His Eminence the polite and soft-spoken James Francis Cardinal Stafford head of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Penitentiary gave a lecture on November 13 at the Keane Auditorium at Catholic University of America last week titled, “Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II: Being True in Body and Soul“. In it Cardinal Stafford critiqued President-elect Obama as “aggressive, disruptive and apocalyptic,“ and he further added that Obama ran an “extremist anti-life platform”.
Here are some highlights of his lecture:
“Because man is a sacred element of secular life,” Stafford remarked, “man should not be held to a supreme power of state, and a person’s life cannot ultimately be controlled by government.”
“For the next few years, Gethsemane will not be marginal. We will know that garden,” Stafford said, comparing America’s future with Obama as president to Jesus’ agony in the garden. “On November 4, 2008, America suffered a cultural earthquake.”
Cardinal Stafford said Catholics must deal with the “hot, angry tears of betrayal” by beginning a new sentiment where one is “with Jesus, sick because of love.”
The lecture, hosted by the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, pertained to Humanae Vitae, a papal encyclical written by Pope Paul VI in 1968 and celebrating its 40 anniversary this year.
Stafford also spoke about the decline of a respect for human life and the need for Catholics to return to the original values of marriage and human dignity.
“If 1968 was the year of America’s ‘suicide attempt,’ 2008 is the year of America’s exhaustion,” said Stafford, an American Cardinal and Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary for the Tribunal of the Holy See. “In the intervening 40 years since Humanae Vitae, the United States has been thrown upon ruins.”
This destruction and America’s decline is largely in part due to the Supreme Court’s decisions in the life-issue cases of 1973, specifically Roe v. Wade. Stafford asserted these cases undermined respect for human life in the United States.
“Its scrupulous meanness has had catastrophic effects upon the unity and integrity of the American republic,” said Stafford.
Humanae Vitae (“On Human Life”) reaffirms traditional Catholic teachings regarding abortion, contraception and other human life issues. Pope Benedict XVI said in May it is “so controversial, yet so crucial for humanity’s future…What was true yesterday is true also today.”
Monsignor Livio Melina, president of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, gave the opening address at the lecture and spoke about the importance of agape love to gain knowledge.
“Love itself is a form of knowledge, and this knowledge cannot be objectified,” said Melina. “It is a unique relationship between the believer and God.”
Stafford said the truest reflection of the love between the believer and God is that of the relationship between husband and wife, and that contraceptive use does not fit anywhere within that framework.
According to Stafford, the inner dynamic of a spousal relationship is much like the body itself, which ‘speaks’ in terms of masculinity and femininity.
“The experience of love introduces us in a specific way to moral knowledge,” added Melina.
Powerful statements for our times.
May God grant us the strength for the coming reign of the Carthaginians.
(Biretta Tip: Rocco Palmo of Whispers in the Loggia)