Dr. Janet Smith: Positive response to pro-Humanae Vitae "Affirmation" has "been stunning" | Carl E. Olson | CWR's The Dispatch
"The dissenters still run some places," says the well-known speaker and author, "and some of the major professional organizations and journals but they are losing ground fast. They are no longer getting disciples."
Yesterday, the Catholic University of America hosted a press conference for the release of the document "Affirmation of the Catholic Church’s Teaching on the Gift of Sexuality", which was signed by over 500 Catholic scholars with doctoral degrees in theology, medicine, law and other fields. The document opens by stating: "We, the undersigned scholars, affirm that the Catholic Church’s teachings on the gift of sexuality, on marriage, and on contraception are true and defensible on many grounds, among them the truths of reason and revelation concerning the dignity of the human person." As the CNA/EWTN report explained:
Signatories of the document included Fr. Wojciech Giertych O.P., the theologian of the papal household; John H. Garvey, president of Catholic University of America; Tracey Rowland, Dean of the John Paul II Institute for Marriage & Family in Melbourne, Australia; Sister Prudence Allen, philosophy professor at St. John Vianney Seminary in Denver; Fr. Thomas Petri, O.P., academic dean of the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C.; and Helen M. Alvaré, law professor at George Mason University.
The scholars charged that a new U.K.-based statement opposing Church teaching “offers nothing new to discussions about the morality of contraception and, in fact, repeats the arguments that the Church has rejected and that numerous scholars have engaged and refuted since 1968.”
The statement in question, organized by the U.K.-based Wijngaards Institute, claims there are “no grounds” for Catholic teaching against contraception. It questioned the idea that openness to procreation is inherent to the significance of sexual intercourse, and said that “the choice to use contraceptives for either family planning or prophylactic purposes can be a responsible and ethical decision and even, at times, an ethical imperative.”
Yesterday's press conference at CUA included panelists John Grabowski, Catholic University associate professor of moral theology and ethics who served as an expert at the 2015 Synod of Bishops on the Family; Janet Smith, who holds the Father Michael J. McGivney Chair of Life Ethics at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit; and Mary Hasson, director of the Catholic Women’s Forum at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Late yesterday I e-mailed with Dr. Smith, who has also edited and authored several books, including Why Humanae Vitae Was Right: A Reader for Ignatius Press. Here is our written communication: