An issue that refuses to go away is birth control. Although many people have apparently made up their mind, still some uneasiness remains. That uneasiness exists because some important things are at stake: the meaning of couple’s relationship, their mutual commitment, sexuality, children, family, and marriage - all are connected to the birth control issue. Last week Kathy Bernard (from Catholic View) interviewed me on the topic. She asked some difficult questions:
n Has the Church teaching on birth control changed in recent years?
n How does Natural Family Planning differ morally from other methods of birth control?
n In light of population growth should the Church change its position?
n Do you feel it is fair for the Church to intrude so intimately within the Sacrament of marriage?
n How does a couple determine the right number of children for them?
n If they do use another form of birth control and feel it is right for them, would the church accept their decision and let their conscience guide them?
I tried to answer these and other questions as directly as possible. If you would like to read the interview you can find it at: http://catholicvu.com/newpage30.htm Jesus' teaching on this subject can be found in the Catechism (#2368 ff.) In a particularly striking quote it states, “The difference, both anthropological and moral, between contraception and recourse to the rhythm of the cycle . . . involves in the final analysis two irreconcilable concepts of the human person and of human sexuality”
In recent years I have noticed among young people a greater openness to Jesus' teaching regarding fecundity in marriage. In order to successfully live this teaching they often require some guidance and support from health care providers. Toward this end an important conference was held this weekend at Providence Hospital. Catholic doctors and other health care providers met to study their role as Christian medical workers. The title of the conference was: “The Catholic Physician, A Vocation as Icon of Christ the Divine Physician.” It featured presentations from Dr. Edmund Pellegrino, Dr. Daniel P. Sulmasy and Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J. More information on the Billings Ovulation Method of Natural Family Planning can be obtained from WOOMB Northwest, 206-ASK-4BOM (275-4266).
While some argue that birth control is necessary because of increasing population, the recent U.S. Census figures show a different picture. Since 1990 the median age in our country has risen from 32.9 to 35.3. While the population of 35 to 64 year-olds has increased 28% in the past decade, the population of 25 to 34 year-olds has actually decreased by 7.6%. At the same time the number of Americans 85 and older increased by 37.6%. Of course it is wonderful we have so many long-lived people in our nation, but we also need children and young people to have a viable future.
Other countries show similar aging populations. The New York Times reported that the city-state of Singapore is offering what they call a Baby Bonus Scheme. The government pays cash to couples that have a second or third child as well as extending maternity leave and adding a brief paternity leave for government workers.
Some have asked how they can get a copy of Hail Holy Queen by Dr. Scott Hahn. It is available at Catholic and other bookstores. You may call Aquinas Book Store at 425-828-4413 to order a copy.
This Tuesday, May 21, Bishop George Thomas will celebrate his 25th anniversary of priesthood with a Mass at St. James Cathedral. Bishop Thomas is a priest of the Archdiocese of Seattle who, last year, was ordained a bishop. He currently serves as Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese. We are fortunate to have such a dynamic, dedicated man serving the People of God in our area. The anniversary Mass begins at 5 p.m. All are welcome to attend.
Thank you for your response to the Annual Catholic Appeal. We have received 481 pledges for a total of $41,638.21. If you have not yet turned in your pledge envelope, please simply drop it by the rectory or place it in the collection basket. Again, thank you for your support of the Archdiocese and Holy Family Parish. Beginning July 16 we hope to replace the temporary canopy over our school porch with a permanent, translucent one. Your support is necessary to complete this project and to advance with the seismic retrofit inside our school building.