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U.S. Bishops reiterate ban on contraception.

DESPITE THE FACT THAT fewer than 3 percent of U.S. Catholics use church-approved methods of contraception, the U.S. bishops' conference issued a document, "Married Love and the Gift of Life" during its recent conference in Baltimore, promoting natural family planning. The document affirmed the hierarchy's stance against artificial contraception and is the first statement of its kind since "Human Life in our Day," released in 1968.

During the debate, Belleville, Ill., bishop Edward Braxton confirmed the hierarchy's unwillingness to concede to the fact that the vast majority of Catholics reject this teaching: "The Catholic church articulates what we believe to be true and we don't stop believing what is true because it's statistically unpopular." In making such pronouncements, Braxton and the other bishops did not grapple with the key church principle of reception, which permits theologians, clergy and the laity to play a role in developing teachings. The principle of reception provides that for a church law to be an effective guide for the faithful, it must be accepted by the faithful.

In an op-ed published in the Baltimore Sun during the conference, CFFC president Frances Kissling wrote, "Popes and some bishops have been trying to convince us that there is really something transcendental about requiring couples to abstain from sex about 10 days every month so they may practice natural family planning." She concluded by calling on the bishops not to continue "bleating the same tired and useless line to their followers, but to lead Catholics in a responsible direction."
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Title Annotation:The Church and Contraception
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 22, 2007
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