Category Archives: Feature

Pope: the archives on Pius XII will be opened next year

In announcing his decision, Francis stressed that the Pacelli Pope fought to “keep the flame of humanitarian initiatives lit during periods of more intense darkness and cruelty, of hidden but active diplomacy, of hope in possible good openings of hearts”

In the picture: Pius XII among the victims of the bombardment of San Lorenzo. (Rome, 19 July 1943).

Vatican City – The Vatican Archives for the pontificate of Pius XII will be opened next year, Pope Francis announced today during a meeting this morning with the Vatican Secret Archives officials, on the 80th anniversary of the election of Pope Pius XII.

In announcing the opening of the archives will take place on 2 March 2020, Francis noted how “The figure of that Pontiff, who found himself guiding the Barque of Peter at one of the saddest and darkest moments of the twentieth century, agitated and lacerated by the last world war, with the consequent period of reorganization of the nations and post-war reconstruction, has already been investigated and studied in many aspects, sometimes discussed and even criticized (it could be said with some prejudice or exaggeration). Today he has been appropriately re-evaluated and indeed placed in the correct light for his many qualities: pastoral, above all, but also theological, ascetic, and diplomatic.”

Affirming that “the Church is not afraid of history; rather, she loves it, and would like to love it more and better, as God does!” The Pope added that “that serious and objective historical research will be able to evaluate, in the proper light and with appropriate criticism, the praiseworthy moments of the Pontiff and, without any doubt, also moments of serious difficulties, of tormented decisions, of human and Christian prudence, which to some might have seemed to be reticence, and which instead were attempts, humanly also very hard-fought, to keep the flame of humanitarian initiatives lit during periods of more intense darkness and cruelty, of hidden but active diplomacy, of hope in possible good openings of hearts.”

Francis also recalled that the project for the inventory and preparation of the substantial documentation produced during the pontificate of Pius XII was elaborated by wish of Benedict XVI, after part of the documentation was already made available by Paul VI and John Paul II. – AsiaNews

St. Paul VI’s feast to be celebrated May 29

Pope St. Paul VI. Public Domain

Vatican City – The Vatican announced Wednesday that Pope St. Paul VI’s feast day will be celebrated annually on May 29 as an optional memorial.

“Before and after becoming Pope, Saint Paul VI lived with his gaze constantly fixed on Christ whom he considered and proclaimed as a necessity for everyone,” Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, commented on the papal decree.

With this declaration, published Feb. 6, the pope who guided the Church through the Second Vatican Council will have his memorial inserted into the renewed General Roman Calendar and liturgical books that he promulgated in 1969.

The date of the memorial, May 29, is significant as the ordination anniversary of Paul VI — then Giovanni Battista Montini — to the priesthood in 1920. Just four years later, Montini began his service to the Holy See, serving both Pope Pius XI and Pius XII. He was made Archbishop of Milan and then a cardinal before being elected pope in 1963.

“A saint is someone who brings divine grace to fruition in what they do, conforming their own life to Christ, Pope Saint Paul VI did this by responding to the call to holiness as a Baptized Christian, as a priest, as a Bishop, and Pope, and he now contemplates the face of God,” Cardinal Sarah wrote.

The feast day for canonized saints is typically chosen as the date of their death, or “birth to eternal life,” Sarah explained, but Pope Paul VI died on August 6, 1978, a date which is already celebrated in the Church as the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord.

Just before his death, Paul VI wrote in his meditation, “Pensiero alla morte,” “I pray that the Lord will give me the grace to make of my approaching death a gift of love to the Church. I can say that I have always loved her and I feel that I have lived my life for her and for nothing else.”

For Paul VI, “the Church was always, indeed his constant love, his principal concern, the object of constant reflection, the first and most fundamental thread of his whole pontificate. He wished nothing other than the Church would have a greater knowledge of herself in order to be ever more effective in proclaiming the Gospel,” Sarah said.

With the papal decree, the Vatican also published the new texts for the memorial of St. Paul VI to be added to the Roman Calendar, Missal, Liturgy of the Hours, and Martyrology.

“The Collect prayer resonates with all that God accomplished in his faithful servant: ‘who entrusted your Church to the leadership of Pope Saint Paul VI, a courageous apostle of your Son’s Gospel’,  and it asks: ‘grant that, illuminated by his teachings, we may work with you to expand the civilization of love,’” Sarah said.

He explained, “Here is synthesized the principal characteristics of his pontificate and his teaching: a Church, which belongs to the Lord (Ecclesiam Suam), dedicated to the proclamation of the Gospel, as recalled in Evangelii nuntiandi, and called to bear witness that God is love.”

The second reading in the Office of Readings for Paul VI’s memorial is taken from passages of his homily during the last public session of the Second Vatican Council on Dec. 7, 1965.

Paul VI was canonized by Pope Francis on Oct. 14, 2018 along with Oscar Romero, and five other new saints. As pope, Paul VI oversaw much of the Second Vatican Council, which had been opened by Pope St. John XXIII, and in 1969 promulgated a new Roman Missal. He died in 1978, and was beatified by Pope Francis Oct. 19, 2014.

Apart from his role in the council, Paul VI is most widely known for his landmark encyclical Humanae Vitae, which was published in 1968 and reaffirmed the Church’s teaching against contraception in wake of the sexual revolution.

Paul VI also made history as the first pope to leave Europe. With his first apostolic journey to the Holy Land in 1964, Paul VI paved the way for the frequent worldwide travels that characterize the modern papacy with trips to Jordan, India, the U.S., Turkey, Colombia, Uganda, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Iran, among others.

Cardinal Sarah explained, “Like Saint Paul he spent his life for the Gospel of Christ, crossing new boundaries and becoming its witness by proclamation and dialogue, a prophet of a Church facing outwards, looking to those far away and caring for the poor.”- Courtney Grogan, 6Feb2019, (CNA/EWTN News)

Eucharistic miracles

The Vatican’s Dicastery for Communication presents a documentary on Eucharistic miracles, interviewing scientists and witnesses, and raising awareness of this global phenomenon.

The documentary “Segni” (Italian for “signs”), is inspired by the venerable Carlo Acutis, a young boy who died at the young age of 15 from a sudden onset of leukemia. He dedicated his life to spreading awareness of Eucharistic miracles. He even opened his own exhibition to showcase past miracles that, to him, prove God’s love for us.

Modern miracle

The documentary focuses on events that took place between 1999-2013 in Argentina, Poland, Mexico and Italy. These miracles that occurred when science was already advanced enough to become involved in defining the phenomenon occurring. Science that could look into these consecrated hosts that suddenly turned red, taking the form of meat, of human flesh.

Constant wonder

The producers of this documentary travelled to the locations where some of these miracles are said to have occurred. There, they spoke to those who discovered them, those who studied them and those who, to this day, still wonder over them.

Matteo Ceccarelli, the director, spoke before the projection of the film and explained that part of what he wanted to transmit through the documentary was the ‘what happens after’. He wanted to show that as a consequence of these miracles many of the priests “learned to re-commit themselves”. This was supported by Fr Andrzej Ziombra, from the Church of St Hyacinth in Legnica, Poland, where in 2013 a blood stain was discovered on a host. Fr Ziombra says “I discovered the beauty of priesthood”, after understanding that “something important had occurred in my church.”

Fungus one time, a miracle the next

Part of the fascination behind these modern day miracles is the voice that science has given them. Science can be used, and has been used, to refute miracles. This was the case in one church in Poland, where red stains were discovered on a host. After having it tested, it was discovered that the red was simply fungus. Science is also used to accept miracles, as was the case in the situations explored in the documentary.

God’s sign of love

In all these cases, the host, having taken on the form of flesh, was studied in depth by scientists. Similarities were discovered in all these cases: the presence of white blood cells that usually disappear after a few minutes after death; the recurring AB blood type; the heart tissue found; and the other signs of life and vitality. None of these could be scientifically explained.
As Franco Serafini, a cardiologist, said in his opening remarks, “faith is not humbled by science”. There are certain things medicine can do when studying miracles, he said. “The miracles can now speak to us in a scientific and technological language, understood by people in this day and age”.

Ricardo Castañón Gómez, contacted in 1999 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to study the host that had turned red after it had been placed in water, to this day is unable to explain this occurrence, at least not through science. One explanation, chosen by many, including the initially skeptical Mexican Bishop Alejo Zavala Castro, is simply that “this is what God wanted”, and that this is “Him, showing us He loves us”. Francesca Merlo

Archbishop Chaput shares theological critique of youth synod prep document

ST. PETER’S BASILICA. CREDIT: BOHUMIL PETRIK/CNA.

– Archbishop Charles Chaput offered Friday on First Things a critique by a theologian of the working document for the upcoming Synod on Youth, which highlights five principal theological difficulties in the document.

The synod will be held Oct. 3-28 at the Vatican. Archbishop Chaput is one of five representatives who were chosen by the US bishops’ conference to attend the meeting.

In addition, Pope Francis appointed Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago and Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark; though Tobin has elected not to attend, citing pastoral obligations in his local Church amid the sexual abuse crisis.

The Archbishop of Philadelphia wrote Sept. 21 that in recent months he has “received scores of emails and letters from laypeople, clergy, theologians, and other scholars, young and old, with their thoughts regarding the October synod of bishops in Rome focused on young people.”

“Nearly all” of those “note the importance of the subject matter”, “praise the synod’s intent”, and “raise concerns of one sort or another about the synod’s timing and possible content,” he wrote.

Archbishop Chaput shared the text of a critique of the instrumentum laboris, which he received “from a respected North American theologian.”

He noted it “is one person’s analysis; others may disagree. But it is substantive enough to warrant much wider consideration and discussion as bishop-delegates prepare to engage the synod’s theme.”

The theologian identified five principal problems with the text of the instrumentum laboris for the youth synod: naturalism, an inadequate grasp of the Church’s spiritual authority, a partial theological anthropology, a relativistic conception of vocation, and an impoverished understanding of Christian joy.

The author said the document “displays a pervasive focus on socio-cultural elements, to the exclusion of deeper religious and moral issues,” and expresses a desire to examine reality through the faith and experience of the Church, while “regrettably fail[ing] to do so.”

Four examples of this naturalism are given. One of them is the discussion in section 144, where “there is much discussion about what young people want; little about how these wants must be transformed by grace in a life that conforms to God’s will for their lives.”

“After pages of analysis of their material conditions, the IL offers no guidance on how these material concerns might be elevated and oriented toward their supernatural end … the majority of the document painstakingly catalogues the varied socio-economic and cultural realities of young adults while offering no meaningful reflection on spiritual, existential, or moral concerns. The reader may easily conclude that the latter are of no importance to the Church,” the theologian wrote.

The theologian next discussed the document’s “inadequate grasp of the Church’s spiritual authority,” saying that “the entire document is premised on the belief that the principal role of the magisterial Church is ‘listening.’”

By its emphasis on listening and dialogue, the instrumentum laboris suggests that “the Church does not possess the truth but must take its place alongside other voices,” the author wrote. “Those who have held the role of teacher and preacher in the Church must replace their authority with dialogue.”

This misunderstanding of the Church’s teaching authority results in a “conflation of the baptismal and sacramental priesthood”, the theologian wrote, and it also “presents a pastoral problem”: “the Church as mother and teacher cannot through negligence or cowardice forfeit this necessary role of setting limits and directing (Cf. §178). In this regard §171, which points to the motherhood of the Church, does not go far enough. It offers only a listening and accompanying role while eliminating that of teaching.”

Third, the theologian discussed the “partial theological anthropology” of the instrumentum laboris, which they said “fails to make any mention of the will” in its discussion of the human person.

“It is the will that is fundamentally directed toward the good,” the author notes. “The theological consequence of this glaring omission is extraordinarily important, since the seat of the moral life resides in the will and not in the vicissitudes of the affect.”

Then is discussed the “relativistic conception of vocation” in the document, which gives the impression “that vocation concerns the individual’s search for private meaning and truth.”

An example of this problem is section 139, which “gives the impression that the Church cannot propose the (singular) truth to people and that they must decide for themselves. The role of the Church consists only in accompaniment. This false humility risks diminishing the legitimate contributions that the Church can and ought to make.”

The last principal difficulty of the instrumentum laboris is its impoverished understanding of Christian joy, according to the theologian.

Spirituality and the moral life “are reduced to the affective dimension, clearest in §130, evidenced by a sentimentalist conception of ‘joy.’”

According to the theologian, the document presents joy as “a purely affective state, a happy emotion …  Despite its constant reference to ‘joy,’ nowhere does the IL describe it as the fruit of the theological virtue of charity. Nor is charity characterized as the proper ordering of love, putting God first and then ordering all other loves with reference to God.”

Consequent upon this understanding of joy is a lack of “any theology of the Cross” in the instrumentum laboris.

“Christian joy is not antithetical to suffering, which is a necessary component of a cruciform life,” the theologian writes. “The document gives the impression that the true Christian will be ‘happy’ at all times, in the colloquial sense. It further implies the error that the spiritual life itself will always result in felt (affective) joy.”

“The pastoral problem that results from this comes to the fore most clearly in §137: Is it the role of the Church to make youth “feel loved by him [God]” or to aid them in knowing they are loved regardless of how they might feel?”

The theologian added that there are other serious theological concerns in the document, noting, “a false understanding of the conscience and its role in the moral life; a false dichotomy proposed between truth and freedom; false equivalence between dialogue with LGBT youth and ecumenical dialogue; and an insufficient treatment of the abuse scandal.”- CNA/EWTN News

Humanae Vitae 50 Years On

Fifty years ago, on 25 July 1968, the soon to be Saint Paul VI promulgated his great Encyclical Humanae Vitae, in which he reaffirmed the ban on the use of artificial contraception. In the intervening years, and in the aftermath of the disastrous sexual revolution, the fight for moral truth has been waged relentlessly, but it has to be said, not particularly successfully. Figures show a huge percentage of married Catholics have for one reason or another dismissed the clear and constant magisterial teaching that artificial contraception can never be justified.

In my opinion, I dare to say, it will not be contempt for the authority of the Church in areas of sexual morality– even if that is often the reason given– but a fear, and lack of trust in God’s divine grace to support and bless the marriage and family. As far back as 1968, Blessed Paul VI was well aware that changing historical and social circumstances were leading young couples to consider natural methods of responsible parenthood were bordering on the impossible. The poisonous narrative that individual freedom was being turned into a type of ecclesiastical slavery by those intent on promoting an anti-life agenda, was also exerting ever increasing pressure.

In essence, laicist anthropocentrism, working through various means and systems in the past century, has heralded an era where the only religion is the religion of man; a belief that man holds the key to his own destiny, and can find pleasure and fulfilment in whatever way he chooses, no matter what acts may contradict the natural moral law, or how devastating the consequences. This devilish temptation which reminds us of Satan’s words in Genesis chapter 3 “you will become like God”, has without doubt even seeped into the life of many Catholics– St John Paul II referred to it as a “silent apostasy” (Ecclesia in Europa).

It seems to me, that a landmark anniversary for such an important magisterial document, affecting the lives of millions of Catholics throughout the world, is an opportune moment to take stock and look at possible new ways of approaching the question of natural family planning that may, with God’s help, begin to reverse the attitude of so many.

One of the great aspects of the present Pope’s magisterium is that he takes a realist approach to doctrine, and how it is received by the faithful. In reality, the Holy Father long ago recognized–as did many moral theologians in the mid to late twentieth century– that a manual of “you can do this, but can’t do this” was an approach that sooner or later would be challenged by an ever increasingly educated laity. So what was missing in this approach? Quite simply the person of Jesus Christ! A moral theology manual absent of promoting a deep and loving friendship with the God of truth and mercy is decadent, and leaves more questions than answers. It does little to explain how the various prohibitions fit into the will of God, the theological reasoning for this, or address the reality of daily struggle for those trying hard to respect the teachings.

However, with St John XXIII’s announcement at the opening of the Second Vatican Council that the Church as Mother “prefers the balm of mercy to the arm of severity”, a new approach was taken up, one which Blessed Paul VI emphasised in Humanae Vitae “Then let them [married couples] implore the help of God with unremitting prayer and, most of all, let them draw grace and charity from that unfailing fount which is the Eucharist. If, however, sin still exercises its hold over them, they are not to lose heart. Rather must they, humble and persevering, have recourse to the mercy of God, abundantly bestowed in the Sacrament of Penance.”

Today, I believe there is a need for realism to be taught in marriage preparation, particularly in the area of conjugal relations and responsible parenthood. Since the late 1990’s, positive catechises in this area has revolved around St John Paul II’s “theology of the body”, which was formulated by the great Polish Pontiff in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Unfortunately at times, this wonderfully rich body of magisterial teaching have been perhaps misunderstood a little, or used to present a vision of natural family planning that for many– after marriage–will seem far removed from the stress, anxiety and complexities of modern family life. Women who suffer from irregular cycles for instance, will often feel an immense pressure to interpret their signs correctly, while at the same time trying to enjoy this vitally important part of married life.

In my view, it is important to stress for young couples the sacrificial nature of married love, and to see natural family planning as part of carrying the cross Jesus has given them. True preparation must be open to the truth that nfp requires great sacrifice at times, and that it is the polar opposite of the instant sexual gratification that dominates the world of today.

But should this view be seen as negative, and a hindrance to helping young couples avoid artificial contraception?

It seems to me that sacrificial love, and the cultivation of virtues associated with faithfully practising nfp, (such as patience, humility, faith, trust, purity, self- control and understanding to name a few) are the paths to imitating Jesus ever more closely, and thus the couple should be reminded that their marriage vocation is their own path to sanctification. If properly understood, the idea of self- sacrifice in union with the will of God can allow those setting out on this lifetime journey to accept it with joy, knowing that divine blessings will fall on them.

The root of any success in promoting nfp cannot come from any other source than Jesus himself through the power of the Holy Spirit, and it is trust in divine providence that must be encouraged during marriage preparation. As I said at the beginning, I firmly believe many couples cannot see past the fear of having several or more children, perhaps for very good reasons such as economic, or the ability of parents to properly care for them. However as Blessed Paul VI pointed out, marriage is an invitation from the Lord for a couple to cooperate in the divine plan and to see that his divine will is carried out in those to whom he calls into being.

Thus a truly eschatological dimension must be instilled into marriage preparation, to encourage the couple to see past the ephemeral, and to look with wonder at the eternal and glorious future the Lord has planned for all his children. In this way, what may seem as a great and worrisome burden can take on new meaning and significance; that the sufferings and sacrifices involved in bringing up a large family will last only a short while (cf 2 Cor 4:17, Rom 8:18).

It seems no coincidence that the contraceptive mentality has grown in the same era that a loss of the sense of the supernatural has occurred. Eschatological hope is no longer the driving force for many Christians that it should be, and as such it sadly produces fruits of selfishness and aridity here and now. But eschatological hope is not restricted to a future beyond the end of time; in Jesus this hope is realized now as definitive victory, and he invites each couple to share in that triumph through a profound Christian witness and friendship with him.

Natural family planning ensures that within a marriage, a clear path between heaven and earth is never blocked off; that a chapter in the book of life always remains open. It reveals to the young couple that God has invested in them in the most awe inspiring way, that He entrusts to them the very keys of creation. It is a mission of such grandeur for husband and wife that the Church must never tire of announcing it, or search for new ways to explain it, and God willing, inspire these faithful to fulfil it.

But what of those struggling Catholics who cannot grasp this teaching? Those who cannot face more children and turn to artificial contraception? What role do confessors have in their spiritual life?

In the first instance, we must recall that nobody has permission to sin, and thus it can never be the case that artificial contraception can be approved of as a good moral choice. But the maternal nature of the Church can always look with compassion on those who make use of these methods to avoid pregnancy, and display the same mercy the Lord Jesus used often in his public ministry.

The confessor, for instance, with careful discernment can help the penitent in various ways: possibly utilising the doctrine of “good faith” as taught by St Alphonsus Liguori and approved by the Church (1), in which he may consider it inopportune to reveal the gravity of the sin if he feels material sin will become formal sin. He may encourage them to seek the “law of gradualness” taught by St John Paul II in which they honestly undertake a path to leave behind artificial contraception though a process of deepening their faith and trust in God’s help. As part of this process, ensuring the penitent does not make use of abortifacient pills could be a positive start. He can also discern–as Pope Francis has taught in Amoris Laetitia for the civilly divorced and remarried and the possible reception of Holy Communion–the amount of guilt, or the seriousness of the sin, and thus encourage them to receive the Holy Eucharist as a spiritual medicine for their weakness– when sin is venial rather than mortal. The truth about God and Catholic morality can never be simply about judgment and sin. It must include the revelation of divine mercy. This is not a weakness in doctrine, or a means to approve sin, but a magnificent divine attribute, so great that God lowered himself to share our humanity in order to save us.

In 1989, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a clarification entitled “The moral norm of Humanae Vitae and Pastoral Duty”, in which it sought to address criticisms made by certain theologians concerning this emotive subject. While reaffirming once again what successive popes have taught (2), the document did strive to make clear that mercy and loving compassion were an essential element of Christian doctrine applicable to souls bound by these particular sins, and certainly applicable to the Christian moral tradition:

“The same Christian moral tradition just referred to, has also always maintained the distinction – not the separation and still less an opposition – between objective disorder and subjective guilt. Accordingly, when it is a matter of judging subjective moral behaviour without ever setting aside the norm which prohibits the intrinsic disorder of contraception, it is entirely licit to take into due consideration the various factors and aspects of the person’s concrete action, not only the person’s intentions and motivations, but also the diverse circumstances of life, in the first place all those causes which may affect the person’s knowledge and free will. This subjective situation, while it can never change into something ordered that which is intrinsically disordered, may to a greater or lesser extent modify the responsibility of the person who is acting. As is well known, this is a general principle, applicable to every moral disorder, even if intrinsic, it is accordingly applicable also to contraception.” (3)

Interestingly, for those critics of Pope Francis, it is noticeable in this extract just how similar the language and teaching is to that found in Amoris Laetitia paragraphs 301-302, and we must recall that this CDF document originated during the intense middle years of St John Paul II’s papacy, when Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was Prefect.

In conclusion, we must stress that if a new openness to natural family planning is to occur, a deeper and more realistic approach is needed in which the couple see their exalted role in the history of creation alongside, and within the heart of Jesus. It is to guide them to a greater understanding of agape, that sacrificial love that places the other above themselves, and one that entrusts every struggle and effort to the divine will of God. It is to remind them that true Christian witness will inevitably involve carrying one cross or another, and the embracing of natural family planning is certainly one. However, if this truth can be lived to the full, the sexual relationship can be one of immense joy and one benefitting from true freedom; not the illusion Satan likes to offer, but one blessed and ratified by God in heaven. Pope Francis teaches this clearly in Amoris Laetitia:

“Moreover, moments of joy, relaxation, celebration, and even sexuality can be experienced as a sharing in the full life of the resurrection. Married couples shape with different daily gestures a “God-enlightened space in which to experience the hidden presence of the risen Lord.”

The young couple need the witness–as Cardinal Farrell– recently stated, of experienced married couples even more than priests; those who can guide them and encourage them that living nfp is possible and a blessing. A Realism based on authentic witness can also tell them that navigating this truth in the early years of marriage may involve certain difficulties where intimacy is concerned, but that in no way should the couple be taught to act as if they were no more than brother and sister when they are abstaining from full sexual relations during fertile periods of time. Husband and wife will always remain just that; sexuality cannot be compartmentalised, but self- control with the grace of God can certainly be mastered.

Humanae Vitae reminds us that God never rescinds his invitation for married couples to participate in the unfolding of salvation history. It impresses on us the truth that sex without its procreative and unitive aspects becomes a tool of evil in many ways: sexual slavery, pornography, paedophilia, abortion, adultery.

For every married couple, the courageous “yes” that the Blessed Virgin Mary gave to the Archangel Gabriel should be a summons for their own courageous unending yes to God; one that with trust in divine mercy can live marital life with the expectation that God will never abandon them. On the contrary, he will sit at table with them and guide them to see children as the greatest blessing–the “living stones” of the family (cf Amoris Laetitia no 14).

It must be our prayer that the next fifty years will see marriage preparation take on a new dimension which places the call to holiness as central to the vocation of each spouse; that couples are made fully aware of the gravity and beauty of their undertaking. That sacrificial love and generosity of spirit remain the central components for true companionship to grow. Anything less than this, and there is little chance that the contraceptive mentality will diminish. Authentic love allied to eschatological hope will allow future young married couples to see the divine will of God far more clearly, while appreciating their own little “domestic church” as building blocks of the glorious communion of saints that will flower fully on that Sunday with no evening.  – Stephen Walford, Vatican Insider, 23 July 2018

* Stephen Walford is a theologian and lives in Southampton, England with his wife Paula and five children. Educated at Bristol University, he is the author of two books: Heralds of the Second Coming: Our Lady, the Divine Mercy, and the Popes of the Marian Era from Bl Pius IX to Benedict XVI (Angelico Press), and Communion of Saints: The Unity of Divine Love in the Mystical Body of Christ (Angelico Press). He has written articles for various publications on eschatological and mariological themes. He is also a pianist and teacher.  

1) Pontifical Council for the Family, “Vademecum for Confessors Concerning Some aspects of the Morality of Conjugal Life”, February 12, 1997, no 8

2) “What is taught by the Church on contraception is not one of the matters that may be freely disputed by theologians. To teach the contrary is equivalent to leading the conscience of spouses into error.” St John Paul II, Address “To participants in a study seminar on responsible procreation” 5 June, 1987

3) Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “The moral norm of Humanae Vitae and pastoral duty”, L’Osservatore Romano, English Edition, N. 9, 27 February 1989, P 7.

4) Pope Francis, Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, no 317, March 19, 2016

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