January 26, 2000
volume 11, no. 18
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Opening in Rome of Plenary Assembly of Vatican Congregation
    VATICAN CITY, JAN 25 (ZENIT).- The trend in international circles to refer to human beings as though they were neuter, ignoring the complementarity of the sexes, poses serious threats to the Catholic faith. This will be one of the three major areas of discussion of the Plenary Assembly of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), which opened today.

    This is an important meeting, because the members of this Vatican Congregation, presided by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, live spread throughout and can only meet periodically to discuss the dynamics, contents, and methodology of the Congregation itself.

    The complex society in which the Church must act today poses serious challenges to the proclamation of the Gospel. Consequently, the first part of the assembly will study a long report on the Congregation's activity. The 262-page document analyzes the work of the doctrinal, disciplinary, and matrimonial offices; collaboration established in the writing of certain particularly important documents, such as drafts of papal documents, instructions and decrees; promotion of symposiums, such as last year's on the Primacy of the Bishop of Rome and on the interpretation of the Bible in the Church; and the examination of dogmatic and moral questions in books and magazines written in contemporary theological and pastoral realms. The text also reflects the Congregation's collaboration in the documents of the other organizations of the Roman Curia in so far as doctrine is concerned.

    In statements to Vatican Radio, Bishop Tarcisio Bertone, CDF secretary, said that, after studying the Congregation's activity over the past year, the discussion of the theologians and pastors who have gathered in Rome will focus on three topics. "A fundamental argument today is the one referring to the unique and universal character of the saving action of Christ and the Church, in the realm of dialogue with the great religions and in the ambit of the so-called theology of religions or plurality of religions."

    The second topic will center around "the painful and negative chapter of the life of the Church," in other words, "the most grave offences against the faith, the sacraments, and the Christian moral plan, that have been submitted for evaluation and judgment." Bishop Bertone explained that "because it is also a tribunal, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has the task of intervening in certain painful and negative cases of the life of the Church."

    Finally, the third topic to be addressed by this Congregation that safeguards the orthodoxy of the Christian message is what he called "human race feminism." "In other words, the problem that arises today, even in international forums, that regards gender as neither masculine nor feminine and, therefore, does not keep in mind the complementary nature of the sexes, but posits a neutral gender, in which everyone can identify with whatever is preferred. Suffice it to recall here certain proposed legislations, presented even in Italy, in which each one can choose the type of his/her life according to his/her sexual orientation and not according to God's original creative plan."

    The Congregation's assembly will conclude its sessions with a Papal audience on January 28. ZE00012508


January 26, 2000
volume 11, no. 18

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