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Suffering may come

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“[Jonah] cried, ‘Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown!’ And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth from the greatest of them to the least.” (Jonah 3:4-5)

The most astounding part of the Book of Jonah has nothing to do with a fish. And it utterly proves the story an allegory: the people actually did what a prophet commanded — immediately. That simply doesn’t happen.
What authenticates prophecy? One sure thing is, nobody wants to hear it — the Israelites didn’t saw Isaiah in half for nothing. Another is that it conforms to truth and doctrine. And frighteningly, its predictions — usually awful — come true.

‘On Human Life’

In 1968, even contradicting a specially appointed papal commission, Pope Paul VI wrote an encyclical that created a firestorm that has continued to this day. Many in the Church still resist and refuse to accept Humanae Vitae. (You can read it here. See especially #17.)

This teaching seemed hopelessly out of touch with the modern world. Bishops, theologians, priests and laity disagreed about what married couples or their physicians were to do. The obedient Catholic Medical Association watched as many doctors left, leaving only a remnant. Catholic women continued to receive birth control pill prescriptions from their Catholic physicians as they had done since they became available in 1960. There was outrage that a Church run by celibate old men would presume to insinuate itself into a married couple’s bedroom. For a time, there was great confusion.

Pope Paul VI only reiterated doctrine that the Church has continued to issue since the Apostolic Fathers. Yet many naively believed that the next pontiff would issue an encyclical accepting contraception. Surely, they thought, not even a pope could continue to oppose what seemed like the whole Church.

Three popes later, the overwhelming confirmation of its understated prophecies and its doctrinal purity surely mark Humanae Vitae as infallible teaching. Still many — some even calling themselves practicing Catholics — “dissent,” as if that were an option. They enable contraception and sterilization — perhaps along with abortifacients and outright abortion — believing the Church will eventually modernize.

The cost of ignoring prophecy

Failure to heed true prophecy leads to unpleasant consequences. How much longer do we have? News flash: we’re there, and we’ve been there quite awhile. In the 40 years from 1968 to 2008 we have seen the undermining of our virtues, our families and our culture in an unprecedented way. Never in history has there been such a burgeoning of infidelity, divorce, promiscuity, sexually transmitted infections, pornography, illegitimacy and abortions — directly or indirectly predicted in Humanae Vitae. But who expected such a glut?

Yet after the election in 2008, the state began demanding that this continued destructiveness be paid for by the people, even if it violated their consciences. Our elected government garnered votes with plans to eliminate our Constitutional rights.

The foundation of all this immorality and poverty is the intrinsic evil in artificial contraception. The consequences are intensifying — even our freedom is now threatened. That is, the price for not heeding prophecy is on the rise.

Persecution

You didn’t hear much during the presidential race, but the current administration seems to want to control our consciences and define our religion. There is much more at stake on Election Day than unemployment. Freedom is on the chopping block.

You may have been lulled by candidates saying religious and conscience rights will be protected in the next term. It’s hard to believe. The U.S. Health and Human Services Department mandate will force us, against our consciences, to pay for contraception, abortions and the sterilizations.

In fact, those of us following Magisterial teaching will have no conscience protection at all. The suspension of God-given rights marks the beginning of persecution, thus we will soon find ourselves entering a time of persecution voted for and made possible by those calling themselves Catholic. Read Humanae Vitae and believe. Benedicamus Domino.

Dr. Jim Asher is a graduate of Marquette University and Des Moines University. He earned a master’s degree in bioethics from Midwestern University. He and his wife of 49 years, Rose Neidhoefer of Milwaukee, have seven children and 13 grandchildren. He is a retired family physician. He is a parishioner at Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral, an officer in the Catholic Physician’s Guild, and a member of the Knights of Columbus. Opinions expressed are the writers' and not necessarily the views of The Catholic Sun or the Diocese of Phoenix.

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