Religious Liberty and Contraception
Harrison, Fr Brian

Religious Liberty and Contraception
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  Item Type: Book
  Publisher: John XXIII Co-op
  Category: Sexuality/Chastity

  Cover Type: Paper Back
  Published: 1988
  MYOB Code: RL&C
  Store Location: 17C
  ISBN: 0959005935

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Book Description

From the foreword by James Likoudis, President of Catholics United for the Faith:

By clarifying one of the most vexing issues in recent Church history - one which has brought many "traditionalist" Catholics to the verge of schism with Rome - Fr Brian Harrison's book fills an urgent need in today's Church.

Working from sources in five languages (many of them never before published in English), Fr Harrison argues convincingly against both the "progressive" and "conservative" extremes of theological opinion, that the Vatican II Declaration on Religious Liberty does not constitute the kind of radical change from previous papal teaching which would be involved in a "relaxation" of the Church's stand against contraception.

The book displays careful scholarship, a penetrating historical insight into the key issues, and a theological craftsmanship which is fresh and original, but at the same time solidly rooted in tradition. Furthermore, Fr Harrison's lucid style renders a complex subject intelligible, and indeed, highly readable, for the non-specialist as well as the theologian.

Customer Reviews

Required reading, April 07, 2010
By Stephen Hitchings (Enfield, NSW, Australia)

Fr Charles Curran justified his dissent from "Humanae Vitae" on the basis that the Church could change its condemnation of contraception as it had already changed its teaching on religious liberty.

In 1864, in "Quanta Cura", Pope Pius IX had condemned the principle that "the best condition of human society is that wherein the state recognises no duty to correct the violators of the Catholic religion except when required by the maintenance of public peace." This condemnation was reinforced by Gregory XVI in "Mirari Vos" (1832) and especially by Leo XIII in "Immortale Dei" (1885), which asserted that "the state has a duty to acknowledge the true religion and may not treat other religions as equal to it".

Fr Curran defends his dissent on the belief that the Second Vatican Councilís "Declaration on Religious Liberty" abrogated these teachings. Nor is he alone in this belief. The extraordinary thing is that many traditionalists agree completely on this point with Fr Curran and his fellow "Humanae Vitae" deniers, except that their conclusion is a condemnation of Vatican II.

Perhaps even more extraordinarily, hardly anyone seems to be contradicting them. As far as I am aware, this is the only book which methodically compares the wording of the Declaration with the teachings of these Popes and shows that there is no contradiction.

Most alarmingly, Fr Harrison shows that the schema for the Declaration was actually in contradiction with the previous teaching until a last-minute change (presumably under the influence of the Holy Spirit), and that one sentence of even the final version differs from the proposition condemned by Pius IX by only one word!

This book is not an easy read, but it is a wonderful piece of careful scholarship. It should be required reading for anyone interested in defending the teaching of the Church from the attacks from both right and left.

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