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The Family in 2017 – Part 2: The Failure of the U.S. Bishops


May 8, 2017

Part 2: The Failure of the U.S. Bishops

It can clearly be shown that Catholic laity is very much in need of proper moral guidance from their bishops. This has always been the situation, but in the last 100 years it has especially been the case. Recent moral issues which were either not in existence in the distant past, or not questioned by the average Catholic until, in the 20th century they became a growing dilemma in the Church. These issues have had a direct and profound effect upon the family.

In Part I of this article, it was explained how the enemies of the Church planned the moral destruction which has been witnessed. Part 2 will provide examples of the failure of the U. S. Catholic bishops.

Popes Pius XI and XII condemned birth control / contraception in the first half of the 20th century. Looking back, it seems as though these measures were effective at the time, but eventually were ignored by a growing number of clergy.

Pope Pius XI in his encyclical Casti Connubi (On Christian Marrige), Dec. 31, 1930, twice condemned birth control:

54. But no reason, however grave, may be put forward by which anything intrinsically against nature may become conformable to nature and morally good. Since, therefore, the conjugal act is destined primarily by nature for the begetting of children, those who in exercising it deliberately frustrate its natural power and purpose sin against nature and commit a deed which is shameful and intrinsically vicious. (Emphasis ours)

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

Pope Pius XII further confirmed the condemnation of birth control when he addressed the participants at the Congress of the Italian Catholic Union of Midwives on October 29, 1951

The address confirmed all aspects of Catholic doctrine on human life – and the firm lessons taught by his predecessor in Casti Connubii. What would make this allocution particularly noteworthy would be the following passage:

The matrimonial contract, which confers on the married couple the right to satisfy the inclination of nature, constitutes them in a state of life, namely, the matrimonial state. Now, on married couples, who make use of the specific act of their state, nature and the Creator impose the function of providing for the preservation of mankind. This is the characteristic service which gives rise to the peculiar value of their state. The individual and society, the people and the State, the Church itself, depend for their existence, in the order established by God, on fruitful marriages. Therefore, to embrace the matrimonial state, to use continually the faculty proper to such a state and lawful only therein, and, at the same time, to avoid its primary duty without a grave reason, would be a sin against the very nature of married life.

When one looks at the combination of the Modernists working underground and Americanism prevailing among most clergy in the United States, one is able to understand in hindsight it would only be a matter of time before the moral battle is compromised. You will usually find when a person’s faith is weak or compromised, their morality is similarly compromised.

It would seem as though it did not take long for the compromising to begin. It is known now that Catholic couples began to use contraception in the 1960’s. Once again a member of the hierarchy is referenced, but this time it is to illustrate a tragic downfall.

The following excerpt is taken from an article written by Seth Meehan, Catholic and Contraception: Boston, 1965 on March 15, 2012.

In 1948, Cushing, then an archbishop, led a public charge against Referendum No. 4, a statewide ballot measure designed to relax the ban on contraception. From the pulpit and on the radio, the Catholic campaign argued that birth control was “still against God’s law.” Cushing defined contraception at the time as “anti-social and anti-patriotic, as well as absolutely immoral.” The campaign was a bitter one. In the end, 57 percent of voters rejected the referendum.

The cardinal had won but it was at a great price. Non-Catholics in and outside of the state were offended.

It was not until the 1960s that another attempt was made to amend the state’s birth control restrictions. This time it was clear that Cardinal Cushing had changed his mind on the appropriateness of laws like the state’s birth control restrictions, which sought to impose moral behavior at odds with individual conscience. More generally, he had adopted a conciliatory tone. Two days before a fellow Massachusetts Catholic won the first primary of the 1960 presidential campaign, Cushing argued that a Christian must engage in “friendly discussion with those whose views of life and its meaning are different than his own.”

In 1963, while a guest on WEEI radio, Cushing took a question from an unidentified female caller who asked if he considered the birth control ban to be “bad law.” Yes, Cushing replied. “I have no right to impose my thinking, which is rooted in religious thought, on those who do not think as I do.” (The anonymous caller, discovered decades later, was Hazel Sagoff, executive director of Planned Parenthood of Massachusetts. A month earlier she had learned from a Cushing confidant that support for the state’s ban was dwindling within the local church hierarchy.) It was the first time that the cardinal publicly announced a willingness to accept revisions to the state’s contraception law.

Poor health prevented Cardinal Cushing from appearing before the legislative panel considering the Dukakis bill in March 1965, (that would greatly compromise the ban) but he dominated the hearing nonetheless. In a written statement he declared that “Catholics do not need the support of civil law to be faithful to their own religious convictions and they do not seek to impose by law their moral views on others of society.” He found it unreasonable to “forbid in civil law a practice that can be considered a matter of private morality.” What’s more, he observed, laws needed a “reasonable correspondence” to community standards to be effective and enforceable. Cushing, however, could not endorse the proposed change to the ban, because he felt that it lacked “proper safeguards” for the young. He requested that Gov. John Volpe appoint a commission to craft a repeal to “satisfy the conscientious opinions of the whole community.” A bill was signed into law in 1966.

Cardinal Cushing apparently did not object to the laws against contraception and birth control for Catholics, but would no longer support civil laws for all citizens. This public compromise would serve to undermine Church Law as well.

By the mid-1960’s, the moral floodgate had been opened and an increasing number of Catholic couples were using birth control. Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae was not enough to stop the moral collapse.

Since then, birth control, although it is still against Church Law, as continued to increase among Catholic. An article written within the past five years has estimated that 90% of Catholics have used or are still using artificial birth control.

The damage done to the family and married life from contraception can hardly be calculated. The end of marriage is to have children. If there are no children or fewer than what God Wills for a family, the marriage will not be a happy one. Sin and the resulting frustration will divide the family. The only proper way for a Catholic couple to conduct themselves in a Catholic marriage is to be willing to have as many children as God Wills for you. It might be two children, or it might be ten.

The legalization of abortion took place because of the acceptance of contraception. If contraception had been rejected, Roe v. Wade would not have happened. Furthermore, if the bishops had risen up together and preached against abortion from coast to coast prior to the Supreme Court decision, it is this writer’s opinion Roe v. Wade would not have become the law of the land. Sixty million lives to date (2016) would have been saved.

It is clear the bishops in this country did not do all they could to stop the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. May one conclude from the information above about Cardinal Cushing that the American bishops were continuing to compromise in this all-important question of morality? Many of the bishops held powerful political positions as bishops, archbishops and cardinals. Were they not willing to use their political influence to stop this case from being heard, or in some way to morally influence a different outcome?

What is known about those years and the men who held a considerable power and influence in the U. S. hierarchy, the late Fr. Joseph Bernadine was making his presence felt. It was he who would become well-known for his “seamless garment theory.” For those not acquainted with this theological and moral nonsense, he considered all issues to be of equal value.

Imagine trying to explain to your eighth grade religion class that abortion is no more important than immigration; or the so-called same-sex marriage issue has the same value as the minimum-wage issue. Fr. Bernadine apparently was quite adept at passing off this immoral non-common sense to his fellow bishops. He was clearly the most influential clergymen in the U. S. in the last-half of the 20th century. There are, at least, a few Modernists clergymen who continue to promote this seamless garment silliness in 2016, twenty years after Fr. Joseph Bernadine’s death. Now you know why the bishops conference spends so much time with secondary “social justice” issues such as the minimum-wage or immigration.

A second question must be asked here: how many of these bishops actually believe abortion is morally justified? It has been learned over the years that more of them accept it than you would expect. Then again, ALL of them should stand strong against the slaughter of the unborn. This, though, is not the case.

How many of the laity have been wrongly guided in the confessional about whether to have an abortion in the same way the laity were told contraception was acceptable? Some Modernist clergy are so clueless (faithless) on one hand and brazen on another that they are willing to admit their immoral treason from the pulpit and believe all is well!

A third question must now be asked: how many of these clergy are homosexual, and because of this moral degradation openly accept “a woman’s right to choose?” If a person is willing to live an unnatural sinful life, it is highly unlikely he will take the correct position on the most significant moral issue of our time-abortion. It is estimated by Modernists statistics that about one-half of the U. S. Catholic clergy are homosexual. How would anyone expect these sodomistic men to make the right decision?

There is yet another point which must be considered here because it has involved so many Catholic families in the past 40 years, i.e., sex education, especially in the Catholic classroom.

I clearly recall reading of many complaints of Catholic parents in 1980’s and 1990’s. The material that was used, and may still be used in certain dioceses, was claimed to be more explicit than that used in the public school system. One is reminded of the warning and admonition of Pope Pius XI of the dangers of so-called sex education in his Encyclical on Christian Education.

“65. Another very grave danger is that naturalism which nowadays invades the field of education in that most delicate matter of purity of morals. Far too common is the error of those who with dangerous assurance and under an ugly term propagate a so-called sex-education, falsely imagining they can forearm youths against the dangers of sensuality by means purely natural, such as a foolhardy initiation and precautionary instruction for all indiscriminately, even in public; and, worse still, by exposing them at an early age to the occasions, in order to accustom them, so it is argued, and as it were to harden them against such dangers.

66. Such persons grievously err in refusing to recognize the inborn weakness of human nature, and the law of which the Apostle speaks, fighting against the law of the mind; and also in ignoring the experience of facts, from which it is clear that, particularly in young people, evil practices are the effect not so much of ignorance of intellect as of weakness of a will exposed to dangerous occasions, and unsupported by the means of grace.

67. In this extremely delicate matter, if, all things considered, some private instruction is found necessary and opportune, from those who hold from God the commission to teach and who have the grace of state, every precaution must be taken. …”

This pope and Pope Pius XII explained further:

Here is a statement issued by the Holy Office on March 31, 1931:

“QUESTION: May the method called ‘sex education’ or even ‘sex initiation’ be approved?

ANSWER: No. In the education of youth the method to be followed is that hitherto observed by the Church and the Saints as recommended by His Holiness the Pope in the encyclical dealing with the Christian education of youth promulgated on December 31, 1929. The first place is to be given to the full, sound and continuous instruction in religion of both sexes. Esteem, desire and love of the angelic virtue must be instilled into their minds and hearts. They must be made fully alive to the necessity of constant prayer, and assiduous frequenting of the Sacraments of Penance and the Holy Eucharist; they must be directed to foster a filial devotion to the Blessed Virgin as Mother of holy purity, to whose protection they must entirely commit themselves. Precautions must be taken to see that they avoid dangerous reading, indecent shows, conversations of the wicked, and all other occasions of sin.

Hence no approbation whatever can be given to the advocacy of the new method even as taken up recently by some Catholic authors and set before the public in printed publications. [Decree of the Holy Office, dated March 21, 1931]

Another Pope, Pius XII in 1951, speaks on this same issue. On September 18, in a solemn address delivered to French fathers of families, His Holiness said:

Even the principles so wisely illustrated by Our Predecessor Pius XI, in the Encyclical Divini Illius Magistri, on sex-education and questions connected thereto are set aside — a sad sign of the times! — with a smile of compassion: “Pius XI”, they say, “wrote twenty years ago for his times! Great progress has been made since then!”

In contrast to these wise cautions, Jorge Bergoglio (a.k.a. Pope Francis) sanctioned a video this past summer (2016) at “World Youth Day” openly advocating sex education for the youth in the presence of the youth! Quite a “papal” admonition to virtue!

The result of this clerical treachery is the Catholic Family in 2016 is in moral shambles. There are exceptions, but generally the parents do not know their faith well enough (or care enough) to teach it to their children. It truly is the blind leading the blind! The clergy rarely preach modesty, chastity or purity from the pulpit or in the classroom. The children are plunged into a faithless and immoral world of immodesty and worldliness. Promiscuity is applauded; homosexuality is now a simple choice of lifestyle; and transgenderism is a personal preference; and all of this can now occur before the child reaches puberty! Aren’t we supposed to be teaching our children the way to Heaven?

The serious Catholic Family is left to find their way on their own, with or no clerical help. One ends up where we began-the laity have rarely been able to overcome the obstacles of the world, Satan and Fallen Nature on their own. Why do you suppose Our Lord provided us with the Mass and Sacraments?

To be Continued

Fr. Joseph Noonan, OFM