Pastoral letter from bishop of St. Augustine


Here's how it starts:

Some state legislatures are presently considering bills that would redefine marriage as the stable union of any two adults regardless of gender. Such legislation would equate same-sex unions with traditional marriage. Furthermore, divorces continue to escalate to the point where couples may now get a bona fide divorce online for fees ranging from $50 to $300.

These latest developments are mere symptoms of a vastly more serious disorder. Until the taproot of that disorder is cut, I fear that we will continue to reap the fruit of failed marriages and worsening sexual behavior at every level of society.

The disorder? Contraception. The practice is so widespread that it involves 90% of married couples at some point of their marriage, cutting across all denominational lines. Since one of the chief roles of the bishop is to teach, I invite you to revisit what the Church affirms in this area, and more importantly, why.

A very good read, although he fails to mention that NFP should be used to avoid conception only in grave circumstances. It's a bit of a glaring admission since he seems to be writing to change hearts and minds away from contraception.

Also, he uses an analogy to describe NFP that contains an interesting omission:

"Or to return to our analogy of the language of the body: To say that NFP is no different from contraception is like saying that maintaining silence is the equivalent of telling a lie."

Isn't it true that we can just as often sin by omission as by commission? Don't we have an obligation to speak the truth when the situation demands it?

Finally he says this:

"But how does natural family planning differ from contraception? And why bother, if their objective is the same? To understand the difference, one must realize that having a right intention for an action does not always justify the means."

Can anybody interpret this to mean something besides: the objective of birth control and NFP is the same? He doesn't mention what the rigt intention actually is, so couldn't you assume that "not having a(nother) kid is a "right intention?" This needs to be explained.

He also confuses things by constantly referring to "artificial birth control," when comparing it to NFP. It takes no stretch of the imagination to think that he's giving NFP the label "natural birth control." As if the means is the problem and not the idea of "controlling birth."

This is why it is crucially important to be very careful when speaking of Natural Family Planning. The last thing the Church needs to do is to let contraceptive couples think they're not contracepting simply because they do it with a chart and thermometer instead of with a pill and some latex.

Yeah, so anyway, the first eleven sections of the letter are awesome!

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This page contains a single entry by Papa-Lu published on November 9, 2003 6:28 PM.

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