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Vatican criticises 'ambiguities' of Spanish theologian

A Spanish theologian has agreed to a Vatican demand that he revise several of his books on moral theology in order to emphasise the Catholic Church's official position on contraception, homosexuality, masturbation, abortion and other issues.

According to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Redemptorist Fr Marciano Vidal, a professor at Madrid's Higher Institute of Moral Sciences, maintains for example "that the doctrine of the Church on homosexuality ... does not have sufficient biblical foundation and suffers from serious conditioning and ambiguities."

The Congregation concluded: "These moral judgments are not compatible with Catholic doctrine, which hold a perfectly clear and firm appreciation on the objective morality of sexual relations between persons of the same sex."

According to the document, the fundamental problem is that, in Fr Vidal's view, Christianity offers an "influence," a "context," an "orientation," a "new ambit of reference" for morality, but the revelation of God in Christ does not represent concrete ethical norms.

The problematic texts include Morality of Attitudes and Dictionary of Theological Ethics, texts used in moral theology classes in some seminaries of Spain, Latin America and Italy.

The Congregation said its four-year investigation and the notification do not reflect a judgment on Father Vidal or his ministry, but only on the three books.

The Congregation had numerous official contacts with the Fr Vidal over the last four years, in order to clarify his views. It noted that he was cooperative during the process.