Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bishop Soto Contra Contraception

Bishop Soto of Sacramento has been a topic here before, mostly for being courageous enough to explain the Church's teaching on homosexuality to homosexuals. His latest foray is in the Catholic Herald by way of the California Catholic Daily. Basically, he says that contraceptionhas become the norm and that the norm is bad. This strikes me as a big deal for a guy from California.

“In the heated, partisan passions wrestling for political advantage in the trench warfare of abortion, we have to change hearts; as well as change laws,” wrote Bishop Soto. “Creating that culture of life is more than a political agenda. The gospel of life has the power to transform hearts and habits as well as laws when the Christian follows Newman’s counsel and performs ‘the ordinary duties of the day well.’”

Bishop Soto says we can “round our days” by observing routines in our lives that serve to sanctify us and evangelize others. Wearing one’s wedding ring or conversations around the dinner table with family are simple examples of this practice, he wrote, but they also include participation in the political process and more reflection and the cultivation of new habits “in the sexual practice of marriage.”

“One habit that has taken hold of many marriages is the use of artificial means of contraception,” wrote Bishop Soto. “The prevalence of the practice in and outside of the Catholic community has made contraception the unquestioned default mode of marriage. As a consequence, sexuality and relationships are misunderstood and misused; and their true purpose is misplaced.”

This all dovetails well with the prior item from Mrs. Fulwiler. It's not just the individual sinful act that causes damage. It's the habituation to sin and the regularization of such behavior screwing up people's mindsets and damaging their consciences that is even worse, as it leads to the propagation of still more and worse sin.

“These comments are not just about the ‘pill’ or other forms of contraceptives,” the bishop continued. “This is more about the habit of using artificial means. The habit has shaped the hearts and minds of many, especially the young. Marriage is no longer understood as the covenant of love between a man and a woman that creates life, because procreation is no longer associated with sexual intercourse. In this new social situation, many shrug their shoulders and wonder why a sexual relationship between any two people who care for each other cannot be called a marriage.”

“The church’s teaching against the use of artificial contraceptives comes from a reverential awe for the ‘round’ of the marriage covenant, where the human family finds life, grace and goodness revealed in the ordinary rituals of the home,” said Bishop Soto. “The sexual ritual should not be discounted or dismissed from this sacramental view.”

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