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In the debate now going on, the doubts and fears that are raided lead in the last analysis, to a central question, that of the Magisterium of the Church.

Great concern is shown for its “credibility” among the faithful. But why not recognize frankly that one of the causes (and not the least) which threaten such credibility with ruin is precisely the organized and systematic way in which some theologians have repeatedly opposed the Encyclical H. Paus Paulus VI - Encycliek
Humanae Vitae
Het menselijk leven en geboorteregelingen
(25 juli 1968)
, and later the Apostolic Exhortation H. Paus Johannes Paulus II - Postsynodale Apostolische Exhortatie
Familiaris Consortio
Over de taken van het christelijk gezin in de wereld van deze tijd
(22 november 1981)

Serious confusion and ambiguity are caused among the faithful when even some theologians speak of pronouncements of the Magisterium while concealing or deforming its specific nature and its original function. As every one of the faithful should know, the Magisterium of the Church cannot be correctly interpreted if one uses the same criteria as are applied m the human sciences, such as the bare socio-cultural criterion of measuring a greater or lesser degree of acceptance of the Magisterium. On the contrary, the Magisterium, as a gift of the Spirit of Jesus Christ to his Church for the authentic service, in the name of the authority of Christ, “of the faith to be believed and put into practice” 2e Vaticaans Concilie, Constitutie, Over de Kerk, Lumen Gentium (21 nov 1964), 25, can find proper understanding and full acceptance only in faith.

Worth recalling here are the words which Paul VI addressed to priests: “It is your principal duty – We are speaking especially to you who teach moral theology – to expound the Church’s teaching with regard to marriage in its entirety and with complete frankness. In the performance of your ministry you must be the first to give an example of that sincere obedience, inward as well as outward, which is due to the Magisterium of the Church, For, as you know, the Pastors of the Church enjoy a special light of the Holy Spirit in teaching the truth Vgl. 2e Vaticaans Concilie, Constitutie, Over de Kerk, Lumen Gentium (21 nov 1964), 25H. Paus Paulus VI, Encycliek, Het menselijk leven en geboorteregelingen, Humanae Vitae (25 juli 1968), 26 Further: “We are full of confidence as We speak to you, beloved Sons, because We hold it as certain that while the Holy Spirit of God is present to the Magisterium proclaiming sound doctrine, he also illumines from within the hearts of the faithful and invites their assent” H. Paus Paulus VI, Encycliek, Het menselijk leven en geboorteregelingen, Humanae Vitae (25 juli 1968), 29.

Some there are who accuse the Magisterium of the Church of an undue insistence on the moral problems of married life, and in particular on those concerning love and life. This is alleged to be a dangerous and mistaken emphasis, limited unilaterally to aspects which are peripheral with respect to the overall truth, one which does not take account of the hierarchy of truths.

Such insistence may annoy those who, not accepting the teaching of the Church, would prefer silence or else a “modern approach”. But it is an insistence which is fully justified if one considers that, on the theological level, human sexuality is rooted in the human person having been created “in the image of God” (“God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him: male and female he created them” – (Gen. 1, 27), and that, on the anthropological level human sexuality takes on a very special importance, even existentially, in the person’s basic vocation to love.

With this teaching on the morality of married life, the Magisterium of the Church lives and beats witness to a special reverence for God and for his plan, and on this precise basis, for the dignity of the human person.


Soort: L' Osservatore Romano
Datum: 16 februari 1989
Copyrights: © 1989, Libreria Editrice Vaticana
Voorlopig Engelstalige versie
Bewerkt: 7 november 2019

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