Saturday, November 13, 2010

re: "Church Helping Set Addicts Free" (Catholic Standard & Times, 11/11/10)

As Jesus told us that "the truth will set you free" (John 8:32), it should be no surprise that our Faith is key to dealing with destructive addictions and compulsions. Yet, some historical connections between Catholicism and treatment often go overlooked.

As per a 1996 article in This Rock magazine, moral theologian John C. Ford S.J. (1902 - 1989) was "one of the earliest Catholic proponents of addressing alcoholism as a problem having spiritual, physiological, and psychological, dimensions. Ford said that alcohol addiction is a pathology which is not consciously chosen, but he rejected the deterministic idea that alcoholism is solely a disease without any moral component....In so many ways, Ford's approach to addiction and recovery remains a model of spiritual discernment for our own time." Ford's shining the light of Catholicism on destructive addictions and compulsions goes almost as overlooked as Ford's contribution to upholding the truth about marriage and marital relations!

In 1930's Casti Connubii, Pope Pius XI provided a confrontive challenge to the clergy, with regard to teaching the truth about marriage and marital relations: "If any confessor or pastor of souls, which may God forbid, lead the faithful entrusted to him into these errors or should at least confirm them by approval or by guilty silence, let him be mindful of the fact that he must render a strict account to God, the Supreme Judge, for the betrayal of his sacred trust." For his entire priesthood, it is clear that Father Ford took these words with the utmost seriousness. Some 38 years after Casti Connubii, Father Ford played a vital role in Humane Vitae. While he presents this in an unappreciative manner, Eric Genilo, S.J. acknowledges that Father Ford worked closely with Pope Paul VI, helping to embolden the Holy Father with his prophetic encyclical.

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