Pope francis and birth control
What did Pope Francis actually say about contraception?
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Fifty years ago this week, the Catholic church released an encyclical — a papal letter to all bishops — that had a dramatically contradictory effect: it was both instantly disregarded by millions of women and had an enormous impact on the lives of the most vulnerable. Humanae Vitae was published at a time when medical advances and upheavals in social attitudes were fuelling a revolution in sexual behaviour in much of the world. But the celibate men of the Vatican were determined to hold the line. The document stated that artificial contraception was inherently wrong. The encyclical was blamed for a fall in people attending mass and for damaging the authority of the papacy, particularly among younger Catholics.
In the U. John XXIII, shortly before his death in , to establish a panel of experts in demography, medicine and economics to address rising concern about population growth. His successor Pope Paul expanded the commission to include cardinals, bishops and theologians as well as married couples, and shifted the focus to moral questions, particularly over the birth-control pill, which the U. The pontifical commission was divided on the question and submitted two reports to the pope in , with the majority arguing that a husband and wife could morally use contraception on certain occasions, as long as they were generally open to having children. When this was leaked to the press the next year, it raised expectations that a modernizing trend which had begun at the Second Vatican Council , bringing such innovations as the Mass in local languages instead of Latin and a more open relationship with other religions, would now extend to moral teaching. The encyclical gave new emphasis to the dignity of marriage as companionship between men and women. The archbishop of Washington, D.
During an in-flight press conference on his way back from Mexico, Pope Francis was asked by a reporter about the threat of Zika virus in many Latin American countries. He also spoke on the topic of avoiding pregnancy. Seven sentences later, he added another comment. Numerous news outlets suggested that the Pope was introducing a change — or at least a softening — in previous teaching. However, Dr. Melissa Moschella, a philosophy professor at The Catholic University of America, suggested that this may not be the case. When talking about avoiding pregnancy in connection with the Zika virus, the Pope may not necessarily have been implying artificial contraceptive use, but may have been referencing Natural Family Planning, she said.
Vatican City: Pope Francis insisted that individual conscience be the guiding principle for Catholics negotiating the complexities of sex, marriage and family life in a major document released Friday that rejects the emphasis on black and white rules for the faithful. In the page document The Joy of Love , Francis makes no change in church doctrine and strongly upholds that marriage is a lifelong commitment. But in selectively citing his predecessors and emphasising his own teachings, Francis makes clear that he wants nothing short of a revolution in the way priests accompany Catholics, saying the church must no longer sit in judgment and "throw stones" against those who fail to live up to the Gospel's ideals of marriage and family life. On thorny issues such as contraception, Francis stressed that a couple's individual conscience — not dogmatic rules imposed across the board — must guide their decisions and the church's pastoral practice. He insisted the church's aim is to reintegrate and welcome all its members. He called for a new language to help Catholic families cope with today's problems.
A new birth control commission? The encyclical was issued July 25, It crossed the Atlantic in the form of a this-could-be-true piece by American journalist Robert Moynihan. At the time this is written, the names of commission members—if any—are not known. Or, if not those very same people, others who think as they do. Precedent alone would make this news disturbing.
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Saint Augustine took the position that sexual activity was a negative expression only redeemed by procreation. Medieval theologians allowed that sex had other positive values, including health, pleasure, and the deepening of marital love.
In this article we will revisit previous concerns regarding Pope Francis's position on contraception, in the light of recent events. At the heart of.
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