Thursday, September 26, 2019



One of the most vital, on the sacredness of human life, papal teachings preceding the great encyclical of St. John Paul: Evangelium Vitae [1], is Humane Vitae of St. Paul VI [2]. As Pope Pius XI did more than forty years earlier with his Encyclical MIT BRENNENDER SORGE, shining a light to expose fully the evil of Nazism, so Pope Paul VI shined a light on the evil of the emerging contraceptive-abortive-hedonistic culture of death.

Humane Vitae is the unambiguous teaching of the Church on the sacredness of human life. Every human being is a, and has the dignity of being person, created in the image and likeness of God, the Divine Person. All this is rooted in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, and the transmission of this gift, the creating by God of a new person occurs in cooperation with Him, as a sacred act in the Sacrament of Holy Marriage, between the spouses. Yet so lavish is God, who is Love, with His gift of life, that He does not refuse to breath an immortal soul, that is to create a human person in His image and likeness, even if the man and woman are by some other fashion, engaging in a natural law act outside of the sacredness of the sacrament.

Here is not that place for a protracted dissertation on Humane Vitae, rather it is to point in the direction of both the irreducible treasury of wisdom and compassion therein, and as well to consider briefly one of the major acts of dissent, albeit coached in episcopal bureaucratic lingo.

Humane Vitae caused an uproar not simply by defining artificial contraception as evil but in an unwritten between-the-lines subtext exposes the reality of the Antichrist: The Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgement….. the Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism… especially the "intrinsically perverse" political form of a secular messianism. [3]

Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming, so now many antichrists have appeared. Thus we know this is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not really of our number; if they had been, they would have remained with us. Their desertion shows that none of them was of our number. [1 Jn. 2:18,19]

Remembering the ‘last hour’ does not mean a specific sixty minute period, but rather is in fact every moment of every day since the Ascension of Our Lord, hence its apparent millennial slowness to arrive is perhaps excruciatingly frustrating for some Christians who focus on the hour, rather than the merciful magnanimity of the Holy Trinity both giving time for more brothers and sisters to be born, to come to know Christ and be His and for us already alive to be converted anew every day until we no longer live but Christ lives in us.

 One day the Antichrist will come: a human being who introduces an order of things in which rebellion against God will attain its ultimate power….. Then it will be clear what the Christian essence really is: that which stems not from the world, but from the heart of God; victory of grace over the world; redemption of the world, for her true essence is not to be found in herself, but in God from Whom she has received it. When God becomes all in all, the world will burst into flower. [4]

The distortions regarding human life, freedom, faith, etc., etc., spawned by the dark forces of the culture of death in the Sixties, continue to poison the souls, hearts, minds, choices of humanity today, a poison which infects even bishops and priests. This from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, is particularly germane:  Among the freedoms that the Revolution of 1968 sought to fight for was this all-out sexual freedom, one which no longer conceded any norms…… At the same time, independently of this development, Catholic moral theology suffered a collapse that rendered the Church defenseless against these changes in society……..There are values which must never be abandoned for a greater value and even surpass the preservation of physical life. There is martyrdom. God is about more than mere physical survival. A life that would be bought by the denial of God, a life that is based on a final lie, is a non-life. Martyrdom is a basic category of Christian existence….there is a minimum set of morals which is indissolubly linked to the foundational principle of faith and which must be defended if faith is not to be reduced to a theory but rather to be recognized in its claim to concrete life…..Faith is a journey and a way of life. [5]

Humane Vitae begins with a simple, clear, powerful statement which encapsulates the entire truth about human life and the gifting of life by the Holy Trinity: The transmission of human life is a most serious role in which married people collaborate freely and responsibly with God the Creator. It has always been a source of great joy to them, even though it sometimes entails many difficulties and hardships. The fulfillment of this duty has always posed problems to the conscience of married people, but the recent course of human society and the concomitant changes have provoked new questions. The Church cannot ignore these questions, for they concern matters intimately connected with the life and happiness of human beings. [6]

At the end of September, 1968, as a prime example of the reaction within the Church itself, aided and abetted by a cacophony of dissenters in various fields from theology to rights movements, the Canadian Conference of Bishops issued their response to Pope Paul’s encyclical, which has evermore been known as the ‘Winnipeg Statement’:  It is a fact that a certain number of Catholics, although admittedly subject to the teaching of the encyclical, find it either extremely difficult or even impossible to make their own all elements of this doctrine. In particular, the argumentation and rational foundation of the encyclical, which are only briefly indicated, have failed in some cases to win the assent of men of science, or indeed of some men of culture and education who share in the contemporary empirical and scientific mode of thought. We must appreciate the difficulty experienced by contemporary man in understanding and appropriating some of the points of this encyclical, and we must make every effort to learn from the insights of Catholic scientists and intellectuals, who are of undoubted loyalty to Christian truth, to the Church and to the authority of the Holy See. Since they are not denying any point of divine and Catholic faith nor rejecting the teaching authority of the Church, these Catholics should not be considered or consider themselves, shut off from the body of the faithful. But they should remember that their good faith will be dependent on a sincere self-examination to determine the true motives and grounds for such suspension of assent and on continued effort to understand and deepen their knowledge of the teaching of the Church. [ 7]

The continuing tragedy and danger in the above is twofold: 1] it opens the door to the misuse of ‘conscience’ by people then and now to excuse actions which no fully matured and informed conscience would allow and 2] it implies a parallelism between science, the notions of intellectuals, indeed almost a superiority to Catholic teaching, in clear opposition to the primacy of revealed truth and orthodox theology.

Furthermore, it contradicts this teaching from Humane Vitae: Therefore We base Our words on the first principles of a human and Christian doctrine of marriage when We are obliged once more to declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun and, above all, all direct abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children. …..Equally to be condemned, as the magisterium of the Church has affirmed on many occasions, is direct sterilization, whether of the man or of the woman, whether permanent or temporary…..Similarly excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means. ….Neither is it valid to argue, as a justification for sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive, that a lesser evil is to be preferred to a greater one, or that such intercourse would merge with procreative acts of past and future to form a single entity, and so be qualified by exactly the same moral goodness as these.  [ 2 -op. cit. para. 14]

So messed up are Catholics, Christians in general, about ‘conscience’, that when, in 2002, a Catholic student sues his Catholic High School to bring his boyfriend as his prom date, it was the Catholic teachers themselves, who as ‘friends of the court’, argued in support of the young man; currently in Canada there is NO abortion law, unlike other countries who legalized abortion and have time limits as to when in the pregnancy abortions cannot be done, Canada has no such limitations; Canada has a limitless contraceptive mentality expressed most egregiously through its legalization of so-called gay ‘marriage’, a totally sterile divergent simulacrum of the real thing, and, not satisfied with legalizing murder at the beginning a of a human person’s life Canada now legalizes so called ‘assisted dying’, an ambiguous way of avoiding stating the obvious: assisted self murder.

St. John Paul, in his encyclical on the Holy Spirit, reminds us that: The Second Vatican Council mentioned the Catholic teaching on conscience when it spoke about man's vocation and in particular about the dignity of the human person. It is precisely the conscience in particular which determines this dignity. For the conscience is "the most secret core and sanctuary of a man, where he is alone with God, whose voice echoes in his depths." It "can ...speak to his heart more specifically: do this, shun that." ….The conscience therefore is not an independent and exclusive capacity to decide what is good and what is evil…. the conscience is the "secret sanctuary" in which "God's voice echoes." The conscience is "the voice of God," even when man recognizes in it nothing more than the principle of the moral order which it is not humanly possible to doubt, even without any direct reference to the Creator. It is precisely in reference to this that the conscience always finds its foundation and justification. The Gospel's "convincing concerning sin" under the influence of the Spirit of truth can be accomplished in man in no other way except through the conscience. If the conscience is upright, it serves "to resolve according to truth the moral problems which arise both in the life of individuals and from social relationships"; then "persons and groups turn aside from blind choice and try to be guided by the objective standards of moral conduct."…..A result of an upright conscience is, first of all, to call good and evil by their proper name…….[8]

While it may appear that the chaos, disorder, nihilism, relativism, hedonism of the Sixties, is even more expansive in our own day, found primarily in the angers, divisions, within nations and between nations – [without ignoring that some aspects of the Sixties, such as the spread of civil and human rights, continue to benefit the human family], the real battlefield, the real place of damage done, and where metanoia must occur if we are to live the fullness of human dignity and the fullness of our Baptismal vocation, is the human heart.

So vital is Humane Vitae as a gift to the treasury of the Church’s teaching on human dignity,  St. John Paul, through a series of General Audiences between 1979 and 1984, including reflections on Humane Vitae,  his 1988 Apostolic Letter on The Dignity and Vocation of Women, his 1995 encyclical The Gospel of Life, developed in depth what has become known as “the theology of the body”:  The heart has become a battlefield between love and lust. The more lust dominates the heart, the less the heart experiences the nuptial meaning of the body. It becomes less sensitive to the gift of the person…The truth and power of love are shown in the ability to place oneself between the forces of good and evil which are fighting in man and around him, because love is confident in the victory of good and is ready to do everything so that good may conquer. [9]

The 1968 uproar and dissent around Humanae Vitae, the ever deepening and darkening of the culture of death as more powerful than the Light of Christ and the Gospel of Life is mere illusion, a satanic trick to confuse and discourage. Our best protection with the help of the Most Holy Spirit, Our Blessed Mother, the Angels and Saints, from such confusion and discouragement is, the mutual strengthening love we have for one another, to be faithful to our vocation as disciples of and witnesses to Christ.

We, with Christ, are sowers of seeds of the Gospel of life through our living the Gospel with our lives without compromise. We have no control over where the seeds land: on rock, on sand, in good earth. We sow, we water with our tears and prayers, and He, who loves every human being is the One who will – who does – give life in abundance, and therein lies true hope and joy.

Because we the Baptized are alive at this precise time in history, at this precise period of intense spiritual warfare, while feeling the weight of the culture of darkness and death, the pain, of seeing so many of our brothers and sisters lead lives not simply antithetical to the very existence of Christians as the leaven of society, of culture, of the broader human family, but who are persecutorial in numerous ways, and not just by attitude and words, for many of our Catholic and Christian brothers and sisters it is also martyrdom by blood, all this is for us a way of sharing in the pain of Christ for souls, sharing in His Cross, in His redemptive suffering for all humanity.

We should not be discouraged, no matter the intensity of the pain and weariness experienced and embraced as we are striving to be light in the darkness and salt of the earth for: I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us….We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now; and not only that, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, we also groan within ourselves as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that sees for itself is not hope. For who hopes for what one sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with endurance. In the same way, the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groanings…….Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and God of all encouragement, who encourages us in our every affliction, so that we may be able to encourage those who are in any affliction with the encouragement with which we ourselves are encouraged by God. For as Christ’s sufferings overflow to us, so through Christ does our encouragement also overflow. [from Romans 8:18-39 & 2 Corinthians 1:3-5]



[3]  Catechism of the Catholic Church, para.676

[4] THE LORD; Fr. Romano Guardini; p. 513; Henry Regnery Company, 1954



[7]       cf.para.17


[9] The Theology of the Body, Human Love in the Divine Plan; John Paul II; pp. 126 & 376; Pauline Media 1997

© 2019 Fr. Arthur Joseph

Thursday, September 05, 2019



It is said, that long before the start of WWI, St. Pius X would be seen walking about the Vatican corridors, praying, and be heard to say under his breath: “I see so much blood and can to nothing to stop it.” The carnage in Europe was already under way when he died on August 20, 1914.

In October of 1958, Edward R. Morrow gave a speech to American radio and television executives in which he stated: ……..our history will be what we make it. If we go on as we are, then history will take its revenge, and retribution will not limp in catching up with us. [1]

Commissioned by the Anglican Church of Canada to look into the issues impacting loss of membership, Pierre Berton, by his own admission a non-believer, did his due diligence and later published the report as a book: The Comfortable Pew, which he ended with: “But there seem to be two ways in which a truly Christian reformation could come about. It could come about through some terrifying persecution of the Christian Church – a persecution that would rid the Church of those of little faith, of the status-seekers and respectability-hunters, of the deadwood who enjoy the club atmosphere, of the ecclesiastical hangers-on and the comfort-searchers. Once the Church becomes the most uncomfortable institution in the community, only those who really matter will stick with it. At this point, one would expect the Church to come back to those basic principles of love, faith, and hope that have made martyrs out of men.” (142-3) [2]

In 1951, Hannah Arendt published her book: The Origins of Totalitarianism, from which these words are applicable not only to the 1960’s but perhaps even more so in 2019:  “Never has our future been more unpredictable, never have we depended so much on political forces that cannot be trusted to follow the rules of common sense and self-interest—forces that look like sheer insanity, if judged by the standards of other centuries. It is as though mankind had divided itself between those who believe in human omnipotence (who think that everything is possible if one knows how to organize masses for it) and those for whom powerlessness has become the major experience of their lives.”  [3]

By 1968 the post Vatican II experimentation with liturgy, outside the clear norms laid down by the Church, was creating chaos, driving people still in shock just from the authentic liturgical changes away from these experimental ersatz events, for that was all they were, while at the same time priests, religious brothers and sisters, monks and nuns, seeking to define commitment in their own image and likeness continued to leave in droves.

At the beginning of the Sixties President Kennedy had famously challenged people not to demand everything from country, aka government, but to ask of themselves what they could do for their country. By 1968, as all the various protest and rights movements became engrained not just in the American, but in Western culture, that was turned on its head and remains so today: citizens of democratic countries have become insatiable as they demand more and more from government and politicians of all stripes, since then and in 2019, know if you want to be elected to the power you salivate over then pander NOT to ordinary people but to the screamers demanding more, more, more.

The quotations cited above are because, as Morrow indicated, we are the makers of our history, wittingly or not, and it is critical to be informed and to note when some speaker, writer, preacher even, utters words which are prescient awareness of where things are headed.

It is to choose to be educated and act on what is learned, as opposed to being a self-mesmerizing, go with the flow person. Not all information educates, indeed in these days of the internet much of it dumbs down God given intelligence. Urgently we need daily to ask the Holy Spirit for His gifts of wisdom and discernment so we, the electorate, return to voting based upon actual issues and not emotional or ‘what’s-in-it-for-me’ self-centredness.

So, it is no surprise that much of Western society and even the most addleheaded stoners, the pie-in-the-sky leftists, by the end of 1968 [in 2019?] could not accept that, no matter how the masses are organized, there is no such thing as human omnipotence.

Granted that illusion of such a possibility lingers among extremists of the left and right to our day for, flowing from the Sixties, what little faith in anything is left in the lives of millions is in science, technology, relativism, nihilism, unbridled consumption and obsession with self – though tragically there are not enough lithium batteries now, nor will there ever be, to power cell phone cameras long enough to take enough pictures of the self for anyone thereby to actually come to know the person whose image they have taken.

At first blush, in early January 1968, it did appear, with the advent of the ‘Prague Spring’, that just maybe before the decade was over some vital changes were going to happen in the lives of oppressed peoples, at least in one country: Czechoslovakia.

A certain measure of reform and freedom did last until August but fearing such a contagion might spread the Soviets, and some Warsaw Pact countries, invaded and crushed the ‘spring’. Shades of the Warsaw uprising and aftermath of WWII. Thousands managed to flee the country for Western Europe and Canada. Those left behind would be under the Soviet boot until the Velvet Revolution of 1989. By 1993 what had been one country became two, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

In Vietnam the battle of Khe Shan began and would drag on until late April. The infamous Tet offensive started as well. This would also be the year of the My Lai massacre of innocent Vietnamese by American troops, showing how the prolonged, brutal conflict was totally out of control. Indeed, those two battles, the My Lai and other massacres by the US troops, were harbingers of what was to come, the eventual take over of the south by the Viet Cong.

The emotional and moral toll, on both American troops and anti-war protestors, was bringing, combined with the ongoing violence in the civil rights struggle, an entire nation to the breaking point, so much so President Johnson announced he would not seek re-election, opening the door to a year of pollical violence and uncertainty, ending with Nixon, of Watergate infamy, eventually becoming president.

Countries as diverse as Mexico, Brazil, Poland, Yugoslavia, were in turmoil with civil unrest, revolutions, while in France, where student unrest was so widespread and violent it led to De Gaulle fleeing the country as his government feared outright civil war. The so-called ‘May 68’ turmoil continues to impact France to this day, and other Western countries share the French secularist obsession, which explains much about continued unrest by the Muslim community in France, and other countries, and has much to do with Islamic terrorism for the secularist, science, technology, sexual-identity, etc. moral turpitude of so many post-Christian countries infecting Islamic youth terrifies the Mullahs and angers the extremists, justifying in their warped minds, terrorism. Another haunting outcome of the Sixties relentless pursuit of rejection of all Christian truth and morals.

The United States, the wounds of the Civil War clearly still gaping, was slipping into greater internal confusion and chaos, exemplified dramatically by first the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, then of Robert Kennedy, and all the ensuing riots, including during the Democratic Convention in Chicago.

Meanwhile Mao Zedong, another example of if only the masses can be controlled, was forcing millions of urban youth away from universities and the cities out into the countryside to be re-educated.

In October police overreaction in Derry to a civil rights march began the inexorable trek of the Northern Ireland events known as “The Troubles”. This violent struggle would eventually subside with the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 but with the Brexit chaos currently unfolding in Great Britain, could unravel if the now non-border between the North and the Republic becomes an actually hard border again when, and if, Britain leaves the EU, cutting of the Republic which itself is an EU member country.

There is an illusion, particularly among hard core so-called ‘populists’ in many countries, among human beings in general, that, there was some period in human history when everything was in right order regarding faith, morals, family, male and female identity, etc., etc.

Reality is that since original sin, while there have been brief periods when a coalescing of ‘faith, family, country’ gave a modicum of peace within and among disparate kingdoms, latterly nation states, they are rare. Mostly human beings are in a greater or lessor degree of conflict with the self and among each other.

The Sixties shows us that attempts to reimage self, other, nation, God into what agrees with, frankly, our impulsive need or want of the moment, triggers waves of disorientation within self and the larger community, waves which like a tsunami sweep through cultures, religions, nations, people’s lives, leaving nothing but destruction in their wake and stunned survivors having to pick themselves up out of the rubble and strive to begin anew.

Unless this beginning, for Christians who are called to be salt of the earth and light of the world, {cf. Mt. 5:13-16}, is Christocentric then, as we see in our own day, with the secularization of virtually every aspect of society in the Western world in particular, we will continue to blithely live on the quicksand of loss of moral foundations.

The very solid ground we need to build nation, family, faith, indeed self upon is Jesus Christ and His Gospel of Life.

As St. Paul urges: …..we earnestly ask and exhort you in the Lord Jesus that, as you received from us how you should conduct yourselves to please God—and as you are conducting yourselves—you do so even more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. This is the will of God, your holiness: that you refrain from immorality………For God did not call us to impurity but to holiness…….Therefore, whoever disregards this, disregards not a human being but God, who also gives  His Holy Spirit to you. [1Thess.1-3 &8]

The following hymn, found in many hymnals, is used as the opening hymn for Vespers of the  22nd week of Ordinary Time. Given the heaviness of looking into the Sixties it is important to have words of hope:  Now fades all earthly splendor, the shades of night descend; the dying of the daylight foretells creation's end. Though noon gives place to sunset, yet dark gives place to light: The promise of tomorrow with dawn's new hope is bright. The silver notes of morning will greet the rising sun, as once the Easter glory shone round the Risen One. So will the night of dying give peace to heaven's day and hope of heaven's vision will light our pilgrim way. So will the new creation rise from the old reborn to splendour in Christ's glory and everlasting morn. All darkness will be ended as faith gives place to sight of Father, Son and Spirit, One God, in heaven's light. [4]


[2] citation from:



© 2019 Fr. Arthur Joseph