FROM A SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT CARD1NAL FELICI, a member of the Curia known for his conservative views, has severely criticised bishops and theologians who continue to express opinions and judgments on the birth-control encyclical which differ from the Pope's own clearly expresse d doctrine.
Writing in the Vatican newspaper L'Ossereatore Romano. Cardinal Felici says that "only the episcopate. jointly with the Pope. never without him, and under his guidance and authority. is entitled to the authentic and universal magisterium."
Those who were attempting today to "isolate the Pope's teachings" were aiming at one of two things.
Either they wanted to diminish the value of his birthcontrol decision, in which case their behaviour was not very fair, and not at all proper for anyone believing in "the supreme teaching authority of the Vicar of Christ." or they were insufficiently informed on the reality of the facts, in which case their attitude "does not correspond to the most elementary canons of historic and scientific investigation."
Cardinal Felici, who is chairman of the Papal Commission for the Revision of the Code of Canon Law. said the bishops, during and after the Ecumenical Council, had been in "perfect concord" with Pope Paul's teachings, including that on the delicate problem of birth control.
It was a true. sure and authentic teaching of the Church's magisterium, to which reverent respect—that is, external and internal assent—was due.
"THEY LOVE SIN"
Cardinal Journet. the Swiss theologian and former professor at the Catholic University of Fribourg. also writing in L'Osservatore Romano, said those who opposed Humanae Vitae "love sin so much that they pretend it should be legalised and declared to be a virtue."
The encyclical could not properly be understood, and would remain, perhaps, an "irritating" subject unless it was seen as
dealing with the transmission of life, not merely as a Papal pronouncement, "but in the name of a light coming from a higher source, that it is from God himself, Author of all I ife."
It was an absurdity for a son or daughter of the Church to challenge the encyclical's authority with his or her own fallible conscience.
Meanwhile, Pope Paul referred again to the encyclical when he addressed a gathering of Italian couples celebrating their silver wedding anniversaries.
He told them their marriages had blossomed in a world which, "more impudently that in other periods, has defended and celebrated, with all means,* naturalism, hedonism and 'the rights of love,' as they are daringly called, to the point of the declared and planned antievangelical exaltation of that which kills the family in its very essence.