Archive for February, 2012

Catholic Teaching on Birth Control

February 15, 2012

Birth control,

In 1968 Pope Paul V1 against the majority of his advisers issued a letter ( encyclical entitled Humanae vitae, of  Human Life) in which he asserted that every act of intercourse must be open to new life meaning no birth control by artificial means.  The letter while authoritative was not infallible as the pope himself pointed out.  Many Catholics including theologians and priests dissented from the teaching.  Then bishops in  national  conferences intervened but they too were divided: some agreed with the pope others stressed the legitimacy of dissent.

 The Belgian bishops wrote: “If someone competent in the matter and capable of forming a well founded judgment—which necessarily supposes sufficient information—after serious investigation, before God, reaches different conclusions on certain points, he has the right to follow his convictions in this matter, provided that he remains disposed to continue his investigations.”

A majority of Catholic couples follow their consciences in electing to practice contraception and a majority of moral theologians accept the legitimacy of this practice.  The  Belgians Bishops, Catholic faithful and theologians are part of the People of God, namely the Church, and what they advocate is Church teaching also.

What is called ‘fundamental Catholic teaching’ has now changed.