Noi siamo Chiesa responds Vatican Aide on Open Letter to the Pope  
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We are Church/Italy responds to the nervous intervention of Father Federico Lombardi on Humanae Vitae : the Church should acknowledge their errors instead of demonizing the associations of grassroots Catholics who claim to be heirs of Vatican II

The spokesman of Noi Siamo Chiesa, Vittorio Bellavite, who has distributed today the statement of their own organization on the 40th anniversary of Humanae Vitae, has released the following declaration:

"I have just read in the media the nervous commentary by the Director of the Vatican Press Room, Fr. Federico Lombardi on the "Open Letter to the Pope" published today in the "Corriere della Sera", through which 59 Catholic organizations from Europe and America (among which "Noi Siamo Chiesa"), invite the Pope "to start the process of healing by being true to the positive aspects of Catholic teachings on sexuality and lifting the ban on contraception to allow Catholics to plan their families safely and in good conscience"

Fr. Lombardi does violence to the wording of the letter and avoides to touch the real problems Humanae Vitae has created for the Catholic Church in the past fourty years. In the "Open Letter to the Pope" nobody affirms "that the position of the Church is the cause of the spread of AIDS" but only that this position "has exposed millions of persons to the risk of contracting AIDS". These are two quite different things. And who can deny that the ban of condoms has created huge problems for the prevention of AIDS?  

By demonizing the endorsers ("known for their positions who oppose and contradict the Magisterium of the Church") Fr. Federico Lombardi disserves the Church as do the ecclesial hierarchies that refuse any dialogue with them.

Fr. Lombardi should speak on the real problem:

  1. Is it true or not that the central matter of Humanae Vitae ( the ban of contraception) has not been received by the vast majority of the People of God?  And that this non-reception that has lasted for the past fourty years poses a problem from a theological and from a pastoral point of view?
  2. Is it true or not that "respecting conscience in the decision making" on matters of contraception was supported by many Council Fathers and by the vast majority of the members of the Commission which was constituted ad hoc by Paul VI?  
  3. Is it true or not that the credibility of the Magisterium is put into question through the obstination to hold of a position which is continuesly discussed and contested, in the open and in silence, at the top and at the grass roots level of the Catholic world?

A last ascertainment: The members of the endorsing organizations, in particular of  "Noi Siamo Chiesa", are an integral and active part of the Church, in the parishes and the diocesis and they have a positive relationship with many of those in the Church who seek to return to the reform process launched by the II Vatican Council.

It is only taking into account that point of view, namely their profound fidelity to the Church and its evangelizing mission that they can be considered critics of the prevailing orientation of the current papacy. We are sure that in a future which is not too far away, the Magistaerium will have to forget or to overcome Humanae Vitae, Paul VI's greatest mistake.

Concerning the rather vulgar accusation of Fr. Lombardi on "who pays? The condom sellers?" the Director of the Press Room of the Holy See should be aware that all grass roots associations autofund themselves and no-one disposes of the slightest crumb of the consistent economic ressources the Vatican has at their disposition, and has in Italy the Bishops Conference (he forgets the precept of the Gospel that says: "gratis accepistis, gratis date" (as you receive freely, you give freely))".

 Rome 25 July, 2008

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Vatican Aide Asks, Where´s The Love?

Says Humanae Vitae Critics Still Don't Get It 

Vatican City, July 25, 2008 ( – It's been 40 years, and the critics of Humanae Vitae still don't get that it's about love, says a Vatican spokesman.

Jesuit Father Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, said this today in response to a half-page ad appearing in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, which voices disagreement with the Church's stance on artificial contraception.

The ad is in the form of an open letter, signed by more than 50 groups, that asks Benedict XVI to lift the Church's ban on artificial contraception, which they say has had "catastrophic effects," particularly in the fight against AIDS.

Catholics for Choice, a Washington-based pro-choice group, spearheaded the initiative, published on the 40th anniversary of the 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae.

Father Lombardi denounced the ad explaining that it was "nothing new," and that the 50 signatories are groups that have for years "found themselves at odds with the magisterium of the Church."

The spokesman said the major error of the letter is that it misses the point of "Humanae Vitae," that is to say, "the link between the human and spiritual relationship between spouses."

"In the entire letter, the word 'love' doesn't appear," he added. "It seems as if this doesn't interest the signatories at all. For them, it seems that the hope of couples and the world is only in contraceptives.

"In fact, it is evident that this isn't an article that expresses a theological or moral position, but that it is paid propaganda in favor of contraception. The question arises, who paid for this and why?"


Father Lombardi also said the accusation that the Church is helping the spread of AIDS was "clearly unfounded" and insisted the Church is active in combating AIDS.

"Policies against AIDS based mainly on the distribution of condoms have largely failed," he said. "The answer to AIDS requires deeper and more complex interventions, in which the Church is active on many fronts."

"The spread of AIDS is completely independent of the religious confessions of the populations and of the influence of Church hierarchy," the spokesman continued. "Furthermore, the policies responding to AIDS, founded principally in the distribution of condoms have failed."

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