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St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
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Monday, May 09, 2011
Third Sunday of Easter Year A 8 May 2011

In the Church porch you can find some copies of the Catholic Truth Society leaflet “Contraception and Natural Family Planning”? Why have we made these available at this time?

Blessed Pope John Paul II died six years ago. Last weekend he was beatified. When he died, the media attempted to overview his life. Most of the coverage reflected the widespread senti-ment: “great guy; pity about his crazy opposition to artificial contraception”. The problem with that is that this teaching was not just his. It has been quite explicitly and very formally the teaching of every Pope since it became controversial in the early twentieth century. It has also been part of the Christian moral tradition going back to the beginning of the Church. So either the Church of Christ has made a massive mistake or the world has. The former is not possible if Jesus is truly God and continues to be present in His Church today, as Roman Catholicism believes.

On the Saturday night on which Blessed John Paul II died, the BBC Six O’Clock News gave their own assessment of his life, very much along these lines. At the 6:30 pm Mass that night I preached about these issues, but quickly realised that I was getting into deep water. So I promised to write about it in this space the following weekend.

After penning a piece entitled “The Church’s Teaching on the Marital Act”, I realised I needed to do a follow-up piece entitled “Going against our culture: Is it realistic?” After that, I came to the conclusion that we needed another one on “Difficult Cases”, and a final one after that called “The Practicality of Conversion.” I tried here to show awareness of the difficulty this teaching presents to many modern men and women today as well as trying to present it as the liberating truth. I tried to show the importance today of understanding that the sexual act unifies and forms the married couple as generous parents (whether or not it’s most concrete and beautiful fruit of human conception results). The piece can be seen on-line at /Publications/Magazines /Mar06/Mar06ParishApproachToChurchsTeachingonMaritalAct.html, with some white A4 copies at the back – as well as the colour CTS leaflet mentioned above.

If these teachings affect you, can I urge you to take a copy of the CTS leaflet and to consider some of the deeper issues by reading the longer explanation of six years ago. We owe it to God and to ourselves to listen attentively to the voice of the Church amidst the loud clamour of non-Christian ideas about that deeply human mystery of sex and love.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 10:32 am