National Catholic Reporter
The Independent Newsweekly
Issue Date:  November 21, 2003

Bishops to develop birth control brochure

If the number of bishops who rise to speak in favor of a proposal at their semiannual meetings is a test of popularity, then few ideas were as welcome as a proposal to produce a brochure explaining the church’s position on artificial birth control, explicitly linking it to “the culture of life.”

The idea, said Denver archbishop and outgoing chairman of the bishops’ pro-life committee Charles Chaput, is to produce an “educational resource” that puts church teaching “in a positive and appealing way.”

Chaput acknowledged that the overwhelming majority of Catholic couples of childbearing age employ contraceptive means condemned by the church. That fact, said Chaput, underscores the need to provide Catholics “with a fuller understanding of the teaching itself.”

Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae called on Catholics to reject a “contraceptive mentality” and called use of artificial means of contraception a sin. Church teaching calls on Catholics who desire to regulate the size of their families to employ Natural Family Planning methods.

Bishop Joseph Galante, coadjutor in Dallas, urged that the brochure “bring out the positive values that natural family planning brings to the unity of husband and wife, to the strength of the family, and to how married couples can grow in grace [with] their adherence to something very much in keeping with God’s plan.”

Bishop Allen Vigneron of Oakland, Calif., linked the proposal to the clergy sex abuse crisis. “We don’t have a problem of priestly vocations,” said Vigneron. “We have a problem of all vocations.” He said the brochure would encourage Catholic couples to be true to their “vocation of marriage.”

-- Joe Feuerherd

National Catholic Reporter, November 21, 2003

This Week's Stories | Home Page | Top of Page
Copyright  © The National Catholic Reporter Publishing  Company, 115 E. Armour Blvd., Kansas City, MO   64111
All rights reserved.
TEL:  816-531-0538     FAX:  1-816-968-2280   Send comments about this Web site to: