As a person in the pews, I will let you in on a secret. The number one issue that divides the so-called conservative catholics like...and myself from the left-of center ones is not Vatican II, it is not liturgy, it is not social justice, it is not the abortion issue, it is not war or foriegn policy; it is the acceptance of so-called liberal Pope Paul VI's encyclical "Humanae Vitae". This short document determines the factions in this church.
To which I responded, in part:
Thanks, Ben. Good to hear from you. I remembering reading Humanae vitae in studies (in a theological school without any Christian "symbols" in the classrooms, by the way) and being so impressed.
For all who only remember it as being about artificial birth control, go back and read it. Take note of the warnings listed therein, note how they have come true, and let us ask ourselves if we can do better.
At the time this conversation in the comment box gave me that feeling that there was something I had read once upon a time that spoke to it rather sharply, but I couldn't remember what it was. Today I recalled the text I was thinking of, given to me by an earnest yet troubled missionary all the way back in the seventh grade. It's from The Satanic Bible, by Anton LaVey, first published in 1969. It's amazing how a text can lie hidden and quiet in the mind for 25 years:
Past religions have always represented the spiritual nature of man, with little or no concern for his carnal or mundane needs. They have considered this life but transitory, and the flesh merely a shell; physical pleasure trivial, and pain a worthwhile preparation for the "Kingdom of God". How well the utter hypocrisy comes forth when the "righteous" make a change in their religion to keep up with man's natural change! The only way that Christianity can ever completely serve the needs of man is to become as Satanism is NOW.
It has become necessary for a NEW religion, based on man's natural instincts, to come forth. THEY have named it. It is called Satanism. It is that power condemned that has caused the religious controversy over birth-control measures - a disgruntled admission that sexual activity, for fun, is here to stay.
It is the "Devil" who caused women to show their legs, to titillate men - the same kind of legs, now socially acceptable to gaze upon, which are revealed by young nuns as they walk about in their shortened habits. What a delightful step in the right (or left) direction! Is it possible we will soon see "topless" nuns sensually throwing their bodies about to the "Missa Solemnis Rock"? Satan smiles and says he would like that fine - many nuns are very pretty girls with nice legs.
Now there's a lot for discussion! I'm not sure what it all means, and I'll leave that to you. Oh, and in your charity say a prayer for the kid who put this text in my hands at the tender age of twelve. I don't know what became of him. I think his name was Rich.