Saturday, July 26, 2008

Betraying the Truth

Forty years ago, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops betrayed the teachings of the Church on artificial contraception by refusing to accept the encyclical of Pope Paul VI, Humanae Vitae, which is widely considered the greatest charter of life and love over any other document in human history.

The document, Tragedy at Winnipeg, tells the story of dissent, and how a well-informed and well-formed conscience was considered by the CCCB to override the traditional teachings of the Church on artificial contraception.

The bishops wanted to protect Catholics who found it either extremely difficult or even impossible to follow all of the teachings of the encyclical, and the CCCB did not want them to be considered excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church for using birth control. Their solution? Instead of teaching and reinforcing the perennial doctrines of the Church, they devised a statement to deal with the difficulties that contraception provided to the Catholic faithful. (Try sliding that by God on Judgment Day).

The problematic text of paragraph 26 of the Winnipeg Statement reads:

"Counsellors may meet others who, accepting the teaching of the Holy Father, find that because of particular circumstances they are involved in what seems to them a clear conflict of duties, e.g., the reconciling of conjugal love and responsible parenthood with the education of children already born or with the health of the
mother. In accord with the accepted principles of moral theology, if these persons have tried sincerely, but without success to pursue a line of conduct in keeping with the given directives, they may be safely assured that, whoever chooses that course which seems right to him does so in good conscience.”
Lifesite news has an article on this subject, quoting Monsignor Foy who is calling on the Bishops of Canada to revoke their "Winnipeg Statement", which he says is an unacceptable document of dissent:

92-year-old Monsignor Vincent Foy comments: "This incredible betrayal of Catholic teaching on the intrinsic evil of contraception was a factor in the passing of a bill by the Liberal government under Pierre Trudeau, legalizing contraception (June 27, 1969)."But that was only a lead-up to what Foy calls, "the Winnipeg disaster of Friday Sept. 27th, 1968." On that date, he recalls, "the Canadian bishops, gathered in Winnipeg for their annual meeting and published a Statement on Humanae vitae. After denying the sufficiency of grace for some (n.17) the bishops embraced the error of allowing married couples to break God's law by the subterfuge of the subjective conscience. They said there were circumstances in which the couples 'may be safely assured that whoever honestly chooses that course which seems right to him does so in good conscience' (n.26).
It is truly appalling that forty years later our Canadian Bishops still have not revoked the Winnipeg Statement.


Tom in Vegas said...

"It is truly appalling that forty years later our Canadian Bishops still have not revoked the Winnipeg Statement."

It's unlikely they ever will. If for no other reason than to avoid the controversy. Seems both lazy and cowardly to me.

Angela M. said...

I was hoping they might join together and celebrate the 40th anniversary but obviously that is not going to happen.

You've got to read this:

It's a keeper!