Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
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Persecuted Christians often choose strategy of survival, says study
Daniel Philpott, professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame, listens to a speaker during an April 20 forum at the National Press Club in Washington. Speakers at the forum released ...

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Make persecution 'difficult for others to ignore,' cardinal says
Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl speaks during an April 20 forum to release the findings of a study on responses to Christian persecution. (CNS photo/Bob Roller) WASHINGTON (CNS) -- With religiou...

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Living Stations of the Cross draws crowd
Written by Administrator
Archbishop Leonard P. Blair leads the living Stations of the Cross with Msgr. Daniel J. Plocharczyk at Sacred Heart Parish in New Britain on April 14, Good Friday.

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Pope to canonize Fatima seers May 13; October date for other saints
Portuguese shepherd children Lucia dos Santos, center, and her cousins, Jacinta and Francisco Marto, are seen in a file photo taken around the time of the 1917 apparitions of Mary at Fatima. (CNS phot...

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Theater review: 'Come from Away'
NEW YORK – “Come from Away," the musical now at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on West 45th Street, looks back at that harrowing day in our history, Sept. 11, 2001, and shows us how the tragedy of th...

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Pope Benedict celebrates birthday with Bavarian guests, beer, pretzels
Retired Pope Benedict XVI makes a toast during celebrations marking his 88th birthday in 2015 at the Vatican. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano) VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A bit of Bavaria, including German ...

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Persecuted Christians often choose strategy of survival, says study
Persecuted Christians often choose strategy of survival, says study
Make persecution 'difficult for others to ignore,' cardinal says
Make persecution 'difficult for others to ignore,' cardinal says
Living Stations of the Cross draws crowd
Living Stations of the Cross draws crowd
Pope to canonize Fatima seers May 13; October date for other saints
Pope to canonize Fatima seers May 13; October date for other saints
Theater review: 'Come from Away'
Theater review: 'Come from Away'
Pope Benedict celebrates birthday with Bavarian guests, beer, pretzels
Pope Benedict celebrates birthday with Bavarian guests, beer, pretzels

Latest Commentary

ARCHBISHOP

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The Archbishop’s Annual Appeal is about to embark on its 37th year of raising funds to help people in a...

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U.S. President Donald Trump is seen at the White House in Washington, April 19. (CNS photo/Kevin Lamarque, Reuters) VATICAN CITY...

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Andrew Garfield stars as Father Sebastian Rodrigues in a scene from the movie "Silence." (CNS photo/Paramount) WASHINGTON (CNS) – Actor...

FROM OUR READERS

Father John Pahl, pastor of the Church of the Assumption in Manchester, decided it was time to say thank you.

YOUTH

HAMDEN – Sophomore Mary Sarah Olson, right, has been chosen to represent Sacred Heart Academy at the Hugh O’Brian Youth...

Q. Concerning this recent business attempting to "sell" the public on the prospect of "free" contraceptives and access to abortions, it seems to me that a new "Church" is being structured on political lines. Since when did the federal government acquire the authority to speak on ethical issues in behalf of Christianity? And since when did morality depend upon public opinion surveys; i.e., the morality of abortion or contraception?

A. What we are experiencing here in America is unquestionably a pseudosophisticated attempt to usurp the teaching authority of the Church in moral matters. The whole effort is obviously sophomoric. Anyone who gives it any credence is placing himself or herself in spiritual jeopardy. After life comes death, and following death, judgment. To stake one’s future on a moral code based on political pragmatism or sociological surveys is the worst kind of wager one can make; it begins and ends with the real possibility of losing everything. Remember Pascal’s famed "Wager"?

This whole issue is most grave; it pertains to eternal life, and the prospect of surrendering it forever. Meanwhile, as Sacred Scripture teaches us, our world today, fascinating as it may be, is passing away. (1 Cor. 7:31)

Any practising Catholic, deep within his or her heart, accepts all this; moreover, he or she understands it. In other words, the Church speaks for Christ. And Christ’s words leave no room for ambiguity. Abortion entails the direct taking of an innocent human being’s life. Sterilization for a directly contraceptive purpose is beyond the scope of a person’s stewardship over his or her own body, hence is morally wrong. And contraception, which refers to the deliberate, freely chosen separation of the procreative aspect of conjugal union from the unitive aspect, cannot be squared with the Church’s assessment of moral actions; hence must be repudiated.

All of the above – abortion, direct sterilization and contraception – have been assessed as immoral by the teaching Church. For a Catholic, there is no other magisterium – no sociological surveys, no alleged majority rule, no groups of nuns or orders of priests, or laypersons can alter these moral assessments. Least of all, no political power or self-proclaimed expert has any competence to determine morality in this area. Would anyone take seriously a senator’s or president’s opinion about the Higgs Boson (e.g., whether it is the "God-particle"), or whether Shakespeare wrote all the dramas attributed to him?

Not at all. It is the Church to which practising Catholics defer in matters of morality, unless, of course, morality doesn’t really mean anything to them.

How sophomoric can one become?

Besides assessing the ethics of issues like abortion, sterilization and contraception, there is always the problem of cooperating with their use or dissemination. This opens up another complex subject; namely, the principles pertaining to active cooperation. Surely a practising Catholic does not want to assist others in doing what he or she knows is immoral – for example, in insuring himself or herself for the drugs that could cause abortion or a contraceptive act.

Incidentally, use of the phrase "birth control" in Administration documents or press accounts is meaningless. Responsible parenthood is a Christian virtue. The phrase "birth control" is not, per se, a synonym for contraception.

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