The results from the recently-held Vatican Survey on Ministry to Families are beginning to be publicized, and the responses shockingly reveal that many typical Catholics reject the Church's moral teachings.
Pastor's Corner for Sunday, February 16
Recently reported by LifeSiteNews was that the Vatican’s survey on the family has confirmed the toll taken amongst the faithful from the practical absence of clear moral teaching for over the past 40 years.
Via the episcopal conference reports from Germany and Switzerland, we have learned that in answer to the Vatican’s survey asking Catholics what they believed about marriage, it has been tragically verified that the response demonstrated:
the nearly universal rejection of Catholic moral teaching by Mass-going Catholics, including some priests, bishops and even cardinals...."
For example, many German and Swiss Catholics hold that:
- “’pre-marital unions’ are a relevant pastoral reality” and are practically “universal” (with the majority of respondents stating that Church moral teaching is “unrealistic” about sex).
- the Church should “recognize and bless” same-sex unions.
- contraception should be allowed to Catholics (this was opted by 60% of respondents).
- Catholics who are divorced and remarried outside the Church should be allowed to receive Communion (this was the Swiss’ top request).
Concerning the last point, both countries reported that the majority of those surveyed considered the Church’s prohibition of Communion to divorced-remarried Catholics as “unmerciful”, and consequently: “Many no longer wish to be associated with an institution which they regard as unforgiving.” Meanwhile, the German hierarchy has defiantly announced their intention to disobey the Church’s restriction.
The LifeSiteNews article added that nonetheless, this rejection of the Church’s teaching on morals by these two Western countries (and which the United States is not far behind) “are surprising to no one with the least acquaintance of contemporary Catholicism”. This comes into further relief when one remembers the virtually universal rejection of Humanae vitae, Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical on artificial contraception—that was the foot-in-the-door approach with the connivance of already quasi-omnipotent episcopal conferences.
This total disconnect between official teaching and what is heard (or not) in a typical parish was actually (and perhaps accidentally) affirmed by Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston during an Boston Herald interview, who first stated that the Church’s teachings are “very clear and very consistent” and its defense of human life is “a great service to society”:
The normal Catholic in the parish might hear a sermon on abortion once a year. They’ll never hear a sermon on homosexuality or gay marriage, or about contraception. But if you look at the New York Times, in the course of a week, there will be 20 articles on those topics. So who is obsessed?"
Such vacillating tactics though do not sit well with American media-apologist of Church Militant TV, Michael Voris, who is well-known for taking the Catholic bishops to task for failing in their duty to preach and defend the Church’s moral teachings:
'This is why the ‘church of nice’ must be obliterated…' It is ironic that O’Malley is one of those complaining that Catholics have not heard the Church’s moral teachings from the pulpit, since he is prominent among 'the ones responsible for it…'
'And the exact same response could be made to Cardinals Dolan or Wuerl,' Voris added. 'They laid the dynamite and when the culture lights it and it explodes, they lament the results. And they continue to lay it, even while lamenting its results.'"
The reports from the Vatican’s survey on the family are incontestably substantiating Voris’ years of critiquing Catholic pastors for failing in their duty to clearly present the Church’s moral teaching—thus perhaps the reason for his support of the questionnaire. Nonetheless, we should fear the Vatican’s survey and its results on two levels. On the first, we are possibly facing the reality of entire hierarchies formally apostatizing over moral teachings. But secondly and on an even more dangerous plane, this worldwide survey mistakenly conveys in the minds of Catholics of the false notion that moral truth can be opinioned upon and that the majority makes the truth.
And now, how is His Holiness, Pope Francis, Vicar of Jesus Christ on earth, going to react?
1 Source of quotes from LifeSiteNews article of February 10, 2014, “Europe’s bishops discover what we all knew: most Catholics reject teaching on sexual morality”.
2 These quotes from the LifeSiteNews article were taken directly from the German Episcopal Conference’s report.
4 See the LifeSiteNews article of January 7, 2014: “German bishops will give Communion to those ‘remarried’ outside Church despite Vatican’s opposition”.
5 Quoted from the LifeSiteNews article cited in ff 1.
6 Ibid for all of Michael Voris' quotes.
7 Would it not be fair for him to equally apply this critique to the post-concilar popes?