When was the last time you have heard a homily or an intercession
on the evils of contraception, abortion, or other sins against the gift of life?
Sadly, many pastors are reticent to preach on these topics due to mis-guided 'pastoral sensitivity'. According to these pastors, some parishioners might feel that they were being singled out for further shame (indicating a fundamental lack of understanding on repentance, forgiveness, and absolution).
Many Catholics have made 'serious mistakes' in life — a softer euphemism for the harsh reality of 'mortal sin' — that were subsequently repented and forgiven. However, the very nature of repentance and forgiveness, the very core of obtaining His Mercy, is the awareness
of grave sin. For this reason, all parishes have an on-going need for catechesis. Homilies and even intercessions exist to fill this need.
All parishioners are exposed daily to anti-life, anti-family, and anti-Christ messages spewn by the media in the form of entertainment and 'news'. Pornography has been accepted as a way to gratify the senses. Fornication, adultery, lying, cheating, and of course, the reified 'right to choose' that leads to abortion, euthanasia, and assisted suicide are fundamental 'rights' that the media incessantly propagates.
As Catholics, we are supposed to know that the media's portrayal of 'normal' and 'good' is, in Truth, abnormal and evil. In our churches, however, we are met with silence on the core of the Church's moral teaching. In many parishes, for example, during the intercessions (which should express our deepest needs), we pray for many valid concerns. We might pray, for example, for 'the safety of travellers: on the roads, by air, on the waterways'. Yet, on a vitally important moral issues, we pray half-heartedly: "for the protection of the unborn." We do not pray for an end
to abortion or contraception. Only when these horrors against innocent life end will we begin to live the Gospel of Life.
It would appear as Catholic communities, we are conveniently side-stepping the most serious moral issue of our time: the respect for the gift of life (particularly as it concerns contraception). It does not take much research to see what fruit our collective silence has produced these last thirty-odd years. Pope Paul VI prophesied that once contraception was accepted, abortion, homosexuality, euthanasia and all other abuses against the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, would soon follow.
An easy remedy: provide simple catechesis through the intercessions. Furthermore, basic catechesis should be woven into all homilies. Instead of euphemisms, these horrendous evils should be named
— alerting parishioners that these 'serious mistakes' will plunge any unrepentant soul into eternal darkness.
By naming these evils (contraception, abortion, euthanasia), and praying for their end
, we bind them, and lessen their power over us. By praying for their end, parishioners are told the truths that the Catholic Church holds and teaches. Perhaps even a few babies might be saved.
Most surely there are some parishioners who might be unclear, need to be reminded, or 'updated' on Church teachings. Pastorally, it might be better to have a few flushed faces in the congregation, than to find themselves before the Lord who will remind them that their time for mercy was on earth.
Preaching, in hope of repentance, is certainly a pastor's greatest act of mercy. Those who listen and repent, rather than face the Lord of Judgement, will meet the Lord of Mercy who will welcome them into their reward.