Monday 18 November 2019

Inseparable Five Perspectives on Sex, Life, and Love in Defense of Humanae Vitae - Todd Aglialoro and Stephen Phelan

Inseparable: Five Perspectives on Sex, Life, and Love in Defense of Humanae Vitae 
Todd Aglialoro (Editor)
Stephen Phelan (Editor)
Raymond Cardinal Burke (Forward)
Catholic Answers Press
ISBN 9781683570912
eISBN 9781683570936

I read a lot of books, averaging well over 100 a year. Many books that I read are good, some are great, and a few are exceptional. This book was exceptional. In fact, it was so good that as soon as I finished it I started reading it again. I wish I had been forced to read a book like this when attending a Catholic High School. Or that I had come across a book like this during my 20 years in post secondary education. Reading a book like this would have saved myself, and others a lot of heart ache and hurt. Even as I approach my 50th year this book has had a massive impact on my thinking and understanding. It is transforming how I think about and see my wife, and how I am praying for my children. I have only read books by one of the contributors prior to reading this but will be looking for more from each of them.

The contributors are:

Joseph Atkinson
Paul Gondreau
Mark Latkovic
Allan Carlson
Shaun and Jessica McAfee

And the chapters are:

Introduction: The Truth Is One
1. “Let Man Not Separate”
2. The Meaning and Purpose of Human Sexuality
3. An Integral Vision of Sex and the Person
4. Body, Mind, and Soul: A Couple’s Conversion
5. A Prophetic Witness to Creation

Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke states in the introduction that:

“In 1962, the Fathers of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council were presented with drafts of the constitutions and decrees they were to discuss and vote upon. Most of these, with the exception of the document on the sacred liturgy, were famously eliminated from consideration during the first session of the council. 

One of those eliminated from discussion was a dogmatic constitution entitled, “On Chastity, Matrimony, the Family, and Virginity.” This document is barely mentioned in subsequent histories of the council, but today it bears close scrutiny. The hardy theologians of the Roman School, whom some of the prelates and periti from Northern Europe mocked and marginalized as out of touch with modern conditions, had produced a document that would have been of tremendous assistance to pastors of souls and Catholic thinkers, and one that in retrospect was prophetic and almost preternaturally precise about current challenges regarding human life and its cradle, the family. The discussion and approval of the document might have spared the Church so many trials!”

He also states:

“What had they foreseen and addressed in the abandoned dogmatic constitution? Well, just about everything we take as normally controverted and discussed today. For example, already in 1962, they addressed sexual dysphoria and mutilation and the nature of sexual identity, sex education, same-sex attraction, the indissolubility of marriage, feminism, genetic manipulation, overpopulation and demographic shifts, and they dealt as well with contraception. Regarding which last, this would have been in the text of a proposed dogmatic constitution Christifideles Universi:”

And this sets us up for this volume which is an expansion upon the teachings of Humanae Vitae, Evangelium Vitae, and Saint John Paul II’s theology of the body. The book is very well researched and written. It could easily be used in an academic setting but is also so well written and engaging that any lay person can read it and benefit from that reading.

Each of the essays in this book is powerful in its own right, as is the introduction. But combined as they are in this collection, they provide a broad overview and cohesive approach to the Church’s teachings, the worlds believe, and the impact on believers and the world at large. It is a phenomenal read and she be in every Catholic High School, and every Catholic University. Honestly, every Catholic home would benefit from having and reading this book.

If you only read one Catholic book over the next year, I highly recommend that you read this one! 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Shaun McAfee:
Reform Yourself! How to Pray, Find Peace, and Grow in Faith with the Saints of the Counter-Reformation
Filling Our Father's House: What Converts Can Teach Us About Evangelization
St. Robert Bellarmine

Social Media Magisterium: A No-Nonsense Guide to the Proper Use of Media
I'm Catholic. Now What?
20 Answers Conversion - Catholic Answers
Epic Saints: Wild, Wonderful, and Weird Stories of God's Heroes 

Contributed to:
Surprised By Life: 10 Converts Explain How Catholic Teachings On Life Led Them To The Church

Inseparable: Five Perspectives on Sex, Life, and Love in Defense of Humanae Vitae 

Other reviews of books from Catholic Answers.

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