Saturday 22nd November 2014

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

32 Years Since Familiaris Consortio… But How Many Catholics Know About It?

November 16, 2013 Frontpage No Comments

By PAUL LIKOUDIS

Among the questions Catholic bishops around the world are asked in the preparatory document for next year’s extraordinary Synod on the Family is how well do Catholics understand the Church’s teaching on family life, particularly Pope John Paul II’s apostolic letter Familiaris Consortio, published 32 years ago this November, his reflection on the 1980 Synod on the Family.
When Pope John Paul II convoked the 1980 synod, theological dissent, especially against the Church’s teaching on marriage and procreation, was raging. The dissenters’ position was given at the synod by the Archbishop John Quinn of San Francisco, who asked the synod fathers to reexamine Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae since the overwhelming majority of U.S. Catholics had rejected it.
Quinn’s intervention was praised by leading U.S. dissidents, such as Fr. Charles Curran, who called it “a huge step forward” and Jesuit Fr. Richard McCormick, who called it a “realistic” appraisal of the situation in the U.S. Church. Fr. William Hill, OP, president of the Catholic Theological Association of America, supported their position.
While the 1980 synod was clouded by the media with “controversies” over what the Church should say about contraception, divorce, sex education, and other issues, Pope John Paul II’s reflection on the synod, Familiaris Consortio, fell into a black hole — at least in most dioceses in the United States.
As Dr. Germain Grisez observed in his essay, “The Duty and Right to Follow One’s Judgment of Conscience” (The Historical Development of Fundamental Moral Theology in the United States, edited by Charles Curran and Richard McCormick, Paulist Press: 1999), written after the Synod on the Family and Familiaris Consortio, many bishops and theologians openly resisted John Paul II’s efforts to build solidarity in the episcopate. Grisez wrote:
“Against the clear and firm moral teaching of the popes and some bishops, some other bishops quietly but clearly accept and foster dissenting opinions. They never straightforwardly and firmly assert Catholic teaching on disputed questions, and if they do not openly reject that teaching, they do consult and follow the advice of dissenting theologians, invite such theologians to instruct their priests, appoint these theologians to teach their seminarians and direct their marriage preparation programs, and make it clear they reject the ‘narrowness’ and ‘rigidity’ of ‘official teaching’ in favor of a pluralism which admits dissenting opinions and encourages subjectivist consciences to follow them.”
The problem of dissent, especially in the episcopate, was highlighted by the late John Cardinal O’Connor, who told reporters after Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, just after John Paul II returned to Rome following his 1987 visit to the U.S., that there are bishops who “hate the Pope.”

John Paul II Noticed

During his ten-day visit to the United States, September 10-19, 1987, Blessed John Paul II made numerous references to Familiaris Consortio, in talks to bishops, priests, and laity across the South and West, obviously aware that its teachings were ignored.
At an ecumenical prayer service September 11 in Columbia, S.C., John Paul II emphasized his concerns for the family, reiterating points he made in Familiaris Consortio:
“In America and throughout the world, the family is being shaken to its roots. The consequences for individuals and society in personal and collective instability and unhappiness is incalculable….In recent years the Catholic Church, especially on the occasion of the 1980 Synod of Bishops, has been involved in an extensive reflection on the role of the Christian family in the modern world. This is a field in which there must be the maximum of collaboration among all who confess Jesus Christ. . . .
“Our Christian conscience should be deeply concerned about the way in which sins against love and against life are often presented as examples of ‘progress’ and emancipation. Most often, are they not but the age-old forms of selfishness dressed up in a new language and presented in a new cultural framework?”
In 1987, Catholic lay faithful were increasingly vociferous in letters to various dicasteries of the Holy See protesting sex-education programs — most notably the New Creation series — imposed on Catholic school students, often over the objections of parents, as well as seriously deficient, often heretical, catechisms.
In his September 12 message to elementary, secondary, and religious education leaders in New Orleans, the Holy Father made reference to parental rights, as well as the need for doctrinally sound catechetical programs:
“Permit me, brothers and sisters, to mention briefly something that is of special concern to the Church. I refer to the rights and duties of parents in the education of their children. The Second Vatican Council clearly enunciated the Church’s position: ‘Since parents have conferred life on their children, they have a most solemn obligation to educate their offspring. Hence parents must be acknowledged as the first and foremost educators of their children’ (Gravissimum Educationis). In comparison with the educational role of all others, their role is primary; it is also irreplaceable and inalienable. It would be wrong for anyone to attempt to usurp that unique responsibility (cf. Familiaris Consortio, n. 36). Nor should parents in any way be penalized for choosing for their children an education according to their beliefs.”
On September 16, at his meeting with the entire U.S. episcopacy in Los Angeles, the Holy Father faced head-on the problem of theological dissent in the United States, especially on issues related to conjugal morality and family life.
He told the bishops, in an apparent insinuation to Archbishop John Quinn’s intervention at the 1980 Synod:
“It is sometimes reported that a large number of Catholics do not adhere to the teaching of the Church on a number of questions, notably sexual and conjugal morality, divorce and remarriage. Some are reported as not accepting the Church’s clear position on abortion. It has also been noted that there is a tendency on the part of some Catholics to be selective in their adherence to the Church’s moral teachings.
“It is sometimes claimed that dissent from the Magisterium is totally compatible with being a ‘good Catholic’ and poses no obstacle to the reception of the sacraments. This is a grave error that challenges the teaching office of the bishops of the United States and elsewhere. . . .
“Dissent from Church doctrine remains what it is: dissent; as such it may not be proposed or received on an equal footing with the Church’s authentic teaching.”
And again, the Holy Father directed his attention to the problem of sex education in Catholic schools, telling the U.S. bishops:
“From time to time, the question of sex education, especially as regards programs being used in schools, becomes a matter of concern to Catholic parents. The principles governing this area have been succinctly but clearly enunciated in Familiaris Consortio. First among these principles is the need to recognize that sex education is a basic right and duty of parents themselves. They have to be helped to become increasingly more effective in fulfilling this task. Other educational agencies have an important role, but always in a subsidiary manner, with due subordination to the rights of parents.”
In his September 18 address to laity at the Cathedral of St. Mary in San Francisco, the Holy Father again emphasized the major points of Familiaris Consortio. He stressed that “the role that the laity fulfill in the Christian family” is of “supreme importance in the mission of the Church.”
Again he stressed the primary role parents have as educators of their children, and the crucial role families must play in evangelization.

Key Teachings From
Familiaris Consortio

At a time when families are burdened, harassed, and threatened as never before and the institution of marriage is under attack by courts and legislators, Catholics need the catechesis offered by Familiaris Consortio. Following are some excerpts from this crucial apostolic letter:

+    +    +

“At a moment of history, in which the family is the object of numerous forces that seek to destroy it or in some way to deform it, and aware that the well-being of society and her own good are intimately tied to the good of the family, the Church perceives in a more urgent and compelling way her mission of proclaiming to all people the plan of God for marriage and the family, ensuring their full vitality and human and Christian development, and thus contributing to the renewal of society and of the People of God.”

+    +    +

“It is, in fact, to the families of our times that the Church must bring the unchangeable and ever new Gospel of Jesus Christ, just as it is the families involved in the present conditions of the world that are called to accept and to live the plan of God that pertains to them….Not infrequently ideas and solutions which are very appealing but which obscure in varying degrees the truth and the dignity of the human person, are offered to the men and women of today, in their sincere and deep search for a response to the important daily problems that affect their married and family life. These views are often supported by the powerful and pervasive organization of the means of social communication, which subtly endanger freedom and the capacity for objective judgment.”

+    +    +

“The ‘supernatural sense of faith’ however does not consist solely or necessarily in the consensus of the faithful. Following Christ, the Church seeks the truth, which is not always the same as the majority opinion. She listens to conscience and not to power, and in this way she defends the poor and the downtrodden. The Church values sociological and statistical research, when it proves helpful in understanding the historical context in which pastoral action has to be developed and when it leads to a better understanding of the truth. Such research alone, however, is not to be considered in itself an expression of the sense of faith.”

+    +    +

“The education of the moral conscience, which makes every human being capable of judging and of discerning the proper ways to achieve self-realization according to his or her original truth, thus becomes a pressing requirement that cannot be renounced.
“Modern culture must be led to a more profoundly restored covenant with divine Wisdom. Every man is given a share of such Wisdom through the creating action of God. And it is only in faithfulness to this covenant that the families of today will be in a position to influence positively the building of a more just and fraternal world.”

+    +    +

“By fostering and exercising a tender and strong concern for every child that comes into this world, the Church fulfills a fundamental mission: for she is called upon to reveal and put forward anew in history the example and the commandment of Christ the Lord, who placed the child at the heart of the Kingdom of God: ‘Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.’
“I repeat once again what I said to the General Assembly of the United Nations on October 2, 1979: ‘I wish to express the joy that we all find in children, the springtime of life, the anticipation of the future history of each of our present earthly homelands. No country on earth, no political system can think of its own future otherwise than through the image of these new generations that will receive from their parents the manifold heritage of values, duties and aspirations of the nation to which they belong and of the whole human family. Concern for the child, even before birth, from the first moment of conception and then throughout the years of infancy and youth, is the primary and fundamental test of the relationship of one human being to another.
“ ‘And so, what better wish can I express for every nation and for the whole of mankind, and for all the children of the world than a better future in which respect for human rights will become a complete reality throughout the third millennium, which is drawing near?’”

+    +    +

“Precisely because the love of husband and wife is a unique participation in the mystery of life and of the love of God Himself, the Church knows that she has received the special mission of guarding and protecting the lofty dignity of marriage and the most serious responsibility of the transmission of human life.
“Thus, in continuity with the living tradition of the ecclesial community throughout history, the recent Second Vatican Council and the Magisterium of my predecessor Paul VI, expressed above all in the Encyclical Humanae Vitae, have handed on to our times a truly prophetic proclamation, which reaffirms and reproposes with clarity the Church’s teaching and norm, always old yet always new, regarding marriage and regarding the transmission of human life.”

+    +    +

“The Church is called upon to manifest anew to everyone, with clear and stronger conviction, her will to promote human life by every means and to defend it against all attacks, in whatever condition or state of development it is found.
“Thus the Church condemns as a grave offense against human dignity and justice all those activities of governments or other public authorities which attempt to limit in any way the freedom of couples in deciding about children. Consequently, any violence applied by such authorities in favor of contraception or, still worse, of sterilization and procured abortion, must be altogether condemned and forcefully rejected. Likewise to be denounced as gravely unjust are cases where, in international relations, economic help given for the advancement of peoples is made conditional on programs of contraception, sterilization, and procured abortion.”

+    +    +

“In the context of a culture which seriously distorts or entirely misinterprets the true meaning of human sexuality, because it separates it from its essential reference to the person, the Church more urgently feels how irreplaceable is her mission of presenting sexuality as a value and task of the whole person, created male and female in the image of God.”

+    +    +

“If ideologies opposed to the Christian faith are taught in the schools, the family must join with other families, if possible through family associations, and with all its strength and with wisdom help the young not to depart from the faith. In this case the family needs special assistance from pastors of souls, who must never forget that parents have the inviolable right to entrust their children to the ecclesial community.”

+    +    +

“The social role of families is called upon to find expression also in the form of political intervention: families should be the first to take steps to see that the laws and institutions of the State not only do not offend but support and positively defend the rights and duties of the family. Along these lines, families should grow in awareness of being ‘protagonists’ of what is known as ‘family politics’ and assume responsibility for transforming society; otherwise families will be the first victims of the evils that they have done no more than note with indifference.”

Get Reacquainted!

As Catholics await next year’s special Synod on the Family, perhaps it is time to be reacquainted with Familiaris Consortio — the work of a saint!

Share Button

Comment on this Article:

TOP CATHOLIC BISHOPS AIDE ON EXECUTIVE AMNESTY: OBAMA’S ‘LAST CHANCE TO MAKE GOOD ON PROMISE’

In a statement last Friday in the New York Times, the top aide on immigration for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) said that executive amnesty is President Barack Obama’s “last chance to make good on his promise…Continue Reading

Catholics Want To Learn More About Their Faith, Bishops Report

BALTIMORE – For three and a half years, members of several U.S. bishops’ committees have been trying to pinpoint what Catholics in the pew are thinking and why they accept or reject church teachings. To this end, they have conducted…Continue Reading

Vatican cardinal: Catholic charity ‘is not only giving food … but giving God’

The Vatican cardinal who oversees the Church’s charitable initiatives has emphasized again that Catholic charities cannot be satisfied with meeting the material needs of those they serve. “Charity is very linked with the proclamation of the Gospel, and doing charity…Continue Reading

Prof at Catholic university tries to justify same-sex ‘marriage’ acceptance from Scripture

Professor Gerald Schlabach of the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota recently published a piece for The Christian Century utilizing the writing of St. Paul to create an argument legitimizing acceptance of same-sex marriage. In light of Schlabach’s article, The Cardinal Newman Society…Continue Reading

Pro-Life Group: “We Will Not Obey the Obamacare HHS Mandate, Not Today, Not Ever”

The pro-life group Priests for Life was one of the earliest organizations to file a lawsuit against the Obama administration over its HHS mandate. The mandate compels religious groups to pay for birth control drugs and drugs like ella that…Continue Reading

Court Says Obama Admin Can Force Pro-Life Group to Obey Pro-Abortion HHS Mandate

The pro-life group Priests for Life was one of the earliest organizations to file a lawsuit against the Obama administration over its HHS mandate. The mandate compels religious groups to pay for birth control drugs and drugs like ella that…Continue Reading

Where Are Our Young People Going?

During the 10:30 Mass in my parish a couple of Sundays ago 32 boys and girls stood in front of the altar, faced the congregation, and formally affirmed their desire to be confirmed. It was part of the preparation for…Continue Reading

US Bishops Elect New Secretary, Discuss Health Care Ethics Guide

Baltimore, Md., Nov 11, 2014 / 08:22 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops voted Tuesday on several committee leadership positions, also considering several liturgical proposals and moving forward with a New York canonization cause. At their fall…Continue Reading

Fidelity to Bishop of Rome crucial to evangelization, US bishops say

Baltimore, Md., Nov 10, 2014 / 12:29 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- In a message to Pope Francis on Monday, the U.S. bishops vowed fidelity to the Holy See and voiced hope that Pope Francis will attend the World Meeting of Families…Continue Reading

Nation’s Catholic bishops gather in Baltimore Monday

Nearly 300 bishops from across the nation will determine the coming year’s agenda for the American Roman Catholic church when the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops begins its annual fall meeting Monday in Baltimore. The bishops will spend four days…Continue Reading

Pope names new ‘foreign minister,’ prefect of Apostolic Signatura; Cardinal Burke given new position

The Holy See Press Office announced on November 8 that Pope Francis has named Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States, as the prefect of the Apostolic Signatura. Archbishop Mamberti replaces Cardinal Raymond Burke, who has served…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke: Church Risks Serious Tensions in Months Ahead

Cardinal Raymond Burke has said he is at the service of Pope Francis, has no personal animosity towards him, and those who claim the American cardinal is an opponent of the Pontiff are trying to discredit him. The head of…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to subscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.

 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

'From our friends at The Foundry'


Today . . .

Pope Francis Pays Tribute To Blessed Paul VI’s Devotion To Mary

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis paid tribute on Thursday to Blessed Pope Paul the 6th and his great love for the Mother of God, saying he always turned to Mary at crucial and difficult moments for the Church and humanity. The Pope’s words came during a message which was read on his behalf by the Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin…Continue Reading

Pope At Santa Marta: Jesus Weeps

pope667

(Vatican Radio) Jesus weeps today when the doors of our hearts, those of the pastors of the Church, are closed to His surprises not recognizing the One who brings peace said Pope Francis at Mass Friday morning in Casa Santa Marta. Commenting on the Gospel of the Day, Pope Francis said Jesus weeps over Jerusalem because its people did not…Continue Reading

Pope At Audience: The Universal Call To Holiness

(Vatican Radio) “Every state of life leads to holiness, always”, but only if we are open to the grace of God’s gift, said Pope Francis Wednesday speaking of the universal call to holiness of all baptized at his general audience. Below a Vatican Radio translation of the Holy Father’s catechesis: Dear brothers and sisters, good morning. A great gift of…Continue Reading

Pope Francis . . . Children Have The Right To Grow Up In A Family With A Mother And A Father

pope665

(Vatican Radio) On Monday, Pope Francis addressed a Colloquium being held on the theme “The Complementarity of Man and Woman in Marriage.” The Holy Father began his address by dwelling on the word “complementarity”: “a precious word, with multiple meanings.” Although complementarity can refer “situations where one of two things adds to, completes, or fulfills a lack in the other”…Continue Reading

The Synod And The New Evangelization

By JOHN F. KIPPLEY (Editor’s Note: John F. Kippley is the author of Sex and the Marriage Covenant: A Basis for Morality and other books and articles. With his wife Sheila, he is a coauthor of Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach and cofounder of NFP International. This commentary appeared on his blog [johnkippley.com] of…Continue Reading

A Book Review . . . Detailed Studies Of Galileo

By JUDE DOUGHERTY Finocchiaro, Maurice. The Trial of Galileo: Essential Documents, translated and edited by Maurice A. Finocchiaro. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing Co., 2014. Pp. xii+160. This book draws upon Finocchiaro’s previously published works, The Galileo Affair: A Documentary History (1989) and Retrying Galileo: 1633-1992 (2005), at once making those masterful works more readily accessible,…Continue Reading

Reconnecting With Mary . . . The Apparitions At L’Ile Bouchard

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY Part 1 This is first of two articles about the Marian apparitions at L’Ile Bouchard, in northwestern France, near Tours, which took place from December 8-14, 1947. The situation in postwar France was very serious, and there was a real threat from Communism, and even of civil war, but, unknown to…Continue Reading

Applying Just War Theory

By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK The conditions that must be present before military force can be justified, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, are as follows: “1. the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain; “2. all other means of putting an end…Continue Reading

A Parody From Hell

By DONALD DeMARCO “My symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state” — C.S. Lewis in The Screwtape Letters. + + + Screwtape: I am proposing a new method for promoting hatred. Wormwood: There is already a great deal of hatred in the world. Shouldn’t we set our targets on something…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Reading And Interpreting Scripture

By DON FIER We ended last week’s installment by launching into a discussion on a question of critical importance: “How is Sacred Scripture to be read and interpreted?” The significance and the relevance of this question become apparent if one examines findings outlined in the 2012 “Status of Global Mission” report, a publication of the International Bulletin of Missionary Research…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. We recently celebrated the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica. Why does the Church celebrate a church building in Rome? — P.R., Massachusetts. A. Because the Basilica of St. John Lateran is the oldest church in Christendom and is the church of the Pope, not St. Peter’s Basilica. The Lateran Basilica was built in the fourth century…Continue Reading

Be Watchful And Alert

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER First Sunday Of Advent (YR B) Readings: Isaiah 63:16b-17, 19b, 64:2-7 1 Cor. 1:3-9 Mark 13:33-17 In the first reading today we hear of the conflict that has tormented humanity from the very beginning. The problem is that we blame God for everything. Isaiah cries out to God in a lament, “Why do you let us…Continue Reading

In The Footsteps Of St. Paul… Bishop Conley’s Pilgrimage Teaches About Evangelizing Culture

(Editor’s Note: Below is the latest column by Bishop James Conley of Lincoln, Neb., for the Southern Nebraska Register. Bishop Conley, in conjunction with Spirit Catholic Radio and others, went on an October 31 to November 9 St. Paul Mediterranean Pilgrimage Cruise. (ZENIT News Agency provided the text. All rights reserved.) + + + The ancient Christian writer and theologian…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Social Kingship Of Christ And Religious Freedom

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK “For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. When everything is subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to the one who subjected everything to him, so that God may be all in all.” The first reading…Continue Reading

Cast A Gauntlet – Sola Scriptura: Part 1

Catholic Heroes… St. Cecilia

By CAROLE BRESLIN The Catholic Church has thousands of saints. For the last two millennia, people of great holiness, exemplifying heroic virtue, have been honored as saints, members of the Church Triumphant in Heaven giving honor and glory to God. Some have been formally declared saints by the Church, while others have been so honored from the beginnings of the…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Frances Xavier Cabrini

By CAROLE BRESLIN Since the United States is a relatively new country compared to the rest of the world, we do not have as many canonized saints as do France, Italy, or Spain. Elizabeth Ann Seton (died 1821) was the first person born in the United States to be canonized, although she lived many years after Kateri Tekakwitha (died 1680)…Continue Reading

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading