U.S. Bishop defends Humanae Vitae, tells students to be ‘politically incorrect’
SANTA PAULA, California, May 25, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – An American Catholic bishop has challenged young people to courageously speak the truth about human nature. Only doing this will stop our culture from becoming more and more dehumanized, he warned.
Bishop Robert C. Morlino of Madison, Wisconsin gave the must-read commencement address on May 22 to the St Thomas Aquinas College Class of 2018. Contrasting the order, truth, and charity he found at the faithful Catholic college to the “chaos” and “Political Correctness” reigning at other campuses, Morlino warned that we live “in the age of eclipse of reason.”
“Aristotle defined truth in a marvelously clear way,” the bishop said, “using words of only one syllable each: “Truth is to say of what is, that it is, and to say of what is not, that it is not” (Metaphysics, ch. 7). That’s what truth is. And that offends people.”
Having forgotten how to reason, our culture thinks truth is merely a matter of politics, Morlino observed.
“How does our culture describe truth?” he asked. “Truth is the opposite of whatever President Trump says or does: the politicization of truth. Just about the most offensive thing you can say now is that men are men and women are women. Who would ever think that that’s controversial? If you’re a man, then be a man. If you’re a woman, then be a woman. That’s speaking truth. And that’s what our world does not want to hear.”
It is, therefore, the duty of well-educated Catholic men and women to bring reason back to our culture, the bishop told the graduands.
“So a part of your mission is to make the voice of reason heard in our culture,” he said. “You have been equipped with an outstanding education. That is a gift you have received that you must also share with others. You must shine the light of reason on the darkness of our world, and often that means you have to be politically incorrect.”
One way to be politically incorrect is to “celebrate” the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae. In his address, Bishop Morlino explained why Paul VI’s encyclical condemns artificial contraception: because these practices break the link between the two dimensions of human sexuality designed by God.
“...[T]here is an inseparable link between the procreative and unitive dimensions of human sexuality,” he stated. “That sacred space of sexual union between husband and wife was created by God for a purpose. And the main purpose of that sexual union is the generation of new life. That’s at the heart of God’s plan for human sexuality: The generation of new life.”
Morlino contrasted the married couple’s co-operation with God to create the next generation with the contemporary idea that sex is for pleasure, and children are just a side-effect. But if sex is about pleasure, then there can be no lasting marriage, the bishop said, as marriage prevents a person from seeking “other options.” And without marriage, it does matter what it means to be male or female, he asserted.
He suggested a new way in which young men should make a marriage proposal to their sweethearts.
“I have a suggestion for you young men thinking about getting married,” Morlino said. “When you propose, don’t say: ‘Will you marry me?’ Say this instead: ‘Will you allow me to be the one who lays down his life for you?’ That’s what you should ask her, because that’s what marriage is all about. It’s about children and it’s about sacrifice.”
After remarking on the beauty of marriage, Morlino stressed that marriage and the moral law are rooted in human nature. This means that our culture has to remember once again what human nature is.
“Marriage is rooted in human nature. And the moral law is rooted in human nature,” he explained. “So we need to recover an understanding of human nature, of what it means to be human and of what it means to be male and female. And this begins with the rediscovery of final causes, of purpose, in nature. Modern man has forgotten that things have purposes and that meaning lies in the fulfillment of purpose. And so he is unable to see the objective grounds of natural law morality.”
Unfortunately, the language of the natural law has become a “foreign language” and so Catholics have to find a “common ground” to have a “fruitful conversation” with the contemporary world. This means being able to argue from “first principles”, building arguments “step by step”, which, the bishop said, “requires patience”.
It also requires courage, Morlino warned, but he was adamant that the conversation must take place if we are to stop our culture from becoming more and more “dehumanized.”
“We have to recover an understanding of human nature — of what it means to be human and of what it means to be male and female — if we do not want to see our culture become more and more dehumanized,” he said. |And that has already been going on for a long time.”
The consequences of failure are dire, leading to the end of democracy, civilization and basic respect for the individual human being, he warned.
“The end of natural law means the end of democracy and the end of civilization,” the bishop stated. “You can’t have a civilized society, and you certainly can’t have a just democracy, without a basic respect for human beings and for their intrinsic value and dignity. Respect for the dignity of the individual human being is grounded in natural law.”