Cardinal Burke: Restoring Respect for the Conjugal Act Is ‘Essential’ to Future of West

VATICAN CITY, May 3, 2014 – Cardinal Raymond Burke, one of America’s leading prelates, urged pro-life citizens and leaders to promote respect for the sexual act at an international pro-life conference in Rome Saturday.

“The restoration of respect for the integrity of the conjugal act is essential to the future of Western culture, the advancement of a culture of life,” the cardinal said. “Fundamental to the transformation of Western culture is the proclamation of the truth about the conjugal union in its fullness and the correction of the contraceptive thinking which fears life, which fears procreation.”

The cardinal, who is prefect of the Vatican's Apostolic Signatura, its highest court, was speaking in a keynote address at the inaugural International Pro-Life Conference, held the day before the Italian March for Life. The event was hosted by LifeSiteNews in partnership with Human Life International and Family Life International New Zealand.

read entire article by Patrick Craine, at LifeSiteNews

Key excerpts from Cardinal Burke's address on marriage and family (beginning on page 21)

The manipulation of the conjugal act, as Pope Paul VI courageously observed, has led to many forms of violence against marriage and family life.[59]  Through the spread of the contraceptive mentality, especially among the young, human sexuality is no longer seen as the gift of God which draws a man and a woman together in a bond of lifelong and faithful love, crowned by the gift of new human life, but, rather, as a tool for personal gratification.[60] Once sexual union is no longer seen to be procreative by its very nature, human sexuality is abused in ways that are profoundly harmful and indeed destructive of individuals and of society itself. One has only to think of the devastation which is daily wrought in our world by the multi-million dollar industry of pornography on the internet. Fundamental to the transformation of Western culture is the proclamation of the truth about the conjugal union in its fullness and the correction of the contraceptive thinking which fears life, which fears procreation.

It is instructive to note that Pope Benedict XVI, in his Encyclical Letter Caritas in Veritate, makes special reference to Pope Paul VI’s Encyclical Letter Humanae Vitae, underscoring its importance “for delineating the fully human meaning of the development that the Church proposes.”[61] Pope Benedict XVI makes clear that the teaching in Humanae Vitae is not simply a matter of “individual morality,” declaring:

Humanae vitae indicates the strong links between life ethics and social ethics, ushering in a new area of magisterial teaching that has gradually been articulated in a series of documents, most recently John Paul II’s Encyclical Letter Evangelium Vitae.[62]

Pope Benedict XVI makes clear the essential part which a right understanding of human sexuality has in true human development.

In treating the question of procreation, Pope Benedict XVI underscored the critical importance of the right understanding of human sexuality, marriage and the family. He wrote:

The Church, in her concern for man’s authentic development, urges him to have full respect for human values in the exercise of his sexuality. It cannot be reduced merely to pleasure or entertainment, nor can sex education be reduced to technical instruction aimed solely at protecting the interested parties from possible disease or the “risk” of procreation. This would be to impoverish and disregard the deeper meaning of sexuality, a meaning which needs to be acknowledged and responsibly appropriated not only by individuals but also by the community.[63]

The restoration of respect for the integrity of the conjugal act is essential to the future of Western culture, the advancement of a culture of life. In the words of Pope Benedict XVI, it is necessary “once more to hold up to future generations the beauty of marriage and the family, and the fact that these institutions correspond to the deepest needs and dignity of the person.”[64] Correspondingly, Pope Benedict XVI noted that “States are called to enact policies promoting the centrality and integrity of the family founded on marriage between a man and a woman, the primary vital cell of society, and to assume responsibility for its economic and fiscal needs, while respecting its essentially relational character.”[65]

The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us that “[s]o called moral permissiveness rests on an erroneous conception of human freedom” and that “the necessary precondition for the development of true freedom is to let oneself be educated in the moral law.”[66] As is clear from the above considerations, individual freedom and the freedom of society in general depend upon a fundamental education in the truth about human sexuality and the exercise of that truth in a pure and chaste life. The Catechism of the Catholic Church goes on to observe: “Those in charge of education can reasonably be expected to give young people instruction respectful of the truth, the qualities of the heart, and the moral and spiritual dignity of man.”[67] For the Christian, this entails education in holiness of life and in the respect owed to the inviolable dignity of self, body and soul, and of others as one’s self.



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