2015 Archives

Pope Francis prepares for synod on ‘challenges to the family’


The following is from the Oct. 4, 2015, edition of The Toronto Star. Charles Curran, the Elizabeth Scurlock University Professor of Human Values at SMU, provided expertise for this story.

October 8, 2015

By: Sandro Contenta

At the end of August, Pope Francis warned the faithful “against the belief that outward observance of the law is enough to make us good Christians.”

He made clear to the thousands gathered at St. Peter’s Square that he was referring to long-established religious norms.

“Literal observance of the precepts is a fruitless exercise which does not change the heart,” he said.

“It is not the external things that make us holy or unholy, but the heart which expresses our intentions, our choices,” he added. “Without a purified heart, one cannot have truly clean hands and lips which speak sincere words of love — it is all duplicitous, a double life.”

Catholics who run afoul of some church doctrines hope bishops got Francis’s point — rules do not good Christians make . . .

Yet popes who followed Paul have repeatedly reaffirmed Humanae Vitae.

“They just dug in their heels all the more,” says American theologian Charles Curran, a Catholic priest whose views on sexuality, including support of contraceptives, resulted in a 1986 Vatican ban from teaching in Catholic universities.

Curran says many Catholics have decided that “these are not core issues of faith. You can disagree with them and still be a good Catholic.” But church authorities fear, he argues, that lifting the birth control ban will open the door to change on other issues of sexual morality, including same sex-marriage

Read the full story.

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