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U.S. Bishops Conference
US bishops offer ‘public correction’ of contraception, abortion, marriage pamphlets

.- The Committee on Doctrine of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has declared that pamphlets published by Professor Daniel Maguire of theology at Marquette University on contraception, abortion, and same-sex marriage, “do not present authentic Catholic teaching.”

“The views about contraception, abortion, same-sex marriage, as well as the very nature of Church teaching and its authoritative character, cross the legitimate lines of theological reflection and simply enter into the area of false teaching,” the doctrine committee said.

“Such mistaken views should not be confused with the moral teaching of the Catholic Church.”

Maguire sent two pamphlets to all Catholic U.S. bishops on June 19. One is entitled “The Moderate Roman Catholic Position on Contraception and Abortion.” The other is “A Catholic Defense of Same-Sex Marriage.”

In a statement issued by the committee last week, the bishops said it was important to “offer a public correction of the erroneous views” in the pamphlets since it is apparent Maguire went to considerable efforts to give his views wide distribution.

The committee refers to the Catechism of the Catholic Church to demonstrate “the mistaken character” of Maguire’s positions.  

In his pamphlets, Maguire argues that “there is no one position” on contraception, abortion, homosexual acts and same-sex marriage that can be called “Catholic.” He pursues his argument, stating that “there is no authentic Church teaching [on these issues] that is binding on all members of the Catholic Church.”

Regarding same-sex marriage, Maguire asserts that “Catholic teaching is in transition … and Catholics are free to let their consciences decide either for or against same sex marriages. Both views – for or against homosexual marriage – are at home in the Catholic world and neither one of them can be called more orthodox or more official or more Catholic than the other.”

“While there may be individuals who disagree with the teaching of the Church, such divergent views cannot be considered authentic Catholic teaching or the basis for reliable guidance regarding faithful Catholic moral life,” the committee stated.

“The views of Professor Maguire on contraception, abortion, and same-sex ‘marriage’ are not those of the Catholic Church and indeed are contrary to the Church’s faith,” the committee concluded.

“We deplore as irresponsible his public advocacy of his views as authentic Catholic teaching. Lastly, we trust that this statement will clarify the Church’s teaching for all of the Catholic faithful throughout the United States.”

The members of the doctrine committee include: Bishops William Lori, Leonard Blair, Edward Clark, Robert McManus, Arthur Serratelli, and Allen Vigneron, as well as Archbishops Jose Gomez and Donald Wuerl. 

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