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The Cafeteria is Closed!

Pope to Bishops: Don't Water Down Church Teachings

By John-Henry Westen

VATICAN CITY, November 8, 2005 ( - In a meeting with Bishops from Austria Saturday, Pope Benedict XVI warned them against the false notion that church teachings should be watered down so as to prevent people from leaving the Church. "At times, those who direct this mission fear that people may move away if they are spoken to clearly," he said. "However," added the Pope, "experience has generally shown that the opposite happens. ... Catholic teaching presented incompletely is self- contradictory and cannot be fruitful in the long term."

The truth of Catholic teaching presented incompletely being self-contradictory and thus not fruitful in the long-run is nowhere more evident than in the teachings on contraception and in vitro fertilization.

A few years ago, Chicago Cardinal Francis George admitted candidly to that many Catholic bishops have "dropped the ball" on fighting in vitro fertilization (IVF). That inaction has come back to haunt the Church as IVF is the root cause of the embryonic stem cell research battles the Church and many other principled forces are now fighting.

Similarly, the reticence of some Catholic bishops to endorse the Vatican's re-affirmation of the traditional Christian opposition to artificial contraception led, in many cases, to Catholics embracing abortion as a natural backup measure for contraceptive failure. That separation of sex from procreation has also accerated the acceptance of homosexuality, same-sex "marriage" and many other forms of sexual licence with consequent severe damage to family life.

The Pope reminded the Bishops present of St. Paul's words in Ephesus: "I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God." The Pope said, "It is true that we must act delicately, but this must not prevent us from presenting the divine message clearly, even on those subjects that do not enjoy widespread approval, or that give rise to protest or even derision, especially in the field of the truth of faith and moral teaching."

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