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This blog is maintained by the Ruth Institute. It provides a place for our Circle of Experts to express themselves. This is where the scholars, experts, students and followers of the Ruth Institute engage in constructive dialogue about the issues surrounding the Sexual Revolution. We discuss public policy, social practices, legal doctrines and much more.
Posted on: Monday, September 12, 2016
by Jennifer Roback Morse
This article was first published at The Blaze on September 12, 2016.
Those of us who live in prosperous countries may not realize the full impact of the contraceptive ideology around the world.
You know the ideology I mean: everyone old enough to give meaningful consent is entitled to unlimited sex without a live baby showing up. We tend to think governments should allow people to obtain any form of contraception they want. We don’t realize that governments around the world, including and especially our own US government, have done far more than that. They have actively promoted contraception and even forced people to limit their childbearing.
As a devout Catholic, I believe the Church’s teachings on the sanctity of human life and the sacredness of the sexual act are good, humane and true. For holding these beliefs, I am accustomed to being a public punching bag (metaphorically of course). I am undaunted.
Pope Paul VI was prophetic in 1968 when he restated what had always been the ancient teaching of all the Christian churches. His landmark encyclical, Humanae Vitae, was correct.
In paragraph 17 of Humanae Vitae, called Consequences of Artificial Methods, Blessed Pope Paul (he was beatified by Pope Francis after the Synod on the Family in 2014,) makes a series of predictions. All of them have come to pass.
We have indeed seen an “increase in marital infidelity” and a “general lowering of moral standards.” Who can deny that we have obliterated the incentives for “young people to avoid temptation?” or that men have “lost their reverence for women?”
But it is Paul VI’s analysis of the misuse of governmental power that is truly prophetic.
Finally, careful consideration should be given to the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone.
I have often wondered how this seemingly far-fetched thought occurred to Blessed Pope Paul. Perhaps a meeting with John D. Rockefeller III in 1965 had something to do with it.
John D. Rockefeller III was an avid proponent of population control. He worked hard to neutralize the opposition of the Catholic Church throughout the 1960’s. He cultivated relationships with faculty and staff at Notre Dame, even sponsoring conferences there. His friend, Notre Dame President Theodore Hesburgh, arranged the papal audience in July of 1965.
Rockefeller was perhaps accustomed to religious leaders swooning over his wealth and power. (Metaphorically, of course.) We don’t really know what took place at this meeting. But we do know from a letter Rockefeller wrote that he volunteered advice to the pontiff for his upcoming encyclical (which became Humanae Vitae) and that he gushed about the need for population control. I can imagine the Holy Father, cultured European gentleman that he was, being shocked by the presumption of this brash, rich American. Perhaps it was this very meeting that persuaded Paul VI of the danger of morally sanctioned birth control in the hands of people like Rockefeller, and the governments they might be able to influence.
In any case, look at how correct Paul VI proved to be about the dangers of government’s imposing their will to override people’s genuine reproductive rights.
The Obama administration spent an estimated $23 million illegally lobbying Kenyan lawmakers and bribing opinion makers to legalize abortion in their country—and succeeded. The current president of the Philippines has proposed a “Three Child Policy,” in a country that has experienced amazing increases in prosperity and living conditions without any such policy. The Catholic Bishops of Africa have spoken out against these new forms of ideological colonialism. A Nigerian bishop has claimed that the US refused to help them fight Boko Haram, unless the Nigerians accept U.S. policies on birth control.
And China’s One Child Policy: what can one say? The Chinese Birth Control Police is arguably the largest law enforcement organization in the world with 1.2 million “cadres” and about 500,000 professional bureaucrats. Make no mistake: the One Child Policy has not gone away, just because the People in Power have decreed that some people get to have 2 children instead of 1. People still need Birth Permits. Pregnant women are still dragged off the streets and forcibly aborted. Couples with an “illegal child” may have their homes destroyed.
Oh heck, just watch this four minute video and see what I mean.
Hideous ideas have hidden behind the widespread social approval of contraception. Religious figures still allow themselves to be used by the rich and powerful of the world. George Soros tried to influence the media coverage around Pope Francis’ visit to the US, by dumping money into Catholic front groups. Even now, a group of dissenting Catholics are planning to present a “new” report on the ethics of using contraception at a UN-hosted meeting on September 20. Their goal: “to encourage the Catholic hierarchy to reverse her stance against so called “artificial” contraceptives.”
And where are the feminists while women are being forcibly aborted and sterilized? AWOL. And what about the libertarians? What do these freedom-loving people have to say about governments requiring permits, for the most personal of human rights, having a child? Crickets. The Catholic Church is the only major institution in the world offering even token resistance.
That is why I am proud to be a Catholic, not in spite of her teachings on the sanctity of human life and the sexual act, but because of them
Posted on: Saturday, September 10, 2016
By Joyce Coronel
This article was first published
In the midst of a contentious political season, Catholics might be tempted to obey the maxim about steering clear of politics and religion in public. But that’s not what they’re called to do.
That’s one of the messages Catholics will hear at the Sept. 17 Catholics in the Public Square Legislative Seminar. The day begins with an 8 a.m. Mass at St. Mary’s Basilica with Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, followed by breakfast and a lineup of nationally-known speakers at the adjacent Diocesan Pastoral Center.
“Our Catholic faith is not a private matter. It is deeply personal but it is also social,” Bishop Olmsted told The Catholic Sun. “If our faith is alive, then it permeates every dimension of our lives, including our citizenship.”
Ron Johnson, executive director of the Arizona Catholic Conference, the policy arm of the Catholic Church in Arizona, noted that the seminar provides much-needed encouragement and a pep talk for the faithful.
“This is always a spectacular event,” Johnson said. “We’ve been having these for over a decade and what we’re really excited about now is the release of Bishop Olmsted’s booklet that day, the fourth edition of ‘Catholics in the Public Square.’”
The latest edition, in English and Spanish, includes numerous updates as well as quotes from Pope Francis and his visit to the U.S. “We’ve got over 50,000 copies we’ve been able to get printed up, largely through the help of the Knights of Columbus and others,” Johnson said.
The event will be one way to motivate Catholics to let faith permeate every aspect of their lives and be courageous in defending their faith in the public square.
“It’s never been good enough for people to be cultural Catholics,” Johnson said. “That’s especially so now when society is really expressing hostility in so many forms against people of faith.”
Those who attend the seminar will hear from Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, founder of the Ruth Institute, and Alan Sears, president and CEO of the Alliance Defending Freedom.
“We can no longer be holding-pattern Catholics. We can’t just assume that we can circle Atlanta and everything’s going to be fine if we stay on auto-pilot,” Roback Morse said. “We have people in the public square who are actively hostile to our entire worldview and they are pushing us out of the public square, enacting into law policies that are deeply harmful to people.”
Her talk, she said, would focus on “how the sexual revolution got started, how it is a pagan ideology that we absolutely must resist and that it’s a totalitarian ideology.” She also emphasized the importance of confidently expressing the truth of Catholic belief.
“You cannot win on defense — that’s what you do when you’re on the run, you’re retreating. We need to say we are correct on the substance of the issue,” Roback Morse said. We want to be allowed to practice the Catholic faith. We want to be able to run our hospitals the way we want to run them, our schools the way we want, because we’re right.”
She had sparring words for some of current hot-button issues too. “We don’t want you re-defining marriage. We don’t want you re-defining the human person out of their bodies. People are being harmed by these things. And the Church is the only one with the guts to speak up about it,” Roback Morse said.
Sears, for his part, said it’s crucial for Catholics to be involved in the public square.
“We are living in perilous times of sweeping change and growing danger to our Church, to our nation, to people of faith across the globe,” Sears said. “The dramatic increase in government power and scope — such as demanding that churches fund abortion, demanding that charities fund abortion-inducing drugs, coercing creative artists into producing and communicating messages contrary to their conscience — is intruding further into our hearts and minds every day, and has been for a generation or more.”
And while he noted that the upcoming presidential election is undoubtedly important, Sears said much more is at stake for freedom’s future than who sits in the Oval Office.
“The threats to freedom exist in many places at many levels — legally, politically, culturally, at the state legislature or city council —
but as many threats as there are to freedom, there are that many more opportunities for the faithful to secure and advance freedom for future generations,”
Posted on: Friday, September 09, 2016
by Jennifer Johnson
This article was first published at Clash Daily on September 1, 2016.
There is a lot of controversy over the Catholic annulment process, both within the Catholic world and outside of it. I am grateful that the Church has such a process, but there is confusion about it. So I thought of a way to explain it by using a hypothetical story about a same-sex couple:
Once upon a time there was a man and a man. They fell in love and decided to get married. They planned a large wedding in a beautiful church. They obtained a marriage license from the county and found a minister to conduct the ceremony. They planned a beautiful reception.
On the big day, all their family and friends came. The ceremony went smoothly and the reception was a lot of fun. Everybody had a wonderful time and many people remarked on what a joyous occasion it was. They went on a honeymoon and after they got back, they decided to buy a home together. They hung their marriage certificate on the wall. They were very happy.
After a few years, one of the men slowly became convinced that he was not living the way God wanted him to live. He eventually submitted his life to Jesus Christ, and sought a divorce. He started going to church that disagreed with same-sex marriage and made a lot of friends there. He had gotten to know a Christian woman there, and they became close friends. He told her of his past life and she didn’t seem to care. They loved each other and decided to marry.
They knew the ancient Christian teaching regarding marriage, and wondered if perhaps God viewed the man as still being married in God’s sight. So they went to the pastor with this question. The pastor told them that no, just because the man went through a wedding ceremony and had a marriage certificate, did not mean that he was married in God’s sight. The pastor assured them that the man was free to marry the woman, since he had not been married in God’s sight when he was with the other man.
Any Christian can see that this would be true, if it were to happen. Same-sex marriages are not marriages in God’s sight. If somebody in the situation above were to later desire marriage with somebody of the opposite sex, they would be free to marry since they were not truly married in the first place. As Christians, we say this because the ancient teaching is clear in passages such as Matthew 19.
Unfortunately, the same thing can happen in male/female marriages. Sometimes they are not married in God’s sight even though they had a wedding, a reception, a marriage certificate from the county, children, and a divorce. Even civil law acknowledges this concept, and calls these situations “putative marriages.” This is a problem that has grown along with the sexual revolution. So-called “sexual liberation” has distorted people’s understanding of marriage, to such an extent that some of them fail to enter into real marriages in the first place.
I am grateful to the Catholic Church for having a process to determine whether or not marriages are valid. Although I am sympathetic with some of the criticism of that process being made by orthodox Catholics, I am grateful the process exists. And it needs to exist as a matter of justice. Marriage is a public commitment, a public institution, not a private one. Determinations regarding it should happen in a public forum.
Catholics call this “the external forum” which is a tribunal that exists to make these kinds of determinations. Because marriage is a public institution, I disagree with “internal forum” or private/personal determinations regarding the status of a marriage in God’s sight. Our own testimony, feeling, and conscience regarding the status of our marriage is certainly valuable, but it is not enough. “Private marriage” is oxymoron, and so private (aka “internal forum”) determinations of it can’t satisfy the requirement for justice. If we rely solely on a private or “internal forum” solution regarding the status of our marriage, we are being the judge and the petitioner in our own case. It should be clear that justice can’t be rendered, since there is a conflict of interest. The judge needs to be separate from the petitioner.
Once such a marriage has been found as invalid by the external forum, it is referred to as a putative marriage. A putative marriage as some of the elements of a valid marriage, such as legitimate children. A valid marriage can be likened to a circle, and a putative marriage can be likened to a circle with a part missing. It looks like a complete circle until it is examined more closely by people who know how to do such things.
Are there any such procedures in non-Catholic Christian churches? I am not aware of them but I’m certainly no expert on what goes on in those churches. I would appreciate learning about these procedures in other denominations.
For Christians, an invalid marriage is a relationship that looks like a marriage yet was never a marriage in God’s sight. Somebody who was in such a relationship is free to marry. He is not in violation of verses such as Matthew 19 if he should seek marriage in the future.
Jennifer Johnson is Associate Director and Treasurer of the Ruth Institute and Contributor for Ruth Institute Blog.
Posted on: Monday, September 05, 2016
The fact that an ideology is incoherent does not mean that people are not deadly serious about implementing it.
By Jennifer Roback Morse
This article was first published at The Federalist on June 6, 2016.
I hate to disagree with Rachel Lu, whom I admire and consider a friend. But we simply cannot count on the LGBT movement self-destructing. I agree that this ideology is incoherent and destructive. But that is no guarantee it will implode. I fear Lu does not fully appreciate just what manner of thing we are dealing with.
Lu suggests the LGBT movement is a passing fad: “Whether it’s Malthusian population controls, global temperature freak-outs, low-fat diets, or disco, it often seems that idiocy seems unassailable until suddenly it isn’t. A page turns, and the emperor has no clothes, as his folly becomes a cautionary tale for future generations.”
By contrast, I believe the LGBT movement is one feature of the overall movement called the Sexual Revolution. The Sexual Revolution is not like low-fat diets or disco. It is more like the other items on the list. I hate to break it to you, but population control and global temperature freak-outs are still with us.
Also, what do these three things—the Sexual Revolution, population control, and global warming ideology—all have in common? They are ideologies that demand total control over large numbers of people. These ideologies are appealing to some people, precisely for that reason: they imagine themselves as the controllers, not the controlees.
The fact that an ideology is incoherent does not mean people are not deadly serious about implementing it. Look: it is not possible to create a prosperous society without private property rights. Marxist ideologues believed they had a high moral duty to try. The Soviet Union lasted 70 years and did not “self-destruct.” Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul, Margaret Thatcher, and, yes, Osama bin Laden all had a hand in pushing it over.
These three points sum up the ideology of the sexual revolutionaries. They believe a good and decent society should: Separate sex from procreation, separate both sex and procreation from marriage, and obliterate all differences between men and women, except those individuals explicitly choose. Do you recognize our society? Do you notice that all these of these objectives are impossible?
It is not possible to create an entire society in which sex does not make babies. Sex and child-bearing should both take place within marriage because children really do need their parents. Marriage is society’s institutional structure that allows children a stable and ongoing relationship with both parents. Finally, men and women actually are different, starting in the womb (little boys are less likely to survive pregnancy and childhood) and going all the way to differential causes of death.
All the branches of our government, the media, academia, big business, and entertainment are committed to the fantasy ideology of the Sexual Revolution. It takes a lot of force to do the impossible. It takes a lot of propaganda to make people believe the impossible. That is why the Sexual Revolution is a totalitarian movement, standing all on its own, quite apart from the usual categories of Left and Right.
That’s not a bug, as they say. It is a feature. Many of the most militant activists are drunk on their own power. Look at the “trans-activists” getting the city of New York to place onerous fines on people for using the wrong pronoun. Look at the college students, getting professors fired for insufficient conformity to the ever-changing standards of “sensitivity.” Look at the gay activists suing small Christian businesses, as if there were a constitutional right to get your picture taken by the photographer of your choice. These militants are intoxicated with power.
We must see the Sexual Revolution for what it is: a tyrannical movement that resents the limitations of the human body, especially those caused by our maleness and femaleness.
With all due respect, Lu, the LGBT movement will not self-destruct: it will morph into new and more virulent forms. The LGBT true believers are already throwing over the Ls (lesbians, remember?) in favor of the Ts (transgender people). Lesbian couples made nice, non-threatening images for commercials for redefining marriage. But many lesbians do not accept “transmen” as women. Lesbians are no longer useful as battering rams for taking down sex differences. Therefore, their objections don’t count.
The Ts are the current battering ram. A very useful battering ram they are, too. If you can make people say and believe that Bruce Jenner is a woman, you can make them say and believe anything. If you can make people afraid to say anything other than that the 1976 Olympic decathlon winner is a woman, you can make them believe that black is white, up is down, and freedom is slavery. Or, more to the point: that slavery is freedom.
No, we cannot count on the Sexual Revolution to just fade away. It has caused enormous human suffering already. That has not stopped the true believers from carrying on. The Ruth Institute has a plan. This column is not the place to go into it. Suffice to say, that our plan calls on everyone who has been harmed by the Sexual Revolution to tell the whole truth about what happened to them.
If we all speak up, we have a chance. If we are afraid to speak, if we try to live our lives quietly, as if nothing out of the ordinary is going on, the revolutionaries will continue unimpeded. Eventually, we won’t be able to protect ourselves and our children.
I for one, am all in: total, unapologetic opposition to the whole destructive course of the Sexual Revolution. Total solidarity with the victims and survivors of the Sexual Revolution.
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