Is the Teaching of
the Encyclical Humanae Vitae
Taught and Practiced in the Church?
Fr. John A. Nariai
Humanae Vitae Research Institute
Thirty years ago, on July 25, the Feast of St. James, Pope Paul VI signed the encyclical Humanae Vitae. He reaffirmed with Christ's authority what Church had always taught: that the unitive and procreative ends of marriage might never be licitly separated. The encyclical reaffirms the intrinsic evil of abortion, of direct sterilization, and contraception. In short, a " No" to life through any of these means is, above all else, a " No" to God.
Did the Catholic bishops, let alone the rest of the world, accept Humanae Vitae? Did the Catholic Christians accept it? When bishops and priests do not teach the teachings of Encyclical Humanae Vitae, do you expect the faithful to practice them? The conclusion is: that the teachings of Humanae Vitae are not taught and practiced in the Church, at least not taught enough. This is a pessimistic conclusion but you and I are not pessimists. Of course there are many good and courageous bishops, priests, and lay people, who stand firmly with the encyclical Humanae Vitae, although they may not be the majority. Then, what are they? Minority or remnant? Whatever they are, for God they are enough to raise again strongly Catholic people when time comes and the dissenters will go extinct. They have no or very few children after all.
In the Encyclical Gospel of Life, Pope John Paul II reaffirmed the teachings of Humanae Vitae. In it, he used the terms " culture of life and culture of death." Let me illustrate how different these two cultures are and let us rejoice we belong to the culture of life.
I work as a seaport-chaplain and visit ships to say mass especially for the Philippine seamen. On Easter last year, after the mass the captain invited me to stay on board for lunch, which I happily accepted. In front of me sat three off duty seamen wanting to speak with me while I had lunch. They all said they had problems and wanted me to share their problems. I want you also to share their problems.
Seaman A: Father, I wanted a son but my wife gives me only daughters, six of them. When the last girl was born, the whole family decided to pray to God for a boy. It took us four years but finally my wife gave me a son. He was born on Christmas. Why not name him Jesus, we thought. The priest said " No." Then we came up with another name, Christ. Again the priest was not pleased. Finally we decided to name him JeChri. That was my problem and that's solved. Now JeChri is six years old and wants to become a priest when he grows up. That is my problem, Father.
Seaman B: Father, I also have a problem. I wanted a girl, but for some reasons, my wife gives me boys only, four of them. This morning I called up my wife. she told me that there was a young woman standing outside the door holding a baby-girl, and that she wanted us to adopt that baby. I could hear my youngest son shouting, " Adopt that baby, Papa. She is cute." Father, what should I do?
Seaman C: Father, I am the youngest of the family. I have 13 siblings of whom 2 live in Miami, but during my vacation I have visit 11 brothers and sisters who are all married and have children. I cannot visit them empty-handed. Especially the children expect me to bring them souvenirs. That is my problem, Father.
Would you call these problems problems? I would not. They are the glorious joy that can be found only in large families, where the teachings of Humanae Vitae are valued and where life is important.
On 1-3 October, 1997, Theological Pastoral Congress on the Family was held in Rio de Janeiro with the Holy Father John Paul II present, and one and half a million people gathered. It was a feast of large families in one aspect. From Japan Bishop Nomura of Nagoya attended and accompanied a family with 3 children. In his eyes, this family was already exemplary and large enough. My immediate reation was: what is the matter with this bishop? There are Catholic families with 10 or 12 children, if he looks around. Why did he not choose from such families? 3 children are only the minimum for a good Catholic family. Choosing such a family to attend that congress was not fitting.
God created man in the image of himself, male and female he created them. God blessed them, saying to them, " Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and conquer them" (Gen. 1: 26-28). This is what God taught us and I tell young people to have at least three children. Do you know when a woman is most beautiful and sexy in her life? When she is young? On her wedding day? Wrong! My theory is that a woman becomes most beautiful when she had 2 children. Why? God tells young couples to multiply and increase. So, God must give incentive to the husbands when wives have had two children. At a conference which took place in Hokkaido a couple of years ago, I spoke about this theory of mine to a French missionary working in Japan. He did not like it. He did not even smile. He did not think it was amusing With a stern face, he said: " Father Nariai, are you married?" I answered: " Of course not, I am celibate." He continued: " If not, you are not qualified to say how many children couples are to have, unless. you are ready to shoulder all the expenses for this third child? Let the married couples decide for themselves how many children they will have. We priests are not to tell them to have many children. Let's stay out of their bed-rooms." This is typical of culture of death. By the way, Mr. Steven Mosher of HLI thought I was wrong. He said that his wife was most beautiful when she had 6 children. This is culture of life.
There was also a newly elected bishop who tried to teach me that Humanae Vitae was not binding, not ex cathedra, because it was only a personal opinion of Pope Paul VI. According to this archbishop, the faithful began to get different answers from different priests, and they now decide for themselves whether to artificially contracept or not, which is a sign of their maturity. He said he was very happy about the present situation. Does not Rome check candidates to the episcopacy nowadays before the appointment? There's more! Those not supporting Humanae Vitae or at least not supporting it strongly enough seem to be the majority and in the upper hiearchy of the Roman Catholic Church in Japan and in many other countries. About Korea? I do not know. You tell me before I leave. The bishop's thinking is typical of culture of death. Let us pray for the leaders of the Church so that they may be cured of their blindness and start to see things correctly and with the eyes of faith.
Many times I ask the faithful I encounter if they have heard of this encyclical Humanae Vitae. Only very seldom they tell me they know what it is, and too often they never heard of it. I have even had a priest ask me: " What is Humanae Vitae that you are talking about?" I tried very hard not to despise his ignorance, which was rather difficult. Reputedly he was a good preacher from Tokyo and had been invited to give retreats to the faithful of my diocese. I pitied the Christian people who had to spend time with him.
Towards the end of 1966, one year before I was ordained, as a part of sermonology, I had to give a practice-sermon to the professors and co-seminarians in the dining room during dinner. The topic given me was the papacy. So, without any hesitation, I said that I would follow the Holy Father if the bishops were not in agreement with him, because he had the key to the gate of heaven and was therefore infallible while the bishops were not given that key and are fallible. The rector scolded me for my having cited an impossible situation: the Pope and the bishops were always one, he had happily and sincerely believed it. He even threatened to expel me because I was not worthy of priestly vocation. As a matter of fact, my ordination to sub-deaconhood was postponed for some months.
However, in March of that very same year Japan Bishops' Conference had sent a memorandum to Rome. Obviously it was the answer to the enquiry conducted by the Papal Commission on Family, which was established in 1963 during Vat II by Pope John XXIII to consider problems of family, population, and birth-rate. It was continued under Pope Paul VI and came to consist of cardinals, bishops, population experts, physicians, married couples. I was able to obtain a copy of this memorandum. It is written in impeccable Latin but its content is not without fault. In it, the Japanese bishops said they opposed abortion. So far so good. They proposed, however, as a means to stop proliferation of abortions, artificial contraception which is safe, dependable and morally permissible be permitted. What they meant here was the use of condoms and contraceptive pills. What else? Not surprisingly, they were against NFP which would involve periodical abstinence. The abstinence, they claimed, would be impossible for Japanese couples because Japanese houses are too small. Do you understand the meaning? I did not, when I first read it. What they meant by that was that if the houses were small, husbands and wives cannot sleep in two separate rooms. Many married people who hear this just laugh and tell me married life is not like that at all. Japanese bishops sided with the majority report of the Papal Commission on Family. They dethroned God and enthroned man instead, it seems. So far, however, they were allowed to express their opinions freely, but soon it became very clear that those bishops of Japan, with maybe a handful of exceptions, were not so orthodoxly Catholic. Their thinking would not change much even after the promulgation of Humanae Vitae. They simply did not have enough faith to listen to and obey the Holy Father, the successor to St. Peter who holds the key to heaven and is therefore infallible.
No Catholic theologian had ever taught " contraception is a good act." The teaching of the Church on contraception was always clear and fixed forever, at least so it seemed. This position was common also to all the non-Catholic denominations until August 14, 1930 when the Anglican church at the Lambeth Conference allowed the use of artificial contraception by married people for grave reasons. On December 31 of the same year, Pope Pius XI issued an encyclical on marriage, Cansti Connubii, reiterating Catholic opposition to contraception. The encyclical emphasized on the conjugal love between spouses than had been common in the past. It condemned contraception in very clear terms:
Quote " But no reason, however grave, may be put forward by which anything intrinsically against nature may become conformable to nature and morally good. Since, therefore, the conjugal act is destined primarily by nature for the begetting of children, those who in exercising it deliberately frustrate its natural power and purpose sin against nature and commit a deed which is shameful and intrinsically vicious." Unquote.
The Anglican position began to get popular in spite of Casti Connubii and also of the initial opposition even by many Protestant denominations and secular media such as Washington Post. Big scale dissent inside the Catholic Church still had to wait a little longer, although there were already some who agreed with the Anglicans. To be fair with the Anglicans, it must be said that there were conservative Anglicans who criticized the Lambeth Conference's decision. The modern day debate on contraception is not really modern but has been going on since 1930's or even before, i.e. since before many of us were born. Let us thank God that our parents were not influenced by this kind of nonsense.
When something new such as contraceptive pill appears, people get confused. For example, an American Catholic doctor, Dr. John Rock, who was instrumental in the development of the progesterone pill, was sure that he was doing something morally permissible. In 1963 he even wrote a book in defense of the pills: its title " The Time Has Come: a Catholic Doctor's Proposals to End the Battles over Birth Control." Of course there were theologians, such as Fr. John Lynch, S.J., who were not convinced by this book. He criticized the book as " illustrating the sort of specious reasoning, unreasoning emotionalism, half-truths, and fallacies." Unfortunately Fr. Lynch was too optimistic. However the co-theologians sided with Dr. Rock and exposed to the faithful those half-truths and fallacies. Many bishops, if not most, not only did not correct them but followed their faulty opinions. The tendency of many bishops is they depend too much on experts. Many times those experts either medical or theological are messengers from hell. Bishops should discern what is wrong from what is right. It is not too difficult. All they have to do is to obey not the world but the teachings of the successors of Peter.
Naturally the Papal Commission on Family was supposed to be advisory, rather than authoritative. At first it was strongly opposed to birth control but eventually by 1966 it became strongly in favor of it. Hence the notorious " Majority Opinion." There were two members from Japan, the late Fr. Sasaki and Dr. Moriguchi. They were split. Father Sasaki stayed against contraception, Dr. Moriguchi was for contraception.
Incredibly in the eyes of pro-life people, those holding this position thought it was the Pope who was so behind time and mistaken, therefore had to change his opinion. One dissenter even said: " So shocking was the papal decision in its blatant refusal to understand, accept, and appropriate the lived experience of its married members that the church authority has never fully recovered." According to this dissenter, Fr. Hering, who was a controversial theologian and contradicted Paul VI and John Paul II on this issue, " that giant moral theologian of this century." In my diocese, there are some German Redemptorist missionaries, who learned moral theology from Fr. Herring. Because I criticize him, I have become a pariah with some of them. It's sad.
Cardinal Julius Doephner of Munich, Germany, e.g. presented the report to Paul VI on June 28, 1968, which advocated a change in thinking. The Cardinal had said in 1966: " Casti Connubii is not infallible. There would be no harm in saying for once the Church had been wrong. Having learned from married couples, especially women, the Church must change so that we do not impose on others sacrifices we know in our hearts are not necessary." I must add concerning this cardinal that he realized the gravity of his mistake, and admitted it on German National TV. On July 19, 1976, five days before his sudden death, he wrote to a friend, " the more I think about it, the more I am convinced that the pope was right after all." We know God forgives, men may forgive, but the nature never forgives. Look at the low birth-rate of Germany. She is dying because of contraceptions and abortions, what not. However she is not the only one dying. Almost without exception, all the industrialized nations are suffering from low birth-rate and people are not reproducing themselves. Yes, Japan and Korea are no exceptions with average numbers of children 1.39 and 1.7 respectively. Economically both Japan and Korea are not faring well. Many erudite and famous persons offer to analyze the situations and propose solutions, but they do not work. One thing they never say is that we are not having enough babies. In the long run, population growth is a very good means to strong economy of any nation, because not the land or resources but people are the most valuable asset. The Nobel Prize Laureate in Economics, Prof. Gary Becker of Chicago University argues very strongly on this point. Among his writings are Human Capital and A Treatise on the Family. After all, did not God say to Adam and Eve: " Be fruitful and multiply" (Gen. 1: 38)?
Let me tell you this unconfirmed story about Paul VI. Paul VI for some time had been led to believe that the effect of the pills was only regulation of menstrual periods and was thinking of declaring their moral neutrality, when he was approached by some Catholic doctors and learned of their true nature, and especially of their abortifacient effects, he stood up from his chair, paced the room up and down repeating: " I've been deceived." .Remember this story could not be confirmed. However, it typically shows how Paul VI was so directly led by the Holy Spirit to make the difficult and right decision ignoring the majority opinion of the Papal Commission and the rest of the world. I heard this story from my friend, Fr. Anthony Zimmerman, who tried to confirm it with the famous anti-pill doctor of U.S., the late Dr. Herbert Radner. Unfortunately he did not remember it.
Pope Paul VI intended to definitively settle the issue and silence dissent (HV n.6). In the face of strident opposition he remained firm. Shortly before his death, on the Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul, 1978, he repeated in a homily his confirmation of Humanae Vitae. He said, " I did not betray the Truth." However, the dissenters from within and without all over the world put such a strain on the Holy Father, that one of his assistants, Fr. Walter Abbott, S.J., reports in July issue of The Catholic World Report that he was afraid the Holy Father was exhausted by 1973. Asked if there was one particular incident that revealed how much stress the Pope was feeling, Fr. Abbott says: quote " Yes, he was meeting with a group of Brazilian bishops, who had come to Rome on their ad limina visit. As he was speaking to them he brought up this point—that there was such a terrible criticism of his teaching, especially concerning marriage and contraception. He said he was feeling it keenly. And then he began to cry." Unquote.
In the same article, you read about Pope Paul VI's papal medallion which is minted every year to commemorate the history of the papacy and the work of the Holy See. Following a competition among graphic designers, the Pope personally approves a design for the medallion. In 1973 Pope Paul VI approved a provocative design. The front side of the medallion shows Pope Paul VI, his shoulders hunched with fatigue, leaning on his crosier. He is not clinging to the crosier with both hands for support; in fact one hand is raised—ever so slightly—for a blessing. The other side shows a naked man astride a horse. The artist's design shows several faint images of the horse, to convey a sense of wild motion. The horse is bucking, and the rider is in danger of being thrown. But two small figures in the background are holding the rider in place. Those are the two guardian angels who are said to be assigned to every priest. Poor Holy Father! Retrospectively we can see how he had to suffer.
The present pope, John Paul II has to bear also the same kind of suffering. To give you an example, when he visited Innsbruck, Austria in 1988, he responded to questions from young people. Dr. Ziegfried Ernst, a Protestant pro-life activist, reports: " It was quite touching to watch him sitting there, apparently helpless, among the young Catholics who were so anxious to help him get on the modern road to progress at last. He sat there in silence, resting his head on one hand and not uttering a single word in reply to all the questions. Finally he said that in answer to your questions he would give each of them a rosary." The young people wanted him to change the moral laws and allow contraception, sterilization, etc. They did not understand even a pope could not change the law of nature and the law of God. Dr. Ernst insists so rightly on the importance of purity of heart. It was maybe a good idea to give the young people a rosary and invite them to pray to the Blessed Virgin who is immaculate. Incidentally, Dr. Ernst stays Protestant in order more effectively to defend the Holy Father.
To go back to Paul VI, I cannot think of him and Humanae Vitae without thinking of the divine and crucial guidance of the Holy Spirit. I also think of the weakened intellect and free will of those dissenting theologians because of the original sin. As a matter of fact, many Bishops' Conferences or individual bishops did not exercis their intellect and abused the freedom of will ending up saying: " we will not obey" or " let the couples decide it." Many more just kept quiet, too quiet. Reportedly, Bishops' Conferences of twelve countries refused to obey. Those are Canada, Indonesia, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, England, Belgium, Netherlands, and Norwegian nations. Austria sort of retracted their refusal later. Indonesia dissented officially because the then bishops were mostly Dutch. They must have left the deep scars in the mentality of the Indonesian Catholic people, but thank God the Dutch bishops have been replaced by the native bishops.
Canadian bishops felt it necessary to modify the encyclical Humanae Vitae. This Canadian response, known as Winnipeg Statement, implied some sort of rejection. In clause 26 it assured Catholics that they could do so " in good conscience." Winnipeg Statement seems to have become the model of other bishops' conferences, such as Japan Bishops' Conference. You can see a striking similarity between the two. Interestingly, one Canadian bishop, the most Rev. Roman Danylak of Toronto, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Humanae Vitae invited other members of Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops to reconsider their refusal of Humanae Vitae. The details can be found in the July/August issue of the orthodox Canadian Magazine " Catholic Insight." Hopefully this bishop is a person who is strongly influential to the rest of the bishops. Nowadays it is not enough just to say and do the right thing. Officially other bishops' conferences obeyed the encyclical. However, did they really obey the encyclical 100 percent? Regrettably the answer is no. In the U.S., for example, many bishops do not follow the teachings of Humanae Vitae.
However, in the U.S. there are many good and faithful pro-life bishops: notably Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver, Colorado. To mark the 30th Anniversary of the publication of Humanae Vitae, he sent out a most marvelous pastoral letter for the occasion. The Archbishop highlights the dire prophecies of Paul VI in his encyclical and shows how they have all come only too true all too soon. The analysis is so good that it was immediately published also in The Osservatore Romano. This is a letter to be studied and shared by all. Let me quote some more from his magnificent pastoral letter. He writes that the message of Humanae Vitae is not a burden but a joy. It teaches the truth, and the truth will set us free...People fall in love...They surrender to each other. They give themselves to each other. They fall into each other in order to fully possess, and be possessed by, each other. And rightly so. In married love, God intends that spouses should find joy and delight, hope and abundant life, in and through each other—all ordered in a way which draws husband and wife, their children and all who know them, deeper into God's embrace." Get a copy. Read and study it. It's gift from Catholic America to the whole world.
Now, Japan is not counted as one of the dissenting nations, however, in the statement of Japan Bishop's Conference of 1968, there is one too many " if." Listen carefully to the statement which I quote now: " If somebody, notwithstanding his good will to fulfill the directives of the encyclical Humanae Vitae, is unable to observe it in some matters because of objective and necessary circumstances, he should never think himself separated from the love of God...Rather we advise them to deepen their trust in God, and to participate fervently in the works of the Church and to receive the sacraments." Unquote. The words are open to a catastrophic interpretation of the worst kind. They could mean that those who think they must contracept are invited by the bishops to receive the Sacraments—confession and Holy Communion—without making a firm purpose of amendment. Are the bishops of Japan not seducing its people to sin? It looks like it. And that seems to be the practice for many in Japan. Martin Luther once gave this blasphemous advice; " Pecca fortiter, et confide fortius" (Sin bravely and trust even more strongly.) Regrettably our bishops in Japan acted like Luther. Japan's Catholic population is not growing at all. It is arouond 430 thousand since many years ago, and the seminaries are empty if I may exaggerate. Something drastic needs to be done. How can the Church in Japan expect God to give more baptisms and priestly vocations, while she is not fully faithful to the teachings of Humanae Vitae? She is only partially Catholic, if not heretic.
Those who defend the 1968 statement praise the compassion of the bishops towards Christian women married to non-Christian men. But such compassion could lead the faithful into losing eternal life, because the bishops cannot change the natural and divine law, which is what they tried to do. It is as if the blind are leading the blind. Contraception leads not only to abortion but also to divorce, teen-pregnancy, unwed mothers, juvenile delinquency, drugs, crimes including violence of parents against their own children, grown children's violence against their parents, and what not. Believe me, killings of children by the parents, and vice versa especially after childen grow big are rampant.
Contraception is an intrinsically evil act. Good intentions and circumstances cannot change it into something good. I heard a strong argument against contraception from a happily married woman. I want to share it with you. If men do not have orgasm, they are impotent, but women do not need to have orgasm to achieve pregnancy. She even confided to me that she had her first orgasm only when she conceived her 3rd child. She was happy from the first day of her marriage even if she did not have her orgasm. Why? Because she knew she was making her husband very happy, and because she knew she had a chance of becoming the mother of a baby of the man she loved. Orgasm was not necessary for her happiness. Another woman whom I know for many years since her childhood is not happy at all. She married and had a baby. For her husband, one child was enough. He started one-sidedly using condoms stealing from this poor woman one of her joys from the intercourse, the possibility of becoming the mother of a baby of her husband whom she loved at least until the day she saw the condom on the penus of her husband. She told me that her love turned into hatred and disappointment. Man's sex is quite different from woman's sex. I wish the bishops had that insight. After all, men were made in the image of God. That is why God wanted us to be fruitful and to multiply. God said " Yes" to us. He wants to see the likes of us. This relation is present also between husband and wife. Husband and wife say " Yes" to each other, when they accept pregnancy, because their baby will look like the father if it is a boy, and like the mother if it is a girl. The meaning of contraception is " I do not wish a baby who might look like you or me." Contraception is saying " No" to oneself and one's partner in marriage. Contraceptive couples are lying to each other when they say " I love you," because the body-language of the sex is too eloquent and honest to hide, and crying out loud: " I do not love you. I do not want your baby. I say no to you and myself." No wonder there are many divorces in contraceptive societies. Catholics are not exceptions both in America and in Japan. In my diocese, I hear quite a few cases of abortions and divorces. The reason is simple: contraception caused by the negligence of priests and the bishop.
I still remember the day when I heard about this official statement of Japan Bishops' Conference diluting and twisting Humanae Vitae. At that time I had been ordained only for one year or so. I felt it was wrong, but said and did nothing. That was a sin of omission. In that sense, I am also guilty. Later, when I came to have contact with Human Life International, I began to see the situation much better and started objecting. I began writing in a very orthodox magazine called " The Way of Vatican" in 1996. In the first article, I exposed the Memorandum of Japan Bishops' conference in its full Latin text with partial translation to Japanese. Then, repeated the 1968 statement of the bishops which is a part of the official Catholic Catechism in Japan. The memorandum is quoted in the new Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. No. II which one of the bishops dared to present to the Holy Father last year. Many priests defend the bishops' statement saying that they had deep compassion especially towards Christian women who marry non-Christian men. Compassion in itself may be a virtue, but some times it is not necessary and induces people into sinning.
A few years ago, I had an occasion to speak to Archbishop Fumio Hamao, now assigned to the Vatican. I asked him what he thought of the 1968 statement of Japan's bishops. He must have felt very uncomfortable and inconvenient to hear me ask such a blunt question. In 1968 he was already a bishop. He is one of those who are responsible for that almost fatal statement. His answer was: " I don't remember anything about it." The retired bishop of Okinawa, Bishop Ishigami, asked me: " Father Nariai, don't you know many bishops oppose the teachings of Humanae Vitae? It is as if the majority can decide what the truth is! Of course, I do. That is why I am worried. Another bishop tried to convince me: " All we have to do is explain the true meaning of the 1968 statement." Explaining is never enough and it does not explain anything. Huanae Vitae and Japan Bishops' Conference 1968 statement teach two different things, at least partly on crucial points. I know one bishop allows a Christian mid-wife to assist at abortive operation on the pretext that her presence might do some spiritual good to the obstetrician and the aborting mothers. He is wrong. We must not cooperate formally in something which is intrinsically evil. This is one of the basics of moral theology. There is a Catholic doctor in Kyoto who aborts from Monday to Saturday, and confesses his sins on Saturday evening regularly and receives the Holy Communion on Sunday. The retired bishop of Kyoto was said to have been in good relations with this doctor. Late Bishop Tomizawa of Hokkaido was an outright dissenter to Humanae Vitae. In Japan he did not seem to be so outspoken but while travelling In Germany he held press conferences here and there and spoke against the encyclical. I was able to confirm it through Fr. Jordan Hamma, a Redemptorist priest working in Kagoshima, vacationing at that time in his home-country had read about it in German newspapers. My own bishop, the Most Reverend Paul Itonaga, said there is nothing we need to retract because we are already perfectly one with the Holy Father. It is not true but he did not wish to discuss the matter any further. On another occasion, at the monthly meeting of diocesan priests, I asked him again if he had ever mentioned the evil of contraception in his sermons. He just kept quiet in shock, unable to answer me. Finally he said: " Father Nariai, you seem to know the matter well, you do it." Well, I always do my best but I am only a priest. For a priest to speak to co-priests, especially to senior ones, is not effective enough. There are of course those who listen to and agree with me, but the majority are not willing to listen or rather they are willing to listen some other day. When I translated the beautiful pro-life book of Father Anthony Zimmerman, Catholic Teachings on Pro-Life Issues, I asked to sell the books in one of the Church book-stores. Next day, I went to see how many books had been sold. There was none left. All the 20 books must have been enthusiastically purchased, I thought. The fact was that the pastor there had hidden them all in his office because he had judged the book very dangerous. Another colleague of mine agrees with me 100% with me, but he says: " Father, it is not possible to practice what you say." So, practically he does nothing to promote the truth taught in Humanae Vitae. He never touches the issue in his catechism, sermons, and conversations. The priest at the cathedral officiates more marriage ceremonies for non-Christians than anyone after having given them basic lessons on marriage but never touches on NFP. He says there is something more important than NFP, it is according to him " Love." Holy Father once said somewhere: " there should be no seminarians or priests who are ignorant of NFP."
Catholic Doctors' League invited Professor Seiichi Matsumoto, head of the Eugenics Society of Japan, to their meeting as a lecturer as the lecturer in 1989. In 1968 when Humanae Vitae was promulgated, the president of Catholic Doctors' League, late Dr. Miura of Keio University, was asked to hold a press-conference in Tokyo. To the press he explained the meaning of Humanae Vitae. At the end of the conference one of the reporters raised his hand for a question which was: " Dr. Miura, do you personally support Humanae Vitae? His answer: " No, I don't." At that, everyone in the room just stood up and left. After all, he was trying to convince the press what he himself did not believe.
If the bishops of Japan were in unity with the Holy Fathers, they would speak more on the evil of contraception. Had the faithful been keenly aware of the evil of contraception through their bishops and priests, the rate of abortion among Catholic women would be much lower. As you know abortion mentality and contraception mentality are two different fruits in the same tree. Most of abortions are the results of the failures of contraceptions. In Japan, Catholics were known never or very seldom to abort. To prove the point a professor in Ob-Gyn college in Nagasaki asked his or her student, who was Catholic, to report on the rate of abortions among Catholic women in Nagasaki area. Dutifully this future mid-wife conducted her survey. The result was shockingly different from what was expected. There were many contraceptions and abortions among Nagasaki Catholics. When her pastor came to know of it, he told her to keep the finding secret but the secret soon leaked. Triggered by this shocking finding, Fr. Nobuyoshi Matsumoto of Eichi University of Osaka, decided to conduct a nation-wide survey among Catholic women including Catechumen. To the dismay of Japanese bishops, this survey confirmed the finding of the student mid-wife. 15 % of Catholic women had the experience of abortions while 25% of Japanese women in general had experience of abortion. The difference is only 10%. Had the bishops of Japan accepted Humanae Vitae 100% without diluting or twisting it, we, the Japanese Catholics, would not have been only 0.3% of the population, 43 thousand persons, since many years ago. Just think, after the World War II the increase of Catholic population was so great that the Church had sent so many missionaries and money to Japan. All those resources worked effectively and Catholics increased very fast until 1950's. Even during my seminary days, there used to be many seminarians. They built a huge seminary building in Tokyo with the prospect of accomodating more students, but the vocations dropped in the 1960's. Vocations as well as baptism are gifts that come from God. If you want them, you have to be faithful to the teachings of God, which is manifested in the leadership of the Holy Father. A Bishop just cannot say an encyclical is just a personal opinion of the pope, especially very important and traditional teachings are repeated in an encyclical, it is equivalent to ex cathedra. You will find the ground for my saying this, i.e. " frequent repetition" requirement in Lumen Gentium No. 25. Pope John Paul II, for example, by the end of 1988, explicitly has reaffirmed the teaching of Casti Connbii, Humanae Vitae, Familiaris Consortio at least 40 times. Of course a pope can make mistakes and misjudgement in his encyclicals, but not in the case of Humanae Vitae.
One of the priest who used to be my friend one day said to me: " contraception should be allowed because every couple contracept and because God forgives any way." What do you think? When I am with him, I just do not bring out the subject any more. Another priest insists that it is necessary to use condoms to avoid getting infected with HIV. I am outspoken on pro-life issues, but whenever I open my mouth, it is fellow priests who try to shut me up or ignore me.
Humanae Vitae is dead letters in Japan thanks the 1968 statement of the bishops of Japan. Recently some bishops who were active at that time died. I just could not help thinking if those bishops really went to heaven. I do not condemn them to hell, but I am sure it is not a sin not to be so sure of their salvation of dissenting bishops. In Japan, when a priest wants to teach that contraception is an intrinsic evil, he has to challenge the official catechism of Japan Bishops' Conference. It is not an easy job.
In Kagoshima Diocese, five or six sisters' congregations closed their houses in order to evacuate in bigger cities. The reason: no young sisters to take over. I tell them they are the victims of Japan's bishops who dared to dilute and twist the teachings of Humanae Vitae: few babies few vocations, many babies many vocations. The same goes to priestly vocations. Last time I was in Taegu, I visited your seminary where I found many seminarians. I thought Korean Church will face a shortage of youong men to become husbands until I had the occasion of visiting a Sisters' House where the 3rd Centenary of the foundation of their order was being celebrated. In Japan, at such ceremonies family members of the sisters are invited, but here in that house, there simply was no room for them. The house was packed with sisters even in the aisles of the chapel coming from all the branches in that area. God must be very pleased with the Church in Korea. God must be displeased with the Church of Japan. What I have just stated might sound bold to some of you, but vocations as well as baptism and the growth of the local church, coming from heaven, are a sure sign of pleasure and displeasure of God. When I told this to my bishop, he became very angry.
To change this atmosphere of dissent to Humanae Vitae, I started once a signature movement to beg the bishops to retract their 1968 statement. It was not successful. I just could not get impressive numbers of signatures. When I explain the present situation of the Church in Japan and ask them to give their signatures, most people just chicken back., saying: " I need to ask my husband and get his permission," " I need to first pray to the Holy Spirit," " I just cannot," etc. It is not easy for Catholic faithful to tell the bishops that they are wrong. They want to be left in peace, a false peace. I would not be surprised if they are contracepting, have contracepted or aborted in the past, and are feeling guilty. It was interesting to see the response of Philippine entertainers working in Japan. They are naturally pro-life, it seems. When they heard from me what the bishops of Japan did to Humane Vitae, one of the Philippine girls said: " Shame! Your bishops are dissenters to the Holy Father!" Maybe I was wrong to ask a non-Christian to give his signature. It was the teacher of my junior high school days. He encouraged me saying: " Fr. Nariai, I like your gut, you be today's Martin Luther in Japan." I laughed. I am a counter-revolutionary. The revolutionaries the bishops in so far as they dissent to Humane Vitae.
Without resolute support of Japan bishops to Humane Vitae, contraception mentality stays and grows big in Japan. I give you an example: Fr. Kengo Kobayashi O.F.M, residing in Yokohama published " Manual for Migrants living in Japan - Information for Living in Your Community. Convenient it may be, it contained some pages on abortion and contraception, and on AIDS prevention using condoms. There was a slip of paper inside stating that those pages on abortion and contraception were not in accord with the Church teachings and that he was just relaying information to help solve problems that are actually ocurring. One Brazilian man commented on it: " Does the Church of Japan want us foreigners to go extinct?" We complained and Fr. Zimmerman even sent a report on it to Cardinal Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Dotrine of the Faith. He came up with the second edition that was without the pages on contraception and abortion, but still contained information advising to use condoms for AIDS prevention. The first edition was never withdrawn but were all sold out. Hence the second edition is now on sale as something official with the blessings of not only the bishop of Yokohama, but also of the Episcopal Conference of Japan. I noticed the defects of both editions and complained directly to Fr. Kobayashi. No wonder! In diet well-balanced food is necessaary to grow and remain healthy: I like kimchi but I must not eat kimchi only every day. I need to eat rice, meat, fish and other vegetables. It is the same with our faith. When you are choosy and believe what you decide you like and not believe what you don't like, like the teachings of Humanae Vitae, you lose the entire faith, including your vocation to the priesthood. Incidentally Fr. Kobayashi is no more Fr. Kobayashi but Mr. Kobayashi. The same thing could happen to the bishops, priests, the faithful. The Church demands we accept the entire faith. When we accept only partial faith, what are we? No more Christians? Partially Catholic? If so, that person or that church becomes heretic. Then, spiritually they are already dead, or they have become spiritual zombies at the best.
The Daughters of St. Paul in Japan published a book written by a French Jesuit, Fr. Jean Marie-Moretti " Progres des Sciences et Reflexion Chretienne. Entretiens sur la Bioethique, l'Evolution, La Creation." (Inochi wa Dareno Mono?) The book is not in accord with the teachings of the Holy See in the chapters about contraception and abortion. I protested the publisher. My colleague, Fr. Zimmerman, wrote to the Superior General, informing her of the problem with the book. It is still being sold. The problem with the book is that it seems to allow some exceptions to contraception and even to abortion. My bishop liked it so much and gave a copy to all his priests. What is going on?
A word about Catholic Shimbun which is the official newspaper of Japan Bishops' Conference. It carries articles that advocate artificial contraception for women in developing countries. It was written by Mrs Yoshiko Haga of Yokohama Diocese, a participant at U.N. Conference on Population at Cairo. I personally and directly complained to her about it. She was so confident of her position. She would not even listen to me. There was also a series of articles by a man, a member of the team sent to the Philippines to study AIDS situation there. It quoted Dr. Aurora: " Bishops who do not allow condoms for AIDS prevention have stone heads." Technically it's only a quotation and is not the opinion of the writer himself, but is used to strengthen the writer's point. By the way Catholic solution to AIDS epidemics is simple: chastity before marriage and fidelity after marriage. If people of the world accept this simple solution, there will be no AIDS patients in the whole world in 20 or 30 years. No one responsible for that article was punished for that scandalous article. Many Catholic people subscribe to that newspaper because there is no alternative, because they want to know what the enemies are thinking. I have met quite a few who have stopped the subscription. It is sad to think possibly that the enemy of the Catholic Church in Japan is the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Japan.
There is also a magazine Fukuin Senkyo, which means Evangelization, published by Schoot Fathers of Tokyo. In it I found an article written by Sister Masako Yamaji propagating condom-use for AIDS prevention at lectures and telephone counseling. When she does so, she represents the Catholic Church and give her personal opinion pretending it was Catholic teaching. People, especially the young, have the right to hear the truth but that is what they get. That issue had been sent to me as a sample. Catholic publications must be 100% Catholic. If there is one lie or one personal opinion lacking orthodoxy, it pollutes the rest of the book. Those who are not critical would accept poison as well as spiritual food as something coming from the Church.
United Nations, Media, governments of industrialized nations speak of population explosion, environmental pollution and destruction, food shortage, women's right to choose. Uncritical people have already been brain-washed. The Bishops' Conference of Japan also seems to be siding with the world. What does population explosion mean? It means: " there are too many people, too many unnecessary babies, too many useless old people." It means: " this country and that country have too many people. Their population growth needs to be checked."
We are planned, known, loved by God even before we are born. Parents are co-creators of babies with God. The reason God wants men to be fruitful and multiply is because we are created in the image of God. To reflect the infinite splendor of God, many are needed. Those who are planned by God from eternity should be born, raised, and allowed to become assets to mankind. In one of the official documents of Bishops' Conference of Japan, sadly I read that the bishops of Japan should do something concrete about " population explosion" of the world. What does it mean? Propagation of NFP? Even so, the use of NFP for population control purpose is not Catholic way at all. As the matter of fact, population is on the decrease in the long run in many industrialized countries. There, less babies are being born and old people live much longer than before. Nursing homes for the aged are desperately needed and kindergartens are being closed or getting fewer and fewer pupils. In Germany, many maternity wards in big hospitals have been closed down. If there are no babies, what's the use for obstetricians and maternity hospitals? In Japan, for example, we have pension system. According to this system, the young and working age group supports the old. There should be always more young people to support the old. Since there were and are not enough babies, the pension system of Japan is sure to stop functioning or collapse in about thirty years, if people do not decide to have more babies. They are already talking about paying less pension and at much later age, and charging monthly fee to old persons still working until they are 69 years old. Consumption tax has been introduced because less people will be working and earning, therefore paying less income tax. I say statistically Japanese people will go extinct in about 1000 years. Likewise, Germany will be no more after only 300 years. Let me relay a story I heard from Fr. Paul Marx. At the end of the World War II, 7000 people lived in a certain town in Italy. Now only 3000 live there. Their median age 75 at the time I heard this story 5 years ago. One young couple happened to live there and had a baby. The wife went out with the baby one day. Immediately she was surrounded by the old people begging her to let them see and touch the baby. Many of them had not seen a baby more than ten years. Every time she goes out with her baby, a traffic police had to be called to clear the road for passing cars. It is not a joke. So, the bishops cannot mean the population explosion of Japan, Germany, Italy or other industrialized nations. Then what do they mean when they say they have to do something concrete about it? Do they mean the population explosion of developing nations in Asia, Africa, Central and South America? If that is the case, the bishops of Japan would be racists, which is not a Christian attitude at all. I would like very much to defend the bishops of Japan, but it is not possible unless I become a racist like them, too. Maybe they were not thinking well when they made this statement, but that is too irresponsible, too dumb. American economy developed when her population grew from the influx of young immigrants mostly from Europe, and recently from the baby boom after the World War II. Incidentally there were much more Catholic babies than Protestant babies, which alarmed population controllers such as Mr. Rockfeller and triggered an avalanche of birth control movements. There was a time when some priests were confident and even boasted that America would become Catholic nation sooner or later at that rate of natural growth. Japan's economy grew after the World War II because she had enough well-trained human resources. Japan needed no more soldiers. Africa is not faring and will not fare well, because earlier it lost precious human resources through the slave trade. Why not give developing nations a chance to economically grow? For that they need people, well-fed, well-educated young and ambitious people. Instead of helping those nations control population, why not help them to help themselves, send the children note-books, pencils, teachers, scholarships? They have no need for population-control, condoms, Norplants, Depo-Provera, sex-ed, and other junks, but it is exactly those unneeded junks U.N., UNICEF, UNFPA, USA tie up with financial aids to those developing nations.
Catholic people should have rejoiced and should have accepted as one body the message of life, Humanae Vitae 30 years ago on July 25 1968. I was visiting Philippines in July this year. At the U.P. chapel as I was able to give sermons on 23 and 24, I spoke on the encyclical, Humanae Vitae. On 25 July I was only a co-celebrant and the principal celebrant did not say a word about it. Maybe Philippines have enough babies and there was no need to speak of the encyclical. In Japan, none of Catholic publications wrote about Paul VI and Humanae Vitae in July. Maybe the editors of those newspapers and magazines did not know anything about the encyclical. That's a possibility and problem. Maybe they preferred not to touch the subject, even though they were aware of the encyclical. That's also a problem. Maybe, for example, the editor of the official newspaper of the Bishops' Conference had a strict order from the bishop in charge not to write about it. It would be criminal for the bishop to do such a thing. Some American magazines such as the Catholic World Report, New Oxford Review, Catholic Insight spent many pages on the issue. And in English, there are many books and documents defending Humanae Vitae, notably Humanae Vitae: A Generation Later by Janet E. Smith, Why Humanae Vitae was Right edited by Janet Smith, Chapter V The Post-Conciliar Period of the book Iota Unum by Romano Amerio, and Is Humanae Vitae Outdated? by Dr. Siegfried Ernst and many other books and booklets from HLI. Sadly in Japan, there are very few books and articles defending Humanae Vitae. Fr. Zimmerman's Catholic Teachings on Pro-Life Issues which I translated into Japanese and is already published is largely ignored by the seminaries, although it had been intended principally to be adopted as a sub-reader in Moral Theology course in the seminaries. About three years ago, I asked to be given a chance to speak to seminarians in two seminaries where I had studied. I spoke of course about Humanae Vitae and other pro-life issues. In both places, some seminarians came up to me to speak and said in almost identical words: " Father, I was so glad to know there is still a priest like you who side with the Vatican. We hear always criticism about the Holy Father." I hope they were exaggerating.
In HLI literature, you see often the expression: " a fall on top of a slippery slope" to describe artificial contraception and its deadly consequences. My favorite way of saying the same situation is " putting a button in the wrong hole." Bishops wear cassocks with many buttons. You have to put the first button in the right hole to have the last button in the right hole. I say, it was when the bishops diluted and twisted the meaning of Humanae Vitae that they put the first button in a wrong hole. Now the bishops end up advocating population control.
Of course, bishops from time to time speak against abortions. That's fine, but I write in my articles: " Bishops, you are not qualified to speak against abortion, since you have condoned contraception in 19968 statement, even if under certain conditions." Archbishop Kaname Shimamoto of Nagasaki, and two other bishops encourage me to keep on speaking like this. The others just ignore me but I know what I write in aforementioned Vatican no Michi is being read by the bishops. However, in last issue the editors decided to drop me. In the unaccepted article of mine, I wrote: " Bishops, you protested publicly against the nuclear experiments of India and Pakistan, because you knew your protest would be welcome by everyone except Indian and Pakistan governments which are far away. You did not need any courage. Why don't you protest against contraception, possible introduction of contraceptive pills? You don't, because you know you will face an immense and public opposition." Politically correct church is no more a sting in the side of someone. You are like salt without its flavor. Now, I will have to start my own magazine, it seems.
Tomorrow you will hear Drs. John and Evelyn Billings speak. Three years ago, Fr. Sean Ryle of Catholic Family Center invited them to Japan for the second time and that time I was their translator which I enjoyed very much. Their lectures were given in four cities and respective bishops promised to back us up, and allowed us to use church halls. However, the attendance was rather disappointingly poor and only very few priests were present. There was in short much room for improvement in the cooperation of those bishops.
In March this year, we were afraid that the Welfare Ministry of Japan was just about to lift the ban on artificial contraceptives. Fr. Zimmerman was able to contact the famous anti-Pill Doctor of the U.S., Dr. Lloyd Duplantis Jr., and invited him to come to Japan to give lecturesin four major cities. I was again cooperator and translated all his speeches, but never appeared on the stage along side of the doctor as translator. You see I am a persona non grata to at least some bishops. All the expenses were paid by a pro-life Catholic doctor, Dr. Kunio Hirata. God provides! Again there was much to be desired in the cooperation of respective bishops. However Dr. Duplantis was able to visit the Welfare Ministry and meet the director in charge of Drug Safety. This man did not seem too happy to see the anti-pill Doctor and asked him first why he came to Japan while he had so much to do in the U.S. How rude! Later he said: " Dr. Duplantis, tell me. Mini-Pill is not steroidal, is it?" To that Dr. Duplantis replied: " Yes, it is steroidal." At that he sat up and began to listen to the doctor with more respect. Just think an ignorant man like this was in charge of drug-safety in our Welfare Ministry.
Dr. Duplantis introduced a book to us: A Consumers' Guide to the Pill and other Drugs written by an Australian pharmacist, Mr. John Wilks. This is the most up-to-date book on pills. If you want to know about side-effects of pills, you can find all the data you need in it. For Japan I translated the first four chapters that deal with pills. The book is getting ready to be published. The copies of the draft of the book was sent to major newspapers, Welfare Minister of Japan: and to all the directors of the same ministry, and to all the bishops. Dr. Hirata approached his bishop again and again to beg him to propose in the coming Bishops' conference of February to send a petition asking the Welfare Minister not to lift the ban on the Pills. His request was denied, because the schedule of the conference was tight. Dr. Hirata had written the draft of the petition for the bishops only to rewrite and sign. His bishop might have felt he was being pushed around by this pro-life doctor. So, he approached Archbishop Shimamoto, the chairman of the Committee. on Family. Through him it was proposed during the conference that the Bishops write a petition to the Welfare Minister not to lift the ban on pills. However, most bishops were not enthusiastic at all: their excuses for no action was: " We are not specialists of medicine, we would not succeed anyway." At least they decided to consult a specialist, Fr. Takehiko Oda of Japan Research Center of Evangelization. He proved to be quite ignorant on the pill situations. He consulted Catholic Doctors' League which is infested by pro-choice Catholic doctors. Knowing nothing about the side-effects of pills, they begged Dr. Hirata to give them a copy of the translation of Wilks' book. Time was running out and we were afraid that the ban would be lifted any day now. On March 3, there was a small article in some newspapers reporting that the ban would not be lifted for the time being. We were so relieved, because the pressure to lift the pills had been so great: " Pill-wise Japan is the only one nation left behind among all the industrialized countries. Women have the right to choose, etc." All the media was pro-pills. We thought we were fighting a lone and losing battle. The reason given for the postponement to lift the ban was the pressure from the environmental group of Japan who insisted the danger of environmental pollution. We thought it was so out of focus, because were afraid of the side-effects of the pills on fetuses and women themselves. Pills are not 100% pregnancy-proof, because with some women there are break-through ovulations after the period of 3 or 4 months of pill-use. But the environmentalists and the Welfare-Ministry were thinking of the environmental hormones in the river and the sea cause by the urine of pill-users. We were happy to hear that but were disappointed and surprised. In April I was at HLI World Congress in Houston and there learnt that in Germany the drinking water contained such environmental hormones. Environmentalists can be your allies sometimes. Behind the pills are big pharmaceutical companies. They are the providers of fund for various researches in the universities, from where the Welfare Ministry recruit scholars to study the safety of pills. It is an ominous situation. By the way the bishops do not know yet that I translated Wilks book. My name, you see, might trigger antagonism of the bishops because I am known as the bishop-basher of Japan. I think it is a duty of a good priest to speak the truth, even though the truth may hurt bishops. I say whenever there is an occasion, the bishops of Japan and the Holy Father are not one, unless they retract the 1968 statement. Jokingly I say I am a bishop-basher of Japan, but what I am doing is not really bash the bishop but speak the truth. I feel I have done so far all that I could. In doing so, I lost many friends, especially among those who refused to give their signatures asking the bishops to retract their 1968 statement. Some see me coming on the street in the distance. Many times I notice they avoid me.
Let me tell you a very healthy and welcome criticism of Rev. Romano Amerio, one of the periti at Vat. II. I quote. " The peculiar feature of the pontificate of Paul VI was the tendency to shift the papacy from governing to admonishing. His style was to restrict the field of preceptive law which imposes an obligation, ad to enlarge the field of directive law which formulates a rule without imposing any obligation to observe it. The government of the Church thus loses half its scope, or the hand of God foreshortened." Unquote. Do you see the point? Professor Amerio is saying that the Holy Father should have punished dissenters more severely, but he did not and the dissenters took advantage of the leniency of Pope Paul VI. He further suggests: Quote. " Two things are needed to maintain truth: remove the error from the doctrinal sphere, which is done by refuting erroneous arguments and showing that they are not convincing. Second: remove the person in error, that is depose him from office, which is done by an act of the Church's authority. If this pontifical service is not performed, it would seem unjustified to say that all means have been used to maintain the doctrine of the Church...As a consequence, a narrowed idea of authority and obedience is spread abroad, without meeting any effective resistance, and ideas about freedom and open debate are correspondingly broadened." Unquote. In short: " Holy Father, please refute the errors of the dissenters, if they do not obey, fire them from their office or force those dissenting bishops into retirement."
This decline of authority in the Church and the incoherence in its acts can be seen from examining the proposals Papa John Paul I made during his short pontificate. He said it was his intention to " conserve intact the great discipline of the Church." Now, the Prefect of the Clergy, Silvio Cardinal Oddi, at a conference of " Catholics United for the Faith" held in Arlington U.S. in July 1983, admitted that " many catechists today choose certain articles of the depositum fidei which they are going to believe, and abandon all the rest. Doctrines such as the divinity of Christ, the virginity of the Mother of God, original sin, the real presence in the Eucharist, the absoluteness of moral obligations, hell and the primacy of Peter are publicly denied by theologians and bishops in pulpits and in academic chairs." He was asked insistently why the Holy See did not remove those who taught error, such as Fr. Curran, who had for years had been attacking Humanae Vitae, and who teaches the licitness of sodomy. The Cardinal replied: " The Church no longer imposes punishments. She hopes instead to persuade those who err...she hopes to avoid causing an even greater scandal through disobedience. The Church believes it is better to tolerate certain errors in the hope that when certain difficulties have been overcome, the person in error will reject his error and return to the Church." This is an admission of the foreshortening of hand.
In the opening address of Vatican Council II, Pope John XXIII announced the innovation: error contains within itself the means of its own correction, and there is no need to assist the process: it is enough to let it unfold, and it will correct itself. Charity is held to be synonymous with tolerance, indulgence takes precedence over severity, the common good of the ecclesial community is overlooked in the interests of a misused individual liberty, and the virtue of fortitude proper to the Church are lost. In the ordinary magisterium, the popes and the ecumenical councils can err. In my opinion, this kind of attitude is mistaken, because while tolerating dissenters, many souls will have be lost, and great damages will have been done to the Church.
At a conference of bishops of Japan in February, the Vatican Ambassador, Andrew Carew, was present. My bishop reported that he scolded one of the bishops for not having sent the offering of St. Peter's pence of the preceding year, while this bishop listened to his chatizement red faced. Hearing it, everyone else was laughing, but I was feeling sad and disappointed. Peter's pence might be important. However there was something much bigger than that. He could have scolded for Japan's Bishops' not obedient enough to the teachings of Humanae Vitae. In the process of selecting bishops' candidates, why does the Vatican Ambassadors all over the world make sure that those candidates are 100% pro-life? It is not done obviously at least in Japan. In the U.S. also, it is known that the former Vatican Ambassador Jean Jadeau had selected liberal priests to episcopacy one after another. This is what Professor Romano Amerio means. The Popes could use their powers to appoint, dethrone, scold, teach, strengthen other bishops, but is he doing all those things? Of course he does not do it personally but through the help of his cardinals, ambassadors, bureaucracy. Is the system functioning? That is my question.
However, as aforementioned, we know how Pope Paul VI had to suffer before he issued the encyclical Humanae Vitae. We know how he was surrounded by dissenting cardinals, bishops, priests, theologians, and Christians. We know he was exhausted extremely. Supporting voices were not strong and abundant enough at the time. He did what best he could and to do more may have been impossible. We all have limits.
Happily, John Paul II seems to be much stronger in his character, and seems to control better the situation than his predecessors. I am honored to be the translator of the encyclical Veritatis Splendor for the Church of Japan. I felt very happy translating it because of his clarity and fortitude. However, he is still appointing new bishops who are critical of Humanae Vitae. Our Church is like a big ship and can not change her course quickly and easily. However the system should be reconsidered and some method of filtering out candidates of dissenting mentality. Our prayer for the bishops and especially for the Holy Father is urgently needed. Also needed is our courageous stand for the teachings of Humanae Vitae. If you are married, be fruitful. If you are bishops and priests, I say, be faithful, courageous, knowledgeable in the matters pro-life, and speak up loud the teachings of Humanae Vitae! Christians have the missions not to please the world but to please the Lord, and thus to attain the eternal life and infinite happiness in the presence of God. We need to choose necessary means.
I said harsh words criticizing the Bishops' Conference of Japan, but I do not say these things in their back. Most of what I have said has been openly said, written and sent to all the bishops of Japan. I have been so far ignored. To shut me up, the bishops will have to retract their 1968 statement diluting and twisting the teachings of Humanae Vitae. To speak the truth that hurts is more important than to to be blindly obedient and be silent or say only pleasing things to the bishops. Some one said, once you become a bishop, you will eat well all your life, but you will never again hear the truth. This person is wrong, because I have spoken the truth already. All the predictions made by Paul VI in Humanae Vitae have come true. We live in a broken world. It is time for all of us, especially tfor he bishops and theologians, to listen humbly to the teachings of Humanae Vitae.
Thank you for your attention.