Archbishop Hector Aguer of the La Plata in Argentina said on Monday that the new book by Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, “Nocturnal Conversations in Jerusalem,” “casts doubt on truths and practices” continuously taught by the Church.
During his program “Keys to a Better World,” the archbishop said that in his book, Cardinal Martini casts doubt on “truths and practices permanently upheld by the Church, such as the celibacy of priests, priestly ordination reserved to men and the immorality of homosexual relations.”
He also pointed out that the cardinal harshly criticizes Pope Paul VI and the encyclical Humane Vitae, which he claims “has caused great harm by prohibiting artificial contraception” and that it “has made many people leave the Church and the Church leave many people.”
“It is noteworthy that such an important, intelligent and outstanding cardinal such as Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, has echoed and made his own the criticisms that the secularized culture and those elements within the Church that have embraced dissent against the Magisterium have aimed at the Church for decades,” Archbishop Aguer said.
Archbishop Aguer noted that the “doctrine of Humanae Vitae is based on a constant tradition that goes back to the Fathers,” and that “since the beginning of the 19th century, when modern technology offered new methods for frustrating the fertility of the conjugal act, the Magisterium has been consistent in pointing out the correct path.”
The archbishop mentioned such documents as Pius XI’s “Casti Connubii,” numerous discourses by Pius XII, Vatican II’s “Gaudium et Spes,” various statements by John XXIII, Paul VI’s “Humanae Vitae,” and the teachings of John Paul II, especially his theology of the body as part of the Church’s teaching. “Benedict XVI has expressly ratified the doctrine of ‘Humanae Vitae’,” Archbishop Aguer added.
He went on to say that Cardinal Martini’s statements have probably found an audience in some elements of the Church, “but with all due respect to the illustrious cardinal I fear that for most of the faithful, they have been scandalous.”
“If we follow our Catholic instincts,” the archbishop stated, “we know very well what we need to follow. We must adhere to the constant doctrine of the Church and the teaching of Benedict XVI, who is the shepherd that today guides us all.”