How many Harvard alumni can faithfully say they are modern day shepherds with over two million strong in their flock? Not many-except of course, if you happen to be Boston's Archbishop Bernard E. Law '53
Here is a sampling of the former Adams House resident's views on a variety of church related issues. The following edited excerpts are taken from an interview The Crimson conducted on December 20.
On freedom of conscience within the Catholic Church.
"We do not take polls to determine what the faith of the Church is... You don't get morality by counting noses... If, for example, in Mississippi in the early '60s, a poll had been taken to determine whether or not racism was a sin, whether racial segregation was an appropriate response from Christian people, the response would have been a little bit different than the teaching of the Church. In a given moment, in a given place, people can be quite removed from truth and that's the whole purpose of a confession of faith."
On divesting interests in companies doing business with South Africa.
"The Church does not have a policy against investing in South Africa. The Church does have a policy against apartheid and would want to use all of its moral force against that... But I am slow to come on strong for divestiture simply because some of the information that I get from sources in South Africa--among the persons who pay heavily for their opposition to apartheid--would indicate that perhaps this is not the best policy.
dimensions of that problem yet to say, categorically, that I think the way you can best achieve the end of apartheid is to support divestiture. Because you're taking the jobs of thousands upon thousands of people, you're talking about perhaps eliminating from the scene a power that could be used to influence a change."
On becoming a cardinal
"The Holy Father is quite free in whom he names cardinal and when he names them. There is no rule anywhere that says the archbishop of Boston has to become a cardinal. There's just a precedent...
Whenever a cardinal is named who is head of diocese, it's really a recognition of the diocese. After all, I was in Missouri for ten years and no one ever had a rumor about me being named a cardinal. I'm the same person I was then, now! The difference is that I happen to be the Archbishop of Boston. That is a focus on the importance of the place."
"It's a teaching that you don't have to go to authoritative sources of faith in order to determine what is right and wrong. All you have to do is go look at the medical evidence. And as citizens of this land, all you have to go look to are our founding documents and you see that the notion of the wanton taking of innocent human late, from conception to nine months is first and abysmal affront to a moral conscience."
"The premises of Marxism and the premises of Christianity are diametrically opposed. We view the human person differently. It isn't at the level of saying that it's inappropriate for the Church to be concerned with saying economic oppression with the possible abuse of multinationals or something of that sort. That's not the question. The question is, how do you theologize about oppression?
It isn't making a negative judgement about everything that is called liberation theology, but if it's a liberation theology working out of a Marxist analysis, it is inconsistent with the Christian view of the dignity of the human person."
On human sexuality
"I think there is a lot of ignorance about the Church's teaching on human sexuality, a lot of false assumptions. I think there is an abysmal ignorance on natural family planning including in the medical community. I think that the Church's responsibility is to attempt very serenely to encourage and develop good sound teaching on human sexuality and encourage counseling and natural family planning... but to assume that there is artificial contraception or there is total abstinence is simply not true..."
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