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Catholics and Birth Control

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
I promise I'm not trying to open a can of worms or start an arguement here!! I've just heard that the majority of American Catholics are not opposed to artificial birth control, but that a number of young Catholics are turning towards greater orthodoxy in this matter, and other matters of doctrine and practice. Is this the case?

I've heard of John Kerry being withheld from taking communion in certain diocese because of his belief in the legality of abortion and I know that the theology of the body is pretty important to Catholic thought. What would happen if a parishoner took the pill for instance and refused to stop doing so? Would they basically be told they aren't being a very good Catholic?

I only ask this because I am curious, I really don't want a debate on the merits of the Catholic faith or its belief system. I'm just curious as to whether most American Catholics think the pill and condom are ok.
post #2 of 25
I know how many children I am able to give a QUALITY life to so yes, I use what ever type of birth control I feel comfortable with and I am Catholic. I think the Catholic church needs to open their minds and EYES and realize that life is NOT what is used to be centries ago. It is much harder to raise a family today. I believe that people who use birth control are responsible.
post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks Catherine! My fiancee and I both enjoy Catholic Mass and I tend to be very positive towards Catholic theology, as there are some strong similarities between the theology of my tradition (Quaker) and the Catholic tradition. I know that may sound odd, but particularly in relation to the nature of humanity; the living presence of God and Christ; a tradition of service; and a more positive attitude towards women in ministry than most Protestant churches (ie women can be lay clergy- Eurcharistic ministers, etc.) whereas these roles in many Protestant churches are not welcomed. The primary similarity being the belief in the nature of humanity and God's relation to us. We were just joking around about how if he applied for a job with the South Bend Fire Dept. (where Notre Dame is located in Indiana) we could "go" Catholic, since there are so many Catholics up there. But I got to thinking that I couldn't really become a Catholic because I'm on the pill and plan on staying that way. I figure if God wants me pregnant I'll get pregnant regardless of what type of birth control I'm on!

That's basically why I was asking. It just got me to thinking about whether a lot of Catholics actually do use BC.
post #4 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by esrgirl
I've just heard that the majority of American Catholics are not opposed to artificial birth control, but that a number of young Catholics are turning towards greater orthodoxy in this matter, and other matters of doctrine and practice. Is this the case?
Just to let you know, I'm 28 and pregnant with my second and last child (my husband is going to get a vacestamy). I developed a health condition after the birth of my son which makes me a high risk pregnancy (to myself and unborn child). My question to anyone who would oppose my using a form of birth control is this, "do you think God would rather me dead and my children mother-less or would He rather I raise the children that I have been blessed with in care while instilling faith in God?"

If it were up to me, I would have 5 children. I love chilren and I love being a mother, but I have to do what is in my childrens best interest.

Be responsible!
post #5 of 25
Thread Starter 
I have endometriosis, which is why I'm on the pill at this point, and have been for the past 10 years. I can't imagine anyone saying that I shouldn't be on the pill and instead need a hysterectomy sooner rather than later (as many women in my family have already had while in their 20's). I just don't think that it is in everyone's cards to have children. As you've pointed out, it can be harmful and sometimes it isn't even possible. Plus, I really can't see anything wrong with wanting to plan pregnancies or to avoid becoming pregnant altogether. It just makes me wonder how seriously the doctrine that says birth control is wrong is taken by Catholics.
post #6 of 25
Yes most catholics urge people to use protection when engaing in sex. My entire family is Roman Catholic and only 1 aunt and her husband are pro-life anti birth control, abortion and Bush supporters. Everyone else is pro choice and everything that go along with that.

I havn't heard about anyone being denied commuion simply b/c you are porlife, but my cousin was denied b/c her and her husband of 15 years got divorced. Needless to say she was not happy. And neither are we.
post #7 of 25
I am not Catholic, but I can quickly make the obvious distinction that the strictures of contention are in the structures imposed by those in power in The Church, and NOT from the teachings of Jesus.

Realizing this, I fail to see how anyone would willingly place themselves under such inflexible control of a group of men who are, in many instances, acting contrary to the words of Jesus, and are apparently only interested in furthering their own power and position.

Some people need the strict discipline of such a church, but there are many others who find the freedom to seek their own answers equally rewarding.

Leonard
post #8 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by catherine
I know how many children I am able to give a QUALITY life to so yes, I use what ever type of birth control I feel comfortable with and I am Catholic. I think the Catholic church needs to open their minds and EYES and realize that life is NOT what is used to be centries ago. It is much harder to raise a family today. I believe that people who use birth control are responsible.
I'm not Catholic, but I feel exactly the same way
post #9 of 25
Hi, Catherine! I applaud you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by catherine
I know how many children I am able to give a QUALITY life to so yes, I use what ever type of birth control I feel comfortable with and I am Catholic. I think the Catholic church needs to open their minds and EYES and realize that life is NOT what is used to be centries ago. It is much harder to raise a family today. I believe that people who use birth control are responsible.
post #10 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by batgirl2good
Hi, Catherine! I applaud you!
Thank you! Now, I guess that the vattican needs to read this.
post #11 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by catherine
Thank you! Now, I guess that the vattican needs to read this.
Hey, I'm going to Rome next week. Maybe I could see if the new Pope is in for you?
post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexa
Hey, I'm going to Rome next week. Maybe I could see if the new Pope is in for you?
OOOOO!!!!! Even if he's not in, I'll go with you!! I've always wanted to go to Europe especially Rome, Sicily and Germany!
post #13 of 25
My husband is from strict Catholic parents (so he and his brother are atheists - go figure), and I went to a Catholic high school and university. I really can't come up with anybody (i.e., lay person) in our respective families, or our circle of friends or acquaintances, who rejects the use of birth control, including the "non-natural" mechanical and chemical kinds, because he or she is Catholic. I even know a Franciscan monk who finds nothing wrong with it, and a nun who was on the pill before entering the convent (both former classmates).
My mother-in-law's cousin, who has been a priest for over 60 years (can you imagine?), just shrugs his shoulders whenever the subject is brought up.
The Vatican is out of touch with most church members, it would seem.
post #14 of 25
I was raised Irish Catholic and i heard the whole fire and brim stone stuff. That being said, there is only one facation of my family who stays away from birth control...and they have 13 children, plus 3 miscarriages.. and their children dont go to the doctor, nor do they get such essentials as Milk, because its to spendy. Pretty sad if you ask me...the kids seem healthy enough..not abused or running around dirty but they need regular doctors visits and milk! They are home schooled as well..

Anyways I take the Pill and am happy to do it. I want a child, but when I am best able to support it. And i also belive if the man above wants me to have one sooner than i want. He will make it happen reguardless.
post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by esrgirl
...a tradition of service; and a more positive attitude towards women in ministry than most Protestant churches (ie women can be lay clergy- Eurcharistic ministers, etc.) whereas these roles in many Protestant churches are not welcomed.
My husband and I left the Catholic church because our views on social issues (such as abortion and birth control) do not fall in line with what the church believes. We just recently settled into a wonderful Methodist church (converted as well) where our senior pastor is a woman... and an amazing one at that. The Methodist religion puts a lot of stock in women and the teaching that they're able to do. It's been that way since the begining of the Methodist faith. Additionally, the service that we attend also has a lot of tradition in it... it doesn't fall too far from the "Catholic mass tree." I think that's why I really like going to service now... I get the tradition that I loved in the Catholic masses, but at the same time aren't being told that if I use birth control or if I am pro-choice than I'm not of my particular faith.

... and as a side note. I've stated it before, but I don't think the Catholic church should change. Their stance on major issues is what makes the Catholic church the Catholic church. I think it's more important for people to find a faith and/or denomination that they're comfortable with and with whom they share the same general views on the big social and faith issues.
post #16 of 25
Thread Starter 
Jillian,

I have to agree with what you're saying. The Theology of the Body seems like such an integral part of Catholic doctrine and it does make sense to me, even if I don't believe in it. Despite the fact that I'm a Quaker I do love the traditions of other denominations, particularly the beauty of Catholic, Episcopal, and Orthodox masses. I guess the church that I would find my theology the closest with would be the Eastern Orthodox Church, besides of course my own faith group. That is really because of their views on original sin, their take on communion, and their belief in a very much living Christ. I appreciate Catholic doctrine more than I do Protestant doctrine- it makes more sense to me especially in light of the history of the early Church. Overall I find the practices and beliefs of the "High Churches" much more interesting and beautiful than your run of the mill Protestant church. I doubt that I'll stop being a Quaker anytime soon. It would be nice if I could combine the practice and theology of the Orthodox church with the Episcopal view that birth control is ok and more of the silent and mystical aspects of the Catholic church, with the silent and waiting worship of Friends and I'd have the perfect faith!
post #17 of 25
Thread Starter 
I should also add that most of my family is United Methodist, well, about half are UMC, 1/4 Southern Baptist Convention, 1/4 American Baptist. I always liked the UMC.
post #18 of 25
2 bits of food for thought:

I, a non-Catholic, was married to a Catholic. I realize that many of you born-and-raised Catholics take issue with doctrines like no birth control, and I respect that. My own problem at the time was, I didn't feel comfortable converting to Catholicism as an adult, because I knew the doctrines of the Church that I would enter disobeying. I chose to not convert.

Second story. The mom of a high school boyfriend told me how she went to the priest just after she had had her 4th child in 4 years and told him how it was becoming a hardship to continue to not practice birth control. The priest told her better that she should leave her husband than do anything against the church. She left the church.
post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by esrgirl
Plus, I really can't see anything wrong with wanting to plan pregnancies or to avoid becoming pregnant altogether. It just makes me wonder how seriously the doctrine that says birth control is wrong is taken by Catholics.
Let me start by saying I am not a Catholic, so I could be wrong.

This is how I understand the doctrine.

The Catholic Church says the only valid reason to have sex is when you want to have children.
If you don't want children, you shouldn't have sex. If you don't have sex, you don't need birth control.

So what the Church is really saying is not "birth control is forbidden" but "sex without the intentention to have children is forbidden"
post #20 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by catherine
I know how many children I am able to give a QUALITY life to so yes, I use what ever type of birth control I feel comfortable with and I am Catholic. I think the Catholic church needs to open their minds and EYES and realize that life is NOT what is used to be centries ago. It is much harder to raise a family today. I believe that people who use birth control are responsible.

I agree. And I am catholic as well. I use birth control because I know I could not afford financially to have more than my 2 girls I have. I do not have the time nor patiance to have more than 2. I am only doing what I believe is best for me and my 2 kids and my husband. It would not be fair to just keep having kids and kids and more kids. I mean come on gas isn't 50 cents a gallon anymore as well as everyhting else!!
post #21 of 25
I am Catholic and can only think of one older woman in my ENTIRE church who openly opposes birth control.

Even our Priest has said he would rather children be born into happy healthy homes than into some terrible situation. His solutions? No sex before marriage ( of course) or birth control.
post #22 of 25
I grew up Catholic and many people I know (including my mother) are openly against birth control. I understand her points, and I respect them. She has been married to my father for almost 30 yrs now and has relied on rhythm as a method of birth control, which is just being careful what time of the month you have sex. She believes that it's God's will to abstain prior to marriage, and that during marriage you should accept any children God choose to give you. There are only two of us so she did a good job. But Catholic beliefs acknowledge that pleasure is derivied from sexual acts, but that the main reason to have sex is to produce offspring (which is like it or not true). They don't say don't have pleasure, but just don't stop life from forming. BUt I always thought if it was God's will you'd get knocked up anyhow...
post #23 of 25
You are right in saying that Catholic doctrine does not forbid sex between man and wife for the purpose of 'loving and comforting' each other. What it does say is that to have sex without the 'possibility' of children is wrong. Since the rhythm method is not 100% effective, that is the only method of birth control allowed. By the way, I was brought up Catholic but was expelled from Catholic school because of my habit of arguing about such things as birth control, and I ceased to be a Catholic at 16.
post #24 of 25
My family is catholic on both sides, but as far as I know, none of them object to the use of birth control. HOWEVER, one of my aunts has never used it (but doesn't tell us it's wrong or anything). She and her husband tried for a long time to have children and were told they wouldn't be able to. So, they adopted a little girl. When she was about 2, they became pregnant and had a son. Then, about 8 months later, they became pregnant again and had a second son. Then they stopped getting pregnant. They NEVER used birth control, even after both boys were born. My aunt says she just got the children she was meant to have (they now sort of have four.......they took custody of their nephew, my cousin, when he was seven and have done wonders with him......he came with a LOT of problems, both physical and emotional). If it worked like that in every case, THEN there might be something to the no birth control arguement. Unfortunately, this is obviously the exception rather than the rule. It's a nice story, though.
post #25 of 25
No method is 100% so there is always the possibility of children.
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