Humanae Vitae 28: To Priests

sperm and eggHumanae Vitae is online at the Vatican site, and the text highlighted below is © Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana.

28. And now, beloved sons, you who are priests, you who in virtue of your sacred office act as counselors and spiritual leaders both of individual men and women and of families—We turn to you filled with great confidence. For it is your principal duty—We are speaking especially to you who teach moral theology—to spell out clearly and completely the Church’s teaching on marriage. 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. (See Lumen Gentium 25) And this, rather than the arguments they put forward, is why you are bound to such obedience. Nor will it escape you that if (people’s) peace of soul and the unity of the Christian people are to be preserved, then it is of the utmost importance that in moral as well as in dogmatic theology all should obey the magisterium of the Church and should speak as with one voice. Therefore We make Our own the anxious words of the great Apostle Paul and with all Our heart We renew Our appeal to you: “I appeal to you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.” (1 Cor 1. 10)

Some questions:

  • Was the Holy Fathers confidence misplaced?
  • Do people see clergy as givers of obedience or receivers of it?
  • Does the answer to the question above affect how people might be led?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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3 Responses to Humanae Vitae 28: To Priests

  1. Chris says:

    “And this, rather than the arguments they put forward, is why you are bound to such obedience”

    This seems an admission that the clergy will not find the arguments in HV convincing. When all else fails, appeal to authority is all that is left.

    But that risks undermining authority, which is the ongoing legacy of HV.

    God bless

    • JennyN says:

      Agree Chris. The “appeal to authority” crops up far too often in the context of the institutional Church – it’s simply taken for granted that these authorities are inerrant, infallible etc. When anyone asks why, too often the answer turns out to be because, well, another and earlier or even more authoritative authority has declared them to be so. (Sometimes it can feel like the late Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, which is balanced on the shoulders of four elephants, who stand on the shell of a giant turtle, which is supported by – what? “Don’t ask awkward questions”). The inquisitive are sent scrambling back through dusty parchment after worm-eaten book, assertion piled on assertion – frequently with no connection whatsoever to observable or lived reality.

      And that was and continues to be THE biggest issue with HV.

  2. FrMichael says:

    Yes, Paul had no idea what wickedness lay in dissenting clergy’s heart. Of course, he magnified the problem by not backing the Cardinal of Washington in disciplining CUA.

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