First Published in ‘The Catholic Voice’, Ireland, May 2015
The Last Episcopal Voice in Ireland to speak out against Heretical professors
In a previous article I mentioned that one of Ireland’s Archbishops, in 1970, issued a letter that was to be read out at every Mass in his diocese on account of the heretical statements made by one of the professors at Maynooth to the Irish Medical Union. This professor’s statements, contradicted Church teaching on contraception. The archbishop, who was the last episcopal voice in this country to publicly challenge the heretical positions of the Maynooth professors, also issued a statement in 1971 which addressed the issue of legislation which would permit the sale and distribution of contraceptives. It is worth quoting the last five paragraphs of this statement for several reasons.
This is How a Catholic Bishop should make a Statement
For the insight they give us into how bishop’s statements should be framed. For the clarity of the teaching contained therein. Because they show us once again that there were indeed voices who spoke out against and who warned against the consequences of allowing a contraceptive culture to develop in this once Catholic country of ours and because they reveal to us what has gone wrong in this country on account of this statement being ignored and dismissed not just by our politicians but by those within the Church who have the care and guidance of souls.
Man is Prone to Evil
“Given the proneness of our human nature to evil, given the enticement of bodily satisfaction, given the widespread modern incitement to unchastity, it must be evident that an access, hitherto unlawful, to contraceptive devices will prove a most certain occasion of sin, especially to immature persons. The public consequences of immorality that must follow for our whole society are only too clearly seen in other countries.
There are Norms of Objective Morality
If they who are elected to legislate for our society should unfortunately decide to pass a disastrous measure of legislation that will allow the public promotion of contraception and an access, hitherto unlawful, to the means of contraception, they ought to know clearly the meaning of their action, when it is judged by the norms of objective morality and the certain consequences of such a law.
We should be prepared to stand alone if necessary in order to resist Evil
To add to the confusion, it is being suggested that our society ought to be brought into line with the outlook of other countries. Hitherto, we have endeavoured to legislate according to the established beliefs and standards of our own people. One can conceive no worse fate for Ireland than that it should, by the legislation of our elected representatives, be now made to conform to the patterns of sexual conduct in other countries.
Re-Unification of Ireland is should not be pursued by Evil Means
It is also being suggested that such uniformity of sexual outlook and practice can, in some obscure way, assist the reunification of our country. One must know little of the Northern people, if one can fail to realize the indignant ridicule with which good Northern people would treat such an argument. It would indeed be a foul basis on which to attempt to construct the unity of our people.
Offensive Legislation insults Our Faith and Damages Morality
It may well come to pass that, in the present climate of emotional thinking and pressure, legislation could be enacted that will offend the objective moral law. Such a measure would be an insult to our Faith; it would, without question, prove to be gravely damaging to morality, private and public; it would be and would remain, a curse upon our country.”
The Minister for Health, following certain Bishop’s guidelines, legislates for Contraception
In 1979 the then minister for health introduced the Health (Family Planning) Act which became law in 1980. The act broadly followed the guidelines of the bishop’s statement of 1978. The bishops had asked for provision to be made for research into natural family planning and the bill duly provided for this. Money was subsequently given, through a government department, to the bishop’s ‘Catholic Marriage Advisory Council’ (CMAC) and from this point on it would be difficult for the bishops to object to any government legislation on this and other issues as the government was now funding their organisation and could use the provision of this funding as a means of exerting pressure on the bishops should they so wish.
Dissenting Professor appointed to Catholic Marriage Advisory Council
Subsequent events would reveal that it wasn’t necessary to exert any such pressure on the bishops with regard to the matter of contraception. I am not a man that can be accused of being often stuck for words, but I have to admit that I am finding it hard to find an appropriate adjective to describe the next event that I wish to bring to your attention. We have seen that one archbishop publicly refuted the statements of one of Maynooth’s, Catholic priest professors, on account of the heresy these statements contained in relation to the Church’s teaching on marriage and contraception. Well in the 1980s, this very same professor was appointed as secretary to the Irish bishops ‘Catholic Marriage Advisory Council’ which was now receiving funding under the 1979 Health (Family Planning) Act.
The Heresies are Spread to the Laity
The heretical opinions which had been somewhat contained within the confines of Maynooth, were now unleashed onto an unsuspecting public and these self same heresies would now be promoted, through the Irish bishop’s own ‘pre-marriage’ courses, up and down the length and breadth of this country. Young couples, who were told that it was a requirement to attend one of these pre-marriage courses, were corrupted with erroneous teaching on contraception. Lip service was paid to Church teaching but a nod and a wink of approval was, and still is, given to contraceptive practices on these courses.
The Vegetarians Discuss the Various Cuts of Meat
My wife and I attended our pre-marriage course in the summer of 1988. The priest on the course made a simple statement saying that the Church opposed contraception. This was done just before the course facilitators launched into a section dealing with sexuality which included a presentation on the various forms of contraception. A group of vegetarians presenting a lecture on the various cuts of meat could not have been more bizarre. Natural family planning was also mentioned and afterwards I thought that I had better find out more about this natural family planning business, since I was not familiar with it. The course presenter, when I told her that I was interested in finding out more about the family planning, asked me if it was the pill that I was interested in.
A Priest Encourages my Wife to Contracept
A little over four years later, after the birth of our third child and my wife’s third caesarian section, the priest who conducted our pre-marriage course, during a phone conversation with my wife told her that he believed that we could use condoms to avoid conception. My wife did not tell me of this conversation until about six months after it occurred. This same priest, not surprisingly I might add, has subsequently left the priesthood and is now married with children of his own.
A Curse Has Fallen on Ireland
A curse had indeed fallen on our country and that curse is still destroying marriages and lives to this very day. In my next article I will look at some more examples of how the poison of this heresy spread within the church in Ireland like a cancer, corrupting faithful and clergy alike.
© John Lacken 2015
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Author: John Lacken
Founder: Legio Sanctae Familiae – The Legion of the Holy Family