Disclosure statement

Lisa McClain does not work for, consult, very own shares in or receive funding from any firm or organization that would advantage from this article, and has discover no pertinent affiliations past their scholastic appointment.

You are watching: Catholic church’s stance on birth control



The Museum the Sex, in brand-new York, point out the 50th anniversary the the world’s first oral contraceptive in 2010. AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

By the at an early stage 1950s, however, options for synthetic contraception to be growing, including the pill. Devout Catholics want explicit permission to use them.

Church leaders confronted the concern head-on, to express a range of viewpoints.

In light of these brand-new contraceptive technologies and developing scientific knowledge about when and how conception occurs, some leaders believed the church might not understand God’s will on this issue and should prevent pretending the it did, together Dutch Bishop wilhelm Bekkers stated outright on national television in 1963.

Even Paul using admitted his confusion. In an interview v an Italian reporter in 1965, that stated,

“The people asks what we think and we discover ourselves trying to offer an answer. But what answer? us can’t save silent. And yet come speak is a actual problem. However what? The Church has actually never in her background confronted such a problem.”

There to be others, however, such as Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani, leader of the Congregation for the doctrine of the faith – the body the promotes and also defends Catholic theory – that disagreed. Among those adamantly persuaded of the fact of the restrictions was the Jesuit john Ford, probably the most prominent U.S. Catholic moralist that the last century. Back no Scripture discussed contraception, Ford believed the church’s teachings to be grounded in magnificent revelation and also therefore no to it is in questioned.

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The inquiry was left for factor to consider by the Pontifical board of directors on bear Control, held between 1963 come 1966. This board of directors by one overwhelming majority – a report 80 percent – encourage the church increase its to teach to accept artificial contraception.

That was no at every unusual. The Catholic Church had adjusted its view on countless controversial concerns over the centuries, such as slavery, usury and also Galileo’s theory that the earth revolves around the sun. Minority opinion, however, feared that to indicate the church had actually been wrong these last years would it is in to recognize the church had been lacking in direction by the divine Spirit.

‘Humanae Vitae’ ignored


A protest in Charleston, S.C., in 2012, versus a commonwealth mandate requiring employers to administer health insurance allowance that includes birth control for workers. AP Photo/Bruce blacksmith

Paul VI ultimately sided v this minority view and issued “Humanae Vitae,” prohibiting all creates of man-made birth control. His decision, many argue, to be not about contraception every se however the preservation of church authority. An outcry ensued indigenous both priests and laypeople. One place member that the commission commented,

“It was together if lock had discovered some old unpublished encyclical from the 1920s in a drawer what in the Vatican, dusted it off, and also handed that out.”

Much has changed in the Catholic Church because 1968. Today, priests make the a pastoral priority to encourage sexual pleasure between spouses. While restrictions on birth regulate continue, countless pastors comment on the reasons a pair might desire to use artificial contraception, from protecting one partner versus a sexually sent condition to limiting family size for the great of the family or the planet.

Despite the alters in the church’s attitudes around sex, the prohibitions of “Humanae Vitae” remain. Numerous Catholics roughly the world, however, have actually simply preferred to neglect them.