Online Edition – Vol. VIII, No. 10: February 2003
Comment on Compromise — Vatican to Issue Lexicon on Sex Terminology — ICEL on eBay Part II: “A tip of the old ICEL biretta…” — Vatican Issues Instructions for Catholic Politicians — Updates from the AB office — About WFF
Jesuit theologian Donald J. Keefe, reflecting recently on the phenomenon of compromising beliefs, observed:
It is after all absurd to be nibbled into infidelity, but the spirit of compromise has prompted too many of us, one way or another, to split the difference between orthodoxy and heresy, between morality and indecency, to the point that the meaning of those terms ceases to be internalized. It is thus that one learns to be ashamed of being rigid rather than of being unfaithful to the truth. A sad business.
Father Keefe, author of Covenantal Theology, was professor of theology at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit and St. John’s Seminary (Dunwoodie) in New York, until his recent retirement.
Vatican to Issue Lexicon on Sex Terminology
Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, director of the Pontifical Council for the Family, recently announced that the Vatican will will soon publish a glossary of words related to sexual and family issues.
The document, “The Lexicon of the Family and Life“, will clarify Church teachings on a variety of topics, including birth control, sex education, assisted procreation and homosexuality. The work will also clarify “neologisms, ambiguous terms and difficult concepts in frequent use”.
According to Catholic World News, the new lexicon “is reportedly addressed not only to Catholics but to world leaders of all faiths, and is intended to help Church leaders who are engaged in discussion of family-oriented public issues”.
Among the terms included in the lexicon are: “voluntary interruption of pregnancy”, “reproductive health”, “matrimonial indissolubility”, “sexual education” and “conjugal love”. The lexicon states that such terms can cause “grave moral confusion”. (Source: Reuters)
William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights said that the eagerly-awaited document is “a welcome initiative to clarify the political hijacking of language”.
The lexicon is close to 1,000 pages long and includes input from about 50 anthropologists, sociologists, physicians, psychologists, and non-Catholics.
The project grew out of a May 2001 meeting of the College of Cardinals, and has been in production stages for 19 months.
After consulting with the pope in December, Cardinal Trujillo agreed to get the working document into print as soon as possible. Some press reports say that the “Lexicon of the Family and Life” will appear in early February; in the meantime, several Italian newspapers recently have printed excerpts from the unpublished document. — (Source: The Washington Times)
ICEL on eBay Part II: “A tip of the old ICEL biretta…”
When we reported in September that ICEL (International Commission on English in the Liturgy) appeared on eBay we had no idea that Adoremus would also achieve that distinction.
In a News Note, “ICEL on eBay” (AB Sept. 2002), we reported that the ill-fated “Sacramentary”, the proposed version of the Missal by the International Committee on English in the Liturgy, was offered on the Internet auction site eBay, purportedly on behalf of an unnamed bishop. Some weeks later, an astute reader told us that Adoremus was mentioned in another eBay offering of the ICEL work.
The seller claimed to have been “swamped” with requests for the dead Sacramentary, and offered another copy. This time, Adoremus appears in the ad copy:
“Since the eBay sale of the ICEL SACRAMENTARY was featured in the ADOREMUS Bulletin’s hardcopy and online editions of September 2002, we have been swamped with requests for additional copies.
“Although you wouldn’t think that ADOREMUS would want to encourage the use of ICEL texts, that’s exactly what they’ve done! It was advertising we never expected and certainly could never have afforded ourselves!
“So a tip of the old ICEL biretta to the good folks at ADOREMUS and to all who have emailed since looking for another copy. The bishop wasn’t going to sell his extra copy, but given all the publicity from the ADOREMUS article, he figured it might be the Will of God. So here you are!
“A PRIVATE AUCTION to protect our bidders from harassment by those who, ‘in the conceit of their hearts,’ imagine the Will of God to be otherwise!”
Vatican Issues Instructions for Catholic Politicians
Catholic politicians must oppose laws that compromise Church teachings when formulating policy or legislation, according to a new document issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
The instructions are contained in a new 17-page document, “Doctrinal Note on Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life“, which was issued with papal approval on January 16. The Vatican decided to issue the document now because of what it called “unsettling” scientific advances that have been in the news of late.
Among the admonitions to politicians in the 17-page document is the following:
Democracy must be based on the true and solid foundation of non-negotiable ethical principles, which are the underpinning of life in society…. Those who are directly involved in lawmaking bodies have a grave and clear obligation to oppose any law that attacks human life. For them, as for every Catholic, it is impossible to promote such laws or to vote for them.
The document also issued guidelines for Catholic publications, saying that they could not publish multiple viewpoints on a topic simply for the sake of pluralism.
Our great news is that more than 100 people have become new members of Adoremus since we sent out the last Bulletin!
Gina (one of only three full-time Adoremus staff), has been unbelievably busy responding to reader requests. We mailed out more than 100,000 prayer cards in 2002, nearly 35,000 Eucharistic Adoration booklets, and 30,000 of the Christmas Novena leaflet. Many Adoremus readers requested the Advent Prayer folders that our sister organization, Women for Faith & Family, produced — we mailed out 20,000 this Advent season!
We are in the process of updating our computer system — most of our equipment is outdated, which makes this work more challenging and time-consuming than it need be. Thanks to the generous contributions that so many of you have made, we hope to be able to enter the 21st century soon!
We continue to add documents to the web site (Church Documents) – we recommend that you visit it often for updates. Answers to many of the questions that readers have can be found there. Unlike many other organizations than spend thousands of dollars creating and maintaining their web sites, we build and maintain the site ourselves — keeping the outside cost down to $19.99 per month.
As word spreads about Adoremus, our telephones are ringing off the hook and our e-mail inboxes are at capacity. We still read every letter that we receive, but have come to the realization that we cannot possibly respond to every letter and e-mail. Thank you for your understanding.
We’d like to end this progress report with a big “thank you” to Communications Assistant Carol Pugh, a tireless volunteer who mails out donor gifts from her home.
We could never make this happen without her!
Do you know about Women for Faith & Family?
Our sister organization pledges to uphold the teachings of the Catholic Church, to assist orthodox Catholic women in their effort to provide witness to their faith, and to aid women in the efforts to deepen their understanding of the Catholic Faith.
The WFF web site (www.wf-f.org) is a virtual treasure trove. Popular features include an interactive calendar for the Church year, family prayers and devotions, ideas for activities with children, excerpts from WFF’s Lent & Easter Sourcebooks for Families, “About Medicine and Morality”, and an extensive collection of papal and Church documents on topics relating to the family, and roles for women in Church and in society.
The web site also includes an online edition of WFF’s quarterly magazine, Voices, and searchable archives.
Timely articles on issues affecting the “domestic Church” — the family — are a unique feature of every issue.
Recent issues of Voices have featured essays by noted Catholic writers Mary Ellen Bork, Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, Mary Jo Anderson, James Hitchcock, and Kenneth Whitehead.
Members of Voices‘ editorial board (in addition to Mrs. Bork, Mrs. Anderson and Dr. Fox-Genovese) are Sheila Gribben Liaugminas, Rita Joseph (Australia), Joanna Bogle (England), Kathleen Reeves, Nancy Valko, and Helen Hull Hitchcock.
Keeping up with national and international legislation could make a difference to your family. Read WFF’s up-to-date reports on medical ethics issues, UN meetings on women and children and promising reports by and about Catholic youth.