Athanasius Against the World: Still Looking for Some Company

October 2005By Daniel M. Hoffman

Daniel M. Hoffman, the father of five daughters, is a sales manager who writes from Berwyn, Pennsylvania.

The doctrine of Arianism, which questioned Christ's divinity, appeared to be on its way to complete acceptance in the Church when the Council of Nicaea was held in A.D. 325. A fiery subdeacon named Athanasius came to the Council from Egypt and was an almost solitary voice against the teachings of Arius. After the Council and the adoption of the Nicene Creed, most of the bishops and leaders in the Church wavered due to intense theological, philosophical, and political pressure. Arianism was ascendant once more. There was only one thing in its way -- Athanasius, who was now the Bishop of Alexandria, united with the Bishop of Rome. Confident in his belief that Christ was co-eternal with the Father, he refused to bend to the pressures brought against him by many of the bishops, and even the emperor. Finally, after years of exile, turmoil, and constant struggle, Athanasius won the day and the Nicene Creed was recognized as a truth of Christianity. In historical terms, he stood against the world and won.

In 1968 a lonely figure stood against the tide of conventional wisdom and emerging views on the nature of man and love. This figure represented a Church that has been vilified and scarred by his stance and yet still holds to her teachings. A few hardy souls have the guts to try to convince an unconvinced culture that we are making a big mistake, but nobody appears to be listening. Today, from within the homes of a small but committed group of families, comes an echo of the lone voice of Athanasius which speaks out on a subject so sensitive and misunderstood that, rather than being chastised, is largely ignored.

It is time to begin an honest conversation about a subject that speaks to our very notion of love and lust, selflessness and desire. People jealously want to control the one thing that demonstrates God's infinite artistry and creativity -- life. The subject is contraception, and I think it is time that those who stand alone like Athanasius should find company in the voice of married couples who have had the discussion and recognize the wonders of openness to love and life.

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My own pre-Catholic history testifies to the devestation of a "marriage" originally entered into with the intention of excluding children ... in order to pursue the "yuppie" life style:

1) The bed centered around self-gratification instead of an exchange of real love between husband and wife. Artificial birth control was the "chief enabler" of this sad fact.
2) The sex ultimately "dried up"
3) The marriage bed became a war zone bringing intransigence in nearly every aspect of the relationship.
4) Bitter arguments and hateful treatment ensued
5) The whole rotten thing ended in a costly and emotionally devestating divorce.

All of this happened an Evangelical "Christian".

Thankfully, nearly two decades post divorce I found my way home to the Catholic Church and this former "marriage" was ultimately declared null. Christ's true Chruch does not recognize as valid any marriage that was entered into with the willful, intentional exclusion of children.

Openness to procreation is one of the three "goods" of Catholic marriage. Christ granted His Chruch the wisdom and the authority to declare this, based on God's first maxim to man and woman: "be fruitful and multiply ...".

Sex for pleasure alone is a destructive lie sourced in the "culture of death".
Posted by: BriBow
October 18, 2007 04:22 AM EDT
I owe my journey from contracepting to "free" to a brave sister in law who made me see that being a good Catholic meant obeying the church. Little did I know that this first simple act done purely out of obedience would literally turn my marriage around! Now that I have this wonderful hindsight PLUS the experience of seeing how good it is on the "other side", I am so saddend to see how effective satan has been in twisting logic and good reason by making good seem bad and bad seen good. Even today I see that Oregon is allowing Middle Schools to provide contraceptives to 11-13 year olds! Athanasius pray for us!! Posted by: rpkammerer
October 18, 2007 10:00 AM EDT
Defending God is ONE
The cross - reference bible ( American Standard version 1959 publishing) page 38-42 has the old covenant and New Covenant display beautifully between God and Men.
Hegel Philosophy : The kingdom of theSpirit : " God and man are One "
In Plotinus Philosophy the Mind, Heart and the Will is a representation as a recipient of form,as a recipient of life , as a recipient of order.
Confirms the Natural philosopher ( Anaxagora) Mind is God
Posted by: laguerre12
July 25, 2012 02:29 PM EDT
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