God and Caesar



Cardinal George Pell - 2007 *


SYDNEY - October 11 - 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com)


A new book called "God and Caesar" by Cardinal George Pell, the Archbishop of Sydney is to be published this week. The book deals with a widespread ’heresy’ among Catholics which permits approval of contraception and even abortion by way of "primacy of conscience".

Borrowing from Oxford Professor Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, Pell calls it the "Donald Duck heresy" referring to the Disney character who "knows it all", and "has an unshakeable conviction of self-righteousness." The self-indulgent duck, explains Pell is well-meaning but "his activity is often disastrous for himself and others."

So too with Catholics who practice and indeed promote a disordered vision of human sexuality, with contraception, abortion and even embryo-destructive research suggests Pell. With claims to "primacy of conscience" they falsely believe themselves in the right, while they thus distort the image of God which the Creator intended to convey in the fruitful sexual union of husband and wife.

"Too many ’Donald Ducks’ produce a ’feel good’ society, which works to remove personal guilt, anything that would make people feel uncomfortable, and complacent self-satisfaction becomes a virtue," writes Pell. "Confession of sins is replaced with therapy, and self-reproach with self-discovery."

The Cardinal notes that the false opinion on the primacy of conscience was a main target of Pope John Paul II’s 1993 encyclical Veritatis Splendor. "Only truth, or the Word of God has primacy, and is the ultimate rule of action. The individual conscience is a proximate norm-necessary, but not sufficient. Even a genuine searcher for truth can be mistaken, sometimes with disastrous consequences."

The book is a compilation of essays the Cardinal has penned over the years. One essay which was delivered as a talk to the Linicare Conference in the UK in 2000, under the title "The Role of the Bishop in Promoting the Gospel of Life". In that talk, the Cardinal warned that the Catholic Church would not grow unless the full teaching of the Church on life matters was expounded. "Tactical silence", as practiced by many bishops, would stifle growth he suggested.

"Church growth will only follow the faithful living and effective presentation of the fullness of Catholic teaching on life, he said. "No growth will follow from dilution or deformation of the teaching on life, nor from tactful silence."

"There is very little understanding in the public mind - even within the Catholic community - of the connection between ’the Pill’ as the trigger of a contraceptive mentality, and the evil consequences for society of this contraceptive and irresponsible mentality," he said. "So a major task for the Church is to encourage people more and more to see the wisdom, human and divine, of this particular teaching."

"People often do not like being told what is right or wrong and what to do by authority figures - clerical or otherwise. When Church leaders - clerical or lay - lapse into silence or are unable to argue convincingly for moral principles, even pro-life supporters - who are pro-family and opposed to abortion and "euthanasia"- can be tempted to see their position as an individual one, which they would not want to force onto others, especially by public legislation. This is no basis for action in support of the Gospel of Life."