Tuesday, August 19, 2008

More Humanae Vitae Wackiness

This time, it comes from some guy named David Gibson who, for some inexplicable reason, has been allowed to write for the Catholic section of Beliefnet. I'll put it this way. He quotes the ridiculous McBrien article that was discussed here earlier, calling it "excellent." If by "excellent," he means "steaming turd," then I completely agree.

Conveniently blowing off the thorough job done by Mary Eberstadt in First Things, he launches into an almost triumphant-toned discourse on the widespread rejection of the Church's moral teaching in this matter. Because if that many folks are disobedient at once, it must be a good thing, I suppose. He's really got two arguments for why the Pope got this one wrong:

1. Contraception is easier than having babies.
2. The people don't agree with it.

The first bit really isn't an argument so much as the excuse people give for dissent. Raising kids is hard! Give me a big house and a nice car instead!

I have to give him credit on the second bit. He at least tries to dress it up in Latin by referring to the sensus fidelium. Of course, Gibson doesn't really try to explain what that is, probably because he doesn't have a clue and is just playing the dummy to McBrien's ventriloquist. Here we have Mr. Gibson's thought-provoking and ocean-deep analysis of the issue.

For one thing, at the end of the day, for a teaching to be considered authentic or even close to infallible, it must be "received" by the faithful--in effect a kind of populist imprimatur. It is clearly not. The Mirror of Justice blog as discussions on the topic, and the problem of the teaching not being received by the sensus fidelium.

Wow. I daresay we have another Aquinas on our hands. Let's ignore the fact that he gives no sources for this "populist imprimatur" crap. Let's just look past the modern problems of the hordes of Catholics who don't believe in any infallibility other than there own. Mr. Gibson, McBrien, the Mirror of Justice, etc. still run into the same problem. They treat Humanae Vitae as some sort of isolated data point, rather than an affirmation of centuries of Magisterial teaching. What was the "sensus fidelium" back in 1929, when contraception was universally reprobated by every Christian denomination in the world? What about when Pius XI wrote Casti Connubii, less than 40 years before HV came out? I ask again, was the Holy Spirit lying then or is He lying now?

Just face the music on this one. If you want to be a heretic, go ahead. Don't try to de-legitimize the teaching on contraception based on this idea of the Church as some sort of attenuated democracy, though. It's a pathetic argument that smacks of desperation and an embarassing need for some sort of rationale for one's rebellion.

Just say "Non serviam" and move on.

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