Monday 29 July 2013

Bishop Egan preaches that same-sex marriage was "the inevitable outcome" of the rejection of Humanae Vitae

Philip Egan, the Catholic bishop of Portsmouth, has issued a very important statement on the passing of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act. He makes clear that same-sex marriage is "the inevitable outcome" of the rejection of the intrinsic link between the unitive and procreative aspects of sexual intercourse, the link taught in Pope Paul VI's encylical "Humanae Vitae" (and taught of course by the Church throughout its history). I have blogged many times about Humanae Vitae and its importance for the pro-life/pro-family movement, for example:
 Here is the core of Bishop Egan's statement:
"The passing of this Bill is the inevitable outcome of a process that has been gathering pace since the sexual revolutions of the 1960s. Until then, the traditional (that is, the natural and Christian) understanding of marriage, sexual intercourse and family life prevailed. Sexual intercourse was seen as located exclusively within married family life and having a double end or purpose: the expression of love and the procreation of children. Since the 1960s, however, artificial contraceptives have been widely available, which split these two ends of sexual intercourse, separating the unitive and suppressing the procreative aspect. Lifted from its natural context within married love and commitment, and coupled to pleasure without responsibility, sexual intercourse could now be experienced outside marriage, and thus, in time, take on a new meaning in human relationships. This has led to the ‘contraceptive mentality’ Pope Paul VI spoke of so prophetically in his 1968 Encyclical Letter Humanae Vitae and to the decline of marriage and now to its redefinition. For in the revised understanding of sexual intercourse and family life, powerful lobby groups have enabled homosexual relationships to become socially acceptable, and so the Government’s attempt to extend marriage to same-sex couples - and in time, presumeably, to other combinations and partnerships - is an inevitable development.

"As Catholics, like Israel in Egypt, we now find ourselves in an alien land that speaks a foreign language with unfamiliar customs. For what we mean by the matrimony, sexual intercourse and family life is no longer what today’s world, the government, the NHS and policy-makers understand by marriage, sex and the family. Parliament’s Orwellian attempt to redefine marriage radically changes the social context and this presents a massive challenge to the Church in England and Wales: to those who wish to marry in our churches, to Catholic parents bringing up children, to teachers in our Catholic schools, and to the clergy engaged in pastoral ministry. It may also be a legal minefield, although we will have to wait before the full implications of the new legislation take effect. We will certainly need to review our preaching, teaching and school curricula, which henceforth must recognise that our Catholic system of meanings and values is strikingly different from what secular culture now deems normal or acceptable."
As I said in a blog in October 2011, "gay marriage will be here to stay if Catholic leaders don't witness to the whole moral truth about homosexuality". Bishop Egan's clear witness will help future generations to see that, as Pope John Paul II  taught in no. 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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