Infanticide, the Next Frontier

Last week Deal Hudson wrote a disturbing piece on Barack Obama’s permissive stance toward infanticide. Click here for the entire text.

Senator Obama’s position on this issue, a position opposed even by the most liberal elements of his party, including California Senator Barbara Boxer, is to date the most extreme anti-life position espoused by a serious candidate for the presidency.

 While all murder is murder, the Catechism singles out infanticide as an “especially grave crime” (no. 2268).

This again brings me back to the question I posed here several months ago: What could possibly constitute a “proportionate reason” that would morally justify a vote for Senator Obama?

11 responses

  1. Tom R
    Yes….the Bishops and the Pope quite frankly should have gone beyond their (Bishops’) intial statement and given examples in detail as to how Catholics could vote in this dilemna. A paragraph is not enough. Millions of Catholics will vote for Obama in November with no comment to follow either from Rome or from the Bishops. What signal does this send to China for example who reads of Catholicism’s opposition to abortion and then reads the stats on millions of Catholics voting for Obama. Now imagining that such a vote is legitimate, the Magisterium should broadcast to the world how it is legitimate. Why? We cannot be a light unto the world if by not explaining these things…we in effect look like a traffic light unto the world with red green and orange flashing at unpredictable times. Abortion as wrong is actually infallibly stated in section 62 of Evangelium Vitae and thus passes muster under canon 749-3 as an issue whose infallibility is “clearly manifest”….which is not true of a number of issues that are touted as that certain.

    Pope Paul III in 1537 took a public stand against Catholic Portugal and Spain enslaving the natives of the new Americas….a license they had unfortunately been given in writing by Pope Nicholas V (with a non revocation stipulation) and by Pope Alexander VI respectively in the previous century…the former’s bull being confirmed by three additional Popes in the late 1400′s. So Pope Paul III went against their position as did Cardinal Cajetan and Bartolome de Las Casas, a Dominican and Bishop but other theologians in the main universities supported the previous pro slavery Popes…John Major from Scotland but at the University of Paris and Juan Gines de Sulpeveda, a theologian who debated in 1550 Las Casas in a debate set up by the emperor Charles V on just this matter. You’ll notice the debate post dated Pope Paul III’s bull against the native slavery…meaning he was not the last word perhaps because he would not take in his bull a clear denunciation of the previous bulls and since he also still supported the domestic slavery present in Italy in a decision he made against Rome becoming a sanctuary city for runaway slaves 11 years after his bull on new native slaves. So he was not clearly against all slavery (strangely enough neither was Las Casas).

    Bottom line…slavery persisted in the Catholic conquered areas thanks to the non decisive nature of all the positions of the two sides: as the New Testmanet says “if the trumpet gives forth an uncertain blast, who will prepare for battle?”

  2. Tom: Amen!

    Kyle: At some point, even a politician’s words and actions have to speak for themselves. Plus, I don’t like to get into the business of speculation what another’s motives might be–especially when we’re dealing with the objectively evil complicity with abortion and now infanticide. It does seem to me that Planned Parenthood, NARAL, etc., are crucial allies of Sen. Obama, and he’s very careful to protect Roe v. Wade at all costs. I guess he considers the Born Alive Infant Protection Act the first step down a slippery slope that could limit a woman’s unfettered “right” to abortion. I have no idea why he feels the need to be so protective of abortion rights, whether it’s politics, ethical confusion (ah, the tyranny of moral relativism), a sin problem, the rejection of a more conservative Christianity and all that entails, and/or a false compassion.

    But all that aside, by their fruit we will know them.

    Bill: Thanks for the comment. I was under the impression that the Magisterium had been clear and consistent in its teaching against slavery in the New World, with the problem being more a matter of dissent on the local and national level (nothing new under the sun!). Though I suppose the teaching could have been emphasized more and leadership at all levels didn’t always speak out enough against slavery.

    Here is a brief summary of papal teaching on the subject:

    The modern notion of slavery is a condition of involuntary servitude in which people are regarded as property (“chattel”) of another, without basic human rights. Slavery under this definition is intrinsically evil, since no person is to be regarded or treated as a mere thing or object. European expansion into the New World and Africa is credited for institutionalizing this “chattel” slavery. In 1435, Pope Eugene IV, in his papal bull Sicut Dudum, condemned the enslavement of peoples in the newly colonized Canary Islands and commanded:

    “All and each of the faithful of each sex, within the space of fifteen days of the publication of these letters in the place where they live, that they restore to their earlier liberty all and each person of either sex who were once residents of the Canary Islands … who have been made subject to slavery. These people are to be totally and perpetually free and are to be let go without the exaction or reception of any money.”

    One hundred years later, Pope Paul III, in his declaration Sublimus Dei, stated that “the said Indians and all other people who may later be discovered by Christians, are by no means to be deprived of their liberty or the possession of their property, even though they be outside the faith of Jesus Christ; and that they may and should, freely and legitimately, enjoy their liberty and the possession of their property; nor should they be in any way enslaved; should the contrary happen, it shall be null and have no effect.”

    With statements such as these, the Catholic Church has unhesitatingly condemned racial slavery since its beginnings. Pope Eugene’s bull was to be heeded under the consequence of excommunication. Papal condemnations of slavery were repeated by St. Gregory the Great, Hadrian I, Alexander III, Innocent III, Gregory IX, Pius II, Leo X, Gregory XIV (1591), Urban VII (1639), Innocent XI (1686), Benedict XIV (1741), and Pius VII (1815), among others.

    In 1839, just 25 years before the U.S. Civil War, Pope Gregory XVI wrote: “We, by apostolic authority, warn and strongly exhort… that no one in the future dare to bother unjustly, despoil of their possessions, or reduce to slavery Indians, Blacks, or other such peoples.”

    Through the obvious consistency the Church’s statements throughout history, we can determine that there has been no compromise in the Church’s stance on the value and dignity of every human person, including those who have been enslaved. Such a wavering in the stance of the Church would be completely contrary to the teachings of Christ himself. Pope Leo XIII, in his letter to the Catholic missionaries in Africa, Catholicae Ecclesiae, in 1890, wrote the following:

    “The Church from the beginning sought to completely eliminate slavery, whose wretched yoke has oppressed many people. It is the industrious guardian of the teachings of its Founder (Jesus) who, by His words and those of the apostles, taught men the fraternal necessity which unites the whole world. From Him we recall that everybody has sprung from the same source, was redeemed by the same ransom, and is called to the same eternal happiness. He assumed the neglected cause of slaves and showed Himself the strong champion of freedom.”

  3. Leon
    Avoid the internet summaries on slavery and the Popes. They are white washing ad work passing as apologetics. You are a lawyer; you can see through pulp fiction. Pope Pius V received 588 slaves from the Battle of Lepanto. Third Lateran Council gave slavery as a reward to any privateers who would capture Christian pirates who were helping Muslims canon 24 on line here:
    The Knights of Malta gave galley slaves to Pope Urban VIII in 1629 and they gave galley slaves to Pope Innocent X in 1645 after several of your references. They…such summaries… leave out the Popes who supported slavery and they leave out the place of the theologians in the Universities who also supported slavery including Aquinas who affirmed it and gives the decretals numbers of canon law supporting in it in the Supplement to the ST in the section on marriage/subsection marriage of slaves which again you can find on line.

    Read actually published books too. Such summaries and Cardinal Dulles’ version of the same mentality some time ago in First Things are just that: summaries that avoid detailed history. You are a lawyer. You know how inaccurate the summary form can be through omission and what it can leave out. Simply go to an actual Papal source: “Romanus Pontifex” 1455 at a Catholic web site…a bull which was to set Portugal in motion and Portugal was the largest offender in the slave trade (33% of all slaves from Africa were used by them in Brazil inter alia…about 5 million human beings) and the last Euro nation out of the trade.
    Here in that bull, is Pope Nicholas V in 1455 after the Canary Island incident which only involved baptized slaves….giving Portugal the right to enslave the non baptized in Romanus Pontifex 4th paragraph:

    ” by other letters of ours (1452) granted among other things free and ample faculty to the aforesaid King Alfonso — to invade, search out, capture, vanquish, and subdue all Saracens and pagans whatsoever, and other enemies of Christ wheresoever placed, and the kingdoms, dukedoms, principalities, dominions, possessions, and all movable and immovable goods whatsoever held and possessed by them and to reduce their persons to perpetual slavery, and to apply and appropriate to himself and his successors the kingdoms, dukedoms, counties, principalities, dominions, possessions, and goods, and to convert them to his and their use and profit — by having secured the said faculty, the said King Alfonso, or, by his authority, the aforesaid infante, justly and lawfully has acquired and possessed, and doth possess, these islands, lands, harbors, and seas, and they do of right belong and pertain to the said King Alfonso and his successors…”

    ….now at the ending, he forbids future contradictions like the one you pointed out by Paul III in 1537:

    “we do likewise by these letters, decree and declare that the said letters and what is contained therein cannot in any wise be impugned, or the effect thereof hindered or obstructed, on account of any defect of fraudulency, secrecy, or nullity, not even from a defect of the ordinary or of any other authority, or from any other defect, but that they shall be valid forever and shall obtain full authority. And if anyone, by whatever authority, shall, wittingly or unwittingly, attempt anything inconsistent with these orders we decree that his act shall be null and void.”

  4. Bill, a lot of smoke here. I do feel obliged to get you an answer regarding the troubling 1452 quote; it’s been awhile since I investigated the issue. But the tone and criticism directed toward the information I gave seems more rhetorical than substantive. And btw, the link you gave didn’t work–gotta watch those Internet sources.


    I know that the assertion of a purported discontinuity of the Church’s teaching on slavery is part of your argument for overturning the Church’s teaching on contraception. That seems to drive your voluminous writings at various Catholic sites. I sincerely think your significant gifts could be put to much better service of the Gospel. God bless you.

  5. Leon
    An issue can go under opposed by Rome like your lead issue herein…Obama and his beliefs. Slavery went from 1440 til 1888….four centuries and 49 Popes within that time with only a handful writing against it…10 or less…. and 5 Popes helping cause it on a grand scale.

    PS….Everything is not about birth control to me….I can’t speak for you. Catholic intellects have to get to the point of not reading contraception or another ad hominem related source into every topic. Count on the internet the number of posts on contraception that I have been involved in…. rare compared to other topics like the death penalty and husband headship and note when I get involved…when there is the moral comparison of the two groups which Rome itself does not do in regard to e.g. Rahner nor Haring yet Catholic bloggers do as though Catholic bloggers are the judges and Rome is not. When the issue goes infallible in line with canon 749-3, such judgements will have a material not formal validity…to date, they have neither if they are inferring infallible doctrine (the CDF’s use of “definitive” is a venue that can later be denied if need be).

    Check your own posts on the topic at this site and note that I entered one thread only while seeing you or John address it several times later and I simply let them go.

    My overarching main topics on the net have been the death penalty and husband headship and their practical demise thanks to modern biblical scholarship’s new techniques within the Magisterium… despite those topics having a clearer Biblical heritage than topics which have endured and are difficult to find in the Bible.

    On slavery there certainly was discontinuity and there could be…. because the matter has still never been treated infallibly. Only when a topic has been treated infallibly, can it not change within the ordinary magisterium.

    Torture was condemned by one Popes in 866 AD and brought back in 1252 AD by another Pope and then denounced as intrinsically evil in section 80 of “Splendor of the Truth” recently. But in none of those venues has it yet been treated infallibly so it can change again since several OT passages seem to rule it in.

    Slavery despite also being condemned within section 80 of “Splendor of the Truth” is still not settled because that encyclical was not infallible and in the Bible, God allows the Jews to have slavery….temporary for Jewish slaves/permanent for foreigners…ergo…it could not be intrinisically evil since God never allowed the intrinsically evil to the Jews as in the case of sodomy.

    “Romanus Pontifex” on imperialism and slavery was confirmed by three Popes after Pope Nicholas V and was followed by Pope Alexander VI’s “Inter Caetera” which gave the same rights to Spain in the 1490′s. Five Popes then participated. Pope Nicholas V was Portuguese and gave his homeland those rights in 1452 and 1455; Alexander VI was a Borgia, Spanish, and gave his nation those rights later (1494?)…whereupon in his reign, the world was divided between the two countries at a certain longitude that allowed Portugal to include Brazil….Pope Paul III who you mention as against new native slaves was Italian and in 1537, he tried to counter their effect at the behest of missionaries from the Caribbean who told him of the exploitation of the Indians. But Pope Nicholas V had as I showed written in a poison pill into his bull so to speak which allowed future Portuguese to say that their permission was eternal.

    Unforetunately your summary had its beginning in two 19th century Pope’s who each did like summaries and left out the Popes stretching from 1455 til 1511 who did all the damage; they each only mentioned the Popes who opposed slavery. But 49 Popes reigned during the slaveing centuries which left many Popes saying nothing about the matter as did not the Trent catechism nor the 5th Lateran. Slavery was taken for granted since Augustine said it was penal upon mankind and Aquinas had seen it as added not within the natural law. In the Universities unforetunately, most theologians allowed for 4 just titles to slavery up into the 20th century: birth to a slave mother/capture in a just war…the Saracen papal galley slaves/selling one self to pay debt/ and punishment as given in Third Lateran which is easily found despite my link’s breakage. Some writers sadly used the just war reason to explain the African trade since coast tribes fought central African tribes and sold the captives to the Portuguese principally.

  6. Bill Bannon would have profited greatly from a reading or re-reading of Fr. Joel S. Panzer’s “The Popes and Slavery” which notes despite the dissent of bishops, priests, and laity, the Church clearly via the Papal Magisterium did not hesitate to increasingly express the Church’s repugnance towards and opposition to the institution of slavery- and to struggle against what appeared to be insuperable odds for centuries to extirpate both slavery and the slave trade from Christian civilization.
    Bannon merely repeats the charge of “Pro-Slavery Popes” found in the writings of John Noonan and others seeking to establish a “discontinuity of Church moral teaching” and thus overthrow the infallibility of the Church on moral issues. It should not be ignored that many centuries of theological debate were necessary to clarify the difference between “legal servitude” acknowledged by the legal systems of long-standing Empires and nations (having to be long-tolerated by the Church) and the “unjust slavery” which despite apparent biblical justification was nevertheless implicitly held to be intrinsically contrary to the Gospel of Christ by the Ordinary Magisterium of the Universal Church.Moreover, the immorality of Slavery was increasingly materially expressed in the various documents of the Papal Magisterium. It was never necessary for a Pope to condemn Slavery with an infallible condemnation for many of the faithful to know that Slavery (or other terrible injustices) was inherently contradictory to the teaching of Christ concerning the equality and brotherhood of man and the consequent duty of Christians to ameliorate its evils, and where possible to end it. It is a fact that from the beginnings of Christianity Slavery was so enmeshed in the political-economic-social structures of society that the Church was powerless to enforce its will upon venal rulers to end that miserable institution. Neverthless, it could and did work to ameliorate the sufferings of the slaves, and steadily press believing Christians to give their slaves freedom.
    There has been reference to Pope John Paul II’s “Splendor Veritatis” (#80) where Slavery is listed as an “intrinsic evil”. That is assuredly infallible teaching, even if not an ‘ex cathedra’definition. This seems to be another case where the Pope has used his plentitude of teaching power to confirm a truth already seen to be such by the Ordinary Magisterium of the Universal Church. If, as alledged, from 1440-1888, the matter of Slavery was “never treated infallibly”, I would suggest that it was treated in a definitive manner as an “intrinsic evil” by “Splendor Veritatis”–and thus we have another example in the life of the Church of the “Development of Doctrine”. Vatican II’s “Church in the Modern World” (#27) had already referred to Slavery as an “offense against human dignity” and “criminal”. Such teaching of an Ecumenical Council stigmatizing Slavery was an expression of the Ordinary Magisterium of the Church. In “Splendor Veritatis”, Pope John Paul II explicated further the Vatican II teaching by declaring Slavery an “intrinsic evil”, and doing so in a definitive (and infallible) manner. It is to be noted that Slavery is listed by PJ II alongside other “intrinsic evils” such as prostitution and subhuman living conditions! Despite such infallible condemnations, who does not know that both prostitution and subhuman living conditions and other serious moral evils receive their justification by the secular moralists and even some Christians in our day- and thus we see the parallel with the Slavery of the past wherein practices that offend the Creator
    and opposed by the Church (whether in its implicit infallible teaching or explicit infallible teaching) continue to be sanctioned by both those within and without the Church.
    It is under the guidance of the Holy Spirit that theological insights over the centuries play their role in assisting the Popes and Bishops of the Church to clarify acts which are “intrinsically evil” so that such acts are increasingly seen to merit condemnation, and even definitive infallible condemnation. If the Popes are to be deemed “Pro-Slavery” for not acting earlier and with infallible definitions to condemn Slavery in principle, it would appear that the same label of “Pro-Slavery” would apply to Our Lord Himself, and to Sts. Peter and Paul and the other Apostles. But as Dr. Henry Lee said in the O.J. Case, “something wrooooong” here.
    Lastly, I don’t think critics like Noonan, Kung, Gary Wills, and Bannon have understood the doctrine of Papal Infallibility.

  7. James,

    Internet apologetics people on the net who are sometimes converts or “late to religion” cradles who are crash coursing themselves in these matters
    mean well in trying to hold the ordinary magisterium as infallible but canon 749-3 was created precisely because the ordinary magisterium is not always infallible and that includes ordinary encyclicals. { canon 749-§3. “No doctrine is understood as defined infallibly unless this is manifestly evident.”} Rome should patrol internet apologetic cites but does not at all. Name one well known Church Cardinal or Pope or theologian who has called “Splendor of the Truth” infallible.

    Apologetics writers leave out certain details which Noonan catches them in regard to: Pope Paul III who wrote one of the bulls against the trade 1537 AD…11 years later wrote that “slavery increases inheritances”….ergo he was not against the slavery within Italy and Noonan gives the cites for his backtracking on making Rome a sanctuary city for runaways which Noonan notes a later Pope did do. The Canary Island incident brought up as against slavery was only brought about because the slaves in question were previously baptized Catholics. Three Popes were only concerned with protecting new natives not blacks….Las Casas the prime opponent of new native slaves traded natives for blacks and thus he consigned thousands of them to the Caribbean slave work which he later regretted.

    The 1965 Enchiridion Symbolorum could only come up with three Popes who were clearly against all slavery with no exceptions.

    Check Noonan’s most recent book and you will find his exact cites and text as to the Holy Office in the 19th century allowing missionaries to allow the recapture of slaves in I believe it was Malaysia.

    In that incident, the Holy Office was doing what the Catechism of Trent implied in its examples on the 7th ” To enslave a freeman, or appropriate the slave of another is called man­stealing.” So the catechism seems to oppose the original capture but in the same breath allows that the slave owner has a right to his slave. How is that possible? It’s possible because there were 4 just titles to slavery in Roman law which the canons of the Church partly took into themselves….self sale due to debt/born to slave mother/captured in just war (Africans)/punishment (Third Lateran canon 24 for Christian pirates helping muslims) Go to Aquinas in the Supplement to the ST/Marriage/question 52/article 4… where he condones and gives the cites in canon law for the slavey of the child born to a slave: ” wherefore children follow the mother in freedom and bondage; whereas in matters pertaining to dignity as proceeding from a thing’s form, they follow the father, for instance in honors, franchise, inheritance and so forth. The canons are in agreement with this (cap. Liberi, 32, qu. iv, in gloss.: cap. Inducens, De natis ex libero ventre) as also the law of Moses (Exodus 21).”

    Capture in a just war was another reason and that was used in the African case even as to the children as coming from “hostile commonwealths” since the African tribes on the coast need only claim that they were in just wars with Africans in the interior of Africa.

    You James, never addressed the text itself of Romanus Pontifex as do few internet apologetics writers. Ask yourself why. Native groups have been asking Rome to void it and Inter Caetera by Pope Alexander VI (which gave the same rights to Spain) for decades and yet Pope Benedict seemed unaware of it when he made a gaff in Brazil for which he then took corrective measures.

    A simple journey by you to your NAB Bible will disabuse you of thinking “Splendor of the Truth” is infallible and that slavery is intrinsically evil (God permits it there to the Jews and He never permits intrinsically evil acts as law even in the OT)…it..slavery… is contextually evil like drunkeness which the Scriptures both condemn (I Cr.5:11) and permit when a person is in great sadness (Proverbs 31:6)…ergo it is contextually evil and in its case….most of the time.

    Let’s go to Leviticus where your apologetics distinction between slave and simply servant is made and yet contrary to your implied suggestion, BOTH PERPETUAL SLAVERY AND SERVANTHOOD ARE GIVEN in the below passage to the Jews as permissions from God who does not permit the really intrinsically evil like bestiality or sodomy to the Jews. He permitted divorce but the Jews did not have the sacrament of Matrimony as the Church now permits the divorce from unbelievers in the Pauline situation and the other “privilege of the faith” situation sometines called the Petrine privilege…unbaptized also like the Jews do not have a real sacrament of Matrimony.

    But here is God giving the Jews not only permission to have normal servants but perpetual chattel slaves also…watch capitilized letters and slaves will be further down…don’t give up early:

    Leviticus Chapter 25

    “When, then, your countryman becomes so impoverished beside you that he sells you his services, do not make him work as a slave.
    Rather, let him be like a HIRED SERVANT or like your tenant, working with you until the jubilee year,
    when he, together with his children, shall be released from your service and return to his kindred and to the property of his ancestors.
    Since those whom I brought out of the land of Egypt are servants of mine, they shall not be sold as slaves to any man.
    Do not lord it over them harshly, but stand in fear of your God.
    “SLAVES, male and female, you may indeed possess, provided you buy them from among the neighboring nations.
    You may also buy them from among the aliens who reside with you and from their children who are born and reared in your land. Such slaves you may own as CHATTELS,
    and leave to your sons as their hereditary property, making them PERPETUAL SLAVES. But you shall not lord it harshly over any of the Israelites, your kinsmen.

    James, you now know the above passage and if you then in the future pretend that distinguishing the difference between servant and slave was key, you will be fibbing. God allowed both and therefore neither were or are intrinsically evil but slavery is now contextually evil. The selling apart of families as done by the Sulpicians in the late 18th century as Noonan documents…was done at no astonishment by the Jesuits who at the time were buying property from the Sulpicians. That aspect seems intrinsically evil.

  8. A long post of mine has apparently vanished.
    I’ll be brief. Readers can go to section 62 of Evangelium Vitae to see an example of John Paul II when he wishes to state infallibly that he is upgrading an issue from the OM to formal infallibility. He will refer to his so acting as doing so as the successor to Peter in union with the world’s Bishops. One need only phone call the theology department of a nearby Catholic college to ascertain the status of any papal passage as to authority level.

  9. Mr. Bannon is certainly naive, to say the least, to advise going to “the theology department of any nearby Catholic college” for expertise on the scope of Papal authority and infallibility. That is like asking the 800 or so “theology” and “religious studies” professors who dissented from “Humanae Vitae” about the truth of the Church’s teaching prohibiting contraception. Anyone who knows the state of theology in Catholic Universities and Colleges must find Mr.
    Bannon’s suggestion laughable. Might as well go to Charles E. Curran, Richard McBrien, or to Daniel Maguire at Marquette!
    It is equally absurd to deny the infallibility of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium of the Church in “faith and morals”. That was already defined in Vatican I’s “Dei Filius”, cap. 3; DS 3011. At times, the Pope himself will determine what the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium teaches on a question of faith and morals. Paul VI did so in “Humanae Vitae”; John Paul II did so in “Ordinatio Sacerdotalis” regarding the priestly ordination of women.As CDF replied whether the latter was “to be understood as belonging to the deposit of faith”: “Affirmative. This teaching requires definitive assent, since, founded on the written Word of God, and from the beginning constantly preserved and applied in the Tradition of the Church, it has been set forth infallibly by the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium (cf. Vatican II’s Lumen Gentium, no. 25). Thus the Roman Pontiff, exercising his proper office of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk. 22:32) has handed on the same teaching by a formal declaration, explicitly stating what is to be held always, everywhere by all, as belonging to the deposit of faith.”
    Therefore, it is clear that in addition to the most solemn tyoe of “ex cathedra” dogmatic definitions there can be and, in fact, are infallible papal declarations specifying truths long taught by the Universal Magisterium and which are definitive in character and to be held by the faithful.
    It is also to be understood that only the formal pronouncement on a matter of faith or morals in a Papal Encyclical is to be regarded as involving the Church’s infallibility.
    I do not have the books to deal with Mr. Bannon’s specific comments criticizing the “Pro-Slavery” Popes. Others may have and can provide a refutation. The three Popes who he admits would permit no Slavery whatsoever surely must have some theological weight as representing the increased understanding among the faithful in the Church concerning the “intrinsic evil” of Slavery. But his comments only evidence further his total disregard of the historical and theological fact that there has been a development of doctrine in the Universal Church. It thus should not be surprising there can be a lamentable failure on the part of past Popes and Bishops (think of the U.S. Bishops before the Civil War distorting the Papal teaching on Slavery) to grasp immediately the full implications of Christ’s teaching on the question of Slavery.Also,as noted above, there remains the regrettable miscomprehension concerning the Infallibility of the Church by Charles Curran, John Noonan, Richard McBrien, Dan Maguire, and other dissenting moral theologians. This has led them to ignore or rail against the power of the Roman Pontiff as head of the Apostolic College of Bishops to proclaim infallibly a moral teaching that has won acceptance in the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium by a “declaration of confirmation or reaffirmation by the Roman Pontiff.” As also previously observed, we see this again occurring in “Splendor Veritatis” with regard to a pronouncement that Slavery is “an intrinsic evil”. Mr. Bannon should review carefully the scope of the Church’s infallibility as clarified in Pope John Paul II’s 1998 Apostolic Letter (“Motu Proprio”) “Ad Tuendam Fidem”.
    I do not know if Mr. Bannon is a former priest but will add that with respect to the entire range of official Catholic doctrine regarding faith and morals, one is either a disciple of Christ and His One Church, or an unbelieving critic. To be the latter is not to one’s spiritual good, and indeed places one in spiritual jeopardy. There are consequences to Dissent from Christ’s teachings as understood and taught by His Church.

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