Inept Vatican Press Office, and Duplicitously Rebellious L’Osservatore
Romano Encourage Liberals That Pope Contradicted an Article
of Faith — Which He Didn’t
CHICAGO, IL — Joy among militant secularists and enemies of authentic
Catholicism knew no bounds on Monday as a loosely structured remark
by Benedict XVI, brimming with particularized theological meaning,
was released by a rebellious, out-of-control L’Osservatore
then bobbled by the laughingly inept Vatican press office. This started
an heretical conflagration that rages worldwide, with liberals seeing
it as evolving into a repudiation of Church opposition to artificial
contraception that stems from the 1st century A.D.
More radical hostile observers pretend to see a slight “understanding” of
homosexual relations if prophylactic means are used to avoid the spread
of sexually transmitted disease.
All “interpretations” of
the remark as leading toward relaxation of Church teaching are false — sometimes
Nor should Benedict’s offhanded
remark in an interview with a journalist be seen as an expression of ex-cathedra (“from
the chair”) or infallibility.
An infallible pronouncement
pertains to faith and morals under which there are two conditions:
(1) That he has the intention of declaring something unchangeably true
and (2) that he speaks as shepherd and teacher of all the faithful
with the full weight of his apostolic authority and not merely
as a private theologian, with the doctrinal definition coming from
the supernatural assistance of the Holy Spirit.
doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, the promulgation that the Blessed
Virgin was sinless from her first moment of existence made in formal
pronouncement by Pius IX in 1854.
A distinction must be made between infallibility and impeccability.
Infallibility involves immunity from error when delivered ex
cathedra. Impeccability means perfection. Peter, the first
Pope, was infallible in exercise of his office but not impeccable as
we saw with his three denials of Christ. Aside from Jesus Christ,
only His mother was impeccable.
What Benedict Said
appears within a wide ranging interview with German journalist, Peter
Seewald, published in a new book, Light of the
World: The Pope, The Church, and The SIgns of the TImes, by
Benedict XVI and Seewald, just released in eight languages by Ignatius
earlier book-length interview with the pontiff resulted in the transformation
of the journalist from agnostic to Catholic — so Seewald’s
purpose in the interview was not hostile but salutary.
Seewald asked this question: Does
the Church oppose the use of condoms?
Theologian Benedict’s answer while not in impeccable phrasing considering today’s
cesspool moral climate, is nevertheless in line with the traditions of the
Church: “The Church, of course,
does not regard them as a real or moral solution, but in individual cases,
the intention to reduce the risk of infection may represent the first step
to leading a more human and authentic sexuality.”
Granted that could be considered as quite a stretch.
He added: [Using a condom] is not really
the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection. That can really
lie only in a humanization of sexuality.”
No problem there.
Finally here is the sentence produced the controversy: “There
may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male
prostitute uses a condom where this can be the first step in the direction
of moralization, a first assumption of responsibility…”
He never says use of condoms
is good. He say that use of them to avoid aggravation of an intrinsically
disordered act by imparting infectious disease could be the beginning
of responsibility. Think of an alcoholic who while he’s slugging
down a tumbler of whiskey says to himself: “That’s
it. I’m off this stuff forever.”
Okay for a theological
conversation but for general popular reading as Seewald was preparing,
incompetent --when the ways of this secular, hedonistic world are concerned.
Again, L’Osservatore Romano’s No Friend
I guess you have to
take into account the thousand year plus custom of Roman nonchalance
but L’Osservatore Romano is not ipso-facto the official
Vatican newspaper but then again it is. It usually
gets first dibs on important releases of information but it free-lances
scandalously for which it should be severed from the appearance and
actual circumstance of being the Church’s Rome house-organ. It’s
a scandal the way it’s run. It lists the top ten best rock-and-roll
albums including some with scandalous double entendre song
titles but the hopelessly muscle-bound Vatican bureaucracy never thinks
to censure it.
last month it issued a startling pronouncement not checked or verified
with anybody in the Church. It said that The
vulgar TV cartoon shows are — get this — ”among the
few TV programs for children in which Christian faith, religion and
questions about God are recurrent themes”! That started
a bandwagon effect of jokes. Is the Pope Catholic? was
the story line on Fox News. Homer
Simpson a Catholic? Must be following Stephen
Colbert’s lead! was the headline
in The Washington Post. But the London Daily
it best: “He is an idle pea-brained
glutton with a permanent craving for doughnuts and Duff beef but Homer
Simpson has been declared a true Catholic by the Vatican’s official newspaper.” Technically
there’s a question whether it’s the official newspaper
but Vatican ineptitude has caused the confusion.
somebody do something about it? Probably some monsignori’s
brother-in-law runs it is the probable explanation. That’s
Ital-ian you know!
What L’Osservatore did
in this case should get its editor sacked. Along with a
few other papers it got the Benedict book under embargo, meaning that
it was to be held until concurrent release. It turned rogue and
published the Benedict statement. Not by mistake. There’s
little doubt that L’Osservatore is hostile to many
theological concepts in the Church. Some years ago it flatly
contradicted the popes on the issue of physicians doing all they can
to keep ill patients alive!
Do you wonder how long
the Church will take to reform — improving the quality of newly-appointed
bishops, cracking down on some seminaries which are veritable
hot-houses for growing lavender priests — when the Vatican can’t
even get around to canning the editor of L’Osservatore for
disloyalty and/or ineptitude who works right down the street?
Then there’s the sleepwalking
Vatican press office. The blaze about Benedict started over the
weekend but it didn’t get around to returning press calls for
many hours. Who’s in charge? Probably some archbishop’s
No wonder the Church is
divine. It has to be since it survived dunderheads like L’Osservatore, the
Vatican press office, and legions of do-nothing cardinals and archbishops
here and abroad for untold generations.
Copyright © 2010
by Thomas Roeser. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.
Thomas F. Roeser is radio talk show host, writer, lecturer, teacher,
and former Vice President of The Quaker Oats Company of Chicago. He
was both a John F. Kennedy Fellow (Harvard University), and a Woodrow
Wilson International Fellow. Tom Roeser is
the author of the book, Father Mac: The Life
and Times of Ignatius D. McDermott, Co-Founder of Chicago's Famed Haymarket
Long-active in Chicago politics, Mr. Roeser is Chairman of Catholic
Citizens of Illinois, a grassroots organization of Catholics.
Pope Benedict’s Light
of the World (Ignatius Press 2010) book