I don’t think it was any coincidence that the week a group of theologians based in the United Kingdom released a statement demanding the Catholic Church change her teachings on sexuality and contraception that one of the readings for the daily Mass came from the first chapter of Ecclesiastes.
“What has been will be again. What has been done will be done again. There is nothing new under the sun.”The statement “On the Ethics of Using Contraception” from the Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research recently made worldwide headlines with its authors claiming, as so many other dissenters have before them, that they know better than 2,000 years of Church teaching. Again nothing new under the sun as far as their arguments. The same old, tired talking points were hauled out and paraded in front of the world as something new, relevant and efficacious.
All of this despite the fact that the truth of Church teaching, and in particular Pope Paul VI’s prophetic encyclical Humanae Vitae, which was the focus of their comments, has been proven to be spot-on repeatedly. Whether it’s the astronomical number of abortions (more than 57 million since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973), the harmful effects of artificial contraception on women (including a brand new study from the Netherlands showing a connection between birth control and increased rates of depression among women), sexually transmitted diseases rates at epidemic proportions, the high rate of pornography addictions, the sexual objectification of women, and the breakdown of the family — just to name a few societal ills — all of these major issues don’t seem to exist or matter according to these “enlightened” folks.
Thank goodness a long list of orthodox Catholic theologians, currently numbering close to 1,000 signed a separate statement supporting Church teaching and refuting the claims of the Wijngaards piece. The document, “Affirmation of the Church’s Teaching on the Gift of Sexuality,” was released at a press conference in Washington, D.C., at The Catholic University of America.
“The Wijngaards Statement seriously misrepresents the authentic position of the Catholic Church. Among the most erroneous claims made by the Wijngaards Statement is that neither Scripture nor natural law offers any support for the Church’s teaching that contraception is never compatible with God’s plan for sexuality and marriage. During the past half-century, there has been an enormous amount of creative scholarly thinking around the Church’s teaching on contraception, thinking that includes profound reflections on the theology of the body, personalism and natural law. In addition, there has been extensive research on and analysis of the negative impact of contraception on individuals, relationships and culture.”
“Affirmation of the Church’s Teaching on the Gift of Sexuality” is definitely worth a read as it lists 11 key points outlining the true basis of why Church teaching is “in accord with God’s plan for sexuality and marriage.” It’s also worth one’s time to revisit Humanae Vitae while keeping the fallout of the so-called sexual revolution.
Our fallen human nature continues to get the best of too many of us all the way back to Adam and Eve and up to the present day. Those behind the Wijngaards statement are just the latest in a long line of people who think they know better than God. Pray for them and thank God for the courage of those willing to defend the truth in our increasing over-sexualized culture.
Teresa Tomeo is the host of “Catholic Connection,” produced by Ave Maria Radio and heard daily on EWTN Global Catholic Radio and Sirius Channel 130.