It has been another very busy week for the HLI family, for many reasons. I am with Dr. Brian Clowes in Hawaii sharing the Gospel of Life at the invitation of the Diocese of Honolulu’s Pro-Life Office and Bishop Larry Silva.
Our very kind hosts have kept us busy and well cared for. The “Catholics Reaffirming Life” symposium has been wonderful: We began with a day of teaching priests, religious, and deacons on Oahu, and we will repeat the program for these groups and laity over the remainder of our eight day mission, traveling to various islands.
Along with the great weather, the faithful here have lifted our hearts at a very difficult time.
We have gone another week without a clarification from the Holy See on the unchangeable nature of our beloved Church’s teaching on contraception. The ripple effects continue as well: the media seems affirmed in its claim that the Church has changed its position. A statement has come from the Philippines adding to the confusion. There remains an appearance of division in the Church on this key teaching, as Latin American bishops who have defended the Church’s teaching during the panic surrounding the spread of the Zika virus seem to be on their own.
Each time HLI has responded in love and in truth. And we are not alone: LifeSiteNews has gathered several statements from organizations and thinkers that reaffirm the Church’s position. Especially notable was a passionate statement from pro-life champion Jill Stanek, who is not Catholic, but who realizes that the Church’s teaching on contraception is essential to shore up the fight against abortion. And the National Catholic Bioethics Center has also published an excellent review of the Church’s teaching on contraception as it pertains to the Zika panic.
We are not alone. Like many others, including many reading this letter, we at HLI accepted the mission to step out into the world and joyfully defend the most vulnerable using the unchangeable teaching of the Church on life. We believed — and still believe — that the truth about the human person as revealed by Christ is best taught in the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. We believe that every human problem, large or small, has at its foundation the act of turning away from God and His law, and that the Church gives us in every age the guidance to understand our times and turn back toward Him.
It is our deepest desire to serve the Church and the Holy Father, which is why we will remain in the Truth of Christ. We can do no other. We do this in complete and obedient service to the Church and her Magisterium.
Yet it is hard to communicate just how serious this situation is to everyone. A month ago, really the entire history of the Church, a priest like me could stand in front of a class and say with complete confidence that the Church teaches that it is never morally licit for married couples to use contraception. People may have disagreed, but the priest could explain logically from Church teaching and sources like Theology of the Body exactly how this is a foundational teaching for marriage and family. Now, this teaching has not changed in the least, but confusion is rampant. Today I can stand in front of a class full of faithful people — those who have no desire to dissent from the Church but don’t necessarily know what to make out of the news reports following Pope Francis’ return flight from Mexico — and say the same truth, and people wonder if what I am saying is only intended for certain times or situations.
We are grateful that you are standing with us during this difficult time. The truth does not change, therefore the Church’s teaching on contraception will not change. We redouble our efforts first in prayer, imploring the intercession of Saint John Paul II, Blessed Paul VI, and all the saints who found themselves standing joyfully as a sign of contradiction against a world that seems bent on self-destruction.
Peace and strength, my brothers and sisters! Our Church needs us now.