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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 29, No. 13. 1966.

Catholics reply again

Catholics reply again

Sir,—In reply to my letter published in your issue of August 12, just to hand today. September 12, your religious editor, M. King, claims, "I stand by the Salient editorial" 'written by him on a purported statement by Cardinal Doepfner as vice-chairman of the Papal Commission on Birth Control).

In fact Mr. King has shifted his ground. The burden of his original editorial was that the Catholic press had failed to publish a statement made by Cardinal Doepfner as vice-chairman of the Papal Commission.

Let me quote his editorial: "A statement by a member of the Papal Commission on Birth Control that it is not necessarily sinful for Catholics to practise contraception in marriage, has not been published in the New Zealand Catholic press ... Cardinal Doepfner, a vice-chairman of the Commission on Birth Control (which presented its report to the Pope two and a half weeks ago), made the statement."

Now in his reply he says: "The points I would make, therefore, are these:

"The statement was made.

"It originated from a responsible party

"It was issued under Cardinal Doepfner's name.

"He has reaffirmed its principles this year."

Is this a shift of ground, sir, or is it not?

In his third point above. Mr. King says the statement was "issued under Cardinal Doepfner's name." Elsewhere in his reply he says it was "issued with his 'imprimatur' of approval . . ."

Both these statements are wishful thinking. Cardinal Doepfner (London Tablet, April 30, 1966) says it was "issued two years ago, not indeed without my knowledge ..."

The important point, sir, is that in his original editorial Mr. King claimed that the Catholic press suppressed a statement made by Cardinal Doepfner as vice-chairman of the Papal Commission on Birth Control. The Cardinal was only appointed to that post in March, 1966. Even Mr. King in his reply now admits that the statement in question dates from 1964 and was not made by the Cardinal himself. Let me quote Mr. King:

"The statement referred to in the editorial was prepared by theologians in Cardinal

Doepfner's diocese in [unclear: l]

Finally, sir, Mr. [unclear: K] quotes part of an [unclear: extr] from a letter by [unclear: Cardi] Doepfner to Cardinal [unclear: Hee] (London Tablet, April 1966), putting the statement in its true context. But [unclear: t] does so, omitting a [unclear: cruc] portion of what [unclear: Cardi] Doepfner wrote without [unclear: in] cating by the use of dots [unclear: t] he was actually omitting [unclear: a] portion of the [unclear: Cardin] written statement and [unclear: th] truncating it. In the [unclear: field] journalism as in any [unclear: ot] field this is regarded as [unclear: d] honest quotation for one's [unclear: o] purposes.

Let me quote the full [unclear: tract] from Cardinal [unclear: Doe] ner's letter to put the [unclear: mat] [unclear: in] its full context: "Wiih regard to the [unclear: state init] on marriage problems [unclear: rted] by The Tablet, it is [unclear: C] question of pastoral [unclear: guide-] issued by my pastoral [unclear: ce]: these were issued two [unclear: ars] ago, not indeed without [unclear: y] knowledge, but not [unclear: writ-] [unclear: rences] for engaged [unclear: uples]. They have now [unclear: ched] the press through an [unclear: scretion] - exactly) at the [unclear: ment] of my appointment the papal commissioned to my deepest regret, [unclear: vr] caused a great stir there, [unclear: hese] guidelines must, of [unclear: rse] be understood in their [unclear: intext] a context which for [unclear: e] most part has been [unclear: ored] or even misrepremisrepresented by the press What is concerned is merely the subjective judgment of actions of married people who are honourably striving to live according to God's law but who find themselves in difficulties of conscience on account of the concrete circumstances of their life."

Since Mr. King has shifted his ground, while still claiming to stand by his origianl editorial, he gives the appearance of being suspended in mid-air.

In the Catholic press world we prefer to stand on facts and solid ground.


Editor, New Zealand Tablet.

Mr. King: will reply next issue.