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Bishop of Lincoln Issues Pastoral Letter on Contraception 

by Luiz Sérgio Solimeo

 

In 1917 at Fatima, Portugal, Mary Most Holy came to ask a sinful world to pray, specially the Rosary, to do penance and to amend its ways. In the last apparition of October 13, her last words to humanity were: “Let them offend Our Lord no more for He is already much offended.”  In this plea, a mother’s heart begs reprieve for her son who is God, the creator of heaven and earth, the giver and upholder of the Law.  Fatima was a prophetic message that foresaw a world increasingly bent on breaking natural and divine law. It is thus inspiring and heartening to read of a bishop who, courageously and intelligently countering the present assault on marriage and children, picks up his pastoral pen and, defining true commitment, defends love and life from the moment of sacred conception.

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No one doubts that the family is going through a crisis today that shakes the very foundations of our society. But few have the lucidity and courage to denounce generalized contraception as a major cause undermining the institution of marriage.

 

A false concept of love

Most Reverend James D. ConleyMost Reverend James D. Conley, Bishop of Lincoln, has done just this. In his March 25, 2014 pastoral letter titled The Language of Love - A letter to the Catholic families and healthcare providers of the Diocese of Lincoln,1] he calls out this evil as the overlooked cause of the family crisis. 

With simple and intelligent arguments, he shows how the contraceptive mentality undermines marriage’s very foundation—the generous mutual love of the spouses willing to beget children, which are seen as blessings from God. By avoiding children, a couple selfishly closes in on itself and their mutual love often ends up withering, giving rise to temptations of divorce.

This is due above all to the false concept of love that prevails nowadays:

We live in a world short on love. Today, love is too often understood as romantic sentimentality rather than unbreakable commitment. But sentimentality is unsatisfying. Material things, and comfort, and pleasure bring only fleeting happiness. The truth is that we are all searching for real love, because we are all searching for meaning.

True love accepts self-sacrifice

True love is something different. It is a sacrificial self-offering that participates in the love of Jesus Christ and in His Passion and Death on the Cross:

Love—real love—is about sacrifice, and redemption, and hope….

Sacrifice is the language of love. Love is spoken in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who poured out his life for us on the cross. Love is spoken in the sacrifice of the Christian life, sharing in Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. And love is spoken in the sacrifice of parents, and pastors, and friends.

An anti-childbearing culture

When this true concept of love and a proper understanding of the role of sacrifice are absent, children are considered to be a marriage’s burden and hindrance, instead of its blessing and crowning:

There is no true happiness in sin. Today, our culture rejects love when it rejects the gift of new life, through the use of contraception… Our culture often teaches us that children are more a burden than a gift—that families impede our freedom and diminish our finances. We live in a world where large families are the objects of spectacle and derision, instead of the ordinary consequence of a loving marriage entrusted to God’s providence. But children should not be feared as a threat or a burden, but rather seen as a sign of hope for the future.

Quoting his predecessor, Bishop Glennon P. Flavin (+1995), the Bishop of Lincoln shows that there is no happiness in sin and exhorts contracepting couples to abandon the practice:

To expect to find happiness in sin is to look for good in evil. … Dear married men and women: I exhort you to reject the use of contraception in your marriage. I challenge you to be open to God’s loving plan for your life.

God’s mercy in the Sacrament of Confession

The Bishop of Lincoln shows how Catholic doctors are morally bound not to prescribe contraceptives to their patients since contraception is not a medical treatment. And, he recommends:

If you have used or supported contraception, I pray that you will stop, and that you will avail yourself of God’s tender mercy by making a good heartfelt confession.

While recognizing the licitness of Natural Family Planning periodical abstention, Bishop Conley warns that this practice can sometimes lead to an anti-childbearing mindset and the loss of confidence in Divine Providence.

We thank Bishop Conley for his wise and timely magisterium on an issue that usually receives little emphasis from our shepherds, though crucial for the proper defense of the sacred institutions of marriage and the family, and the survival of society.

 


 1. Any emphases are ours.

 

 

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for October 14, 2019

We cannot enter a house without first speaking to the porter...

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October 14

 

We cannot enter a house without first speaking to the porter.
Similarly, we cannot enter heaven
without calling upon the aid of the Blessed Virgin Mary
who is the Portress of Heaven.

St. John Vianney


DEFEND Our Lady's HONOR !

"May Jesus with Mary be with us on the way."  ...

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Columbus Day

 The underlying motive of Columbus' voyage was the conversion of those 
who did not know Christ as the living Son of God Who became the Son of Mary. 

His favorite prayer, said in Latin, was 
Jesu cum Maria sit nobis in via, which means 
"May Jesus with Mary be with us on the way." 

For Columbus this way meant both the voyage through time into eternity 
and the voyage in time to bring Mary's faith in her divine Son 
to a still unbelieving world. 

Fr. John A. Harden, S.J.


DEFEND Our Lady's HONOR !

Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

Pope St. Callistus I

Even his enemies attest to his having ruled with equanimity,...

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Pope St. Callistus I

The name of St. Callistus was made famous by the Roman cemetery along the Apian Way that he beautified while he was its papal-appointed superintendent. Today, it still bears his name though he is not buried there but in the Church of Santa Maria in Trastevere. The cemetery of St. Callistus is fittingly revered for having many relics of the Christian martyrs buried within its precincts.

Roman by birth, Callistus was the slave of a Christian member of Caesar's household. He later became assistant to Pope St. Zephyrinus and then succeeded him in 218 or 219, reigning for about five years. Although the time in which he reigned was mostly peaceful for Christians under Alexander Severus whose mother was a Christian, there are historical indications that he suffered martyrdom in the year 223.

Even his enemies attest to his having ruled with equanimity, at times contravening the customs of the era in favor of wisdom and mercy.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

She promised a portentous sign “for all to believe” whic...

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The Miracle of the Sun: Seal on a Serious Message

The apparitions of the Blessed Mother in Fatima, Portugal, May, 1917 to three children, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta, were Gospel-like in their seriousness, simplicity and credibility. All events prophesized were fulfilled, and so was Our Lady’s promise of a sign at the sixth and last apparition.

Adding to the believability of the miraculous event, the chosen seers were very young, simple and innocent, incapable of conjuring or embellishing. 

When Our Lady spoke, she spoke like a messenger, plainly and objectively, although touchingly attentive to the children, their questions and needs.

The theme of her message ran throughout the consecutive visits: sin must stop; prayer (especially the Rosary), penance and conversion of life must be adopted by humanity or there would be terrible consequences.

And she promised a portentous sign “for all to believe” which set Portugal abuzz.

It was a “bad” time for such an apparition and such a promise in Portugal.

In 1908 King Carlos I and his heir Prince Luis Felipe, had been assassinated, and a Republic established. The new government was adamantly anti-religious and anti-clerical and aimed at secularizing centuries-old Catholic Portugal.

Thus, the Fatima apparitions deeply disturbed the status-quo, which went as far as imprisoning the children for a short while.

But God was indeed at work at Cova da Iria, Fatima, and a sign had been promised.

And the sign happened.                      Free copy of Meet the Witnesses

On October 13, about 70,000 spectators filled Cova da Iria, among them journalists, the curious and the incredulous.

The day was rainy. The seers saw a bright light, after which Our Lady appeared atop the usual holm oak. Mary asked for a chapel to be built, and revealed that she was the “Lady of the Rosary”.

She predicted that WWI would soon end, and that the soldiers would come home.

Lucia asked for the cure of some sick persons to which Our Lady responded: “Some yes, some no. They must amend their lives and ask forgiveness for their sins.”

Then she begged the world, “Let them offend Our Lord no more for He is already much offended.”

On saying this, she opened her hands and projected the light coming from them onto the sun."

Lucia cried, “Look at the sun!”

The heavy clouds parted revealing a huge silver disk. Though it shone intensely, it did not blind. The sphere began to dance, then spin rapidly like a gigantic circle of fire. It stopped momentarily, then spun vertiginously again, its rim scarlet, scattering flames through the sky. The changing lights were reflected on the faces of the spectators, on the trees and on the ground in fantastic hues.

After performing this bizarre pattern thrice, the fiery globe trembled, shook then plunged toward the earth in a zigzag. People screamed. All this only lasted a few minutes. The sun then zigzagged back to its place and re-assumed its normal appearance.

People noticed that their rain-soaked clothes were dry. So were the pools of water that had formed in the field. Engineers later affirmed that an enormous amount of energy was necessary to dry those pools in only a few minutes.

Numerous people also saw the miracle of the sun up to twenty-five miles away.

To the chagrin of secularists and support of the faithful, newspaper men in the crowd reported the miracle throughout the world.

Indeed, the miracle of the sun “sealed” the authenticity of the Fatima Message, a crucial message for our sinful, troubled times.

Click here to order your Free copy of Meet the Witnesses

By Andrea F. Phillips
References:

Our Lady of Fatima: Prophecies of Tragedy or Hope?  By Antonio A. Borelli and John R. Spann
Wikipedia online

 

She promised a portentous sign “for all to believe” which set Portugal abuzz.

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