Summer 1968

Page 106

Now that Pope Paul has issued his encyclical, H umaooe Vitae, the practical question that has to be asked is: what is the confessor to do if a penitent says that he is unwilling to follow the authoritative teaching of the Holy See on artificial contraception? There is, of course, little problem with the penitent who accepts the teaching and is sincerely trying to live up to it even though he fails reWhat of the penitent who peatedly. Everyone knows how does not feel that artificial to deal kindly with the recidi¡ vus, especially in regard to contraception is morally sins of weakness. The troublewrong? some question concerns the Catholic who tells the confessor that he has no intention of + following the teaching of the Holy See on artificial birth JOHN F. DEDEK control. Is he now to be refused absolution because he + has no firm purpose of amendment? Or may the confessor tell him that he can follow his own conscience in this matter even though it contradicts papal teaching? A practical resolution of this problem lies, I think, in the distinction drawn by modern psychiatry between theoretical and evaluative knowledge. Joseph Fuchs describes this distinction succinctly in his Theologiae Moralis Generalis (Vol. I, pp. 155-156):