Erie Times News and Church Teaching — A Reader Speaks Up

Reading James Drane’s article (and corresponding cartoon) today in Erie’s Times News (“Catholic Church should change its policies on birth control”) made us want to cancel the paper… again. Of course, it demands a reply, but why bother? What good does it do? Where is the Church’s official reply? But then I’m haunted by the awareness that if we don’t say something, we’re tacitly approving falsehood — and the destruction it causes. We allow pop-culture to assume Catholics are just blind, conflicted sheep.  Our simple reply signals to them that perhaps there are 10,000 others who agree.   My wife saw that look in my eyes and humorously moved to block me from my laptop — as it’s Sunday.
It’s unlikely they’ll publish my below letter, and if they do — likely it will be misrepresented. Nonetheless, I encourage you if you are so moved to please consider sending your own letter/message to Times News expressing your disagreement with the article — that you do agree with Church teaching. If everyone who read this simply sent that expression — it could have an impact: . So Lent begins!  Let’s keep praying.
The Times wouldn’t ask a disgruntled, former employee to be their spokesperson. One can only wonder why they continue to go to an ex-priest who so evidently opposes the Church on matters so definitively Catholic (Drane, “Catholic Church should change its policies on birth control”).
Let’s situate this in a liberal framework. In America no one is forced to believe anything. In search of integrity: if you don’t agree with the Catholic Church, haven’t endeavored to discover the solid basis for our beliefs, plain and simple, you’re really not Catholic. No need to get grumpy about it, there are a gazillion other options.
On Drane’s premise, that the Church’s teaching ought to be a function of popularity, or ease, or convenience, or taste – one has the Cross to contend with. Fundamentally and essentially, faith is a matter of truth.
Drane wrongly presents the Church teaching as a matter of historical happenstance. It could have gone this way, it could have gone that way. Anyone who has taken the time to read and understand the Church’s teachings would recognize otherwise. There is rock-solid biblical, historical, theological and logical basis for the Church as a “pillar and foundation of truth” (1 Tim. 3:15), as a continuation of Christ’s teaching (Matt. 16:18ff).
As Catholic parents of six beautiful children, we are not blind sheep. Our faith is not a matter of some culturally-construed, external obligation that makes us feel good. We aren’t devoted to it simply because we inherited it. Our Catholic faith is something we have studied extensively, that we have engaged, and have come to not only fully embrace, but proclaim joyfully as Christ’s revelation for the good of our lives – in this world and the next.
Of course, all professed truth must stand in the light of validation: I have yet to meet anyone who has ever broken a “law” that has not, in fact, broken them. With contraception one need look no further than a commercial  and the long list of warnings at the end. In the biblical-moral sphere, before 1933 all Christian denominations opposed contraception on biblical-theological grounds. So one must ask, did God change his mind? Note that contraception was propelled into acceptance by Margaret Sanger/Planned Parenthood – whose principal, eugenic purpose was pronounced in their masthead: “More from the fit, less from the unfit.”
Prior to 1933 Christians universally understood that sexual expression was a sacred gift between husband and wife, the use of which should correspond to the intent of the Giver. We are moved by the great nobility and truth of a Church that continues to hold up, against all detractors – the great nobility of sexual expression as a call to participate in God Himself who is Love, a Communion of Persons.  God is love and God is life; contraception literally means “against life.”Contraception removes God from the equation, enabling a using of persons. Apart from the Giver everything withers. Decline of marriage, loss of respect for women, loss of respect for life in all stages… all predicted as a result of a “contraceptive mentality”.
With due note for the great tragedy of scandal throughout the Church’s history, which is incumbent upon any institution so entrusted to imperfect humanity, we thank God for His gift of the Church, and for all those who have faithfully proclaimed and lived the saving truths which, if not popular or easy, are for our greatest good. GO HERE for a great summary on the basis of the Church’s teaching on contraception.Greg and Stephanie Schlueter

About Author

Greg, wife Stephanie and their six children are committed to more fully discovering and living out the adventure of their Catholic identity and mission as family, and inviting other families to do the same: We Image the Trinity (Get IT?). They have a big vision for this Catholic family movement-- and seek to accomplish this through dynamic Catholic multimedia, events, networking, resources and retreat centers. Find out more and get on board at! Before beginning Image Trinity (, Greg Schlueter developed Catholic retreat programs (Mount 2000, Journey to Emmaus), contributed to the successes of faith films (Narnia, Champions of Faith, God or the Girl, Superman Returns), developed promotion of Catholic organizations (Reason for Our Hope Foundation), created Catholic media and satellite/syndicated radio programming (Live from Paddy O'Neills/, created dramas that have been used around the world (Turn Around), produced programs that have aired on EWTN and CatholicTV (Newman Miracle Story), written for various Catholic endeavors (Catholic Exchange), conducted retreats, and spoken at various conferences and events (Pittsburgh Ministries conference, Ohio Right to Life Society). CONTACT: 814/ 864-5755

  • PaddyOH

    Well played, Mr. Schlueter. Thank you for writing that letter. I hope the newspaper publishes it as written. Your thoughts deserve wide circulation. Blessings to you and yours, and keep fighting the good fight!

  • Jared B

    Is there a link to the cartoon mentioned?