The Catholic Church has been described as the continuation of the salvific mission of Christ to the world. Vatican II tells us, "the Churchhas the duty by divine mandate of going out into the whole world and preaching the Gospel to all men," and goes on to underscore the work of evangelization as the fundamental duty of the people of God in saying: "Let all realize that their first and most important obligation toward the spread of the Faith is this: to lead a profoundly Christian life" (Decree on the Missionary Activity of the Churchn. 30). The saints are missionaries "par excellence." If all Catholics led holy lives, the whole world would soon be Catholic.
Today the greatest enemy of the Churchs missionary activity is not the world around her, but the deep internal wound of the contraceptive mentality. This wound impedes the Churchs mission in many ways.
Unity in teaching the truth, including the teaching of the Godpel of Life, is essential to evangelization. Tragically, that unity does not exist. After the publication of the encyclical Humanae Vitae in 1968, twelve national Conferences of Bishops so distorted the teaching of the encyclical as to virtually destroy it. Among the worst statements were those of the Bishops of Belgium, the Netherlands, West Germany and Canada. Illustrative of the worst is the Canadian bishops' "Winnipeg Statement". Paragraph 26 declares that in some circumstances spouses "may be safely assured that whoever follows that course which seems right to him does so in good conscience." Added to the erroneous teaching of some hierarchies was that of numerous dissenting theologians, including, Karl Rahner, Hans Kung and Andrew Greeley.
Those who contracept are spiritually dead, objectively unfit for reception of Holy Communion and incapable of supernatural merit. They are far from giving the example of a Christian life. Given that the majority of spouses of childbearing age in Europe, the U.S., Canada and other countries are contracepting, one can see how large a block this is to the church's christ-given mission of converting the world.
Widespread Contraception, with suicidal birthrates, leaves the Churchwithout adequate vocations to the priesthood, religious life, and missionary work. Religious vocations and a faithful, dedicated laity generally come from families faithful to the Church
The contraceptive mentality reduces the Churchs ability to withstand attacks. The more Catholics are reduced in relative numbers, the more likely they are to be oppressed. Catholics become victims of a secularized press and other media, discriminated against by civil laws and unable to respond effectively.
The principle means of overcoming the contraceptive mentality is prayer. Out of prayer will come the grace to support those efforts and groups fighting bravely on behalf of life. the Church our Mother, through whom we are born into grace and have the hope of salvation, is in peril. Pope John Paul II said: "Prayer is the basic prerequisite to save the Church"
May we pray with the breviary oration:
"Father, help us to work generously for the salvation of the world so that Thy church may bring us and all mankind into Thy presence. Grant this Through Christour Lord."
Monsignor Foy was ordained a priest in 1939, and is an expert on Catholic teachings on marriage and family life, especially Pope Paul VI's encyclical Humanae Vitae. Although officially retired, Msgr. Foy, 87, is a tireless author and continually writes letters and publishes booklets, essays and articles, including this one, the last in a series on the evils of Contraception.