sábado, 28 de maio de 2011

Update on Embryo-Destructive Research: Legislation Developments in the US and Abroad

by E. Christian Brugger, D.Phil., Senior Fellow and Director of the Fellows Program

WASHINGTON, D.C., MAY 25, 2011 (Zenit.org).- You might recall that last summer a federal judge put a temporary hold on all government funding for human embryonic stem cell research (hESC) in the United States.

In August 2010, Judge Royce Lamberth of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia made headlines for halting the research on the grounds that President Barack Obama's March 2009 executive order revoking the President George Bush restrictions on hESC research was illegal. The president's order, put into policy by the NIH, freed up money for research upon stem cells derived from spare IVF embryos; but the policy required that the actual destruction of the embryos be funded privately.

The judge said the Obama policy violated the Dickey-Wicker Amendment , which prohibits federal money for research in which human embryos are created or destroyed. You see the point of the dispute? Dickey-Wicker prohibits funding for embryo destructive experimentation; the Obama policy says "no embryo destruction here, it's all been done elsewhere." The wily policy attempts to make an end run around the clear meaning of the congressional amendment. Judge Lamberth unsuccessfully went for the tackle. He issued a preliminary injunction, which dried up NIH funding for a whopping 17 days before his injunction was temporarily halted by a court of appeals on a request by the Obama Justice Department.

On April 29, 2011, Judge Lamberth's preliminary injunction was formally revoked by a 2-1 decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The Court ruled that the injunction if implemented would impose unreasonable burdens upon hESC researchers. Since the injunction had already been temporarily halted, the practical effect of the appeal court's decision is nill. It simply makes permanent what was only temporary.

Both Lamberth's injunction and the appeals court's ruling have occurred in the backdrop of the case, Sherley v. Sebelius, brought by two researchers, James Sherley, formerly of MIT, and Theresa Deisher, founder of AVM Biotechnology, challenging the legality of the Obama policy on the grounds that it violates Dickey-Wicker.

Sherley v. Sebelius is still pending. An unbiased court would plainly rule in favor of the plaintiffs. As Wesley Smith notes in his recent First Things blog : "The Dickey-Wicker Amendment … reflects the unambiguous intent of Congress to enact a broad prohibition of funding research in which a human embryo is destroyed. This prohibition encompasses all "research in which" an embryo is destroyed, not just the "piece of research" in which the embryo is destroyed."

But when it comes to issues related to human embryos unbiased courts in the U.S. are hard to find.

Whichever way the court goes, we can be sure the decision will be appealed. In the meantime, the Obama order to fund embryo-destructive research is alive and well.

Meanwhile, the California biotech company Geron Corporation announced on May 11 it had begun clinical treatments on its second spinal cord injury patient using human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). The patient, recently paralyzed from the chest down in a car accident, received an injection of stem cells at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

The Geron cocktail was derived from "surplus" IVFembryos donated for research by the parental donors. The cells were manipulated to produce early nerve cells (called "oligodendrocyte progenitor cells") that Geron hopes will not be subject to the same tumor-forming tendencies as undifferentiated hESCs.

The trial is not aimed at curing the patient, but rather at determining whether the stem cell treatment is safe.

The first patient treated with hESCs in the United States, 21-year-old Tim Atchison, was injected only six months ago. Doctors say it's still too early to judge the effects of the treatment. David Prentice of the Family Research Council explains that because the patient was injected within the first two weeks after his accident, as required by the Geron protocol, we may never know with certitude whether the treatment was effective, even if improvements occur: "a significant number of such patients show some spontaneous improvement within the first year after injury."

Discouraged about the old USA? Perhaps a better day is dawning for embryos in Europe. On March 10 , the European Court of Justice issued a preliminary opinion that procedures established using human embryonic stem cell lines are not patentable. The decision by Judge Yves Bot of the European Court followed upon a request for clarification by the German Supreme Court of the legal definition of human embryos in relation to patentability.

The request was precipitated by a German court case challenging the patent of a technique to generate nerve cells from established hESC lines. The case was filed by -- get ready for this -- the Amsterdam based activist organization, Greenpeace, which argued that patenting procedures derived from embryonic stem cell lines was unethical because the lines are derived from human embryos.

Judge Bot's preliminary opinion will now go before the 13 judges of the court's Grand Chamber. If the Grand Chamber agrees with the opinion, it could put a wrench in the works of European hESC research. Dare we hope?

quinta-feira, 26 de maio de 2011

Religious Freedom - Why I do not agree with Gherardini, De Mattei, Rhonheimer

by Basile Valuet, O.S.B.

In Chiesa.espressonline.it

In the debate over the hermeneutic of Vatican II, I have been courteously invited to explain why I am in disagreement with three authors in particular.


The competency of Msgr. Brunero Gherardini (from this point forward, "G.") is recognized. And I read with pleasure his essay on ecumenism that appeared in 2000 (1). Nonetheless, in November of 2010, I published in the magazine "La Nef" both an extended (2) and a summary (3) analysis of his book "Concilio Ecumenico Vaticano II. Un discorso da fare [Vatican Council II. It's Time to Talk]" (4), in which I formulated the following criticisms:

1. De iure, G. mistakenly believes that it should be enough that Vatican Council II did not employ its infallibility for one to reject the doctrines that it enunciated. This means forgetting that the non-definitive magisterium is due the religious assent, internal and external, of the will and the intelligence (5). This authentic magisterium enjoys the assistance of the Holy Spirit (6).

2. De facto, G. rejects some formal teachings of Vatican II (of "Lumen Gentium" [LG], "Nostra Aetate," "Gaudium et Spes" [GS] and "Dignitatis Humanae" [DH]) (7). Moreover, he does not demonstrate the effective presence of errors in the contemporary magisterium: what he denounces as error is not so (thus for GS 24), and I have also caught him in flagrante delicto of false accusations issued against "Unitatis Redintegratio" and against the responses of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith of June 29, 2007. He has not been able to respond to any of my arguments (8).


The errors of G. are partly responsible for the book by Professor Roberto de Mattei (from this point forward, "DM") (9), director of the wonderful magazine "Radici Cristiane." What a shame! His praiseworthy intention of contrasting the dominant historiography of the school of Bologna (10) did not content itself with precisely establishing the facts on the basis of the documents. The work is certainly brimming with data, some of it never published before. Sometimes, however, he is deficient in the exposition of the facts.

This is the case with the "Carli" petition that asked for an explicit condemnation of communism in "schema XIII" (11). Gratitude is due to DM for having cited "in extenso" the note of November 15, 1965 to Archbishop Felici, secretary general of the Council, with which Paul VI weighed the pros and cons of such a condemnation. But (p. 502) DM gives strong emphasis to only one of the arguments that Paul VI delineates. He overlooks the pope's fear of the pernicious effect of a condemnation for the faithful who were living under communism (12), a reason similar to that of the "silence" of Pius XII over the Holocaust. DM denies (p. 500) the good faith of Msgr. Glorieux (who discarded this petition), without even mentioning the justifications provided by this prelate (AS V/3, 611-620) (13).

He seems to have difficulty with Latin grammar. This must have made it uncomfortable for him to go through the "Acts and preparatory documents" and the "Synodal acts of Vatican Council II." Of these two official collections, of a total of 66 volumes "in quarto", he uses 8 and 28 volumes respectively, or 55 percent. He makes reference to them about 466 times, referring to blocks that run from 1 to 5 pages, more rarely 10 (14), which amounts to a maximum of 3-5 thousand pages out of a total of about 50 thousand. DM almost never cites the written and oral presentations of the conciliar drafting commissions, although these explained to the Fathers the meaning of the texts to be voted on. He also forgets that the councils of the past were always a theater of maneuvers, enriched by very lively controversies.

On pages 469-470, he cuts short the list of the juridical limitations indicated by DH 7, § 3 for the exercise of the right to religious freedom (RF). Against RF again, DM, citing the speech by Pius XII of December 6, 1953, forgets the following passage: "Could it be that in certain circumstances, He [God] does not give men any mandate, does not impose any duty, does not even give any right to impede and repress that which is erroneous and false? A look at the reality gives an affirmative answer." So in these circumstances, repression is an injustice, going against a right, that of the follower of the error not to be impeded. Whence the absence of absurdity in a negative right like that of DH.

DM claims only to be an historian (p. 591), but he enters into the field of theology when, citing G., he poses (p. 15) the erroneous equation: non-definitive Magisterium equals non-obligatory (16). In this field, he also commits the error of affirming that one must adhere to Tradition rather than to the Magisterium. But in the motu proprio "Ecclesia Dei," John Paul II, addressing the whole Church, condemned this view of things (17). In reality, it is the Magisterium that tells us what is contained in the divine-apostolic Tradition (18).

So I adhere on the whole to the refutation of DM's book made by Massimo Introvigne (19). I dare to suggest to Professor DM that he adhere to the historical data, in which he shows himself rich in talent. "The history of the Council never written" would be the one in which the historian made a painstaking examination of the pre-preparatory, preparatory, and synodal acts of Vatican II.


With the reverend professor Martin Rhonheimer (from this point forward, "R."), I find myself "on the other side of the barricade." R., in "The Hermeneutic of Reform and the Freedom of Religion" (20), comes to the defense of the conciliar teaching of RF, in function of a certain view of the "hermeneutic of reform, of renewal in continuity" (Benedict XVI, speech to the curia, December 22, 2005) (21). R. never saw my thesis (22) defended at the faculty of theology of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross (where he himself teaches philosophy). In fact, he believes that it was published in Paris, and does not realize that it is composed of 6 volumes, not 3 (cf. his note 3, p. 346). He cites nothing from it, and falls into a misunderstanding (p. 347) about what I mean by the "right to tolerance" (what does he know about it?). It is not clear, moreover, how R. could think that the relations of the Church (a supernatural reality) and the state could fall under his faculty of philosophy. He does not say anything about the explanations of the drafting commission of DH on the maintenance of the traditional Catholic doctrine of the popes until Leo XIII, concerning the moral duty of the public authorities with regard to the true religion and the one Church of Christ ("Acta Synodalia," IV/VI, p. 719), nor of the notes of DH 1, nor of the references of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) 2105-2109 to the Magisterium from Pius VI to Leo XIII. He seems unaware that the commission explicitly admitted the compatibility of the concept of the confessional Catholic state with DH, as long as RF is respected (23).

He says (erroneously), on page 351, that the previous popes did not want to present their condemnations of freedom of conscience and of worship as definitive. And he paradoxically affirms, on page 356, that "Pius IX understood his condemnation of religious freedom as a necessity of a dogmatic nature." Here is one significant passage from "Quanta Cura":

"... And against the doctrine of Scripture, of the Church and of the holy Fathers, they do not hesitate to assert 'the best condition of society is that in which the civil authorities are not recognized as having the duty to repress with the sanction of punishments the violators of the Catholic religion, except as required for the public peace."

This citation should invite R. to review the entirety of his position. And DH does not contradict this text, because according to DH 7, § 3 those who violate the rights of the Catholic religion can and must be repressed even if they do not disturb the public peace, with all the more reason if, as in the 1789 declaration of rights (which, whether or not R. likes it, Benedict XVI does not at all rehabilitate), this peace is defined in relation to civil law, an expression of the general will. It is sufficient that they disturb public morality or go against the rights of others, that which, by hypothesis, is the case.

According to Benedict XVI, Pius IX was taking aim at the "radical liberalism" of the 19th century, but not at other forms of the organization of society, rising from a further evolution of liberalism. The discontinuity between Vatican II and Pius IX stems from the fact that RF is not the "freedom of conscience" condemned in the 19th century: it did not have either the same foundation, or the same object, or the same limitations, or the same goal. So it will always remain true that the liberalism condemned by Pius IX was condemnable (R. does not see this), but it will not always remain true that the theories or the states of law that we have before us are the ones that Pius IX condemned (R. grasps this perfectly). If a change of situation cannot change the natural law, it can nevertheless make a principle of the natural law (let's call it P1: it is not contrary to the natural law that the state should repress religious error), valid in a previous situation of ius gentium (in which RF is not yet recognized in reciprocal form), no longer apply in the same way in a new situation of ius gentium (in which RF is mutually recognized), and make another principle be applied now (P2: the modern state does not have penal competency, not even delegated, in religious matters). In this way, if one wishes to have a truth that is valid in every situation, one is obligated to formulate a principle P3, more general, which combines P1 and P2, and which DH has made an effort to formulate: it is contrary to the natural law that the state - in any age - should repress religious error, unless, in the circumstances considered, it disturbs the just, objective public order. Could R. discuss this with me, but after perusing the synthesis of my doctoral dissertation? (24).


Dom Basile Valuet has developed the arguments of this text in a more extensive one, also written expressly for www.chiesa:

À propos du débat sur l’herméneutique du Vatican II


(1) "Una sola Fede, una sola Chiesa. La Chiesa cattolica dinanzi all’ecumenismo", Castelpetroso, Casa Mariana Ed., 2000, 334 pp.

(2) Cf. www.lanef.net

(3) "La Nef", no. 220, November 2010, pp.16-17.

(4) Frigento, Casa Mariana Editrice, 2009, 264 pp.

(5) Cf. "Lumen Gentium" (LG), 25; Code of Canon Law, canons 752 and 1371, § 1. Msgr. Gherardini moreover passes in silence over the statements of Paul VI and John Paul II that recall the authority of Vatican II (here are some of the dates of these: 12/07/1965; 01/12/1966; 09/21/1966; 05/24/1976; 10/111/1976; 12/23/1982; 07/20/1983; 07/02/1988, etc.).

(6) Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), 892.

(7) This is not only a matter of the argumentations of these teachings, nor of their literary context, nor of their historical context, and therefore of their contingent aspects.

(8) Cf. B. Gherardini, "Concilio Vaticano II. Il discorso mancato", Lindau, Torino, 2011, 48-49.

(9) R. de Mattei, "Il Concilio Vaticano II. Una storia mai scritta", Lindau, Torino, 2010, pp. 632. We have not been able to read anything but the first edition of this, and space prevents us from dwelling on the article "Un Concilio può anche commettere degli errori. Replica alle critiche di 'Avvenire' et de 'L’Osservatore Romano'", Rome, May 5 2011, which does not add anything new.

(10) Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, in "Ma una storia non ideologica si può scrivere. Il Concilio Vaticano II nella lettura di Roberto de Mattei", "L’Osservatore Romano," April 14 2011, complains that DM exploited his work for this purpose.

(11) The author could have cited Jean Madiran, "L’accord de Metz: ou pourquoi notre Mère fut muette," Versailles, "Via romana", 2006, 75 pp. This is about an agreement reached in 1962 between Cardinal Tisserant and Metropolitan Nikodim (who died in the arms of John Paul I, not of John Paul II): the Council would not mention communism, and the patriarchate of Moscow would be able to send observers.

(12) AS VI/4 (1999), pp. 619-620. This volume of the AS is never cited by DM.

(13) DM even suspects Cardinale Tisserant of having encouraged Glorieux in this direction, which seems to be disproved by a letter (cf. AS V/3, 619-620).

(14) A hundred pages two or three times over, or even entire volumes.

(15) It is worthwhile to reread Saint Francis de Sales here ("Traité de l’amour de Dieu", l. II, chap. XIV, p. 106): "[…] ès conciles généraux, il se fait des grandes disputes et recherches de la vérité, […], mais, […] la détermination étant prononcée, chacun s’y arrête et acquiesce pleinement, non point en considération des raisons alléguées en la dispute et recherche précédente, mais en vertu de l’autorité du Saint-Esprit."

(16) In this regard, the arguments of Cardinal Scheffczyk cited on p. 542 backfire against him.

(17) John Paul II, apostolic letter motu proprio "Ecclesia Dei", 4.

(18) Cf. also the letter from John Paul II to Cardinal J. Ratzinger of April 8, 1988 "In questo periodo": "Acta Apostolicae Sedis" (AAS), 1988, pp. 1121-1125. DM takes a risky position and pushes far beyond his subject when he affirms (note 1, p. 367): "The teaching of the Church, reiterated up until Pius XII, is that in concelebration the Sacrifice of the Mass is unique and is not multiplied according to the number of celebrants." All the more so in that he refers to two texts of Pius XII (AAS, 1954, 669; and 1956, 717) which, precisely, affirm explicitly that there are as many actions of Christ who offers himself as there are true celebrant priests, as confirmed for me in 2001 by the congregation for the doctrine of the faith with an official letter further corroborated by a letter from Cardinal Ratzinger. Finally, the S.C. of rites declared on March 20, 1960: "Sacramental concelebration is that in which the celebrant priest, or better the main celebrant, together with other priests who assist him, carries out the Sacrament. So there are as many Masses or Sacrifices as there are concelebrant priests" (Latin original: AD, I – III, pp. 256-259). A position that was already common at the end of the 19th century, as Cardinal Gasparri noted.

(19) "Vaticano II. Non semplice continuità, ma 'riforma nella continuità'".

(20) "Nova et Vetera", 85/4 (Oct.-Dec. 2010), pp. 341-363. Cf. also his contribution to this site, www.chiesa: "More on the 'hermeneutic of reform'. A clarification," more clear and concise.

(21) Italian original: AAS, 2006, especially p. 50.

(22) "La liberté religieuse et la Tradition catholique. Un cas de développement doctrinal homogène dans le magistère authentique," preface by Cardinal Stickler, Le Barroux, 6 vol. (II ed., 1998, pp. 3050; III ed., May 2011, pp. 2524).

(23) For the sake of simplicity I omit the references, which are amply supplied in my two books.

(24) "Le droit à la liberté religieuse dans la Tradition de l’Église", preface by Cardinal Medina, Le Barroux, I ed., 2005; II ed., May 2011, pp. 676.

terça-feira, 24 de maio de 2011

Many homosexual leaders have admitted that there is a natural link between a homosexual orientation and child sexual abuse

Read pdf: Child Molestation by homosexuals and heterosexuals

The “Contraceptive Mentality” and its Consequences

by Brian Clowes

In Lifeissues.net

What is the Contraceptive Mentality?

A mentality or mindset is a set of beliefs and assumptions which directs and informs the moral aspects of a person's life. Especially in our age of mass communications, mentalities of entire populations can be manufactured, propagandized and then lived out by large numbers of people - even without their being aware of it.

A beneficial mentality is what might be called a "battle mentality," where people are willing to sacrifice comfort, possessions, or even life itself in order to achieve a higher goal such as the good of another or the good of society. A "service mentality," likewise, can define a person who consistently places the spiritual and temporal needs of others, especially those in need, before his own desires. Both of these praiseworthy mentalities will prevail throughout a truly Christian civilization.

On the other hand, a negative or harmful mentality is a habitual attitude that is based on error or selfishness, for example, and which can then disregard truths or realities that conflict with one's customary and often unreflective behavior. Harmful mentalities lead to dangerous and disordered behavior; long-term consequences are usually ignored, when pointed out, as the person is mainly concerned with short-term needs or situations.

Harmful mentalities have been manufactured today on a large scale and they continue to be increasingly disseminated with deliberate intent, at every level of society, and with catastrophic consequences. This is particularly true with the lies of the massively funded "culture of death" (so-named by Pope John Paul II) - whose malicious propaganda now permeates just about every country on earth. Large numbers of people have become so saturated with lies that very harmful attitudes and mentalities have resulted. One important example of a dangerous and widespread erroneous mindset that is crippling and de-constructing contemporary civilization is the "contraceptive mentality."

The Contraceptive Mentality Relentlessly Spreads.

One of the identifying marks of any moral evil is that it can spread effortlessly, like a bucket of filthy motor oil poured into a pristine pond. Because of our wounded nature, we must vigilantly guard and fight against the world's seductions that appeal to our own sinful tendencies, or else we ourselves can easily fall into these without even being aware of our slow descent into error and corruption.

The "contraceptive mentality" has been increasingly drilled into the hearts and minds of people everywhere. In fact, the entire world is swimming in a sea of contraceptive advertising and propaganda: in magazines, on television, at the movies, on the radio, on billboards, and in our schools. Sex education classes in public schools usually cover all of the contraceptive methods in detail. The message is insidiously and relentlessly drilled into people's heads: "Contraception is an integral part of the modern lifestyle. Everyone is doing it and it is your obligation to do it if you are a responsible person."

As contraception has become more universally accepted, a corresponding and terrible downward spiral has occurred. In countries where contraception is common, generations have grown up aware of the fact that their parents use contraception; and unfortunately, contracepting parents tend to beget unchaste teenagers, as Father Paul Marx, the founder of Human Life International, liked to say. And especially since the unleashing of "the Pill" on the world in 1960, the disintegration of moral values on every level has been astonishing.

The contraceptive mentality has inflicted its poison deep into family life and into the Church through vocal dissenters, as well as those who are ignorant. If young people know that their parents have separated the sexual act from procreation (which is what contraception does), why should they not do the same? If the faithful rarely (if ever) hear from their priests that the use of contraception is seriously sinful and physically dangerous, how will the people ever hear the light of truth?

Amidst such an atmosphere of nearly universal error, our children grow into adulthood and are increasingly molded with the false mindset that using contraception is "being responsible." The tendency has developed where married (or, many times, unmarried) couples thus become accustomed to using contraception, and even eventually see it as an integral part of their "lifestyle" - which will always be irresponsible and selfish as long as they are contracepting. Unfortunately, most "modern" couples in the Western world would no sooner give up contraception for natural fertility regulation than they would give up their cars in favor of bicycles, even though the latter course in both cases is healthier for both the society and the individual.

Catholic Church Teaching on Contraception.

In the face of the omnipresence of the contraceptive mentality, it is important to understand what contraception is and how it is so harmful and ultimately destructive. The marital act has two important purposes: unitive and procreative (Humanae Vitae, #12), which we can also call "bonding and babies." If either the unitive or the procreative aspect of the marital act is discarded, the other is seriously damaged; the very purpose and promise of both the marital act and the marriage itself remain unfulfilled. This is a serious disorder that is thereby inflicted in the heart of marriage, in the most intimate aspects of human love, and in society, therefore, as a whole.

Prevention of children has reached a high level of technological expertise in our day. Sexual sterilization of the man or the woman (which, as a form of mutilation deprives a person of the generative faculty, is immoral) is fairly easily achieved through surgery. Additionally, there are two general classes of the artificial and immoral means of birth prevention (also erroneously known as "birth control" - which promotes neither birth nor control): those that are contraceptive in nature and those that are abortifacient.

Contraceptive devices place a barrier between the sperm and the egg. These include the condom, the cervical cap, and the contraceptive sponge. Abortifacients are chemicals that work in three ways, including preventing the blastocyst (what some people improperly refer to as the "fertilized egg") from implanting in the uterus. These include the birth control pill, the Norplant and Jadelle insertables, the Depo-Provera shot, and the intrauterine device, or IUD.

Because any form of contraception involves the willful crippling of one of the body's natural functions - that is, procreation - the Catholic Church teaches that this is intrinsically disordered. The body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19), and any mutilation of its functions is gravely sinful, the same as putting out an eye or cutting off a thumb.

From the time of its founding, the Catholic Church has universally condemned contraception. Athenagoras, St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, Barnabas, St. Basil the Great, Caesarius, Clement of Alexandria, Ephraem the Syrian, Epiphanius, St. Jerome, St. John Chrysostom, Hippolytus, Lactantius, Minucius Felix, Origen of Alexandria, Tertullian, and the assembled Bishops at the First Council of Nicaea in 325 AD were some of the Early Church Fathers who wrote and spoke against contraception.

As the various Protestant denominations formed, their founders and leaders also condemned contraception in the most forceful terms imaginable. For example, John Calvin called contraception "monstrous," and John Wesley said it was "very displeasing to God, and the evidence of vile affections."

Until 1930, all Christian churches were unanimous in their fearless opposition to all of the artificial means of birth prevention, but during this year, Resolution 15 of the Anglican Bishop's Lambeth Conference accepted contraception for the first time "where there is a clearly felt moral obligation to limit or avoid parenthood." Interestingly, the use of contraception was considered so disordered at this time that even the secular press and psychiatrists (including Sigmund Freud) spoke out against it. Mahatma Gandhi made exactly the same eerily accurate prophecies that Pope Paul VI would make three decades later in Humanae Vitae when he said that

Artificial methods are like putting a premium on vice. They make men and women reckless. ... Nature is relentless and will have full revenge for any such violation of her laws. Moral results can only be produced by moral restraints. If artificial methods become the order of the day, nothing but moral degradation can be the result. … As it is, man has sufficiently degraded women for his lust, and artificial methods, no matter how well-meaning the advocates may be, will still further degrade her.

In other words, God always forgives, man sometimes forgives, but nature never forgives.

As the great beacon of truth for the world, the Catholic Church stands firmly against contraception. She knows that She cannot change the immutable law of God, but can only recognize it and teach it. The Church is also the guardian of our understanding of the Natural Law, which is written in our hearts and in creation. Since the Natural Law was given to us by God, the Church does not have the authority to change its fundamental moral principles (the Church, of course, does clarify certain matters in the light of new knowledge, but the fundamental precepts of the Natural Law in Church teaching remain unchanged).

Some prominent groups that dissent from Church teachings claim that "most people use contraception," and that the Church must adapt to the modern world. This argument is absolutely irrelevant. The sinfulness of an act is not determined by popular vote; it is determined by the Magisterium, the teaching authority of the Catholic Church.

Many who use contraception claim that they are only "following their own consciences." However, it is only permissible to follow one's conscience when that conscience is properly formed and the conclusions reached are in accord with the teachings of the Church. As Pope Pius XII said, "The conscience is not a teacher, it is a pupil." We are never permitted to choose to commit an evil act, or to justify our evil act as acting "according to our conscience."

How Contraception Actually Leads to More, Not Less, Abortion.

Attempts to solve difficult ethical problems with technology alone, without the light of God's truth, will always reap harmful fruits. Contraception is perhaps one of the most vivid examples of this important reality because it actually leads to more, not less, abortion. While this seems to be a contradiction since contraception is designed to prevent conception (and theoretically to make abortion "unnecessary"), since the use of contraception requires a disordered outlook on human life and sexuality, this "contraceptive mentality" of selfishness, disregard for the preciousness of human life and the dignity of marriage, always leads to an increasing "need" for abortion. Let us review the two main reasons why contraception actually increases the prevalence of abortion.

The first reason is that contracepting couples have espoused an attitude and behavior that adopts a purely unnatural or technological "solution" to the "problem" of preventing pregnancy. When the contraceptive method fails, the couple easily feels automatically entitled to another unnatural and purely technological solution - abortion. The whole human dynamic of life-giving love, in a context of the covenant of marriage, becomes degraded, mechanized, de-personalized, and trivialized such that when there is an "unplanned" pregnancy, the couple feels failed by their artificial "system," views the baby not as a gift from God, but as an impersonal intruder, and so they seek another mechanical, degrading "solution" for this "system failure" - who is a human being.

This is the "contraceptive mentality" in its frighteningly stark and destructive reality. Here we can see clearly that contraception promotes the evil attitude that children are merely "objects" or commodities of someone's "wanting" or "not wanting," subject to the tyranny of their parents' whims, "choices," "lifestyles," or convenience. It is easy to see how the deep-seated selfishness and utilitarianism - often unto murderous abortion - that are always present with contraception-minded people, are a grave threat to all authentic human love, marriage and society. The contraceptive mentality poses a significant threat to the future peace, harmony and sustainability, on all levels of any society where it takes root.

The second reason that contraception leads to more abortion is that it simply does not work. It is documented in the United States, for example, that well over half of all women seeking abortion were using contraception when they became pregnant. There are two million contraceptive failures each year in the USA, primarily among teenagers.

Every one of the more than one hundred nations that have abortion-on-demand began by legalizing contraception. Since contraception fails so often, it automatically leads to a demand for abortion, even if it is illegal. Well funded and agenda-driven international population control groups, with the assistance of native pro-abortionists, then step in. They manufacture powerful propaganda about pitiful (and false) stories of hundreds or even so-called thousands of women who are all allegedly dying because of "back-alley"/illegal abortions, and these death peddlers then demand that abortion be legalized. Of course, the same people who were doing abortions before it was legal then do them when it is legal.

Malcolm Potts, former Medical Director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, accurately predicted four decades ago that "As people turn to contraception, there will be a rise, not a fall, in the abortion rate."

The Contraceptive Mentality Also Leads to Other Evils.

Because of the importance of the contraception issue, before God and man, contraception can serve as a truly "keystone issue" for many people when they come to the point of deciding whether or not they desire to follow the teachings of the Catholic Church. The contraceptive issue usually very much determines a person's opinions and attitudes on all of the other life and family issues. When Catholics contracept, they are usually well aware that they are in defiance of Church teachings; and while the first step is always the hardest, they can soon reject Church teachings in other areas of morality as well. And once a person, Catholic or non-Catholic, has adopted the aberrant contraceptive mentality, other disordered views and behaviors follow in their wake.

It is easy to point out some examples of the terrible cascade effect that inevitably results after the two essential elements (unitive and procreative) of the marital act are separated. After all, if the procreative aspect can be discarded, why not the unitive? Thus, it is easy to see that both high rates of divorce and abortion rapidly follow the widespread acceptance of contraception. Another deadly step in the downward spiral after widespread contraception and abortion is the infanticide of handicapped infants. And euthanasia, or the "mercy killing" of the elderly, is never far behind.

And lastly, for our purposes here, we can see also that if the procreative aspect of the marital act can be discarded, then it matters not who is united with whom. Thus we are seeing an epidemic sexual license and promiscuity among all age groups, and this is now degenerating even more severely such that there is an increasing push, even through the United Nations on a global scale, for the so-called legitimacy of homosexual "rights" and relationships and even "marriage" - where two men or two women may get legally "married" to each other. Not surprisingly, the acceptance of homosexual "marriage" by several nations has now led to polygamists demanding the same rights. After all, if two men can get married, why not a man and several women - or a woman and several men?

All of these current aberrations have their roots in the contraceptive mentality - which contradicts the Natural Law and which adopts the unnatural and disordered separation between the unitive and procreative purposes of the marital act, in the context of a potentially fruitful marriage between one man and one woman. Understandably, it is very difficult for people who are against abortion but for contraception to debate against these obvious and vast consequences that result from the acceptance of the single evil of contraception.

We Are Happier When We Follow God's Divine Law.

The solution to all of this is obvious. We can only contain today's evil and disorder by teaching people that the following of God's law, as expressed in Natural Law and as taught by the Church, is the only way to stable families, communities, and nations. We cannot maintain a healthy and strong society by simply ignoring Natural Law or virtue or by trying to suppress the consequences of man's disordered actions with technological and even murderous "fixes" - that only serve to increase vice and deepen the degeneration.

Contracepting people offer many rationalizations and defense mechanisms for the unnaturalness of their self-imposed sterility, but the separation of sex from procreation never delivers the so-called "happiness" that is propagandized. Contraception is intrinsically disordered and in conflict with the very essence of what it means to be human: made in the image of God, made to love and be loved in exclusivity, made to love and be open fruitfulness in fidelity. The truth of the matter is that the contraceptive mentality entrenches people in selfishness and, as such, contracepting people cannot truly love or attain true happiness. One very interesting and concrete illustration of this is that people who abstain from sex before marriage, and remain faithful and open to fruitfulness after marriage, have a divorce rate of about three to six percent, according to a range of studies; those who are sexually active before marriage and use contraception have a divorce rate of more than fifty percent.

Another sad phenomenon that reflects the natural consequences of the contraception lie is that women who have been on the Pill or similar steroids for many years, and who then finally decide that they are "ready" for a child, discover that they cannot conceive. Every year, thousands of these women are stunned to find that their fertility has been permanently damaged, and they feel compelled to resort to hugely expensive and unreliable assisted reproductive technologies in pursuit of the children they rejected years before.

God is Love: love gives itself to the beloved, and is made to be fruitful; therefore, the human person can only be happy - in this life and in the next - when he learns to love and be open to fruitfulness, according to his dignity as a human person made in God's image. Our Lord Jesus established the Catholic Church not to place limits and restrictions upon us, but to teach us how to live on earth in accordance with our dignity as persons created in the image of God and to thus one day live forever with Him in Heaven.

What is the Remedy to This Catastrophe?

As priests, you will have the power to promote God's plan for a Culture of Life and Love, wherever you are, in any part of the world. If you preach against contraception, people of good will listen because they naturally thirst for the truth. If they embrace this truth, they can recognize that procreation is good, and will repudiate the "contraceptive mentality" which rejects God's plan, and they will have the opportunity to learn to love authentically. Marriage and family life can begin to flourish; as children are increasingly welcomed and love, stable societies can be restored.

But they must hear this from you, the priests. By not preaching against contraception, you will be giving an unspoken approval of it; you would be, in a very real manner, contracepting the truth by acting as a barrier between God's truth and His people. As Pope St. Felix III so famously proclaimed, "Not to oppose error is to approve it; not to defend the truth is to suppress it."

By preaching the fullness of the Gospel of Life and refuting all aspects of the contraceptive mentality, not only will your people be much happier and more fully human, but you will be happier as well. You will spend much less time in marriage counseling and mediating family conflicts, and much more time in performing baptisms and marriages that can last a lifetime. Your parish, and the souls of your people, will be serene.

Our fundamental mission is to establish the Culture of Life by "making disciples of all nations." We cannot do this by simply eliminating something that is evil; we must bring it about by embracing what is fundamentally good - in this case, authentic human love, fidelity in marriage, and openness to fruitfulness within the context of committed married love.

Evangelization is no longer just a great good. It is a necessity if we are to survive.

Carta aberta de uma jovem ao primeiro-ministro

Catarina Almeida

In Público, 2011-05-21

Senhor primeiro-ministro: chamo-me Catarina, tenho 25 anos, e queria pedir-lhe um ou outro favor.

Vi com atenção, como aliás é meu costume, a sua declaração ao país depois da manifestação do passado dia 12 de Março. Afinal, é o senhor que conduz os destinos do nosso país (ou pelo menos tenta, porque a condução do destino é um assunto bem mais filosófico para lhe estar entregue só a si...)!

Pareceu-me ouvir nas notícias que estaria a falar aos jovens de Portugal, mas admito que tenha havido um mal-entendido - tem acontecido várias vezes desde que os nossos compatriotas o escolheram para o cargo que ocupa. Espero que por isso não termine a sua leitura por aqui, não me esqueço que no seu discurso de tomada de posse afirmou o seu desejo de ser chefe de um governo de todos os portugueses. Ah, e portuguesas, claro, para não discriminar.

Pois qual não foi o meu espanto quando me parece ter ouvido - reitero, talvez erroneamente, embora já me tenham garantido o repetiu mais recentemente - que o senhor percebia os problemas dos jovens e, exactamente por isso, tinha feito aprovar as leis do aborto, do casamento homossexual, do divórcio, da paridade, e mais uma ou outra - que elas foram tantas em seis anos - certamente moderna.

O favor que lhe vinha pedir é se não conseguia aprovar uma lei para mim, que sou jovem, e sou portuguesa. Decerto não acreditará, mas eu:

- Não sou casada e, logo, não estou a pensar divorciar-me. Aliás, se estivesse casada, e de algum mal sofresse o meu casamento, gostaria que me ajudasse certamente a concertá-lo e não a desconcertá-lo, que para isso já bastaria eu...

- Não estou grávida, até porque não sou casada e, logo, não estou a pensar abortar. Mas, se estivesse casada, e estivesse grávida, certamente não iria desfazer-me de um filho. Ou de uma filha, para não discriminar, claro. Aliás, se estivesse grávida, e se tivesse alguma dificuldade, gostaria que me ajudasse a encontrar as melhores condições para que a alegria de ter um filho não viesse só...

- Apesar de não estar casada nem grávida, também não sou homossexual. Aliás, penso que já me apresentei, sou a Catarina. E, perdoe-me o conservadorismo, não costumo partilhar a minha intimidade com ninguém - até porque não sou casada - muito menos com o senhor primeiro-ministro, portanto, como lhe hei-de dizer isto, é um assunto que não me ocupa, esse que inventaram, da orientação sexual.

O favor que lhe vinha pedir - é só um, ou outro - era se pudesse entretanto arranjar uma maneira de, quando eu me casar e tiver filhos, poder escolher a escola para onde eles vão, porque não queria que os meus filhos andassem numa escola onde falam de sexo intervalado com matemática e geografia, e onde ensinam que abortar não faz mal (eu cá acho que faz, o senhor não acha?), e que é igual casar com homens ou mulheres, e essas coisas? Se calhar sou um bocadinho conservadora, mas como nenhuma das leis que aprovou me ajudou... Ah! Antes que me esqueça, as escolas onde ensinam estas coisas que eu gostava que os meus filhos soubessem (que os homens casam com as mulheres e têm filhos sem os matar, e que é possível construir uma família que dure até ao fim da vida, e essas coisas), se for reeleito (o que me perdoará não desejo) não vai continuar a tentar dificultar-lhes a vida, pois não?

Em nome da liberdade de educação dos filhos que um dia gostaria de ter, ficava-lhe muito agradecida, senhor primeiro-ministro.

Associação Vida Universitária

segunda-feira, 23 de maio de 2011

O ataque social - João César das Neves

João César das Neves

In DN - 23. 05. 2011

A maior parte das pessoas em Portugal está zangada. Os outros estão assustados ou só tristes. Estas atitudes, se parecem justificadas, são muito inconvenientes. Neste período, mais que nunca, é necessário espírito lúcido, cabeça fria, imaginação serena. Tudo isto é incompatível com medo, tristeza e sobretudo raiva. Não admira a indigência dos debates.

Razão central da fúria é o suposto ataque ao Estado social. Alegadamente os terríveis neoliberais querem usar a crise para desmantelar os direitos laborais, de saúde, protecção e outros benefícios. Autopromovidos defensores da justiça e solidariedade chegam a proclamar uma guerra santa contra a ameaça. Mas os seus argumentos são falsos, enganadores e perversos.

Primeiro são falsos. Ninguém pretende acabar com o Estado social, coisa aliás impossível. Todos os portugueses (como os europeus e agora os americanos) pretendem um sistema de saúde, segurança social e apoios anexos. O que está em causa é, não matar o sistema, mas fazer-lhe uma dieta. A finalidade dos ajustamentos é antes contribuir para a sustentabilidade e saúde do Estado social. Num regime de emagrecimento parece sempre passar-se fome, mas por vezes é indispensável.

A única forma de salvar os sistemas de protecção é torná-los financeiramente sustentáveis, defendendo sobretudo os mais pobres e acautelando as receitas que permitem um funcionamento saudável. Sem serem perfeitas, as medidas do "memorando de entendimento" com o FMI, BCE e Comissão são meios razoáveis de o conseguirem. Aliás, revelam reais preocupações de justiça por exemplo estendendo o subsídio de desemprego aos trabalhadores independentes (4.1.iii), medida que é incrível não ter sido tomada antes, vindo a ser proposta por estrangeiros.

Em segundo lugar as queixas são enganadoras. Porque aqueles que as fazem são precisamente os que criaram a actual situação insustentável. O presente desequilíbrio demonstra, antes de tudo, a enorme incompetência dos responsáveis e agentes que operaram o Estado social nas últimas décadas. A falência financeira não aconteceu por acaso ou pela crise externa, mas deve-se a anos de despesismo, inépcia e extravagância. Chega a ser espantoso que, não só ninguém surja a assumir as responsabilidades e pedir desculpa, mas que aqueles que deveriam ter vergonha apareçam como acusadores e se digam vítimas dos próprios erros.

Há muito tempo que os sistemas de apoio social, que deveriam ser estimados e protegidos por todos, foram usados para promessas irrealistas e projectos insustentáveis. Os responsáveis iam apresentando resultados excelentes, que ignoravam as leis básicas da aritmética. Após décadas de somas desacertadas, acusam-se agora as reformas indispensáveis de matar o Estado social.

É verdade que alguns grupos mais extremistas de defensores da solidariedade estão inocentes do descalabro, porque nunca foram eleitos para o gerir. Mas esses costumam apresentar "soluções à portuguesa", ainda mais tontas que as do licor Beirão e Paulo Futre. Se tivessem poder teriam desmantelado o sistema muito mais depressa que os que o dirigiram nos últimos tempos.

O alvoroço à volta de direitos tem um propósito sinistro. Trata-se de um velho truque bem conhecido, um pânico cultural, criando um susto para conseguir efeitos. A sua finalidade é apenas proteger as benesses dos aparelhos que criaram a actual situação. A começar pelo primeiro-ministro, que baseia a campanha de reeleição no medo da suposta demolição do Estado social, até aos funcionários que querem manter mecanismos, trava-se uma luta de morte, não à volta dos direitos sociais, mas dos privilégios burocráticos.

A maior parte das pessoas em Portugal está zangada. Mas há quem esteja a aproveitar-se dessa zanga e da falta de lucidez que ela gera. Podemos até deduzir uma regra geral que vale a pena começar a usar: quando alguém fala de neo-liberalismo, é bom proteger a carteira. A maioria dos que nos assustam com o supremo papão pretende apenas defender benesses, obrigando-nos a mais despesas.