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Friday, February 26, 2010


During the recent Ad Limina Visit, the Holy Father announced his forthcoming trip to the UK, possibly sometime in September 2010. Sadly there is already opposition headed by the Secular Society of Great Britain to this visit. The Secular Society has an online petition which has already attracted over 20,000 signatures and yet a petition supporting the visit only has about 2100 signatures.You are invited to visit the website and sign the supporting petition as we welcome the Holy Father to our country.

Monday, February 08, 2010


In a report published by the Family Research Council, Patrick F. Fagan, senior fellow and director of the council's Centre for Research on Marriage and Religion, described the social and psychological effects of pornography in his study: "The Effects of Pornography on Individuals, Marriage, Family and Community." Contrary to the argument that pornography is just harmless pleasure, Fagan referred to clinical evidence showing that it significantly distorts attitudes and perceptions about the nature of sexuality.

It's not exactly news that marriage is in crisis. Marriage rates are dropping, which means the next generations will be weaker because children won't have the benefit of the love of both parents. Nations will be poorer, less healthy, and less happy also. We know all this from sound social science. Pornography is likely one of the key ingredients in this weakening of society. Consider its documented effects on family life:

  • Married men involved in pornography feel less satisfied with their conjugal relations and less emotionally attached to their wives. Wives notice and are very upset, even clinically traumatized.
  • Among couples affected by one spouse's addiction, two-thirds experience a loss of interest in sexual intercourse.
  • Both spouses perceive pornography viewing as tantamount to infidelity.
  • Pornography is frequently a major factor in infidelity and divorce.
  • Pornography viewing leads to a loss of interest in good family relations.

The effects on individuals compound these problems:

  • Pornography is addictive, and neuroscientists are beginning to map its biological substrate.
  • Users tend to become desensitised to the type of pornography they use, and then seek more perverse forms of pornographic stimulation.
  • Men who view pornography regularly have a higher tolerance for abnormal sexuality, including rape, sexual aggression, and sexual promiscuity.
  • Prolonged consumption of pornography by men produces stronger notions of women as commodities or as "sex objects."
  • Pornography engenders greater sexual permissiveness, which in turn leads to a greater risk of out-of-wedlock births and STDs.
  • Child-sex offenders are more likely to view pornography regularly or to be involved in its distribution.

These are just some of the tragic effects from habitually viewing pornography, but the most deleterious lie in the heart, and in family life the heart counts most. Most men, including doctors, have not the foggiest notion that the wives develop deep psychological wounds, commonly reporting feelings of betrayal, loss, mistrust, devastation, and anger at the discovery of their husbands' use of pornography, especially Internet use.

Many wives also begin to feel unattractive or sexually inadequate, and many become depressed, even severely depressed, so badly that they need treatment for trauma, not just for depression. Many pornography-viewing husbands lose their emotional capacity for marital relations, and this, in turn, causes both husbands and wives to be less interested in the marriage bed. (Viagra sales are soaring while Internet viewing of pornography continues to rise steadily). Not only is there a loss in sexual intercourse, but also even distaste for the affection of a spouse and a cynicism about love can replace the affection that used to be present between them. It is not surprising then that pornography users increasingly see the institution of marriage as sexually confining, doubt the importance of faithfulness, question the value of marriage as an essential social institution, and are sceptical about its future. When the use of pornography rises to the level of addiction, as many as 40 percent of these addicts lose their spouses, and close to 60 percent suffer considerable financial losses. About a third lose their jobs.

Given all this, it is not surprising that pornography addiction is a major contributor to separation and divorce. In the only study to date of the relationship, 68 percent of divorces reviewed involved one party meeting a new paramour over the Internet, 56 percent involved "one party having an obsessive interest in pornographic websites," 47 percent involved "spending excessive time on the computer," and 33 percent involved spending excessive time in chat rooms (a commonly sexualised forum). This particular study is far from satisfactory from a strictly social scientific point of view, but it suggests a potent threat to social stability.

The effects on children are grievous: finding pornographic material a parent has stored away, overhearing a parent engaged in "phone sex," experiencing stress and conflict in the home caused by online sexual activities of the parent, exposure to the treatment of women, as "sex objects," and living in a home where this has already happened to their mother. Where are the studies from the National Institutes of Mental Health on this matter? This phenomenon is big, nasty, and devastating, and likely robs more children of their fathers and families than smoking does, to say nothing of the debilitating effects on their mothers. Among the tools of the culture of death, pornography likely ranks in third place, after abortion and contraception.

Saturday, January 30, 2010


On 29th January, in his annual address to the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, Pope Benedict XVI cautioned the members of the Church's highest marriage tribunal to consider marriages valid until proven the contrary. Granting easy access to marriage annulments was an offence against both justice and charity.
He warned against "the tendency -- widespread and well rooted though not always obvious -- to contrast justice with charity, almost as if the one excluded the other" The marriage laws of the Church are oriented toward the spiritual welfare of the individuals, and applying those laws properly is itself a work of charity. Ultimately, he continued, "The Church's juridical activity has as its goal the salvation of souls."
Pope Benedict acknowledged that a marriage tribunal comes under pressure to announce the nullity of a marriage, due to "the desires and expectations of the parties involved, or to the conditioning of the social environment." Nevertheless, he argued strenuously against lowering the standards of canon law in order to "achieve a declaration of nullity at any cost." He decried the use of pseudo-psychological theories that see any marital problems as evidence of nullity, observing that this approach has the deleterious effect of "transforming all conjugal difficulties into a symptom of a failed union whose essential nucleus of justice-- the indissoluble bond -- is thus effectively denied."
Recognizing that some Catholics who have divorced and remarried want to obtain annulments in order to resume their active membership in the Church, and regain access to the sacraments, the Pope expressed sympathy for their goals but cautioned against offering a "false advantage". If the first marriage was valid, he reasoned, then the remarried couple is living an objectively immoral situation. Under those circumstances, he said, "It would be a fictitious good, and a serious lack of justice and love, to smooth the way to the reception of the sacraments, with the danger of making them live in objective contrast to the truth of their own personal condition."

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


In August 2009, the World Congress of Families will take place in Amsterdam. The main theme of this conference is, 'The Family: More than the sum of its parts'. For the few past years, very little attention has actually been paid to this subject that is so very close to our hearts. The family, which one might actually consider as the smallest unit of democracy within our society, is the place in which we are educated as persons and from where we draw our individual identities. It is time that we fully appreciate the family in accordance with its true value. This is all the more important in the light of change. Society is changing, and families are following suit. Work and parenting are being shared to an ever-greater degree, and children feel comfortable about this. The part-time employment culture common to the Dutch is held as being exemplary in the eyes of other European countries. The Congress therefore strives towards affirming and strengthening this societal tendency by underwriting the importance of the family within the political and scientific arena. From a global perspective, it may be observed that families in developing countries are under considerable pressure due to conflicts, epidemics and migration. The question thus arises as to what investment is actually necessary to authentically alleviate some of the pressures placed upon the family worldwide. Considerable attention will be paid to this topic during the Congress. This year?s World Congress of Families will be the fifth in a series of congresses already held on this topic. The World Congress of Families is a foundation established within the United States and which functions as an umbrella organization for a large number of affiliated foundations. The W.C.F. aims to advance the role of the family throughout the world.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Based on an article in The Record Online which reports news of the parish, the nation and the world on a weekly basis with a special focus on the life of the Catholic Church in Western Australia.

Vienna's Cardinal Archbishop Christoph Schönborn accuses a number of his predecessors of lacking the courage to speak out against birth control and blames them in part for the declining birth rate in Europe, he said this to a Neocatechumenate meeting in Jerusalem on March 27, but it only appeared late in 2008 on the website of the Viennese archdiocese. From there, journalist Christa Pongratz-Lippitt picked up the story, reporting on it on November 8 in The Tablet of London.

Schönborn said that, after the publication of the 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae which reiterated traditional Church teaching condemning as immoral the use of birth control, many bishops' conferences around the world - including those of Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, the US and later Australia - issued statements assuring the faithfully that the issue was a matter of conscience. These bishops, Schönborn said, "frightened of the press and of being misunderstood by the faithful," distanced themselves from the Church's teaching. Now, Europe is "about to die out," and part of the reason is the lack of commitment by the bishops to the Church's true, fruitful, loving and beautiful pro-life teaching. He has told Inside the Vatican in the past that he is "very worried" about the plummeting population in Austria. In the talk he said "I think that it is also our sin as bishops, even if none of us were bishops in 1968, we have not had, or did not have, the courage to 'swim against the tide' and say yes to Humanae Vitae."

The Cardinal, who is close to Pope Benedict XVI, particularly criticised two of the many 1968 bishops' conference declaration on Humanae Vitae, which all stressed the importance of the individual conscience. He singled out the Maria Trost Declaration, whose signatories included Cardinal Franz Koenig, the late archbishop of Vienna, president of the Austrian bishops' conference and a Father of the Second Vatican Council, and Konigstein Declaration, whose signatories included Cardinal Julius Doepfner, the late archbishop of Munich, president of the German bishops' conference and another Council Father. Cardinal Schönborn accused the signatories of "weakening the People of God's sense for life so that when 'the wave of abortions' and increasing acceptance of homosexuality followed, the Church lacked the courage to oppose them".

There were a few memorable exceptions in 1968, the cardinal said, one of which was Krakow, where a group of theologians led by the archbishop and cardinal of Krakow, the future Pope John Paul II, drew up a memorandum which was sent to Pope Paul VI, urging him to write Humanae Vitae. "I think this witness by a martyr-bishop of the so-called Silent Church carried more weight than all the expertise Pope Paul VI had drawn up on this subject,"Cardinal Schönborn said. "It led him to make this courageous decision. I am convinced in my inner being, even if I have no historical evidence, that this text from Krakow helped to give Pope Paul VI the courage to write Humanae Vitae."

Schönborn thanked the Neocatechumenate families for having large families which produce many vocations, and he thanked Popes Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI for discerning between the different charisms and, following the example of St Paul in 1 Corinthians 14, saying which are of God. He asked God to forgive all bishops and give them courage to say "yes" to life.

Speaking from Melbourne, Bishop Peter Elliott told The Record Cardinal Schönborn comments were correct."What Cardinal Schönborn said is true - and it's time it was stated openly 40 years down the track."
To read this in full, and to see England's reaction to Humanae Vitae follow this link:

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