Human Life International . . . Says Pope’s Inflight Remarks Cause Widespread Confusion[!?]

Human Life International . . . Says Pope’s Inflight Remarks Cause Widespread Confusion[!?]

Human Life International
February 25, 2016

Wanderer Editor’s Note: Below is the commentary by Human Life International on Pope Francis’ remarks on contraception and the Zika virus in his inflight press conference, which were followed by the clarification of Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi, SJ, which appeared to support the Pope’s commentary. First is HLI’s updated statement given after Fr. Lombardi spoke, followed by HLI’s original statement.

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Vatican Radio [on February 19] published in Italian the text of an interview with Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi, in which he attempts to clarify some of the Holy Father’s more controversial comments from [his February 18] return flight from Mexico.

In the interview, Fr. Lombardi expands on comments Pope Francis made about the possibility of married couples using contraception due to concerns about spreading the Zika virus. Human Life International is extremely concerned that, rather than clarify the comments with references to the very clear doctrine of the Church, Fr. Lombardi instead made statements that contradict established Church doctrine on contraception, referring to both the non-magisterial decision of Pope Paul VI to which the Holy Father also referred, and adding a reference to a non-magisterial statement from Pope Benedict XVI that contradicts Pope Benedict’s own explanation of the statement.

We must repeat, with the Church, her own condemnation of the act of using contraception from Humanae Vitae n. 14:

“Therefore We base Our words on the first principles of a human and Christian doctrine of marriage when We are obliged once more to declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun and, above all, all direct abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children. Equally to be condemned, as the Magisterium of the Church has affirmed on many occasions, is direct sterilization, whether of the man or of the woman, whether permanent or temporary.

“Similarly excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation — whether as an end or as a means.

“Neither is it valid to argue, as a justification for sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive, that a lesser evil is to be preferred to a greater one, or that such intercourse would merge with procreative acts of past and future to form a single entity, and so be qualified by exactly the same moral goodness as these. Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good, it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it — in other words, to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general.

“Consequently, it is a serious error to think that a whole married life of otherwise normal relations can justify sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive and so intrinsically wrong.”

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First statement from Human Life International on the question of Pope Francis’ comments about Zika and contraception, given on the return flight from his trip to Mexico:

1) We are grateful for the Holy Father’s strong condemnation of abortion, and for his clear affirmation of the common sense — but often overlooked — fact that abortion does not cure any disease, but only kills babies.

2) Headlines such as “Pope approves contraception in areas threatened by Zika virus” immediately went around the world following the interview, and since this misunderstanding is already being used to pressure bishops in Latin America, we hope to see a clarification on this aspect of the Holy Father’s comments as soon as possible.

We hope that the clarification emphasizes the unchangeable teaching of the Church on the absolute immorality of the use of contraception for the purpose of avoiding pregnancy, even as the permissibility of natural methods of postponing pregnancy for serious reasons is affirmed, along with the need to ensure that those threatened by Zika receive the best possible prevention advice and support, and those affected receive the best possible care.

3) As we await the official English translation of the Holy Father’s comments, we feel obliged to clarify a comparison that is being attributed to Pope Francis by available translations. Let us set aside for the moment what exactly Blessed Pope Paul VI approved in the terrible situation of religious sisters being threatened by rape in the Congo in the 1960s, since there appears to be no official record of this act.

The act of rape and the marital act are completely different. While this would normally go without saying, it is important to emphasize this point: A woman who is raped is under no obligation to let the act result in pregnancy. She did not participate in a sexual act, she was assaulted, and thus by using a barrier method of contraception would have no intention (no object) of having contracepted sex.

The married couple who uses contraception to prevent pregnancy is engaging in an entirely different act. As the Church teaches, if there is legitimate concern about the health and safety of the mother and child, this may well constitute a serious enough reason to use natural methods (fertility awareness/periodic abstinence) to postpone conception. But unnatural hormonal and barrier methods are never licit, and cannot be approved by the Church.

4) It is outrageous that so many in the media and in the population control industry have uncritically accepted the link between Zika and microcephaly as true despite any scientific proof, even as more and more scientists raise doubts about the connection. The vast majority of those who contract Zika will never know they have it, and most of the minority who do become aware of it will see only minor symptoms.

A connection between Zika and a few cases of the serious condition of Guillain-Barre syndrome is being investigated, and this investigation should be supported by all.

5) While several investigations of a possible link between Zika and microcephaly are underway, many in the media have been trying to shame the Church into changing its unchangeable teaching on contraception, claiming as fact the as-yet unproven and morally irrelevant claim that Zika causes microcephaly in the unborn children of mothers who contract the virus.

6) We reiterate here, in complete agreement with the Holy Father, that abortion (an intentional act that ends pregnancy) is an absolutely evil act, and can never be approved under any circumstances, regardless of how pregnancy was achieved. Nor does it cure any disease.

7) We are grateful to the bishops of Brazil and other Latin American nations affected by the Zika virus who have already made this teaching clear. They deserve support for teaching this unpopular truth in love, having as their goal the true flourishing and salvation of the faithful under their care.

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10 comments on “Human Life International . . . Says Pope’s Inflight Remarks Cause Widespread Confusion[!?]

  1. Denial Runs Strong In Surprising Places


    As I mentioned yesterday, too many good Catholics are in denial regarding the reality that we currently have a pope who poses a danger to souls every time he opens his mouth. Am I saying that the pope intends this damage? I of course cannot say one way or the other, although common sense indicates the affirmative. I will say, however, that regardless of his motives, he indeed is causing real damage.

    Therefore it troubles me greatly when prominent Catholic pro-life leaders advocate the continuance of denial. When they do so, they unwittingly act as to dissuade their readers from discerning the input that feeds their souls. Thus these deniers contribute to the spiritual damage already being wrought by the pope’s harmful words.

    A sad “case in point” is found in an article by Judie Brown, co-founder and president of American Life League. ALL has always been in the forefront of the Catholic pro-life movement as they have correctly pointed out the spiritual destruction caused by contraception. The article is to be found in RenewAmerica entitled “The Pope Francis Effect“. While I respect Mrs. Brown highly, I have no choice but to refute this.

    Let’s bring in the first two sentences: “Over the last week, considering all the events that Pope Francis participated in during his six-day visit to Mexico and the many lives he touched with his words, his actions, and his very presence, it seems so sad that only one or two sentences from one interview captured our attention. It is as though nothing else happened that week.” The effects of his trip to Mexico are debatable at best, but I won’t broach that for now. Suffice it to say that any (debatable) benefit from his trip was far outweighed by the heresy against morals in his “one or two sentences”. No amount of benefit will mitigate the immense harm and scandal caused by his stated approval of contraceptives. For example, consider the morning of April 15, 1865. Can you just imagine someone asking Mary Todd Lincoln, “Aside from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?” Well the notion that we should dismiss the outright heresy because of the “lives he touched” is similarly preposterous. Let us consider that his heresy is “touching lives”, too.

    Proceeding down, she says “the pope was speaking off the cuff”. So what? It was still the pope who was speaking. “What he said or didn’t say really isn’t the problem.” Yes it is, when Humanae Vitae, Casti Connubi and Evangelium Vitae are undermined in the eyes of the world by the Vicar of Christ, the “problem” cannot be overestimated. Perhaps I’m wrong, but I suspect that if it weren’t Pope Francis on that plane and instead we had Cardinal Dolan, Cardinal Wuerl or some other progressive shepherd on that plane uttering those exact same words, Mrs. Brown’s take on the matter would be decidedly different – and rightly so.

    She said that “it is troubling to realize that all the good (?) Pope Francis did during his visit to Mexico was so easily overshadowed by one or two silly comments made to reporters”. I’m glad she acknowledged that, at best, the comments were “silly”, but actually they constituted heresy. Refer to what I wrote of Mrs. Lincoln’s experience at Ford Theater. She might have watched a lovely performance, but when the shots were fired, what constituted the real impact of that evening in her life?

    Toward the end she says, “it makes me so sad that we are always so prone to jump on something negative rather than embracing the positive. No, the positive will never take top billing on the nightly news.” A few things..

    [1] It seems that Mrs. Brown, at least in this case, has fallen for the “positive versus negative” codswallop. I’ve said this many times and now will say so again. The “positive versus negative” paradigm has nothing to do with objective truth or falsehood of a given statement or situation; rather it is a paradigm that focuses on the emotional impact that said statement or situation has on its beholders. Obviously whether a situation is “positive” or “negative” depends on whom you ask and their particular disposition – not the objective merits of the same.

    [2] As far as “top billing on the nightly news”, the problem is that the news is abuzz about the whole mess, and viewing what we would consider a “negative” as a “positive”. To wit:

    ABC News
    Los Angeles Times
    Wall Street Journal
    NBC News

    [3] The above news sites are on the first page after I googled “pope Francis contraceptives”. Can we all now see the scandal caused by the pope’s utterance of heresy? Please – let’s not blame the media for this. They didn’t “bait” him into a trap. He’s a grown-up who is responsible for what he says, just like the rest of us.

  2. Captain Kirk: While we’re pondering the papal Rubbergate controversy, Mister Spock,
    how do you think Mrs. Lincoln liked the play at Ford’s Theatre?

    Spock: The play at Ford’s Theatre was Our American Cousin, Captain. If I may consult the ship’s computer,”Our American Cousin is a three-act play by English playwright Tom Taylor. The play is a farce whose plot is based on the introduction of an awkward, boorish, but honest American, Asa Trenchard, to his aristocratic English relatives when he goes to England to claim the family estate.” During the performance at Ford’s Theatre on April 14, 1865, “halfway through Act III, Scene 2, the character of Asa Trenchard, played that night by Harry Hawk, utters this line, considered one of the play’s funniest, to Mrs. Mountchessington:

    “ Don’t know the manners of good society, eh? Well, I guess I know enough to turn you inside out, old gal — you sockdologizing old man-trap. ”

    During the ensuing laughter, John Wilkes Booth, a famous actor and Confederate sympathizer, who was not a member of the play’s cast…”

    Captain Kirk: Yes, yes, Mister Spock, but in relation to the papal Rubbergate controversy…

    Captain Kirk: I was getting to that part, Captain.

    Dr. Jacques Lacan: Since it is a bourgeois comedy of manners of the Victorian era, we are dealing with the mirror stage of a decentered ego….

    Professor Derrida: Which must be deconstructed…

    Dr. Jacques Lacan: Obviously. The Victorian era was full of masks and repression.

    Professor Derrida: Mrs. Lincoln was probably shocked at first…

    Father Sarducci, S.J.: Just as some have been shocked by the Pope’s comments on contraception.

    Doctor Freud: How old did you say this Argentinean theologian is again?

    Woody If only we had Professor Marshall McLuhan here to clear this up.

    Professor Marshall McLuhan: We should take some time to look at the language to see how that reflects oral traditions of the times.

    Woody: Well, there you have it!

    Ted Baxter: But that’s only a movie! Huh, huh, huh!

    Mary: Well, yes, Ted. Of course, Jacques Lacan’s theories are just theoretical and speculative like Marshall McLuhan’s.

    Dick: And I’m for Bernie Sanders!

    Hans Küng: In a way, I was shocked too. But then this Pope is always full of surprises!

    Spock: We can start over, Captain, if you think a review is necessary.

    Emily: How did he get off of global warming and climate change?

  3. Laura Petrie: Rob’s not feeling well!

    Sally Bernie Sanders???!!!

    Buddy: That would be a pretty BIG tax increase!

    Mel Cooley: Maybe you need to take a nap, Rob…

  4. Laura Petrie: Rob, are you really sure about Bernie Sanders? Because, for one thing, we would probably have to move to Florida or Texas just to save on taxes.

    Buddy: He’s a socialist who sounds like a Communist!

    Sally: You got that one right, Buddy!

    Laura: Oh, Rob! I just don’t think we could afford to live here any longer if taxes were raised that high by a President Sanders.

    Laura: Well, we might as well move to Sweden then!

    Rob: Come on, Honey, it won’t be that bad!

    Ted Baxter: The Pope said what about condoms?

    Lou Grant: Mary! I want you and Ted to get over to the University of St. Thomas right away and ask the head of the Theology department what they think about what the Pope just said about contraception and condoms!

    Phyllis: Well, I’m sure a seasoned swinger like Rhoda wasn’t waiting for the Pope’s permission, Mary.

    Rhoda: Oh, don’t worry, Phyllis, I’m not Catholic.
    I just sound like an Italian from Longk Island.

    Emily: But, Bob, what will happen when someone explains to the Pope that condoms aren’t good for the environment? I mean, dolphins and baby seals have enough trouble with soda can tabs.

    Sue Ann Nivens Mary, will explain it to you, Ted. But always remember to use scissors to cut up those plastic things that hold six-packs of beer cans together

    Ted Baxter: Does the Pope know about this?

    Ted Baxter: It’s OK, Mary. Lou told me about the dolphins and baby seals.

  5. Opie: Paw! Paw! Did you hear? The Pope said rubbers are OK now!

    Barney Fife: Did you hear that, Gomer?

    Gomer: Shazam!

    Aunt Bee: Why, that’s wonderful, Opie! The reverend was just saying the other day how Catholics breed like rabbits.
    Maybe one day you can grow up to direct The Da Vinci Code.

    Opie: Yessum. I was just readin’ ’bout how the Pope and the King of France were always trying to keep the Illuminati and occult knowledge down to prevent progress and the Enlightenment and all, like we got here in Mayberry.

    Professor Adam Weishaupt: We may have a place for you young man…

    Sheriff Andy Taylor: Now, Opie we’ll have to talk about this when you get a little older.
    So no more talk about rubbers and the Pope for now.

    Fonzie: Where’s Cunningham?

    Fonzie: The situation for dolphins and baby seals is very serious, Cunningham.
    And let’s not forget about frogs in rivers and streams, doped up on these gender-bending hormones!

    Ted Baxter: Lou didn’t mention anything about the frogs.

    Doc Brown: Marty, we have to warn them about the frogs! And the genetically-modified Zika virus!
    By the way, you should go easy on the Diet Pepsi and Flu shots. Very bad for Parkinson’s, Marty. Very bad.

    Marty What???

  6. Sheriff Andy: Why, it must be that new NEA feller from Raleigh who come in pushing the Kinsey Report and the Frankfurt School. It’s all over town he’s been paying Miss Crump a lot of attention lately working on those late-night book reports for the Common Core seminars.

    Barney Fife: Late-night book reports?

    Floyd: Oh, I’ve been helping out with the Boys Junior Varsity Gymnastics team.

    Barney: What are we gonna do, Andy???

    Aunt Bee: I’m sure the Kinsey Report will make for interesting reading at the PTA meeting.

  7. Aunt Bee: Those typical PTA meetings are so boring anyway. This will liven things up a bit to have the Kinsey Report and Frankfurt School theory in Mayberry.

    Opie: Paw! Paw! I’m gonna go right down to the drug store and get me some rubbers now that the Pope says they’re OK!

    Barney Fife: Did you hear that???

    Matlock: Not so fast, young man!

    Andy: Well, now, where would you all like to go tonight? Mount Pilot or Raleigh?

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