More than a thousand men gathered at the second annual Rocky Mountain Catholic Men’s Conference in Colorado Springs last weekend. Springs Bishop Michael Sheridan co-hosted the event with Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput.
The conference kicked off with a “laugh-filled” session on the differences between men and women. That session was followed by a presentation on the bioethics of “beginning of life issues” presented by Fr. Tad Pacholczyk from Massachusetts. Reproductive technologies are bad, he said, because they “contradict the beauty of procreation through the union of husband and wife as professed by the Catholic Church.”
From the Denver Catholic Register:
Dennis Murphy, a Colorado Springs-based licensed counselor and theology teacher at St. Mary’s High School, opened the morning with a laughter-filled presentation on differences in how God created men and women. Behind the humor, however, was a serious message—challenging men in all vocations to regularly study the Scriptures and to take seriously St. Paul’s call in Ephesians 5 for men to serve their wives as Christ served the Church—ultimately giving his life for her.
“We are to love our wives unconditionally,” he said. “Love your wife as she is. Clergy, fall in love with the Church, because I know how she can break your heart, too.”
Father Tad Pacholczyk, director of education for the National Catholic Bioethics Center of Philadelphia and a priest of the Diocese of Falls River, Mass., concluded the morning schedule with a discussion on beginning-of-life issues such as human embryos and assisted reproductive technologies like in vitro fertilization (IVF).
Father Pacholczyk broke down the specifics of several medical procedures such as IVF and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (known more commonly as “ICSI”) in order to show how they contradict the beauty of procreation through the union of husband and wife as professed by the Catholic Church. He talked about how some doctors have turned the marital act into one of production instead of procreation.
Father Pacholczyk said that at the core of assisted reproductive technologies is a sense of children as a couple’s right rather than as a gift. He said that sex between spouses, which should always be open to life, should be seen as a petitioning of God for children rather than a demand. Father Pacholczyk called on men to understand the lies promoted by supporters of assisted reproductive technologies and to defend the Church’s teachings on procreation.
In Washington the next day, Sunday, the House passed the health care reform legislation over the strident objection of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Archbishop Chaput wrote an angry note on the “bad bill” Monday in which he scolded Catholic organizations that broke with the Bishops to support it. He said the legislation was “unethical” because it didn’t follow the medical teachings of the Church hierarchy, particularly on reproductive rights. He described the groups that defied the bishops as merely “Catholic” in scare quotes.
“In their effect, if not in formal intent, such groups exist to advance the interests of a particular political spectrum,” he said, mirroring the case many of the groups have made against the USCCB under the direction of men like Chaput.
On the ground in Colorado, the Catholic Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System has assumed control of nearly 40 percent of hospital beds in the Denver metro area and has stopped providing abortion and other services, including following end-of-life directives, as violations of the Church magisterium or doctrinal teachings.