Thursday, 7 November 2013

The Catholic church and Birth control.... What came out of Vatican II

I came across this article some time ago. It talks about the First Vatican Council and the thoughts on birth control at the time. I thought of this article when I heard about Pope Francis' "survey".

In 1963, because of the popularity of the “pill”, John established a small commission to study birth control. After John’s death in 1963, his successor Paul VI vastly expanded the commission.

After three years of exhaustive examination and discussion, the commission in 1966 concluded by large majority – 30 of 35 lay members, 15 of 19 theologians, and nine of 15 bishops – that the ban on artificial contraception should be lifted and it should be left to married couples, inspired by Christian values, to determine what method of contraception to use. They argued that it was not each sexual act that had to be open to procreation but marriage in its entirety. They reasoned that the distinction between avoiding pregnancy in ways conforming to natural physiological processes and using an artificial intervention was not meaningful, since humans have always used medical technology to bring nature under their control.

The report was leaked to the Press and raised huge expectations among Catholics worldwide that the Vatican would lift the ban.

But a minority faction advised Paul that to support the commission would be admitting the Vatican had been in error: its authority would be irreparably undermined.

Paul heeded their advice, rejected the report, and in 1968 issued the encyclical Humanae Vitae (Of Human Life), reaffirming the traditional position.

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