John Paul II Institute: Pro-Contraception Priest Teaching Life Ethics

News: World News
by David Nussman  •  •  September 13, 2019   

Fr. Maurizio Chiodi has argued that circumstances can 'require' couples to contracept

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ROME ( - A priest who says contraception and homosexuality are sometimes good is now teaching ethics at the revamped John Paul II Institute.

Church Militant has reported previously on sweeping changes underway at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute at the Lateran University in Rome.

In the latest development, the institute's website posted on Wednesday lists of courses for the 2019–2020 academic year. One of the courses offered, listed under the license in theology, is "Theological Ethics of Life," taught by Fr. Maurizio Chiodi, a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

At a public lecture in 2018, Fr. Chiodi argued that there are circumstances that "require" married couples to employ artificial contraception, saying that when "natural methods are impossible or unfeasible, other forms of responsibility need to be found."

Chiodi argued that there are circumstances that 'require' married couples to employ artificial contraception.

This is contrary to the Catholic teaching that use of artificial contraception to avoid conceiving children is an intrinsic evil.

Chiodi has also argued that homosexual relationships can be good in some situations. He said during an interview in July, "I would not exclude that, under certain conditions, a homosexual couple's relationship is, for that subject, the most fruitful way to live good relationships, considering their symbolic meaning, which is both personal, relational and social."

Also on the list of courses for the theology license is "Anthropology and Ethics of Birth," taught by Pier Davide Guenzi, a professor of moral theology.

In an interview back in February, Guenzi seemed to speak in favor of a welcoming attitude toward homosexual persons:

The law comes after the priority of welcoming love. And if the Church's tradition cannot be expressed only by the moral norm, the process of discernment on personal choices can be reconsidered not only for the so-called "irregular" situations within marriage. This is clarified in [Amoris Laetitia, paragraph 250], where the Pontiff underlines the importance of offering all the "necessary aid" so that homosexual persons, as indeed every faithful, can open themselves positively to the good of life and of the relationship with a careful consideration of their own existential situation. This is not seen only as a difficulty or an insurmountable obstacle to the vocation to love.

The Pontifical John Paul II Theological Institute for Marriage and Family Science has been undergoing a massive overhaul.

Father José Noriega, chair of specific Moral Theology, and Msgr. Livio Melina, chair of Fundamental Moral Theology, were both told in July that they were being dismissed. Following their dismissal, many close to the institute have expressed concern about the direction it is heading.

Technically speaking, the John Paul II Institute was dissolved and re-established by Pope Francis in his September 2017 apostolic letter Summa Familiae Cura. The sweeping changes made to the institute came as the eventual result.

Overseeing the overhaul is the institute's grand chancellor, Abp. Vincenzo Paglia,e president of the Pontifical Academy for Life. The dismissal of Fr. Noriega and Msgr. Melina seemed to contradict a statement Abp. Paglia made in 2017, where he said the upcoming changes would not involve cutting faculty.

I'm convinced that what happened to the institute is linked to the changes that might be introduced by the approaching Pan-Amazonian Synod.

Stanisław Grygiel is a professor emeritus at the John Paul II Institute. As part of the changes, Grygiel is no longer teaching classes and is only a researcher. In a Polish-language interview in August, Grygiel gave a grim warning about the direction in which the John Paul II Institute is headed.

"At one point I called for the removal of St. John Paul II's name from the name of the institute, because, as I said, it shouldn't be used as a fig leaf," he said.

"Moral theology, and also [John Paul II's] adequate anthropology, were forsaken by the institute," Grygiel argued.

The interviewer asked Grygiel if the shake-up at the John Paul II Institute is a "symbolic moment" for the state of affairs in the Church. He replied, "Yes," adding, "I'm convinced that what happened to the institute is linked to the changes that might be introduced by the approaching Pan-Amazonian Synod."

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