According to a news release from the Catholic News Service, Cardinal Martini has lost his crotchety old mind. Well, they didn’t say that exactly – but their quotes from him sure seem that way. What’s more, the article shows us the where Martini sits in regards to a big debate among Catholics.
What could that be? Contraception.
Apparently Cardinal Martini is opposed to the “strict teachings” in the encyclical “Humanae Vitae” (“Of Human Life”) in which artificial contraception was – for like the millionth time – rejected by the Church. More still, he is opposed to the Pope John Paul II’s adherence to the Church’s teaching.
So what does Cardinal Martini recommend?
“Today, he said, the church might be able to adopt ‘a new vision’ and indicate ‘a better way’ than it did in ‘Humanae Vitae.’” More still, he views the Church’s teaching as a mistake! “‘Knowing how to admit one's errors and the limitations of one's previous viewpoints is a sign of greatness of soul and confidence,’ he said.”
So why is contraception so bad anyway?
Contraception has helped bring about some of the greatest evils of our day: divorce, sex outside of marriage, gay marriage, and abortion. Abortion, by the way, has lead to embryonic stem cell research, euthanasia, and human cloning. Contraception has helped lead to divorce because it helps couples view sex as simply recreation instead of procreation. Contraception leads to lust instead of love and life. Contraception enables one to treat another as a disposable source of selfish pleasure and not a monogamous relationship of life-giving love.
The Church’s teaching against contraception is not because the Church wants everyone to have a million babies. Instead, the Church wants to help us see each other as a good to be loved, not a thing to be lusted for. Contraception leads one to lust. Lust for sex is like the lust for the Ring in the Lord of the Rings. [The classic Lord of the Rings episode of South Park (while not recommended) perfectly synthesizes the two in the character of Butters.] People talk about “free love” and how contraception can lead them to that. But by becoming slaves to lust (like Gollum became a slave to the Ring) they lose their freedom! They can’t say no – they have no self-control! This is why Pope John Paul II and the Church rejected contraception. Contraception enslaves us. The truth of Christ, however, frees us (John 8:32).
But back to Cardinal Martini. He also recommends simply not talking about contraception. Well, first of all, when’s the last time you heard a homily about contraception? Second of all, not talking about something because it’s not popular is ridiculous. In fact, looking back at the great saints we see that the saints of a particular era were great because they were the contradictions of their culture. The prophets were the same way. Telling the Church to stop preaching the truth is cowardly, unbiblical, and unchristian.
Oddly enough, the Cardinal also said: “Whatever the church affirms, it should be supported by many people, by responsible Christians who want to be conscientious in love.” Sorry Cardinal Martini, the Church has given its affirmation against contraception – it’s time for you to give your support to the Church instead of fighting it.