Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Dr. Dominic Pedulla, MD

9/1/2011 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The priests must not surrender to this reaction, and on the contrary must remember that they -- and only they -- have the correct medicine for the wound we are discussing.

In the problem of contraception, we enter into a subject that exposes a deep intra-personal wound on the part of the woman affected: one that touches her core in a deeply personal way.  What does this mean for our faithful priests? 

The head of the Baptizer

The head of the Baptizer

Highlights

By Dr. Dominic Pedulla, MD

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

9/1/2011 (3 years ago)

Published in Marriage & Family

Keywords: contraception, culture of death, sexuality, sin, sexual sin, priests, Herodias, Dr. Dominic Pedulla, MD


EDMOND, OKLAHOMA (Catholic Online) - Having spoken to many women about contraception in my professional practice, I know well the personal and professional cost one must be prepared to pay -- the "grudge" -- when one is willing to "trespass" this beehive of feminine shame and anger in the clinical setting.  One fully expects to get stung!

For, in the problem of contraception, we enter into a subject that exposes a deep intra-personal wound on the part of the woman affected: one that touches her core in a deeply personal way. 

Often she will almost rather suffer any other "negative" (including health complications), and take almost any risk,  than expose this wound, and it underlines the importance of a true conversion experience, so that the wound can be healed definitively and the disabling "secret" safely sealed away, once and for all.  This latter need, in turn (and unfortunately), exposes the neglect of priestly concern on the part of too many Catholic pastors (and a heroism of true pastoral charity on the part of a few others -- once again too few).

The Herodias story is familiar. I heard it once again at Mass. But I would like to highlight some of its more hidden features.

Herodias had been deeply shamed by her adultery with King Herod. Their carnal relations were marked by that dishonest type of deep "knowing" (cf. Gen.  4) that alone provokes deep shame, and a correspondingly deep anger when the dishonesty is exposed.

It is the woman most of all who feels this strong internal reaction, even when the man seems completely oblivious, as does Herod here. Note she was seeking "an opportunity", but for what? The opportunity had presented itself to have the apparent source of her shame eliminated and silenced once and for all. To have John the Baptizer beheaded presented just such a golden opportunity, one she had been on the lookout for. The hungry eye sees far!

That this kind of carnal shame is intuitive for women (and is the kind they experience with contraception too) also is made obvious by the fact that the daughter, no doubt tuned in to the mother's wrath, plays such a key role and is so cooperative. Even she intuits the mother's secret wound and comes to "help" her - in short, to help her not just to keep her shame secret, but to destroy its source altogether, in an attempt to forever silence it! And by using her daughter as an accomplice, Herodias could keep her shame all the more hidden since it could now portray the Baptizer as a threat to their family unit, and not just to her own emotional state.

The immediacy and haste of Herodias' daughter tell the hidden story too; there is surely urgency here: "And she came in immediately with haste to the king, and asked, saying, "I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter."

Notice too the element of Herodias punishing her husband the king, for she surely knew Herod would be very upset to be placed in this situation. Thus the "talking head" would not only be silenced, but would also be presented as gift to Herodias' daughter in the King's presence as a fitting outward sign by Herodias to her husband of hidden inward indignity: "See how this man can no longer expose me? See how you too must endure my provoked wrath? So you enjoyed talking to this fool the Baptizer? And at my expense? And not noticing my suffering? Now enjoy seeing his head on a platter!"

Like Lady Macbeth, she perhaps found that, unable to detach herself from her shame, she could at least detach its revealer from his own head, and force her husband to see it.

Similarly, why would the king agree to such a disproportionate and unreasonable request? Because of an oath alone? Only because he didn't want to break his word?  It is more likely that Herod was all too fully aware (as men often are dimly yet strongly) of the wrath welling up in his wife.

And he acquiesced!

What does this mean for our faithful priests?  For if it is true that Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned (and it is), then it is certain that these priests experience this type of hidden wrath all the time, when trying to help their couples reconcile with the teaching of the Church on birth regulation.

We frequently hear that women in the congregation may politely listen to such homilies, saying nothing or perhaps limiting themselves to an icy stare, but just let a program be organized for adult formation and pastoral outreach in the parish, and they will often explode!

The priests must not surrender to this reaction, and on the contrary must remember that they -- and only they -- have the correct medicine for the wound we are discussing. This type of shame can only be cast out by a sacramental grace that effects true reconciliation, and therefore excises the shame completely, rather than burying it.

We must encourage our priests to engage themselves in this kind of pastoral work up to their eyeballs! Without it, there isn't much hope for the future. With it, we will once again have robust Catholic faith communities one day.
------

Dominic M. Pedulla MD, FACC, CNFPMC, ABVM, ACPh, a devout Catholic, lives in  Edmond, Oklahoma with his wife Bernadette and their beautiful nine children.  He is the executive director of the Edith Stein Foundation. Dr. Pedulla is an Interventional Cardiologist, Endovascular Diplomate, Varicose Vein Specialist, Noncontraceptive Family Planning Consultant, Family Planning Researcher and the Medical Director of  The Oklahoma Vein and Endovascular Center.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Marriage & Family

Woman's 'instincts' miraculously save husband's life Watch

Image of Nicole and Scott Mayhew

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Nicole Mayhew went home immediately after experiencing a bugging feeling that her husband was in trouble. Scott Mayhew was pinned under their Ford Explorer and had been yelling for help which no one apparently heard. She arrived home right on time to save him from ... continue reading


WHO IS THAT? Mysterious 'ghost child' appears in couple's wedding photo Watch

Image of Denis' wife, Christiana had been using it as her profile picture on Facebook before a friend pointed out the ghostly face hidden between them.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

If a picture is worth a thousand words, some elements of a picture become known only long afterwards. A couple in Virginia had the fact pointed out to them that a macabre "photo bomber" lurks on their favorite wedding photo. The person appears to be a child, a ... continue reading


When culture no longer cares about marriage, family, everyone suffers, Pope says Watch

Image of The second of two talks on the complementary nature of men and women, Pope Francis says that the Book of Genesis shows how God created the heavens and earth, and then a special creature made in his likeness to care and watch over the earth.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis, in a homily earlier this week said that a culture that does not value "the stable and life-giving covenant between a man and woman is certainly a loss for everyone. We must bring honor back to marriage and the family." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Criminal family raises money for daughter's fake terminal illness Watch

Image of Neighbors alerted police officials of suspicious GoFundMe page.

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

After a family falsely claimed their three-year-old daughter suffers from a dangerous heart disease, a family friend posted a page on the GoFundMe website for their support. The family trio from Marietta, Georgia is now arrested and faces charges of felony conspiracy. ... continue reading


Mother murdered and baby abducted after Indiana woman poses as social worker Watch

Image of Jones' family members stated Jones told them she had been pregnant with twins and one died.

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Horrific reports have come out that a woman, claiming to be a social worker, went to an apartment in Indiana where a newly-born child and her mother resided, with means to take the baby away. However, the woman was found to have never even worked in the child-welfare ... continue reading


Toddler's vivid nightmares suggest mother's death was not an accident Watch

Image of Natali Castellanos-Tyler was killed in what originally was believed to be a single-car car accident.

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Natali Castellanos-Tyler was involved in a single car accident after losing control of her Ford explorer and hitting a tree that resulted in her death, according to police back in February. However, her husband has observed their young daughter screaming about a ... continue reading


New breast cancer cases in the U.S. predicted to double by 2030 Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Recent government research projected an increase of new breast cancer cases up to 50 percent by 2030, as well as a change on its age distribution. The current statistic is one in every eight women will develop the disease during her lifetime. The surge will definitely ... continue reading


Elementary school under fire for transgender kindergarten lesson Watch

Image of Jazz Jennings grew up transgender and turned her story into a children's book.

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Allowing young kids to read books about something controversial is considered by most as one aggressive move. Recently, in Mitchell Primary School, school officials publicly stated their apology for allowing kindergarten through third grade students to read a book ... continue reading


Inside the rebellious mind: MRI scans record teenagers' brain activity when trying to rebel and separate from parents Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A new study suggests that rebelliousness is triggered with teenagers' desire to separate from their parents in pursuing individuality. With the use of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), psychologists were able to track the brain activity of 22 teenagers responding to ... continue reading


Crazed father's attempt at suicide in hospital led to an unexpected 'miracle' Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A father went inside the hospital armed with a 9mm handgun with a plan to kill himself if his son died. George Pickering, 59, was going to commit suicide in order to die with his son, after the doctors told him he was already brain dead and would be pulled off life ... continue reading


All Marriage & Family News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 11:1-18
1 The apostles and the brothers in Judaea heard that ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 42:2-3; 43:3, 4
2 I thirst for God, the living God; when shall I go ... Read More

Gospel, John 10:1-10
1 'In all truth I tell you, anyone who does not enter ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 27th, 2015 Image

St. Zita
April 27: St. Zita was born into a poor but holy Christian family. Her ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter