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On 'Humanae vitae'- Pope Paul VI did not act alone

Vatican City, Jul 19, 2018 / 04:00 pm (CNA).- Humanae vitae is not a “pre-conciliar” encyclical, Bl. Paul VI did not develop the final draft in solitude, and, the pope sought opinions before promulgating the text, according to a new book on the encyclical’s history.
 
The book “La nascita di un enciclica” (The Birth of an encyclical), was written by Professor Gilfredo Marengo, a professor of theological anthropology at the Pontifical Theological Institute John Paul II for Studies on Marriage and Family.
 
To write the book, Professor Marengo was given access to documents from the archive of the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, with special permission from the pope, since archival material from the Holy See is usually made available to scholars only after 70 years.
 
The documents include a series of drafts and instructions and also a never published encyclical draft, De nascendi prolis, which was overturned by a new draft, which ultimately became the final text of Humanae vitae.
 
The study of these documents lead Marengo to a final conclusion: “the idea that Paul VI made his decisions alone is just mythological.”

At the same time, “the isolation in which he found himself” after the promulgation of the encyclical is a different matter, Marengo said.
 
The book is the conclusion of a historical research project on Humanae vitae which initially sparked concern when announced. At the beginning, some speculated that a commission to reinterpret Humanae vitae had been formed, composed of Marengo, along with Pierangelo Sequeri, president of the Pontifical Theological Institute John Paul II, and professors Philippe Chenaux and Angelo Maffeis.

Church officials said last June this was not the study group’s intended purpose, and Marengo, at the eve of the publication of the book, told CNA that Paul VI’s encyclical needed no update.

“The journey toward Humanae vitae was not difficult because of Paul VI’s doubts or uncertainties on contraceptive practice. Difficulties came from the seeking of a language able to convey that judgement in a balanced, convincing and pastorally fruitful way,” Marengo said
 
The path toward the publication of Humanae Vitae was long. It started in 1963, when St. John XXIII established a commission for the study of marriage, family and birth control.
 
Shortly after this, St. John XXIII died, and Paul VI was elected pope. He expanded the commission’s membership from 6 to 12, and in 1965 he further expanded the membership to 75, chaired by Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani, prefect of the Holy Office – now named the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith.
 
Professor Marengo’s book follows step-by-step the development of discussion, from one session of the commission to another. In general, there is at first a pastoral approach, then a more doctrinal one, and then the synthesis offered by Bl. Paul VI.
 
Among the biggest concerns of some commission members was that arguing that the use of a contraceptive pill could be licit in some particular cases would favor the anti-birth policies of the developed West, thus impacting negatively the poorest countries.
 
The issue of birth control was part of the discussion during the drafting of the Second Vatican Council’s constitution Gaudium et Spes. However, Paul VI made the decision to take the birth control issue out of the discussion. Marengo notes that the pope asked to include in Gaudium et Spes sections reiterating the Church’s teaching on issues of marriage and family, opposing contraceptive mentalities and praising conjugal chastity, in order not to raise any doubt about Catholic teaching.
 
Particularly noteworthy is the plenary meeting of the expanded commission that took place March 25 – 29, 1965. The gathering recognized that a public statement on responsible paternity was needed, while it underscored that it had been impossible to reach a shared conclusion about whether the pill could be used licitly.
 
So, they proposed a temporary pastoral instruction, a “provisional solution to face the impossibility of reaching a convincing doctrinal stance.”
 
Paul VI did not like it. Marengo noted that the pope was concerned “to avoid that the Church, and especially the magisterium, seemed unable to say a clear word on such a debated issue in the public opinion.”
 
In addition to that, Paul VI deemed unacceptable “to back a change of the magisterium, not because there were strong and shared reasons, but because of the inability to untie all the knots.”
 
Bishop Carlo Colombo, then auxiliary bishop of Milan, also made his proposal for a pastoral turn, and presented a text which said that “contraceptive practice must not always be considered grave sin,” which was a way in the middle not to detach from Pius XI and Pius XII teachings and at the same time to dissolve conflict of conscience among spouses.
 
Paul VI did not take this suggestion, and started a new path of study, in his constant attempt to find a good balance between pastoral practice and doctrine.
 
Marengo underscored that, at the time, finding the proper language was difficult, as “a certain appeal for pastorality had been used to put in discussion some not-secondary issues of doctrine, and this caused uncertainty and uneasiness in the ecclesial body.”
 
At this point, international pressure started to mount.
 
A document stressing that 70 members of the Pontifical Commission were favorable toward the birth control pill was published simultaneously in the French newspaper “Le Monde,” the English magazine “The Tablet,” and the American magazine “National Catholic Reporter” in 1967.
 
This publication is at the origin of the popular narrative that Paul VI acted alone, and against the opinion of the majority of commission theologians.
 
In 2003, Bernardo Colombo, a professor of demographics and a member of the commission, revealed that the document was in fact “just one of the 12 reports presented to the Holy Father,” in an article he wrote in “Teologia”, the journal of the theological faculty of Milan.
 
Professor Marengo’s book also dismisses the narrative.

Despite pressure, the work toward the drafting of an encyclical proceeded. In 1967, Paul VI askes the Vatican Secretary of State to poll participants in the first Synod of Bishops.
 
Only 26 out of the 199 participants in the Synod respond to a request that they give an opinion on birth control. The majority of them called for openness to the use of contraception, while only seven asked the Pope to reiterate the immorality of contraception, according to Marengo.
 
It was, however, only a minority of surveyed bishops who even responded to the survey.
 
Paul VI’s collegial way of working is proved by the numerous opinions he sought, as well as regular dialogue with theologians and commissions, and that final request to the Synod of Bishops.
 
Marengo stressed that “not a few looked at the encyclical as a decision made by Paul VI in total solitude, without taking in consideration the dynamics of the majority and the minority,” despite ample evidence to the contrary.
 
“Although Paul VI had a strong awareness of the apostolic ministry with which he was entrusted, he never wanted to make the decision alone, and his attempt to involve Synod’s fathers in 1967 is a clear proof of that,” Marengo wrote.
 
In the end, Bl. Paul VI had also the courage to reject De Nascendi Prolis, the first draft of the encyclical, after it was already set and had been sent out for translation. Paul VI took the suggestion of Paul Poupard and Jacques Martin, French and English translators of the text and both of them future cardinals.
 
When they read the text, they both stressed that the draft “seemed to be unfit to the task,” that is “to make the doctrine of the Church intelligible and as much as possible acceptable to the modern world in such a delicate and discussed issue.”
 
Poupard and Martin also sketched their own draft, which started on different basis: De Nascende Prolis was mostly a clear and correct explanation of principles, while the Poupard – Martin draft took the perspective of the faithful that hoped from the Church for an interpretation of the moral law.
 
That was, in general, the discussion that led to the final drafting of the Humanae vitae. From Paul VI’s personal corrections to the text, one sees that it was the pope who wanted to add the adjective “human” to the encyclical’s opening.
 
According to Marengo, the text of Humanae vitae shows “the pope’s will to avoid the idea that the search for a doctrinal clarity might be interpreted as insensitive rigidity.”

Paul VI also wanted to emphasize that the Church was very much eager to share problems and difficulties of couples, but not to the point of “justifying a teaching that was not fully consistent with the totality and integrality of the Gospel’s message.”
 
In the end, Paul VI took every possible outcome into consideration. He did not want to suspend any doctrinal judgment, but in reaffirming the doctrine he also put at the center the pastoral method. This was the spirit of the Council: to keep continuity with the deposit of faith, looking for a new way to present it to the world.
 
 One final note: beyond any pastoral openness or scientific uncertainty, documents and drafts prior to the publication of the encyclical show that the final goal was to publish a text in continuity with the Church’s traditional teaching.
 
Paul VI did not want to make a formal declaration to say the teaching of the encyclical was infallible, as requested by the Cardinal Wojtyla. This does not mean, in the end, that he did not consider this teaching as definitive. Everything was solidly anchored to the teaching of the Church. 

University removes priest who hosted rosary of reparation for gay pride parade

Glasgow, Scotland, Jul 19, 2018 / 03:42 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A Catholic priest in Glasgow has been removed as a university chaplain after hosting a rosary of reparation for the city’s gay pride parade.

Father Mark Morris, who served as Catholic chaplain at Glasgow Caledonian University's faith and belief center as well as a parish priest at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Balornock, hosted a ‘Rosary of reparation for the gross offence to God which is Pride Glasgow’ at the parish.

The July 16 Rosary service was held in response to a gay pride event in the city on July 14.

After complaints from LGBT groups, University principal Pamela Gillies announced that “Following due consultation, Father Mark Morris will not return to his chaplaincy role at the university in September,” the BBC reported.

“The university will work with the Archdiocese of Glasgow to ensure the continued provision of chaplaincy support for staff and students at our faith and belief centre when the new term starts,” she said.

A university spokesperson cited a commitment to “supporting equality and diversity on campus,” the Scottish Catholic Observer reported.

The GCU Catholic community issued a statement on Facebook voicing full support for and solidarity with Morris and asking the university to reconsider its dismissal of the priest.

“It is frankly abhorrent that a Catholic Priest would be dismissed from his post as a Catholic chaplain for merely reaffirming the teachings of the Catholic Faith,” the statement said.

The Catholic community described Morris as a “faithful priest who has served our community with joy, dignity, and a smiling face for many years now.” He is both clear and charitable in presenting the truth of Church teaching, and is “well-loved by the students,” they said.

The statement voiced concern that Catholic beliefs “are not valued or respected at the university chaplaincy” and noted that the Rosary hosted by Morris was a parish event, not part of his chaplaincy duties.

“In line with Church teaching, Fr Morris has made it clear on many occasions that homosexual persons are called to a life of chastity. In no way does this mean that homosexual persons are not welcome here at the chaplaincy, nor does it mean that they have fallen short of the love of God,” the university’s Catholic community said.

The Archdiocese of Glasgow said it “is aware of the University’s decision and will address the provision of chaplaincy support in due course,” the Scottish Catholic Observer reported.



Center for women with crisis pregancies to open in Argentina

Buenos Aires, Argentina, Jul 19, 2018 / 03:29 pm (ACI Prensa).- Priests who work in the slums of Buenos Aires announced Tuesday a “Home of the Motherly Embrace” to care for women in crisis pregnancies.

The initiative, presented at Christ the Worker parish July 17, seeks to respond  to the needs of women who live in the slums and also is a sign of the commitment of the Church to defending the lives of the unborn and their mothers.

Besides lamenting the progress of the abortion bill which passed in the Argentine Chamber of Deputies and is now being debated in the Senate, the priests explained that the Home of the Motherly Embrace will receive teens and young adult women with at-risk pregnancies who are abandoned and who may be tempted to abort, as well as women who have procured abortions.
 
They will be provided nutrition, medical care and checkups, psychological support, and legal and social counseling during the pregnancy and their babies' first years, until they enter the educational system.

The center will seek to facilitate access to maternity policies and programs, and, if necessary, the process of adoption.

“In a family atmosphere that welcomes, embraces and accompanies (we) will especially seek to encourage and strengthen (the women). The center will also receive and accompany teenage or young adult dads in their growing responsibilities,” the priests said in a statement.

“We choose to take on the  responsibility for these dramatic situations as a community and we're not uncritically awaiting the establishment of an actual throwaway culture of human beings.”

The priests will carry out their work “there (in the slums) where life goes forward despite the difficulties; and every pregnancy, every girl and every boy, is awaited and welcomed as a gift, with the hope that a future different and better than the existing one awaits him or her.”

The proposal was signed by four bishops, more than 20 priests, and two nuns.

 

This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

New sexual abuse allegations leveled against Cardinal McCarrick

Washington D.C., Jul 19, 2018 / 03:15 pm (CNA).- A Virginia man filed a police report Monday, alleging that from the age of 11 he was sexually abused and assaulted serially by now-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was a priest of the Archdiocese of New York when the abuse was alleged to have begun.

The New York Times reported July 19 the man’s allegation, that McCarrick began sexually abusing him in 1969, when the priest was 39 and the man, “James,” whose full name has not been reported, was 11 years old. McCarrick was reportedly a friend to the alleged victim’s family.  

The man says that he continued to be sexually abused by McCarrick for almost two decades, the Times reported.

The man claims that the abuse contributed to alcohol and drug habits that plagued him for years. He also says that he attempted to disclose the abuse to his father several years after it began, but was disbelieved, according to the Times.

In 1969, when the abuse is alleged to have begun, McCarrick ended a four-year term as president of the Catholic University of Puerto Rico, and became assistant secretary for education in the Archdiocese of New York. In 1977, he become auxiliary bishop of New York, and later became the Bishop of Metuchen, Archbishop of Newark, and, eventually, Archbishop of Washington.

Criminal statutes of limitation may prevent McCarrick from being charged with crimes relating to the abuse alleged Monday. A canonical statute of limitations, known technically as prescription, might also preclude the possibility that McCarrick face canonical charges for the alleged abuse, although the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is authorized to waive that statute in certain circumstances.

Joseph Zwilling, spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York, told CNA Thursday that the archdiocese learned of these allegations only when the New York Times article was published.

The archdiocese has not heard from law enforcement agencies about this matter, or from the alleged victim or his attorney, Zwilling said, adding that he hopes the victim or his attorney will contact the archdiocese, directly, or through the archdiocese’s Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program, an independently managed entity designed to assist victims of clerical sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of New York.

A source close to McCarrick told CNA that he had not received any official notification of the allegation and is therefore unable to respond. The source said the cardinal is committed to following the processes put in place by Church authorities regarding the allegations.

On June 20, the Archdiocese of New York, announced that it had concluded an investigation into a different allegation that McCarrick had sexually abused a teenager, finding the claim to be “credible and substantiated.”  

The Vatican was informed of that accusation, and as a result, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, by order of Pope Francis, prohibited McCarrick, 88, from public ministry.

Since that announcement, media reports have detailed additional allegations, charging that McCarrick sexually abused, assaulted, or coerced seminarians and young priests during his time as a bishop. The Diocese of Metuchen and Archdiocese of Newark disclosed that they had recevied reports that McCarrick engaged in sexual misconduct with adults, and reached legal and financial settlements in two cases.

The cardinal is prohibited from contact with minors in the Archdiocese of Washington, pursuant to the archdiocesan safe environment polices, a spokesman for the archdiocese told CNA, though that prohibition was not been publicly announced when McCarrick's prohibition from public ministry June 20.

Until recently, McCarrick was resident at a DC-area Catholic nursing-care facility administered by religious sisters, sources tell CNA that he is no longer living there.

The Vatican has not announced if McCarrick will face canonical charges related to the initial allegation of sexual abuse. Sources tell CNA that the matter is being addressed at the Vatican under the direct supervision of Pope Francis.

 

This story was updated July 20 and is developing.

Catholic church in UAE to host fatherhood celebration for migrant workers

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Jul 19, 2018 / 02:47 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A Catholic church in Dubai is hosting a celebration to honor the United Arab Emirates’ migrant workers – many of whom are fathers separated from their homes to provide for their families.   

It is a “day to honor some…fathers who are working here, separated from their families back home,” said Father Lennie Connully, OFM Cap., pastor of St Mary’s Catholic Church.

“They are here struggling for their families. We want to honor them, 500 of them,” he told CNA.

More than 500 men are expected to attend the July 20 event taking place at a labor camp for Khansaheb Investments in Dubai, more than 80 miles northeast of Abu Dhabi.

Organized by Saint Mary’s Catholic Church, the workers will enjoy games, dinner, dance, and gift baskets. The men will be given a combination of food and necessities, including items such as coffee, tea, sugar, detergents, razors, and phone cards. Father Connully said the calling cards will help connect the fathers and their families.

The fathers are “making a big sacrifice in being away from their families just to provide for them. So that is the reason why we thought of them,” he said. “It’s not on a very big scale, but it is something we can give at this moment.”

This is the third annual event that St Mary’s parish will host to provide aid and comfort to the people within the UAE. In 2017, the church celebrated the women who provide cleaning services.

This year, the event coincides with celebrations of the life of Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding president of the UAE.

“There can be no better way to commemorate the Year of Zayed – founding father of the UAE – than by honouring lonely fathers on the occasion of International Father’s Day. Shaikh Zayed is a true symbol of humanitarianism. To honour his vision and memory, St. Mary’s Catholic Church has decided to bring fun and entertainment into the lives of more than 500 deserving workers from selected labour accommodations in Dubai,” Fr. Connully said, according to Gulf News.

Dubai has a large migrant-to-citizen ratio, with immigrants making up more than 80 percent of the population and 90 percent of the work force.

Father Connully told CNA that the labor camps, though imperfect, offer these men a chance to be employed.

“A labor accommodation is provided by the company which employs them,” he said. “We cannot say it is ideal, but then the company, of course, is by all means looking for profit with using as little as possible.”

In 2016, numerous reports came out about these labor camp’s low wages, undocumented workers, and poor living conditions. According to Khaleej Times, there are months when workers were not paid and visas where confiscated.

However, Father Connully said the conditions are comparatively good to situations these workers face in their home countries, and the wages are still an opportunity the men may not have otherwise.

“It is comparatively good because they all have single rooms and all that…they have air conditioning and other good[s] compared to” their home countries, he said. “They are able to spare something, send something back home.”

The Asian Migrant Centre found that the largest source of migrant workers in the UAE originate from India. There are also large numbers of guest workers who are Catholic from Africa, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and the Philippines.

There are also sizable minorities of Hindus and Buddhists among the guest workers.

The Father's Day event will serve men of “any religion,” Fr. Connully said. “We have Hindus, Muslims, Christians, all sorts of people from all over the world.”

Because God is the provider, Father Connully said fatherhood plays an important role in the faith and is an honored position.

“In the Christian faith, [fatherhood is] a very, very important role…because we look to God as our Father. He is the provider of all mankind and the Father of the family. In the Christian family, the father has a big role to play and the father has an honored position in every family, especially in the East.”