By The The Pope’s Fool News Service
October 28, 2014
“Holy crap, Andy! I haven’t read my Aquinas in a while, but looking through this thing,” he said, pointing to a printout of the birth control encyclical Humanae Vitae sitting on the table between them, “I’m hard-pressed to find an actual natural law argument in it.” The speaker was Cardinal Jann Lazzamotti, newly appointed member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican congregation responsible for promoting and safeguarding faith and morals throughout the Catholic world.
“When’s the last time you’ve read through it, Your Eminence?” asked his associate, auxiliary Bishop Andrew Blackwood.
“Probably when it came out, over 45 years ago,” replied the cardinal.
“Indeed,” said the bishop. “Be that as it may, you raise a good point, a point that was made more than once at the time of the encyclical’s release. You might recall the uproar it caused and the push-back against it, not only from theologians and the faithful, but even from the bishops. As I recall, fewer than half of the world’s bishop conferences received it without attempting to mitigate its message. The point you raise might also explain why 95% of the faithful have studiously ignored it.”
“It’s just a reiteration of previous papal teaching banning birth control, except for the Pope Pius XII carve-out for natural family planning,” he continued, picking up the encyclical and waving it in front of him. “There is no natural law argument in this, just declarations! And they don’t even make sense!”
“That is unfortunate for what is alleged to be a natural law argument,” replied the bishop, “which by its very nature is a creature of reason, and therefore must make sense. Your Eminence might reflect upon the possibility that the faithful intuitively figured this out a long time ago.”
The cardinal stared at the bishop for a few seconds, and then at the encyclical in his hand. After that, he flagged down the waiter and ordered another bottle of wine.