James Cardinal Stafford has provided his personal reflections on the reception that Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encycyclical, Humanae Vitae, received in the United States and his home diocese of Baltimore.
Recounting how, shortly after the encyclical’s publication, he found himself gathered in a Baltimore rectory basement, being encouraged to add his name to the already-published “Statement of Dissent” by a number of clergy from Washington, Stafford states that he could not sign it. Why? “I remained convinced of the truth of my judgement and conclusions,” he writes.
I’m glad that His Eminence recognizes the respect that is due to an individual’s judgment and conclusions — especially ones borne of careful thought, study, and prayer. Wouldn’t it be nice if such respect were more broadly recognized at all levels of the Church, especially as it relates to those heart-felt issues that, sadly, tend to cause strife and division, rather than discussion and mutual understanding.