Thursday, February 03, 2005

Humanae Vitae: Infallible? 

I ran across an interesting news site called "LifeSite" which had an article about ongoing conflict in the Catholic Church over "Humanae Vitae" issues. Here's a little piece:
Catholic Church watchers have not seen this much open dissent by high-level clergy since the publication of the encyclical Humanae Vitae. Pope Paul VI’s 1968 letter affirming the Church’s traditional teaching on contraception caused a wave of open rebellion in some countries, especially in western, developed nations, even of some entire national episcopal conferences, including that of the Canadian bishops. Despite the astonishing accuracy of Paul VI's warnings about the devastation to the moral order that would result from a contraceptive culture, opposition to Church moral teachings is still entrenched in many Catholic quarters.
And the article goes on to discuss many types of sexual protests ongoing within the church all over the world.

I understand, from our RCIA class, that the Pope can teach infallibly from the throne (ex cathedra). I also understand that this hasn't been done since 1950 when the dogma of the Assumption of Mary into heaven was stated by Pope Pius XII. Is it wrong to pray for John Paul II to make it clear that Humanae Vitae is infallible dogma of the Catholic Faith? Or, if you read the link just prior, is it even necessary that he do so?
The mere possibility of Humanae Vitae's being an ex cathedra statement is often scornfully dismissed by referring to the fact that Monsignor Ferdinando Lambruschini, the Vatican spokesman who announced the encyclical to the press and the world, said that it was not infallible. As a matter of fact Lambruschini was not authorized to say any such thing, as is evidenced by the fact that this remark was conspicuously omitted from the Osservatore Romano report of his statement the following day. However, the main point is not whether or not there is historical evidence that the Pope was pleased or displeased with Lambruschini's remark. The main point is that, from a serious theological point of view, his remark is irrelevant. In an age when our consciousness is largely dominated by the mass media, comments by people such as press spokesmen receive an exaggerated importance at times. A moment's reflection ought to make it clear that such a grave issue as the infallibility or non-infallibility of a pontifical document could never be decided simply by reference to the mere ipse dixit of a decidedly non-infallible press spokesman! Indeed - strange as this may seem at first sight - it could never be decided even by seeking out independent historical evidence as to whether or not Pope Paul himself considered Humanae Vitae to be infallible.
Just how does the church decide which statements are infallible and which are not? Read it all, when you have time.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

powered by FreeFind