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Liars, damn liars and Jesuits

Today, as I’m sure we’ve all heard by now, Pope Francis was asked on the plane ride from Mexico whether women infected with Zika virus could use contraception to avoid transmitting the virus to their children (or, perhaps more accurately, to avoid having a child to whom the virus could be transmitted). The pope, it is being reported, referred to the time Pope Paul VI allegedly allowed nuns at risk of rape in the Belgian Congo to use contraceptives.

This claim, however, must be part of Jesuit cultural legend, since as far as anyone knows it was only based on a claim made in a 1993 Jesuit magazine article by Fr. Giacomo Perico SJ. In that article, Fr. Perico would use that claim to argue that Bosnian women at risk of rape could licitly use contraceptives. Perico himself was in the 60’s not quite a staunch defender of Humanae Vitae, and in the 60s, while Paul was still alive, this left the Vatican and Civilta Catholica less than perfectly impressed.

Here is an archived portion of a news aggregation article from The Tablet, dated June 7, 1969

Humanae Vitae’ Rumours Denied
L’Osservatore Romano, in an unsigned note which appeared on 29 May, denied that there was any substance in the rumours recently made public in the Italian press and elsewhere that the Pope is about to issue a further statement on the subject of Humanae Vitae (see The Tablet, 31 May). Mentioning the report which was published in the Italian newspaper Il Messaggero and the article by Fr. Giacomo Perico in the Jesuit review Aggiornamenti Sociali, the note stated authoritatively that “for the information of our readers, we can and we must declare that no further document on the subject treated in Humanae Vitae is about to appear. With regard to Fr. Perico’s article, not only does it lack inspiration from higher sources, but has, in fact, been greeted with well-founded reservations on such levels.”

It appears that Fr. Perico’s article, affirming that the Encyclical does not command “unconditional intellectual assent,” was turned down earlier by the Jesuit’s Rome periodical Civilta Cattolica as being inconsistent with the official viewpoint. Aggiornamenti Sociali, published in Milan, is more free of Vatican influence.

The French newspaper Le Monde, commenting on L’Osservatore Romano’s note, reminded its readers of the French hierarchy’s “carefully weighed” description of Fr. Perico’s article as “authorised”. Henri Fesquet, Le Monde’s correspondent on religious affairs, concluded that while it was “normal” for circles close to the Pope to be reserved on the subject, the Pope himself had indicated that he might speak further on the pastoral application of his teaching; that this was the very field reviewed by Fr. Perico in his article might suggest that the article was a “prudent step” towards a reaction from the Pope to the conclusions found at bishops’ conferences in all parts of the world.

Well, we all know how that worked out…

Fastforward to 1993, and here’s a thing from the Independent – that long-time booster of Catholic moral theology – on the Bosnian rape victims…

July 20, 1993:
“THE VATICAN has responded to mass rapes in Bosnia by reviving a decision that women in danger of rape may use contraceptives, even though its ban on contraception in normal circumstances remains. The ban on abortion remains absolute, although the Roman Catholic bishops of England and Wales have decided that the so-called morning-after pill may also be used by rape victims in certain circumstances.”

Well, it looks like between 1969 and 1993 – the year of the Bosnian crisis – that Civilta Catholica, the Jesuit “magisterial” magazine that was vetted by the Curia to give officially approved doctrinal statements, had acquired an editorial staff that was more friendly to Fr. Perico’s ideas. The Independent quotes Perico’s article in that magazine to the effect…

“…that contraception is a legitimate form of self-defence for a rape victim. The author, Fr Giacomo Perico, says that rape is an act of violence, to which the rules applying to an act within marriage cannot apply.

“‘In this particular situation, it is legitimate to use contraception to avoid a possible pregnancy. It is not then a refusal of a gift of love, but a form of legitimate self-defence.'”

“The ban on abortion remains absolute, although the Roman Catholic bishops of England and Wales have decided that the so-called morning-after pill may also be used by rape victims in certain circumstances.”

…”The ban on abortion remains absolute.”…

And today we had Pope Francis SJ, telling us: “Abortion isn’t a lesser evil, it’s a crime. Taking one life to save another, that’s what the Mafia does. It’s a crime. It’s an absolute evil.”

Here’s the full quote: Paloma García Ovejero, Cadena COPE (Spain): Holy Father, for several weeks there’s been a lot of concern in many Latin American countries but also in Europe regarding the Zika virus. The greatest risk would be for pregnant women. There is anguish. Some authorities have proposed abortion, or else to avoiding pregnancy. As regards avoiding pregnancy, on this issue, can the Church take into consideration the concept of “the lesser of two evils?”

Pope Francis: Abortion is not the lesser of two evils. It is a crime. It is to throw someone out in order to save another. That’s what the Mafia does. It is a crime, an absolute evil. On the ‘lesser evil,’ avoiding pregnancy, we are speaking in terms of the conflict between the fifth and sixth commandment. Paul VI, a great man, in a difficult situation in Africa, permitted nuns to use contraceptives in cases of rape.

Don’t confuse the evil of avoiding pregnancy by itself, with abortion. Abortion is not a theological problem, it is a human problem, it is a medical problem. You kill one person to save another, in the best case scenario. Or to live comfortably, no? It’s against the Hippocratic oaths doctors must take. It is an evil in and of itself, but it is not a religious evil in the beginning, no, it’s a human evil. Then obviously, as with every human evil, each killing is condemned.

On the other hand, avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil. In certain cases, as in this one, such as the one I mentioned of Blessed Paul VI, it was clear. I would also urge doctors to do their utmost to find vaccines against these two mosquitoes that carry this disease. This needs to be worked on.

It’s funny, isn’t it, that the reporter asked that exact question, and that the usually more or less clewless Francis had exactly that situation, precisely the rumour – started by a Jesuit 30 years ago – about Paul VI, precisely at his not-usually-very-nimble mental fingertips.

The Independent: “The article in Civillta Catolica makes it plain that nuns in the Belgian Congo had been allowed to use contraceptives in the early Sixties when they were in danger of rape. The author argues that such concessions cannot be extended solely to nuns.”

And that he chose to use precisely that wording: “an absolute evil”.

(Though it seems like it’s anyone’s guess what he meant by the distinction between “a religious evil” and “a human evil…” And maybe we could ask the Holy Father to elaborate on what he thinks is the “conflict between the fifth and sixth commandments” could be.)

More on this tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I leave you with


12 thoughts on “Liars, damn liars and Jesuits”

  1. Pingback: Quo Vadis, Papa Francisco? – CONTRACEPTION CONFUSION – EPHESIANS-511.NET- A Roman Catholic Ministry Exposing Errors in the Indian Church
  2. Trackback: Quo Vadis, Papa Francisco? – CONTRACEPTION CONFUSION – EPHESIANS-511.NET- A Roman Catholic Ministry Exposing Errors in the Indian Church
  3. Pingback: What Pope Francis Said Recently about the Zika Virus Justifying Contraception Use Is Erroneous -
  4. Trackback: What Pope Francis Said Recently about the Zika Virus Justifying Contraception Use Is Erroneous -
  5. Dymphna says:

    I don’t contraception was all that important in the Belgian Congo. When the rebels showed up they raped and killed everybody they laid hands on.

  6. Rclifton says:

    Someday ( I hope) we will have a real pope again.
    Jesuits, as the liberals they are, use lying as a strategy to advance their position.
    This whole “zika thing” is strategy to permit abortions in “Catholic” counties.

  7. Brian Miles says:

    LifeSite confirms via Fr. Lombardi, it was about contraception.

  8. Zippy says:

    The latest ‘sermon on the airplane’ makes no sense even if we grant the ‘Congolese nuns’ premise. To contracept is to choose a disordered sexual act, and rape victims – by definition – are not choosing a sexual act at all.

    What strikes me as weird about this is that Jesuits are usually much more sneaky about disseminating laxism and heterodoxy. If there is anything even slightly in the vicinity of clever going on here, though, it must be an effort to discredit ultramontanism by forcing those who have supported it in recent decades into theological box canyons of reductio ad absurdam.

  9. tomsyseskey says:

    Ah, the myth of the Pauline dispensation from Humanae Vitae: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it” – Josef Goebbels.

  10. Barbara says:

    It is sad to read Pope Francis’ words and to understand how confused HE is. Rorate has a transcript of the interview Francis recently gave on his way back to Rome. Sad ramblings and confusion.

    It sounds like he must struggle every day to make sense of what’s swirling around in his head. We must pity him and pray for him.

    Re contraception: that Jesus! So uncompromising and so dogmatic! Didn’t He realize there are really, really good excuses to do evil! Come on!!

  11. Hatchetwoman says:

    I heard, I think it was on BBCAmerica, that only something like 4% of micocephaly cases could be linked with the Zika virus. The fact is, there’s about 25,000 cases of microcephaly per year in the US, but no Zika (per the CDC). There was also a spike in microcephaly in South America, in regions where the Zika virus has not yet taken hold (Per WHO).

  12. MaryKJ says:

    Please pardon my language: What the shite is he doing??!!! You are so right to point out his precision with an obscure post regarding Paul VI’s alleged comment.(He has careful handlers, hasn’t he?) And his careful wording of this—it’s OK to use contraception against a potential act of violence, or against a bad guy. OK, I would imagine many women might feel an ill-chosen lover was violent, or a bad guy. ‘So, in case I keep choosing bad men, I’d best be prepared….’ This is disgusting!!! And it is vile for Francis to even bring this up! As a nurse, I truly believe this Zika virus thing is being paraded as a way to force abortion on anti-abortion countries. Where are the numbers? The CDC doesn’t have any serious statistics yet. Where are the decade-long studies with percentages and comparisons? This really makes me cranky. Almost as cranky as Francis’s next intentional faux pas on the plane.

  13. Pingback: Did the Pope Just Contraceptive Use? - OnePeterFive
  14. Trackback: Did the Pope Just Contraceptive Use? - OnePeterFive
  15. Tiger184 says:

    We are living in an upside-down world.
    I cannot tell you enough how much I appreciate all you do.
    Thank you and God Bless.

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