Tuesday 14 December 2010

Archbishop Fisichella's prominence risks creating moral confusion

My picture shows Archbishop Fisichella (right), president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, with the co-authors of "Light of the World", a book-length discussion between Pope Benedict XVI and Peter Seewald, a German journalist.

How very unfortunate and inappropriate it is that Archbishop Fisichella should have been seen playing such a prominent role at the launch of "Light of the World".

Pope Benedict's comments about the use of condoms in that book have led to maelstrom of carefully created confusion in the mass media about Catholic teaching on condoms. Last month I warned that leading public figures in the name of the Catholic Church, in Britain and elsewhere, are misrepresenting the church's unchanging and unchangeable magisterial teaching on the use of condoms.

The picture above reminds me of the terrible damage Archbishop Fisichella has done to the Catholic Church's witness on abortion. He stands by the original wording of his article in L'Osservatore Romano, last year, which implied that there are difficult situations in which doctors enjoy scope for the autonomous exercise of conscience in deciding whether to carry out a direct abortion. Frances Kissling, of Catholics for a Free Choice, has said of the archbishop's position it "has opened a crack, through which women, doctors and political decision-makers can slip in".

Archbishop Fisichella's position on abortion gave comfort to Frances Kissling and, no doubt, to other opponents of Catholic teaching on abortion, such as Obama and Hilary Clinton, who are bankrolling abortion worldwide.

And those misrepresenting Catholic teaching on condoms worldwide, following Pope Benedict's interview, are now giving comfort to anti-life, anti-family legislators in the Philippines.

Thank God that the Kenyan bishops recently reiterated and reaffirmed "that the position of the Catholic Church as regards the use of condoms, both as a means of contraception and as a means of addressing the grave issue of HIV/AIDS infection has not changed and remains as always unacceptable".

I have frequently called for Archbishop Fisichella to be sacked. The price of not doing so is moral confusion in the church.

Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
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