When you finish reading the article below, read my write-up about Jeffery Sachs for which I received a personal thank-you from Cardinal William Keeler (former Chair for the Committee on Pro-Life Activities).

Who is Jeffrey Sachs and Why Was He at the Vatican?

By Stefano Gennarini, J.D. | May 14, 2015
Source: C-Fam

NEW YORK, May 15 (C-Fam) Last month the Vatican drew criticism for partnering with Jeffrey Sachs, arguably the world’s foremost proponent of population control. Few know of his public stand for abortion as a way to reduce fertility.

Sachs moderated and co-hosted a Vatican conference on climate change last month. While a change of Catholic teaching is not likely in the works, Sachs’ welcome in Rome drew sharp criticism from those familiar with his life’s work.

He made a plea for legalizing abortion as a cost-effective way to eliminate “unwanted children” when contraception fails in his 2008 book “Commonwealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet.”

He describes abortion as a “lower-risk and lower-cost option” than bringing a new human life to the world.

He also glowingly writes that the “legalization of abortion reduces a country’s total fertility rate significantly, by as much as half a child on average”, and criticizes Ronald Regan and George H.W. Bush for denying groups that provide and promote abortion any U.S. funding through the Mexico City Policy.

Sachs is listed as an author of the background note to a declaration adopted by scientists and religious leaders at the Vatican conference, which validated the theory that human activity is changing the Earth’s climate. Unlike the declaration, the background note with a Vatican emblem at the head speaks of the world’s population as a problem.

Sachs is a development guru of sorts who gained fame advising countries on transitioning to a market economy following communism. He was the lead architect of the Millennium Development Goals, and has been the UN Secretary General’s right hand man on development for the better part of the last fifteen years.

During the Millennium Development Goals’ implementation he pleaded incessantly for countries to include “sexual and reproductive health” and “reproductive rights” in the scheme, after they were initially left out, and was part of the machinations that eventually led to their inclusion over and against objections from the Holy See and the United States.

Sachs is the heir-apparent of the discredited population alarmists of the twentieth century who warned against the “population bomb” and developed the concept of the Earth’s limited “caring capacity.”

In his 2008 book he praises the widespread adoption of family planning programs in the 60s and 70s, even though they are widely recognized as having been coercive and dehumanizing. But according to Sachs “high fertility rates are deleterious to economic development.”

He frequently speaks of humanity transgressing “planetary boundaries” and the threat of an overly crowded planet. He has been a leader in developing and promoting the theory of the “demographic dividend,” which says countries must invest in family planning and reduce fertility before they can experience development. The theory has been criticized for failing to result in any dividends in entire regions, where fertility rates have dropped precipitously in the past two decades, and underemphasizing the corresponding risks of rapidly aging populations.

This isn’t the first time that Jeffrey Sachs is honored at the Vatican. He delivered a keynote lecture at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in 2013. In the bio included on his personal webpage he boasts having advised John Paul II on the encyclical “Centesimus Annus.”

Sachs’ link to the Vatican appears to be Monsignor Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, who hosted the Vatican Conference last week together with Sachs’ Sustainable Development Solutions Network. Sánchez Sorondo sits on the group’s Leadership Council.

The Vatican prelate did not reply to email requests for comment both last week and this week on the reactions from Catholic intellectuals and pro-life media criticizing how the two most powerful proponents of abortion and population control were given a platform at the Vatican.

My write-up about Jeffery Sachs

184 of 188 Democratic U.S. House Representatives voted against a ban on late term abortions. (See also repost from March 2006)

May 13, 2015 – The United States House of Representatives has passed a ban on most abortions after 20 weeks’ gestation, ending four months of often vitriolic debate among Capitol Hill Republicans and pro-life activists about the contentious piece of legislation.

The bill passed 242-184, largely along party lines, with one member voting present. Four Republicans broke ranks and voted against the bill, while four Democrats voted in favor.

President Obama has previously vowed to veto the bill, should it pass both the House and the Senate.

    Source: LifeSiteNews.com

Repost from March, 2006:

This is now a core Democratic moral value. We’ve brought it center stage. The party passed a resolution in support of marriage equality at its convention last April, and it won’t be very long before every Democrat with credibility could not run in this state without supporting a woman’s right to choose and supporting marriage equality.” [March 2006: Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), author of the California gay marriage bill.]

    Source: http://www.ebar.com/news/article.php?sec=news&article=683

I’ve been watching ancient television episodes of The Donna Reed Show on the MeTV Network and I’ve been very delighted by the portrayal of realistic scenarios of family life in the era during which these scripts were developed and in the human nature, values and morals revealed by the characters portrayed by the TV family and the lessons taught in each episode. There are probably many parents and children of today’s era who would resent this television series because there is a stark difference in the portrayal of what should be and their actual personal experiences regarding family relationships and an individual’s personal values and morals. If you have access to this program, I encourage you to check it out – with humility if necessary.

Today, America is on the brink of the U.S. Supreme Court making a decision on whether or not the Constitution guarantees same-sex couples the right to marry. Regardless of what the court’s marority rules, I believe we Americans should take gravely serious the following excerpts taken from a reflection written by a dear and holy friend after the presidential election of 2012.

Much gloating revelry could be heard around the country after election day, as the wheels of the machinery of the culture of death were greased in a major way.  You know the news: our country’s most anti-life, anti-family, anti-Christian president in history was re-elected by millions of media-brainwashed people, who are heading like mindless lemmings to the precipice of catastrophe, that of their own souls and American society as such.

I don’t think Romney was a particularly good candidate (he had no intention of reversing Roe v. Wade), but at least he would have put the brakes on some other evils into which Obama is hell-bent on thrusting us headlong. The Lord gave us the choice between life and death, blessing and curse (see Deut. 30:15-20).  America has chosen death and the curse. You will see how this will play out in the next four years.

After “gay-marriage” bills had been defeated in individual states the first 32 times they were introduced, the voters of three states (Maine, Maryland, and Washington) finally ushered it in. This sets a dangerous precedent, and we’ll be sure to see this on the ballots of other states soon. If Americans don’t wake up in a hurry, the other states will fall like dominoes [as of today, April 28, 2015, there are 37 states with legalized same-sex marriage]. Other pro-gay and pro-abortion measures passed elsewhere.

“You will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice,” said the Lord concerning his faithful ones (Jn. 16:20), though He also predicted an ultimate reversal in fortunes. Evildoers who reject God’s law will win temporary victories and will make the good suffer, but they cannot overturn the will of God in the long run. Blessed John Paul II concurs: “Human progress planned as alternatives (to God’s plan) introduce injustice, evil and violence rising against the divine plan of justice and salvation. And despite transitory and apparent successes, they are reduced to simple machinations destined to dissolution and failure.” At present, the true servants of the Lord have been defeated and humiliated by the servants of the arrogant demons, who are now rolling in the aisles laughing over how easy it was, over how unthinking, unperceiving, and easily-manipulated the majority of Americans have proven themselves to be.  Yet many Christians were fervently praying that the Lord would give our country one more chance, before the evils that have been introduced in recent years would become so entrenched in law and civil life as to be unassailable by any Christian voices crying in the wilderness.  How are we to understand what happened?

It may very well be that a “sufficient number” was lacking, or simply that the accumulated sins of an self-absorbed and unrepentant nation have merited a divine decree of chastisement.  Perhaps it is largely the fault of the Catholic Church, or of members of this Church who are really pagans in Christian clothing.  If all Catholics would have voted according to the principles and explicit injunctions of Catholic moral teaching (which is the teaching of Christ’s Gospel), Obama would be retreating in shame by now.  So even if there are many great sinners who couldn’t care less about God and eternal life, it is the Church and her faithful that will suffer the most, because Catholics should have known better and could have made the decisive difference. America is selling her soul to the devil, and many Catholics evidently approve the deal. But there will be Hell to pay, literally.  God help us all.

America is just following the trends set over the past few decades in decaying Western Europe. One would think that Catholics would only look across the Atlantic to see that the Church is rapidly crumbling to pieces there, because her sacred traditions have been abandoned for the sake of gross immorality, political correctness, and the entire agenda of those who are shaping public opinion to embrace a Godless new world.  While the gays are trying to redefine marriage, politicians (and other influential people) are trying to redefine Catholicism, diluting it to the tastes of those who do not wish to “turn back the clock” to the time when the Gospel and the doctrines of the Church were upheld in an uncompromising fashion. Now we have “Catholics” like Biden, Pelosi, and Sabelius lecturing the bishops (with impunity!) on what Catholicism really means, identifying it with a vague notion of tolerance and compassion, studiously ignoring the Church’s explicit teachings.

Well, I needn’t go on and on.  It has been a big election for big government, big business, the culture of death, and the agenda of perversion and anti-Catholicism.  They are all throwing their parties now, and Hell is toasting its victories as well.  But there is Someone who is going to have the last word, and his righteousness will ultimately be vindicated.  We don’t know how long the faithful will have to suffer before that happens.  All we can do now is pray, fast, trust in the Lord, invoke the intercession of the Mother of God and the Saints and the protection of the mighty Angels, and “stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught” (2Thess. 2:15) by Christ and the Apostles, by the Popes and those bishops, priests and teachers who are in faithful union with them.

Everyone has a choice.  Americans have chosen as their leader someone with an evil agenda, someone whom power has made arrogant enough to confront and try to dismantle the Gospel, the Church, the natural law, the longest-held moral traditions and common decency itself.  What is your choice?  Do you want to fall in lockstep with this hell-bound march? Or will you do whatever it takes to stand with the truth, with our Lord Jesus Christ? “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).

A homily given by Father Joseph Illo on April 26, 2015 during the Extraordinary Form of the Mass (Star of the Sea Church, San Francisco, CA)

[Posted with permission]

[Epistle from the First Letter of Blessed Peter the Apostle, 2. 11-19 and Gospel according to St. John, 16. 16-22.]

Easter Joy  

We Catholics celebrate Easter for fifty days, and we are still swimming in the bright seas of glory streaming from our resurrected Lord. I’ll bet most of us still have some Easter candy around. Why, then, does Holy Mother Church give us readings today that sound more proper to Lent than Easter? St. Peter reminds us that we are “foreigners and pilgrims” in this world, and that the world “wages war against the soul.” Jesus tells his confused disciples that he will soon leave them, and that they will weep while the world rejoices. I think the Church gives us such sober readings on the Third Sunday of Easter to remind us that the joy of Easter streams from Our Lord’s wounds— glorious wounds—but wounds nonetheless. We must not forget the price of our redemption, nor that we are yet not in heaven.

Foreigners and pilgrims 

The secular world, of course, believes neither in Christ nor in his resurrection. It tolerates Easter for one day a year, and then only as a holiday of marshmallow bunnies and chocolate eggs. It is in this faithless world that we pass 70 or 80 years as “foreigners.” We must not forget our status as “pilgrims,” making an often difficult and dangerous journey to our true homeland. While we are on that journey, we smile, we sing, we enjoy the good gifts God gives us along the way, but we keep moving. We keep one eye always on the road ahead: we don’t know what may come at us to “wage war” against our souls, and the souls of our children.

And so, how to comport ourselves as we travel? St. Peter  advises us to keep ourselves clean and upright, for it is only by doing good that we might silence the ignorance of foolish people. Perhaps never more than now has godless ignorance become so widespread. The absurdity of post-Christians using Christian language, such as “human rights,” to promote precisely the violation of human rights, can discourage any pilgrim. The very concept of human rights did not exist before Christianity, and that concept is used now to kill an entire class of human beings (as in a woman’s “right to choose”). When the whole world seems to be losing its mind, stupidly following really evil men who call right wrong and wrong right, who promote manifestly irrational laws, and who blame the violent consequences on Christians—then we realize to what degree we are strangers in this world. We scarcely speak the same language as our own friends and family. We see what they cannot see, and they consider us deluded and fanatical.

We cannot convince most people of the absurdity, nor prevent much of the damage from pervasive ignorance of the Natural Laws. But we can, and we must, do good in the brief time given us this side of the grave. A Christian must never forget his dignity, and the supreme law of charity. “Give honor to all,” St. Peter counsels us. “Respect the king (for Americans, that means President Obama). Slaves should be subject to their masters, and not only to the nice ones. We are slaves, in a way, to the political powers and social trends that overwhelm us. The world is against us, but this should not unduly sadden or disturb us. We are only here in transit, after all, like changing planes at an airport. We know whence we come, and wither we go. 

True Joy 

You will weep, Jesus assures us; you will grieve but your grief will become joy. “I am leaving you,” he told his disciples. The world will defeat him; Jesus will hand himself over to this world’s power, but only in order to defeat evil by good. “I will see you again,” he declares, “and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away.”

My dear people, we must resist the temptation to let this old world get to us. We must not become despondent, even if marriage and family life collapses, and God is mocked all around us, and even, God forbid, those dearest to us lose their faith. We must still do good, and maintain our composure, and radiate goodwill to everyone, because we have been given a joy that no one can take from us. We can only hope to overcome some evil by patient goodness, and we cannot expect much from this world anyway. We must take the long view, the Christian view, the supernatural view, and think always in light of eternity. I think God has permitted us to live in a period of decline, so we do what we can to save souls and please God’s divine majesty.

We turn, always, to Our Lady. She patiently, and calmly, accepted her Son’s crucifixion. Somehow, she knew, he would overcome evil by good, and she would do it with him. It was hard for her, no doubt, but she didn’t lose her peace, even at Calvary. Let us apply ourselves to the same: imitating her faith, and calling upon her intercession, that we may faithfully follow her Son to our true homeland.

Babies are not pollution and need not be polluters

By Steven W. Mosher and Anne Morse (Population Research Institiue)

I often come across persons who attempt to justify forced abortion, sterilization, and contraception because “We (that is, human beings) are destroying the planet”. They view people as pollution, and argue that it is necessary to violate reproductive rights to protect the planet from the beings who are despoiling it. Yet that logic is intrinsically flawed.

Let us put it this way. Which of these do not belong: nitrous oxide, methane, Homo sapiens, or carbon dioxide?

The obvious answer is: “Homo sapiens.”

Pregnant women do not produce nitrous oxide. Childbirth does not generate methane. A newborn baby does breathe out carbon dioxide, but this is not a “pollutant” at all but a trace gas on which most life depends.

Yes, any given infant may grow up to be a notorious polluter, just as he may grow up to, say, recklessly endanger the lives of others by driving drunk. But such behaviors are not foregone conclusions. Unlike nitrous oxide, methane, or carbon dioxide, human beings have free will.

It is simply not true that more people equals more pollution. We have twice as many people living in the United States as we did in the early seventies, yet the skies over our major cities are clearer now than they were a half century ago. This is because the internal combustion engines that power our motor vehicles are no longer spewing out thousands of tons of particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, and other pollutants into the atmosphere as we drive. And this in turn is because we made a conscious decision to switch to cleaner burning fuels and install catalytic converters downstream from our engines.

As this example suggests, pollution is created by particular human behaviors such as the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels or the indiscriminate spraying of harmful pesticides. It can be corrected by altering that same behavior. Reducing the number of babies born will not solve these and other environmental problems.

No one would suggest that every baby born into a tech-savvy household will indubitably mature into a cyber-terrorist. Yet there are those who seem to believe that every baby human born will mature into a waste-creating, polar-bear-murdering, earth-destroying eco-terrorist. This is completely unreasonable. To be sure, some infants will grow up to secretly dump raw sewage into fragile estuaries, but many others will start compost piles and grow their own vegetables in backyard gardens.

No one can guarantee that any given infant will grow up to be a good conservationist, any more than any one can guarantee that any given infant will grow up into a happy well-adjusted adult. Everyone, as we noted above, enjoys free will.

But it is true that—thanks to technological advances, reasonable environmental regulations, and education that emphasizes good stewardship—we have made great strides in recent decades. Very large populations can actually have a much smaller environmental footprint than a much smaller population did a century or two ago. Population control has no part to play in these successes.

Sadly, not everyone has gotten this message. The anti-people argumentation continues to insist that babies equal pollution. The population control movement continues to receive billions of dollars in funding each year. Women’s fertility continues to be attacked in the name of the environment and “sustainable development.”

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) continues to cheerlead China’s one-child policy, ignoring the forced abortions and forced sterilizations that follow. The UNFPA continues to distribute 40 million doses of Depo-provera each year to unsuspecting women—despite the fact that this product is so unsafe that the FDA recommends against its use.

India still sterilizes over 4 million women annually under a system of statewide sterilization targets, ignoring the rising death toll of women who have died in such campaigns. And the developed nations—chief among them the United States—still continue to fund these programs in the name of achieving a mythical “sustainable population,” all the while ignoring the massive human rights abuses that they entail.

We agree that pollution sometimes constitutes an offense against other human beings. Those who wantonly and grossly pollute the water we drink and the air that we breathe endanger the rest of us, both those who are alive now and those who will come later.

But we also insist that forced abortion, forced sterilization, and forced contraception always constitute a grave violation of human rights. These actions are never justified, least of all by irrationally claiming that they are necessary to “protect the environment.”

We look forward to a future where our children and grandchildren enjoy a planet with clean air, clean water, and luxuriant greenery. We have already, in the U.S. and elsewhere, made great strides towards the realization of this future.

But we also hope and pray that our children and grandchildren grow up in a world without population control. We are working towards the day when they are valued for themselves, and are not seen by many in the environmental movement as a threat to their dream of a world without people.

After all, as Shakespeare remarked, “The world must be peopled.”

By Msgr. Charles Pope (posted with permission – source)

Last week was Holy Week, so sure enough there were many critical issues in the news that needed attention but we in the Church were off doing more important things like worshipping God and pondering our need for salvation. Permit a brief summary and some predictions from me based on the latest unpleasantness in Indiana last week.

I am not a lawyer and neither know nor understand all the legal implications of the law signed by the Indiana governor and then later amended. I speak more to the cultural concerns raised by same-sex attraction, the redefinition of marriage in civil justification, and the rapidity of all of these things and how they affect the Church.

Regarding cultural concerns and the political landscape, as is often the case, Ross Douthat summarizes the situation best:

One of the difficulties in this discussion, from a conservative perspective, is that the definition of “common sense” and “compromise” on these issues has shifted so rapidly in such a short time: Positions taken by, say, the president of the United States and most Democratic politicians a few short years ago are now deemed the purest atavism [a recurrence of or reversion to a past style, manner, outlook, or approach, something strikingly archaic], the definition of bigotry gets more and more elastic, and developments that social liberals would have described as right-wing scare stories in 2002 or so are now treated as just the most natural extensions of basic American principles. … But the pace involved is unusual, and its rapidity makes it very easy to imagine that scenarios that aren’t officially on the table right now will become plausible very, very soon. the only remaining question in the same-sex marriage “debate” [is] what kind of space, if any, an ascendant cultural liberalism would leave to Americans with traditional views on what constitutes a marriage. … [T]he choice of exactly how far to push and how much pluralism to permit would [seem to] be almost entirely in the hands of liberals and supporters of same-sex marriage. That’s … basically how it looks to me today. [1]

Indeed, as an “American with traditional views on what constitutes a marriage” it is hard not to feel bullied and outgunned. Most of our opponents feel secure politically, culturally, and legally  in labeling us the worst sort of bigots and threatening legal sanctions. It is not merely that we must be “pitied” or considered “out-of-date”; we must be removed from the scene or forced to comply. The high horses are out in force and those who ride them seek a clean sweep of all who utter so much as a word of dissent. I wonder with Terry Mattingly if the horses would be quite so high if a “gay” Episcopalian caterer refused to cater a convention of “ex-Gay” Americans; outrage and coverage thereof by the mainstream media might be very selective.

From the few reports I heard, it seems many reporters are poor at distinguishing Catholic views from those of some (not all) Evangelicals. The Catholic position distinguishes same-sex attraction from same-sex behavior (i.e., homosexual acts) in ways that many Evangelicals do not. We should not countenance any business turning a “gay” American away simply because he or she is known to be “gay.” And I do not know anyone who says that someone should be turned away simply because he or she self-identifies as “gay.” That would be unjust discrimination, which the Catechism speaks against.  However, when a Catholic is asked to contribute to or benefit from an event that celebrates same-sex acts or same-sex “marriage,” the situation is much different.

There are some situations in which a Catholic business owner’s cooperation/participation in such an event would be remote and thus not construed as approving sinful activity. In such cases the owner can proceed with a clear conscience. However, when cooperation in such an event would indicate support or approval of what Scripture and the Church teach as sinful, Catholics have duties and rights to stand back and not cooperate. To some degree there are prudential judgements involved in determining what constitutes remote vs. direct material cooperation. However, the norm remains: Catholics should not directly materially cooperate in doing what is sinful or wrong in any matter, be it issues of invalid marriages, illicit sexual union, or any number of other moral issues forbidden by Scripture and Church teaching.

For the record, this is the Catholic position on same-sex attraction is stated in the Catechism:

Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, [Cf. Gen 191-29; Rom 124-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10], tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” [CDF, Persona humana 8]. They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved. 

The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition. 

Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection (Catechism 2357-2359).

This teaching is not going to change no matter how much pressure this latest cultural juggernaut brings to bear. Individual Catholics [and even some bishops] may cave in to the pressure, but the teaching cannot and will not change; it is firmly held in the sacred deposit of faith and consistently taught by the Magisterium.

But as for the Church, I think predictions of our demise (if we do not comply with current social pressures) lack historical understanding. More specifically, many say that if we don’t update our teachings on same-sex attraction, contraception, divorce and remarriage, etc. we are going to become “irrelevant” and our pews will empty. I have a few thoughts on these gloomy predictions:

  1. The Catholic Church has endured 2000 years of “social pressure” to change almost every one of our teachings, dogmatic and moral. Consider the Judaizers of St Paul’s day. Consider the Trinitarian and Christological heresies of the first few centuries. Consider the great Eastern Schism of the 11th century. Consider the Soteriological and Ecclesiological errors of the 16th Century. Consider modernism in our own time and all its offshoots such as relativism, discontinuity, reductionism, scientism, deconstructionism, and any other “ism” you can think of that takes one thing and makes it the whole thing. But here we still are. Empires have come and gone, nations have risen and fallen, philosophies and fancies have been tried and found wanting. Here we still are. Where are Nero, Julian the Apostate, Napoleon, Marx, and Stalin? Where is the USSR? All these political forces, people, and movements had an agenda they pressured us to adopt. They are gone and the Church and the Gospel are still here. All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever” (1 Peter 1:24-25). And from Luke, Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. So, be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap(Luke 21:33-34). So this age has its agendas and is warning the Church that she will fade and die if she does not conform. I think I’ve heard that one before!
  2. The denominations that have adopted the “give the people what they want” stance (be it women clergy, approval of abortion, approval of homosexual acts, approval of gay “marriage,” etc.) are far emptier than is the Catholic Church, which by the way continues to grow worldwide. Surely secularism has taken a toll on the Church in many parts of the country, especially the old cities of the Northeast. But in the South many parishes are bursting at the seams and new parishes are being built. Most of the old, mainline Protestant denominations that have taken the “be relevant and permissive” advice are now quite divided and increasingly empty, whereas Catholic parishes and Evangelical denominations that have resisted this (though the Catholic position distinguishes attraction from sinful acts) are either holding their own or growing.
  3. Many say that the Catholic Church’s own members do not follow Catholic teachings on sexuality. This is true in varying degrees depending on the specific area. But many also do not follow our teaching against greed. Very few confess it and many seem to think it never applies to them. Should we change this teaching? Many fail to be as generous as they should be to the poor and very few confess this. Perhaps this teaching should be set aside as well since it doesn’t seem very popular and the poor are still with us. And boy, I’ll tell you a lot of Catholics struggle with the forgiving thing and loving their enemy! When forgiveness is preached many think that they have a good reason not to forgive and that God will understand in their particular case. So is it out with forgiveness, too? And despite many decades of dissent and scoffing at her teaching on contraception, the Church has not changed her position and it looks more right than ever given the confusion that contraception has caused about the purposes of sex. Right now our culture’s big obsession is with sexual misbehavior and thus the demands that we change the ancient, tested, biblical teaching on sexuality loom large. But when the current madness is finished or (more sadly) this culture exits the scene (by sexual suicide) the Church will still be here and the Gospel will remain unchanged.
  4. Despite the charges against her of bigotry and unfairness, the Catholic Church has one standard for everyone based on Scripture: chastity. (I will write more on this tomorrow.) For the married this means fidelity of mind, heart, and body. For the unmarried it means no genital sexual contact, ever. Those of same-sex attraction may protest that marriage is not possible for them under our teaching. This is true unless they are able to develop an attraction to the opposite sex. But even many who are not same-sex attracted either delay marriage significantly or never find a suitable marriage partner. They might object to simply being told that they have “options.” And frankly, as a vowed heterosexual celibate, I find objectionable the notion that living without sexual intercourse is worse than a death sentence. My life is full and happy. I have good friendships and can say firsthand that the Lord and the Church do not ask too much of the unmarried to refrain from sexual intimacy. Such a continence is not impossible. In the 26 years of my vowed commitment, I have never strayed with anyone, not even once. So the Church has one standard for everyone. And this is a sign of respect that is in contrast to the “soft bigotry” that would ask less of someone because he or she has an attraction that does not conform to the purposes of sexual activity.

The Church does have work to do in reaching out to those of same-sex attraction with a message of compassion that does not contradict the truth of God as revealed in Scripture and Natural Law. In August I will be attending a conference organized by Dr. Janet Smith that seeks to address this very task. Though I will be a mere “back-bencher”  among many fine scholars and clerics, I was asked to submit a paper on pastoral challenges related to same-sex attraction. I will present excerpts from that paper tomorrow on the blog.

Meanwhile, I would like Cardinal George to have the last word. Please pray for the good Cardinal, who is currently hospitalized with extensive cancer. Always so careful but clear, Cardinal George writes,

In recent years, society has brought social and legislative approval to all types of sexual relationships that used to be considered “sinful.” Since the biblical vision of what it means to be human tells us that not every friendship or love can be expressed in sexual relations, the Church’s teaching on these issues is now evidence of intolerance for what the civil law upholds and even imposes. What was once a request to live and let live has now become a demand for approval. The “ruling class,” those who shape public opinion in politics, in education, in communications, in entertainment, is using the civil law to impose its own form of morality on everyone. We are told that, even in marriage itself, there is no difference between men and women, although nature and our very bodies clearly evidence that men and women are not interchangeable at will in forming a family. Nevertheless, those who do not conform to the official religion, we are warned, place their citizenship in danger [1].

Amen. More tomorrow on our need as a Church to present an effective response at the parish level to the cultural challenges related to same-sex attraction.

(Cardinal Francis E. George, who was the Roman Catholic archbishop of Chicago for 17 years passed on to the Lord on Friday, April 17. He was 78. RIP beloved and loyal servant of God.]