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The Next Phase in the Humanae Vitae "Rewrite":
Pin It on the Laity

by Christopher A. Ferrara
February 8, 2018

It is now obvious to Catholics of good will, not just the “traditionalists” and “Fatimites” who  recognized it immediately, that “the current Pope’s leadership has become a danger to the faith,” as Philip Lawler has put it. Lawler was writing when Francis had “merely” opened the door to Holy Communion for public adulterers in “second marriages,” thus condoning the intrinsic evil of adultery. But now Pope Francis clearly has his sights on undermining the teaching of Paul VI on the intrinsic evil of contraception — even as he prepares to canonize him! A curious pattern emerges: canonize the conciliar Popes and then dump their moral teaching.

Where the plot — there is no other word for it — to dump Pope Paul’s Humanae Vitae (HV) is concerned, the Pope’s collaborators have hit upon the Modernist tactic of referring the matter to “the people of God.” Thus, Francis’ appointment to the “new, improved” (i.e., destroyed) Pontifical Academy for Life, the “moral theologian” Maurizio Chiodi, has declared that HV ought not to be considered a binding teaching of the perennial Magisterium merely because “now the great majority of even believing married couples live as though the norm doesn’t exist.” 

In response to that canard, which would reduce all of morality and indeed the entire Magisterium to a matter of majority opinion, Sandro Magister has published an anonymous intervention by “an ecclesiastic with advanced specialized scholarly training, and one who has held significant teaching posts in Italy and abroad.” The intervention is anonymous because, under the reign of “The Dictator Pope,” immediate reprisal is sure to follow against anyone with an ecclesiastical office who dares to speak the truth about this pontificate.

This Catholic scholar denounces as “clumsy and misleading” the “attempt to heap upon the faithful – in particular, spouses – the burden of proof that the teaching of HV on the natural regulation of births does not belong to the consolidated and perennial patrimony,” calling it a “reckless judgment which would see Catholic spouses as being mainly or solely responsible for the non-implementation of the norm of HV…”

The appeal to “conscience” as the judge of the morality of contraception is sophistry. The conscience that is to be followed must be well-formed, not one deformed by habitual sin. Nor can conscience ever supersede the commandments of divine and natural law, rendering moral what is intrinsically immoral. And, the writer observes, if the conscience of the majority of Catholics is no longer well formed on this matter, then the fault lies with the priests and, before them, the bishops who have failed to catechize the faithful properly because they themselves reject or are loath to defend the teaching of HV.

Basing morality on the wandering of sheep that the shepherds themselves have misled is the height of folly and duplicity. It would mean, writes the scholar, that the errant consciences of the majority, malformed by the negligence of their own pastors, “would be translated into a norm (new or modified, or reinterpreted) that would have to apply to all believers. If the testimony of their conscience is false, the faithful would bear the burden of a misleading guideline issued to the whole Church, and the theologian would be concealing his responsibility with regard to this ‘new course’ behind the people’s response to the Pilatesque question: ‘In conscience, what do you want to be liberalized: the natural regulation of fertility, or contraception?’”

In other words: “Let the people decide” — the same people whose erring judgment has already been predetermined by the culpable failure or deliberate subversion of those who would present the matter to them for judgment. Indeed, such a move would make Pilate look virtuous, for he did not predetermine the judgment of the mob calling for Our Lord’s crucifixion but rather tried to avoid it.

The anonymous scholar concludes his piece by noting Chiodi “was repeatedly called by the then-president of the Pontifical Council of the Family, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, to give seminars on conjugal morality and procreation for the officials of this dicastery” — which Francis has since abolished. It appears he abolished the Council because its members, “solidly formed in the school of Archbishop Paglia’s predecessors, Cardinals Alfonso López Trujillo and Ennio Antonelli – never bowed to that attempt at indoctrination promoted by the one who is now president of the Pontifical Academy for Life.”

Consider the reality now confronting us: a Pope who seeks to indoctrinate the belief that intrinsic evils can be justified based on the erring consciences of an ill-formed laity — ill-formed precisely by the false shepherds who would now consult them on matters of morality!

Truly, this is the apostasy that “begins at the top.” But fear not. Keep the Faith and await with confidence the divine termination of this travesty once the Message of Fatima is finally heeded, doubtless under the leadership of a holy and courageous Pope.