Bishop Galeone's pastoral letter.
Drawing on Pope John Paul's Theology of the Body, Bishop Galeone points out that "sexual communication uses many of the same terms that verbal communication does: intercourse, to know (carnally), to conceive, etc."
The bishop then asks: "Is it normal for a wife to insert ear plugs while listening to her husband? Is it normal for a husband to muffle his mouth while speaking to his wife?" It is equally absurd, the pastoral states, to destroy sexual communication through the use of a diaphragm, birth control pills, or condoms.
Carrying the analogy over to the area of sterilization, the pastoral asks: "How can one justify a husband having a surgeon clip his robust vocal chords, or a wife having her healthy eardrums surgically removed? Yet in the area of sexual communication how do such horrific examples differ from a vasectomy or a tubal ligation?"
God fashioned our bodies male and female to communicate both life and love, writes Bishop Galeone, and every rime a husband and wife delibertately frustrate this twofold purpose through contraception, they are acting out a lie. "The body language of the marital act says, 'I'm all yours,' but the contraceptive device adds, 'except for my fertility'."
To illustrate the difference between contraception and NFP (periodic abstinence), Bishop Galeone uses the "theology of the body" again: "to say that NFP is no different from contraception is like saying that maintaining silence is the equivalent of telling a lie."
Citing statistics that show 90% of North American citizens, regardless of denomination, use contraception, the bishop states, "I fear that much of what I have said seems harshly critical of couples using contraceptives. In reality, I am not blaming them for what has occurred during the past four decades. It was hot their fault. With rare exceptions, because of our silence, we bishops and priests are to blame."
In order to counter this silence, the bishop calls for the implementation of several guidelines in his diocese:
All pastoral ministers should study and teach to others the message of the Theology of the Body; confessors should become familiar with the "Vademecum for Confessors Concerning Some Aspects of the Morality of Conjugal Life;" priests and deacons should present homilies on why contraceptive behaviour is wrong; NFP is to become part of all marriage preparation programs; high school, religious education, and RCIA classes should clearly teach the immorality of contraception.
In the introduction to his pastoral letter, Bishop Galeone mentioned two social developments that prompted him to write the letter, namely, legislation redefining marriage to include same-sex unions, and escalating divorce rates. But these latest developments, says the bishop, "are mere symptoms of a vastly more serious disorder. Until the taproot of that disorder is cut, I fear that we will continue to reap the fruit of failed marriages and worsening sexual behavior at every level of society."
Bishop Galeone is among the growing number of Catholics who have the insight to identify the "tap root" of our current social disintegration as being rejection of Humanae vitae. In Canada in December 2003, similar insight was demonstrated by the launching of a new Ottawa apostolate which identifies contraception as the foot of the "cultural and social disaster besieging our country" and which is seeking support for a petition to the Canadian bishops for retraction of the Winnipeg Statement. (See "Rosarium seeks retraction of Winnipeg Statement" under Canada News in Brief." (Source: L. Collins)
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|Title Annotation:||United States|
|Date:||Mar 1, 2004|
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