While supposedly always a Roman Catholic doctrine, this was defined in

Vatican II where it was maintained that the bishops of the world formed a

"College of Bishops" and had real rights of expression and authority,

although always subserviebnt to the Pope.

A number of more progressive bishops tried to flex their muscles at a

bishops/' synod in Rome in 1980. The results are in the following news

stories, both from the San Jose, CA MERCURY.

10/1/80. "An Italian cardinal Tuesday criticized a proposal by an

American archbishop to review and possibly update the church's ban on

artificial birth control. `I listened to a discourse asking for a new study

on Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI's encyclical banning artificial

contraceptives. I consider the document closed,' said Cardinal Pericle

Felici, 69, a member of the Roman Curia.

"Archbishop John Quinn of San Francisco had called for a new study on

the church's doctrine of birth control and sexuality. Quinn had said the

`crisis of faith' of birth control was immmense. `Approaches found in the

manuals and in pre-Vatican II authors are not adequate for the present

situation. New approcaches must be found which are compatible with fidelity

to truth and with the changed situation in the modern world,' Quinn said.

" The most forceful criticism came from Cardinal George Basil Hume

(England), who said that many `good, conscientious and faithful' Catholics

could nnot accept the church's total ban on artificial birth control. `It

cannot be just said that these persons have failed to overcome their huyman

frailty and weakness; the problem is more complex than that,' Hume said.

`Archbishop Joeseph Bernardin of Cincinnati (now Cardinal in Chicago)

told the synod, `A new, more positive theology of sexuality is necessary.'"

10/2/80. "`Neither In now the American Bishops' Conference reject or

challenge the doctrine of the Catholic Church on contraception,' said

Quinn. `The intent of my speech was to suggest possible ways of making the

church's teaching on contraception better understood and more widely

acceptable,' said Quinn."


It is clear that the Bishops thought the "collegiality of bishops" gave

them permission to contribute actively to the Roman Catholic moral

teachings such as Birth Control. Very quickly, however, a member of the

Curia set them straight and the following day Archbishop Quinn reversed his

statment to fit in to the wishes of the Curia.

The Bishops found out that they could say whatever they wanted to say,

as long as they said what ther pope wants them to say.

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