Rorate Caeli

More on the Recife Case: Archbishop of Olinda and Recife threatens a canonical denunciation against Archbishop Rino Fisichella

A most distressing case that gives so much scandal to the faithful. Add to this the recent comments of Cardinal Cottier!
As Msgr. Michael Schooyans states (as quoted in the Chiesa article linked above):
- Fisichella’s article reflects arguments which ally him with the pro-choice Catholics. He is compromising the immense effort made under the impetus of the Popes of the last century in favour of life and family. The article we have analysed contains not the slightest echo of the work sponsored by Cardinal López Trujillo of the Pontifical Council for the Family, for example the celebrated Lexicon. Nor is there any reference to the prestigious School of Personalist Bioethics, founded by His Excellency Mgr Sgreccia, on which the Pontifical Academy for Life was broadly modeled.
- It would be disastrous for this affair to be hushed up or dragged out, given that the turmoil is great among the faithful, and "secular" movements are evidently ready to exploit the slightest new crack in Church unity. An abnormal silence would imply that the Holy See confirms the repudiation of Archbishop Cardoso, pronounced implicitly by Fisichella.
- It is essential to measure the reactions already raised in the international press and the pro-life movements, as well as in the clergy and among the laity, in the face of what many describe, not without reason, as a scandal. On three essential points, a serious error has been perpetrated: an error in the morality of respect for life; an error in fundamental morality: opportunistic morality; an error in ecclesiology, given that solid and established doctrine cannot be swept aside by a stroke of the pen or abolished by a coup de force. In addition, at disciplinary level, it is not certain that Fisichella has a special mandate to repudiate a Diocesan Bishop, an Archbishop like himself. Urgent measures must therefore be taken to break the deadlock. The Pontifical Academy for Life needs a pilot. It is necessary to re-establish the truth and restore, with confidence, a unity now seriously weakened.
- Although he has recently criticised the policy of President Obama on abortion, Fisichella has misjudged the political impact of his article, at a time when Brazil, Latin America and Africa are being subjected to an outright siege on the part of the propagandists of the culture of death.
- The dissent is exposed to the light of day. Confident in the precedent created by the head of a dicastery of the Roman Curia, other archbishops and theologians will not fail in turn to take liberties with doctrine and claim the right to dissent, even transgression. In addition, what Fisichella has said on the subject of abortion could be transposed to other issues.
- The Recife affair highlights the fact that the unity of the Church cannot be reduced to a matter of political convenience. [...] Rather than to the truth, the foundation of unity, preference is increasingly being given to an outward appearance of unity, designed to placate the world. People are content with a truth rooted in ambiguity. But this ambiguity leads inevitably to a generalised doctrinal relativism. Should this trend be encouraged?
- To recap, faced with the turbulence provoked by Fisichella’s article, there is, it appears, only one real solution: a strong statement from the Holy Father. Fisichella’s article has created a general doubt concerning the “legitimacy” of abortion. However, it is uncertain whether, in Rome, the gravity of the situation created is sufficiently perceived. Yet the doubt is now being passed on to the universal Church, reinforced by two factors: the senior position of the article’s author, and the unofficial nature of the periodical publishing it. If the Pope says nothing, the doubt will persist and we will see a repetition of what is happening today with "Humanae vitae" (1968).