Bl. John Paul Provides A Key To Understanding The First Letter Of John

Yesterday, we Church Guys discussed the first two chapters of the First Letter of St. John.  John’s use of light/dark imagery struck us quite clearly.  The full meaning of the imagery seemed somewhat distant, though, and we struggled to grasp for ourselves the full force of John’s exhortation.

Last night, I came across Bl. John Paul II’s World Youth Day homily in Toronto in 2002.  He began with these words:

1. On a hillside near the lake of Galilee, Jesus’s disciples listened to his gentle and urgent voice; asgentle as the landscape of Galilee itself, as urgent as a call to choose between life and death, between truth and falsehood. The Lord spoke words of life that would echo for ever in the hearts of his followers.

Today he is speaking the same words to you, the young people of Toronto and Ontario, of the whole of Canada, of the United States, of the Caribbean, of Spanish-speaking America and Portuguese-speaking America, of Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania. Listen to the voice of Jesus in the depths of your hearts! His words tell you who you are as Christians. They tell you what you must do to remain in his love.

2. But Jesus offers one thing, and the “spirit of the world” offers another. In today’s Reading from the Letter to the Ephesians, Saint Paul tells us that Jesus leads us from darkness into light (cf. Eph 5,8). Perhaps the great Apostle is thinking of the light that blinded him, the persecutor of Christians, on the road to Damascus. When later he recovered his sight, nothing was as before. He had been born anew and nothing would ever take his new-found joy away from him.

You too are called to be transformed. “Awake, O sleeper, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light” (Eph 5, 14), says Saint Paul.

The “spirit of the world” offers many false illusions and parodies of happiness. There is perhaps no darkness deeper than the darkness that enters young people’s souls when false prophets extinguish in them the light of faith and hope and love. The greatest deception, and the deepest source of unhappiness, is the illusion of finding life by excluding God, of finding freedom by excluding moral truths and personal responsibility.

Compare the words “There is perhaps no darkness deeper than the darkness that enters young people’s souls when false prophets extinguish in them the light of faith and hope and love” with the first two chapters of John’s letter.  Isn’t this exactly what John meant?  False prophets — whether in religious garb or the sirens of a culture that proclaim that one can find “freedom by excluding moral truths and personal responsibility” — literally darken and then extinguish the very light of Christ in young people’s souls.  John’s letter is broader — he warns all of us about this danger and then exhorts all of us to fight it through faith in Christ.

Pro-Life Mass Every Saturday

A Pro-Life Mass is held every Saturday in the office adjacent to the abortion clinic in Germantown for the intention of the conversion of LeRoy Carhart and an end to all abortions.  Space is limited so only 22 faithful are able to attend each week.  If you would like to plan a Mass here for your organization or if you would like to attend as seats are available, please contact Nancy Cortese at prolife@stmartinsprolife.com.

More Contraception Means Fewer Abortions. NOT. – UPDATED

Update.

We are often told by men who “take no account of God” that our religion, especially its moral teachings are a bunch of irrational mumbo-jumbo.  In response, the Church makes the claim that because we receive the moral law from our Creator, they are the set of rules most conducive to human happiness.  Once you think about it, this seems rather obvious.   Why is it, then, that no matter how scientific and objective the findings are, the so-called denizens of reason never quite can admit that moral law as taught by the Catholic Church leads to healthy, happy human beings in this world, not to mention the next?  Here is a perfect example.  In Humnae Vitae, Pope Paul VI warned us about the likely effects of artificial contraception.  Well, he was right.  I doubt, however, that that will change anyone’s mind.  Too bad.

___________

 

 

This is to pass along an article by Kirsten Powers (read it all) about whether increased availability and use of contraception means fewer abortions.  The answer, based on Planned Parenthood’s statistics, is “no.”

Without question, there is a lot of logic to the idea that more contraception means fewer abortions.  But the facts are different:

  • a 2009 study by the journal Contraception found, in a 10-year study of women in Spain, that as overall contraceptive use increased from around 49 percent to 80 percent, the elective abortion rate more than doubled.

It is interesting and paradoxical that the large increase in elective abortions was associated with (a) a remarkable increase in the number of women who used contraceptive methods (30%) and (b) improvements in the education level during both the study periods. Because the percentage of users of ineffective contraceptive methods, such as withdrawal and spermicidal creams, was similar in 1997 compared to 2007 (2.8% and 2.9%, respectively), it cannot be accounted for the increased rate of elective abortions. The total number of women of childbearing age not using any contraceptive method decreased from a total of 2,056,454(17.3%) in 1997 to 1,280,058 (8.2%) in 2007. Therefore, during the study period, we observed a 37.7% reduction in the number of women at risk of unintended pregnancy and a twofold increase in the number of elective abortions.

Interestingly, the study’s authors found this to be ‘paradoxical.’  Yet, this is precisely what Pope Paul VI predicted in Humanae Vitae.  But this is not all:

  • “In the U.S., the story isn’t much different. A January 2011 fact sheet by the pro-abortion rights Guttmacher Institute listed all the reasons that women who have had an abortion give for their unexpected pregnancy, and not one of them is lack of access to contraception. In fact, 54 percent of women who had abortions had used a contraceptive method, if incorrectly, in the month they got pregnant. For the 46 percent who had not used contraception, 33 percent had perceived themselves to be at low risk for pregnancy; 32 percent had had concerns about contraceptive methods; 26 percent had had unexpected sex, and 1 percent had been forced to have sex. Not one fraction of 1 percent said they got pregnant because they lacked access to contraception. Some described having unexpected sex, but all that can be said about them is that they are irresponsible, not that they felt they lacked access to contraception.”

Again, the information points to the prescience of Paul VI.  The Holy Father’s 1968 prediction and the findings of the Spanish study are eerily similar.  First, Paul VI:

Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.

Now the Spanish study:

The findings of this study show an increase in the contraceptive use and utilization of abortion. There are several reasons for this apparent disparity. One is the increase in notifications to the register, thanks to the improvement in its coverage and to the transformation of clandestine abortions and abortions performed abroad into recorded ones. Another is the change in juveniles’ sexual behavior patterns. Youngsters declare engaging in coital sex more frequently and more precociously and not always doing it in safe conditions from the perspective of both unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. Gender inequalities in what concerns sexual and reproductive health, especially in lower socioeconomic layers, seem to be present. Girls are still experiencing pressure to engage in precocious and coital sex, present limited capacity to negotiate use of condoms or withdrawal, and must assume responsibility for and possible consequences of emergency contraception and sometimes elective abortion. On the other hand, availability of emergency contraception could help reduce the adhesion of effective contraceptive methods or to consider the emergency contraceptive pill as an effective method to prevent pregnancy.

So more contraception means more “coital activity” which means more ‘unwanted’ pregnancies which means more abortions.   Pretty obvious, once you think about it.

Updated:

Kirsten Powers posted this retraction of her piece:

Author’s Note: I made a serious error in reporting this column that undermines the conclusion I drew. I compared statistics on contraceptive use from a January 2011 Guttmacher Institute fact sheet to a year 2000 study on the same issue.  However, I did not realize that the 2011 fact sheet derived its statistics from the year 2000 numbers, so my argument was not supported by the data. I am deeply sorry for the error, which invalidates my piece.

Ms. Powers did, in fact, make this error and it was noted as this post was being written.  This post makes no reference to the erroneous assertion that there has been no change over time.  Ms. Powers overstates her error, though.  The Spanish study and common sense are unaffected even if her subsidiary argument that the rates stayed the same.

Back In The Saddle Again

Some of you may have noticed that there haven’t been any new posts recently.  What happened is that the blog was spammed by some get rich quick website.  The idiot (and, yes, by using ‘idiot’ I am exercising Christian charity) put a link into every single one of the posts.  As a result, WordPress suspended service as a Terms of Service violation.  It took quite a while to get them cleaned up again.  WordPress has the final call about when the blog is active again.

St. Isidore, Patron of the Internet, Pray for us!

Question To Ponder

Of all of God’s works, which is the greatest and why?

 

Answer in the comments.  The first correct answer wins a rosary.