Friday, December 26, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Vatican: Many Catholics ignore teachings on sex

By
From page D2 | June 29, 2014 |

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican conceded Thursday that most Catholics reject its teachings on sex and contraception as intrusive and irrelevant and officials pledged not to “close our eyes to anything” when it opens a two-year debate on some of the thorniest issues facing the church.

Core church doctrine on the nature of marriage, sexuality, abortion and divorce isn’t expected to change as a result of the debate that opens in October. But Pope Francis is well aware that the church has lost much of its relevance and credibility in today’s secular world and he is seeking to redirect his ministers to offer families, and even gays in civil unions, a “new language” that is welcoming and responds to their needs.

The Vatican on Thursday issued the working document for the synod discussions, which in itself marked a sharp change from past practice: The Vatican sent out a 39-point questionnaire seeking input from ordinary Catholics around the world about their understanding of, and adherence to, the church’s teaching on sexuality, homosexuality, contraception, marriage and divorce.

Thousands of ordinary Catholics, clergy and academics responded, providing the Vatican with an unprecedented compilation of grass-root data to guide the discussion. Usually, such working papers are compiled by bishops alone.

The responses, which were summarized in the working document, were brutally honest.

“A vast majority” of responses stressed that “the moral evaluation of the different methods of birth control is commonly perceived today as an intrusion in the intimate life of the couple and an encroachment on the autonomy of conscience,” the document said.

“Many responses recommend that for many Catholics the concept of ‘responsible parenthood’ encompasses the shared responsibility in conscience to choose the most appropriate method of birth control.”

Confronted with such a reality, Vatican officials were asked at a press conference if the church might actually change its position to align itself with the practice of most of its faithful rather than hold onto teachings that so many Catholics reject.

Based on Francis’ own wishes to open the discussion at all, deliberate for so long and canvass ordinary Catholics for their input, “We will not close our eyes to anything,” said Monsignor Bruno Forte, a meeting organizer. “These problems will be considered.”

That said, the document makes clear the value of the church’s core doctrine.

It laments that the media and its own priests have failed to communicate the “positive” aspects of theVatican’s key document banning artificial contraception, the 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae. And it stresses that what is needed is better pastoral outreach and a “new language” to communicate the complete vision of marriage and family life that the church espouses.

“Some observations inferred that the clergy sometimes feel so unsuited and ill-prepared to treat issues regarding sexuality, fertility and procreation that they often choose to remain silent,” the document said.

The officials presenting the report were asked what advice about sexuality, matrimony and the ups and downs of raising children a group of celibate men could offer Catholics when they themselves had chosen not to have sex, marry or have families.

Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, who is organizing the synod, said many lay Catholics were consulted in the preparation of the working document, and the Vatican spokesman noted that there was “ample representation” of the laity at Thursday’s press conference: a married couple celebrating their 25th anniversary joined the six clerics on the podium.

The document itself, though, acknowledged that the church had a credibility problem.

“Responses from almost every part of the world frequently refer to the sexual scandals within the church (pedophilia in particular) and in general, to a negative experience with the clergy and other persons,” it said. “Sex scandals significantly weaken the church’s moral credibility.”

The document doesn’t recommend changing church teaching on key hot-button issues like its opposition to gay marriage.

But citing Francis’ frequent call for the church to be more merciful and less judgmental, it recommends new pastoral guidelines to confront the increasing reality of legal recognition for same-sex unions, stressing that gays must be treated with dignity, respect and spared discrimination.

“The episcopal conferences amply demonstrate that they are trying to find a balance between the church’s teaching on the family and a respectful, non-judgmental attitude toward people living in such unions,” it said. It distinguished between gays who are “discreet” in their lifestyle and those who actively, “often aggressively” call attention to their unions.

“The great challenge will be to develop a ministry which can maintain the proper balance between accepting persons in a spirit of compassion and gradually guiding them to authentic human and Christian maturity,” it said.

And it suggests ways to improve and expedite the church’s cumbersome and expensive annulment process to enable Catholics who divorce and remarry to receive the sacraments. Currently, such divorced and civilly remarried Catholics cannot receive communion because the church thinks they are essentially living in sin and committing adultery.

The document suggested creating more marriage tribunals in parts of the world where they don’t exist to handle annulment requests, removing the time-consuming automatic appeals or shifting to an administrative, rather than judicial process altogether.

Francis has spoken out about the need for a merciful approach to the divorce-remarried issue, but it remains unclear how far he is willing to go to welcome these Catholics into fully participating in the sacramental life of the church.

Finally, the Vatican noted that the threats to the family come from everywhere, including social media, with family members spending more time checking their smart phones and maintaining virtual relationships than with one another.

“The responses consistently mention how even a family’s leisure time is hijacked by these instruments,” it said.

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Solano’s 2014 art scene: A year in review

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Get your blues on – for a musical cause

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

Area churches bring joy, toys to children

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Rear ends, reunions define 2014 in music

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B1

Santa spreads Christmas cheer at Bridge to Life

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Word of Mouth ready to ring in 2015 at Dimitri’s

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
 
Suisun City police log: Dec. 24, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: Dec. 24, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Weather for Friday, Dec. 26, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B12

.

US / World

San Francisco creates court only for veterans

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Mother uses grief to help murder victims’ families

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

California plane crash victims were father and son

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

 
Man shot with stun gun dies at border crossing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

California officials issue caramel apple warning

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

 
Christmas brings California cooler weather, gusty winds

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

Audit highlights state employee wrongdoing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3, 2 Comments

 
US traveler released from East Timor jail

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Obama personal chef to hang up apron after 6 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
More protests sparked after shooting near Ferguson

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 18 Comments

Nevada goats help eat, recycle Christmas trees

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Hundreds of theaters begin screening ‘The Interview’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Streaming release of ‘Interview’ test for industry

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Monkey gives first aid to electrocuted friend

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

Militants attack AU Somalia base, at least 5 dead

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Saudi women drivers referred to terrorism court

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 2 Comments | Gallery

Police and fire officials save California family’s Christmas

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
.

Living

Today in History: Dec. 26, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community calendar: Dec. 26, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Dec. 26, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
Sister’s angry outbursts may be a medical issue

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Week in Preview Dec. 26, 2014 – Jan. 1, 2015

By Susan Winlow | From Page: B1

 
‘Frozen’ is named top entertainer of the year by AP

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Entertainment calendar Dec. 26, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

Warsaw’s lost architecture portrayed in miniature

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Review: ‘Unbroken’ is beautiful, but impersonal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Angelina Jolie’s latest incarnation: filmmaker

By Maureen Fissolo | From Page: B6

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

.

Sports

James hears plenty of cheers in return to Miami

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
2014 sports quirks: In year of odd bounces, reality bites at World Cup

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Colin Kaepernick weighing his offseason approach

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Arians reportedly to go back to Lindley as starter

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Former TE Ben Utecht delivers musical message

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

K-State’s Snyder still penning old-school notes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
Fresno State pushed around in in Hawaii Bowl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
This date in sports history for Friday, Dec. 26, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Eagles have quarterback questions going into 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
New OT rule in minor-league hockey generating buzz

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

To reduce elitism, British horse racing educating spectators

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Bad news for Balotelli as Liverpool alters system

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

LeBron James, Steph Curry lead NBA All-Star voting

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Former NBA All-Star Marbury fan favorite in China

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery

Signups for Friday, Dec. 26, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B10

 
D-I’s youngest coach also has inexperienced team

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

No. 17 Wisconsin hopes program back on steady ground

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Rookie Martin makes quick impression in Dallas

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

.

Business

 
Bad Santa? 5 tips to tackle your holiday gift returns

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

.

Obituaries

Thomas A. O’Neill

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9