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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Bishop Approves Use of Condoms, Cardinal Thunders Back

ROME (AP)--A Dutch bishop is saying the unthinkable and an outspoken aged Cardinal is calling for ecclesial sanctions. Tiny Muskens, the Bishop of Breda, is advocating the use of condoms to stem the AIDS epidemic in Uganda. According to a Radio Netherlands report, Bishop Muskens believes that it is permissible to opt for the lesser evil of condom use to prevent the greater evil of AIDS. The controversial remarks were made in conjunction with a visit by the Bishop to Uganda at the invitation of the group Stop AIDS Now. While there has been no official comment yet by the Vatican, Giovanni Cardinal Marotta, 98, has wasted no time in commenting on the Dutch Bishop's remarks.

Speaking from his residence at Villa Santa Zita, just outside Rome, the retired Cardinal--capitalizing on an obvious English pun regarding the Bishop's first name--thundered, "Episcopus Minimus--Tiny redditur Anglice--ad nomen eius non pertinet!" (This roughly translates as "Bishop Tiny doesn't refer to his name!") The Cardinal then went on to explain the basic moral principle that one may not use an evil means to attain a good end. "There have been numerous moral theories that have attained ascendancy after the Council," echoed Dr. Pietro Feruzzi, a one time colleague of Cardinal Marotta who now owns and runs a pizzeria in Rome. "Our late Pontiff, John Paul the Great, put these innovations to rest in his 1993 encyclical Veritatis Splendor. Unfortunately, what we are experiencing with many in the current crop of bishops is poor seminary training that accepted these various moral theories and jettisoned the traditional moral teaching of the Church--which is nothing other than common sense."

Bishop Muskens is but the latest of several bishops in past years to deviate from the moral teachings of the Catholic Church. None of these prelates have evaded the towering personality of Giovanni Cardinal Marotta. In recent months, the aged Cardinal has come out to combat those whom he sees as waging "constant assaults on our Holy Mother." Cardinal Marotta is no stranger to controversy with Northern European prelates and dissenting priests. In 1968, there was a celebrated incident where then-Bishop Marotta took on liberal priest Fr. Bjorn Jorgensen, O.F.M. Fr. Jorgensen, a peritus (or theological expert) at the Second Vatican Council, was known for holding "re-imagining church" sessions in coffee houses all around Amsterdam in the years following the Council. Students, theologians and the effete would travel from all over Europe to attend these sessions. In a conference in Rome, hosted by the International Theological Commission, Fr. Jorgensen asserted that Jesus Christ might be one of many manifestations of the Deity and thus there is nothing unique about the person of Christ. Rising in anger, then-Bishop Marotta thundered "Go to hell!" Some have opined that Paul VI's famous "smoke of Satan" comment was inspired by this exchange and the coffee house sessions.