Monday 13 September 2010

We need authentic Catholic voices on life and family, not dissenting spin doctors

St Peter preaches at Pentecost
Jack Valero of Catholic Voices told BBC1's Sunday Morning Live programme that:
"the Church is not against condoms".
James Preece of Catholic and Loving It! has kindly provided the full transcript of the segment:
Jack Valero: The Church is not against condoms the Church is against promiscuity

Julie Bindel: The Church is against condoms!

Jack Valero: The Church is against promiscuity and sex outside of marriage

Colm O'Gorman: Is the Church now supporting the use of condoms?

Jack Valero: No, the Church is against... er... promiscuity

Colm O'Gorman: In marriage? Does the Church oppose the use of condoms in marriage?

Jack Valero: Well, no, the Church is against contraception of course.

Colm O'Gorman: So it's against condoms?

Jack Valero: But, but, we're talking here about HIV, no the Church is against contraception.
And as James correctly points out, Dr Austen Ivereigh, Mr Valero's co-director of Catholic Voices, is also open about his dissenting interpretation of the Catholic Church's teaching on condoms. Dr Ivereigh has even said that:
"it is right for schools to teach how condoms help to reduce transmission of STDs."
This is the same Dr Ivereigh who in 2005 wrote to The Catholic Herald making the absurd claim that:
"[T]here is no Catholic school in Britain, joint or otherwise, in which Catholic children are being taught less than the Catholic faith in its integrity."
Yet Humanae Vitae is crystal-clear in its prohibition of any action by a couple to close the marital act to the transmission of life:
“[E]ach and every marital act must of necessity retain its intrinsic relationship to the procreation of human life." (Humanae Vitae, 11)
Mr Valero and Dr Ivereigh, wittingly or unwittingly, are providing a bridgehead for other Catholics in representative positions to adopt their own dissenting interpretations, not just of Catholic teaching on the use of condoms, but on other areas of Catholic teaching on life and family. Readers should not forget that Dr Ivereigh was the deputy editor of The Tablet, which is internationally renowned for its dissent from Catholic teaching, especially on sexual ethics. Here are some other worrying recent content from Catholic Voices and/or from Mr Valero and Dr Ivereigh:
  • "[Mark] Dowd is a superb producer and close to Catholics [CV blog, 5 September]  ... Dowd concludes the Church is more 'polarised' now between 'traditionalists' and 'progressives' but at the same time 'more Catholic' -- in the sense of 'universal' -- than 28 years ago. Superb." [CV blog, 9 September] Yet Mr Dowd is a homosexual opponent of Catholic teaching on homosexuality. The latter comment by the CV blog-author implies that Catholic Voices supports Mr Dowd's vision of a Catholic Church in which dissent is warmly accommodated.
  • The Guardian ... a paper many Catholics wrongly think is unsympathetic to the Church.” [CV blog, 6 September] Yet The Guardian is in effect the house journal of the British anti-life/anti-family movement and regularly publishes attacks on the Catholic Church for its pro-life/pro-family teachings, such as:
“[T]he [Catholic C]hurch directly aggravates the plight of vulnerable people. It rails against IVF giving children to the childless, against stem-cell research giving hope to the sick, and against the use of condoms – even as a means of preventing the spread of HIV. Its rigid views on homosexuality and the role of women ... [T]he extent of child abuse for which its priests have been responsible has been shocking, as has its tendency to close ranks in response to the scandal. Benedict himself, an arch-conservative, has in the past manoeuvred to preserve the autonomy of the church in such matters, as opposed to having them immediately handed on to the police. He has also indulged the standing of Catholic figures who have turned a blind eye to Nazi atrocities.”
  • I noted recently Dr Ivereigh's stated desire to "find the balance" between gay people's right in law to adopt children and "freedom of religion". Yet no such "balance" is ethically acceptable. This very day
    Pope Benedict has said:
    "[T]he Church cannot approve legislative initiatives that involve a re-evaluation of alternative models of marriage and family life. They contribute to a weakening of the principles of natural law, and thus to the relativisation of all legislation and confusion about values in society."
    In other words, Catholics must not tolerate a right in law for gay people to adopt children in return for concessions towards freedom of religion, such as letting Catholic adoption agencies place children only with heterosexuals. When the state passes laws contrary to the natural moral law, especially when they threaten children (born or unborn), we must be fearlessly uncompromising, like St John of Nicomedia, one of the Roman martyrs, whose feast-day was last Tuesday. He
    "seeing the cruel edicts against Christians posted up in the public square, and being inflamed with an ardent faith, stretched forth his hand, took them away and tore them up." [Roman Martyrology]
    Pope Benedict told the English and Welsh bishops, on their most recent ad limina visit, that Catholics must:
    "recognize dissent for what it is, and not to mistake it for a mature contribution to a balanced and wide-ranging debate".
    Mr Valero and Dr Ivereigh need to retract some of their public statements, lest the Catholic Voices project becomes a vehicle for "dissent [under the guise of] a mature contribution to a balanced and wide-ranging debate".

    * The late Pope John Paul II, the great pro-life champion, taught in paragraph 97 of his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae that it is an illusion to think that we can build a true culture of human life if we do not offer adolescents and young adults an authentic education in sexuality, and in love, and the whole of life according to their true meaning and in their close interconnection.

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