Rereading Humanae Vitae in the light of Casti connubii

Rereading Humanae Vitae in the light of Casti connubii

Roberto  de Mattei
Corrispondenza Romana
 July 5, 2018
Risultati immagini per casti connubii humanae vitae
Over the last few decades the West has experienced an “anti-family” Revolution without precedent in history. One of the tenets of this process in the disintegration of the institution of the family was the separation of the two primary purposes of marriage, the procreative and the unitive. The procreative purpose, separated from conjugal union, has brought about in-vitro fertilization and the surrogate womb. The unitive purpose, emancipated from procreation, has lead to the glorification of free love, both heterosexual and homosexual.  One of the results of these aberrations is the recourse of homosexual couples to the practice of the surrogate womb in order to actualize a grotesque caricature of the natural family. 

Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae, which celebrates its 50th anniversary on July 25th  2018, had the merit of reiterating the inseparableness of the purports of marriage and of clearly condemning artificial contraception, made possible in the 1960s  by the commercialization of Dr. Pinkus’ s Pill. Yet, even Humanae Vitae has it culpabilty: by not affirming with the same clarity the hierarchy of the purposes i.e. the primacy of the procreative over the unitive.
   
Two principles, or values, are never on the same level of equality. One is always subordinate to the other. This happens in the relationships between faith and reason, between grace and nature, between the Church and the State and so forth. It  is about inseparable but distinct, hierarchal-ordered realities. If the order of these relationships is not defined, tensions and conflicts will follow, resulting in the overturning of principles. In this respect, the process of moral disintegration inside the Church, has among its causes, also the absence of a clear definition of the primary purpose of marriage in the encyclical of Paul VI.
The doctrine of the Church on marriage was affirmed as definitive and binding by Pope Pius XI in his encyclical Casti Connubii of December 31st 1930. In this document, the Pope calls the attention of  the entire Church and all of the human race  to the fundamental truths on the nature of marriage, an institution not of men, but conceived by God Himself, and on the blessings and benefits society derives from it. The first purpose is procreation: which doesn’t mean simply bringing children into the world, but educating them, intellectually, morally and most of all spiritually, to help them attain their eternal destiny, which is Heaven. The second purpose is the mutual assistance of the spouses, which is not only a material assistance, nor only a sexual, sentimental intent, but primarily an assistance and spiritual union.
The encyclical contains a clear and vigorous condemnation of contraceptive methods, defined as  “shameful actions and intrinsically dishonest”. Thus:“Any use whatsoever of matrimony exercised in such a way that the act is deliberately frustrated in its natural power to generate life is an offense against the law of God and of nature, and those who indulge in such are branded with the guilt of a grave sin.[56]
Pius XII confirmed the teaching of his predecessor in many discourses. The original schema on the family and marriage at Vatican II, approved by John XXIII in July 1962, but rejected at the start of the works by the Council Fathers, reiterated this doctrine, explicitly condemning “theories that, reversing the right order of values, put the primary purpose of marriage in the shade with respect to the biological and personal values of the spouses and that, in the same objective order, suggest the conjugal love as the primary goal” (n. 14).
The procreative purpose, objective and rooted in nature, never ceases. The unitive purpose, subjective and founded on the will of the spouses, can die out.  The primacy of the procreative purpose saves the marriage; the primacy of the unitive purpose exposes it to grave risks.
Furthermore, we mustn’t forget that the purposes of marriage are not two, but three, because there is also – subordinate – the remedy against concupiscence.  Nobody speaks about this third purpose  seeing as we have lost the meaning of the notion of concupiscence, often confused with sin, in the Lutheran sense. Concupiscence, present in every person, except the Most Blessed Virgin, immune to original sin, reminds us that that life on earth is an incessant struggle, as St John says: For all that is in the world, is the concupiscence of the flesh, and the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1John 2, 16). The exaltation of sexual instincts, inoculated into the mainstream culture by Marxist-Freudism, is nothing other than the glorification of  concupiscence and, consequently, original sin.
This inversion of the purposes of marriage, which leads inevitably to the explosion of concupiscence in society, appears in Pope Francis’ Exhortation, Amoris laetitia of April 9th 2015, where we read “Then too, we often present marriage in such a way that its unitive meaning, its call to grow in love and its ideal of mutual assistance are overshadowed by an almost exclusive insistence on the duty of procreation” [36].
These words repeat almost verbatim those pronounced in the Council Hall on October 29th 1964 by Leo-Joseph Suenens, in a discourse that scandalized Paul VI. “Perhaps – said the Cardinal, Archbishop of Brussels –  we have accentuated the words of the Scriptures: ‘increase and multiply’ to the point of leaving the other Divine words in the shade: ‘and the two will be one flesh’ […]  It  will be up to the Commission to tell us whether we have emphasized too much the first, which is procreation,  to the detriment of a purpose likewise imperative, which is growth in the conjugal union.”
Cardinal Suenens insinuates that the primary purpose of marriage is not that of increasing and multiplying, but that  “the  two be one flesh”. Here we move from a theological, philosophical definition to a psychological description of marriage, presented not as bond rooted in nature and dedicated to the propagation of the human race, but as an intimate communion, directed at the reciprocal love between the spouses. But once marriage is reduced to a communion of love,  birth-control then, natural or artificial, whatever it is, is seen as a good and merits being encouraged, under the name of “responsible parenthood” inasmuch as it contributes in strengthening the first good of conjugal union.  The inevitable consequence is that, once this intimate communion should stop, the marriage should be dissolved.
The inversion of the roles inside the conjugal union accompanies the inversion of the purposes.  The physical-psychological well-being of the woman replaces her mission as mother. The birth of a child is seen as an element that can upset the intimate communion of the couple’s love. The child can be thought of as an unjust aggressor to the family’s equilibrium, which is to be protected with contraception and, in extreme cases, with abortion.
The interpretation we have given to Cardinal Suenens’ words is not a stretch of the imagination. Consistent with that discourse, the Primate Cardinal of Belgium, in 1968, spearheaded the revolt of bishops and theologians against Humanae Vitae. The Declaration of the Belgian Episcopate, of August 30, 1968, against Paul VI’s encyclical, was, along with that of the German Episcopate, one of the first elaborated by an Episcopal Conference and served as a model of protest for other episcopates.
We, therefore, respond with firmness to the heirs of that contestation, who are proposing the reinterpretation of Humanae Vitae in the light of Amoris laetitia, that we will continue to read Paul VI’s encyclical in the light of Casti connubii and the perennial Magisterium of the Church.
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4 comments on “Rereading Humanae Vitae in the light of Casti connubii

  1. Grazie! The good Doctor may be at Gardone, even as I type, with two friends of mine. His contributions to the fight against this Bergoglian insanity are numerous and powerful. Again, Grazie!

  2. Question: Was Suenens the leftist prelate-turned-charismaniac who led into St. Peter’s in Rome a band of hippies and “celebrated” a “mass” on the high altar whilst the ululating mob swung and swayed away – all, of course, with no permission to offer the “liturgy” from the proper Vatican authorities?

  3. “The physical-psychological well-being of the woman replaces her mission as mother.” In the last couple days, I ran into one woman police officer, one woman electrician, and two women architects. Not to mention several women administrative assistants. They seem to serve in these roles very capably. But, most of all, a flourishing society needs women to be raising a generous number of children, while allowing men to earn a salary that can sufficiently provide for their family. Yet motherhood without birth control (natural or artificial) is perceived as a kind of slavery for women, such that the “child can be thought of as an unjust aggressor to the family’s equilibrium.” Woe to the pastors of the Catholic Church for falling into this error.
    We need a modern day St. Paul to restore the Catholic understanding of the primacy of the procreative end of marriage. As Pope Pius XII stated so beautifully: “All (in the realm of marriage and sexuality) is meant to be at the service of posterity.”

  4. For the fullest explication of the femininine nature, read Celebrating God-Given Gender: Masculinity & Femininity per Nature & Grace, by the Catholic psychologist Dr. G.C. Dilsaver. Here is a short excerpt from this definitive work:

    “There is no hyperbole involved in thereby stating that women in combat are an unequaled perversity and abomination, for men justly go into combat for the sole purpose of defending women, children and family. No scene is as morally atrocious and perverse as that found in 21st Century America where a debauched wife and mother absurdly dressed in combat gear is shown kissing her husband and baby goodbye as she haplessly deploys to battle. This scene would be darkly comical if not so obscene and tragic.”

    www.amazon.com/Celebrating-God-Given-Gender-Masculinity-Femininity/dp/0999360701/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
    Reply ↓

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