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Birth Control: Is Canada Out of step with Rome?

Birth Control Is Canada out of step with Rome? WRITTEN BY Msgr. Vincent N. Foy PUBLISHED BY Life Ethics Information Centre, Toronto, 2005 ISBN: 1895599156, Softcover, pp. 128, $9.95 CDN

Msgr. Vincent N. Foy is a canon lawyer. Now 91, he is a former pastor, director of religious education, and head of the Toronto Marriage Tribunal.

For almost 40 years, he has been pointing out that willful rejection of the truth, by Catholics dissenting from the 1968 papal document On the proper use of human fertility (Humanae vitae), is contributing in no small way to our current moral morass. The errors in the Canadian Bishops' response to HV in the Winnipeg Statement have led to both a widespread disregard of Church teachings on sexuality, and an escalating objection to other teachings.

This one slim volume brings together the complete text of both documents; an outline of the history, surrounding circumstances and key players; references and sources; and reactions both for and against the documents, along with Msgr. Foy's arguments and refutation, including his 50 [good] reasons to recant the WS. It is useful to have such easy access to so much related information.

Some may find the font a bit small to read with ease, but this book is not meant to be galloped through. It begs to be read carefully and thoughtfully, prayed over, pondered, discussed and debated.

Most Catholics, many intimidated by the prospect of reading an encyclical, have never actually read HV. Since the full text is included here, they can now discover that they don't need a Ph.D. to do so.

Those who have always questioned whether our bishops actually did distance themselves from Rome in the Winnipeg Statement will find convincing Msgr. Foy's evidence that at least some recognized and acknowledged it as a form of rebellion. They will also appreciate the point-by-point response to charismatic seminary teacher Fr. Michael Prieur's defence of that statement.

Overall, this book supports and strengthens those who have long shared Msgr. Foy's concerns. It gives them new tools, access to reliable sources and the assurance that they are not alone.

But many people who genuinely consider themselves good Catholics will not be drawn to the title or subject matter. Partly because, as Cardinal Newman observed, "the sense of right and wrong is delicate, subtle, impressible by education, biased by pride and passion, easily puzzled and perverted."

Examples abound. I myself have heard a CWL leader openly announce at a League meeting, "I had my tubes done by the doctor that does it right." Another parish leader once told me, "After this baby is born, I'll be sterilized; the Church won't like it but I'll be forgiven." I have challenged visiting preachers who publicly declared during a parish mission that contraception is acceptable, and have had Marriage Prepar-ation leader couples deliberately turn their backs during an NFP presentation.

Catholics such as these are among the many who need to be re-sensitized to right and wrong before they can actually hear the truth.

In my experience, though, sometimes people will give a "truth message" due consideration on its own merits, if they don't know its source. Msgr. Foy's book has many starting points for the kind of in-depth consideration that can precipitate lively discussion (formal or informal), lead to growth, and prepare people to hear the truths contained in HV.

Some samples:

* Our generation glorifies vice with the name of virtue.

* Brilliance is not a guarantee of Catholic orthodoxy--nor an obstacle to it.

* Conscience is not a source of truth.

* Ten billion sinners do not invalidate the Ten Commandments; ignoring or rejecting HV does not invalidate it.

* Abortion kills the body of the victim and the soul of its killer(s).

* Abortion leaves great gaps in the family, the Church, our society; contraception also leaves gaps in the family, the Church, and society.

* There is a connection between contraception and abortion.

* Abortion kills countries. Contraceptive practice sedates the conscience.

* Both contraceptive and homosexual acts are acts of lust.

* The contraceptive mentality is capable of destroying the family, society and the Church.

* When a country's reproduction rate drops below a certain critical point, the decline is irreversible.

* Wherever HV is rejected, in due time the Church will cease to exist. In Canada, that is now a work in progress.

For a way out of our moral quagmire, Msgr. Foy offers the "Nineveh Solution:" perseverance; prayer for the restoration of the teaching and observance of God's law on life and love; and penance.

The more people who read, absorb, and use the information in this little book, the more effectively this solution will be applied.

Doreen Beagan lives in PEI and has been teaching the Billings method of NFP for over 20 years. She is currently vice president of the umbrella group WOOMB Canada (World Organization of the Ovulation Method-Billings).
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Author:Beagan, Doreen
Publication:Catholic Insight
Date:Oct 1, 2006
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