IS POPE FRANCIS AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH NOW DEBATING CONTRACEPTION AS THEY DID THE SIN OF DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE WITHOUT BIBLICAL GROUNDS AND THE ABOMINATION OF HOMOSEXUALITY? WOKEISM (DECEPTIONISM) IN THE CHURCH: THE BLOB OF BEELZEBUB is the monster that is devouring popes, bishops, pastors, and churches. But don’t fear, the gates of hell shall not prevail against the true church of the Lord Jesus Christ — the remnant, the seven thousand, and the faithful few. The so-called mega-church idea is a man-made construct and a delusion in most cases.
In the climate of openness under Pope Francis, theologians are revisiting the morality of birth control for the first time in decades
Some two dozen Catholic theologians, philosophers and other scholars gathered in Rome this month for a three-day conference dedicated to defending and explaining the implications of the Catholic Church’s prohibition of contraception, as set out in St. Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical “Humanae Vitae.”
The conference, whose speakers included the legal philosophers John Finnis of Notre Dame Law School and Robert George of Princeton University, was organized in response to what just a few years ago would have been an unlikely source of questioning on the topic: the Vatican.
Under Pope Francis, who has encouraged debate on a number of questions previously considered closed—including divorce and homosexuality—the church at its highest levels is now debating the morality of contraception, more than half a century after another pope was supposed to have handed down a definitive statement on the matter.
The speakers at the conference voiced varying levels of incredulity and dismay at this development among church leaders.
“Do they not realize that the Catholic Church is literally the last line of defense in the battle to protect the dignity of both men and women? Can they not see that relinquishing our hold on the teaching of ‘Humanae Vitae’ is the final act of a drama written for us by the serpent in the garden?” said Deborah Savage, who teaches theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio.
Last year, the Pontifical Academy for Life, a Vatican think tank founded by St. John Paul II to focus on bioethical questions, published a book, “Theological Ethics of Life,” whose lead essay included the assertion that artificial birth control might in some circumstances be a “wise choice.”
The head of the academy, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, wrote in the book’s introduction that the wide-ranging lead essay, which also addressed other bioethical topics including euthanasia and in vitro fertilization, was a response to Pope Francis’s call for “a radical paradigm shift” in the church’s intellectual life to match the challenges of the contemporary world.
A Catholic debate on contraception might seem to be an academic concern at this point in history. A 2014 Univision poll found that large majorities in traditionally Catholic Brazil (93%), Italy (84%) and the Philippines (68%) favored the use of artificial birth control. According to a 2016 survey by Pew Research Center, only 13% of U.S. weekly Mass-goers said the use of contraception was morally wrong.
Yet both sides in the debate agree that what is at stake isn’t merely a particular prohibition but the church’s wider approach to sexual and medical ethics. One side stresses the objective morality or immorality of specific acts; the other seeks to give greater emphasis to a person’s intentions and the particular circumstances in which he or she acts.
Conservatives warn that lifting the categorical ban on artificial birth control would open a Pandora’s box by contradicting the reasoning behind other prohibitions. Janet Smith, a retired professor of ethics at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, told the conference in Rome that contraception leads to the acceptance of promiscuity, gay relationships, assisted reproductive technology and transgenderism.
On the other hand, the Rev. Carlo Casalone, a theologian at the Pontifical Academy for Life, said in an interview that denying couples discretion in the matter of contraception poses other risks.
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