FROM JOSEPH BLAIN RE FEBRUARY ISSUE
Two days before the beginning of Lent this year, I was on a business trip to San Francisco and as the February issue of Catholic Insight had just arrived, I packed it in my bag for reading on the plane. It was definitely the right choice, given the rigours of modern air travel. It was particularly appropriate on a trip to California to read the wonderful article on Blessed Junipero Serra by Mary Hansen and his missionary work there in the 18th century with the North American Native peoples....
Meditation at St. Patrick's gave me ample time to reflect on the other remarkable February articles, especially the Church's Teaching on Contraception, by Fr. Scanlon, and the same subject, treated from a layman's perspective, by David Beresford. I am truly indebted to Fr. Scanlon for his forthright clarification of the Church's constant teaching, especially by two Pontiffs of beloved memory, John Paul II and Paul VI, who wrote that "contraception or the direct interruption of the generative process is to be absolutely excluded as a licit means of regulating birth." In addition to Fr. Scanlon's able refutation of the false arguments of conscience behind the Winnipeg Statement, he also wrote something very touching about Paul VI: "What did Paul VI know from God that the rest of the world did not know? He knew about the mystery of the relationship between a man and a woman and the mystery of evil."
We are all too familiar with the latter mystery of rampant evil that has kept us in a desert and barren land for more than 40 years; perhaps we do need very serious Lenten penance, like Junipero Serra, walking the 440 km to Mexico City and then spending his night at prayer, at the Basilica of Guadeloupe.
But we also need the positive side of the mystery of life and the richness of grace bestowed on the married state, again so ably described by Fr. Scanlon in terms of self-control and trust. This deep mystery of marriage was also beautifully described by Professor Beresford of Lakeview, ON in his very simple summary of Humanae vitae, according to which marriage is a "happy state, for raising children, with unlimited generosity, support for life, and a cause for our happiness." Beatus vir ...
I had a great many reflections to begin the Lenten season thanks to reading Catholic Insight. Perhaps the only discordant note was the other feature, "Re-imagining Catholicism" by Michael Kelly. Not only does he make a lot of seemingly unfounded generalizations and assertions about Catholics in Ireland, but he also draws a portrait, more akin to the sociology of the Winnipeg Statement, whereby the clergy is grim and marriage in Ireland was "difficult, grudging and a cause of sorrow ..."
But other than that, a wonderful issue again. And we also had the news of the imminent canonization of Brother Andre of Montreal!