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From Patrick Sheahan re October article by Msgr. Foy. (Letters to the Editor).

I read the October 2001 issue of Catholic Insight and feel you owe me and your readers an apology for the article written by Msgr. Vincent Foy. In his article on contraception and abortion, Msgr. Foy directed appalling and disparaging comments at all married Catholic couples. I can't believe you devoted five pages to this garbage. I refer specifically to his comments about contraception, not abortion.

His outrageous comments included the following; "disgrace of this pandemic deprivation of human souls"; "contraception is also a grave sin with the sanction of spiritual death"; "contraception transforms the marriage act from an act of love into an act of hate, from self-giving to mutual abuse."

I thought it was interesting Msgr. Foy used lots of papal and episcopal statements to support his view, but no scriptural passages, probably because he knew Christ never spoke in this way to the people He loved and towards whom He had so much compassion and mercy. But Christ certainly spoke of how the Pharisees loved to burden the people with laws.

So after having two sons, if my wife and I chose to use contraception as a responsible act, Msgr. Foy would have us believe our intimacy is now an act of hate and mutual abuse. Msgr. Foy fails to share with us his experiences with a woman he loves, because as a priest he has never been in a loving relationship with a woman. He has never enjoyed the beauty of the sexual act between two committed and loving partners.

As the editor of this publication, I have to ask you how could you have allowed the Monsignor to stray into his insane comments about "contraceptive practice leading to the acceptance of homosexuality."

Finally, if Msgr. Foy believes contraception and abortion are the cause of insufficient vocations to the priesthood and religious life, he may want to reexamine his own vocation and the misguided article he contributed to Catholic Insight as a reason many Catholics would never be attracted to religious life. A flourishing and evangelizing Church depends upon every follower of Christ responding to the Great Commission instead of relying upon our clergy to do the job for Christ. I look forward to the November issue to see what response Catholic Insight will deem appropriate for its readers and the reaction of other readers as well.

Hamilton, ON

Msgr. Foy replies:

I would like to point out that neither Patrick Sheahan nor I determine whether contraception is good or bad. That is the prerogative of God, the author of moral law.

Because it is divine law, the Church's teaching against contraception is unchanging and unchangeable. It is expressed in the words of Pope John Paul II at a seminar on responsible parenthood on September 17, 1983: "Contraception contradicts the truth of conjugal love. Contraception is to be judged objectively so profoundly unlawful as never to be, for any reason, justified. To think or say the contrary is equal to maintaining that, in human life, situations may arise in which it is lawful not to recognize God as God."

Marriage vows give the right to "those actions which of their nature lead to procreation." They do not give the right to contraception and, therefore, contraception is never a responsible act. In itself it is an act of mutual abuse and hate because it deprives the soul of grace, unfits one for receiving Holy Communion, and destroys the capacity for supernatural merit. In short, it is a spiritual tragedy.

It is untenable to separate the teaching of Christ on moral issues from the teaching of the Church. The Church teaches by and only by Christ's authority. As Pope Paul VI said in the encyclical Humanae vitae, "We now intend, by virtue of the mandate entrusted us by Christ, to give our reply to these grave questions" (n. 6).

In determining right and wrong, experience is irrelevant. A judge does not need to be a murderer to know that murder is wrong. A priest does not need to be married to know that adultery, abortion, and contraception are contrary to God's law and love. Vocations to the priesthood and religious life generally come from good Catholic families faithful to the teaching of the Church.

Patrick Sheahan calls insane the comment about "contraceptive practice leading to the acceptance of homosexuality." I said, "A contraceptive society, with sex separated from love and life, leads to a society tolerant of homosexual conduct." Both contraceptive and homosexual acts are sins of lust inherently sterile, acts of mutual self-abuse. To attempt to justify one is to attempt to justify the other. This is why contraception is sometimes called sodomistic, as even Martin Luther called it. That is why acceptance of contraception leads to greater tolerance of homosexual activity.

I would suggest to Mr. Sheahan a study of the book Sex and the Marriage Covenant, by John F. Kippley, published by the Couple to Couple League International of Cincinnati, Ohio. Those "on-line" would find a rich source of information on the website of "Catholics againstcontraception" at: <>
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Publication:Catholic Insight
Date:Dec 1, 2001
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