Thursday, November 06, 2008

Cardinal Schonborn lambasts the failure of bishops to condemn contraception

Comment: What Cardinal Schonborn of Vienna says is applicable all over the world. Although bishops in the UK did not issue a formal declaration undermining Humanae Vitae, as others did, they did soft-pedel the teaching, and encouraged their priests to do the same.

From The Tablet, 8/11/08: AUSTRIA'S MOST senior Catholic cleric has issued a blistering attack on his predecessors, accusing them of lacking the courage to speak out against birth control and blaming them for the declining birth rate in Europe, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.

Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, the Archbishop of Vienna, gave his damning critique in a sermon at a Neocatechumenate meeting in Jerusalem on 27 March this year, the text of which was only made public late last month on his archdiocesan website.
After the publication of the encyclical Humanae Vitae outlawing the use of birth control for Catholics in 1968 [
so says The Tablet: actually, it reiterated the constant teaching of the Church on the subject, expressed eg in the 1930 encyclical Casti Conubii], numerous bishops' conferences around the world - including those of Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, the US and later Australia - issued statements assuring the faithful that the issue was a matter of conscience.

But those bishops, said Cardinal Schonborn, were "frightened of the press and of being misunderstood by the faithful". Blame lay not only with the bishops responsible at the time - none of whom is still alive - but with all bishops for the fact that Europe is "about to die out". "I think that it is also our sin as bishops, even if none of us were bishops in 1968," he added. Bishops have not had, or did not have, the courage to "swim against the tide" and say yes to Humanae Vitae, he said. The cardinal, who is close to Pope Benedict XVI, particularly criticised two of the many 1968 bishops' conference declarations on Humanae Vitae, which all stressed the importance of the individual conscience.
He singled out the Maria Trost Declaration, whose signatories included Cardinal Franz Konig, the late Archbishop of Vienna, president of the Austrian bishops' conference and a Father of the Second Vatican Council, and the Konigstein Declaration, whose signatories included Cardinal Julius Dopfner, the late Archbishop of Munich, president of the German bishops' conference and another Council Father.

Cardinal Schonborn accused the signatories of "weakening the People of God's sense for life", so that when "the wave of abortions" and increasing acceptance of homosexuality followed, the Church lacked the courage to oppose them. There were a few memorable exceptions in 1968, the cardinal said, one of which was in Krakow, where a group of theologians led by the Archbishop and Cardinal of Krakow, the [future] Pope John Paul II, drew up a memorandum which was sent to Pope Paul VI urging him to write Humanae Vitae.

"I think this witness by a martyr bishop of the so-called Silent Church carried more weight than all the expertise Pope Paul VI had drawn up on this subject. It led him to make his courageous decision. I am convinced in my inner being, even if I have no historical evidence, that this text from Krakow helped to give Pope Paul VI the courage to write Humanae Vitae"

Cardinal Schonborn thanked the Neocat¬echumenate families for having so many children and producing so many new priests, and he thanked Popes Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI for discerning be-tween the different charisms and, following the example of St Paul in 1 Corinthians 14, saying which one is of God. He asked God to forgive all bishops and give them courage to say yes to life.


JamesP said...

Don't forget!

Help get the 40th Anniversary of Humanae Vitae noticed in the UK by making your promise to LiveChastely!

Anonymous said...

How can you take a Cardinal like this seriously when he then presides over this mess of a "mass"

Anonymous said...

My first thought was exactly what the previous "Anonymous" just said - "this is the Cardinal who I just saw in a video of one of the most sorry excuses for a Roman Catholic Mass"?

Anonymous said...

We don't have to take him seriously. He made a bad thing, that blasphemous Youth Mass and said something good, that declaration on contraception. That is all.

In the 60's I was a child, and my mother after her third son made a permanent sterilization, certainly influenced by bad priests. My parents were trying to re-approximate the Church and began to go to the so called 'cursilhos' here in Brazil, where couples were invited to attend and receive some kind of 'new' catechetical teaching after the Vatican II. The result was tragic, the great majority of clergy were Marxist, Teaching 'liberation theology' with no respect to the Magisterium.

Cavaliere said...

I agree that it is unfortunate that the Cardinal 'presided' at that youth Mass (and others I'm told) Yet even Pope John Paul was present at many outrageous Masses and we cannot deny what he ultimately meant for the Church.

However the Cardinal is right on to speak out on this issue of contraception. Not only for its impact on the death of countries but the fact that it is an intrinsically evil act committed by the vast majority of Catholics and even more non-Catholics with the exception of Muslims. While the Church is rightly concerned with abortion and embryonic stem cell research, same sex marriage and other social ills it remains largely silent on contraception. In the USA there is great concern over the FOCA which would undo all current restrictions on abortion. There are some who claim it won't pass and will see that as a victory. While it no doubt would be, my fear is that our relief in seeing it fail will cause us to overlook the proverbial "elephant in the living room." God promised Lot that he would spare Sodom if he could find ten just men there. If surveys are accurate approx. 90%of Catholics are using artificial birth control.

How much longer can we expect God to stay His hand of justice?

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. Grateful he called the bishops on Church teaching. Disappointed he took part in a silly liturgy. Maybe a brother cardinal should make a 'fraternal correction' to His Eminence regarding this display? I'm not holding my breath though.

Anonymous said...

This Cardinal is not to be trusted: he is a two-faced modernist who only appears to be orthodox. Witness his liturgical scandals, but most of all his role in the Wagner appointment scandal.

Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen