Church urged to be more open in debate

The Catholic Church should listen to all the arguments in favour of gay relationships, Communion for remarried divorcees, and ending mandatory celibacy for priests, one of Italy’s most senior bishops insisted, writes Hannah Roberts.
The secretary general of the Italian bishops’ conference (CEI) Nunzio Galantino, bishop of the southern Diocese of Cassano all’Jonio, told La Nazione newspaper on Monday that he wanted church leaders to open their minds to different views. He said: “My wish for the Italian Church is that it is able to listen without any taboo to the arguments in favour of married priests, the Eucharist for the divorced, and homosexuality.”
Bishop Galantino, 65, said: “We have concentrated too much on abortion and euthanasia. It mustn’t be this way, in the middle there’s real life … I don’t identify with the expressionless person outside the abortion clinic reciting their Rosary.”

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  1. This was really discouraging to read this, a real kick in the teeth to those who pray outside abortion clinics and engage in other pro-life work. But it doesn’t surprise me. Nothing surprises me any more.
    On the other hand, the Church is not new on the scene to humanity. It seems this bishop and those who think the same way, are open to the idea that the Church, and by extension, God Himself, have got it wrong all along. Elsewise, why would you be open to hearing alternative views about moral issues like homoesexuality?
    The sad thing for this bishop is that abortion and euthanasia ARE real issues that affect real people. Does he not realise this? From granny in the nursing home to the baby yet to be born, this is about real people.
    I wonder does the bishop pray the Rosary?

  2. Clare Hannigan says:

    ‘Bishop Galantino, 65, said: “We have concentrated too much on abortion and euthanasia. It mustn’t be this way, in the middle there’s real life … I don’t identify with the expressionless person outside the abortion clinic reciting their Rosary.”’
    I agree with Bishop Galantino, we should be concerned for all who suffer injustice. Had we as members of the laity devoted as much energy and commitment to the issue of child abuse as we have to the issue of abortion over the past thirty years there might have been no need for the Murphy and other reports.
    The Murphy report stated
    Par 1.99 State responsibility for child protection
    The Commission notes that there was an extraordinary delay in introducing child protection legislation. The need for new legislation was clearly recognised in the early 1970s but it was not actually passed until 1991 and not fully implemented until 1996. That new legislation, the Child Care Act 1991, does not sufficiently clarify the powers and duties of the health authorities. 1.100 The primary responsibility for child protection must rest with the State.
    Although there was an obvious need for legislation by the early 1970’s I do not recall Youth Defense The Legionaries of Christ Opus Dei or any other lay Catholic organisation organising vigils or marches on the Dail demanding protection for children. We are encouraged to ask candidates for the various elections to state there position on abortion legislation but not on their record on child protection legislation.

  3. Paddy Ferry says:

    Clare,@2 well said, how right you are!

  4. Eddie Finnegan says:

    Bishop Galatino has obviously won the ear and trust of Pope Francis but, in so far as we can judge from second-hand accounts of his interview with La Nazione, he seems to lack the balance expounded by Cardinal Joseph Bernardin thirty years ago in his “consistent ethic of life”, the “seamless garment” approach. OK to follow Francis’s “Who am I to judge?”, but is caricaturing sincere protesters against the easy spread of abortion a balanced way of defusing those obsessive hot button issues? Of course the Italian Bishops’ Conference is a pretty unbalanced bunch, so maybe Galantino thinks some shock jock kicking of the pendulum will force it towards equilibrium.

  5. Lloyd Allan MacPherson says:

    A child dies on this rotating sphere every 10 seconds of malnutrition. I really don’t think it was a kick in the teeth that he was offering up to those people (Shaun @ #1). It was possibly a reminder of the unspeakable disparities which exist in our present reality and possibly the importance of focusing our combined energies on greater commitments in the hopes of overcoming them. I, like Bishop Galantino, don’t identify with these people either and I hope no one on this site resents my position on this.

  6. It is hard to take the Church’s teaching on Life Issues seriously, when Church teaching goes so far as to depict young and not so young married couples, who use contraception to plan their families, as engaging in ‘intrinsically evil’ acts.

  7. Clare Hannigan says:

    Is it not a bit strange that the Church is so clear on its teaching about contraception but on a learning curve when it comes to child abuse. Am I correct in thinking that abortion is a reserved sin but rape of children is not. The majority of children in Ireland are supposed to accept that they are the fruit of marital relationships grounded not in acts of love but in acts which are intrinsically evil and that conscience irrelevant. Could this be part of the reason that so few teenagers have any real connection with the Church.

  8. The Church describes contraception as ‘shameful and intrinsically immoral’, ‘a very grave crime’, ‘an offence against the law of God and nature, and those who commit it are guilty of grave sin’. Either the Church’s teaching is true or it is not true. If it is true then why is it not being preached about more forcibly given that a great number of Catholics are in grave danger of losing their souls? If it is not true then the Church is guilty of falsehood.Catholic married couples do not observe the Church’s teaching on contraception. They are using their own personal conscience in their private lives. The Church’s teaching on contraception is one of the main causes for the collapse of Confession. This is one of the biggest indications that the double standards in Church teaching is damaging its credibility. If the authenticity of one of the Sacraments is in doubt then what about the rest?

  9. Peter Short says:

    Nuala O’D, #6, #8
    Married couples don’t use artificial contraception to plan their families, any more than one uses a car to plan one’s work schedule. There is a difference between the intentional act of planning, and the vehicle that gets you there.
    Interesting juxtaposition between comment #7 and #8 which claim, respectively, that the church’s teaching on contraception is clear, and that it is practically never preached about.
    The only explanation is that the majority of priests today are completely out of step with the constant teaching of the church. Of course, you don’t have to go any further than these web pages of the ACP to get the strong impression that this is true.
    One is left with the sad impression that there can be no cure for the almost total doctrinal confusion of today’s Catholics until the current crop of priests has moved on through and we once again start getting consistent messages from priest, bishop, and pope. (Many, of course, are preoccupied with the delusion that it will be the pope and not the priests that will change).

  10. Peter Short @9.
    But Peter there is more to the Church than Pope and Priests. There is also The People.The people have voted by walking away from the sacrament of confession and have ignored with contempt the unjust teaching regarding contraception. The Church’s teaching is wrong because it tries to impose a teaching that is the providence of conscience only. In fact it was Humanae Vitae that forced married couples to begin thinking about the authenticity of personal conscience and the freedom to make personal decisions regarding life issues. As one group of married couples said, ‘It is our view that if the clergy took rectal temperatures that Catholic married couples would not still be waiting for an answer on contraception’!

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