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COUNTY MAYO, Ireland (ChurchMilitant.com) - An association of lay Catholics is trying to return Ireland to its Catholic roots.
John Lacken is the secretary of the Lumen Fidei Institute, an association of Catholic laity, whose initiative is to educate and bring back the Church's teachings on the Catholic family. Lacken told Church Militant they recently published a book on Hell and are working on one about Purgatory.
Lacken said in his research into why Ireland lost its faith, he noted that it traced back to how Humanae Vitae was received by the Church. He said six professors from Maynooth Seminary publicly dissented from its condemnation of contraception.
"Two of those were professors of moral theology," Lacken noted.
None of the dissenting priests were corrected, disciplined or dismissed. These dissenting priests went on to form the young seminarians in the priesthood.
This dissent was taken to the laity in the 1980s when one of the priests was appointed to the Catholic Marriage Advisory Council that was introducing pre-marriage courses.
"So once you see that, the nod and a wink was given to contraception," Lacken said.
The Catholic schools in Ireland were also slowly taken over by the state. The government took over control of the curriculum, and about ten years ago, when it introduced religion into the pre-college exams, it took over the religious education.
"What you now have, the ridiculous situation in Ireland, where a secular state which promotes divorce, abortion, contraception, same-sex marriage, now actually sets and controls the religious education program in the Catholic schools," Lacken explained.
Lacken explained the Irish people are pushed emotional messages supportive of the liberal agenda. He said the media is funded by liberal secularists and they are "singing from the same hymn sheet" as the political parties. He said there was not one political party that was against the same-sex marriage and abortion referendums.
"We don't have a media that's journalists, we have a media that's basically propagandists so it's pushing an agenda into the country," he said.
Lacken said returning Ireland to its Catholic roots is going to be a slow process. Clarifying, he added, "It's going to be a generational process."
He explained, since the Second Vatican Council, the ends of marriage have been listed in reverse order. The unitive aspect of marital relations are listed first and having and raising children is listed second. Before the 1960s, the Church always taught that children are the primary end of marriage.
Lacken explained, "When you go back to the book of Genesis, the first words that God speaks to the man and woman is 'increase and multiply.' It doesn't say be united, then increase and multiply."
Lacken said they're trying to start a Maccabeean movement. The Maccabees lived at a time when there was oppressive religious persecution. They banded together to defend their families, their faith and their way of life.
"The Catholic family is the only foundation on which you can build a just society," he noted.
Part of that movement is to promote education and establish an independent Catholic media. The Lumen Fidei Institute publishes Catholic Voice, a Catholic newspaper, but Lacken noted at this time it's only published once a fortnight.
Lumen Fidei is also holding a Conference of Catholic Families at the same time as the World Meeting of Families (WMOF). While the WMOF will be having pro-gay speakers such as Fr. James Martin, the Conference of Catholic Families will be exploring Pope Pius XI's encyclical, Casti Connubii.
Casti Connubii was issued on Dec. 31, 1930, the same year the Anglican Communion approved the use of contraception in marriage. It condemned contraception almost 38 years before Humanae Vitae.
Only 10 years earlier in 1920, "The Lambeth Conference condemned contraception in language that was identical to Catholic Church teaching," Lacken explained.
Lacken said it's a beautiful and rich encyclical and there's a lot to "tease out of it." He said it deals "with the very essence of marriage" — the three goods of marriage, the headship of husband, the complementary nature of the relationship.
"It's working together to make sure that the marriage is seeking first the Kingdom of God together for the benefit of the marriage and for the benefit of the children," he explained.
He said Casti Connubii should be "mandatory reading" for every couple looking to get married. "If you want to have a happy and fulfilled marriage, then you've got to try to live your married life as God wants."
Lacken said it has higher magisterial value than an apostolic exhortation like Amoris Laetitia. "Casti Connubii is infallible Church teaching," he said. "It doesn't change it cannot change."
Lacken noted that the Irish bishops just rolled out a program on Amoris Laetitia to every parish in the country. He said this program is dishonest because it subtly pushes an emotional appeal for acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle. He said it was tragic that the man in the story is not actually being helped by being encouraged to remain in his disordered lifestyle.
He said the Church's teachings aren't discriminatory against homosexuals, noting the Church only permits sexual activity if it's within marriage and open to life.
"In fact, the Church's teaching on human sexuality is the epitome of equality because everybody is treated equally," Lacken said. "Everybody's expected to hold the same standard."
Lacken said the Lumen Fidei Institute is off to a good start.
"We have all got to put aside our own wants and needs and say, 'Hold on a minute; seek first God's Kingdom, and with seeking first God's Kingdom, we have a promise that He will give us all that is necessary to live out our Catholic state,'" Lacken said.
The Conference of Catholic Families is being held on Aug. 22–23 in Dublin, Ireland.