Mo4 writes:


It saddens me to think that part of the fallout of our Church's teaching crisis might be to weaken people's faith. This seemed to be one of the primary concerns of Paul VI and the minority theologians:

"If the Church could err (on this issue), the authority of the ordinary magisterium in moral matters would be thrown into question. The faithful could not put their trust in the magisterium's presentation of moral teaching, especially in sexual matters. For if this doctrine is not substantially true, the magisterium itself will seem to be empty and useless in any moral matter."

Richard McBrien: "The assumption here seems to be that if the Church, or any comparable moral agency, can be found to be in error on this important matter, its judgment on ALL matters is automatically suspect."

Has this crisis in moral teaching ever been a source of doubt for you as regarding the central Mysteries of the faith even? It need not!

Megan Hartman: "Humanae Vitae becomes the point at which many Catholics begin to decide to go their own way on issues of reproductive morality and yet remain Catholic in their minds and hearts. Andrew Greeley writes that one of the most important results of the encyclical turned out to be that “the laity and the junior clergy did not listen and the Vatican’s credibility as a teacher of sexual ethics was badly weakened.”

The majority theologians wrote: "Such a change is to be seen rather as a step toward a more mature comprehension of the whole doctrine of the Church. For doubt and reconsideration are quite reasonable when proper reasons for doubt and reconsideration occur with regard to some specific question. This is part and parcel of the accepted teaching of fundamental theology."

There perhaps exist newer and seemingly more compelling reasons for scandal in the Church today. If there are lessons we learned from the fallout of Humanae Vitae, then let no one take an all or nothing approach in their assessment of our pilgrim Church's reliability, trustworthiness, credibility and authoritativeness, given our sundry all too human failings. That She has survived and thrived down through the ages, despite all of our individual sinfulness, foibles and mistakes, however comprised of so very imperfect human beings, is perhaps the SUREST sign of the Holy Spirit's abiding influence!



Rose responds:

I so agree with you. I can still be a faithful Catholic in my heart and disagree with this one teaching. I was so very surprised when I finally did some research on this subject and found that the majority of Catholic clergy and laity disagree with the teaching on Birth Control. It is hard for me to believe that God would throw me out of Heaven if I did my best as a Catholic, but decided to use a non-abortive form of BC with my husband for very good reasons.

Thank you so much for your post.


Someone retorts: Sorry to inform you Rose, the Church is not a democracy, it doesn't matter if all laity disagree with the Church's teaching. (I don't buy any poll that suggests the Clergy disagree with this teaching, you will have to supply more detailed information on that one. But, it doesn't matter if a majority of them disent anyway.) You might also want to venture over to some orthodox Catholic websites istead of sites like this one that are disent based. Just a thought.
May God Bless You Rose


Mo4 responds:

It is no secret that the majority of the Catholic clergy in this country side with lay Catholics in disagreeing with the birth-control ban—a 1980 Princeton poll found only 30 percent of the priests agreeing with Humanae vitae. A 1994 Los Angeles Time poll revealed that they continue to side with lay catholics, not just the priests, but also women religious, who were polled separately.

One may or may not care what a majority of clergy and religious think, siding with hierarchical pronouncements. That's understandable. And ture enough, a majority consensus dosn't make anything right or true, to be sure. It does make dissenting positions worthy of serious engagement and sober reflection though. How else could we have ever gotten the hierarchy to abandon its support of slavery or its outmoded position on usury?

Obviously, Rose, you understand that much longsuffering and forbearance is required regarding those who would condemn you and even more patience will be required before anyone in this forum can demonstrate the validity of the Church's teaching on birth control using human reason.

God Bless You, Rose

Nowadays, however, the spouse of Christ prefers to make use of the medicine of mercy rather than that of severity. She considers that she meets the needs of the present day by demonstrating the validity of her teaching rather than by condemnations.

Pope John XXIII, from his Opening Address of Vatican II


In a subthread, Rose also wrote:

If two people are married and use a form of non-abortive BC because they feel it is the responsible thing to do so for the sake of their families, God is not going to condemn that married couple to hell.

Saying that the use of BC under the above circumstance is a "mortal sin" is ignorant, arrogant and ridiculous!!

God gave me a brain with which to reason. I will thank Him by using it.

Luther? responded:

I couldn't agree more Pope Rose, what are we calling our new church?


John Wayne responded: a *pilgrim* church, part of it often in error, seldom in doubt, another part sinful and sorrowful but always repentant

Mo4 responds to Luther:

And when, precisely, did the Holy Roman Catholic Church acquire the whole truth?

When the Roman Magisterium actively supported the evil institution of slavery in

1) the Council of Gangra in 362, which was affirmed by
2) Pope Martin I in 650, further decreed by
3) the Ninth Council of Toledo in 655 and furthered by
4) Pope Urban II in 1089 and during the Crusades by
5) Pope Alexander III at the Third Lateran Council and
6) Pope Innocent III at the Fourth Lateran Council and
7) Pope Nicholas V in 1454

Rather firmly established by that time I'd say, you know the chant: constant tradition?

Maybe we began to get the truth when, in 1839, Gregory XVI condemned slave trading, which the bishops in the South interpreted as not a condemnation of domestic slavery.

Even after the United States was starting to get THE truth about slavery, post Civil War, as late as 1866 the Holy Office issued an instruction reaffirming the moral justification of slavery.

Perhaps it was in 1891 that the Church made clear that slavery was incompatible with fundamental human rights as Leo XIII took such a position?

The magisterium was CLEARLY and UNAMBIGUOUSLY WRONG on such a grave moral evil as slavery for CENTURIES.

Why does this not raise at least a doubt, in some minds, that it could be wrong again?

Notwithstanding all of the above, there is still one major question begging: why didn't Paul VI make an infallible pronouncement, that is speak ex cathedra?

Faith and Reason are partners. Read Fides et Ratio, a brilliant document in so many regards. Rose, hang on to your reason and cling to your faith. Others of you, cling to your faith and take comfort in your invincible ignorance.