The year 1968 was, according to author Mark Kurlansky, the year that rocked the world. It was the year Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated. Major world events included the Vietnam War and the Tet offensive, the My Lai massacre, and the Prague Spring and its backlash. More relevant to this Catholic Carnival, 1968 was also the year that Pope Paul VI issued his controversial encyclical, Humanae Vitae. The fortieth anniversary of its release was 25 July. Because of the large amount of posts I received on Humanae Vitae and its impact today, I decided to focus on this document. Not to worry: the other submissions I received will still be covered.
What is Humanae Vitae? It is an encyclical that was written by Pope Paul VI that affirms the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church regarding issues pertaining to human life, most notably those having to do with marriage and family life, but receiving far more attention are the issues pertaining to sex within marriage, abortion, and contraception. It is a controversial document, and has elicited much debate. Interestingly it was described as "prophetic" by those who believe its predictions about the effects of contraception on modern society were accurate, as illustrated by an article that ran in the (Philippine) Inquirer, by Francisco S. Tatad. Not long after it was released, opposition to this encyclical was expressed by some Cardinals, bishops, and priests in Western Europe and the United States, and many lay Catholics expressed disagreement with the prohibition on artificial birth control. In fact, open dissent about teachings of the church was voiced widely and publicly.
Forty years later, the debate still rages on. Of late, laypersons including Janet E. Smith, Kimberly Hahn, Christopher West, and Mary Shivanandan have written extensively in support of the teaching, and on the reasons behind it. In addition, organisations such as Couple to Couple League and the Creighton Model FertilityCare System actively provide instruction and support for the natural methods of family planning and fertility awareness.
With that out of the way, here are the submissions that dealt specifically with themes and issues related to Humanae Vitae.
Evann's blog, Homeschool Goodies provided a list of news stories that covered the impact of Humanae Vitae 40 years after its release. Click here for that list.
Marcel, who is part of Texas A&M's St. Mary's Catholic Centre, blogged on Mary Eberstadt's article, The Vindication of Humanae Vitae. It is an extensive discussion of her article and the arguments contained therein. It is a well-researched article.
Kerri at Journal of a Nobody hopes to plant a seed into peoples' thoughts concerning the ecological benefits of using Natural Family Planning. She explains the benefits of NFP and encourages people to have an open mind as far as it's concerned. Read her post here and learn more about it.
Christine brought in a guest blogger at Domestic Vocation to discuss and defend Humanae Vitae. Her friend, Misty, wrote Razing the Arguments for Dissent from the point of view of a Natural Family Planning instructor, as well as someone who has lived with the consequences of contraception for many years.
Heidi at the Extraordinary Moms Network gave a list of posts she made on her other blog, Mommy Monsters Inc. which reflects what she considers to be the highlights of Humanae Vitae.
Heidi also posted at Behold Your Mother on St. Joseph and the sacrifices he may have made being the husband of Mary. Her reflection was based on a quote from Humanae Vitae that had to do with the "conjugal act" and the circumstances upon which it is not considered a true act of love. Confused? Read Heidi's post. She also reflects that priestly celibacy mirrors St. Joseph's sacrificial self-giving.
Speaking of sacrificial self-giving: Elena at My Domestic Church reflects on the trials and tribulations of pregnancy and childbirth. She appreciates the view of a male blogger, and quotes his reflections on pregnancy in her entry. She saves the rest of her reflection on a Catholic woman who has had an abortion in the past, and her change in perspective as to what a pregnant woman offers to God. Bottom line: "the scriptures tell us to make our bodies a living sacrifice". And that is how a woman's pregnancy is akin to giving glory to God.
Admittedly, one of the more difficult issues stemming from this document is abortion. Posted on Ὁι Λόγοι is a counter-argument to the justification of abortions in the case of rape. Der Wolfanwalt wrote:
Arguing that the unborn child is an innocent party to the rape, I create an analogy to a scenario wherein I am morally justified in killing a restaurant owner because he accepted payment for a meal bought with money stolen from me by a mugger.Much discussion was generated from this post, which led to a separate dialogue. Follow the twists and turns of this post here.
Christine at A Catholic View discussed a South Dakota law that went into effect a couple of weeks ago that states that their physicians must tell any woman seeking an abortion that they are "terminating the life of a whole separate, unique living human being".
Whew! We are 33% along the way.
Another common theme had to do with art, whether it be in life or within the liturgy. Soul Pockets submitted two posts with this in mind. Her first post discussed ways to get children involved with their communities and also in giving to various charities by having them do arts and crafts projects, such as colouring pictures, making hats and other knit items, making cards, drawings, goodie bags, etc. It's a good way to encourage children's creativity for a good cause.
Her second post at ..professio.. asserts that the greatest form of art is the Liturgy of the Catholic Mass. Read this beautiful post and allow the vivid descriptions to move you. It certainly moved me.
This lovely piece Christ in the house of His parents, painted by Sir John Everett Millais, was the subject of a reflection by Margaret on her blog The Earthly Paradise. She discusses the rich symbolism found in this painting.
Moving from paintings to books: Sister Spitfire gives a very hearty recommendation of Christopher West's soon-to-be-released book Heaven's Song. It is an exploration of some talks on the Theology of the Body, which were recently discovered in the Vatican archives. It promises to be a very fascinating read.
The next three submissions have to do with historical figures, with posts including poetry and other thoughts on these people.
Jason at Executed Today wrote about three women of the Noailles family, who were guillotined in Paris on 22 July 1794. From his post:
They are noteworthy of themselves because their courageous Catholic confessor, one Abbe Carrichon, made good a promise to accompany them to the very shadow of the blade to give them absolution and left to us in a description of these pious ladies’ nerve-wracking journey on the tumbrils one of the surprisingly few first-hand narrative descriptions of the Terror’s guillotine at work.Along with a brief description of one of the Noailles women, Adrienne (Madame de Lafayette) and the reason for sparing her the guillotine, the rest of this post contains the Abbe Carrichon’s account of the women's last moments, including his giving them absolution and their deaths by guillotine.
Hilary at Long-Skirts provided a poem praising St. John Bosco, who was a priest and teacher known for employing teaching methods based on love rather than on punishment.
Peter at Utter Muttering discusses St. Peter and how, according to Mt. 16:18, is intended to be the Head of the Church ("[a]nd so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it"). He then offers a different twist on the ages-old translation issue of the two forms of the word "rock" and show a link between David with a stone and Jesus with Peter, and the rest of us by association. It is, indeed, very interesting reading.
With that, we move on to other reflections based on the Gospel. The next two posts are reflections on Mt. 13:44-52, and continuing on the parables about the Kingdom.
Denise at Catholic Mom discusses the homily her parish priest delivered at Mass last Sunday and relates how the themes of the fish and the net thrown in the sea apply in her life, as far as caring for our own souls, as well as being mindful of the souls around us is concerned. Money quote: "If I trust God’s mercy will save me from my own sins, I must also trust that his mercy is also available to everyone else no matter how great their offenses. They only need the grace to accept this mercy and repent. So I have a responsibility to pray that they receive that grace". She pledges to continue swimming along to stay mindful of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Meanwhile, Kevin at Heart, Mind and Strength discusses not only what was found in the Gospel reading, but also ties in themes from the first two readings (1 Kgs 3:5, 7-12; Solomon's request; Rom 8:28-30). A quote from his post: "Living for the Kingdom may involve sacrifice, but it is indeed infinitely more than worthwhile". He then explores what the choice of the Kingdom means concretely.
Owen at luminousmiseries shares with us a "personal revelation" or realisation regarding how one should receive Holy Communion. It's an issue that has been long debated: do you receive on the tongue or in the hand? He received on the tongue for the first time and shared his feelings on that.
For me: I've done both. If I know I will be receiving from a priest (and admittedly for me, most especially from a Filipino priest), then I will receive on the tongue. I know they will not question me on that; I make every indication that I wish to receive on the tongue and they comply. If I'm receiving from an EEM, then I will receive in the hand. Of course, there are some (and yes, this also includes a few priests) who I've noticed will not raise the host whilst saying, "The Body of Christ" as they will just say that as they are placing the host in the communicant's hand. In that situation, I understand I'm not given a choice. But meek me, I just (internally) shrug and go along with it.
Of course, I'm generally rising from a rather deep bow at that point (and there is the insistence that you are bowing reverently as the person in front of you is receiving).
Ebeth from Catholic Mum Climbing the Pillars sent in a post concerning one of my pet peeves as far as the Mass is concerned: applause during the Mass. An icon depicts Pope Benedict XVI's views on applause during the Mass. Money quote: "It is a sure sign that the essence of Liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment". Those of you who have followed my musings know that I've whinged and wailed about applause at Mass. Glad to know that His Holiness feels the same way I do about this issue.
Well, ladies and gentlemen: we are now 74% complete. We now come to the Personal Reflections corner of the Carnival.
Fellow chemist and blogger Michelle at Quantum Theology wrote about the trials and tribulations of raising teen-aged boys. She illustrated one "battle of wills" in particular with one of her sons, to whom she referred as "Barnacle Boy". They both go to Mass, and whilst singing the Litany of the Saints, both mother and son make a discovery of sorts. Read on here for more of this story.
In the meantime, Lisa at A Life of Benevolence wrote an eloquent post about how to make room for God. Her proposal includes her story about decluttering her life and gave a couple of book recommendations, including one book from which her title derived: S.K. Rowland's Making Room for God: Clearing Out the Clutter.
On the other hand, Jane at Building the Ark managed to find God in the garbage. Sounds unusual, doesn't it? She lives in a community that mandates the size and type of garbage can that must be used. She had some extra cans which did not match the size the bureaucrats mandated, so she sent a message, offering to give them away for free. Read the rest of the post to see what happened to those extra cans. It's a nice story.
Sarah at just another day of Catholic pondering reflected on that lovely item that can be as high as an elephant's eye (yes, I've got Oklahoma on the brain for the moment): corn. As the tassels whisper to her, she finds the pull of nature, and the hug of God.
Another eloquent post comes from Cathy at From the Field of Blue Children. She blogs on the art of disappointment. She doesn't give the details over what caused her disappointment, but instead offers a reflection on how she deals with it: by accepting it, and offering her acceptance of it to God.
Kathleen at Daily Awareness shares an example on how God’s delays are not being God’s denials. She shared the story of Queen Emily, who is a single mother of three children. She had dreams and aspirations of being a singer. Read her story and see how her dream unfolds.
And finally, last but not least, we have a wonderful idea by Sean at Catholic New Media Roundup. He first attracted my attention when he hosted Catholic Carnival 168 when he posted that as a podcast simulcast. I thought it was a novel new way to publish the Carnivals. Now, he wants to help you get the word out. He wants you, those of you who have blogs, podcasts, and other related media with Catholic themes, to send in your promos. Click here to download his promo. There, he gives information on how to contact him so you can send your promo to him.
And now we come to the end of another edition of the Catholic Carnival. Thanks again everyone for your wonderful submissions. This I'll have to admit was the most difficult Carnival for me to put together, mainly because of the heavy reading that went along with it. (Gotta give this science geek something different to read from time to time, yes?) Until next time ... peace and love to you all.
I've discerned that these Carnivals can only be as good as the entries you bring to the party. Please feel free to submit your thoughts to future Carnivals. A handy-dandy form may be found by clicking here. In addition, a list of past and future Carnivals may be obtained by clicking here.
Note: Carnival art print by Catherine Jones, at AllPosters.com.