U.S. Conference of Catholic
“The union, then, of male and female for the purpose of procreation is the natural good of marriage” (Saint Augustine, On Marriage and Concupiscence, Bk. I, Ch. 5).
“Matrimony consists of the union of a man and a woman purposing to generate and educate offspring for the worship of God” (Saint Thomas Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentiles, Bk. IV, Ch. 78).
Since the discovery of the human fertility cycle, the Catholic Church has agreed that it is morally licit for married couples to abstain from marital relations during the period in which conception is likely. The Sacred Penitentiary declared (2 March 1853) such couples “are not to be disturbed, as long as they do nothing by which conception is impeded.” Pope Pius XII explained this teaching in some detail in his “Address to the Italian Union of Catholic Midwives” in 1951. The Holy Father cautioned that such abstinence was permitted only for “grave reasons either personal or deriving from exterior circumstances”:
In order to put this periodic abstinence into perspective, in the same address Pope Pius reminded us of the Church's teaching on the primary end of marriage, “the procreation and upbringing of a new life.” Other good things may come from marriage, but they are all subordinate to this one of procreation and education.
Pope Pius' remarks in 1944 were reflected in a Decree of the Holy Office a few weeks later on 1 April 1944 with the title “The Purposes of Matrimony" (AAS 36 (1944), 103; Denzinger 2295). It is worth noting that the decree gives us some insight into the way in which the enemies of the Church were trying to refashion the very essence of marriage—trying to suggest a new primary purpose, or perhaps several::
In 1944, with the saintly Pope Pius XII sitting on the Chair of Peter, it would have seemed that the Catholic institution of marriage was safe from heretical tampering. But when Pope Pius died in 1958, one came to succeed him who “threw open the windows” and “through some crack, the smoke of Satan entered the Church of God.”
Witnesses at Vatican II describe animated discussion in formulating the document Gaudium et spes, "On the Church in the Modern World”—particularly where it got around to discussing marriage. Walter M. Abbot, S.J. tells us that “The commission charged with drafting this text made every effort to avoid any appearance of wishing to settle questions concerning a hierarch of the 'ends' of marriage” (Walter M. Abbott, The Documents of Vatican II, p. 254, n. 168). Sounding innocuous enough, the document merely hinted at an equality of all of the ends of marriage:
In spite of it being a closed issue, Pope John XXIII established a small committee of six to investigate the morality of artificial contraception while Vatican II was in progress. At Pope John's death, Pope Paul VI expanded the commission to seventy-two, including theologians, physicians, bishops, cardinals, and more women. Incredibly, the majority report (65 of 72) approved artificial contraception! Even in the heady days of Vatican II and the Sexual Revolution, Pope Paul couldn't possibly confirm the commission's findings, but instead issued the encyclical Humanæ vitæ, which more or less upheld the Church's teaching. We say “more or less” because it contained a “time bomb” or two:
Throughout the encyclical, Pope Paul carefully avoided using the term “end” or “ends of matrimony,” but now we have a “unitive significance” and a “procreative significance.” Hmmm! Can anyone guess where this is going? The successor to Pope Paul, the “unlucky” Albino Luciani managed to “wake up dead" after a reign of little more than a month (27 August - 28 or 29 September 1978) as Pope John Paul I. He was succeeded by Pope John Paul II, who had been one of the “acting persons” of Vatican II. John Paul was an admitted existentialist, who peppered his interminable writings with the jargon of that condemned philosophy.
Pope John Paul II's Reflections on Humanae Vitae restates Pope Paul's “unitive”- “procreative” idea again, throwing in some existentialist jargon about the "acting person" and "fundamental structures":
In this way, the "fundamental structure" (that is, the nature) of the marriage act constitutes the necessary basis for an adequate reading and discovery of the two significances that must be carried over into the conscience and the decisions of the acting parties, and also the necessary basis for establishing these significances, that is, their inseparable connection. Since "the marriage act..."- at the same time - "unites husband and wife in closest intimacy" and, together, "makes them capable of generating new life," and both the one and the other happen "through the fundamental structure," then it follows that the human person (with the necessity proper to reason, logical necessity) "must" read at the same time the "twofold significance of the marriage act" and also the "inseparable connection between the unitive significance and the procreative significance of the marriage act" (Reflections, #6),
Yes, Virginia, he actually wrote that. You can't make up stuff like that.
The transformation of marriage became complete in 1983
with the publication of Pope John Paul II's new Code of Canon Law, which
contrasts strikingly with the old Code:
The same verbiage is found in the so-called Catechism of the Catholic Church, claiming Gaudium et spes as its inspiration:
Prior to Vatican II a couple might—for grave reasons—purposefully avoid the primary end of Marriage while making use of the secondary ends. In other words they could practice "rhythm," or "natural family planning—NFP" as it is known today in its more scientifically refined state. They were encouraged to discuss this with their confessor to get an objective analysis of the gravity of their reasons; they were cautioned not to cause infidelity through their abstinence; and they were to do no more than refrain from relations when conception was likely. Today there seems to be the tacit assumption that all married Catholics practice NFP, as though 21st century life itself constitutes a “grave reason.”
This blanket use of NFP—it seems to be something like a “Sacrament” of the New Order— instills a contraceptive mentality in Catholics. If the first end of (Modernist) marriage is now unity of the couple, and it is considered universally acceptable to suppress the now second end of begetting children, than why not use a method that works reliably? After all, an unforeseen “second end” might cause division between the couple, thus impairing the first end. At a minimum, the inversion brings a selfishness incompatible with the generosity needed in Christian marriage and life.
One also has to assume that this inversion of the ends of marriage has contributed to the enormous rise in annulments—another seeming “Sacrament” of the New Order—all sorts of new impediments might be contrived to interfere with the “unitive significance” of marriage (e.g. “he goes fishing all the time” “he leaves his socks on the floor”).
And why must this “unitive” couple be a man and a woman?
And what do you folks think universal NFP has done for the birthrate of Christendom and the demographic survival of Western Civilization?
Let's observe NFP week with a few prayers to Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, begging forgiveness for Vatican II.
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