Friday, August 1, 2008

As if the Dissent Against Humanae Vitae Couldn't Be More Repulsive

We get this from Catholic World News:

Yesterday published a recently unearthed letter which was sent to bishops with a pre-release copy of the encyclical. The letter, dated July 19, 1968, is signed by the late Amleto Giovanni Cardinal Cicognani, who was then the Vatican Secretary of State.

So in other words, the bishops who thumbed their noses at Pope Paul were basically ignoring a personal plea to uphold the Church's teaching on this issue. I know it probably shouldn't make a difference, but it just seems like defiance of an infallible teaching is compounded and made even worse when folks just slap away the hand of brotherly affection extended by this letter. Listen to this:

The letter begins: "When directing me to transmit to Your Excellency the enclosed document, publication of which is imminent, His Holiness strongly recommended that I draw your attention to its importance, and to the necessity of a concerted effort on the part of the entire Catholic Episcopate."

In the letter the Pope can be seen to plead for the world's bishops to stand with him on the matter, which is described as "one of the most delicate questions of Catholic morals."

Regarding the Pope, the letter says, "And now He turns to His Brothers, the Bishops of the Catholic world, asking them to stand beside Him more firmly than ever in this circumstance, and to help Him present this delicate point of the Church's teaching to the Christian people, to explain and justify its profound reasons."

The letter adds, "The Pope counts upon the attachment of His Brothers in the Episcopate to the Chair of Peter, upon their love for the Church, upon their concern for the true good of souls."

"Finally," concluded the letter, "it is necessary that both in the confessional and in the pulpit, in the press and by other means of social communication, every necessary pastoral effort be made that no ambiguity exists among the faithful or in public opinion concerning the Church's position in this serious matter."

From this, all the reports about how Pope Paul was shocked by the reaction to HV should be reexamined. This letter makes it sound like he had some idea of what was about to go down and was trying his best to mitigate the damage on the front end.

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