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Reactions: hierarch; moral theologians; others.

Archbishop J. Francis Stafford


"The encyclical is an outstanding contemporary presentation of the Catholic natural-law approach to moral reason. Among other themes in its truly symphonic treatment of the basis for public and private morality, the Holy Father helps us discern the |oughts' of our lives by reason. The public square of our democracies no longer need be empty.'

Cardinal George Basil Hume

Westminster, England

All I can say in this country is that we're not engaged in a witch-hunt. We have good relations with our moral the. ologians ... And I see the pope's message here as one calling us bishops to dialogue with moral theologians.'

Cardinal James Hickey


"Pope John Paul Il rightly warns us about the grave pastoral dangers of flawed theologies marked by moral relativism and of public dissent from the church's authentic teaching.'

Bishop James T. McHugh

Camden, N.J.

When individual choice and unlimited freedom are the prevailing norms, the only law is the law of the jungle - the survival of the fittest. Veritatis Splendor confronts the morally pathological atmosphere of modern society.'

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger

Chief doctrinal official, The Vatican

During the Oct. 5 Vatican press conference, Ratzinger made a slip of tongue, saying the encyclical had profited from "contestations" with theologians. He meant to say consultations,' but after correcting himself he said, laughing, that "contestations" was also accurate.

Bishop Jean-Guy Hamelin

President, Canadian Bishops Conference

"The encyclical emphasizes that truth finds its source in God. There is an objective truth. It is not individuals who decide subjectively that something is good or evil."

Lisa Sowle Cahill

Moral theology professor,

Boston College

The "central argument" of the encyclical, its affirmation of the need for an objective basis for moral judgements and evaluations, provides a positive resource for "Catholic contribution" to moral debates in Western society.

Fr. Hans Kung

Dissident Swiss theologian

The encyclical is a warning to both Catholic institutions and theologians. There is "the threat that the title |Catholic' will be removed from schools, universities, hospitals and medical and social institutions that do not stick to Roman doctrine."

Fr. Richard McCormick

Professor, University of Notre Dame

The encyclical condemns theologians who treat the idea of "fundamental option" - a moral choice setting one's basic direction in life - as if it were "something separate from one's concrete activity. ... Nobody I know says that. It's a traves- ty."

Fr. Richard McBrien

Author and professor,

University of Notre Dame

The encyclical "is too concerned with refuting people. It would have been better if it had taken a more positive approach."

William McInerny

Chairman of theology and religious

studies, Rockhurst College,

Kansas City, Mo.

"If the description of the encyclical is accurate, it may be more divisive than Humanae Vitae was in 1968,' he told the Kansas City Star.

Dr. John Crosby

Chairman of philosophy,

Fr. Gile Dimock

Chairman of theology, Franciscan

University, Steubenville, Ohio

Many Christians and non-Christians "will be glad to see there is still one institution in the Western world that knows how to raise its voice on behalf of a moral law that we human beings did not make, that knows how to |teach with authority about this moral law and to remind the world that both happiness of individuals as well as the good of society is impossible on any other basis than the moral law."

Sr. Jeannine Gramick

Cofounder of New Ways Ministry,

Timonium,, Md.

"My hope is this encyclical won't dampen the spirits of our theologians who have made great strides since Vatican II. And I would hope the Catholic community would take what is positive and liberating from the encyclical and forget what is dispiriting."

Fr. Kevin O'Rourke

Director, Center For Health Care

Ethics, St. Louis University,

St. Louis

Catholic theology is not carried out in an ivory tower and in practice it becomes an American trait to say, |Consult your conscience first, then the teaching of the church.'... If the teaching of the church agrees, you follow it; if the church doesn't, you don't."

Studs Terkel

Author, Chicago

"It's amazing. It's 1993!"

Frances Kissling

President of Catholics for a Free


"It is appropriate that the encyclical is addressed to the bishops rather than to all Catholics because lay Catholics would simply stamp it |Return to Sender' and completely reject it."

Sr. Maureen Fiedler

Co-director, Quixote Center

"If the encyclical is as it has been reported, it appears to be an attempt to close and seal tight the windows that were opened wide to let in the fresh air of dialogue during the Second Vatican Council. There is a condemnation of the right to dissent, and that is precisely the opposite of what the church needs. ... The bishops tend to want to lay down absolute moral strictures that assume that Catholics are children and not adults."
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Title Annotation:papal encyclical, 'Veritatis Splendor'
Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Date:Oct 15, 1993
Previous Article:Church's second millenium often contradicts the first.
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