On contraception, church must continue to defend life, cardinal says

| Junno Arocho Esteves | October 30, 2017 | 15 Comments

German Cardinal Walter Brandmuller greets Professor Josef Seifert at a conference on Blessed Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical, “Humanae Vitae,” in Rome Oct. 28. The conference was organized by Voice of the Family, a coalition of pro-life and pro-family groups. CNS photo/Paul Haring

The acceptance of artificial contraception by some Christian churches and communities beginning in the 1930s has led “to the monstrosity of what is today known as procreative medicine,” which includes abortion, said German Cardinal Walter Brandmuller.

Inaugurating an Oct. 28 conference anticipating the 50th anniversary of Blessed Paul VI’s encyclical “Humanae Vitae,” Cardinal Brandmuller told participants that in ignoring traditional church teaching men and women today have seated themselves “on the throne of the Creator.”

In “Humanae Vitae,” published in 1968, Pope Paul underlined the responsibility that goes with human sexuality and marriage. While he taught that couples can space the birth of their children for valid reasons, they must use only natural methods of avoiding fertility. Birth control, he said, causes an “artificial separation” of the unitive and procreative aspects of married love.

In his speech at the Rome conference, Cardinal Brandmuller said that after the Second Vatican Council, the church faced significant pressure — including from within its own ranks — to endorse contraception as “morally justifiable” just as the Anglican Church had done at the 1930 Lambeth Conference and the U.S. Federal Council of Churches, the precursor of the National Council of Churches, did in 1961.

Nevertheless, he added, Blessed Paul defended the sanctity of life and brought “temporary closure to a series of doctrinal affirmations on the matter of contraception.”

“Humanae Vitae” proves that ultimately, it is the Holy Spirit that guides the process of “paradosis,” or teaching based on church tradition, and “ensures that the faith of the church develops in the course of time” while remaining faithful to Christ’s teachings, Cardinal Brandmuller said.

He prayed that the document would continue to “irradiate the ‘splendor veritatis’ (‘the splendor of the truth’), capable of illuminating the current darkness of minds and hearts.”

Cardinal Brandmuller, former president of the Pontifical Commission for Historical Sciences, was one of four cardinals who formally asked Pope Francis to clarify his teaching on Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried. When the four prelates did not receive a response, they released the letter — commonly referred to as the “dubia” — to the press.

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  • Terry N

    The Church needs to stay out of the bedroom because it’s none of their business. Will the Church pay to raise 11 children and put them through college? No, so stay out of it. Besides, this isn’t “approved” but priests raping children and having children is ok? Um…

    • Charles C.

      Human sexuality is one of our most powerful drives and affects many of our actions. Do you believe the Church has nothing to say about such a thing? The purity of marriage is discussed in both Corinthians and Hebrews. Clement of Alexandria, as early as 191 A.D. condemned contraception, as did every Christian church until 1930.

      The idea that unless the Church is willing to pay for the consequences of your actions it has no right to comment on them is an odd one. The Church is unwilling to pay for all defense attorneys, does that mean it has no right to comment on crime? Besides, adoption is a viable alternative, it has been estimated that there are 36 families waiting to adopt for every child put up for adoption.

      Finally, what sense does it make to say that priest abuse isn’t approved, but it is ok? That’s like saying water isn’t wet, but it’s wet.

    • tschraad

      Terry N – How about you accepting personal responsibilities for your actions and using human reasoning instead of animal gratification.

      The Church has never ok anyone to rape children.

  • Dominic Deus

    Dominic Deus here. *Of course* I have a raft of things to write but I must take immediate action up here in the north woods to fetch water, build a fire, do the dishes, heat water, tend to the dog–correspond with my colleagues at HDS inclusion the witch from MIT; it’s Halloween after all.

    ………….(Time has passed.)

    There is no contraceptive emergency for Catholic women except the ones oppressed by poverty or patriarchy. All the rest ignore the teaching of the Church and use contraception the same way non-Catholic women do, regarding it as a sacred rite and human right of women,. They regard the Church as exercising no authority in the matter, having wasted what little it had on doddering foolishness. (See the story above.)

    Here is the advisory opinion from Dominic Deus, aged physician and healer, father of many, lover of women:

    Sisters and mothers of the Church:

    Use contraception at all times unless you wish to become pregnant. It is your responsibility and right to do so. Feel free to enjoy the bliss of conjugal union and ecstasy of orgasm. They are gifts from God. Tell your daughters and your sons.

    Abortion is a dilemma I cannot imagine you wanting to face so be SURE your contraception works. If you become pregnant unexpectedly seek the advice of those you love and trust, especially wise women. Sadly, my gender has shown itself to be largely incompetent and pig-headed in such matters. In the end, your decision is between you and God. I have faith in both of you.

    Men in general:

    We could be wisely advised to say nothing for 200 years as a matter of simple fairness compounded by the stupidity of much we have insisted on saying. Given the kind and forgiving nature of women, they will likely not demand a vow of silence but we should listen much, talk little and understand the final decision is theirs. If we find ourselves in a moralistic snit or doctrinal tizzy it is probably because of a lack of

    ” In the end, your decision is between you and God. I have faith in both of you.”

    Just remember it’s the same God speaking to all of us. It is we me who have proven ourselves less able to listen. Time to change.

  • Dominic Deus

    I knew I recognized that name, Cardinal Dubia.

  • Dominic Deus

    Dominic Deus here. For those interested in an explanation of the sanctity of contraception in the words of the Church, rather than the practical advice of Dominic the Physician, I give you Dominic the Scholar.

    ****“Humanae Vitae” proves that ultimately, it is the Holy Spirit that guides the process of “paradosis,” or teaching based on church tradition, and “ensures that the faith of the church develops in the course of time” while remaining faithful to Christ’s teachings, Cardinal Brandmuller said.****

    Paradosis has nothing to do with the Holy Spirit and neither has the Holy Spirit anything to do with paradosis. The tradition of the Church, in its entirety, is one of the great creations of humanity both in its narrative across centuries and it’s preservation of ancient writings, exquisite works of art, music (and more), mystical experience, recording and guiding human history, bearing witness to the miraculous, the ephemeral and the eternal. It is entirely the work of human hands and minds but I have always seen it as evidence of the Holy Spirit moving in all loving and living creatures –but not as “guidance.” As inspiration.

    Inspiration is the “breathing in” of life sustaining air, much like the air that came in the open windows of Vatican II. The pneumonology of the Holy Spirit reveals the wind that blows on us all, not just the Magesterium, not just the apostles and not just our brother incarnate, Jesus of Nazareth, but us. Us. Each one of us. Including women. Especially women.

    That is precisely why the near incoherent, disconnected, oblivious rambling of the patriarchal Church, abstemious of the wisdom of women, continues to rattle on like an oxcart past its prime, in fact, past its useful purpose by a century or three–on the matter of contraception.

    “[Cardinal Brandmuller] prayed that the document would continue to “irradiate the ‘splendor veritatis’ (‘the splendor of the truth’), capable of illuminating the current darkness of minds and hearts.”

    He is right to do so and we should all join with him in prayer. What he does not realize is the “darkness of [the] minds and hearts” to be illuminated are his own and the many churchmen like him. He is, according to my reading, a faithful servant priest of the Church but he lives in reverie for a world that was. Creation is renewed with every breath of the Holy Spirit and gives new promise of a better world, if only we are wise enough to remake it make it so.

    Women are wise. It is well past time they should be speaking and we should all be listening.

  • Dominic Deus

    Dominicus Deus hic. Nam ad explicandum illa interested in sanctitatem opponit in sermonibus Ecclesiae, potius quam ex consiliis medice Dominici, ego do vobis Dominicum Scholar.

    **** “Humanae Vitae” quod ultimate illa probat, quod Spiritus sanctus est, eosdem processus of “paradosin” seu secundum doctrinam germinauit ecclesiae traditio, “fides ecclesiae, consulit, ut in decursu temporis develops” cum doctrinas ex fide Christi, Cardinalis dixit Brandmuller. ****

    Paradosis nihil habet facere cum Spiritus sanctus est Spiritus sanctus nec habet aliquid facere cum paradosin. Tota imaginis sacrae traditio Ecclesiae in universo, est unum ex magno adinventionem facito humanity et in ea Parthenopeum filium suscepisse per saecula, et quod suus ‘conservatam agnovimus antiqua scripta, operibus magnificis exquisitisque es, music (et ultra), experientiae mysticae peculiares, memoria et temperatio humanae historiae testimonium perhibetur etiam signum diuini miraculi, et in unum diem durantia et aeterna. Non opus est omnino ex hominum lacerti mentesque subeunt, sed ut ego semper videtur quod spiritus sanctus movere ad amandum, et cunctis animantibus promptitudine cordis, non ad “dux”. Ut hortationibus consentiens.

    Spiritus est “spirare” vita sustentans aere, quantum aeris ut quod factum est ad fenestras aperta Concilii Oecumenici Vaticani II. Pneumonology et Spiritus sancti, quae manifestatur ventus spirat in cunctis nos non solum ex Magesterium, non solum ad apostolos et non sunt sicut frater noster caro facta, Iesus Nazarenus, sed nobis. Nobis. Quisque unus ex nobis. Inter mulieres. Maxime mulieres.

    Hoc est cur iuxta pressius INCONSEQUENS, sicut sparsa, quae forma loquaciter inanes propriae Ecclesiae patriarchalis, abstinentes a mulieribus sapientiam, continues to sonant sicut in praeteritis et oxcart primum quidem suum utile ad praeteritum sive saeculum per tres – a adversus conceptionem in materia.

    “[Cardinalis Brandmuller] documento esset, oravit ut permanere« in fulgore quodam illustrare, splendor veritatis ‘(‘ splendor veritatis ‘) capaces sint tenebrae quae inter current in cordibus et in animis. ”

    Ita et nos recte facere qui non sit mecum omnes plangite eum per orationis. Quod id non scit, quod per “tenebras et [in] mentibus et cordibus ‘Negant esse eum illuminatum, sunt multi ex ecclesiasticis viris suis, sicut et illi. Qui enim secundum possem lectis, pro fideli servo et ille sacerdos de Ecclesia in mundo vivit, in reverie, ut esset. Spiritus Sanctus omnis creatura renouetur collustret promissa melius si sapimus ita faciet ad reformandam.

    Sunt sapientes. Recte loquere et omnis temporis non audietis.

    • tschraad

      Dominic Deus, if I understand your secular opinion on life, that abortion is ok and is not sinful. God’s second great commandment, love thy neighbor as yourself is meaningless as you would kill your neighbor, the innocent unborn baby. SAD

      • Dominic Deus

        tschraad–In order to have an good exchange of ideas we have to read each other’s posts carefully. My posts above make no reference whatsoever to abortion. They do reference sexuality in a very positive way and celebrate it as a gift from God. I wonder if you could share with the Catholic Spirit how you view sexuality, how it relates to God, love, and religious experience?

        A polite suggestion from a fellow discussant: It’s probably best not to write the way Donald Trump tweets. The language of religion is filled with nuance. Mr. Trump is not filled with….nuance.

        • Charles C.

          Dear Dominic,

          I do have something more complex to add; I’m still thinking it out. There does seem to be a different way to answer tschraad, however. I ask you to consider something along these lines as an option.

          “Actually, you don’t understand my secular opinion on life. My opinion is (whatever it is), and she should consult with wise, trusted, and love people,especially women, who will help her decide the (moral? economic? practical? environmentally sound? (whichever you’re thinking about)) course of action.”

          That, or a similar approach, might serve to bring clarity to your comment and help to bring focus to tschraad’s comments.

          But, all of that is just my opinion and I have no right to write for you.

          • Dominic Deus

            Dear Charles,

            Your opinion is very, very much appreciated. I’ve already read it twice. What you have done is *exactly* what my colleagues and I do, when preparing to give helpful responses to the next class of learners. You are entirely right in suggesting an alternative and what is more, alternatives not only provide more options but if one makes the same comment over and over again, students stop reading it.

            So, entirely on your own, Charles, you have arrived at the same place as the Harvard Divinity School Multicultural Studies method suggests. Bravo. I would send you an official Harvard sweatshirt but the only ones still in stock at the Co-op are embroidered thusly, in large sweatshirt letters:

            H A R V A R D

            Best Wishes,


          • Charles C.

            Dear Dominic,

            Harvard? HARVARD!?!? Allow me to beg your forgiveness in advance, I think I will be a little uncharitable towards that school, even though I respect some of it’s graduates and instructors.

            But even with that I owe you kind words for your comment that I am still able to provide you with something useful from time to time. Still, perhaps you should go to your colleagues and tell them they should shift into high gear. After all, if some old guy in southern Minnesota can come up with the same technique they’re using, they might not be cutting edge anymore.

            But I’m out of sorts because of the mention of Harvard. Here’s the story, with parts copied from The Harvard Crimson:
            “More than a dozen handmade stickers reading ‘It’s okay to be white’ surfaced around Harvard Square Wednesday, prompting Cambridge officials to remove them and a Harvard Law School Dean to denounce the signs as ‘provocations intended to divide us.’

            “ ‘It seems likely that these anonymous postings, made in the middle of the night, were provocations intended to divide us from one another,’ Law School Dean of Students Marcia L. Sells wrote in an email sent to Law students Wednesday after the stickers were spotted at Wasserstein and Hastings Halls.

            ” ‘HLS will not let that happen here. We live, work, teach, and learn together in a community that is stronger, better, and deeper because of our diversity and because we encourage open, respectful, and constructive discourse,” Sells wrote.

            “Most of the stickers appeared to have been removed by Wednesday afternoon.

            “When alerted about the stickers, Cambridge Police asked the Department of Public Works to remove them from Cambridge Common and Harvard Square, Cambridge police spokesman Jeremy Warnick told the Boston Globe.”
            Harvard called the police? “Black Lives Matter,” “Gay Pride,”etc. are all ok, but saying that being White is “Okay,” not superior or anything like that, is a divisive provocation?

            Is Harvard’s position that being White is NOT okay? Or, that it is okay, but that’s a secret and don’t tell anyone? Or that believing that being White is okay is terribly wrong when Whites should hate themselves?

            Please excuse my upset over the degeneration of a once fine school. I think I know why “HARVARD Liberal” shirts are still in stock. Those are what’s left after selling all of the “HARVARD Socialist,” “HARVARD Thought and Speech Police,” “HARVARD Dictator,” and “HARVARD Mental Patient” shirts.

            Dominic, being just a Liberal at Harvard will probably get one labelled as a reactionary running dog of Capitalism, and insufficiently dedicated to the Revolution. Being “just” a Liberal isn’t enough there any more.

            With respect,

          • Dominic Deus

            Dear Charles,

            It wasn’t the police police or Chicago Police. It was the Harvard Police. They are public safety type police, don’t create a nuisance police, police trained to not shoot black people early ever. Taking down handmade bumper stickers was just what they do–and they delegated it to Cambridge Public Works in the non-Harvard Square area.

        • tschraad

          Your post stated “That is precisely why the near incoherent, disconnected, oblivious rambling of the patriarchal Church, abstemious of the wisdom of women, continues to rattle on like an oxcart past its prime, in fact, past its useful purpose by a century or three–on the matter of contraception”

          A couple of points, women are not absence from the discussion. and second, your approval of contraception is no different than approving of abortion as some contraceptives are in fact abortifacients.

          Your belief that the Church is a oxcart past its prime, than surely you must believe that Jesus did not know what he was doing many years earlier and that his teachings are primitive.

          • Dominic Deus

            tschraad–thank you for your reply. You have given me a bit more to work with and that is helpful. You have quoted me accurately and I appreciate that as well.

            You are correct in noting that women are not “absent” from the Church but they are most certainly second rate citizens who do not speak with the authority of men, let alone God, and they are marginalized if not written out of Church history and discipleship. That is why I refer to the patriarchal Church as “abstemious” in it’s relationship with women. It indulges “only a little” and would never, has never, considered indulging in the fullness, the richness of womanly wisdom, power, or authority. The patriarchal Church is celibate in more ways than one.

            To your second point: almost all contraception works by preventing conception and thus warrants no comparison to abortion. There is no question that “Plan B” types of contraception interrupt the development of the fertilized ovum and considering them in the overall picture of abortion is legitimate.

            However–most forms of contraception do nothing of the kind and work exactly as their name implies–prevent conception. As does abstinence. As does infertility. As do any number of naturally occurring conditions. There is no sin in any of that.

            Taking leave from the oxcart metaphor, let me turn to the ox, instead.

            Even an ox knows that you don’t need a Plan B if you have a good Plan A. The Church’s Plan A is to not have sex very much, and don’t enjoy it too much if you do. If you need help, think of the souls in Purgatory.

            If there has ever been a worse Plan A in the history of any human endeavor, I have yet to encounter it. If the Church listened to women, it would know better. It doesn’t and therefore, it doesn’t.

            This is my opinion: The Church is a creation of both the man, our brother Jesus, and the Son of God, that is, Child of God who chose very human men, and very human women to build his Church. His teaching was enlightened, as you would expect from the Son of God. We have a right to expect that from the descendant Children of God over 2000 years, but…

            ….we screwed it up again, because we remain primitive. We should at least ask ourselves if it’s because the patriarchs among us, churchmen and otherwise, choose to ignore the wisdom of half the human beings on Earth.