George A. Sprecace M.D., J.D., F.A.C.P. and Allergy Associates of New London, P.C.


I have long been watching Pope Francis and hoping that he would be the long-delayed breath of fresh air that would flow through the opened windows of Pope John XXlll's Vatican ll "Aggiornamento" of the early 1960's. Unfortunately, the intervening decades have witnessed a suffocation, begun by Pope Paul VI, carried out through the 1970's by reactionary voices in the Church, and institutionalized by Popes John Paul II and by Benedict XVI. All good men, Vicars of Christ on Earth, and both John Paul and John canonized as Saints on the same day!

But something had been missing in the Church through those intervening decades. That missing something was the Laity, "the Body of the Church", an increasing number of whom were either leaving the Church altogether, or going through the steps cafeteria-style, or sticking with it reflexly and/or resentfully.

The sticking points were and are:
a) non-abortifacient contraception, outlawed again by Pope Paul VI in 1968 (although not "Ex Cathedra"), in opposition to his own Commission's decision on the subject...and an action that I am convinced vastly multiplied the number of abortions performed world-wide during the following decades;
b) referring here by me only to a totally committed, married, loving man and wife, the Church concept of the "Unitive Function of the Sexual Act"...which reportedly must ALWAYS be open to conception - except for "natural birth control", always considered by me and by so many others the Rube Goldberg of Church positions;
c) Anullments, too often another Rube Goldberg device, especially since the 1960's - when "Psychology" was introduced into the process, often as determinative;
d) the Church refusal to consider divorced and re-married Catholics, already self-stigmatized, anything but adulterers barred from forgiveness and from Holy Communion.
There are others; but these are the main ones.

And here I ask: WHERE IS IT WRITTEN, WHERE BY THE RISEN CHRIST, AND WHY...AND NOT JUST "BECAUSE I SAID SO." That is not the way of a merciful Jesus Christ.  But it has been the way of many of his followers through the centuries and to the present day.

Now comes Pope Francis, whose origins, tribulations and on-going formation are well - documented in a recent book:
POPE FRANCIS: The Struggle For The Soul of Catholicism", by Paul Vallely, Bloomsbury 2013,2015.
I will soon have a review of that book and of its subject, augmented by his daily pronouncements and sayings.
But meanwhile I ask for help from my several clerical friends and priests. This is certainly not meant to scandalize; it is an honest call for clarification.



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