Catholic Church’s Contraception policy

Jocelyn - posted on 10/17/2010 ( 52 moms have responded )

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The Catholic Church forbids the use of barrier methods of contraception such as condoms and treats emergency contraception such as the morning-after pill as a means of abortion. The Church’s policy was ‘reemphasised’ by Paul VI’s encyclical letter ‘Humanae Vitae’ in 1968. This draws a distinction between ‘Natural Family Planning’ where couples seek to have sex when the woman is not ovulating (such as the rhythm method, temperature charts and cervical mucus examination), which the church allows, and unnatural barrier methods which the church considers a sin. The logic behind the distinction is that whilst both methods prevent fertilisation, the former is based on the observation of the natural rhythms of life created by God, hence God has not made the woman fertile rather than humans preventing the creation of new life. Condoms can prevent both the HIV/AIDS epidemic (a fact which the Catholic Church now recognises after years of denial) and high population growth which afflicts some of the world’s poorest countries. The Catholic Church believes that abstinence and Natural Family Planning are viable alternatives to the use of barrier methods in solving both of these problems and whilst Natural Family Planning is not effective for casual sex (which the Catholic Church condemns in any case), it can be effective as part of stable marriages.
Historically Christianity has not been united over Contraception. From the 1930s most Protestant sects have allowed the use of condoms in their teaching. The Catholic Birth Control Commission (1963-66) in fact voted 30 to 5 in favour of allowing the use of contraception but was overruled by the Pope. However, the Church maintains that the use of contraception is a violation of natural law, that it is forbidden by the biblical passage in Genesis which describes the spilling of Onan’s seed, and that it is prohibited in the Apostolic tradition by the teachings of the First Council of Nicaea and St. Augustine. Recently the debate has been reignited by the statement by Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, a senior Cardinal under Pope Benedict, that condoms are the “lesser evil” in the fight against AIDS. Such a stance of allowing limited use of condoms has long been taken by more liberal African and Latin American clergy, such as Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan of Mexico.

So ladies, Should the Roman Catholic Church change its current position of forbidding the use of contraception?

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JuLeah - posted on 10/17/2010

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How can a group of old white guys that have never had sex (that they admit) and have never had children, never been married, never been in love (most) never lived a 'real' life in the real world or dealt with the problems of real people even have an opinion on this issue?
I think the curch needs to shut its trap and stop hurting the many people they claim to care about

Kate CP - posted on 09/07/2011

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"...If you are having sex then you should be willing to deal with the consequences..."

THAT is the mentality I have a real issue with. Republicans and conservatives want to punish women for having sex. Why? Why not punish men? Why punish any one at all? It's a natural human instinct to have sexual urges and act on them. There isn't any other natural human instinct that we try to punish: eating, sleeping, socializing. Nothing else we do naturally as a species is looked down on and punished EXCEPT sex. It's NOT a bad thing between two consenting adults! Why should women be punished for it?!

If you have sex you should be prepared to deal with the outcomes and if that means you want/need an abortion then you should be able to do so WITHOUT being punished for it! BABIES AREN'T A PUNISHMENT, DAMMIT!

Sorry, I'm really angry about this. >:(

Krista - posted on 10/17/2010

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I think the Catholic Church's stance on contraception is nothing short of evil.

They are condemning innocent women and children to die of AIDS because they have told their brainwashed followers that condoms are an affront to God.

The entire existence of the Catholic Church, to me, is proof positive that the myth of the benevolent God is utter crap. How could any benevolent God allow his own representatives to get away with the crimes against humanity that the Catholic Church has committed?

That entire church needs to be disbanded, the Pope jailed, and the Vatican razed to the ground.

Kathleen - posted on 05/09/2011

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No not at all I'm 28, married and have a beautiful daughter and one on the way. I practice NFP it works for us we use it as a method to get pregnant because we have problems with fertility on my husbands side, sex is a gift not an entitlement and if God sees fit to create life during this unselfish act of love then so be it. Sex should be used as an unselfish act open to life, when any form of contraception is used other then natural family planning you are being selfish and inhibiting God from creating life.

With Love in Christ,
Kate

[deleted account]

I like the Catholic Churches teaching. I don't think babies are things to avoid but rather gifts to invite. As for AIDS... no sex, no AIDS... pretty simple.

This conversation has been closed to further comments

52 Comments

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Laura - posted on 06/18/2012

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I think children are our hope. While nfp may not be a sin in itself, I think the reasons why it's used can be selfish. One of the MAIN purposes of marriage is to bring new life into the world. Who am I to reject the children God may want to send me?

JuLeah - posted on 09/14/2011

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Well, to be clear: I am not having sex with men and I am Jewish



BUT, an older single man in a robe is not likely the person I will turn to for advice on this topic

Jenny - posted on 09/14/2011

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My take on this is that contraception is not a sin because women are known to get pregnant while on barrier contraception. It still leaves room for God to do his will in your life. And nethertheless, God is bigger than all that, if we believe that he can only do his will if we use natural methods, then we are not really giving him credit.



I think, either use no contraception at all (No Family Planning or Abstinence to prevent falling pregnant) or use all.

Saying that only Natural Family Planing is ok because its natural is living in the dark ages and using that same principle to apply it to 21st century technology.

Anna - posted on 09/12/2011

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I have never heard the pro-life side call pregnancy a punishment. It's a term the left uses all the time when they misquote us and no, punishment and natural consequences are NOT AT ALL the same. It's actually a difference very commonly discussed on CoM.

Kate CP - posted on 09/12/2011

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I'm not, but people who say "you have to accept the consequences of having sex" are.

Laressa - posted on 09/12/2011

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Excuse me Kate, but what do you mean by 'punishing women for having sex'

Having a baby is no punishment! Its a special privilege to create a life. They are a gift. Are you implying that a sweet innocent baby is a punishment?

Sherri - posted on 09/07/2011

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Well thank you Jen K for slamming my entire religion and what I strongly believe so strongly in.

Although they say you shouldn't use them doesn't mean people don't (I never have because I put if we got pregnant and how many children we would have into God's hands).

Just like they say you shouldn't live together before marriage or have sex before marriage. People do it every day that does not mean you are not catholic or don't practice the faith just that you have made a few sins. Which the church absolutely expects every person to do since we are all human.

[deleted account]

Why should they? They are under no obligation to change. The people they wish to control have no problem with their rules. I would rather see the church go away completely than worry about their contraceptive rules. They're not going to change for human logic, I mean we are talking about people who actually believe in transubstantiaton and you think a little thing like disease is going to alter that?

Desiree - posted on 04/03/2011

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Emma it's not socially irresponsible because they actually promote abstanice first. According to their teaching sex is for marriage alone. We are very quick to pint fingers when we don't take responsibility for own actions. If they promote Contriceptive they feel they are then saying it's ok to cheat on your spouse or have sex before marraige or be a sex worker. You can't have both worlds. If you want to screw around then you as the individual must be responsible for your actions. It is a 2 way street. Being Catholic I have no problem with their laws but I take responsibility for whether I have more children or not. Whether I am going to cheat or not. Thats what free choice is about. The Church puts down a guideline and I choose whether it's right or not. But I mostcertainly understand their side of it.

Stifler's - posted on 04/03/2011

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I think this is socially irresponsible of the Catholic church to still promote not using contraception.

Lady Heather - posted on 04/03/2011

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This thing is eating my posts, so if this is doubled, well...sorry.

Elaine - my "biomarkers of fertility" are not normal because I have two uteri that don't always communicate very well. This leaves me unable to get pregnant some cycles and when I can get pregnant it is pretty near impossible to figure it out. Trust me - I have read up on this a lot in my efforts to try and get pregnant and it is just not very simple for me. I doubt a specialist could help me with this, unless they have prior experience with this problem, and even then each case is unique. My cycle will NEVER be normalized. It doesn't follow the rules. Maybe you don't have all the answers after all.

Lady Heather - posted on 04/03/2011

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This thing is eating my posts, so if this is doubled, well...sorry.

Elaine - my "biomarkers of fertility" are not normal because I have two uteri that don't always communicate very well. This leaves me unable to get pregnant some cycles and when I can get pregnant it is pretty near impossible to figure it out. Trust me - I have read up on this a lot in my efforts to try and get pregnant and it is just not very simple for me. I doubt a specialist could help me with this, unless they have prior experience with this problem, and even then each case is unique. My cycle will NEVER be normalized. It doesn't follow the rules. Maybe you don't have all the answers after all.

[deleted account]

Good old Catholic Church.I don't go to church anymore.I lost my faith in this church a long time ago.I am only 25.I can't seem to forgive how they abused there authority to harm so many innocent lives.All those years back.

It is nice to see so many woman making there own choice whether to use contraception or not.You do have a choice and thats the most importnat thing.No religion can take away your choice or your voice for that matter.

Desiree - posted on 04/02/2011

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Just because the Catholic church says you shouldn't use contraception doesn't mean that we don't use them. Its the same with a number of other Religions and please Catholics are not the only ones. Jews and Muslims are in the same boat. It all depends on your personal choice. And there are a number of Christian churches with the same piece of advice. There is nothing wrong with teaching abstinance or keeping it in a marriage either. It has become a matter of choice for us. Its a case the Priests know we are using it, and we know they know but I can tell you its not preached from the pulpit there are more important things to worry about, than who is using contraceptives. They do however advise you but I have yet to here them actually say its against Gods Law because it is not written.

[deleted account]

@ Heather L,
A thorough understanding and charting of your bio-markers of fertility as taught in the Creighton Model of NFP would not result in being a week off. In fact, if your cycles are truly "screwy", charting them regularly and consultations with your NFP practitioner and/or trained Creighton Model/NaproTechnology physician would work to assist you to "normalize" them. Screwy cycles can be underlying indicators of other problems or conditions. I know because I have had screwy cycles in the past but no longer due to science behind the Creighton Model.

As for those dying of AIDS--how does the Church's teaching on chastity and fidelity in marriage cause AIDS? It is the rejection of this message that spreads AIDS. Is chastity hard, is fidelity hard? Without the grace of God it is, but we are not completely alone in this world. We have the grace of God, if we want it. People choose to reject it and do their own thing. Again, one has to really understand what "grace" is and the power of it. A bit beyond the scope of this post but fully researchable here on the Net on some excellent sites. I can suggest some if you like.

Congratulations on your pregnancy! God bless.

Lady Heather - posted on 03/30/2011

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If I used NFP I would be pregnant all the freaking time. There is just no telling what Screwy McUtery is up to. I was a week off with my dates apparently? Good thing I wanted to get pregnant.

So yeah, time for an update. If not just for women like me, then maybe for the kabillions of people dying of AIDS in the name of this nonsense.

ME - posted on 03/30/2011

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The easy answer to this question is yes, but changing thousands of years of entrenched beliefs and ideals is not easy...particularly for men...I am not expecting them to change it...ever. While i have always been aware of the church policy on contraception, I've also known many priests who disagree with it, and openly contradict it. I've also NEVER heard a single priest talk about it in a sunday service or at an event of any kind. I don't feel like this is something that the Church in the US makes into a big deal. I do think that they are incredibly short sighted in pushing this policy in Africa, and I have spoken out against it publicly for many years.

[deleted account]

Oh, where to begin? I have read all the posts but this is not much of a debate because no one is presenting the Truth of the Catholic Church's teaching on contraception. And will I be able to fully explain it in a post? Probably not completely because one has to have an understanding of everything the Church teaches which is really far beyond the scope of this forum. In short, NO the Catholic Church should NOT change its position on the use of contraception (in fact, She CANNOT). Let's backtrack: 1. Catholics are not to engage in intercourse prior to marriage. (Why? I can explain but that is another post entirely.) So let us just accept this as a given teaching for the purpose of this discussion. Therefore, with no premarital sex, there is no need for contraception.
2. The nature of married is both UNITIVE and PROCREATIVE and these two are indivisible and equal in weight. Introducing contraception negates both of these aspects. Obviously, it negates the procreative aspect but it also twists and distorts the unitive aspect because marriage as a sacrament is supposed to mirror the total love of Christ for humanity and His love was a sacrificial love. A husband and wife must also have a sacrificial love for one another and they must also, to be unified, be willing to give themselves totally, freely and completely to each other in ALL aspects of their relationship. Contraception, of course, blocks one of the ways a couple gives themselves to another. It's a holding back. Now, that does NOT mean the Church wants you to have 12 kids or more! She does not. She does want you to act responsibly and that is the beauty of Natural Family Planning. By understanding when the woman is fertile (men are always fertile), the couple must communicate at a deep level every month about their conjugal acts and whether they are in a position to welcome a child and care for the child. If they are not, then they need to abstain. This abstinence will last no more than a week. One week out of three is certainly not too difficult. (I do practice NFP with my husband, by the way.) I will end this for now but I invite you to read the following website: Contraception: Why not? by Janet Smith http://www.catholiceducation.org/article...
Thank you and God bless you all!

[deleted account]

My mom was raised catholic and a lot of her siblings still are practicing catholics but most of them ignore that rule. My grandparents had 13 children!!

Laressa - posted on 10/20/2010

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Petra, I know a few couples who use natural family plannning and they do not have any oops!!! It depends how dedicated you are to studying it and following it! which is where I`ve goofed up, in `that``moment who feels like reaching for a condom!

Laressa - posted on 10/20/2010

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I'm not Catholic, but it does seem a bit extreme to me. I don't personally agree with the morning after pill either, but condoms????? I think natural family planning is ideal but if the pope would read his Bible, abstinance is not encouraged by the Bible. Apostle Paul was single and didn't recommend it. To me this is a spin off from the dark ages when the church didn't allow sex on Friday in honour of Christ's death, Saturday in honour of Him being in the grave, Sunday in honour of His resurrection, Monday in honour of the saints, Tuesday in honour of...... you get the idea. Why in the world would the church try to get into the bedrooms of the people??? Telling them to abstain or get pregnant wouldn't exactly bring relaxation into the bedroom. Eventually the marriage would dissolve.

Tracey - posted on 10/20/2010

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Considering the only people the hierarchy of the catholic church has sex with is 7 year old boys they probably don't understand how to get pregnant.

Johnny - posted on 10/19/2010

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This is a blurb from the May + June 2010 issue of Mother Jones magazine (page 44 if anyone is interested):

In 1966, Paul VI's birth control commission presented its preliminary report to the pope. It held big news: The body had overwhelmingly voted to recommend lifting the prohibition on contraceptives ( The former Archbishop of Brussels, Cardinal Leo Suenens, went so far as to say the church needed to confront reality and avoid another "Galileo case.")

Catholics rejoiced, and many began using the pill at once. But their hopes were dashed when, in July 1968, Paul VI released an encyclical titled Humanae Vitae ("on human life"), reaffirming the contraceptive ban. It turned out that three dissenting bishops on the commission had privately gone to plead with the pope: If the position on contraceptives was changed, they said, the teaching authority of the church would be questioned-the faithful could no longer trust the hierarchy."
(I apologize for the copyright infringement.)

Well, there you go, it's all about power as it usually is with religiously dogmatic groups. And it's backfired on them big time, since the contraception prohibition has seriously eroded the church's power in Europe & North America. Not to mention how many people it's killed. There's that strong belief in the "sanctity of life" for you. Ha!

Julie - posted on 10/19/2010

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YES! This-->"30 to 5 in favour of allowing the use of contraception but was overruled by the Pope" is because he never (in theory) has or had sex.

Jodi - posted on 10/19/2010

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" Is there anyone out there who is seriously going to have dozens of children because contraception including vasectomy and tubal ligation are a sin and they don't want to use abstinence?"

Rules made up and upheld by a bunch of men who have to remain abstinent (although we all know some don't), so they figure everyone else should have to unless they are doing it to keep the good Catholics being born.

Funnily enough, IF some other issue occurs and results in removal of ovaries or testes, or whatever may render you infertile, that is ok. It is contraception PURELY for the purpose of stopping procreation that is objectionable. If it is an incidental side effect, then that is different because you did not set out with the purpose of preventing pregnancy.

ME - posted on 10/19/2010

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I was just discussing this yesterday with my very catholic parents...YES!! The Catholic Church is being incredibly irresponsible, and I wish they would change this "rule" immediately!

Bonnie - posted on 10/19/2010

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Jodi A., I did not know that. Hmmm maybe I should be talking with my husband more. That is ridiculous. Is there anyone out there who is seriously going to have dozens of children because contraception including vasectomy and tubal ligation are a sin and they don't want to use abstinence? I think if that's the case more catholics will be sinning than not.

[deleted account]

LMAO and that person calls themself a Catholic...that's an utter joke! I'm no longer Catholic but at least I value being with one person. Obviously if circumstances changed I may have a child with another man...but 7 different fathers....mad!

Jodi - posted on 10/18/2010

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I know a few Catholics who should consider the contraception - 8 children to 7 different fathers to me would be a sign to do something about it. I'm pretty sure contraception would be the least of the sins......tie your frickin' tubes woman!!!

Charlie - posted on 10/18/2010

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I think the main idea behind this is for Catholic parents to breed more catholic children to strengthen their religion in numbers .

This policy is idiotic , that is as polite as im going to be on the subject .

Jodi - posted on 10/18/2010

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Bonnie, the Catholic Church also condemns tubal ligation and vasectomy. It is still seen as a form of contraception that interferes with God's will.

LaCi - posted on 10/18/2010

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If churches keep changing their practices and beliefs to meet societal standards it just makes them all the more bogus. A sin is a sin, and if they believe it's a sing they can't fucking change that. Like that Pope that came out and said there was no hell. I can't even express how much these things irritate me, and I don't even believe in this shit.



And, quite frankly, if you're having sex before marriage you're already sinning. Use a condom, asshat. Like the condom will be the thing that condemns you to hell, of all the sins you commit on a daily basis.

Bonnie - posted on 10/18/2010

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It might be what the church wants, but I think it truly depends on the individual and how they think. It's the individual's perogative what they decide to do. My husband is roman catholic and we use condoms. Okay now my in-laws (as far as I know) didn't use contraception. They had my husband and less than 3 months later, my mother in-law was pregnant with my sister in-law (she wasn't planned) and then they decided that my mother in-law would get her tubes tied.
Also, I agree with Petra. Abstinence is not realistic, not when you are married. How many couples who are married are going to use abstinence in their relationship? I doubt if anyone does/will as sex is part of the relationship.
JuLeah, that is exactly it, a bunch of white guys who have never had sex, never been married, never had children feel if they can do it so can everyone else. No problem. They don't need sex; no one else does.

Jessica - posted on 10/18/2010

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haha oh Krista, I always enjoy your comments, I felt like applauding your post on this subject. Well said!

Becky - posted on 10/18/2010

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I was baptized Catholic and did go to a Catholic church, then eventually left because of their rules on many things. Contraception is one thing that irked me. In this day and age it is a needed thing and a precautionary thing to protect one's health and to help limit the number of children that are born. (I know this one devote Catholic family that now has 6 kids and the mom is just quite upset over the whole contraceptive thing. She just wonders how she will ever be able to teach her daughters about birth control if she keeps having babies.

They should through that sill rule/law out the window and grab an open mind and instead of clinging to their views why not look at the world and people in it REALISTICALLY!

Paige - posted on 10/18/2010

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Personally, I think their God would forgive his people. He is supposed to be all loving and all forgiving, but the church instills fear into their people. So as far as I'm concerned, I think their God wouldn't have a problem with people using contraception.

[deleted account]

To be quite honest I was brought up Roman Catholic and have always used contraception and so did my parents. Some people are sinmply not stupid enough to go by everything they are supposedly meant to do. Some people are naive and others are just plain stupid with no backbone or thought for their own choices. So tbh the Catholic church isn't really doing anything...it's the people who are silly enough to go along with it who need a braincheck. Obviously if they are ok with not using any form of birth control then fair dos.

Jocelyn - posted on 10/18/2010

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Lol ladies, I feel the same way as all of you.
This really isn't much of a debate :P

Janessa - posted on 10/17/2010

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I agree with all of you ladies. It always seem so strange that the catholic church is mostly hurting seond and third world countries. As in the majority of the catholic church is followers are in second and third world countries. I feel sorry for those people because they cannot think for themselves because they do not have education like the rest of us in first world countries do. I think the church is doing a holocaust on those people because they have nothing so the church tricks them and they end up dying of aids because it is a sin and the catholic church is not helping them by educating them to use condoms and birth control becaue they have to watch they children starve to death because they have no money to feed them. I cry for those people beause i have watched ny friend starve to death as a child because her family had so many kids thanks to the catholic church and my mom was one of those third world people having to many kids. Anyways i have a question for you all if thise was happening in any european countries especially home of the church say Italy would the church change its policies or because it is in africa and latin and south america to far away from they back yards so they do not care as much? I also think they should change the policies back to when the popes could get married. Worry more about the abuse that is going in the church because they are not allowed to get married. It is very weird to think men that never been married has children and wives can make huge decisions how the rest of us have to live our lives crazy.

Johnny - posted on 10/17/2010

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I wish I could understand why something why a policy that has resulted in thousands and thousands of deaths, so many orphans, and so much other pain and suffering can be seen as the moral choice. Only hateful humans come up with concepts like those the Catholic church promotes.

Jodi - posted on 10/17/2010

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Having been raised catholic and attending Catholic school from k-8, I am quite familiar with this. Even I was taught, not 15 years ago, that condoms are a sin, the pill is a sin and that God only allows abstinence and the rhythm method (which was graphically described to a then 11 year old who had never even started menstruating). Poppy cock if you ask me!
I thinkt he church can do whatever it wants, and if it's your perogative to believe every word the church states as fact...great for you. I, on the other hand have learned to take everything the church says with a very large grain of salt. Then again, I'm Agnostic and got in a lot of trouble in my school for raising questions about religion. (One such incident involved the idea that if Adam and Eve truly started man kind, then incest was necessary to populate the earth and incest is a sin...my parents had a meeting with the priest lol)
So, the church can do whatever it wants, and we as intelligent people can take it or leave, all, some or none.

Jodi - posted on 10/17/2010

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I know an awful lot of Catholics who ignore the Church's stance on this anyway. My husband would be one of them, LOL. Sensible people as far as I'm concerned.

[deleted account]

"Forgive me Father for I have sinned. I used birth control. What's that? Pray the rosary for forgiveness. Procreate over the next 3 weeks. Gotcha!" @@ Oooops....wrong religion....I'm Jewish.....In a nutshell, yes, the RC church's birth control policies are very antiquated and out of date. But don't expect any changes.

Petra - posted on 10/17/2010

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Of course they should. Abstinence just isn't realistic and promoting "Natural Family Planning" creates a whole lot of oopsie babies. Its a ridiculous form of birth control, if you could go so far as to call it that. Kids, young adults, and blissfully ignorant church goers need some serious sex education and need to take a reality check when it comes to unplanned pregnancies. Promoting this religious agenda in today's world is absolutely retarded when overpopulation is a major problem - kids are starving in third world countries and our social systems are overloaded with children whose parents are unable or unwilling to properly provide for them. Trying not to create any kids that aren't actually wanted would be doing the world a favour, rather than worrying about pissing off God with that "every sperm is sacred" bs. Aside from the pregnancy issue, STDs are fucking rampant and the Catholic Church is doing nothing to prevent the spread with the idea that condom use is sinful. Forbidding contraception = lots of babies and lots of STDs.

Rosie - posted on 10/17/2010

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um, definitely. i could go on, and on about how idiotic their "policy" is. not only does it spread aids, it causes their dreaded abortion, gives the world more unwanted babies, and puts burdens on families that would otherwise want one or 2 children, but end up with 9.

i have a huge problem with religion, but this is just assinine to begin with. who the hell thinks that a conddemnation from god is worse than aids? seriously, bunch of dumb asses i tell ya.

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