In defense of the Catholic Church

Among many mistaken claims that have been made in the last few weeks, one is that according to many in … Continued

Among many mistaken claims that have been made in the last few weeks, one is that according to many in the media, I do not exist.  Nor do many of my friends.

Who am I?  A single, chaste, Catholic woman who has studied to understand church teaching on contraception, and finds herself happy as she freely lives out that teaching. 

Who are many of my friends?  Catholic parents who use natural family planning to space their children or avoid pregnancy altogether at times for good reasons. They claim— it seems justifiably—that self-control is their birth control. These men and women never claim that it is easy to raise a family in today’s world, but they do so with love.  Most of the critics of natural family planning have never tried it.  Others have tried it and found it difficult.

Jon O’Brien’s recent piece entitled, “Did the bishops forget about women?” was particularly striking.  They have not forgotten me, Mr. O’Brien.

I understand that most people in America, including Catholics, have a hard time believing or understanding that contraception hurts them and their marriages.  This is a bigger issue and one that I will not take on right now; but I would suggest that the church has many reasons for this controversial position, which it has held firmly after Protestants abandoned it in 1930 and even after it was urged from within the church in the 1960s to change the teaching.  Blessed Pope John Paul II proclaimed it time and again.  Blessed Mother Teresa advocated NFP at the National Prayer Breakfast in 1994, among other places, and she taught the poor and illiterate how to read the signs of fertility in their bodies.  If anyone were to be immune from O’Brien’s criticism that the church needs to “meet people where they already are and find out what they need,” surely it was she.  Perhaps a woman seeking contraception needs more than birth control pills.  She needs compassion and love that calls her to a different kind of life— a life in which she does not have to fear conceiving a child.

O’Brien’s piece suggests that the bishops of the Catholic Church are a self-enclosed group of men who do not speak to or for the “real” Catholics out there in the world.  This is simply not true and I appreciate this opportunity to set the record straight.  I have worked with bishops in various capacities for years and have always been treated with respect.  I have worked at the USCCB, the Archdiocese of Washington, and now I teach at a Catholic high school.  Bishops have women on their staffs and seek them out for advice and counsel on issues; Cardinal Wuerl in particular believes strongly in collaboration.

Bishops are not CEO’s; they are stand-ins for Christ.  The relation of a bishop to the people is not analogous to any ‘power’ relationships in the secular world.  They are human and prone to mistakes, but they are also a way that God speaks to the world.  Bishops serve lay Catholics by standing up for our beliefs, as they are doing now.  I am glad that when the world wants to know “what Catholics think” there is a clear way to find out.  I am grateful for the leadership of our bishops in these recent weeks. 

O’Brien writes that on contraception, as on all matters of morality, “while the church may teach, the individual’s conscience must decide.”  As any student in my class could tell you, the conscience can make mistakes and must be formed correctly.  When your own conscience leads you to form a belief contrary to centuries of consistent teaching, it is at least worth a moment of self-doubt, prayer and reflection to examine that clash.

O’Brien ends with a poetic line asserting that the conscience is, “quietly, assuredly, directing ordinary people in the sacred task of living everyday life.” This is precisely what the bishops are pointing out: that living each day is a sacred task.  For this reason, the conscience of all men and women should be respected.  No one in America should be forced to do something that he or she believes is morally wrong.  It is that simple.  The current presidential administration is doing exactly what it claims is wrong: imposing its beliefs on others.  

I am proud of my church, and proud of Catholics who are speaking out all over America—men and women— in favor of conscience protection. My church is not afraid of difficulty, hardship or cultural clashes. We’ve been around long enough to know that the mission of Christ in the world is not easy and is not always understood.  For this reason, we need a dialogue partner who is willing to truly listen. 

About

  • nkri401

    Sara Perla,

    “I am proud of my church, and proud of Catholics who are speaking out all over America”

    Well, I am proud of the my church, too so better be careful not to insult my church, else, I will have to punch you out for insulting my God.

    See where will this “pride” lead?

    BTW, isn’t “pride” one of the deadly sins?

  • ccnl1

    WARNING!!! WARNING!!! WARNING!!!

    To all overse-xed h-o-mo-sapiens:

    : The failures of the widely used birth “control” methods i.e. the Pill ( 8.7% failure rate) and male con-dom (17.4% failure rate) have led to the large rate of abortions and S-TDs in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or co-ndoms properly and/or use safer methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.- Failure rate statistics provided by the Gut-tmacher Inst-itute.

    Added information before making your next move:
    from the CDC-2006

    “Se-xually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain a major public health challenge in the United States. While substantial progress has been made in preventing, diagnosing, and treating certain S-TDs in recent years, CDC estimates that approximately 19 million new infections occur each year, almost half of them among young people ages 15 to 24.1 In addition to the physical and psy-ch-ological consequences of S-TDs, these diseases also exact a tremendous economic toll. Direct medical costs as-sociated with STDs in the United States are estimated at up to $14.7 billion annually in 2006 dollars.”

    And from:

    Consumer Reports, January, 2012

    “Yes, or-al se-x is se-x, and it can boost cancer risk-
    Here’s a crucial message for teens (and all se-xually active “post-teeners”: Or-al se-x carries many of the same risks as va-ginal se-x, including human papilloma virus, or HPV. And HPV may now be overtaking tobacco as the leading cause of or-al cancers in America in people under age 50.

    “Adolescents don’t think or-al se-x is something to worry about,” said Bonnie Halpern-Felsher professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. “They view it as a way to have intimacy without having ‘s-ex.’” (It should be called the Bill Clinton Syndrome !!)

    Obviously, Planned Parenthood, parents and educational system have failed miserably on many fronts.

    Note: Some words hyphenated in order to defeat an obviou

  • DCDenver

    Hear, hear! Very well put, and articulately addresses some of the fundamental concerns re the HHS issue. I am disappointed, though, in the arrogant dismissiveness that pervades some of the comments to this piece and in other forums that discuss this issue that, regardless of our belief, is very important to many; now that’s a core tenet upon which I’m sure we can all agree.

  • jmoran54321

    YES! THANK YOU! I too was a single, chaste, Catholic woman and am now a happily married Catholic woman who loves the Catholic church’s teaching on contraception and freely lives out that teaching. I also have protestant friends who joyously live this way as well. God bless

  • nkri401

    I was not “chaste”. I am neither a Catholic nor a Protestant either; yet I am happily married with wonderful children that are free to think for themselves and be considerate of others.

    Be blessed by the God of your choice.

  • nkri401

    If you tell me what I can or cannot do/get based on your religious belief, why do you not expect a blow back?

    For example, if I clean the Catholic Church toilet, why should I be less entitled to the labor law protection than I cleaned the toilet at the Capitol Building?

    Do you think Catholic Church toilet stinks less?

  • CDP0909

    No one is telling you what you can or cannot do; we just don’t want to pay for it. Ms. Perla is explaining a bit about the teaching on contraception to help those who, in good faith, simply don’t understand it. She’s not saying that non-Catholics must comply. As Catholics, we just don’t want to be compelled to pay for others’ choices to use contraception.

  • Secular1

    CDP0909, you give up or compromize for the common good and tranquility. It is an unwritten social contract that employers provide (in this country) healthcare for the employees. We could have gotten rid of that couple of years ago, instead we reinforced it with the health care law of 2010. That too was a compromise. The mormons of 19th century sincerely believed that polygamy was their moral obligation, but then US of A passed laws banning polygamy. Wasn’t that a big abridgement of the mormon religious freedom. In fact the members of the FLDS, are in you words, persecuted for the free exercise of their religious beliefs. Would you like to repeal that law, and how vocally are you protesting that?

    Let me ask you another question, under isalm smoking, drinking and consumption of pork are proscribed. So do you think it would be alright for a muslim employer or for that matter as Mosque were to stipulate that insurance coverage they provide will not pay for any diseases caused by smoking, drinking or due to consumption of pork . As, the employer is not necessarily asking you not to do those things except that they feel they cannot pay for the health problems caused by those things that their religion prohibits. Think about it, what if jewish employers take such leave on any non-kosher foods causing diseases.

  • Secular1

    CDP0909, you give up or compromize for the common good and tranquility. It is an unwritten social contract that employers provide (in this country) healthcare for the employees. We could have gotten rid of that couple of years ago, instead we reinforced it with the health care law of 2010. That too was a compromise. The mormons of 19th century sincerely believed that polygamy was their moral obligation, but then US of A passed laws banning polygamy. Wasn’t that a big abridgement of the mormon religious freedom. In fact the members of the FLDS, are in you words, persecuted for the free exercise of their religious beliefs. Would you like to repeal that law, and how vocally are you protesting that?

    Let me ask you another question, under isalm smoking, drinking and consumption of pork are proscribed. So do you think it would be alright for a muslim employer or for that matter as Mosque were to stipulate that insurance coverage they provide will not pay for any diseases caused by smoking, drinking or due to consumption of pork . As, the employer is not necessarily asking you not to do those things except that they feel they cannot pay for the health problems caused by those things that their religion prohibits. Think about it, what if jewish employers take such leave on any non-kosher foods causing diseases.

  • nkri401

    CDP0909,

    No one is forcing you to ride a bus; but if you do, then you must sit in the back – again, I am not forcing you to ride the bus.

    Do you see any parallel to your thinking?

    BTW – you are not paying for my contraceptive; you are paying for my service.

  • nkri401

    CDP0909,

    “NFP is the more moral option because it does not in any way interfere with the natural results of sex, nor with the act itself. ”

    Am I to understand that Viagra is also less than moral as it also interferes with the act itself?

  • rh8507a

    From the Catholic Church’s teaching, yes. There are natural herbal and plant aphrodisiacs, many of which are centuries old and still considered safe for use today. Any artificial means of birth control or performance enhancer is believed to take away from the fullness and natural process of the marital union. I’m saying this as a former Catholic, an Orthodox Christian now- and the Church’s positions are almost identical.

  • FreetoThink

    Actually, Viagra isn’t an aphrodisiac. It doesn’t stimulate a man to have sex, it enables him to do so. But even if it were an aphrodisiac, I fail to see the moral distinciton between taking a pill and taking a pinch of dried tiger bone. The pill might be better; we’re running out of tigers.

  • ccnl1

    “Yes, or-al se-x is se-x, and it can boost cancer risk-

    Here’s a crucial message for teens (and all se-xually active “post-teeners”: Or-al se-x carries many of the same risks as va-ginal se-x, including human papilloma virus, or HPV. And HPV may now be overtaking tobacco as the leading cause of or-al cancers in America in people under age 50.

    “Adolescents don’t think or-al se-x is something to worry about,” said Bonnie Halpern-Felsher professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. “They view it as a way to have intimacy without having ‘s-ex.’” (It should be called the Bill Clinton Syndrome !!)

    Obviously, Planned Parenthood, parents and the educational system have failed miserably on many fronts.

    Note: Some words hyphenated in order to defeat an obvious word filter

  • nkri401

    rh8507a,

    Do you see why some of us would rather not subscribe to Catholic teaching?

  • DCDenver

    Nkri401 – you are confusing the issue profoundly. First, the only “rights” which are being truncated here are those of religious practice. All labor rights are preserved; and of those there is no “right” to contraception/sterilization/abortive medications – these drugs are used for convenience and lifestyle choices, not for some critical health issue. Second, the laborer in your example retains the right to work anywhere. If securing coverage for such drugs/procedures is of paramount importance, then select your employer appropriately. Lastly, I can see with your toilet bowl example that you took my “respect” suggestion to heart. Well done. (Ps. In full disclosure, I have actually been supportive of various policies put forth by the Obama administration in the past; this policy, however, violates such fundamental freedoms that it acts as an affront on our founding rights upon which this country was built and must always be preserved.

  • amelia45

    I am happy that you are happy with the life you have chosen. It is good to hear from someone who has chosen to live as a fully practicing member of the Church – if just to hear the other side. But you have chosen what suits who you are, how you want to live, what you see God requiring of you.

    Other people have other wants. That is why so many Catholic women choose birth control – they are not you. One of the problems with Catholicism is its’ cookie cutter approach to what life is and who women are – we don’t all fit the mold, we want different things, we are called to give our God given gifts in ways the Church does not factor into its rules on birth control.

    Both my mother and grandmother chose tubal ligations after bearing many children, based on the advice of their doctors. Their priests said the Church would not approve. Both looked at the children they had and loved, the husbands they loved, and chose sterilization. What the Church would demand is that they risk their lives or give up sex with their husbands. There really is no excuse for that.

    I have read more of the Natural Family Planning methods that make me think it is much more reliable than the older versions. Perhaps women who are healthy and open to having children might find it a good alternative to chemical contraceptives. However, those who don’t have the discipline or self-control or the inclination to risk having a child before being ready, need to think carefully about relying exclusively on it.

  • amelia45

    In Catholic teaching, evil is not committed unless it is intended to accomplish evil. An accident causing injury is not evil, just an accident. Intention is necessary for evil to occur.

    The Catholic faith teaches that each sexual act should be open to the possibility of creating life. NFP is an intentional action to deny the possibility of sex leading to pregnancy. It is deliberate, intentional, avoidance of pregnancy while engaging in sexual activity.

    The Catholic Church doesn’t explain why NFP is okay because they can’t. There is nothing in Catholic teaching about The Pill or a condom being inherently evil. Neither one is inherently anything, they are without conscience. They are evil only when used for evil purposes, and then it is not the object that is evil, it is the person using it with evil intent. Taking The Pill to cure a medical condition is acceptable, even if a side effect is that the woman can engage in sexual activity without fear of pregnancy. What is against Church teaching is using The Pill or a condom to avoid pregnancy when engaging in sexual activity.

    NFP is as evil as The Pill or a condom when used to avoid the possibility of pregnancy when engaging in sexual activity.

    And that is why so many Catholic women just ignore the bishops on the whole crazy subject. Their story is full of holes.

  • CDP0909

    Secular1:
    The Mormon example is a challenging one, and I’ve thought about it too. It is mitigated by the fact that the LDS church itself has banned the practice of polygamy, so the FLDS people are actually apostates from their own church. Not to mention the fact that at the time polygamy was banned by the U.S. government, during the 19th century, the Mormon faith was brand-new, and was not really considered a serious religion.

    The other example is also interesting, but far less valid. First, name me an Islamic institution in the United States dedicated to social services for people outside the Islamic faith. I’m not sure if such a thing exists. So under the restrictions of the mandate as it currently exists (it was published in the Federal Register, by the way, without the “compromise” promised by President Obama on February 17), Islamic schools, mosques, etc, WOULD be able to limit insurance coverage exactly as you describe because they serve only members of their own faith, unlike Catholic hospitals and charities, which serve all.

    Here’s another problem. You’re quite right that smoking, drinking, and excessive consumption of pork products can cause disease. What disease is treated by contraceptive drugs and devices? Pregnancy? Fertility? Not diseases. I know that some women have found relief from PCOS and endometriosis with use of hormonal contraceptives, but that doesn’t convince me that those drugs need to be made available with no co-pay. I don’t see a push to insist that insulin, or digitalis, or any other necessary drug, has to be free for all. Hormonal contraceptives cause more diseases than they cure. There has been a 660 percent increase in the incidence of breast cancer in this country since 1973, and even the World Health Organization has classified oral contraceptives as carcinogens. The mandate is a huge gift to big pharma, and no benefit at all for “women’s health”. I speak not only as a Catholic, but as a woman who is insulted by

  • Secular1

    Cdp0909 you say, “The Mormon example is a challenging one, and I’ve thought about it too. It is mitigated by the fact that the LDS church itself has banned the practice of polygamy, so the FLDS people are actually apostates from their own church.” Did you ever stop to ask if LDS banned the practice before or after teh law was passed and how much coercioin there was before the so called elders of LDS banned it? Did you ever stop to wonder, how a practice is moral, & pious one day and a taboo the very next day, as prescribed by any church? So LDS bans it and that should be the last word on that. is it? What if the elders made up the crap to curry favor with the government, in that isn’t the LDS that is really renegade? Even otherwise do you doubt the sincereity of the FLDS folks? So aren’t their 1st amendment rights being trampled?

    The you go on to babble, “Not to mention the fact that at the time polygamy was banned by the U.S. government, during the 19th century, the Mormon faith was brand-new, and was not really considered a serious religion. ” Is there any limit to your rationalizations ? Is there some kind of age of the faith that gives it certain priveleges over the new ones? By that criteria why were the Peyote smoking ruled against by SCOTUS? In thes case there wasn’t any conflict between native amerivans’ right to smoke and anyone else.

    Regarding teh Muslim example there are many a disease that are caused by smoking & drinking., so in your judgement a muslim employer should be allowed to offer restrictive healthcare that does not cover those ailments? You are trying stand behind a fig leaf that there are no muslim mosques that emply non-muslims. What if there were a smoking or drinking muslim working there then they do not need the protections of these United States? Laws of teh land are not menat to cover only things that yoan imagine and not cove tu ching that you cannot imagine. We live in 21st century, we are not living in the medieval Europe w

  • Secular1

    Cdp0909 you say, “The Mormon example is a challenging one, and I’ve thought about it too. It is mitigated by the fact that the LDS church itself has banned the practice of polygamy, so the FLDS people are actually apostates from their own church.” Did you ever stop to ask if LDS banned the practice before or after teh law was passed and how much coercioin there was before the so called elders of LDS banned it? Did you ever stop to wonder, how a practice is moral, & pious one day and a taboo the very next day, as prescribed by any church? So LDS bans it and that should be the last word on that. is it? What if the elders made up the crap to curry favor with the government, in that isn’t the LDS that is really renegade? Even otherwise do you doubt the sincereity of the FLDS folks? So aren’t their 1st amendment rights being trampled?

    The you go on to babble, “Not to mention the fact that at the time polygamy was banned by the U.S. government, during the 19th century, the Mormon faith was brand-new, and was not really considered a serious religion. ” Is there any limit to your rationalizations ? Is there some kind of age of the faith that gives it certain priveleges over the new ones? By that criteria why were the Peyote smoking ruled against by SCOTUS? In thes case there wasn’t any conflict between native amerivans’ right to smoke and anyone else.

    Regarding teh Muslim example there are many a disease that are caused by smoking & drinking., so in your judgement a muslim employer should be allowed to offer restrictive healthcare that does not cover those ailments? You are trying stand behind a fig leaf that there are no muslim mosques that emply non-muslims. What if there were a smoking or drinking muslim working there then they do not need the protections of these United States? Laws of teh land are not menat to cover only things that yoan imagine and not cove tu ching that you cannot imagine. We live in 21st century, we are not living in the medieval Europe where they l

  • acripe24

    Come on think deeper. If we all claim to be open minded and compassionate, than listening to this woman’s perspective is a must. She is letting the world know that she has willfully choosen to believe what she believes and no one should be able to take that away from her because they think there ideoligies are better than hers. Obama has already given many exemptions to the HealthCare law over all, which this mandate is a part of, including the Amish, because of religious beliefs. So, why is the administration so hell bent on this mandate being forced on those that have religious objections to it? They favor some but not others? Really look into this before making frivolous comments.

  • catatonicjones

    Viagra and the other two ‘enhancers’ do nothing to start sexual excitement in men, what they do is inhibit the body’s ability to respond to the chemicals which the body uses to … .ahem, deflate the item in question.
    It certainly is not an aphrodisiac.

  • CDP0909

    I just re-read my response and I thought it was pretty reasonable. I don’t see anything that constitutes “babble” other than the fact that I disagree with you. I didn’t say that I thought that Muslim institutions SHOULD be able to deny coverage for conditions that result from drinking, smoking, or consumption of pork. I said that they WOULD be able to do so because the religious exemption applies to institutions which serve people of their own faith…which Muslim schools, community centers, and mosques generally do.

    You’re right, the LDS probably did change its teaching on polygamy as a response to government pressure. The Catholic church, though, hasn’t changed its teaching on contraception for 2,000 years. Until 1930, every Christian denomination adhered to that same teaching. You disagree, and that’s fine. No one in the Church is going to try to stop you from living as you choose. We just don’t want to be forced to pay for it.

    The example of Christian Science children is not valid in this case. When children are endangered by their parents, the state has a right to intervene, even if the reason is religious. I can’t find a single example in which the state has intervened in the case of an adult Christian Scientist who has refused medical treatment for religious reasons, but the state does have that right and responsibility when it comes to children.

    This is more than a religious freedom issue for me (although I freely admit that it’s mostly that). It’s also a reaction to the idea that pregnancy and fertility are diseases or “conditions” for which “preventive care” is necessary. My comments about the harmful effects of hormonal contraceptives were not based on speculation. The World Health Organization is not an organization sympathetic to the Catholic Church, so if even it admits that oral contraceptives are carcinogenic, then that information is probably worth considering. Visit the websites for the drugs themselves, and read of the potential s

  • Cassandra77

    Thank you for this article! I’m another Catholic woman who has studied the Church’s teaching on sexuality and the human person and found it to be profound, beautiful, and life-affirming. My husband and I have used NFP to avoid as well as achieve preganancy and find it to be a great blessing in our marriage.

  • Cgbrex

    Yes! I am a married Catholic woman and I use nfp to space my children. It requires discipline and self-control from both my husband and me. It is well worth the effort. Thank you for writing this!

  • Secular1

    Cdp0909, teh point I am making is if there were a Muslim College or hospital would you allow them to provide restrictive insurance coverages. Why do you think it is ok to prsecute FLDS members? Coming to teh RCC stand on birth control not changing in 200 years does not make it a legitimate. Why is it Ok to consume ce some chemicals to cure yourself but not to prevent pregnancy. In fact BC or NFP the goal is to thwart pregnancy. IF the end objective is OK, the why is the methods wrong. Under waht medical authority does RCC make these rulings? they should justrestrict themselves to selling delusions to the unfortunate who wish to drink their kool aid.

  • Secular1

    How do you justify NFP over BC, when the objective of both is to avoid pregnancy? Isn’t avoiding pregnancy despite fornication, the sin? NFP is just a fig leaf offered by your church. Logicaly speaking if copulation’s purpose is procreation then NFP is just as bad as BC. I do not subscribe to the view that fornication is for procreation only. That is the natural evolutionary mechanism for procreation. That does not me we should only abide by that natural mechanism. If that were the reigning rule then we shoudl not practice any medicine at all. Because it is the natures way to get rid of poorly adapted members of teh species and make the future generations well adapted. Your scripture is replete wit, as every other scripture, with absurd models of nature and natural phenomenon. Given that why would you put your trust in the pontifications of those who have Ph Ds in teh inanities of scripture.

  • jubilee1

    @secular 1: i think you missed the point that sex is unitive and procreative; we can come together for pleasure because God has only given us a 6-day window with which to conceive in any cycle so HE DOES not even intend for each marital act to conceive and it is not a sin to avoid a pregnancy for a just reason – the teaching is reasonable for married couples and we do NOT look at the ends only {to avoid a pregnancy}…
    –would you think abortion is a wrong way to avoid a pregnancy? that is a wrong MEANS to us. as is birth control, and nfp is an okay means{ see below for why}, and yes, you are right, the only other option IS abstinence -; the Anglicans and all protestants believed this, too, historically, and couples , some protestants, too, do rather abstain than offend God – we give it up many times ; i gave it up for months while on chemo..many live as ‘brother and sister’ so to not offend God – it is possible with God’s help
    –we believe that this UNBROKEN teaching is from God and these pontificates must be loyal to God, too – in genesis, someone was killed for doing “natural” withdrawal- that says to us that God does not like contracepting behavior – DOING something to A PARTICULAR SEX act ; nfp is DOING nothing ; we do not have sex to avoid the baby
    **- it seems you wish to understand – you are persevering in this discussion – God grant you graces to see this –
    –God will avenge the evil do-ers you seem so mad at; the psalms tell us that will be taken care of and a reputable news source like catholic league can tell you much has been done but only God will make it perfectly right one day – we also believe the Bible is God’s word and we are asked as baptized people to obey it.

  • jubilee1

    it is not the ‘catholicism’ that is the ‘problem’ – you are correct that it is someone’s discipline or self-control or inclinations that is the difficulty; God gives graces to do something that we are asked to do if we ask for that help // this is not easy to practice for ANY of us
    ** – we are asked by Jesus to ‘take up our crosses and follow in His Cross footsteps ‘ and ‘die-to-self”‘ and seek to be like Him // die to our wishes – have you read the Bible or the Catholic Catechism to see the reasonableness of what is asked by this teaching? It can help you

  • jubilee1

    i am not sure the orthodox answering above is the catholic view on viagra – the individual case may need exploring – would we give this to an unmarried sex offender? i believe it can be okay in some cases

  • jubilee1

    there actually ARE insurance groups that are co-ops and they will NOT insure smokers or cover promiscuous behaviors – it is THEIR money they pool and they can decide what they do with it, yes?- it is an interesting concept to explore: persons who take known risks with health also take care of the consequences; although charity would demand we help them but sometimes we are unable, like herpes…
    –makes me think it is kind of like unplanned pregnancies, too – why cover it up and kill the child for a decision the parents made? seems wrong to me; they ought to let the child live and give it up to an infertile couple; why are we not asked to be like responsible adults if we engage in adult behaviors like marital embraces?

  • amelia45

    I have. And I chose otherwise. As Joseph Ratzinger said: “Over the pope as the expression of the binding claim of ecclesiastical authority there still stands one’s own conscience, which must be obeyed before all else, if necessary even against the requirement of ecclesiastical authority.”

    What is so dangerous about following the Church without careful consideration is that women actually do die from having too many children or children late in life. Some women are just fine – and some women die. I resent the Church’s willingness to coerce women to risk their lives, although I respect the right of each woman to make a choice for herself. The Church teaching should be an “ideal” but not a sign of “intrinsic evil” for choosing otherwise.

  • Secular1

    Jubilee1, I am well awar of that stupid lame story as the basis of this current pontification by the RCC on BC. If we take the story of Tamar as the basis, then we should also surmise that it is ok for the father-in-law lay th epipe on his daughter-in-law as long as he pays for it from the same story. Then from the story of Dinah, it should be Ok to practice honor killings. In both cases the sky daddy did not strike Simeon and Levi to death nor did he strike JUdah to death, unlike Onan who was stricken to death for coitus interruptus. So it is clear coitus interruptus kill the pond scum. Honor killing slap in the wrist, incest just look teh other way. Ther you go the lessons from that filthy racist bigoted book written by bigoted ingnorant ancients.

  • TopTurtle

    You understand your church’s teachings on contraception? Maybe you could explain them, then. As far as I can tell, there are no reasonable arguments against contraception.

  • BarefootMomma

    I could, but it would take forever. I can tell you I’ve lived them for 31 amazing years. My husband and I have a wonderful, strong, and passionate marriage – we have 5 planned for children, who are happy and faith-filled. There are countless documents you could read for free on the Vatican website. Or check out the book Love and Responsibility, which explains the Church’s teachings much better than I could hope to.

  • jubilee1

    Sara – i am sorry that your column got hijacked; i look for your next one. With God all things are possible; maybe we will get a couple new seminarians from the debate

  • cprdcnats

    Contraception is merely another weapon for one spouse to abuse, ignore and exploit another. Even with mutual consent, it destroys a physical bond that keeps spouses from closer unity.

  • cprdcnats

    Secular1 apparently has never heard of the Council of Jerusalem. A biblical scholar they are not.

Read More Articles

colbert
Top 10 Reasons We’re Glad A Catholic Colbert Is Taking Over Letterman’s “Late Show”

How might we love Stephen Colbert as the “Late Show” host? Let us count the ways.

emptytomb
God’s Not Dead? Why the Good News Is Better than That

The resurrection of Jesus is not a matter of private faith — it’s a proclamation for the whole world.

noplaceonearth
An Untold Story of Bondage to Freedom: Passover 1943

How a foxhole that led to a 77-mile cave system saved the lives of 38 Ukrainian Jews during the Holocaust.

shutterstock_148333673
Friend or Foe? Learning from Judas About Friendship with Jesus

We call Judas a betrayer. Jesus called him “friend.”

shutterstock_53190298
Fundamentalist Arguments Against Fundamentalism

The all-or-nothing approach to the Bible used by skeptics and fundamentalists alike is flawed.

shutterstock_178468880
Mary Magdalene, the Closest Friend of Jesus

She’s been ignored, dismissed, and misunderstood. But the story of Easter makes it clear that Mary was Jesus’ most faithful friend.

shutterstock_186795503
The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

Think you know Jesus? Some of his sayings may surprise you.

shutterstock_185995553
How to Debate Christians: Five Ways to Behave and Ten Questions to Answer

Advice for atheists taking on Christian critics.

HIFR
Heaven Hits the Big Screen

How “Heaven is for Real” went from being an unsellable idea to a bestselling book and the inspiration for a Hollywood movie.

shutterstock_186364295
This God’s For You: Jesus and the Good News of Beer

How Jesus partied with a purpose.

egg.jpg
Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.

SONY DSC
Dear Evangelicals, Please Reconsider Your Fight Against Gay Rights

A journalist and longtime observer of American religious culture offers some advice to his evangelical friends.