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Antwerp Bishop Johan Bonny


ANTWERP, Belgium, September 11, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — In a sweeping critique of Catholic teaching, Belgian Bishop Johan Bonny, who will participate in the Ordinary Synod on the Family next month, has attacked not only the Church’s teaching against contraception but even the very notion of the natural law.

In a contribution for the recent German book, Zerreißprobe Ehe, published by Herder Verlag, the bishop of Antwerp makes a strong critique of the 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae and questions the Church's understanding of sexuality. He also criticizes the natural law as a moral foundation because it describes certain acts as good or bad independently of one's personal life history and biography.

Bonny claims in his essay, which is entitled “The Synod of Bishops on the Family – Expectations of a Diocesan Bishop,” that the encyclical Humanae Vitae lacked the consensus of the bishops and therefore immediately caused “tensions, conflicts and breaches.” He regrets that the Church does not give more space for “the individual conscience” of the faithful with regard to the question of “methods of family planning and birth control,” and says he hopes that the upcoming 2015 Synod of Bishops on the Family will correct this purported defect.

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“All constitutions and decrees of the Second Vatican Council, also the difficult ones, were finally accepted with a consensus. Of this kind of collegiality, there was little left three years later, when Humanae Vitae was published,” Bonny writes. “That the pope would make a judgment concerning the problems of 'population, family, and births' was foreseen by the Council. But that he would ignore the collegial striving for a greatest possible consensus, was not foreseen by the Council.”

“This ecclesial policy has left behind a broad trace of tensions, conflicts and breaches. This split should not remain such.”

Bishop Bonny also discusses in his article the question of homosexuality and the Church’s traditional rejection of homosexual acts. According to Bonny, “scientific progress allows us to modify this point of view. First of all, one knows that homosexuality exists also in the world of animals.” With his reference to the animal world, Bonny tries to show that the natural instinct for heterosexuality, as put into nature by God, might not exist, after all.

Bonny also argues that “in our personalistic culture, the interdiction of homosexual relationships is regarded as an unacceptable discrimination: there shall be men and women who do not have the right to live out their sexuality, only because they do not live in the same manner as the great majority of the people live!”

Finally, Bonny claims the “externally induced suppression of the sexual practice” is the cause of ailments such as alcoholism, aggressivity and drug abuse.