I was pleasantly surprised to run across your web site, and I've added it to my favorites. This has been the first time in over thirty years that I have found a Novus Ordo priest that stands up for traditional Catholic orthodoxy. Even at my previous parish, which was very conservative, I did not find a priest willing to tackle many of the hard subjects and errors that are griping society in this post Catholic era. Your lack of the touchy-feely...Love...Love...Love, (ala the Beatles) type of politically correct mentality, so prevalent in our contemporary churches, is a breath of fresh air. I especially find your Christ centered style very inspiring. I am surprised that you do not face obstacles from your superiors for your rather traditional views, as I have yet to find an archdiocese that truly upholds the orthodox Catholic Sacred Majesterium, at least in the U.S. I applaud and encourage your continued efforts. Daily I pray for vocations to the true priesthood which you truly exemplify. My God bless you and your vocation.
Now that I have finished stroking your ego I do have a bone or two of contention to take up with you. The first being your advocation of the NFP method of family planning. The NFP method shares the same motivation, mentality and object of all other methods of birth control. Essentially, the couples are there to limit their family size and use Church encouraged NFP as a balm to assuage a guilty conscience, or more precisely to deflect the guilt to the Church. This is based on first hand experience, much to my great sorrow and continuing reparations.
In contemporary society children are a liability and NFP does nothing to dispel this myth. Young Catholics should be encouraged to have as many children as the Lord will give them. They should be taught the meaning of self sacrifice, true love and that the proper order of Christian marriage is still procreative and unitive. In reverse, it would the same for which Onan was punished as you point out in your web pages, the pleasure of sex without the consequence of children.
As an aside, it is also important for Catholics to maintain large families for vocation formation as well as, maintaining a Catholic presence in the world. Current projections indicate that with Moslem immigration into Europe and their faithfulness to the Koran in regards to a prohibition on birth control, will increase their population in Europe, the heart of Christendom, to majority levels within 2 - 3 generations.
My second bone is in the photos you're dressed in "civies." How about sporting a cassock. Even in business everyone knows that one must be dressed for success. That fashion style does indicate authority and command respect. It is ingrained in human nature. It is not just what you say but how you say it. Clothes do make a statement and even in today's secular society a cassock speaks authority. The titles of Father and Pastor speak it audibly but the cassock commands it visually. Even if you don't agree please consider it maybe even try it just to see the reaction from both your parishioners as well as the general public. After all you are Christ representative any you do to enhance your authority enhances His.
Your brother in Christ,
Richard F. McCormack
Thank you for your email and kind words. I am probably a bit like St. Paul in being stronger in writing and meeker in person.
It would be a shame for us to focus on disagreements when we agree on so much. I do hope we can discuss the areas of disagreement without alienating each other.
In my parish I have at least one family who has followed the position you describe concerning family planning. They have been open to as many children as God would give them, I think about nine now, which is great. They do have wonderful children, the older ones, college age, quite devoted Catholics. I agree with you that we need to promote larger families. At the same time I have noticed that the couples using NFP have that openness and in fact have gone beyond the "stop at two" mentality which is so strong, especially out here.
I do have an article on the difference between NFP & Birth Control: which I would appreciate your comments on. A friend sent me an article which is I believe clearer and more rigorous: http://www.tcdsb.on.ca/external/schools/chaminade/oac-philosophy/public_html /contraception_domestic_church.htm
At any rate regarding birth control and all other teachings of Jesus' Church what I strive for is to promote simple Catholicism.
I'll keep in mind the suggestion about the cassock. Actually have not worn one since seminary days, but do wear clericals on almost all occasions. Most of the pictures would show that, altho the one of me sitting at the computer is a little more casual.
Fr. Phil Bloom
Dear Fr. Bloom,
Many thanks for your response! I appreciate your further articles on NFP and birth control, I certainly will read both of them and comment. I will not be able to respond until late next week, as I am preparing for our annual pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of the North American Martyrs in Auriesville, NY. We are hoping to attract about 1,200 pilgrims but I believe we will be somewhere between 800 - 900. My personal special intention for this Pilgrimage is for the priesthood and the strength of individual priests. Father, you, along with many other of my clerical friends, will certainly be in my thoughts and prayers during this weekend. Be assured Father, that the hallmark of the True Church are ONE, holy, catholic and apostolic, therefore as Catholics we should be of one mind. I prefer to think of these as dialogs and I look forward to a friendly dialog with you on this and other subjects concerning the Catholic Church, the worship of Our Lord and the salvation of souls. Judging by your writings I believe we are basically both conservative and traditional minded and should get along very well.
Your brother in Christ,
Richard of Danbury