Fr Iggy O’ Donovan debates Humanae Vitae with Fr David O’Hanlon

I know that many of you have been interested and curious about Fr Iggy O’ Donovan’s thoughts on various topics we have discussed on Protect the Pope, as a representative of dissent, reform, progressivism, liberalism, spirit of Vatican II, or any of the categories that we use during a time when the noun ‘Catholic’ is no longer enough. I welcome his contribution to Protect the Pope because since the founding of this site I have valued a variety of voices, faithful and loyal, atheist, secularist, gay activists.  What sets Fr Iggy’s contributions apart from other dissenting or reform-minded Catholics is that he doesn’t assume a superior, dismissive or patronising tone. However, like other dissenters or reform minded Catholics he can be evasive when asked direct questions. Someone has sent me links to Fr Iggy’s debate with Fr David O’Hanlon on Humanae Vitae. Fr Iggy compares Humanae Vitae to an embarrassing uncle who sits in the corner during weddings that everybody ignores. On the contrary, on Protect the Pope Humanae Vitae is one of our favourite uncles who guides us about life with his hard won wisdom.

Also, a fellow alumnus of the Gregorian University sent me this background information about Fr Fuchs. Fr Iggy mentioned that Fr Josef Fuchs SJ was a Moral Theologian who taught at the Gregorian University – even though he disagreed with Humanae Vitae. In fact Fr Fuchs was on the Papal Commission set up by Pope Paul VI to look at the matter of the Contraceptive Pill.

But what Fr Iggy does not mention (or perhaps does not know) is that after Humanae Vitae, Fr Fuchs was no longer allowed to lecture on the Sixth Commandment at all at the Gregorian University. I had Fr Fuchs for General Principles of Moral Theology – and he never said anything about Humanae Vitae. It was not part of his course.

73 comments to Fr Iggy O’ Donovan debates Humanae Vitae with Fr David O’Hanlon

  • Shaun the Sheep

    Grab some popcorn and enjoy!


    I’m no fan of Fr O’Donovan’s views, either, but I’m glad he’s been contributing here and I am interested in what he has to say.

  • Wake Up England

    Personally, I find the church’s teachings on a wide scope of topics extremely difficult, divisive and limiting.

    As a homosexual man, it would suit me very well to ignore (like the embarrassing uncle at the wedding) the church’s teaching on homosexuality being intrinsically disordered; and homosexual sex being a Gravely sinful matter.

    My stepfather is nearly 100 years old. He is in a nursing home which costs my family over a thousand pounds each week. Readers will no-doubt appreciate that The Church’s teachings on the Gravely sinful nature of euthanasia are highly inconvenient to me. My stepfather has a rotten “quality of life” and surely a thousand quid a week could be better spent? It makes sense, doesn’t it? Why not put the man out of his misery?

    All my life I have struggled (with limited success) to lead a Catholic life – at great personal cost (emotional and now financial). Now, although Father O’Domovan’s debate here is regarding the Church’s teaching on artificial birth control (not euthanasia or homosexuality/homosexual sex) the core principle is the same: Either I am bound to obey God’s Holy Church, or I am not.

    Once the false principle is established that Catholics can legitimately choose which Church teachings to accept, and which teachings to reject, then it is only a matter of a few years before every Catholic has a different set of rules which he himself has tailor-made to suit his own convenience.

    I regard Father O’Donovan’s interview as being potentially highly damaging to individual faith; and I also find it depressingly dismissive of the heroic efforts and huge sacrifices which many Catholics have made – and continue to make – in order to try to do the Will of Almighty God.

    If you want to make up your own version of Christianity, Father O’Donnovan, why not join the High Anglican version of the Protestant religion?

    Endangering the faith of Catholics (which is certainly what you have done here) is the lowest of the low for a Catholic priest.

    • ms Catholic state

      Thank you for your testimony, WUE. It is dispiriting when the sacrifice and struggle of faithful Catholics is not recognised for what it is, by those in the Church. It is really an affront on their side. (Hope they read your heartfelt comment).

      God Bless and keep up the struggle.

  • John

    Poor Iggy! He describes himself as a member of the “Roman sect” and yet he somehow has found his Roman collar.

  • Fr. Iggy mentions “middle of the road Catholics”

    The problem with being a “middle of the road Catholic” is you are liable to get hit by those travelling in the opposite direction!

  • Fr. Iggy could learn a lot about his faith from the Hare Krishna woman at the very end.

  • One of the most telling things is that Fr O’Hanlon, a highly intelligent, articulate priest speaking FOR the teachings of the Catholic Church, in the late 1990s was pushed aside by those in power in the Irish church, because he obviously is too Catholic, and he dared to describe the former president exactly for what she is (not on the above show but elsewhere in the media around that time).

    The other interesting thing in those clips is that from a studio full of “Catholic” Irish biddies, mainly brought up in the fifties and sixties, only ONE younger woman (who was a hari Krishna follower) understood Fr O’Hanlon’s stance on Humanae Vitae.

    Michael Voris is absolutely right – we in the laity who can see, have got to make a stand and demand that our pastors are faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church and stop drip-feeding us saccharine-coated poison!

  • Augustine

    WUE: God bless you for your courageous and faithful witness.

    It is so ironic that many people who claim to be “Vatican II” Catholics so clearly ignore (or have never read) the teachings of Vatican II on the Teaching Authority (aka the Magisterium) of the Pope (see Lumen Gentium 25) and on Marriage (see Gaudium et Spes 51).

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church (which was so readily dismissed by some of the people in the TV studio)is really just a systematic exposition of the teachings of Vatican II.

    Vatican II was a General Council of the Catholic Church. And you cannot claim to be a real Catholic if you reject the teachings of a General Council of the Catholic Church.

  • BJC

    Fr. David O’Hanlon just totally outclasses Fr. Iggy. He looks out of his depth and flustered, and the best he can do is get angry. He offers no logical argument for his beliefs, and can’t back it up from Holy Scritpure and Sacred Tradition, the two sources of revelation for a Catholic. He even seems to be confused about that, a totally basic point of Catholic doctrine, seemingly thinking that “personal experience”, one of the touch stones of modernism, is an equally valid source. Well, I challenge him now to do 2 things, and if he likes he can get his rebellious priest friends Fr. Brendan Hoban and Fr. Tony Flannery to join in.

    (1) Give us quotes from the Bible, and 2000 years of Tradition, supporting his fanciful notion that the Catholic Church has not taught that using contraception is gravely sinful since it’s inception. And we need those quotes from all the usual sources, i.e. Church Fathers, saints, doctors of the church, synods, encyclicals and Church Councils. Further we need them going back over 2000 years and preferably in all centuries.

    (2) If he believes “personal experience” is a source of revelation for a Catholic please show me where that is in the Bible and Tradition. Same rules apply. Quotes from the Old and New Testament, and quotes from Church Fathers, encyclicals, Councils etc going back in a consistent line over 2000 years.

    By the way, as I’ve always believed in a fair debate, I invite people like Clifford Longley, Catherine Pepinster, and Tina Beattie to join in and thrash this out once and for all. The lot of you are such clever clogs, with multiple qualifications we are supposed to be impressed by, so answer my questions posed above, they should be easy for you. ACTA members invited too.

    I have a further question for Fr. Iggy. Seeing as you are a Catholic priest, have you ever done any of the following, or would you do any of the following, and if not, why not?

    (1) Offer up a mass for contraception and ask for the saints intercession before God?

    (2) Pray a rosary for contraception to Our Blessed Mother and ask for her intercession before God?

    (3) Have a 40 days for contraception vigil where you prayed in front of the Blessed Sacrament to ask God for contraception?

    If your answer to these is no, I can’t see where your consistency is, because as a Catholic this is exactly what you should be doing. Perhaps this is how ACTA meetings should start, with a mass for contraception, because it’s very obvious looking at what we can see on the internet, that the rank and file and “core members” support it.

    P.S. Nick, I don’t agree that Fr. Iggy isn’t dismissive. I think he was in that debate. He just assumed there was no case to answer.

    • BJC

      Oh dear. It doesn’t look as if any liberals out there want to take this bible and Tradition challenge on, and with all those multiple qualifications too. I am disappointed. I thought I might get replies back in Latin, Greek and Hebrew from people only too happy to prove me wrong. No matter, I’ll leave it open.

      Another challenge for liberals, and that of course includes Fr. Iggy and his abortion supporting priest friends Fr. Brendan Hoban and Fr. Tony Flannery (as ever, if this is “vile slander, I invite them to come to this forum to either confirm it or deny it and I’ll retract what I’ve just written). Watch this short video below, and as you watch, imagine you are at mass and as the priest elevates the host offer up some prayers to God for contraception; that includes the pill, condoms, spermicides etc. Don’t know about you, but the thought revolts and disgusts me. If it doesn’t turn your stomach, frankly, I can’t see how you’ve got any Catholic sensibilities left. I particularly direct this challenge at contraception supporting priests and religious. You might want to repeat the exercise for abortion, suicide and intravenous fertilisation.

  • Wake up England


    This is not the first time you have made the (very laudable) call for the laity “making a stand”.

    You said a month or so ago that you were prepared to get something going yourself, and I wonder how you’re doing?

    I read a lot of comments here from many readers who say “Something Must Be Done” but no-one ever actually DOES anything much.

    ACTA is a card-carrying organisation with a website, a structure, an agenda for growth. It has regular meetings and seeks publicity for its aims. Is it beyond the realms of hope that a traditional organisation could similarly be formed to defend Authentic Catholicism?

    The Latin Mass Society has done wonders; as has Una Voce.

    If I were younger and lived in England I wouldn’t hesitate to try and start something. It would be far, far easier nowadays (with the wonders of the internet and email) than it was when the Latin Mass Soc started circa 1970 with no money and few prospects of success.

    This blog has already thrown up several articulate, intelligent and highly able people who can (and do) splendidly defend Authentic Catholicism with great success and dedication.

    I think particularly of

    Ms Catholic State
    Michael P
    The other Michael
    And loads more

    Rifleman: you live in England. You’ve seemingly got a bit of spare time; and you’re probably a good organiser (having been a soldier). Would you consider being the chairman for a year? BJC: would you consider being on the committee?

    It’s quite frustrating to read continually here “We must do something” or “Parents must challenge their children’s schools” or “We must bring this to the attention of the Nuncio” etc etc. I read statements of this ilk here almost every day.

    WHAT IS NEEDED IS AN ORGANISED GROUP, NOT MOANING PLATITUDES. Personally I think Rifleman’s probably the man to get it going.

    Dare I hope for some enthusiasm and commitment from other readers here? Or will we all be tut-tutting (but doing nothing) in a year’s time?

    • Deacon Nick Donnelly

      WUE, I wholeheartedly support the idea of forming such a group. It’s time for us all to step up and do what is necessary. Deacon Nick

    • Bob Hayes

      WUE, your suggestion is timely and welcome.

    • Trulytruly

      I notice that you do not include Nick Donnelly in your list!

      • Wake Up England

        Truly Truly:

        It’s quite obvious to me that Deacon Nick has a full-time job running this esteemed blog; furthermore he has diocesan commitments too. It’s public knowledge that he bears the cross of ill health and on top of these things, he has to earn a living.

        I don’t think he would have thanked me for suggesting him as a contender!

        But what about you, Truly? Could you get something going?

        I cannot help but notice Rifleman and the other people on my list of suggestions have all gone rather quiet. I feel my suggestion for Action (to complement the fine words) has resulted in unenthusiastic silence. What a shame.

        Isn’t anyone out there prepared to have a go?

    • Bridget


      I already made a suggestion that we help out our Scottish Catholic friends in their fight against the laws being imposed on them re teaching of abortion and homosexuality in schools. If they are holding a protest in Scotland maybe one of you would be good enough to share it on this website and I will definitely support them.

    • Lynda

      Wake up England, These groups need to be local but with an overarching organisation. One ought always start with what is already there. I have always been a supporter of pro-life, pro-family and pro-faith groups but I think the kind of organisation that is most urgently needed, to strenghten a community in Faith, and bring society back to a moral, God-fearing culture – is the one known under several headings: Tradition, Family, Property; Ireland [or appropriate country] Needs Fatima, etc. it is anchored in the practice of the Faith, and is primarily a community of Faithful, but it gets involved through its members liaising with other groups in all the spiritual and moral battles we as The Church Militant are engaged in. They are in several countries. I have made a connection with them here in Ireland, initially meeting some of them through pro-life and other activities.

  • Chrysostom

    Deacon Deacon Donnelly,

    I thank you for the service you do in providing this admirable website, easily the best of its kind. But I want to challenge you: you write, ” I have valued a variety of voices, faithful and loyal, atheist, secularist, gay activists…” Do you also value, “racists”, “sexists” and other politically-incorrect -ists? If not, why since these people seem not to have been condemned by the Church throughout the ages whereas we can all still buy the “penny” catechism, which states clearly that “the sin of sodom” is a sin “crying out to heaven for vengeance”.

    • Deacon Nick Donnelly

      Chrysostom, thank you for your support. I should explain, I value a variety of voices because it gives us the opportunity to proclaim the Gospel as safeguarded by the Catholic Church. I value every individual who posts here as made in the image of God, and if a Christian, no matter their dissent or public avowal of sin, we are brothers and sisters in Christ by virtue of the baptism we share. We have a duty to go out and find the lost and bring them home. I also think it important to understand the arguments and assumptions of those who dissent or reject the Faith. Deacon Nick

      • Lynda

        That is okay if there is a modicum of goodwill on the person’s part. I find that is rarely the case with an unpenitent member of the clergy or religious order who uses his platform for many, many years to attack the Church, Her sacred doctrine, and recklessly (at minimum) endangers many souls by telling them lies as a Catholic priest or religious.

        • iggy o'donovan

          Lynda let us know the name of this miscreant. Then we can pray for him. Apparently he is “an unpenitenant member of the clergy”. Let us make this reprehensibile creature come crawling into the light.

    • Wake Up England


      Sorry, I don’t at all understand the point you’re trying to make here. Could you clarify it please?

      Are you defending the Sin of Sodom? I do hope not.

      • Deacon Nick Donnelly

        Chrysostom, simply put, I follow the approach ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’. We can’t love the sinner if we exclude them. This is quite different from loving the sinner by accepting the sin as a valid life-style choice. Also it comes from the recognition that I am a sinner who has been saved by the blood of Christ. Deacon Nick

      • Augustine

        WUE – I think that Chrysostom is using a “reduction ad absurdum” argument.

        Point 1. He assumes that Deacon Nick does not permit “racist” and other “politically-incorrect” views to be posted.
        Point 2. He also assumes that these views have not been condemned by the Catholic Church.
        Point 3. Why then, does Deacon Nick permit views that have been condemned by the Catholic Church to be posted here?

        I am not sure whether or not Point 1 is correct.

        As regards Point 2, some of these things like racism (which is immoral) have been condemned by the Catholic Church. But not all things that offend the sensibilities of the “politically-correct” are in fact immoral.

        With regards to Point 3, Deacon Nick has explained that he welcomes erroneous views not because they are erroneous – but because he seeks to establish a dialogue and to offer them the true teaching of the Catholic Church.

        Erroneous views may be held in good faith by people who (a) either have not heard the true teachings of the Catholic Church or (b) do not understand the reasons for those teachings.

  • nicholas Dyson

    I agree wholeheartedly with wake up England on the damage dissenting priests do to the church.If you go to a restaurant and don’t like the menu you go elsewhere you don’t stay

    • Augustine

      In the early 19990′s, Cardinal Basil Hume held discussions in Archbishop’s House with Anglican clergy who were thinking of crossing the Tiber. (I think some of the Anglicans referred to them as ‘Irish Dancing Classes’!)

      They were told that there was to be no ‘Cafeteria Catholicism’. He said “In the Catholic Church we offer ‘table d’hote’ – not ‘a la carte’.”

  • I am amazed that after fifty years we are still discussing Humanae Vitae within marriage. We should be discussing the affect contraception has had on our young people. Most of these people do not look at how contraception has brought abortion into popularity. Sticking to married couples is the safe option. Again the rhythm method was overtaken within 6 years with Billings and other methods of contraception because the rhythm method was imperfect. Having said that the priest who was determined not to jump out of the boat is destroying the faith of other catholics.

  • iggy o'donovan

    Hi Nick I am amazed that i have become the subject of so much comment. I am a member of the Augustinian Order but have never held any position of consequence there. I have taught some history at different levels over the years, a a little bit of theology here and there. However I would be considered very much a “backbencher” and any views I express are purely my own. Two Jesuit scholars who did influence me were Fr Fuchs and Carlo Maria Martini (later Cardinal). My main point however is my views count for little. Why people seem to attach such importance to them baffles me.As for that TV debate which you have put on your blog That was almost twenty years ago and was in my view a minor matter. Surely our Church faces more pressing issues today.

    • In the interview above you suggest that our own views (at the coalface as you say) are more important than the teachings of the Church. You suggest that you, in fact, know better.

      I would agree that your views count for very little. I don’t believe my own personal views count for any more, certainly not when compared to the teachings of the Church.

      As a Catholic priest you have a duty of care. You are responsible for the souls in your flock. When you add to or subtract from the faith it ceases to be the Catholic faith. In doing so you, Fr. Iggy O’Donovan, set yourself up as your own pope. Surely this is the essence of protestantism?

    • Joseph Matthew

      Hi Father Iggy. No. Once we accept contraception, we are bound in the logical order of things to accept homosexual acts which leads to “gay marriage” which leads to the very destruction of marriage.
      As a priest of the Church, your “own personal views” when in conflict with the teachings of the Church really matter. For the same reasons that the voting intentions of “pro-choice Catholic politicians” matter.


      Dear Father,

      I’d never heard of you (quite normal, quite to be expected, what with me being an English layman and you being an Irish priest with, as you say, little authority) until a few years ago courtesy, if I remember correctly, of a BBC radio programme. But your “why people seem to attach such importance to [my views] baffles me”, is surely disingenuous. You are a priest (for the Beeb, even better: an Irish priest) who is prepared to put his dissenting views at the service of broadcasters. They love you for it (a godless kind of “love”, of course) and, because you are beamed into peoples’ parlours from time to time, we hear of you and your disreputable opinions.

      So now you know why.

  • Wake up England

    Protestantism: Every vicar a pope in his own pulpit.

  • John Kearney says:
    “priest who was determined not to jump out of the boat is destroying the faith of other catholics”

    This same priest pops in here to PTP and blithely states he’s a nobody.

    Let me let you Iggy O’D – you represent thousands of priests who have been giving the green flag to all of us in the pews to contracept/abort/sodomise/divorce ourselves from the True Faith. [Moderated comment]

    It’s only because of my grannies’ and mother’s thousands of rosaries silently offered up that I have copped myself on in recent years, to realise I have a choice: either carry on dancing with the devil by thinking I can have my own version of being Catholic, or submit to the teachings of the CC just as WUE has clearly outlined above.

    What Fr O’Hanlon said on the Late Late Show was true then and is blatantly obvious now – the contraceptive mentality is the root of the problem! It’s the root of the problems we have re all matters of a personal, intimate nature, which affects everyone no matter what our status.

    We are a train wreck! What we have done in the past, is the past. However, in the here and now we can go on our knees.
    I suggest we go and pray outside every bishops palace, every priests residence and kneel and pray.

    WUE you want something! Well how about we have a flash mob rosary kneeling session in the plaza outside Westminster Cathedral where we also pin a short list to the door of what we want from our priests/bishops/cardinals/pope, and invite all the media, including Michael Voris to witness.

    The list could start with:

    1. Say the words of the Mass correctly – add nothing, take away nothing from them.
    2. Before every Mass, remind people that The Eucharist is truly the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and it is not to be taken if they do not agree with, or follow ALL of the teachings of the Catholic Church, are baptised and in a state of grace (explaining clearly what that means).
    3. Sit in the confession box before every Mass to give people a chance to be in the state of Grace required for Communion, making it clear that absolution can only be given if we are both sorry for our sins against the Ten Commandments and willing to change our ways.
    4. Stop letting nuns play pretend-priests/yoga instructors at ‘reconciliation’ services.
    5. Preach the Word of God, not you’re own funny stories.
    6. Facilitate the setting up of Legion of Mary praesidia in your parishes (sorry pastoral areas) so people, young and old can do good works based on a solid prayerful method, tried and tested all over the world.
    7. Lead your congregations on whatever pro life, pro family, pro human respect vigils they ask you to lead.
    8. Give up any relationships which a Catholic priest is not supposed to have and stop making a mockery of the Church.
    9. Go to Lough Derg on your holidays

    • Wake Up England


      I’m not sure what a “Flash Mob Rosary” is exactly, but I’m sure it would be a wonderful idea. I live in Portugal as people might remember, which makes organising things in Victoria slightly tricky; but I’ll do what I can to help.

      I only hope you’re serious and ACTUALLY DO IT. What we need are actions to compliment the endless words. If you nailed the list to the door you would be arrested for vandalism which might get you arrested, which the media would love……..

      Being arrested doesn’t worry me in the least if you’re short of a volunteer. I’ve no job to be sacked from and no reputation to protect.

      What date do you suggest?

      • Nicolas Bellord

        On Saturday 25th January at the Day with Mary, Westminster Cathedral there will be:

        9:45 Procession of Our Lady of Fatima, Angelus and Crowning of Statue, Sung Litany
        10:30 Mass with the Cathedral Choir
        11:30 Consecration of the Parish to the Immaculate (Good grief, does Father Volpi know about this?)
        Five Joyful Mysteries
        12:15 Lunch
        1:20 Exposition and Procession of the Blessed Sacrament
        Sermon on Our Lady by Father Marcus Holden
        Meditations on the Passion. Silent Adoration.
        The five Glorious Mysteries. Act of consecration. Benediction
        Enrolments in the Brown Scapular and Miraculous Medal
        Outdoor Procession of Our Lady of Fatima from Cathedral to Cathedral Hall Does this count as a flash mob?
        Confessions throughout the day.

        Usually several Franciscans Sisters of the Immaculate help with the organisation of these days and will be in attendance as possibly one of the Friars.

        Be there! Make it happen!

        • Nicolas Bellord

          Just a word of warning. At previous Days with Mary the majority of the congregation have come from the immigrant and ethnic minorities. They exhibit strange preferences for extraordinary hats, singing in Latin and such hymns as “Faith of Our Fathers”. Irony

  • The nailing to the door was meant to be metaphorical!

    Have you not seen how flash mobs work? At a given moment, people calmly appear from all angles, do a dance / sing a song / or in this case kneel down and say the rosary, then get up and go away just the same way as they had arrived a while earlier.

    It requires numbers…

    Before Blair and co started invading Iraq, 1,000,000 people young and old descended upon London for a day to say ‘not in our name’ – if we had said ‘over my dead body’ would it have made a any difference? Was it the right thing to do anyway? Did the Pope speak out about it? Yes. Did one bishop in the UK speak out about it? Yes – Bishop Patrick O’Donoghue. Any others? No

    To our souls, what is happening in the Church is like a thousand Iraq invasions. Are we prepared to fill the Plaza for fifteen minutes on our knees?

    • Teresa

      I would be prepared!
      Should we choose a symbolic /significant day so that our action has greater resonance? How will we spread the word? I think we would need to attach a simple “mission statement ” to our action….

    • Wake Up England


      Oh I think it’s important physically to nail your points to the door; that’s why everyone remembers Martin Luther. If he’d just prayed outside Wurttemberg Cathedral, the incident would have been quickly forgotten. It was an early Protestant publicity stunt, and it worked.

      Please organise it. Will other regular readers of PtP help? I am astonished at obvious paradox of those willing to hold-forth in writing and those willing to do something practical and physical.

      Are we The Church Militant or the Church Indolent? ACTA is getting its act together; are we really all going to do nothing? If so, shame on us.

  • Bob Hayes

    Meanwhile it looks as though the ACP in Ireland is planning to follow the Austrian and German disobedience: it has announced is will publish the prayers of the 1998 Missal as part of its weekly guide for ‘presiders’.

  • John Thomas

    I think it is rather strange that Father Iggy O’Donovan considers himself a rather obscure Augustinian priest in Ireland

    Whilst he may not have any formal position of ecclesisatical authority, he is well known and somewhat notorious

    It is sad that he does not use his gifts to spread and inculcate the true catholic faith rather than modernism.

    Unfortunately what he fully represents is the fruits of unsound catechesis and unsound seminary formation of the post Vatican II years in Ireland

    More blame probably lies with the ecclesiatical authorities for allowing this state of affairs to develop, and with weak leadership in the Augustinians ( and other orders).

    In earlier days this man would be sent to a monastery to do penance and repent, now he is sent on a sabbatical to another parish and is allowed to propogate error and heresy

    Pray for his soul that he may find life and reent

  • Shaun the Sheep

    I notice Father Iggy did not address any of the points raised by BJC:

    ”I challenge him now to do 2 things, and if he likes he can get his rebellious priest friends Fr. Brendan Hoban and Fr. Tony Flannery to join in.

    (1) Give us quotes from the Bible, and 2000 years of Tradition, supporting his fanciful notion that the Catholic Church has not taught that using contraception is gravely sinful since it’s inception. And we need those quotes from all the usual sources, i.e. Church Fathers, saints, doctors of the church, synods, encyclicals and Church Councils. Further we need them going back over 2000 years and preferably in all centuries.

    (2) If he believes “personal experience” is a source of revelation for a Catholic please show me where that is in the Bible and Tradition. Same rules apply. Quotes from the Old and New Testament, and quotes from Church Fathers, encyclicals, Councils etc going back in a consistent line over 2000 years.”

  • Wake Up England

    Dear Shaun:

    What BJC is asking from Father O’Donnovan is an impossibility. Father “Iggy” cannot answer the points raised and thus he will keep quiet.

    The “Dialogue” which the Liberal and dissenting wing of the Catholic Church is a pure lie. They cannot and will not “dialogue” because their contentions are so very easily shewn-up to be un-Catholic and at sharp variance with the truth.

    We see it on this blog time and time again. Not one of them has the basic integrity to “dialogue”. All you get is a load of disjointed opinions masquerading as facts, swiftly followed by a gargantuan sulk accompanied by petulant cries of “Everyone’s being horrid to me, boo hoo”.

  • Lynda

    The anti-God, anti-family and anti-life Media use persons such as Fr O’Donovan on a constant basis to attack the Church, the substantive Faith and morals. It doesn’t matter that they are not the right people to be speaking on the particular topic. The fact is the Media want them and they want the platform to spread their evil ideas. They have a mutually-beneficial relationship.

    • Wake Up England

      Lynda hits the nail on the head yet again with simple, piercing truth.

      Priests like Fr. O’Donovan wilfully lead their flocks astray from the true teachings of the church, using their own Private Judgements as “revealed truths”. [moderated comment]

      The evil arrogance of Pride allows them to think that they, somehow, know better than the Church.

      They pretend that the Holy Spirit favours THEM with “Inside Information” which is veiled from the authentic Church. In effect they are claiming to be personal messengers of the Holy Spirit. They are impatient of the Church which Jesus founded, and consider that their, personal, intervention and opinion is superior to the system of authority set-up by God-Made-Man. The hubris is quite staggering.

      “By their fruits shall you know them” warns Our Lord.

  • Father O Donovan should know, but may not that any priest who speaks out against the orthodox teaching of the Church, is spotted by the media. If the priest is reasonably personable and savvy about how to communicate his message, he will be given space and sound bites in plenty.
    In Scotland we have had our share of these; the late Father John Fitzsimmons was one and Father Steve Gilhooley was even more popular —– because he was even more outspoken and even outrageous.
    Lets face it, Fr O’Donovan! If Jo Bloggs says what you say —- who cares? There is a lack of integrity on your part. You belong to a Church the tenets of which you do not hold to be true.
    I don’t get it at all.

  • Amanda Peter

    I like Epsilons idea. We should get together and make known to our hierarchy our ideas to. Make known our love for Christ and his church and fidelity to CHRIST OUR LORD’s teachings held in sacred tradition and sacred scipture. I will be at Westminister Cathedral on the 25th Jan 2014.

  • Fr Iggy Fan

    At last, a priest in the real world.

    After a lot of thought and investigation for other methods I am now planning to use NFP. I confessed to using artificial birth control over the years, however the priest practically said that as I have two kids its not such a huge sin and that nobody should deny themselves of the sacraments for this reason.

    The type of NFP I am planning to use has been endorsed by the catholic church, why does Fr O’Hanlon have a problem with it?

    There is huge demand for places in our local Catholic schools yet parents are ashamed to be a proper part of the church communities and go to confession because of these stumbling blocks.

    The internet is full of hell-fire condemnation for people that dare choose to plan their families and bang on about mortal sins and having to detail and number each deed. Its a wonder that anyone turns up to Mass once their children get their places.

    We can’t (and we don’t want to) all churn out a child every year. Some of us women actually have careers too – we don’t belong in tribes or in the 1800s. As Fr Iggy says there are many changes since the bible days.

  • iggy o'donovan

    fan, whoever you are that TV debate was a lighthearted chat On RTEs Late Late Show almost twenty years ago. I did not perform well on the night. I still believe that Humanae Vitae was a huge mistake. He couldnt overrule Pius XI (Casta Conubbi) though he knew it was wrong, as it would undermine Papal authority.

    • Nicolas Bellord

      But Father Iggy you said that Pope Paul VI overruled his advisors and commission “in conscience”. Are you suggesting that his conscience was not informed and/or was not guided by the Holy Ghost? Or perhaps you believe that Popes should not be guided by their conscience in contrast to the rest of us?

      • iggy o'donovan

        Nicolas I was probably wrong in saying that Paul VI ignored his own commission as a matter of conscience. In Humanae Vitae I believe now that the substantive issue was not contraception but Papal authority.Pius XI could not be seen to have made an error.

        • BJC

          Fr. Iggy

          “He couldn’t overrule Pius XI (Casta Conubbi) though he knew it was wrong, as it would undermine Papal authority.”

          ” In Humanae Vitae I believe now that the substantive issue was not contraception but Papal authority.”

          What is going on here with your understanding of Catholic beliefs? A knowledgeable teenager would run rings around you.

          (1) Popes don’t “overrule” each other in faith and morals. They are there to guard and defend the Deposit of Faith not add and subtract from it. They don’t have the authority to do that. “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away” (Mk 13:31). If they did the Church would hardly be infallible in its teaching office would it? But perhaps that’s something you don’t believe in any more. Please be transparent enough to tell us your views on that so we know what we are dealing with.

          (2) It’s not just a question of “overruling” Pius Xi as you rather ridiculously put it, Paul VI would have been contradicting 2000 years of consistent teaching on the gravely sinful nature of contraception had he done so. It’s there in black and white, in quotes from the Holy Scriptures and Sacred Tradition, its just people like you wilfully ignore it. In any instance he had no authority to do so. You seem to be more ultra-montane than the ultra-montanists.

          (3) If you think that the Catholic Church has not taught for the past 2000 years that contraception is sinful, then I challenge you for the 3rd time, to give me, and everybody here, quotes from the Holy Scriptures and Sacred Tradition backing up your ignoble claims. All usual sources required, i.e. Church Fathers, saints, doctors, encyclicals, synods, Councils. Furthermore, I leave this challenge open to anybody liberal out there who wants to take it on. Remember these are the only 2 sources of revelation for a Catholic so using dodgy liberal “theologians” doesn’t count.

        • Nicolas Bellord

          It seems to me to be very easy to ignore all the theology around this issue, the tradition of the Church and what Paul VI actually wrote in Humanae Vitae (extremely prescient as it has turned out to be) and just claim that he was being dishonest in going against whatever he thought about the issue and just not wanting to contradict his predecessor. Father Iggy: How do you know what Paul VI really thought in his conscience or are you just speculating or rather putting an interpretation on the situation to suit your agenda?

    • BJC


      Come off it. It wasn’t “light-hearted”, you were totally out of your depth and didn’t know what you were talking about. The best you could do was pull faces and go all red. You looked every inch the badly trained priest that the 1970′s/80′s and 90′s was famous for and we all paid for. What a joke.

      Are you going to answer my questions now? Because I’ve got a feeling I understand Catholic teaching better than you, as I suspect many people on this website do to. It’s not even our first subject(s) but I bet we can give you the run around. You see these days the liberal clericalism of the past doesn’t work, you can’t just go on TV talk bs and expect to get away with it.

  • FIF you misunderstand Fr O’Hanlon! In the first place, he’s way in the minority of priests who truly talk like they follow the magesterium of the Catholic Church.

    Most Catholics haven’t a clue what their faith is really about, because a huge number of bishops and priests and nuns have watered it down to fit in with the secular mantra of the last 50+ years of ‘so long as you’re not harming anyone… anything goes!’

    Well I don’t know what planet you’re on, but I see the fallout from that mentality all around me. The bottom line is, if you want to take a purely secular point of view – children are suffering all sorts of pain as a result of us adults, especially Catholics selling out to the contraceptive mentality.

    People who want to change society are using the vulnerability of many, including those with same sex attraction, to decimate the family. In many ways, they’ve succeeded.

    Do I have to spell it out for you!? Contraception leads to abortion which is a sanitised word for killing. But this is not killing in a battlefield between equal foes. This is voluntarily or involuntarily allowing someone else to kill their baby. The whole of society is suffering because of this. Children are being told their mother should have aborted them. Children are self harming because of the pain of broken homes. Many are killing themselves because they have no hope.

    Contraception makes life into a commodity. We are all to blame! We are all sinners! Not just the politicians, not just the priests! Not just those who abort! Not just those who desecrate churches!

    If we who have glimpsed the love of God through our Faith, are not prepared to raise our voices in public prayer and penance then we are every bit as guilty…

    Are you going to put yourself out and join the prayers in Westminster on Saturday, or pray publicly in your own locality, or are you going to hide your head in the sand?

  • Do you know what, I believe priests like Fr Iggy genuinely think they are helping people when they try to soften the rules. But I know that if the priests in confession when I was asking for forgiveness for using artificial contraceptives had said stop, instead of ‘try not to but we understand it’s difficult in today’s world’, it would have given me the jolt I needed, to look at how much I had sold out to the materialist world, risking my soul. The great thing God gives us is time, and I look forward to the day when Fr Iggy and all the others acknowledge we were all wrong.

    Many young people today want something better than what we’ve dished up to them. We need to show them we’re sorry by wholeheartedly embracing all the tenets of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

  • iggy o'donovan

    epsilon you have got it just right.

    • Fr Iggy

      I hope and pray that you really mean it!

      Does this mean when next you’re interviewed you will point out that all those, especially priests, who were mistakenly trying to be compassionate for the last fifty years were inadvertently involved in the demise of the family. How many of those women in the Late Late Show audience are still practising Catholics who believe in The Real Presence and ever go to confession? How many of them have sons / grandsons who have committed suicide? How many of them are still married? How many of them have children who are in relationships contrary to Church teaching? How many of them have grandchildren who know how to bless themselves?

      Are you going to say you realise Fr O’Hanlon spoke the truth? Because how ever much you think you’re a ‘nobody’, you are somebody who has made it easy for people to sin. Those people need to take responsibility for sinning, but you could really help them by speaking the truth, however late in the day!

      I will pray you have the courage to do so! It won’t be easy! The wolves will turn on you. But you will be a priest showing humility – something badly needed in Ireland!

  • Fr Iggy Fan

    Perhaps you do have to spell it out.

    Are you saying that NFP is also wrong? We should leave it up to “God’s will” to decide how many children we have and give up any type of control?

    How about “God’s will” when somebody is stricken with cancer – is it also God’s will and should we withhold chemo and radiotherapy because its attempting to control it?

    Having two young children and a job I can’t just skip of to Westminster when it suits me so, no, I will not be there.

  • Fr Iggy Fan

    A married couple who for whatever reason use NFP have to be intimately aware of and monitoring the wife’s menstrual cycle on a daily basis. Unlike popping a pill or other artificial means, it brings the couple closer together. What women need more than anything else is to have a man who is prepared to lay down his life and his desires for her. The discipline of controlling oneself in the fertile / infertile phase of her cycle, depending on whether they are trying to avoid or have a baby brings the couple close in a way that artificial methods cannot. Whether it is right or wrong is based on their circumstances and reasons for practising NFP.

    NFP, like all of God’s gifts through humans using the intelligence He gave them, is a natural way of combining our will with the will of God. So long as in the final analysis we graciously give preference to what He wants, it’s unlikely we’ll go wrong.

    The ‘contraceptive mentality’ described by Fr O’Hanlon is what has led to people treating sex as a commodity, relationships as a commodity, children as a commodity. The contraceptive mentality is one that thinks God is outdated or at least must be up-dated! We have a right to control our own environment, plan our lives out, get rid of things we don’t want any more, until we fall and break our arms – then we have an opportunity to see things differently…

    What are you doing with your children on Saturday that you could not bring them to a place set apart, a place where they can experience the peace and the love of God, be with people of Faith?

  • Fr Iggy Fan


    Why would you assume that I’m anywhere near Westminster?

    I’ve already explained that I work Saturdays.

    Why would you assume that I’ve not looked into NFP myself? I haven’t gone into this decision lightly so I don’t really need you to explain to me how it works.

    I’ll admit that my confessor’s response was not what I expected. I almost felt like I’d wasted his time and that its no wonder we have co-habiting parents being catechists in our parish.

    The problem I have with Fr O’Hanlon’s comments are that they seemed to suggest that we should have no control over family size and that sex is only for procreative reasons. Did I interpret this wrong?

    Your attitude leaves a lot to be desired, referring to ‘irish biddies’ is rather derogatory as is asking what planet I’m on. Wouldn’t it be ideal if we all adhered to the values we learnt at school and committed to the sacraments earlier on in life? I genuinely wish I had.

  • Sorry I didn’t realise you worked on Saturdays. I don’t live near London myself either and am on a low income, but will be there because the situation is dire. Your own experience bears this out:
    “I’ll admit that my confessor’s response was not what I expected. I almost felt like I’d wasted his time and that its no wonder we have co-habiting parents being catechists in our parish.”

    You are a fan of a priest who seems to openly contradict the teachings of the Church he represents, but you find me rude because I call women who behave in a smug and disrespectful way towards a faithful priest ‘biddies’!

    You ask me to ‘spell out’ whether NFP is allowed,
    ” Are you saying that NFP is also wrong? ”
    then when I go to the trouble of trying to explain that NFP in and of itself is just a tool which can be used for bad or good, you respond by telling me I’m being presumptuous.

    I have every respect for the fact that you are trying your best to do the right thing and know how difficult it is when you have young children.

    I am Irish myself, but am greatly saddened by the aggressive materialist attitude of many Irish women which has got worse over the years. Watch RTE player any day and you’ll see what I mean (eg the Prime Time of Monday last week on surrogacy).

    The only reason I asked what planet you were on is because you say you are a fan of a priest who 15 years ago and ever since has been leading Catholics astray…

    I’m sorry you were offended, but I agree we would all be better off if we hadn’t strayed.

    Sometimes words get in the way. I wish you peace and will pray for you
    God bless

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