Rorate Caeli

Spanish Bishops show error in German abortifacient-friendly decision
And the dangers of weakening the Roman Curia
in favor of Conferences of Bishops

Some malicious news sources are saying today that "the Spanish bishops" have "followed the lead" of the German Bishops and authorized the use of the "morning-after pill" in case of rape.

But that is not at all what happened. First, of course, it was not "the Spanish Bishops", but the secretary of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, Bishop Juan Antonio Martínez Camino. Second, this is what he said, with clear irony regarding the abortifacient-friendly bishops of Germany, and it makes a world of difference:

"If there is a pill that prevents that there be a conception in cases of rape, then it is licit to prevent it." [However,] "We have no knowledge of a morning-after pill without abortifacient effects. If it does exist, it may be used, with the doctrine we have." "If it does exist, we will be sure to know it .... all morning-after pills have this possible abortive effect. Therefore, its use is illicit. If it does exist in Germany, we are not aware of it. It is not known to us that this technical possibility exists." (Several sources, including El Mundo)

Which just goes to show that, despite all the talk about the need to "reform" the Roman Curia, there is no greater division in the Church than that caused by the existence of different "national" views on what is universal doctrine, espoused by each different Episcopal Conference. A reform of the Roman Curia without a reform of the disjointed and contradictory positions of the Conferences of Bishops is faded to failure.

Or rather, there seems to be in the air in these perilous days calls of reform with the clear attempt to weaken the Roman See (by way of weakening the Roman Curia) in order to submit this same Apostolic See, of supreme Divine Constitution, to the whims of the Episcopal Conferences, "national churches" that are not of apostolic origin. Bp. Carrasco, a Spaniard, who ditched the formal opinion of the appropriate dicastery of the Roman Curia (his own) to espouse what is, in practice, an abortifacient-favorable view by the German Episcopal Conference, is a living example of that. 

One should never forget that, just as the Roman Curia exists to aid the Apostolic See "in exercising [its] mission for the good of the universal Church," (Pastor bonus, introduction), also "[t]he binding effect of the acts of the episcopal ministry jointly exercised within Conferences of Bishops and in communion with the Apostolic See derives from the fact that the latter has constituted the former and has entrusted to them, on the basis of the sacred power of the individual Bishops, specific areas of competence." (Apostolos suos, 13) When an individual Conference of Bishops distorts universal doctrine, the consequences for the fundamental doctrinal unity of the Church can be grave (cf. Apostolos suos, 22: "For this reason the Bishops are to be careful to avoid interfering with the doctrinal work of the Bishops of other territories, bearing in mind the wider, even world-wide, resonance which the means of social communication give to the events of a particular region.") It is exactly for this reason that a strong, sound, Roman See is more needed now than ever.