an interview published by the Spanish daily “El Pais,” Cardinal Alfonso
Lopez Trujillo, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family,
again responded to controversial statements made by Italian Cardinal
Carlo Maria Martini regarding the beginning of life and the use of
condoms in combating AIDS.
The Colombian cardinal directly confronted statements made by Cardinal Martini with the official position of the dicastery he heads.
Regarding Cardinal Martini’s opinion that the condom could be considered a “lesser evil” in the case of a married couple where one spouse has AIDS, Cardinal Lopez Trujillo countered, “He’s trying to become involved in pastoral areas. That is currently not his task.”
“Martini”, he said, “is a specialist in the Bible, and of course he has expressed his own opinions. And moralists and people who deal with these pastoral questions will know how to weigh these things in the correct way. But what I can say is that at the dicastery where I have served for 16 years, there has been no request to present new teaching on the subject.”
Speaking about the reported existence of a “study” by the Holy See on the use of condoms, the Colombian cardinal was emphatic: “No Pontiff up to now has opened this possibility. Paul VI did not do it, John Paul II did not do it during 27 years, nor has it been done by this Pope, who is working hard for the family and for life. Everything Benedict XVI has done in recent months has been to recommend faithfulness, continence and chastity.”
“That is the only thing I have read up to now and this is what makes us feel completely sure,” he said. “Cardinal Lozano Barragan, who is president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care, has already told ‘Avvenire’ that he has never been given such an assignment.”
Asked about his own opinion about Cardinal Martini’s statements on condom use, Cardinal Lopez Trujillo insisted, “This is his personal opinion that is not found in the Magisterium. Up to this point many, many people do not see a way to accept it. But let me say, in some cases it could be studied by competent individuals and by competent dicasteries. But for now there is nothing.”
With regard to Cardinal Martini’s opinion that abortion could be considered in cases of life of the mother, Cardinal Lopez Trujillo replied: "That notion can only be explained by an error in the transcript. An innocent life can never be eliminated for any reason, and the fetus is an innocent life.”
“The Church”, he stressed, “has never approved of abortion by a mother whose life is threatened by the child. It has never been, and never will be, allowed because it is the only teaching of the Church” on this matter. “I think that in this sense the cardinal was misinterpreted, because someone so important with such vast knowledge knows well that Catholic morality has never said such a thing.”
As for what the Colombian cardinal had to say to Cardinal Martini himself; “I have great esteem for Cardinal Martini. When I have the chance to see him we will talk. And I am sure he will give me the good news that some of his statements were misunderstood.”