Category Archives: Abortion

Catholics don’t like sex (WRONG!!)


-by Theresa Zoe Williams

“In his book detailing his and his family’s conversion to Catholicism, The Catholic Church Saved My Marriage, Dr. David Anders points out four radical areas of the Church’s teachings on sex and marriage—teachings that helped bring him into the Church. “Protestants and Catholics have different views of marriage, I came to understand, because they have different views about the foundational concepts of morality, spirituality, salvation, and human happiness.

Catholics believe that the ultimate end of human life is loving union with God and neighbor. Aided by grace, we ought to bend every fiber of our being toward that end. Catholic ideas about marriage and contemplative life reflect that lofty calling. The Protestant tradition also extols loving union with God but has always been more skeptical about the Christian’s moral potential,” Anders writes. So let’s look at what the Church teaches and what convinced Dr. Anders and his family of the truth of Catholicism.

1. Contraception and sodomy

On this very first point, Anders makes the distinction that Catholic teaching forbids both while Protestantism has never broadly decried these except outside of marriage. This is probably why Catholics get the “prude” label so often, because the first discourses on sex is a list of “Nos.”

But really, these Nos are really yeses to so much more. To say no to something less good or even bad (as contraception is both morally and physically) is to say yes to something better, greater. A common criticism of Catholic teaching in this area is that Catholics just want you to have as many babies as possible, reducing women to embryo incubators and sex to a means to an end only. Neither of these things is true, of course, and that’s exactly what Dr. Anders discovered.

“No, Catholic don’t think you should have as many babies as you possibly can,” Anders writes of his discoveries in his studies. “No, the pope is not simply trying to grow the Church through fertility. And, no, Catholic opposition to birth control does not mean the Church is heedless of teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, or other dangers associated with sexual activity. Rather, I found that Catholics have developed a rich theology of the human person that takes full account of man’s social, sexual, and psychological nature. Moral theology, I came to understand, is more than just listing all the prohibitions mentioned in Scripture; it is the science of human happiness. Just as a physician prescribes treatments for the flourishing of the body, the moral theologian seeks the flourishing of the whole person by asking, ‘How can man act in the world to achieve his true good?’”

2. Virginity, celibacy, and continence

It’s no secret that Catholics hold virginity and celibacy in high regards, sometimes the highest of regards. So many of the early saints are name Saint So-and-So, Virgin Martyr. And the early Fathers talk extensively about celibacy. These concepts and teachings have been with Catholics from the very beginning. And, sometimes feel really outdated because of that. Or, it seems oppressive. These can be valid criticisms, if the Church’s teaching meant only the denial of the sexual appetite. But it doesn’t. The Church’s teachings on virginity and celibacy actually are meant to point us towards heaven even more, that our bodies are actually symbols of Christ and divine love.

Dr. Anders found answers and inspiration in the early Christian ascetics: “These Christian ascetics were motivated not by hatred of the body or by a craven fear of damnation but by the promise of friendship with God. Augustine did not despise marriage; indeed he wrote one of the great Catholic treatises praising marriage. What Augustine, Antony, and other ancient Christians valued most, though, was the idea of a life given wholly to God. Marriage is a good state of life, but Christian contemplation is better.”

What’s even more astounding about this teaching of the Church is how widespread it was. Anders also picks up on this. “When I started reading about this ancient spirituality,” he writes, “I was surprised by how widespread it was. From Ireland to Persia, ancient Christians were almost unanimous in their praise of virginity and continence. Whatever else might be true about them, the earliest believers surely did not share modern Protestant attitudes towards sex.”

3. Why Catholics can’t divorce

Just to start off on the same page, no, annulments aren’t “Catholic divorces”. There is no such thing as a Catholic divorce. An annulment is a dissolution of a marriage, a ruling that finds that no sacrament was conferred in by the partners to each other during the wedding. You can’t end a marriage that never was. And that brings us to the Catholic view of marriage versus the Protestant view of marriage. To Catholics, marriage is a sacrament, but to Protestants, a marriage is a simple civil contract. If marriage is just a civil contract, of course it can be broken and dissolved. But if marriage is a sacrament, a visible sign of an inward grace, then that’s not something humans can just undo.

“The differences between Protestant and Catholic teaching on marriage have their roots in two fundamental issues. First, the Protestant Reforms thought that Catholic teaching on human sexuality was just too difficult. Second, the Reformers resented the authority that the Catholic Church exercised over Christian marriage. The way they tried to solve these ‘problems’ theologically was to naturalize Christian marriage, removing it from the realm of the supernatural. A major part of the Reformation, therefore, was an attack on the sacramentality of Christian marriage. The Reformers never denied that god instituted marriage at the creation of Adam and Eve. They simply denied that Christ elevated marriage to a sacrament,” Dr. Anders writes. This distinction is paramount to a Catholic understanding of marriage.

4. Marriage is a sacrament

So, Catholics believe that Christ did indeed raise marriage to a sacrament, and that makes all the difference. But a Protestant or non-Christian would firstly ask where this can be found in Scripture. I submit four Scriptural references for consideration, which Dr. Anders affirms: Matthew 19:8; 1 Corinthians 7:11, 17-20; 1 Corinthians 6:15; and Ephesians 5:25-32. One from Jesus’s own mouth and three from St. Paul, whom the Protestants love.

Dr. Anders writes of these Scriptures: “The first and most obvious fact was that Christ established a clear distinction between marriage under the old law and marriage restored by Christ. When the Pharisees questioned Jesus about divorce in the Mosaic Law, he acknowledged that Moses allowed this because of their ‘hardness of heart’ (Matt. 19:8). But now, Christ was calling his disciples to the perfection of marriage only possible by grace. Second, in his First Letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul holds the marriage of two baptized Christians to a higher standard than that of a Christian to a non-Christian. In 1 Corinthians 6, St. Paul teaches that Christians must not engage in sexually immoral behavior. Paul teaches that a Christian’s very body has been permanently changed in a way that identifies him with Christ and thereby affects his sexuality. The Christian literally carried the body of Christ with him into the marriage bed. In the fifth chapter of Ephesians, St. Paul clearly teaches that Christian marriage is a sign or symbol of Christ’s marriage to the Church. St. Paul connects the holiness of Christian marriage to the mystery of Christ’s Body, the Church. As holiness flows from Christ to the Church, so, in a way, holiness flows from the sanctified bodies of the baptized spouses, because of their union with Christ.”

The Catholic way of life, especially as concerns sex, truly is radical. But it is transcendent. Catholic sexual ethics call us out of the ordinary of this earthly life and point us to the eternal and infinite. It’s not an easy path, as Dr. Anders found out, but it is good and fulfilling.”

Love & prayers for strength, patience, fidelity (in SO many ways) and love for all those married,
Matthew

Protestants & the evil of abortion


-God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. Gen 1:31


-by Julie Roys, 2/25/15

(Julie Roys is an Evangelical Christian reporter. She graduated from Wheaton College and also attended the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Julie has published many articles at Christianity Today, World Magazine. Religion News Service, The Federalist, and The Christian Post. As a respected, conservative Christian voice, Julie also has been interviewed numerous times on National Public Radio, One America News, and Total Living Network. Julie hosted a live, call-in talk radio show on the Moody Radio Network that was called Up For Debate for six years. For calling out the issues at Moody she apparently lost her job. Julie and her husband live in the Chicago area and they have three children.)

“When Jackie sent an email to her church asking about its post-abortion recovery group, she used an alias and created a new account to hide her identity. Even now, 11 years after her abortion, and after sharing her story to dozens of other women, Jackie asked me not to use her real name. She still hasn’t told her daughter or many people at church that she’s had an abortion. “It’s just such a shameful secret,” she said.

Abortion is difficult for almost any post-abortive woman to discuss. Pro-choice activists attribute this reluctance to a pervasive stigma that stems from society’s “shame-based message that abortion is wrong.” They try to remove this shame by defending abortion, saying unborn babies are not persons or convincing women that abortion actually did them, or society, a favor.

However, in the church, we face the challenge of upholding the sanctity of life, while simultaneously ministering to women who feel overwhelming shame about their abortions. Our response is not to deny the sin and death inherent in abortion. Instead, we point women to the healing found in a community centered around the One who redeems us from all sin.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, one in every five women who gets an abortion identifies as a born-again, evangelical, charismatic, or fundamentalist Christian. Given that more than a million women abort each year in the US, this means a staggering 200,000 Bible-believing Christians annually. And according to Christian ministries working with this population, a vast majority of them will never reveal their secret.

In interviews with about a dozen post-abortive Christian women, I heard each say they deeply regret their abortions and experienced profound emotional and spiritual trauma as a result. Without a place to confess and seek recovery, women who’ve had abortions remain shackled by fear, grief, and guilt.

“These women have no idea how this is affecting every facet of their lives – their relationships with their husbands, their children,” said Kathy Rutledge, who leads a study calledSurrendering the Secret at a non-denominational church in Kentucky. Rutledge said her shame kept her from volunteering at church and made her fear God’s punishment for her choice in the past. “I was… convinced that God was going to take my children from me,” she said.

Jackie, who after years of silence finally sought healing in a recovery group, likens women’s silence about their abortions to a splinter in their flesh. “Until you get it out,” she said, “the healing really can’t begin. It just continues to fester.”

Certainly, the church has grown in its ability to minister to these women. In the past 20 years, abortion recovery groups have multiplied in churches nationwide. Surrendering the Secret has trained about 2,500 leaders in churches and crisis pregnancy centers. Another leading recovery ministry, Rachel’s Vineyard, hosts about 1,000 retreats annually in 48 states and 57 other countries. Yet, these statistics pale in comparison to the number of post-abortive women in the church (not to mention the men who carry regret over their wives’ or girlfriends’ abortions).

Leaders in post-abortion recovery ministry say the church remains reluctant to fully face the impact of abortion within their own congregations. Rutledge said she once gave her testimony to a group of women at a megachurch in the South and by the end, several women were “practically bawling.” Yet, when Rutledge asked about doing a follow-up, the group’s leader said, “None of my women have had an abortion… and even if they did, they don’t need to be speaking about it.”

Nancy Kruezer, who serves as Chicago Regional Coordinator for Silent No More, said some pastors express fears that if they address abortion, it will “open the floodgates,” and they will be overwhelmed by wounded people. Others object because they say the topic is too political—or that discussing abortion might actually make it more acceptable.

But, Kruezer, said these fears are unfounded and that women desperately need to talk about their abortions. As a result of her abortion 22 years ago, Kruezer said she suffered overwhelming fear, anxiety, and nightmares. These problems persisted for about 15 years until Kruezer finally confessed her abortion to her small group. “They prayed for me,” Kruezer said, and “through them, I experienced God’s mercy.”

Kruezer also confessed her abortion to her pastor. “And, it was in confession,” Kruezer said, “that I came to understand that Jesus had truly come for me—not for the perfect or the righteous, but he had come for me, the sinner, the wounded.”

Stories like hers, when shared publically in the church, can lead fellow Christian women to admit their abortions and seek healing for the first time. Also, those who are considering abortion hear a stark warning—that abortion doesn’t solve our problems, but devastates those who participate.

“Silence is a powerful weapon of the enemy,” Kruezer said. “It’s in silence that the truth remains hidden and that lies flourish… lies that justify the killing of unborn children, lies that say abortion doesn’t hurt people.”

Jackie vividly remembers when Catherine Walker, a woman who runs an abortion recovery ministry called Life After Decision, shared her testimony in front of Jackie’s church. Walker told the congregation that she had had three abortions before becoming a believer and one after coming to Christ. Her fourth abortion happened when she was a brand-new believer, unmarried and uncertain if she was ready to have a baby.

“I was just so shocked,” Jackie recalls. “I never would have guessed that somebody else that could just look like a church-goer… somebody I would pass in the hallways, also had (an abortion). It was freeing.”

Jackie’s abortion had occurred nine years earlier, when she was in a prodigal season of her life. Though she had grown up in the church, she was reeling from a divorce and had begun engaging in casual sex. “I just got into this very devastated, dark place,” she recalled. “I can hardly even believe that I ever was that person—scared to death. I grew up in a family (where) nobody had a child out of wedlock… I just couldn’t imagine telling them about being pregnant.”

About a year after her abortion, Jackie returned to the Lord, but kept silent about her abortion for years. After hearing Walker’s, though, she got the courage to join a recovery group. “For whatever reason,” Jackie said, “part of the healing is just telling everything and feeling safe to do that.”

Our churches need to regularly communicate that they are safe places women like Jackie. While we cannot whitewash the sin of abortion, we also can’t ignore those who at one time have had abortions and are suffering. We must let them know that Jesus’ blood covers all sin, including theirs.”

Love,
Matthew