Having seen an inordinate number of eloquent commentaries delineating the moral evils of the recent United States District Court decision nullifying the will of California voters on Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage, I am nonetheless left wondering why none of the commentators was able to connect the dots.
Obviously, same-sex “marriage” or even same-sex “civil unions” are a bad idea, particularly if legitimized by a court system that previously put its stamp of approval on contraception and abortion. But why isn’t anyone pointing out the obvious root cause of this latest moral and legal debacle? Why isn’t anyone hammering on contraception?
In April of this year, months before this decision, Jenn Giroux, executive director of HLI America, explained to readers that the public acceptance of contraception has led to (among other things) “[s]maller and more broken families, rampant homosexuality, pornography, and China’s coercive one-child policy.”
Earlier, wise teachers such as Professor Janet Smith emphatically linked a rejection of Pope Paul VI’s profoundly wise encyclical Humanae Vitae to a wide acceptance of homosexuality. In her 2003 comments, she pointed out what I believe is the real problem—one that very few will admit: “Rather than holding to the Christian and common sense view that sex belongs within marriage between a male and a female committed to each other for life and open to children, our culture thinks that sex is quite simply for pleasure—and that almost any combination of consenting individuals may morally seek that pleasure without any commitment, without an openness to children.”
In 1998, Father John Hardon, SJ, who is sorely missed by many of us who were his students, pointed out in “Contraception: Fatal to the Faith and to Eternal Life,” “The spectacle of broken families, broken homes, divorce and annulments, abortion and the mania of homosexuality—all of this has its roots in the acceptance of contraception on a wide scale in what only two generations ago was a professed Catholic population.”
Clearly, many wise people have understood—and warned us about —the cost of contraception. But not everyone is on this page.
For example, rather than setting forth facts regarding the nature of sexual sin and its tragic consequences, many members of the Catholic clergy have either been totally silent or have said things that not only confuse fact with fiction but further marginalize Catholic teaching. This, in turn, makes Church doctrine less palatable to a sexually saturated culture, even though Catholic teaching is now and always will be worthy of belief and obedience—because it contains the fullness of truth.
During their November 2006 meeting, for example, the U.S. Catholic bishops “acknowledged that most married Catholics—96 percent, according to their own estimate—use birth control, and the bishops said they recognize that the [C]hurch's teachings on homosexuality are contested in American society.”
Excuse me, but those percentages do not change truth. In fact, they should drive more bishops back to boldly teaching their people instead of gauging the content of their message on public acceptance of what they have to say. It’s the type of posturing that perhaps led to Cardinal Francis George, current U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops president, saying (in response to the judge’s decision allowing same-sex marriage), “Marriage between a man and a woman is the bedrock of any society. The misuse of law to change the nature of marriage undermines the common good.”
He did not say nor did he make reference to the obvious fact that this very sad state of affairs would not exist in the first place if contraception had been rejected long ago. He was simply silent on the point.
This is why I recommend that rather than dialoguing, as a whole, every Catholic bishop and every Catholic priest should be teaching, preaching and exhorting. Nobody really knows what America or its court decisions would look like today if the Catholics of this nation had been properly catechized for the past 42 years on matters pertaining to human sexuality.
What we do know is that today America and, most importantly, Catholics, are sliding toward a moral hell.
It’s high time many more Catholic leaders in the U.S. stood up and clarified the difference between good and evil, right and wrong, sinfulness and sinlessness. Why? Because the only treatment for the deadly bacteria raging through the veins of this society is a very strong dose of the same message Christ gave to His disciples a very long time ago: “Try your hardest to enter by the narrow door, because, I tell you, many will try to enter and will not succeed” (Luke 13: 24).
The narrow door is always open, and frankly, anything less than fighting tooth and nail to get there will not heal this ailing body politic we know as America.