Frankly I don’t even like to discuss condoms. It just seems impolite in mixed company. But the world’s obsession with condoms (as George Weigel quips, “salvation through latex!”) has surely been on display these past weeks. The Pope’s admittedly poorly reported remarks, (even by L’Osservatore Romano) have set forth a tsunami of celebration in some sectors who insist the Church has changed her position. Any presentations of the facts or later clarifications issued by the Vatican seem to have no effect on the spin in secular circles that a “sea-change” has happened in Church teaching. It has not, but myths often take on a life of their own.

In today’s Washington Post yet another article has appeared that I would like to excerpt and then comment on. The Article is by Michael E. Ruane who interviews a number of Catholics outside of St. Matthews Cathedral after Mass on the condom question. The sorts of things said by Catholics in this article are not unexpected. In fact they are emblematic of the fact that most Catholics get their ideas about their faith more form the world than from the Church. This of course is not wholly the fault of the laity since we in the clergy and Church leadership have not been famous for our savvy ability to communicate the faith effectively. 

Let’s take a look at this article and see what we can learn of the nature of the problem. As is the case with previous articles, I would like to present the excerpts in bold and italic letters and then my own running commentary in plain RED text.  (The Full Post Article can be read here: Faithful Have Mixed Views).

The gray-haired chief usher for the Latin Mass was headed with his metal cane for the steps of Washington’s Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle when he paused to consider the latest church teaching on condom use. “As a Catholic,” said Lucius Robertson, 91, he opposed the use of condoms. “As a John Doe,” he said he approved. “It’s strictly personal,” he added, “a singular decision.”  In this opening paragraph we quickly see into the heart of the problem: faith has been privatized. We live in the age of the designer religion wherein anyone gets to invent their own dogma, or selectively determine what dogmas they will accept. Everyone gets to be their own pope. Catholics are often no exception to this trend and many seem perfectly willing and able to dispense with whatever doctrines displease them and still declare themselves to be a “good Catholic.” For such as these faith has no apparent communal dimension, nothing outside them self which should require adherence in order that to qualify for membership. No, such a notion that some one other than me gets to say what is the true faith is obnoxious to many. They insist that faith be a purely private declaration of what seems true “to me.” To suggest that certain criteria ought be met in order to “be Catholic” offends against their God-given right to design their own faith and, I would argue, their own God.

Our 91 year old usher here might not accept all these notions I have stated but his understanding of the faith is surely tainted by them. He insists that an important matter of Church moral teaching is “strictly personal” and “a singular decision.”  Never mind that the Church, founded by Jesus Christ,  has set forth a clear forbiddance of the use of condoms. Never mind that we as Catholics are expected to give assent and religious submission to what the Church formally  teaches and proposes for belief in matters of faith and morals.  I am frankly not sure I understand what our usher means when he says he opposes condoms “as a Catholic” and approves them “as a John Doe.”  But one thing seems certain, our usher (possibly in an unintentional way) articulates a notion of faith that is personal rather than communal. Many problems come from this widespread current notion which illustrates very well the ego-centric tendency of our modern age. The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us that faith is not a merely personal or private matter:

“Believing” is an ecclesial act. The Church’s faith precedes, engenders, supports and nourishes our faith. The Church is the mother of all believers. “No one can have God as Father who does not have the Church as Mother” (CCC # 181)…..Faith is a personal act – the free response of the human person to the initiative of God who reveals himself. But faith is not an isolated act. No one can believe alone, just as no one can live alone. You have not given yourself faith as you have not given yourself life. The believer has received faith from others and should hand it on to others…..It is the Church that believes first, and so bears, nourishes and sustains my faith…..The Church, “the pillar and bulwark of the truth”, faithfully guards “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints”. She guards the memory of Christ’s words; it is she who from generation to generation hands on the apostles’ confession of faith. As a mother who teaches her children to speak and so to understand and communicate, the Church our Mother teaches us the language of faith in order to introduce us to the understanding and the life of faith. (CCC 168-171 selected)

Thus the Catholic faith cannot be privatized as so many insist on doing. You and I are not free to decide what it means to be a Catholic. That has been given to the Magisterium guided by the Holy Spirit. Just about every other error demonstrated in this article flows from this one misunderstanding of “privatized faith.”

Mixed feelings were common Sunday among Catholics attending Mass at St. Matthew’s at they tried to understand statements last week by Pope Benedict XVI that appeared to ease the church’s long-standing ban on using condoms. (“Appeared,” is the key word. The Pope introduced no change and eased nothing).

In a new book, the pope indicated that condoms could be used to prevent the spread of life-threatening diseases, like HIV. In the past, official church teaching has forbidden condom use under all circumstances, as part of its opposition to birth controlThe Pope did nothing of the sort. Here are the actual words of the Pope from the interview that many claim amount to an endorsement of condom use: Peter Seewald:  Are you saying, then, that the Catholic Church is actually not opposed in principle to the use of condoms? Pope Benedict:  She of course does not regard it as a real or moral solution…. Now notice the words “NOT,” “REAL,” and “MORAL.” The Pope notes further in the interview: ….the sheer fixation on the condom implies a banalization of sexuality, which, after all, is precisely the dangerous source of the attitude of no longer seeing sexuality as the expression of love, but only a sort of drug that people administer to themselves.

Not exactly a ringing endorsement of condoms. What the Pope did note was that some people have fallen so far in their understanding that the even the use of a condom may show at least some progress. At least they have some notion of protecting others. But again this only illustrates how far they fallen not that condoms are good. Again for the record the Pope says of condoms that they are not (again, NOT) a moral solution.

Experts have been debating whether the pope’s comments, which the Vatican has sought to clarify, opened the door to discussion of the broader ban, even as many American Catholics have already indicated they disagree with it. Experts are not debating this. Some dissenters may see it in their interest to perpetuate a misunderstanding of the Pope’s remarks. But official Vatican sources have clarified and asserted that there is no change in Church teaching here.

A 2003 Washington Post poll found that 88 percent of Catholics believed that using a “birth control pill or condoms” was morally acceptable. Much of that sentiment was in evidence at St. Matthew’s Sunday. The Poll is probably accurate. However I’d be interested in looking inside the numbers. Are there differences between practing Catholics and non? What are the age differences? 

“I don’t think there should be a ban on condoms,” said Kay Gautsch, 68, who was visiting from Racine, Wis. “The pope says use them for AIDS prevention, but I think birth control is very important. The Pope did not say “use them for AIDS prevention.” Ms. Gautsch is simply mistaken. She has likely received all her information on this from the secular media. This is not simply her fault. We who are clergy and, indeed,  all Church leaders share in this problem. We have to find more effective ways of reaching our people directly and giving them the true story. Cardinal Wuerl makes this point is the video below.  

On the alternative, you have abortion, you have children [whose] parents can’t afford their kids,” she said. “I think that’s responsible parenthood, to use condoms and limit the size of your family.” “I would hope the ban would change,” she said. “People are using their common sense and . . . responsible health concerns when they use condoms. It’s a good thing.”  More privatized religion on display here. She also has a pejorative tone:  ”People are using their common sense….” when they oppose Church teaching, according to Ms. Gautsch. Of course this thereby means that official and ancient Church teaching against contraceptive methods and emphasizing chastity lacks  ”common sense.“  

Marie Claire Odell, 50, of Silver Spring, who was just leaving church, said the apparent easing of the ban was due. “The Catholic church is not that swift to recognize” the need for change, she said. “They just recognized Galileo. Quite honestly, it takes them a while, but hopefully they’re getting there.  “I think it’s about time,” she said. “Let’s be serious. Let’s jump into the 21st century. I think you’ll find a lot of people saying the same thing.” Yes, of course that is the main thing isn’t it? You see, according to Ms Odell and others whom she represents, we have to update, be with the times, this is our main role apparently. Things like Scripture and Tradition have to give way to the “21st Century” which has apparently found  a better, more enlightened way.

This position (“the Church must update”) is really a plural version of the problem of privatized religion. This version applies the “right” to redefine the faith to an age more than a person. This privatizes the faith by making it subservient to the whims of a particular time and place. A given generation ought to be free to remove or adapt whatever seems “unacceptable” to that given time or place. In this thinking, being hidebound to ancient Tradition, Conciliar decrees, and Scriptures from ancient times that were far less “enlightened” than ours is really obnoxious. This widespread notion seeks to privatize the faith by eliminating the testimony and presence of previous generations. They have no place at our modern table. This is a private, 21st Century party, don’t you see? And the Ancient Fathers and Evangelists are not invited unless they adapt and update. The main task of the Church for Ms Odell and others like her seems to be that we “jump into the 21st Century.”   Again, the faith is privatized, compartmentalized and subjected to the whims of individuals and times and places. It is the problem of privatized religion in another, larger package.  

One thing Ms. Odell is right about, “you’ll find a lot of people saying the same thing.” We do indeed have a lot of work to do in making the teaching against artificial contraception sensible to modern westerners. She also speaks for a lot of moderns who see reinventing the Apostolic Faith as their God-given right. A lot of work to do here. Perhaps some more blog posts here can be my contribution, both on contraception and also the problem of privatized religion. (Here’s one I wrote a while back: Wisdom of Humane Vitae)

Well the Post Article goes on with pretty much the same sort of stuff. You can read the rest of it here: Faithful Have Mixed Views. It seems they had trouble finding anyone who supports the Church’s teaching unambiguously. I suspect that is a problem with Post but will also admit it is a problem with us. There are deep problems in the Church today with selective and privatized faith.

Much will be required to get Catholics back to a proper notion that the Faith is revealed by God to the Church and she hands on the faith intact. The faith cannot be of our own making, neither can we pick and choose its content.

But these are egocentric and arrogant times and many people see it as their God-given right to be their own pope, their own Bible, their own magisterium. And, even if they don’t explicitly claim this as a personal right, they assign it to the age or the locale, the “common sense” of the times. It is surely puzzling that an age such as ours, so afflicted by increasing disorder, promiscuity, addiction, crime, violence, abortion, war, injustice to the poor and the breakdown of basic elements like family, can presume to claim for itself some sort of special wisdom and enlightenment. We live in strange times, privatized times, closed off from the wisdom of our elders and forebearers. A faithful remnant remains in the Church, to be sure. It is just disappointing that the Post could not find one to speak unambiguously to the beauty of truth.

The problems illustrated in this Post Article are not entirely a problem of the laity. It is clear that we in the Church have got to do a better job of effectively and efficiently proclaiming the faith and getting that message directly to our people, unfiltered by a secular media. In this three minute video, Cardinal Wuerl, speaking last month at the Order of Malta Conference, describes the challenges and the necessity of telling our people the rest of the story:

 

28 Responses

  1. Eddy Burke says:

    Amen! Nothing to add to your sentence “But these are egocentric and arrogant times and many people see it as their God-given right to be their own pope, their own Bible, their own magisterium.” Arrogance, arrogance, arrogance! I see it every day in the parents of the children that I teach in CCD. Sticking to the teachings of the Magisterium GUARANTEES you complaints, removal of children, arguments et cetera. Arrogance, arrogance arrogance. Let’s keep on praying for our youth!
    Eddy

  2. Bender says:

    The sorts of things said by Catholics in this article are not unexpected. In fact they are emblematic of the fact that most Catholics get their ideas about their faith more form the world than from the Church. This of course is not wholly the fault of the laity since we in the clergy and Church leadership have not been famous for our savvy ability to communicate the faith effectively.

    Part of the problem is that the MSM purposely hunts out people who are going to say they disagree with the Church. If someone tells a reporter that they enthusiastically endorse Church teaching, those comments never make it into a news story.

    But another problem is that the MSM does not need to look very hard to find people who disagree. And many if not most disagree largely because they misunderstand what the Church actually teaches. And it does not help people’s understanding when there are those within the Church herself who promote such misunderstanding with misinformation, if not disinformation.

    Even when there are those who DO have a savvy ability to communicate the faith effectively, e.g. our own Msgr. Pope, they are undercut by those who have the ability to communicate dissent more effectively. And, of course, the MSM likes to use those folks as their go-to people for Catholic comment. In the past, the number one go-to guy for comment was Richard McBrien, who by all indications prefers the title of “professor” to “Father,” and who can nearly always be counted on to miscommunicate what the Church actually says.

    Sadly, in this latest incident, those who are able to communicate the faith effectively (and if truth be told, Pope Benedict himself is by far the most effective person to do that) have been undermined by other Catholics such as Fr. James Martin of America, and just today in the NYT, David Gibson of Commonweal. In both cases, they reported Benedict’s comment to be the diametric opposite of what he actually said and meant, and this is where MSM reporters have gotten the false idea that “the pope indicated that condoms could be used to prevent the spread of life-threatening diseases, like HIV.”

    It is bad enough that a MSM unsympathetic to the Church and the truth of her teachings gets it wrong because of the ignorance of the MSM. But it is even worse when the MSM lack of understanding is rooted in the counsel of those Catholics who one wonders if they are not dissidents at heart, who use any occasion to twist Church teaching to advance their own agendas.

    • Bender says:

      “The pope says use them for AIDS prevention, but I think birth control is very important.”

      A-ha! Here we see the real strategy exposed. The condom pushers main objective is NOT about preventing the spread of disease, rather, their objective is to exploit this and use it as a wedge to try to ram through acceptance of contraception.

      To go back to the “as a Catholic . . . as a John Doe” issue — he is correct in one sense to say that it is a personal, singular decision. Condoms to prevent the spread of HIV-AIDS comprises only a very small percentage of such usage, with probably 99.99 percent of total usage being contraceptive.

      IF condoms usage solely to prevent disease in marriage could conceivably be morally permissible as part of a sexuality of love (a “humanization of sexuality” in the Pope’s words), rather than as part of a mechanistic banal sexuality of use (and that is a BIG for-the-sake-of-argument IF), that would be a moral question solely for the 0.01 percent of the people involved, together with their pastor/spiritual director. AND YET, we have all of these “it’s a personal matter” people, 99.99 percent of the people who are not involved, going on to give their own moral approval on matters that are not personal to them, that don’t have anything to do with them. So, there is not a lot of logical consistency in the pro-condom crowd.

      There is moral confusion all around here. But make no mistake, that confusion is intentional on the part of the condom peddlers who want to push condoms anywhere and everywhere, adults and children alike, unhealthy and healthy alike.

      • Bender says:

        By the way, here is what Cardinal Ratzinger said in the last interview book he did “God and the World” pp 429-430 –

        Seewald: The Church is accused of aggravating serious problems in some parts of the Third World with her strict policy of forbidding the use of contraception, to the point of real misery.

        Cardinal Ratzinger: That is of course complete nonsense. The misery is the result of a breakdown of the moral sense that once gave order to life in tribal societies, or in the community of believing Christians, and that thus prevented the great misery we can see nowadays. Reducing the voice of the Church to no more than a prohibition against contraception is utter rubbish, based on a completely distorted picture of the world, as I will explain in a moment.

        The Church still teaches above all the sacredness of marriage and faithfulness in marriage. That is her true voice. Where people listen to this voice, then children have a sphere of life in which they can learn love and self-restraint, the discipline of the right way to live, in the midst of any poverty. Where the family is functioning as a sphere of fidelity, people have patience and consideration for each other, providing the necessary preconditions for the practice of natural family planning. The misery comes, not from the large families, but from the irresponsible and undisciplined procreation of children who have no father, and often no mother, and who, as street children, have to suffer the real distress of a spiritually distorted world.

        We all know, besides, that in Africa today the opposite danger has long since arisen, through the rapid spread of AIDS: not a population explosion, but the dying out of entire tribes and the depopulation of the countryside.

        When I think, besides, that in Europe they pay farmers subsidies to kill off their livestock, to destroy grain crops, grapes, all kinds of fruit, because we supposedly cannot control overproduction, then it seems to me that these knowledgeable managers ought still to reflect on how, instead of destroying these gifts of creation, we could make good use of them all.

        The misery is not produced by people who bring up children to learn faithfulness and love, respect for life and self-restraint, but by those who try to talk us out of morality and who see man only in a mechanistic way: the condom seems to them more effective than morality, but when they think you can replace the moral dignity of man with condoms, so as to make his freedom no longer a danger to him, then they have stripped man of all dignity, down to his most basic self, and have produced exactly what they claim to be preventing: a selfish society in which everyone lives his own life and is responsible for nothing and no one. Misery comes from demoralizing society, not from moralizing it, and the condom propaganda is an essential part of this demoralizing, the expression of an attitude that despises people and that in any case thinks people capable of nothing good whatsoever.

    • Thanks for all these additions to the post Bender. Agreed to all.

  3. Paul Zummo says:

    Excellent takedown of a truly wretched column.

  4. Alan says:

    The media is really amazing how they are always able to find the 10 protesters out of millions for a papal event. I suspect on the matter of condoms, the tables are turned. Most Catholics have no understanding of why it is wrong. So I would guess that in this case, they probably could not find a faithful Catholic able to defend the Church enough to be quoted. I would guess 1 in 50 practicing Catholics might know how to defend the Church teaching on this.

  5. Bill says:

    Having served in a state legislature for 14 years I want to add something about the “condom peddlers.” There is a large group of people (including many Catholics) who not only fail to understand the immoral nature of condom use, but who actually believe that condom use IS the morally correct thing to do. When we say they are confused or need the rest of the story as Cardinal Wuerl states, I am afraid we are not even at the threshold of seriously engaging these folks. I have had people say to me that we have a moral duty to provide adolescents with condoms because “they are going to have sex and so it is better that they use a condom to prevent the spread of diseases, including disease like HIV that can lead to death.” So the worst aspect of our culture is not, IMHO, the confusion around what the Church teaches (although I am not suggesting that isn’t a problem or that this confusion doesn’t lead to immoral choices), but that the secular culture doesn’t view itself as confused at all! They actually think we are the intolerant, immoral ones for denying people the option to use condoms—which they honestly believe IS the morally correct answer to the problem. Of course, the mistake of these folks stems in large part from what they define as the problem—communicable disease. When we speak of moral truths to these folks we are speaking “values” to the “fact” of disease. They don’t even recognize the validity or existence of our position. And this, of course, is the result of a morally relative, anti-rational existentialism that pervades our culture. And I hate to refer back to my post here yesterday…but this is the culture the Church tried to “reach” by the liturgical and other reforms proceeding out of V2. The Post article (trash that it is) suggests that we are not only failing to “reach” those driven away from Mass by these reforms, but have a hard time holding the attention of those who stayed with our folk-song inspired “communal meal.”

  6. JJ says:

    Thank you for telling the rest of the story. As a black Catholic this issue of condom usage always hits home for me. In a particular way for Black women who are plagued with HIV/Aids and other STDs. Black women who are raising children single handed without the support of fathers. (widowed, divorced, single, etc) I’ve talked to many and I am also part of the statistics.

    NFP (natural family planning is something that is not widely taught and embrassed by Black Catholic women or Black Christian women. We can site many reasons why this teaching of the Church is not received by so many women, but the bottom line I believe is “fear”. Many women fear the possiblities of getting contracted with STDs by their spouses weather in marriage or monogomous relationship. Many fear the strong possibility of divorced and left to raise their children alone without the necessary financial help. Also the reality of Husbands and men who DO NOT have the emotional and physical discipline to practice NFP, and the list of reasons goes on and on.

    Does this change the teaching and the position of the church. NO. But as Caridnal Wuerl has eloquently stated, we need to know the rest of the story. We need to be taught from a very young age, God’s loving plan for his daughters and sons. Our priest need to establish these teachings within our parishes (at the grass roots level) so it may filter out into the society. You can not practice what you do not know.

    The family and the Church are under attack, but what are we really doing about it?

    • Tony Layne says:

      Wow, what a great insight from a quarter of the Church so rarely heard! (Maybe because we aren’t listening hard enough?) JJ, I hope you speak up more, to us all.

  7. Blake Helgoth says:

    Msgr.,

    I think that the reason so many Catholics think contraception is the moral thing to do is twofold:
    1) They had bought into the overpopulation lie and believe having more than 3 kids (when we had our 4th wee started getting comments from other Catholics) is somehow immoral and detrimental to society.
    2) The lack of preaching about the duty of married couples to pro-create. Contraception is wrong because children are right! We need many, many more of them to grow in their faith and spread it to the ends of the earth.

  8. JJ says:

    A final sharing from me and then I’ll get out of the way. I found this Youtube video that shares some of the thoughts of the Holy Father on his new book.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZRVS2WTbrw

  9. teo matteo says:

    If I were a priest I would give every couple who has come in for the first marriage meeting with me, two copies of Humane Vitae. I would simply tell them to read it if they could, and then I’d offer to answer any questions regarding it on the visit before the wedding … never expecting to bring it up again unless they have questions.
    My other thought on your insightful article Father is the ‘me the church’ notion from those attending an Extraordinary Form Mass! I am so naive that i just thought that at least they would be more.. er… smarter ?!?!?
    That is why i am not a priest…

  10. Katie says:

    Lots of good points in the original post, as well as the comments. As for me, well, I’ve spent all day wondering about this reporter. He apparently has “no fear” or no “sense of decency,” perhaps? I mean, I can’t think of a single thing that anyone could offer me or threaten me with that would cause me to ask a 91-year-old Head Usher what he thinks about condoms. Lord, have mercy.

  11. Cynthia BC says:

    If the Church cannot effectively make its case to those sitting in the pews, how can it hope to proclaim its positions to the world at large? Even a priest who boldly proclaims and effectively explains Church doctrine only has the attention of his parishioners for 10 to 15 minutes a week. How can he compete with the “mainstream media?” As Msgr Pope said in an earlier post, the Church needs to become more media-savvy and do a better job of telling its story.

  12. Grandpa Tom says:

    It seems lack of knowledge is the American way. Catholics and peopel in general are unlearned or illiterate of issues that impact their lives. I believe it is because most Catholics do not search out knowledge regarding the Church. It is the same with politics. Most people cannot tell you the difference between the major parties philosophies. C. S. Lewis wrote in the Screwtape letters concerning knowledge; “It isn’t the doctrines on which we chiefly depend for producing malicel The real fun is working up hatred between those who say ‘mass’ and those who say ‘holy communion’ when neither party could possibly state the difference between, say, Hooker’s doctrine and Thomas Aquinas, in any form which would hold water for five minutes.”

    Catholics should know the Word of God does not change. A Pope may be mis-quoted, however the Church has never changed it’s position on any major issues for simply political reasons. The Word is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Only a fool would believe the Church has flipped over and given ground to stay popular. Remember, of the Church, it is written: “The gates of hell will not prevail over it; Matt. 16:18.”

    Henry Ford said: “Thinking is the hardest work there is, that is why so few people do it!” Catholics need to seek out the truth of a matter before they can defend the nuts and bolts of the language contained in a particular text. To quote ‘text’ out of ‘context’ is ‘pretext.’ What will they say of the Trinity? What does the average Catholic know about the mystery of the the Incarnation, or other Catholic dogma’s. It seems, Msgr. Pope, you are one of the few “lamps” to light our path. There are not any educational classes in our local St. Mary’s Chruch, which give updated information. We do have a Catholic bulletin, and newpaper that addresses some current news. Your web site, Msgr. Pope, is a brilliant way to spread the message, and see the debate and comments of other Catholics and believers of the Word.

  13. Tony Layne says:

    I think part of the problem—not “telling the whole story”—is that so much of the focus is on the sex act itself and not in positive portrayals of the Catholic vision of marriage and family. We let the mainstream media and entertainment industry swamp us with dysfunctional couples and families, teen sexcapades and gay-positive spectacles, under the pretext that they are showing us “real life”. But people who live the Catholic faith in their family lives are just as real … they’re just “under the radar”. And to live the faith in the face of both modern pressures and post-modern social emphases is just as challenging, if not more.

    As far as preaching goes, I’m certain a lot of older priests and deacons are afraid of “rocking the boat” in their parishes, afraid of pushing out regular communicants by too strong an emphasis on the harder, more angular points of faith even if they themselves aren’t pleased by the “Kumbaya” element in their pews. Or perhaps, since so many pastors don’t have associates living in their rectories, they’re dependent on the support of the people to the point of being unwilling to risk alienating them? (Father Tim Finigan, an English priest, suggests that perhaps in areas where there aren’t much more than one priest per parish the priests should live together instead of at the rectories … not so much as colleges but more as deaneries. The priests would then be in a much better position to support each other in their ministries.) Is it possible that, at some point, the seminaries placed too much emphasis on “Fr. Nice Guy”?

  14. jj says:

    Hey grandpah Tom. I thought you were MIA. I agree with you this blog site has been a blessing for me. Unfortunatel5y as you have stated many parishes are not equipped to answer some of the tough questiojns that our society poses. Let us continuue to pray for our Priest that they will avail themselvves to other priest that can help them in these difficult times of the Church.

    • Grandpa Tom says:

      jj; I was MIA, but not POW. Nice you noticed I was missing from commenting on a few issues. Lawyers, and other professions have to attend ‘continued education.’ As the law changes by way of Supreme Court decisions, the legal profession (which I was part of for many years) requires constant and updated legal education. Training seminars, mock arbitrations, etcetra, are conducted to refresh and train those who practice within the discipline. Just think of a doctor who had went to college in 1960, and had never refreshed or continued his, or her medical knowledge. That doctor would be out of touch with new procedures and methods of practicing medicine. I believe knowledge is power. St. Jerome said it best. Ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Chirst. Ignorance is not bliss, but is dangerous. One bad decision can cost a person his very soul.

  15. Mr. Hitchens says:

    - “As a Catholic,” said Lucius Robertson, 91, he opposed the use of condoms. “As a John Doe,” he said he approved. “It’s strictly personal,” he added, “a singular decision.”
    - “Experts have been debating whether the pope’s comments, which the Vatican has sought to clarify, opened the door to discussion of the broader ban, even as many American Catholics have already indicated they disagree with it.”
    - “A 2003 Washington Post poll found that 88 percent of Catholics believed that using a “birth control pill or condoms” was morally acceptable.”
    …and on and on.

    Lordy, if I didn’t know any better, I would think I was reading about opinions given by PROTESTANTS!
    And, in fact, they are. The American Catholic church is nothing more than a mirror image of the Episcopalian (Anglican) church. And becoming more PROTESTANT every day.

    As Cynthia BC says:
    “If the [Roman Catholic] Church cannot effectively make its case to those sitting in the pews, how can it hope to proclaim its positions to the world at large?”

    This shows that religion, in what ever way it is practiced, is nothing more than smoke and mirrors.

    The TRUTH is ————-> THERE IS NO GOD!

  16. Robertlifelongcatholic says:

    I think a Saturday evening 30 minute syndicated Monsignor Pope Show on Fox would be a good start to getting the word out as a counterpoint to MSM and confused relative moralist.

  17. Kinana says:

    ‘It is clear that we in the Church have got to do a better job of effectively and efficiently proclaiming the faith and getting that message directly to our people, unfiltered by a secular media.’

    Thank you for practicing what you preach. To state opinions, explain your position, proclaim the Gospel, convey the teaching of the Church, AND respond to comments and questions is a shining example to your fellow priests.

  18. Patt says:

    Most of the things discussed so openly today (about sex) were never spoken of when I grew up.
    Then as a young adult “women’s Magazines” jumped on the issue. Soon it was everywhere you looked. Today thanks to a former promicuous president, and his ilk, along with movies and television, it is in your face 24-7.
    Nothing is held back and you have to shield your children as much as possible. As a young adult in the 60′s I was told that condoms (I cringe to use that word) could not be relied upon. I am sure that is still the case, but people will use any excuse to do what they want. I also learned before marraige in the late ’60′s that they (condoms) were not allowed to be used by Catholics, as they were a form of birth control. None of this has changed yet many Catholics pay no attention. I pity children growing up today and the bleak future for them in such pagan times.

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