Monday, April 24, 2006

Breaking with Tradition

We at Holier Than Thou are seldom surprised by the antics of the Catholic Church. But, when we read this one, we nearly dropped our morning coffee.
Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, a senior Italian cardinal and the former archbishop of Milan, was one of the front-runners to become pope after the death of John Paul II. That simple fact makes the statements he made in a recent interview all the more shocking since they are in opposition to the official position of the Vatican. In the interview with the magazine L'Espresso, the 79-year-old Jesuit Cardinal said the following (hint: there is more than one answer):

A. Using frozen embryos to enable a woman to get pregnant, even if she does not have a partner and would be a single mother, was a “lesser evil” than destroying the embryos.
B. The legalization of abortion was a “positive” development in the sense that it had “contributed to reducing and eliminating illegal abortions.”
C. There are times when God’s justice must be administered on Earth. “The death penalty, when humanely administered, is acceptable. Keep in mind, the Bible states plainly that an ‘eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.’”
D. It is acceptable for Catholics to use condoms to prevent AIDS. “Certainly the use of condoms can, in certain circumstances, constitute a lesser evil.”


A, B and D. Cardinal Martini, the head of the Roman Cathol ic Church’s liberal wing, has often raised new ideas and is considered to be a free spirit within the Catholic Church hierarchy. He does not hold any post of responsibility within the Vatican.
In the interview, he went on to say that the role of the Church was to “develop (people’s) consciences” and help them “tell good from evil in all situations.” The Vatican declined to comment immediately on the views Martini expressed in the interview.


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