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October 8, 1993     The Message
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October 8, 1993
 

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2 The Message -- for Catholicsof Southwestern Indiana Papal encyclical's completion took six years, several By JOHN THAVIS Catholic News Service VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope John Paul II took six years to write his latest en- cyclical, "Veritatis Splendor" ("The Splendor of Truth"), a document that went through several drafts and an extensive consultation process before its release Oct. 5. The long genesis and the substantial changes made in the text were considered un- usual for a papal encyclical, one of the most authoritative forms of papal teaching. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Vatican's chief doctrinal of- ficial, confirmed that some the- ologians'had challenged por- New encyclical at a glance WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pope John Paul Irs new en- cyclical made public Oct. 5 is: Titled "eritatis Splendor" -- "The Splendor of Truth." The first papal encyclical ever on the foundations of moral theology. The 10th encyclical by Pope John Paul in his 15-year pa- pacy. Focused on Scripture  the commandments and disci- pleship of Christ-- as the central framework for under- standing Christian morality. A repudiation of modern moral theories that would rela- tivize truth or universal norms or absolutize freedom, - Addressed to the world's bishops as the church's chief teachers and guardians of doctrine. I I English cardinal says encyclical misrepresented By ROBERT NOWELL Catholic News Service LONDON (CNS) -- The new papal encyclical on moral the- ology has been popularly mis- represented as an attack on il- licit sexual practices and dissident theologians, said Cardinal George Basil Hume of Westminster, England. "This encyclical is about fun- damental moral principles," the cardinal said. "It is a pity that there has been a tendency to concentrate on one issue, namely sex, and in particular on the difficult and sensitive issue of contraception. "If you read this document carefully --and it needs to be read carefully -- you will note that issues are not dealt with as such," he said. "They all come in as illustrations or ex- amples of the general point which the pope is trying to make: that there are acts which in themselves are al- ways seriously wrong." Prior to its official release stories in the Times of London on the document, which the newspaper said it had obtained without identifying the source, focused on sections dealing with contraception, homosexu- ality and other sexual issues. The stories represented the document as a fierce indict- ment of these practices as being "intrinsically evil." The cardinal also said it was wrong to pick out of context the single aspect of the need for moral theologians to show loyalty to teachings of the mag- isterium, the church teaching authority. "All I can say in this country is that we're not engaged in a witch-hunt," he said. "We have good relations with our moral theologians." The cardinal spoke at a press conference Oct. 5 to pre- sent "Veritatis Splendor," ("The Splendor of Truth"), Pope John Paul II's new en- cyclical. The cardinal pointed out that although the pope told moral theologians to be careful about what they said, he also commended them for the work they had done. "And so I see the pope's mes- sage here as one calling us bishops to dialogue with our moral theologians," the cardi- nal said. The cardinal singled out as perhaps the encyclical's most important section the para- graphs dealing with morality and the renewal of social and political life. "It would be marvelous if, in- stead of concentrating on. the sexual bits, we could concen- trate on those bits, which are terribly important," he said. While the encyclical was written primarily to give guid- ance to the Catholic commu- nity, the cardinal said he be- lieved it "will be welcomed by others outside the Catholic community who sense that we need to discover moral princi- ples with which we can all agree." Anglican Bishop Richard Harries of Oxford, England, a moral theologian and former dean of King's College, London, welcomed the encyclical. He said its message that moral values belonged to the objec- tive order was one "which des- perately needs to be heard by the modern world" and was one with which the vast major- ity of Christians would be thor- oughly in sympathy. tions of the text as it was being written, and that the pope made use of these critical ob- servations. At a Vatican press confer- ence, Cardinal Ratzinger made a slip of the tongue, saying the encyclical had profited from "contestations" with theolo- gians. He had meant to say "consultations," but after cor- recting himself he added with a laugh that "contestations" was also accurate, as some groups of theologians had ob- jected to parts of the text. "That's how the encyclical matured," he said. The wide consultations in- cluded theologians from every continent and representing "varied orientations," which contributed to the long delay in publication, the cardinal said. During one stage of its preparation, press reports sug- gested that the document would break new ground on papal infallibility or announce important new doctrinal posi- tions. The 179-page final prod- uct did neither; instead, it matched with the pope's own outline when he unveiled the idea in 1987. At that time, Pope John Paul said he was preparing a document on the principles of moral theology that would help people rediscover the correct relationship between truth, goodness and freedom -- a re- lationship he said had been "largely lost in contemporary culture." VINCENNES IIII I I I American National Bank Bickneil - Sandborn Vincennes Drive-in Facilities - Member F.D.I.C. A Full Service Bank Jill Ann White L P Administrator Hwy. 57 So. Washingi0n, iN 8812-254-4516 rairie Village iving Center i Ed. L. Lee Mortuary 101 North Meridian Street Washington, IN 254-3612 Where customers send their friends" Open nightly til 9 p.m. hop & Son 0t0 US 231 SOUTH - JASPER, IN - 482-2222 ''" .-/c Ge TOYOTA Did You Know: 1-800-937-USA1 OLDS CIERA is most trouble free car made in America J. D. Powers i i, = I The pope worked steadily and sometimes took the text along on his summer vacation to discuss details with a Polish theologian. For the pope, this was also a time of troubling theological dissent in the church, with groups of theologians openly challenging the way bishops and theology professors were appointed and the way papal authority was used on the birth control issue. In 1990, reports surfaced among European theologians that the encyclical would de- clare the church's teaching on contraception infallible. The Vatican dismissed the rumor, saying the document would focus on general theological themes and not specific teach- ings. At that time, the Vatican said the pope's encyclical was nearly complete -- the first of several premature deadlines. In fact, other Vatican sources confirmed later that the docu- ment was pulled back for a major consultation and revi- sion. It was still three years away from publication. In early 1992, the Vatican press spokesman said the en- cyclical might be ready by mid- year. But at this point, the de- cision was made to publish the new "Catechism of the Catholic Church" first. The idea was that the two documents would complement each other: the one a comprehensive catalogue of church teachings, the other explaining why such must be taken seriously. In mid-1993, an dated draft of the was leaked. The text a section on without the innovations predicted theologians. In any this section had by the time the pope encyclical Aug. 6, the Transfiguration. Cardinal Ratzin the press conference libility had never fo6us of the document. Now that the text lished for all to sistent rumor in dors is that this the first of a one-tWO The next encyclical, tection of human apply the general "Veritatis Splendor" to the most the modern age, 1 abortion and The pope was asked ! such a document in the world's called together in an nary session to threats to life. Ci i RUXER FORD - LINCOLN - MERCURY -MILLER & MILLER : _ "A can INSURANCE Auto! Home! Fire & Life! Your Personal Service Ag James L. Will Ins. Agency 1925 W. Franklin Street WE'RE YOUR #1 CHOICE FOR LOW COST AUTO INSURANCE Independent Agent Many companies to choose from 79 yeats of experience INSURANCE AGENCY 464-5993 DENNIS K. Depressed? Suicidal? THE HELP 1-800-852-7279 We offer FREE, confidential assessments BEHAVIORAL HEALTH MEMORIAL... 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