Life Issues in a Pluralistic Culture


 3:08 pm

What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god: the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals; and yet to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me; nor woman neither . . .

Hamlet, II, ii, 310-319

The modern age shares too little Hamlet’s admiration for man and too much his disdain for man. We, like Hamlet, seem depressed and lost and unable to delight in the wonders of this world, perhaps because we, too, fail to embrace our duties and to act as we ought. Whatever the reason, the modern age seems not to experience awe at the thought of human powers and human nature. We take some pride in man’s technological advances but these hardly balance our experience of and fear of man’s inhumanity to man. Our century in particular has given us reason to think that man is “the paragon of animals” only insofar as he surpasses all other animals in his cruelty and bloodthirstiness. The millions dead because of holocausts, wars, and of famines that could be averted have brought us to have a dismal evaluation of human nature, an assessment confirmed by daily reportings of individuals who randomly commit horrific brutalities.

The rot in the state of Denmark, rather than serving to galvanize Hamlet into action, cast him into a state of doubt and depression. Our age exhibits the same signs; the offenses against life in this century have not served to increase our respect for life or our zeal to protect life. Rather, we have sunk into a state of lethargy and indifference, and as in the state of Denmark, the pile of corpses only gets higher. Indeed, abortion and euthanasia provide the quintessential evidence that we have lost our reverence for life. Some ethicists — highly respected and published by the most prestigious presses — now argue that some forms of animal life have greater value than the lives of some humans suffering various debilitating conditions. In the name of respecting life, researchers and physicians seem to be salivating over the prospect of using fetal tissue to treat a variety of diseases.


Where can I find information about world population?


March 27, 2012 5:14 pm

Artificial vs. Natural?


 5:12 pm

It is good news that Catholic textbooks and Catholic marriage preparation manuals are beginning to do more than formulaically state that the Church condemns contraception – and then state that couples are permitted to do what their consciences dictate. In doing so, these books did more to deter Catholics from following Church teaching than winning them over to Church teaching. Space is now given to explaining, rather than just reciting, the Church’s teaching and the “conscience clause” has disappeared. (There is now a more honest understanding that “following one’s conscience means a conscience formed by Church teaching.”)

It is encouraging that some of the texts are very clear in the presentation that the all the chemical forms of contraception and the IUD work on occasion as abortifacients – that is, they sometimes work by preventing the implantation of the fertilized ovum (the new little human being). The distressing and frustrating bad news is that these texts give a false explanation of the reasons for condemning contraceptives as contraceptives. They state that the Church teaches that contraception is wrong because it is artificial. These texts also teach that natural family planning is morally acceptable because it is not artificial. But the fact is that the artificiality of contraception figures not at all in the Church’s condemnation of contraception. Certainly, the Church teachings that contraceptives commonly known as “artificial birth control” are morally impermissible, but it is not because of their artificiality that they are condemned.


Same-Sex Marriage and Its Relation With Contraception


 7:53 pm

Janet E. Smith Links Rejection of “Humanae Vitae” to Acceptance of Homosexuality

DETROIT, Michigan, OCT. 17, 2003 ( Culture has all but embraced homosexual activity since abandoning the principle that procreative sex within a marriage is the only moral form of sexuality, says an expert on the Church’s sexual teachings.

Janet E. Smith, who holds the Michael J. McGivney Chair of Life Issues at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, shared her views with ZENIT in this interview.

A consultor to the Pontifical Council on the Family, Smith is the author of “Humanae Vitae: A Generation Later” (CUA Press). More than 500,000 copies of her talk, Contraception: Why Not have been distributed.


Q: Do you see any connection between the rejection of the Church’s teaching on contraception and the push for homosexual marriages?


Smith: Not so many years ago at a conference on homosexuality, Russell Hittinger argued that there is not much ground for opposing homosexual marriages in a culture where most unions are contraceptive. He said we were already blessing unions whose primary reason for existence was sexual pleasure.


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