Vatican City, Feb 24, 2016 / 17:09 pm
If Vatican watcher Sandro Magister is right, Pope Francis cited an urban legend about Blessed Paul VI's alleged approval of contraception for nuns in exceptional wartime circumstances in the Congo.
"No one has ever been able to cite a single word of his in this regard. Yet this urban legend has been kept alive for decades, and sure enough even Francis and his spokesman have fallen for it," Magister wrote Feb. 22 at Settimo Cielo; the text appeared in English at Chiesa two days later.
The story dates back to 1961, when St. John XXIII was Pope. Moral theologians considered whether it was licit for nuns facing direct threat of rape to use contraception. The question arose from situations such as a brutal war that was then underway in the Congo.
Three theologians discussed the question: Pietro Palazzini, secretary of the Congregation of the Council (which would later be renamed the Congregation for the Clergy); Francesco Hürth, S.J., a professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University; and Ferdinando Lambruschini, a professor at the Pontifical Lateran University.