US bishop speaks out strongly against contraception
Catholic couples who practice it are urged to 'think again' and confess
Picture: Catholic News Agency
Bishop James Conley of Lincoln hopes his new pastoral letter on the sacrificial “language of love” and the disruptive immorality of contraception will be received “with open hearts and open minds.”
“My hope is that people, Catholic couples especially, and also Catholic physicians and pharmacists, will be willing to look at this issue again,” he told CNA March 20.
“The Language of Love” is Bishop Conley’s pastoral letter on the sacrificial nature of love and on contraception, officially promulgated March 25 -- the feast of the Annunciation, when the Church celebrates Mary’s assent to becoming the Mother of God. The letter can be read in full, and listened to, here.
Bishop Conley said Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical “Humanae Vitae,” which rejected contraception as contrary to Christian ethics, had a “prophetic message” that was “good news for all Catholics, since we know that the contraceptive mentality has been so pervasive and so devastating.”
He said he hopes that couples using contraception, and physicians prescribing it, will “think again” about their actions, and turn to “God’s tender mercy by making a good heartfelt confession.”
“Sacrifice is the language of love,” Bishop Conley wrote in his pastoral letter. “Love is spoken in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who poured out his life for us on the cross. Love is spoken in the sacrifice of the Christian life, sharing in Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. And love is spoken in the sacrifice of parents, and pastors, and friends.”
“We live in a world short on love,” he lamented.
The pastoral letter warns that “when it rejects the gift of new life, through the use of contraception,” American culture is rejecting love.
“Husbands and wives are made to freely offer themselves as gifts to one another in friendship, and to share in the life-giving love of God.”
He said God created marriage to be unifying and procreative, joining husband and wife “inseparably in the mission of love, and to bring forth from that love something new.”
“Contraception robs the freedom for those possibilities,” he continued, warning that the use of contraception “gravely and seriously disrupts the sacrificial, holy and loving meaning of marriage itself.”
He said marriage is a call to “loving as God loves… freely, creatively and generously.”
The letter will be delivered to every registered family in the diocese, and will be made available as a podcast and as a broadcast on Nebraska Catholic radio.
Source: Catholic News Agency
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