Friday, 19 April 2013

Abbott cave in on same sex 'marriage'

When the Australian Parliament voted against same sex 'marriage' last year, the bill went down because the Liberal-National Coalition, unlike Labor, did not allow its MPs a conscience vote.

But it seems that all bets are now off, with (nominally Catholic) Liberal leader Tony Abbott saying that it will be a matter for the party room to decide after the election, according to the ABC.

No election commitment to hold the line

According to the ABC Report, the Liberals will not to be taking a commitment to traditional marriage into the election as a firm commitment:

"Speaking to ABC Radio in Melbourne, Mr Abbott said he did not want the marriage laws to change.

But he said the issue would be a "matter for the post-election party room" if the Coalition won September's federal poll.

"I'm not trying to say that the party is committed forever and a day to the current position," he said.

"I'm saying that this will be a matter for the post-election party room."

Liberal election strategy

The comments seem to be yet another example of Mr Abbott's commitment to the Kennedy principle of not letting his religion get in the way of politics.  I've written here and here about his campaign, launched earlier this year, to paint himself as a reconstructed supporter of feminist empowerment, including support for those undergoing IVF and even abortion (on the basis of that old hoary, 'safe, legal and rare'.  Hmm, that would be safe from people like the Melbourne abortionist who infected over fifty women with Hep C and now appealing his jail sentence, or the horrors too terrible to be reported in the mainstream media in the US Grosnell murder trial I guess?).

Is Abbott's repositioning getting any traction?

Personally I doubt it - no one believes anything either side of politics says these days, and the Liberal's credibility on this front is no better than Labor's despite all the rhetoric (remember Mr Howard's promises to slash the size of Government, only to leave Office after presiding over the biggest growth period in Government in Australian history?!).

But of course, Mr Abbott doesn't really need to sell himself, for Labor seems already to have well and truly lost the election, only digging its grave even deeper with pretty much every policy announcement.

It is still some months until September 14, of course, and I realise Mr Abbott doesn't want to seem to be taking anything for granted, and the media pressure in the wake of the New Zealand legislation is relentless.

But is his cause really being advanced by what looks like a rather cynically flagrant pandering for votes?

Conservatives leading the charge for gay 'rights'

Mind you, Mr Abbott's cave in comes in the face of a number of 'conservative' Premiers coming out in support of changing the definition of marriage in the wake of the New Zealand vote.

The New South Wales Liberal Premier Barry O'Farrell apparently supports gay marriage, and wants a conscience vote on the subject.

And now Liberal WA Premier Colin Barnett is saying that while he is 'personally opposed' to the idea, he does support a conscience vote.

Maybe it really just is that even 'conservatives' are no longer 'conservative' when it comes to morality: gay marriage was, after all, introduced in the UK by a so-called conservative Government, and New Zealand is currently governed by the 'conservative' National Party...


Matthew Roth said...

Less talk, more action...also, isn't he Catholic?
Also, I can't believe NZ followed France in legalizing homosexual 'marriage,' even though polls showed 50-60% of the country opposed it.

A Country Priest said...

Another priest put to me this week a thought which had not occurred to me, but which I'm inclined to agree with.

Homosexuality is to the Church of our generation what contraception was the to the Church in the 1960s. The Church's teaching on both issues is too complex for the arbiters of popular opinion to grasp and communicate, it is deeply embedded in the Christian view of the human person, and it offensively counter-cultural.

I'm praying hard we don't repeat the same errors as last time. But maybe the horse has already bolted.

Kate Edwards said...

You could be right Father, about homosexuality being the test issue of our times - but if so, I'm afraid I don't think we've have learnt the lessons of last time around!

A Canberra Observer said...

Pathetic but entirely predictable. I recall, again, what Tony Windsor said Abo had said he would do in order to gain power.
O'Farrell has gone even further.
Cycnical men and women to whom nothing seems sacred, selling their constituents down the river.

Country Priest may well be right. Sad but I too think the horse has already bolted in a cloud of universal niceness.

very depressed about this.

R J said...

What is it about so-called Australian conservatives, that they deify a seemingly endless succession of mountebanks, shysters, sex criminals, or worse? I am old enough to remember when Sydney Sparkes Orr, Frank Knopfelmacher, Ronald Conway, John Singleton, Lang Hancock, and John Hewson were widely credited with possessing philosophical genius that the Angelic Doctor himself could scarcely have hoped to imagine. Voicing even the mildest critical comment against most of them in Australia would render one unpublishable. Now the matinee idol of the hour is Abbott; and no demonstration of his inherent nihilism will be enough to shake the lunatic confidence which our mainstream "right-wing" publications repose in him.

Ludovico said...

Well, RJ, maybe you're right about the kind of fawning behaviour the conservative rump bestows on its idols. Don't forget that reactionary nihilism on the right wings is nothing new: John Howard is out reminding people of some of the reasons he had to depart his electorate in 2007.

On the other hand, the Church can't be expected to save anyone if her teachings are so ineffable as to be completely intangible. Anglicanism long ago declared that contraception was compatible with sex within marriage; officially sex outside marriage is still a no-no (especially if it's not of the hetero variety). The falling away of Anglicans is not so much due to disagreement with teaching as the natural attrition that came through the loss of discursive Christianity. Rome has compounded that problem by adding teaching that people simply won't accept. The resulting pattern: the drying up of vocations that has led to amalgamations of parishes, and more parishes closing than are opened. Is the survival of the Church solely dependent on the maintenance of ineffable teachings, or on trust that it is the only way Jesus can be known this side of the parousia?

What would some clergy do were Pope Francis to issue an encyclical that had the effect of changing present teaching on a number of hotbutton issues? Would they blithely turn around and join the SSPX, or simply modify their views in accordance with the magisterium? I think Fr Zed's "reading Francis through Benedict" entry for that day would make a tantalising read.

Kate Edwards said...

Sorry Ludovico, never going to happen! These are not 'added' teachings, but what the Church has always and everywhere held and taught. Nor can one separate out the tradition from Christ - to attempt to do so is to reduce us to protestant sola scriptura.

Carob Moll said...

Hello Kate,
A political strategy point - could Abbott's announcement here be interpreted as an act of political maneuvering - it neutralises his odiousness with young people who are sorta pro-gay-marriage, it agitates pro-gay marriage Labourites that they are 'on the side of history' and makes them even more annoyed with the ALP and Gillard for being against Gay-Marr, and makes them less likely to do ballot-box activism on election day and defect to the Greens. The more the anti-gay marriage people croak about how Abbott has sold them out the better for him - he needs to distance himself from the Kate Edwards-& ilk 0.5% of the populace to get his crushing Senate majority, which is the prize here.

I have doubts about Tony's electabiltiy - I think there will be a swing against him once the scrutiny comes on him in 3-4 months. But lets imagine the standard prediction is true, and there's a Libs landslide in the election.

Ok, fast forward to time for the conscience vote - they decide the Libs will not put forward a gay-marriage amendment, and will rally against (for partisan hardball reasons) a Green/independent member attempt to do so. Gay marriage goes away and dies like the Republic.

By announcing this, Tony is doing the anti-Gay marriage people a favour, but playing a tactical game.

Ludovico Im not sure what discursive christianity that led to the decline of Anglicanism is. Can you explain?

R J said...

Trouble is, regarding Kate Edwards's comment at 5:10AM on 21 April, the average Joe and Jodie Sixpack in the pews at an Australian parish on a Sunday morning (I'm assuming that, unlike 87% of Australia's nominal Catholics, they actually turn up at a parish on a Sunday morning) wouldn't have the faintest clue about the difference between eternal and infallible Church teachings on the one hand, versus highly visible but non-infallible, and therefore changeable, Church teachings on the other hand.

Take Fr Rumble's wonderful apologetic work Radio Replies. Fr Rumble, writing well before Vatican II, naturally assumed that the Latin Mass would always be the default mode for the Western Church. And, in Radio Replies, he said so. He never in his worst nightmares imagined the post-1969 liturgical revolution. Now it's true that the use of Latin wasn't protected by the same dogmatic infallibility as is, for instance, opposition to abortion and contraception. But how were Joe and Jodie Sixpack expected to know the difference between dogma and discipline? Between (for instance) the dogma of a male priesthood and the discipline of an unmarried priesthood? And so forth.

Worse still: it appears certain that originally Paul VI favoured contraception in some circumstances. Certainly his own committee on the subject did, although after an unconscionable delay he did finally revert to upholding the infallible magisterium in Humanae Vitae. Even that reversion came only after unconscionable delaying on his part.

As for other antipodean pseudo-conservative rogues, my original list should also have included John Anderson: not the former Deputy Prime Minister (who seems harmless enough), but the veteran part-time philosopher and full-time debauchee of Sydney University. Anderson's idea of opposing Enver Hoxha's atheism museums consisted of establishing his own atheism museums, from which Hoxha was excluded on an aesthetic technicality. Such is "thinking", Australian style.

Joshua said...

I am surprised to find someone pretending that Anglican morality (what a contradiction in terms!) is better than Catholic -when it was Lambeth, 1930, that first betrayed the universal Christian opposition to unnatural birth control, and thus set Christianity in general off on the slippery slide to immorality.

I do dislike in particular the unspoken supercilious assumption that the Church of England by law established is so much better in every way than those vulgar Romans.

Ludovico said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Joshua said...

The question is not whether Humanæ vitæ is infallible - it is whether it is right, that is, true. Given the massive falling away from Christian morality, to focus on this is eminently important! Everyone knows that the bioethical stance of Catholics in particular is different to that of the secular culture around us in the modern West.

To imagine fondly that good Pope Francis will suddenly proclaim "The Pill is OK", and ring in the millennium (resisted by nasty old Paul VI, JP II and B XVI), thereby dragging all back to church, is quite silly.

In my experience growing up Catholic, all we ever heard was vaguely leftwing exhortations to be nice and practice social justice, after the manner of the socially-aware bourgeoisie (think doctors' wives). This in essence has little Christian about it, as proved by the fact that those graduating from Catholic schools slough off their Christianity by and large as a matter of no interest whatsoever.

Obviously liturgy, if beautiful, is a praiseworthy reflection of God, the supreme True, Good and Beautiful; a liturgy that is banal is failing in that respect, as is rather obvious - the cry of the young and not-so-young that "Mass is boring" is unfortunately true, not in terms of its innate reality (the Eucharistic Sacrifice) but in its mediocre presentation - as Mother Teresa said of a rude poor man, "I met Jesus in a most unpleasant disguise". Liturgy is primarily about worshipping God: it is indeed "divine service". Of course, secondarily it ought make us do good, to go out and serve our fellow man; but that is not its primary purpose.

Neither do I think that doing "social outreach" is somehow the mark of a good Christian - these days, it is more the mark of the meddling lefty atheistic social worker or government employee.

And to pour scorn on the Ordinariate clergy is rather rude: given their swimming of the Tiber, of course it is quite obvious that they would have despaired of the Anglican authorities they suffered under! It is a tradition among Anglo-Catholics to do so!

I assume from his stance on this and related issues that Ludovico is one of those Anglicans who likes to look down his long nose at Catholics. How tiresome.

(I have already had to delete a rather rude comment he left at my blog, directed not at me, but at R J...)

Carob Moll said...

A note of quasi support for Ludo - remember folks, the contraception thing is up in the air because a teaching is not a teaching till it is generally received, not just promulgated. And it isnt clear that the contraception one has been (harrumping loud male conservatives making up a minority of people receiving it, exactly because of their minute numbers, are irrelevant). Contraception might have a long history of being condemned, but it was always in the mix with magical practices or abortifacients; contraception as pill is new (as is permissibility of periodic continence to avoid pregnancy, if you dont mind).

It isnt clear that some excusability if not exculpation of contraception isnt prudent to fulfill our 'duty of responsible parenthood' (Hum Vit) given that we now engage in the artificial practices of washing our hands and sterilising medical equipment etc, which when combined with the standard human ability to control our innate drives and emotions (ie pretty fragile) leads to much much high survival rates of children into adulthood now. If eveyone formed marriages on the previous centuries' patterns with no contraception, but clean water, sanitation practices etc, we would have a population at least doubling and possibly tripling 25 years. And thats without starting on the facts around the social and cultural formation of children is far more expensive and advanced than it was even a century ago.

I can see the point of Hum. Vit. 'through a glass darkly', and I think much of the liberal reaction against it is shallow and smug, but lets be honest: its actual acceptance and therefore infallible status is far more ricketty and contested than what the conservatives want to say.

I suspect we would need the horrible consequences of totally dehumanised and artificialised-sexuality to be far more 'in your face' or alternatively a civilisational population collapse (ie a pandemic or something) to get normal western people to see the wisdom of the Church's more general commitment to Life and Nature against perverse manipulation of everything - including the bodily self. But given how shaky the dogmatic status of the 'dogma' is, going squishy on it while keeping the rest of the Church's teaching up and going is probably more prudent. Soft pedal it and excuse it till there is a crisis, then say 'we have always taught that...'.
Its odd - the debate on contraception among theologians is like 13-14th century debates on the immaculate conception, but the dogmatic position on it, if we believe the Conservatives, is more like the 19th century on the immaculate conception...they want to jamb the fingers slamming the door closed on a debate still in progress....

So while I disagree with the liberal view of Ludo on this, he is more like Aquinas on the immaculate conception (ie a denier but a legit/excusable one at this stage of history) than a malicious and toxic one.

Look forward to the Traddie Avenger response from you, Kate!

Kate Edwards said...

Yes you are quite right Joshua, I shouldn't have passed Ludovico's second comment. I'll delete it forthwith.

R J said...

There isn't a need to delete attacks on me; I'm a tough old so-and-so. If I can survive, as I did survive, the experience of Hal Colebatch repeatedly defaming me some years back - Mr Colebatch's own intellectual and moral calibre being most clearly perceptible in his deathless couplet "Watching women pull the trigger / It's funny how their nipples get bigger" (Quadrant, June 2008) - I dare say I can tolerate whatever Ludovico might wish to throw in my direction.

Bear said...

If one accepts Carob Moll's statement "a teaching is not a teaching till it is generally received", then everything is up in the air. For example, the Immaculate Conception - many of the early fathers explicitly deny it, St Thomas Aquinas argues against it &c.

Where do we stop? Every teaching had opponents who did not accept the teaching.

There are also some other considerations: for example, if a statement is a logical consequence of earlier teachings, then it may be safe to assume that it is also a teaching - even if it is not generally accepted.

There is also things that must be true in order for some teachings to be true. These may also be considered to be teaching.

As for contraception - there is a long history on this one (and apposite to the original blog post). In the dark days of the 1960s, many "liberal" theologians decided that there was nothing wrong with contraception and emphasised the act of union. However, with the possibility of conception removed as normative, they could no longer distinguish between marital sex and sex in other contexts - and some ended up accepting homosexual sex as being morally acceptable.

Yes, this is a simplified argument, but the comments on Kate's blog is probably not the best forum to have a full argument.

Kate Edwards said...

I deleted Ludovico's comment mainly for an ad hominem on Ordinariate priests (and apologies for letting it through), and one gratuitous through away line. Please folks, keep to the issues, not people.

Here is an edited version of the comment in the interests of the debate, which I'm happy to have here:

RE the question about discursive Christianity: here's something to get you started --


The Pill was the new development that prompted the need for issuing Humanae Vitae. It wasn't about upholding eternal verities so much as the need to answer new circumstances. The net effect has been the limitation of the Church's ability to allow its teaching to evolve over time.

Now, the question surely has to be what constitutes an infallible teaching. If it were simply a matter of asserting over and over again things that one happens to agree with, then we might as well be members of that friendly free-for-all we know as the Uniting Church. Whether Humanae Vitae is to be regarded as infallible has been disputed since it appeared, and has resulted in some very contorted reasoning about the place of the Pope in (Roman) Catholic polity. Since we're all friends of JH Newman here, it might be good to begin with his starting point, remembering that he regarded the 1870 attempt to give the Pope an unanswerable teaching authority with skepticism. Newman the historian of doctrine saw the danger of every small Papal utterance being given overwhelming significance.

I would argue that the classic twentieth century application of infallible teaching is more likely to be the declaration of the Marian dogma in 1950. It is the only occasion in the last century where the procedure of Pastor Aeternus has been followed precisely.

There are many aspects of our politics that boil down to a nihilistic zero-sum game, yet we hear little of the Church's social teaching being presented in a comprehensible and convincing way. Instead, the perception is that most devout Catholics are simply opposed to birth control. Is this a good perception to live with? Or does the Faith have more to offer than bioethics?

I notice that Joshua has an extensive discussion of the liturgical niceties of the Ordinariate on his blog today. To me this is all fine and good, but there is a fundamental question that seems not to be asked here [edited....]
What good is beautiful liturgy if it does not connect us to the corporate acts of mercy, or at least volunteering at the Vinnies on more than an occasional basis?

Kate Edwards said...

For what it is worth, I think neither Carob Moll nor Ludovico have grasped the Catholic position.

The first commandment is to love God with all our hearts and minds - which is why worship comes first. Our connection to others, our duty to neighbour, flows from God's creative active and man's co-creative cooperation with him in marriage. It is the liturgy that binds us together to recognise this, and so serves as the source and summit of our lives.

This is why Pope Benedict, in his last Encyclical, made it clear that life issues are not separate from the Churches social teaching, but rather the very core of it: if we don't treasure human life, all our 'charitable' effort is soulless, empty gestures.

Christ's injunction to the Apostles was to go and baptise and teach the Gospel, not just to go do good works!

As for whether the teaching on all forms of birth control is infallible, yes it clearly is. If you actually read Vatican I's requirements and then read the wording around the conclusion in HV, it is clear cut.

Nor can the concept of the sensus fidei be reduced to a simple notion of 'reception' of teachings at any particular point in time.

The reality is that the Churches teaching on contraception (and homosexuality) has been consistent down the ages, and was deeply counter-cultural to the Roman culture it was preached in - there is a famous second century letter which articulates this. And the reality is that we are now back to pagan times in terms of the surrounding culture.

In my view, a lot of the problem has been the handling of the issues by the Church. The reality is that there was nothing that different about the pill except its effectiveness and ease of use - applying all the traditional categories of catholic morality such as objective, circumstances etc would give a simple answer, viz no!

But Catholic teaching in the early 60s was undermined by a series of things: the US bishops catechism of the time which implied contraception was alright instead of reiterating the traditional position; the establishment of a theological commission to look at the subject, which implied there was doubt; and the leak of the report which undermined HV before it even came out.

And then HV itself wasn't, in my view, argued in very compelling terms - I've seen arguments that the problem was internal Vatican battles on what to say.

The biggest problem of all though, was that instead of defending HV firmly, the Church allowed outright dissent, and for a decade or more waffled about just how binding it was (the Australian bishops for example put out a 1974 guidelines implying dissent was possible - they were subsequently, a few years later, forced to issue a clarification, but the damage was done).

A hard line position could, perhaps, have caused a huge walk out back then - though one might hope that the medicine of ex communication would have saved some. The reality is though, a short sharp bit of pain would have been healthier, in my view, than the long attrition we have suffered instead, and the damaging phenomena of those who claim to be 'devout Catholics' but in reality reject the Churches teachings.

Carob Moll said...

Bear: once the IC is proclaimed after centuries of debate, everyone falls into line or exits. But my point is that was after centuries of debate, and crystal clear declarations on it. These didnt happen for HV [yet]. We stop at different points of history. My catholic people in my place might stop further than yours. General acceptance of ecumenical councils, that keeps a reality of communion.
The problems some theologians have in a particular decades isnt the point - some things take decades or centuries to settle. This includes working out lines of implication (both of entailment and of presupposition).

End of Humanae Vitae:
31. Venerable brothers, beloved sons, all men of good will, great indeed is the work of education, of progress and of charity to which We now summon all of you. And this We do relying on the unshakable teaching of the Church, which teaching Peter's successor together with his brothers in the Catholic episcopate faithfully guards and interprets. And We are convinced that this truly great work will bring blessings both on the world and on the Church....

This bears no serious comparison to the 'declarationese' in the 1854 encyclical. The unshakeable teaching is relied on to formulate imperatives that are contestible, but there is an association waved around here to give some red meat to the right wing. If HV was infallible, why did the bishops etc allow wriggle room? Why didnt they use the templates for it like 1854? The non-infallible case is the only one that makes sense of the historical choices by Paul VI unless we impute gross failure to the whole doctrinal system. Kate's notion that the Papacy delivered an infallible but the bishops and world didnt notice/care/subverted it is not really helpful from the POV of charity, nor just from the point of knowable public facts. Whats the use of the magisterium if it is this cloudy (again, contrast with the universality and non-ambiguity of 1854).

To Kate's comments: Roman counterculturality of contraception not strictly relevant because of magic/witchery/secular-science confusions at the time (again, sigh)....
To your point that it wasnt argued in compelling terms - isnt that telling, that they argued for it, rather than noting universality of it and pronouncing on it? Isnt that a bit strange? It has to be a bit more significant than a bad day at the office.
Note refusal to deal with it at Vat. II exactly because the bishops weren't sure at the time.
The infallibility claim has all the marks of a bit of retrospection...
Again, I happen to agree with HV, and I think it was prescient, but Im not sure its passed the hurdles to get to infallibility that you think it has. The church is still a bit like it was in the medieval days re gallicanism - it is part-romanist part-gallicanist part-ultramontanist-'SuperPapacy'ist, and it took centuries to work out and solidify the differences (or, for that matter, medieval debates on Immac. Conc.) Probably not a resolution process you can hasten along.

So I [happen to] agree with HV, but I dont think its been locked down by HV.

Carob Moll said...

Here's some texts with my comments [] - HV compared to the 1854 texts. Read and weep traddies -

UBI PRIMUM (1849):
Our Predecessor of happy memory, there was in the entire Catholic world a most ardent and wondrous revival of the desire that the most holy Mother of God—the beloved Mother of us all, the immaculate Virgin Mary—be finally declared by a solemn definition of the Church to have been conceived without the stain of original sin....[no equivalent groundswell for HV]

Accordingly, We have appointed certain priests of recognized piety and theological learning, as well as several cardinals of the Holy Roman Church who are renowned because of their ability, piety, wisdom, prudence, and knowledge of the things of God; and We have directed them to make, carefully and thoroughly, a most diligent examination into this most important matter and then provide Us with a complete report.
[Paul VI did this for HV, and it told him to permit contraception under special conditions, so no analogy here].
Through such a procedure, We feel that We are following in the clearly marked footsteps of Our Predecessors and that We are emulating their example....
[If HV had followed this method to the end, HV would have been different...].

[Then note the lockdown on further disputation under any form questioning it - this is NOTHING like HV - read and weep traddies!]
"And therefore, against all and everyone of those who shall continue to construe the said Constitutions and Decrees in a manner apt to frustrate the favor which is thereby given to the said doctrine, and to the feast and relative veneration, or who shall dare to call into question the said sentence, feast and worship, or in any way whatever, directly or indirectly, shall declare themselves opposed to it under any pretext whatsoever, were it but only to the extent of examining the possibilities of effecting the definition, or who shall comment upon and interpret the Sacred Scripture, or the Fathers or Doctors in connection therewith, or finally, for any reason, or on any occasion, shall dare, either in writing or verbally, to speak, preach, treat, dispute or determine upon, or assert whatsoever against the foregoing matters, or who shall adduce any arguments against them, while leaving them unresolved, or who shall disagree therewith in any other conceivable manner, we hereby declare that in addition to the penalties and censures contained in the Constitutions issued by Sixtus IV to which we want them to be subjected and to which we subject them by the present Constitution, we hereby decree that they be deprived of the authority of preaching, reading in public, that is to say teaching and interpreting...

[Nothing like this in HV]
[The defining promulgation, of a sort absent from HV:]
"We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception…was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful."[29] Hence, if anyone shall dare -- which God forbid! -- to think otherwise than as has been defined by us, let him know and understand that he is condemned by his own judgment; that he has suffered shipwreck in the faith; that he has separated from the unity of the Church; and that, furthermore, by his own action he incurs the penalties established by law if he should are to express in words or writing or by any other outward means the errors he think in his heart.
[No shipwrecks or separation from unity in HV. They had the 1854 text as a paradigm, so was their decision not to use it a deliberate marker that they were not doing the same thing?].

Kate Edwards said...


The test is not whether Paul VI followed the template used for earlier infallible declarations, but whether it follows the forms required by Vatican I, viz asserting that the Pope is teaching 'in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church...'.

You've skipped to the last para of HV - look a little earlier!

Does he say it is a divine teaching that cannot be altered by the Church? Yes. Does he say he is teaching as supreme shepherd, and settling a disputed question? Absolutely.

Indeed he devotes several paras, hence that last one you quoted, to the likely rejection of the teaching, but notes that:

"Since the Church did not make either of these laws, she cannot be their arbiter—only their guardian and interpreter. It could never be right for her to declare lawful what is in fact unlawful, since that, by its very nature, is always opposed to the true good of man...The teaching of the Church regarding the proper regulation of birth is a promulgation of the law of God Himself..."

Would it have been a good idea to include a clear anathema? Perhaps.

But the charism that protects popes protects them from teaching error, it doesn't protect them against making poor pastoral decisions, or even failing to teach alas!

And to bring it back to the current debate, the teaching on the Church on homosexual acts and the nature of marriage is crystal clear.

What has changed that such that we should suddenly endorse sin and undermine the institutions that are the basis of society? In reality absolutely nothing but man's sensibilities.

In the Novus Ordo lectionary last week we read the classic example of 'reception' of Christ's teaching, viz St John's Bread of Life discourse, which caused a mass exodus of Jesus' followers.

Yet we too are called to answer Christ's question in the face of 'hard sayings', when he asks, will you too leave me, and say with Peter, Lord, where else can we go - for you have the words of eternal life.