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Fr. Gerald Murray

NEW YORK, July 18, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — An American canon lawyer and Catholic priest has criticized a Vatican archbishop for saying that Christian values do not need to be defended because “they defend themselves.”

“I am puzzled that Archbishop Paglia would say 'I am so certain of the power of Christian values that I don’t feel a need to defend them, they defend themselves.' This is a remarkable statement, especially coming from a shepherd of the Church whose duties include proclaiming the Church's teaching ‘in season and out of season,’” Fr. Gerald Murray, pastor of the Church of the Holy Family in New York City, told LifeSiteNews.

“If Archbishop Paglia feels no need to defend the Church's teaching then he has misunderstood his role. Christian values are roundly and vehemently rejected by the Church's opponents. To meet that challenge with silence could lead some people to think that he does not take those teachings seriously, or perhaps even rejects them himself. That type of confusion must be avoided by a vigorous defense of the Gospel whenever it is assailed,” he added.

Last week Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia dismissed concerns that Pope Francis’ controversial reforms of the Pontifical Academy for Life and the Pope John Paul II Institute for Marriage and the Family, which the Archbishop heads, signify any reluctance to fight for Christian values.

“My view is the exact opposite: I am so certain of the power of Christian values that I don’t feel a need to defend them, they defend themselves,” he said in an interview with Alfa y Omega.

READ: Vatican archbishop: I ‘don’t…need to defend’ Christian values, ‘they defend themselves’

Paglia said in the interview that while some new members of the Pontifical Academy for Life might have “nuanced differences in the positions” that they take, “we are certain that no one will take a position contrary to Church teaching.”

But Fr. Murray said that he is not so sure of the archbishop’s promise.

“Since some already have done just that [taken a position contrary to Church teaching] in public writings and statements, how can he be sure that they will not continue to uphold their positions which do contradict Church teaching?” he said.

“If they have changed their positions, it would be incumbent on Archbishop Paglia to ask them to so state in public in order to reassure the faithful that Academy members will not use their position to undermine the Church's teaching in the future,” he added.



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