit means we have to stop epidemics. Note LICIT means. Like avoiding pregnancy through abstinence. Which is not impossible. Contraceptives? Due to weakness and to prevent awful illnesses? To prevent a possible deformity/death? Lets all do it then, because you never know when this could happen. Like it did to me. And God would never want that. So He will suspend natural law in this case. Because nothing good could ever come of a deformed or dead child, right? Wrong. Please read my previous post. So. One more time. You can't do evil for a good reason. Contraceptives separate the unitive act from procreative act in sexual intercourse, which is inherently evil. Full stop. End of story.

    I'm well and truly done. God bless.

  7. Here ya go!

    Prevent STD's by not having sex. Jesus never had sex, Mary and Joseph never had sex.

    Our priests and religious dont have sex.

    Chastity and purity are virtues. Mary consecrated her virginity to God.

    We are all sitting in the muck, masterbating with each other when we dont connect sex with God and with life.


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