Thursday, September 16, 2010

Fatherless Connection - Contraception and the Church

A recent blog post or column or whatever by Sandro Magister (and highlighted by Catholic News Agency) commented on a topic that was featured in Brian Gail’s novel Fatherless. In Fatherless, the characters of Joe Delgado and Fr. John Sweeney have to confront the failure of the Catholic Church to stand against the cultural forces pushing contraception on society.

What Magister notes (citing a book by a professor of demography at the University of Padua) is that the problem did not suddenly appear out of nowhere in the 1960’s, but goes much further back. Priests were advised, when hearing confessions, not to ask questions. There was no preaching on contraception, so many of the laity were unaware of the moral issues involved and therefore did not consider it something that needed to be confessed in the sacrament of penance. As a result, it’s use became widespread among the Catholic population, even though it was never accepted by the Church.

The distance between Church teaching and the use of contraceptives continues to be perceived by most of the population as neither a sin nor a rebellion.

Even afterward – and this brings us up to today – the condemnation of contraceptives would be the subject of papal documents, but already at the level of the bishops it would hardly appear in preaching. The clergy, for their part, would be almost completely silent on it. And would continue to be very understanding and indulgent in the confessional.

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