REASONS CLERGY GIVE FOR THEIR SILENCE AT THE PULPIT ON NFP- Part 1
REASONS CLERGY GIVE FOR THEIR SILENCE AT THE PULPIT ON NFP - Part 1
"Talking about contraception and sterilization would scandalize the children in the congregation. Thus, I can’t deal with them at the pulpit.”
But Jesus didn’t have such reservations. When he was addressing large crowds he talked about sexual sins. Recall the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:27). Children are not offended by a teaching on God’s plan for spousal love. Rather, they are the victims of silence at the pulpit. People get hurt when there is confusion about right and wrong, and there is a great confusion today about the moral evil of contraception and sterilization. Children do not understand the language we use when discussing capital punishment, euthanasia, or experimentation on human embryos. They take from a homily what they need. If they have questions, they can ask their parents for an explanation suited to their level of comprehension.
Refusing to address major moral issues at the pulpit, in effect, makes infants of the entire congregation, who often do not know that contraception and sterilization are wrong, and do not understand why they are wrong. Today we have many adults who are seriously immature in the development of their conscience.
"It’s okay to talk about these matters in RCIA, marriage preparation classes and to provide pamphlets on these issues in the vestibule, but not at the pulpit."
But this approach misses the point. "These times call for people who will look the truth in the eye, and call things by their proper names, without yielding to convenient compromise or to the temptation of self-deception" (Evangelium Vitae 57). Important issues cannot be censored from the pulpit. If a message does not happen at the pulpit, it doesn’t happen. There is great ignorance among Catholics about the morality of contraception and sterilization. Very few understand why these choices and acts are immoral. Many people think that if a topic is not treated at the pulpit, where it is heard by all, then it is not important and can be ignored. RCIA classes, marriage prep classes, and the pamphlet rack are good ways to supplement teaching from the pulpit, but can never replace it.
Fr. Matthew Habiger OSB