Thrilled for John Paul II
Regarding "Sainthood for John Paul II and John XXIII" (page one, July 28 issue):
I am thrilled that Pope John Paul II, a man of deep faith, will soon be proclaimed a saint by the Catholic Church. The Holy Father was an inspiration and a model witness to the life of Christ — a shepherd of truth immersed in profound humility and immense love for both God and man.
His many writings and tireless, worldwide pilgrimages of faith have been a source of strength, encouragement, confidence, optimism and enlightenment not only to Catholics, but to all men of goodwill.
A champion of the poor and ardent exponent of Christian unity, the Polish Pope was, in many and such capacities as teaching, governing and sanctifying, both a beacon of light and salt of the earth.
He lived the Christian virtues in a heroic way. He was slow to condemn and quick to forgive, applying the medicine of mercy to all sinners, including the man who tried to assassinate him.
Alongside his historic role in the fall of communism, John Paul II was the world’s most influential and uncompromising defender of the dignity of human life. His tenacious pleas for the development of a "culture of life" and parallel denunciations of the "culture of death" have been instrumental in rallying opposition to war, terrorism, abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, same-sex "marriage," contraception and embryonic-tissue research.
I was inspired by a recent article from Jimmy Akin’s blog regarding prayer ("Is It Okay to Pray When You Have Doubts About God?" June 14, NCRegister.com). I wanted to humbly share my thoughts regarding prayer.
Our Lord has many consistent themes throughout his revelation to us. One common theme is that he has always used us as instruments of his work, his love, his mercy. Regarding a fundamental reason for prayer, "What God is ultimately concerned with is that we grow closer to him in prayer" (Jimmy Akin). What greater gift can there be?
He has laid out a path for us to himself, for us to become close to him through the vehicle of prayer, so we can actively participate in his Divine plans. And knowing those plans are not executed by means of our own will (what we ask for is not always what’s best for us), but, instead, by means of his will, ensures us that our prayers can only lead us to what is good in respect to eternity. That sometimes excludes pleasures of this world, in which we are to embrace the crosses sent to us.
"Whether we realize it or not, prayer is the encounter of God’s thirst with ours. God thirsts that we may thirst for him" (Catechism, 2560).
Science of the Pill
Paul Kengor, Ph.D., in his article, "We Need a Humanae Vitae for Marriage" (In Depth, July 14 issue), points out that the world needs the Church to speak out on so-called "gay marriage." May I agree, but go back some?
It began with oral contraceptives, the focus of Humanae Vitae. The increasing incidence of marital incompatibility, autoimmune diseases, autism and homosexuality has paralleled the use of oral contraceptives since the 1960s.
There’s reason for this: The HLA gene complex is our immune and self-identity center. It’s responsible for the generation of pheromones, subtle body scents, unique to each individual. A woman is normally attracted to men with pheromones deriving from HLA gene complexes that differ from her own. This offers a natural protection against inbreeding.
A woman who takes oral contraceptives and stops ovulating appears to lose the capacity to detect pheromones appropriately (LifeScript.com, May 27, 2011). She may now be attracted to the pheromones of a man who has an HLA gene complex more like her own. If she marries such a man and stops taking the pill, she may find she has married the wrong guy. Marital incompatibility results.
There is an effect on the couples’ children. They will have inbred, shrunken HLA gene complexes, deriving from their parents’ overlapping gene complexes. There will be reduced variability of cellular determinants (identity marks) on all the cells of their bodies. Normal, healthy immunity, which depends on the variability in cellular determinants, will be lacking. Autoimmunity may result.
The shrunken HLA gene complex also leads to a diminished self-identity. Signals from the body, directed to the external environment (such as pheromones), will be wanting in a body deficient in its HLA gene complex variability. The deficit in signaling predisposes such a child to impaired social interaction and social isolation, which defines autism.
And, if a mom starts taking oral contraception after she has a child, she may have impaired detection of the pheromones emitted by her own child. This would play against her instinctive motherly disposition toward that child. She may treat her boy or girl as other than what he or she is and be unaware of it. This would have damaging effects on the child’s social and sexual identity.
Blessed Paul VI, commissioned by Jesus Christ to bring us the truth, did so. We rejected it. The Pope expressed his forebodings. What has come to pass may be worse.
Hugh McGrath Jr., M.D.
Reread Humanae Vitae
In his commentary, "We Need a Humanae Vitae for Marriage" (In Depth, July 14 issue), columnist Paul Kengor feels that Pope Francis should issue a related document, "dealing with the enormous onslaught of so-called ‘gay marriage.’"
In my opinion, such an effort would be utterly futile for the following reasons:
The basis of Paul VI’s decision to restate the Church’s age-old ban on all forms of contraception is found in No. 12 of Humanae Vitae:
"There is an inseparable link between the two meanings of the marriage act: the unitive meaning [making love] and the procreative meaning [making babies]. This connection was established by God himself, and man is not permitted to break it on his own initiative."
Ninety percent of Catholic couples today use some form of contraception over much of their married lives. On being asked some years ago if she saw any connection between the rejection of the Church’s teaching on contraception and the push for homosexual "marriages," Janet Smith replied: "Not so many years ago, at a conference on homosexuality, Russell Hittinger argued that there is not much ground for opposing homosexual ‘marriages’ in a culture where most unions are contraceptive. He said we were already blessing unions whose primary reason for existence was sexual pleasure."
In 1968, as Catholics and non-Catholics alike were making sport of Humanae Vitae, the distinguished British philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe voiced the same concern:
"If you can turn intercourse into something other than the reproductive type of act (I don’t mean, of course, that every act is reproductive any more than every acorn leads to an oak tree, but it’s the reproductive type of act), then why … should it be restricted to the married? Restricted, that is, to partners bound in a formal, legal union whose fundamental purpose is the bringing up of children?"
She goes on to add, "In fact, if that is not its fundamental purpose, there is no reason why … ‘marriage’ should have to be between people of opposite sexes."
So there’s no need to refute same-sex "marriage" with a new encyclical.
But there is an urgent need to teach couples preparing for marriage the liberating experience of ardently embracing the Church’s teaching found in Humanae Vitae.
For those who would like a fuller treatment of this matter, they may access my first pastoral letter, "Marriage: A Communion of Life and Love," by visiting DOSAFL.com/imagegallery/VertNav/25/MarriageACommunionofLifeandLove.pdf.
Bishop Emeritus Victor Galeone
St. Augustine, Florida
I can understand Jim Beers’ letter, "The Train Has Left," in the June 20 issue.
As a "Scout Mom," I was also very disappointed with all the confusion going on regarding the sad Boy Scout decision. Heck, proponents of "gay rights" are quoted as saying, "Step one accomplished; adults next for step two." Even one boy being confused — or worse, being molested — is not worth folks’ "playing with fire," in my judgment.
Jim Beers, however, may have overlooked the efforts for immediate new scouting initiatives. Your readers may wish to investigate both the Catholic Scouts of St. George and the efforts at OnMyHonor.net for new chaste adventures.
God help us all in these culture wars.
In for the Duration
Many thanks for the many excellent articles in the July 14 edition of the Register. Of special note are the following: "Supreme Court Overturns Part of DOMA, Dismisses Proposition 8 Case," "Hobby Lobby, Mardel Win Latest HHS Mandate Appeal" and "DOMA Demise: The Battle Over the Definition of Marriage."
It is my hope and prayer that the Register circulation is growing. We cannot afford to put our "heads in the sand" in these matters of "life and death" — of body and soul.
Catholics and all people of biblical conviction must stand with those who are publicly upholding the nature of marriage — between one man and one woman — the need for children to be raised by their natural mother and father and the immortal value of every human life, from conception to natural death.
No matter the latest news to the contrary, nothing can change God’s law of love and life. As these matters come up, whether via our federal government and/or state by state, we must stand firm and object to all that is contrary to God’s law and never lose heart. In fact, sooner or later, human (and diabolical) ingenuity will backfire. St. Paul encourages us, as well: "Do not be deceived; God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows, that he will reap. … And let us not grow weary in well-doing, for, in due season, we shall reap if we do not lose heart" (Galatians 6:7-9).
St. Petersburg, Florida
In the July 28 edition of the Register, the editorial inadvertently mischaracterized the death of Trayvon Martin as a "murder." The online version of the article has been corrected to remove this unintended mischaracterization, which did not accurately reflect the verdict of not guilty in the trial of George Zimmerman. The Register regrets the error.