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