George A. Sprecace M.D., J.D., F.A.C.P. and Allergy Associates of New London, P.C.
www.asthma-drsprecace.com

WHAT'S RIGHT AND WRONG WITH THE CATHOLIC CHURCH #28

This is a special edition, encompassing a number of articles posted during the last three weeks on "Zenit: The World Seen From Rome".  The articles will be identified, and their message will be presented in an accurate manner. 
Then comes the cautionary "But..." from me, an intelligent, informed and card-carrying member of the Laity, the Body of the Catholic Church.  You might want to consider it in formulating your own "Right Conscience".

  1. The Bishops and Health Care Reform, Zenit, May 25, 2010. The American Catholic Bishops have been consistent for decades in their goals: universal coverage to assist the needy..."a right inherent in each human being"; includes all human persons, from the moment of their conception; emphasizes freedom of conscience for all in performing their duties and in leading their lives; they take responsibility for making moral decisions and for providing guidelines for Catholics; opposition to some "Catholic" organizations in their positions; favor immigration.  BUT...: without the discharge of related responsibilities there are no rights; the Laity also has a right and responsibility to discern and make moral decisions; the same is true of individual "immigrants" and of the right and responsibility of a nation to secure its borders; and the one "sine qua non" for Catholic organizations and Catholic individuals is absolute, total and permanent opposition to abortion.  
  2. Strategy of Silence (Zenit, May 25, 2010) refers to part of the approach taken by Pope Pius Xll in saving thousands of Roman (and probably other) Jews during WW ll. Please read the article itself, in addition to the numerous offerings on this site on the same subject.
  3. Pedophilia and the Catholic Church (Zenit, May 23, 2010). A rapidly growing international industry.  Found its roots in the late 1960's attack on all authority and on "sexual freedom" ("exaltation of the orgasm").  This found some currency in seminaries, in selection of candidates and in their confusion between authority and "dialogue". Worsened by persistent anti-Church media and especially by the culture of death embodied in rampant abortions.  There is a need for doctrinal clarification. 
    But...what also promoted all of this was the reactionary attack by an influential segment of Church leadership on the actions and proposals of Vatican ll, carried out intensely for the subsequent decade and even to the present time.  And we certainly need doctrinal clarification, after sober discussion among the Magisterium and the Laity, regarding the following official positions, none of which have been declared "ex cathedra": obligatory priestly celebacy; women priests; contraception, especially biologic (comparable to "natural family planning") and especially between committed married couples (no jurisdiction).  Failure of the Church Hierarchy to enter into this discussion and "Aggiornamento" will result in its continued descent into irrelevance.
  4. More on Aids and Condoms (Zenit, May 19, 2010).  Within this article are found some valuable Scriptural and St. Paul references to Marriage and "conjugal rights".  But... Compare these with the "outcome determinative" statements and equivocations of Popes Paul Vl, John Paul ll and Benedict XVl.  Especially compare these with the tortured conclusions of the "Ethicists" quoted there.  
  5. In the same article, see the section on "Extraordinary Measures at End of Life". Correctly, removal of supplemental O2 is wrong.  But... the issue of removal of food and water is more nuanced.  In my opinion, and applying the related principles of "Futility", "Ordinary and Proportionate" and "Excessively Burdonsome", intravenous hyperalimentation or gastric feeding can be considered optional or subject to knowing refusal, while simple intravenous water seems appropriate to minimize pain and suffering from progressive dehydration during the process to death.  
  6. In Vitro Fertilization, (Zenit, May 16, 2010).  This discusses issues of health and risks of exploitation for donors, recipients and surrogates.  It discusses serious legal complications.  And it makes a telling observation: "Moreover, introducing third parties, by using eggs or sperm from donors, or through surrogacy, violates the integrity of the marital relationship, just as it would be violated by sexual relations with a person outside the marriage."   But... the article lumps all of this with efforts by a committed married couple to overcome apparent infertility through the mechanism of in vitro fertilization using their own gametes.  The only problem here, in my view, is that of the fate of excess fertilized ova.  A serious issue, it should be dealt with through adoption by similarly committed married couples. 
  7. Vatican Details Sex Abuse Defense (AP, May 16, 2010, by Nicole Winfield).  This should be read...But... it is not to be believed.  Of course, to any lawyer anything is "arguable".  But this argument fails the laugh test.  In the relationship between the Vatican and its Bishops: "Responeat Superior".  
  8. Canon Law regarding Abuse by Clergy, (Zenit, May 14, 2010Canon Law has been there.  But... it just has not been applied until the current crisis.  
  9. Faith Under Fire (Zenit, May 9, 2010). And "Bishops: What Have We Learned?" Zenit, May 14, 2010).  Both of these should be read in the original.  We, the Laity, continue to hope and to pray.  But...we will no longer be silent.  We would rather "Fight than Switch".
GS



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