Greg Schlueter is an award-winning Catholic film producer, writer, speaker and movement leader committed to building up Catholic family through their nonprofit, Image Trinity. Find out more at http://ImageTrinity.com. Greg lives with his wife and six children in Erie, Pennsylvania.
Reading James Drane’s article (and corresponding cartoon) today in Erie’s Times News (“Catholic Church should change its policies on birth control”) made us want to cancel the paper… again. Of course, it demands a reply, but why bother? What good does it do? Where is the Church’s official reply? But then I’m haunted by the awareness that if we don’t say something, we’re tacitly approving falsehood – and the destruction it causes. We allow pop-culture to assume Catholics are just blind, conflicted sheep. Our simple reply signals to them that perhaps there are 10,000 others who agree. My wife saw that look in my eyes and humorously moved to block me from my laptop – as it’s Sunday.
The Times wouldn’t ask a disgruntled, former employee to be their spokesperson. One can only wonder why they continue to go to an ex-priest who so evidently opposes the Church on matters so definitively Catholic (Drane, “Catholic Church should change its policies on birth control”).
Let’s situate this in a liberal framework. In America no one is forced to believe anything. In search of integrity: if you don’t agree with the Catholic Church, haven’t endeavored to discover the solid basis for our beliefs, plain and simple, you’re really not Catholic. No need to get grumpy about it, there are a gazillion other options.
On Drane’s premise, that the Church’s teaching ought to be a function of popularity, or ease, or convenience, or taste – one has the Cross to contend with. Fundamentally and essentially, faith is a matter of truth.
Drane wrongly presents the Church teaching as a matter of historical happenstance. It could have gone this way, it could have gone that way. Anyone who has taken the time to read and understand the Church’s teachings would recognize otherwise. There is rock-solid biblical, historical, theological and logical basis for the Church as a “pillar and foundation of truth” (1 Tim. 3:15), as a continuation of Christ’s teaching (Matt. 16:18ff).
As Catholic parents of six beautiful children, we are not blind sheep. Our faith is not a matter of some culturally-construed, external obligation that makes us feel good. We aren’t devoted to it simply because we inherited it. Our Catholic faith is something we have studied extensively, that we have engaged, and have come to not only fully embrace, but proclaim joyfully as Christ’s revelation for the good of our lives – in this world and the next.
Of course, all professed truth must stand in the light of validation: I have yet to meet anyone who has ever broken a “law” that has not, in fact, broken them. With contraception one need look no further than a commercial and the long list of warnings at the end. In the biblical-moral sphere, before 1933 all Christian denominations opposed contraception on biblical-theological grounds. So one must ask, did God change his mind? Note that contraception was propelled into acceptance by Margaret Sanger/Planned Parenthood – whose principal, eugenic purpose was pronounced in their masthead: “More from the fit, less from the unfit.”
Prior to 1933 Christians universally understood that sexual expression was a sacred gift between husband and wife, the use of which should correspond to the intent of the Giver. We are moved by the great nobility and truth of a Church that continues to hold up, against all detractors – the great nobility of sexual expression as a call to participate in God Himself who is Love, a Communion of Persons. God is love and God is life; contraception literally means “against life.”Contraception removes God from the equation, enabling a using of persons. Apart from the Giver everything withers. Decline of marriage, loss of respect for women, loss of respect for life in all stages… all predicted as a result of a “contraceptive mentality”.
With due note for the great tragedy of scandal throughout the Church’s history, which is incumbent upon any institution so entrusted to imperfect humanity, we thank God for His gift of the Church, and for all those who have faithfully proclaimed and lived the saving truths which, if not popular or easy, are for our greatest good. GO HERE for a great summary on the basis of the Church’s teaching on contraception.Greg and Stephanie Schlueter