It was great to meet up with so many Catholic Voice readers at last Saturday’s conference in Limerick. For those who were unable to attend, I would like to give an extract from my talk in which we made a very important announcement for next year.
Today, those who are leading the main attack on Catholic teaching on marriage and family life come from within the ranks of the Catholic church herself, with many senior prelates contradicting the constant teaching of the Church on marriage, and many others, both clerical and lay, remaining silent whilst these attacks are launched. We know that many have arisen within the Catholic Church in recent times who make dissensions and offences contrary to the doctrines of the Church and it is OK for us to complain about these dissensions and offences.
Complaining Cannot be our Only Response
But complaining cannot be our only response, because if it were, then we would fast become just another bunch of whingers. When you look to Aid to the Church in Need’s recent report highlighting an increase in the number of persecuted Christians in the world, you begin to realise, that one of our main problems in the western world, is that our lives have become too comfortable. We get upset when there is a power cut, or when we cannot access any wi-fi, or when the delivery man is late. We have become soft, and this leads to indifference, the great cancer of western Christian nations.
Walter Macken, the Irish novelist, summed it up beautifully in his book ‘Seek the Fair Land’. I included this in a leaflet I once produced. In a powerful scene, a Fr Sebastian, who is about to be martyred by the redcoats, is talking to the people after saying his last Mass on the mountain. He addresses the people as follows.
‘The future depends on you, it is not an easy future. You will not hold your faith easily. Like a granite rock throws off the water you will have to throw off persecution. It is easy enough to fight and conquer persecution. But it is not as easy to conquer the inducements of the easy road.’
The Easy Road is Destroying the Faith
Sadly, in Ireland, it is the easy road that is destroying the faith. For many families the most important thing for their children is that they have good jobs, nice homes, plenty of money, and a good education. In other words, a comfortable life. The faith takes a secondary role and it is treated like an insurance policy for the afterlife. The erroneous belief is held that if enough instalments are paid before death, then, when we die, we can redeem the policy for a place in heaven. I wrote that last paragraph in a leaflet I produced back in 2008.
But thankfully, nine years later, many are beginning to wake up to what is going on and are beginning to ask the vital question that the young man asked of Christ, “Good master, what shall I do to possess everlasting life?” (Luke 18:18). Let us make sure that we are not too attached to our comforts and that we are ready and willing to take up our cross and follow the Master wherever this may lead us, and not walk away like the rich young man who asked Christ this question.
Put on the Armour of Christ
So, we must do more than simply complain. We must don our armour and go out onto the battlefield of the Lord. We must never lose our will to fight, and to fight hard, to protect our faith, to protect our Churches, to protect our children. For too long the enemy of our faith has been allowed to get away with destroying our Churches, built on the sacrifices of our forebears, whilst we have stood by in almost dumb acquiescence out of a false sense of respect for authority and a bewilderment at what was going on.
We have been deprived, to a great extent, of the glories of Catholic worship, which those who attend traditional Latin Mass on a regular basis are familiar with, by a falsehood that became known as ‘the spirit of Vatican II’, which in many places stripped our Catholic liturgy of its focus on giving glory to God, and replaced it with the exaltation of man.
Our Catholic schools, after many years of attack, are no longer Catholic.
The Enemy Now Seeks to Destroy Families
And now, our enemy has come to destroy our Catholic families and our children. We cannot let this happen. We must fight for our families, perhaps as we have never fought before.
Next year, the World Meeting of Families comes to Ireland. Cardinal Farrell, recently appointed as head of the Vatican’s Life and Family dicastery, was in Ireland in June of this year and he said of this meeting.
“It is important that each one of us make every effort to ensure that this event be historic. Historic in the sense that it will be a new moment in the life of the Church and the life of marriage and family for all people”
Cardinal Farrell’s Opinion Diverges from Pope St John Paul II’s Teaching
Cardinal Farrell does not believe in Pope St John Paul II’s absolute ban on receiving Holy Communion for those divorced and civilly married who refuse to abstain from the intimacy that is reserved for the married. He is also a supporter of Fr James Martin who does not uphold Church teaching on human sexuality. I would therefore be very wary of what Cardinal Farrell’s understanding of ‘a new moment’ for the Church, means.
Cardinal Schonborn contradicts Church Teaching
Then in July of this year, Cardinal Schonborn came to Ireland and contradicted Church teaching on the sacrament of confession. He presented a case where a woman living in an adulterous relationship seeks absolution for an earlier abortion, but without confessing her adultery. He said that the priest in the confessional must give her absolution and remove the burden of her grave sin (singular). For this cardinal, adultery is no longer a grave sin, and confession, contrary to what was taught at Trent, no longer requires the confession of all mortal sins.
The Irish Bishops Faulty ‘Amoris’ Programme
To top all that, the Irish bishops released their ‘Amoris’ programme, which says, with an accompanying picture of two lesbians embracing,
“While the Church upholds the ideal of marriage as a permanent commitment between a man and a woman, other unions exist which provide mutual support to the couple. Pope Francis encourages us never to exclude but to accompany these couples also, with love, care and support.”
The question arises once again, ‘what must we to do?’
Some have suggested a boycott of the World Meeting of Families.
A Boycott Will Not Have a Significant Impact
I do not think that this will have any impact and I think that it would also politicise the issue and give ammunition to the world’s media to further attack the Catholic Church. Those who are in favour of the change in Church practice, concerning those who are divorced and civilly remarried, which amounts to a change in Catholic doctrine, have created a huge momentum within the Church which is leading ordinary Catholics astray, and there is nothing at this stage, apart from Divine intervention, which will stop them in their tracks. They have too much personally invested in their new non-Catholic ideology.
As Catholics, we are called to constantly bear witness to our Catholic Faith, in season and out of season.
So, The Lumen Fidei Institute, is pleased to publicly announce, that we have booked a venue in Ballsbridge, in Dublin, with a seating capacity for up to 500 people, where we will host,
A Conference of Catholic Families
This conference will run during the World Meeting of Families over two days from Wednesday 22nd August to Thursday 23rd August 2018.
This will be a gathering of Catholic Families and of anyone who is willing and open to hearing the truth of Catholic teaching on marriage and family life, where the constant and unchanging teachings of the Catholic Church on marriage and family life, will be clearly proclaimed anew.
We have several international speakers who have already said they would like to come.
John-Henry Westen editor and co-founder of Lifesite News
Joseph Shaw fellow of Philosophy at St Benets Hall in Oxford and chairman of the
(not confirmed) Latin Mass Society of England
Dr Thomas Ward founder of the National Association of Catholic Families and a doctor
(confirmed) who has been fighting the Catholic Family wars for many years.
John Smeaton chairman of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.
Dr Anca Maria Cernea medical doctor and representative of the Association of Catholic
(confirmed) Doctors of Bucharest, Romania.
We have other distinguished speakers who we must keep under wraps for now because of the precarious times we live in. We saw recently how one professor lost his job for his perfectly logical and Catholic comments and questions about a recent papal document. We must be as clever as serpents and as gentle as doves.
Which Church Encyclical Officially Condemned Contraception
If I were to ask the average Catholic, ‘with which encyclical did the Catholic church officially condemn contraception?’, most would answer ‘Humanae Vitae’, and they would be wrong.
The encyclical that officially condemned contraception was not ‘Human Vitae’, it was the encyclical ‘Casti Connubi’ of Pope Pius XI. This was not the first time that the Church spoke against contraception, but it was the first encyclical to deal with the matter. Pope Pius XI was responding to the Lambeth conference of 1930, where for the first time in Church history, a group who called itself Christian, issued a document which permitted the use of contraception for married couples.
Casti Connubi condemned contraception with the words “any use whatsoever of matrimony exercised in such a way that the act is deliberately frustrated in its natural power to generate life is an offense against the law of God and of nature, and those who indulge in such are branded with the guilt of a grave sin.” (Casti Connubi 56)
Pope Paul VI, in ‘Humane Vitae’, re-iterated this teaching by saying “Similarly excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after the marital act, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means.”
The Great Dignity of Chaste Wedlock
Pope Pius XI in the opening paragraphs of Casti Connubi writes.
“How great is the dignity of chaste wedlock, Venerable Brethren, may be judged best from this that Christ Our Lord, Son of the Eternal Father, having assumed the nature of fallen man, not only, with His loving desire of compassing the redemption of our race, ordained it in an especial manner as the principle and foundation of domestic society and therefore of all human intercourse, but also raised it to the rank of a truly and great sacrament of the New Law, restored it to the original purity of its divine institution, and accordingly entrusted all its discipline and care to His spouse the Church.”
Men’s Minds Must be Illuminated with the True Doctrine of Christ
Pope Pius XI continues.
“In order, however, that amongst men of every nation and every age the desired fruits may be obtained from this renewal of matrimony, it is necessary, first of all, that men’s minds be illuminated with the true doctrine of Christ regarding it; (there’s that word doctrine again) and secondly, that Christian spouses, the weakness of their wills strengthened by the internal grace of God, shape all their ways of thinking and of acting in conformity with that pure law of Christ so as to obtain true peace and happiness for themselves and for their families.” (Casti Connubi 1-2)
Contraception is First and Foremost an Attack on Marriage
It is this second paragraph that will form the basis of our Conference of Catholic Families. Pope Pius XI realised, that contraception was first and foremost an attack on marriage and on the primary end of marriage, Children. The attacks that he wrote about are still with us today and stronger than ever before. It is time to dust off ‘Casti Connubi’ and to bring its great teachings on marriage and family life back into the spotlight.
As Catholics, we must do what is humanly possible in any given situation, but we do not limit ourselves to what is human; to what is natural. Catholics proceed by the power of their faith. Faith in God the Father, faith in Jesus Christ and faith in the power of the Holy Spirit. We believe in the seven channels of sacramental grace and we know that this grace is never lacking to those who ask for it in simple faith, knowing that we are more important than many sparrows and that our heavenly Father loves us as no other does.
The patronage of the Holy Family
We dedicate this new initiative and we put it under the patronage of the Holy Family. Particularly to Mother Mary, under her title ‘Our Lady of Victories’. We dedicate to good St Joseph as head of the Holy Family, and we dedicate our work to Christ in His glorious childhood.
We most importantly need your prayers for this project.
We will not let it be said by future historians, that in Dublin, Ireland, in August of 2018, there was no voice found to proclaim the authentic, magisterial truths of the Catholic Church on marriage and family life. Please keep an eye out in the Catholic Voice for more developments.
© John Lacken 2017
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Author: John Lacken
Founder: Legio Sanctae Familiae – The Holy Family Legion
Secretary: The Lumen Fidei Institute