Daily Archives: August 17, 2008

Long, but Powerful: Cardinal Stafford’s Reflections on 1968

I’ve really never known much about Cardinal Stafford, but this article gives me a huge respect for the man. He writes here of his experiences in 1968. He was a priest in Baltimore at the time, and his archbishop, Cardinal Sheehan, was one of the members of the infamous Vatican II Commission on family and sexual matters. Cardinal Sheehan had written for advice from several priests, including then-Fr. Stafford, who wrote that the best way to deal with the growing crisis in family life and chastity was to emphasize that sexual love must be fruitful.

Cardinal Sheehan took the right side, when the majority Commission voted to support contraception. We all know what Pope Paul VI decided. But Cardinal Stafford gives powerful and poignant memoirs of the immediate underground schism, including secret meetings of priests where most wanted to oppose _Humanae Vitae_ and the few who supported it were immediately ostracized. He talks about the parallels between the outward race riots on the street and the spiritual riots within the church. It’s very moving and disturbing. He (rightly) ties the rejection of _Humanae Vitae_ to the sex abuse scandal.