50th Anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s Encyclical, Humanae Vitae
[Ed. note: every month we will present excerpts from this short but incisive papal letter to all people of good will. Pope Paul VI was canonized last month.]
The transmission of human life is a most serious role in which married people collaborate freely and responsibly with God the Creator. It has always been a source of great joy to them, even though it sometimes entails many difficulties and hardships. The fulfillment of this duty has always posed problems to the conscience of married people, but the recent course of human society and the concomitant changes have provoked new questions. The Church cannot ignore these questions, for they concern matters intimately connected with the life and happiness of human beings.
- Conjugal love is not “merely a question of natural instinct or emotional drive. It is …, above all, an act of the free will,” meant to help couples “not only to survive the joys and sorrows of daily life, but also to grow, so that husband and wife become in a way one heart and one soul, and together attain their human fulfillment.”
- “It is a love which is total—that very special form of personal friendship in which husband and wife generously share everything, allowing no unreasonable exceptions and not thinking solely of their own convenience. Whoever really loves his partner loves not only for what he receives, but loves that partner for the partner’s own sake, content to be able to enrich the other with the gift of oneself.”
- “Married love is also faithful and exclusive of all other, and this until death. This is how husband and wife understood it on the day on which, fully aware of what they were doing, they freely vowed themselves to one another in marriage. Though this fidelity of husband and wife sometimes presents difficulties, [it is] always honorable and meritorious. The example of countless married couples proves … that it is the source of profound and enduring happiness.”
- “Finally, this love is … not confined wholly to the loving interchange of husband and wife; it also contrives to go beyond this to bring new life into being.” The 2nd Vatican Council states: “Marriage and conjugal love are by their nature ordained toward the procreation and education of children. Children are really the supreme gift of marriage and contribute in the highest degree to their parents’ welfare.” [Full text available online free of charge.]
“Aborting for the Reason of Race, Sex or Disability is Kind of Hitler-esque”
This was the reaction of Lake County (Indiana) pro-life group President Len Reynolds regarding an Indiana Law that prohibits such abortions and also requires abortion facilities to bury or cremate aborted babies rather than dispose of them as medical waste. “Nothing in the Constitution prohibits states from requiring health facilities to provide an element of basic human dignity in disposing of fetuses,” Attorney General Curtis Hill said in a statement.
Recent legal challenges by Planned Parenthood and the National Organization for Women have prevented the law from being implemented. Hill is now appealing to the Supreme Court for a constitutional ruling. [Dave Brooks, “Planned Parenthood Fights Law Requiring Proper Burial for Aborted Babies,” LifeNews.com, 10/22/18]
“Courage is a group of Catholics who experience same-sex attractions and who are committed to helping one another live chaste lives marked by prayer, fellowship and mutual support. EnCourage provides spiritual support for parents, spouses & other loved ones of people who are involved in homosexual relationships. [Courage International, Inc., http://couragerc.org]
“Can I Guard Myself and My Family from Inappropriate Internet Content?”
What you do online impacts your life offline. According to Covenant Eyes, that is an important reason to have internet content monitored and filtered. Their website has lots of free resources for families to review. Discover how the internet affects your life and the ones you love including cyberbullying, pornography, obsessions, new internet trends, and other issues. If you are interested in protecting your family, you could try their services free for 30 days by using the promo code Patrick. [www.covenanteyes.com]
On Election Day, we will make critical decisions about the types of leaders we will have for years to come. It is essential that we look carefully at the positions of the candidates. This step is critical in fulfilling our responsibilities as faithful citizens, as we must participate in the political process with a fully informed conscience. There are so many issues to consider: the environment, war, immigration, abortion, marriage, taxes, jobs, health care costs, poverty, homelessness, etc. Pro-life Catholics emphasize that the dignity of human life is a bedrock Christian principle: without respect for life, other issues pale in comparison. So our votes must reflect this basic concern.
Natural, Effective and Healthy Family Planning …. and It’s Free
Since 1971, the Couple to Couple League has sought to inspire, educate and support couples in family planning that is natural, effective, healthy and consistent with God’s plan for life, love and marriage.
Natural family planning (NFP) is fertility awareness which is simply knowledge of a couple’s fertility. It is a means of reading the body’s signs of fertility and infertility; applying this knowledge through the Sympto-Thermal Method (STM) which is over 99% effective. A married couple’s application of this knowledge either to try to achieve a pregnancy or to postpone a pregnancy is responsible parenthood. Practicing NFP is 100% natural: no drugs, chemicals or devices. Many today find it to be a positive & refreshing alternative to contraceptive methods. NFP honors our dignity as persons by respecting the natural rhythms and functions of the body. Many couples who use NFP speak of an increased awe and respect for femininity and their mutual fertility, and a greater sense of empowerment through self-knowledge.
Wives can avoid the risks and side effects that come with drugs and devices of contraceptive methods by choosing NFP. Because there are no potentially harmful chemicals, hormones or devices put into your body, NFP is safe. Because it does not interrupt your natural cycles and, instead, respects and informs you of your natural fertility, it is healthy. And because NFP does not involve the continual purchase of medications or devices, it is green, with no negative influence on either your body or the environment.
NFP couples tend to find that their love life improves when they make the switch from contraception. What they discover is that without artificial hormones dulling the wife’s natural sex drive, & with increased respect & communication from managing fertility together, NFP brings a spark and a sizzle that helps keep their intimacy fresh, exciting & fun. NFP couples feel more like a team that extends beyond family planning. Many couples find that NFP helps build a closer relationship to God since they are experiencing marriage as He intended. [For more info, visit www.ccli.org]
David E. Paul, “Culture War as Class War”
“The fight is over nothing less than who has the power to define reality. To lose such a fight [is] to have the weight of the dominant culture pressed firmly against you, peeling away members of your side and undermining the ability and willingness of the remainder to resist. It is to be denied access to elite institutions and networks, and to all the material and social benefits they confer. It is even to have the force of law and thus ultimately the power of the state used against you.” [First Things, Aug/Sep 2018. Author is professor, Williams College]
Entertaining Movies ….. with a Message
Whether in the theater or at home, here are films that you may not have heard much about but will find engaging and enjoyable. (Why not save the list & check-off the boxes as you see the movies?)
- Gosnell (2018): this could still be in some theaters even though it has suffered a media blackout. Great crime drama with some great acting, based on an actual recent case tried in Philadelphia.
- October Baby (2011): urged by her lifelong best friend Jason, Hannah, an adoptee, goes with friends on spring-break from Birmingham to New Orleans, planning to stop in Mobile where her birth certificate says she was born.
- Unprotected (2018 documentary): #MeToo. Sexting. The hook-up culture. Teen depression. Fertility crisis. Divorce. Pornography. How did the culture become so toxic for women? Moving stories and inspiring commentary reveal the devastating effects of 50 years of the sexual revolution.
- Bella (2006): a drama about characters, relationships and decisions. José was once a rising star with the Real Madrid soccer club before his budding career took an unexpected turn. Nina, already struggling at work, discovers that she is faced with an unwanted pregnancy.
- Hush (2016): a dramatized documentary that gives equal coverage to pro-choice women, pro-life women and women who are concerned about themselves or their daughters achieving their reproductive goals with optimal chances for long-term health. Fascinating cultural history that has the flavor of investigative journalism.
- Juno (2007): this outrageously offbeat comedy hit film has rare wisdom, one that knows that following your bliss is often another name for selfishness and immaturity, and the secret to lasting happiness is often a matter of taking what you have and deciding to make it work.
- Indivisible (2018): just released is the extraordinary true story of Army Chaplain Darren Turner & his wife Heather. When war etches battle scars on their hearts, they face one more battle: the fight to save their marriage.
[Tell the editor about other life-affirming and family-supportive movie titles of which you may know.]