If you think there is a Translation Error in Humanae Vitae…

If you think there is a translation error in Humanae Vitae, where is your scholarly or theological argument? If you think that Church teaching, on the grave moral matter of contraception, has been badly misunderstood due to that translation error, where is your reasoned explanation? I am unable to find any scholarly or theological argument to support this claim, by any of its proponents.

It is unconscionable to repeatedly publicly state that Church teaching on a grave matter of morality has been widely misunderstood, without offering any scholarly or theological argument. It is unconscionable to repeatedly publicly claim that the grave sin of contraception is condemned only in marriage, thereby excluding (and seeming to justify) innumerable sinful acts of contraception outside of marriage. This claim has gone out, via the internet, to essentially the whole world. And yet its proponents have never, as far as I know, offered even one lengthy article containing a thorough scholarly explanation and a reply to various theological objections.

They offer no theological argument. Instead, they simply make the claim, again and again, as if it were an obvious fact: water is wet, the sky is blue, Humanae Vitae contains a translation error, which, when corrected, restricts the condemnation of contraception to its use in marriage. This type of unsupported claim is not a legitimate scholarly or theological position, since it has no formal argument to support it. No, this is nothing other than what Sacred Scripture calls a “silly fable” —

[1 Timothy]
{1:4} against those who have been paying attention to fables….
{4:7} But avoid the silly fables of old women…..

[2 Timothy]
{4:3} For there shall be a time when they will not endure sound doctrine, but instead, according to their own desires, they will gather to themselves teachers, with itching ears,
{4:4} and certainly, they will turn their hearing away from the truth, and they will be turned toward fables.

This claim of a translation error that substantially affects Church doctrine is a silly fable, which has no scholarly or theological basis. It is a story told to Catholics whose understanding of the faith is childish, and who are unwilling to accept the cross of living a chaste and holy life in the midst of a sinful world. These false teachers speak so as to please their listeners. And they know very well that their listeners do not want a scholarly or theological argument. Like Eve desiring the forbidden fruit, they seek only a theological rationalization to do whatever they want, what they know in their hearts is truly wrong.

When I criticize these false teachers for their grave errors on faith and morals, they laugh. It is a joke to them. They know that they have very many supporters, Catholics who seek any kinds of approval or excuse for their grave sins. They know that the Bishops are (for the present time) lax in condemning false teachings and grave theological errors. But these false teachers speak and act as if God is not their judge.

Teachers will have the stricter judgment.

People who use contraception will be judged and punished by God. People who publicly justify contraception, distorting and undermining Church teaching, and teaching grave errors, are committing formal cooperation with the mortal sin of contraception. And their guilt is measured by the number of persons they convince of this falsehood. The more souls they harm with their false teachings, the more they will be punished by God.

[James 3]
{3:1} My brothers, not many of you should choose to become teachers, knowing that you shall receive a stricter judgment.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

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