Theology of the Old Body

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June 8, 2015 12:52 pm

Theology of the Old Body - by Janet E. Smith

Since 2012 Prof. Janet E. Smith has been caring for her mother who has dementia, a time of enormous growth in patience and also admiration – for each other.

With her usual wit, humor, and insight, Prof. Smith shares her anecdotes about herself, BAD (Beleaguered Aging Daughter), and her mother, BAM (Beloved Aged Mother) as they face the challenges of living with, and caring for someone whose world narrows every day. Share in the journey as you discover anew the joy that is found in valuing the dignity of the person with dementia and how fully human they remain through every stage of the illness.

“This time with my mother has been profoundly illuminative of how God cares for those he loves.”
– Prof. Janet E. Smith

John Paul II and the Family:

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April 16, 2012 6:32 pm

The Family: A Communion of Persons

Among the thematic concerns of Pope John Paul II’s pontificate have been the restoration of Christian Unity and the fall of Communism, and increasingly a plea to the West to abandon its materialistic ways. He has been working actively to advance these goals. Indeed, he played a major role in the fall of Communism, progress has been made in various ecumenical endeavors and arguably World Youth Days have begun to direct the youth of the world away from consumerism to supernatural realities.

A concern of seemingly equal importance for John Paul II has been the promotion of the Christian understanding of the family. He has expressed repeatedly that “at [this] moment in history, …the family is the object of numerous forces that seek to destroy it or in some way to deform it” (Familiaris Consortio 3). Thus, he seeks to fortify the family to withstand these attacks so that it can perform its vital role for the good of the individual, society, and the Church. John Paul II’s numerous and profound writings on sexuality, marriage, and the family are shaped by theological, philosophical, and political perspectives. From his pre-pontifical years, we have the philosophical, incomparable Love and Responsibility, and from the early years of his pontificate we have his elaborate theology of the body set out in a series of Wednesday audiences. The family is comprehensively treated in Familiaris Consortio and his Letter to Families; these are complemented by lengthy passages in his writings on women and also his writings on the laity and social justice. There are few portions of his thought that are not touched by concern for the family.

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Promoting Humanae Vitae and Natural Family Planning in the Parish

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April 4, 2012 6:57 pm

Priests often ask me what they can do at the parish level to promote Humanae Vitae and Natural Family Planning. What must first be established is the importance of this task. I firmly believe that if priests inspired their parishioners to do just two things, most everything else they want to do with them and for them would be significantly easier. These two things are:

  1. promoting Eucharistic Adoration and
  2. promoting fidelity to the Church’s teaching on sexuality.

Catholics who do both are generally receptive to all the teachings of the Church and much inclined to be generous with their time, talents, and money in various apostolic activities. They are likely to have happier marriages as well, and that brings an abundant number of blessings on the family, the Church and society. If pastors only knew how the Faith and happiness of their flock would increase by engaging in Eucharistic Adoration and in avoiding fornication, contraception, sterilization, adultery, and immoral reproductive technologies, they would work hard to find the best ways to promote Church teaching in these areas. A tremendous resource for priests who wish to serve their parishioners by preaching the truth about sexual morality is the set of tapes entitled “NFP Talks for Clergy” [1] Father Randy Moreau speaks of how he preaches NFP in his parish and the remarkable consequences of that preaching, couples tell of their experience with NFP, and Dr. Philip Fleming explains why contraception is bad medicine and NFP is healthy.

Priests should never underestimate the influence they can have. A physician friend of mine told me of a conference of Catholic physicians who at one time did abortions and prescribed contraceptives where each individual spoke of what had led to his or her conversion. She said over 99% said a priest had confronted them about the incompatibility of what they were doing with their Catholic faith, and that this conversation had led to them to stop doing abortions and prescribing contraceptives. She said the Catholic physicians whom she knows who continue to prescribe contraceptives have been told by a priest that it is morally permissible for them to do so. Priests make all the difference! If priests speak to the Catholic physicians in their parishes, [2] they have the opportunity to convert his or her soul, to have an enormous influence on his or her fellow doctors and patients and a powerful effect on the parish. If the Catholic physicians in the parish are known not to prescribe contraceptives, that news gets out and is a great witness to the other parishioners.

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“Where can I find information about natural family planning and divorce?”

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March 13, 2012 8:52 pm

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