The Catholic Church Needs Purification, Renewal and Restoration to Rise to a New Missionary Moment
are human persons, created in the very image of God. Rather than being respected and honored, human persons are treated as commodities to be used and abused. Rather than being seen as an integral part of the human person, the human body is reduced to a sexual object to be used, abused or molested. This lies at the root of the sin of pornography as well as the sexual acting out of what is often begun in the heart - in acts that the sacred scripture calls the sins of the flesh.
The late Pope referred to abortion as the cutting edge of this culture of death. It is the most blatant example of the use of another person. We no longer protect our smallest members but rather encourage mothers to participate in destroying their own child in the former sanctuary of the womb, the first home of every person.
Trafficking in parts of aborted children hides under a false claim of progress. Every time a stem cell is extracted from an embryonic human person, he or she is killed. No matter how these techniques are dressed up as science and no matter how they promise to prolong our lives (a claim as of yet unproven) they are immoral.
Some choices are always and everywhere wrong and intrinsically immoral. They violate the natural law, even if they are legal under current positive law. It is always and everywhere wrong to use people and treat them as objects, no matter what the purported end or goal of the use or the age of the human person.
Faithful Catholics support adult stem cell research and fetal cord blood research because we support all scientifically legitimate and moral research that does not destroy life. We believe that good science must serve the person and the common good. However, we reject destroying life for the use of another. People should never be used as a means to an end.
This error lies at the root of the Catholic rejection of artificial contraception. Contracepted sexual activity - no matter how well the argument in favor of artificial contraception is dressed up in the finest sophistry by dissidents within our own Church - is never a complete gift of self. It is not open to life; therefore it is not unitive or pro-creative. It involves a use of the other.
Contraception is immoral because it impedes the sexual expression of authentic love as the full and complete gift of self in the marital embrace. The Catholic Church is not unenlightened. She is not against sex. Rather, she proclaims the full understanding of the beauty and the dignity of sexual relations as proper only in marriage. The Catholic Church is actually the guardian of the truth about the beauty of sexual love in an age given over to self centeredness and sexual libertinism.
The Church rejects artificial contraception and insists on the proper use of natural family planning within marriage. Again, not because she is opposed to sexual relations. That would be heresy. Rather, because she proclaims the dignity, beauty and splendor of conjugal love between spouses as a sign of the complete gift of self.
Sexual relations belong exclusively within the embrace of faithful, chaste marriage. They are a part of the sacramental nature of Christian marriage. Marital sexual relations, rooted in the love that is the gift of self to the beloved, should always be open to new life. They are a participation in the mystery of communion, sharing in the creative and redemptive nature of the Christian mission.
The problem we face in the Catholic Church is infidelity. The problem we face in the Church is sin. Many of the incidents reported among the minority of clergy who have sinned against their vowed celibacy involve homosexual acts. In many instances, the activities in which they engaged constitute pederasty, a term derived from an ancient Greek word that referred to sexual relationships between men and boys.
The teaching of the Catholic Church on homosexuality is clear, compassionate, and true. Homosexual orientation is disordered. Homosexual temptation, like every other sexual temptation, is not sin. However, homosexual acts are ALWAYS sin. Homosexual acts can never accomplish the ends (in the philosophical and theological sense of the word - goal) of authentic love.
The sexual expression of love is reserved for the marital conjugal act, the marital embrace. The Catholic Church rightly proclaims that every marital sexual act must be both unitive (fulfilling the divine mandate of marriage that the two shall be as one) and procreative, or open to life. Homosexual sexual acts are not procreative and cannot be unitive.
While the Church teaches that we must respect the dignity of every person, including homosexual persons, it clearly and unequivocally teaches that homosexual acts are always and everywhere intrinsically immoral and sinful. Homosexual sexual acts constitute a use of the body of another.
Such sexual activity, when ...
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: purification, sexual abuse scandal, catholic church, clergy abuse, Cardinal Mahoney, Conclave, New pope, Pope Benedict XVI, purification, renewal, Catholic Church crisis, clergy sex abuse, Pope benedict XVI, Deacon Keith Fournier
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