Openness to life and respect for the family enable societies to thrive

From Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical Caritas in Veritate (2009):

The notion of rights and duties in development must also take account of the problems associated with population growth. This is a very important aspect of authentic development, since it concerns the inalienable values of life and the family.110 To consider population increase as the primary cause of underdevelopment is mistaken, even from an economic point of view. Suffice it to consider, on the one hand, the significant reduction in infant mortality and the rise in average life expectancy found in economically developed countries, and on the other hand, the signs of crisis observable in societies that are registering an alarming decline in their birth rate. Due attention must obviously be given to responsible procreation, which among other things has a positive contribution to make to integral human development. The Church, in her concern for man’s authentic development, urges him to have full respect for human values in the exercise of his sexuality. It cannot be reduced merely to pleasure or entertainment, nor can sex education be reduced to technical instruction aimed solely at protecting the interested parties from possible disease or the “risk” of procreation. This would be to impoverish and disregard the deeper meaning of sexuality, a meaning which needs to be acknowledged and responsibly appropriated not only by individuals but also by the community. It is irresponsible to view sexuality merely as a source of pleasure, and likewise to regulate it through strategies of mandatory birth control. In either case materialistic ideas and policies are at work, and individuals are ultimately subjected to various forms of violence. Against such policies, there is a need to defend the primary competence of the family in the area of sexuality,111 as opposed to the State and its restrictive policies, and to ensure that parents are suitably prepared to undertake their responsibilities.

Morally responsible openness to life represents a rich social and economic resource. Populous nations have been able to emerge from poverty thanks not least to the size of their population and the talents of their people. On the other hand, formerly prosperous nations are presently passing through a phase of uncertainty and in some cases decline, precisely because of their falling birth rates; this has become a crucial problem for highly affluent societies. The decline in births, falling at times beneath the so-called “replacement level”, also puts a strain on social welfare systems, increases their cost, eats into savings and hence the financial resources needed for investment, reduces the availability of qualified labourers, and narrows the “brain pool” upon which nations can draw for their needs. Furthermore, smaller and at times miniscule families run the risk of impoverishing social relations, and failing to ensure effective forms of solidarity. These situations are symptomatic of scant confidence in the future and moral weariness. It is thus becoming a social and even economic necessity once more to hold up to future generations the beauty of marriage and the family, and the fact that these institutions correspond to the deepest needs and dignity of the person. In view of this, States are called to enact policies promoting the centrality and the integrity of the family founded on marriage between a man and a woman, the primary vital cell of society,112 and to assume responsibility for its economic and fiscal needs, while respecting its essentially relational character.

110 John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Laborem Exercens, 24: Acta Apostolicæ Sedis [AAS] 73 (1981), 637-638.
111 Ibid., 15: loc. cit., 616-618.
112 Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio, 27: AAS 59 (1967), 271.

Caritas in Veritate 44

SF Archbishop Cordileone to speak Thursday evening at Springfield St. Raymond

The Most Reverend Salvatore Cordileone, Archbishop of San Francisco, will give a talk this Thursday evening, November 19, at St. Raymond of Peñafort Church in Springfield, Virginia, entitled “Marriage: The Foundation of a Civilization Built on Truth and Love.” Archbishop Cordileone’s presentation, which will begin at 7:30 pm, is free and open to the public.

Born in 1956 in San Diego, Archbishop Cordileone has served since 2012 as ordinary of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, home to more than 400,000 Bay Area Catholics in three counties. A canon lawyer, he worked as assistant at the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the Church’s highest canonical court, from 1995 to 2002. He then served successively as auxiliary bishop of San Diego and bishop of Oakland before being called to the archepiscopate of San Francisco. He currently also serves the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops as chairman of the Subcommittee for the Defense of Marriage.

St. Raymond of Peñafort Church is located in Springfield at 8750 Pohick Road, about six miles west of Interstate 95 near the intersection of Pohick Road and Fairfax County Parkway, and offers ample free parking.

A manifesto of Christian resistance

We are obliged to Franciscan Brother Alexis Bugnolo for permission to republish the following.

I, as a disciple of Christ Jesus, hold and believe that the U.S. Supreme Court has no authority to impose Sodom upon America in name of the U.S. Constitution; and that such a judgement would be null and void. For the institution of marriage, which originates with the Creator of Man, falls under His Authority alone, and it can no more be changed by a government of men, than the nature of man could be changed by a government of men.

Therefore, no State or Federal officer, representative, or official could justly — either according to the Divine, moral, or natural law — enforce such a Court decision. Nor would anyone be obliged to obey them if they were to command that such laws or decisions be observed.

For these reasons, all men and women of good will have the right and liberty to refuse compliance to such a court decision and to insist upon the liberty of nature itself against the tyranny implied in the same: the tyranny of a new and perverse gnosticism which asserts that human liberty can be in defense of the perversion of nature, or that human dignity can be founded upon ignominy.

I further hold that against such a court order, all men and women have the natural right to self-defense against its imposition, observance, recognition or toleration.

For I hold that a government, even elected by the people, which seeks to observe and/or impose or even to acquiesce to such a court order, looses its legitimacy in the sight of Nature and Nature’s God, since in doing so, it would not so much be a government of men, as the absence of government: a chaotic mass of tyrannical authority at war with Nature itself.

Finally, I hold and protest against such a government, that all men, who seek to restore the Natural order, have, in the face of the persecution of themselves and their fellows — when all peaceful forms of resistance, petition and reform are obstructed — the right to take up arms to protect and ensure their own liberty, so that they might live in harmony with Nature and the Author and Creator of Nature. For this right, is not only the right of the Christian, but is inherent in Nature itself, since it is nothing more than the right to self-defense: of Nature, on behalf of the Author of Nature.

For, indeed, it is the birth-right of every Christian to defend himself, his family, his possessions and his society, from that indignity and offense of the Divine Majesty which is inherent in every and any denial of that order of the human family, which is constituted by natural marriage: in which there are mutually pledged one man and one woman in a sacred bond of fidelity for the procreation and upbringing of a new generation of children. For the violation of this institution by the perversion of Sodom, without a doubt, cries out to God for vengeance: a vengeance which not only those, who promote such sins, justly merit from Him, but also those who tolerate such; a vengeance which they all must endure from Nature herself, when she avenges the enemies of her God, Creator and Author, by the calamity and turmoil of special and tremendous dispensations.

Let all men, therefore, know and heed, this manifesto of Christian conscience and hearken to the truths and rights which it declares, for the honor and glory of God and the defense of the United States of America. And let them not so much trouble themselves and tremble before the men who profess it, but fear and cower beneath the Majesty and Authority of God the Creator, the Judge of the living and the dead, Which it acknowledges.