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Catholic MNetters: do you use artificial contraception?

(44 Posts)
Elasticwoman Mon 04-Aug-08 10:28:22

There is an item on Woman's Hour at the moment where 2 women are debating whether artificial contraception should be used by practising Catholics, in the light of the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae of 1968.

For me, this is one, but not the only reason I left the Catholic church. I believe that artificial contraception is right, and that to discourage people from using it is wrong. Natural contraception, imo, is a choice only suitable for a minority of couples, and even then should be their choice, not a moral imperative.

How does any one reconcile the use of artificial contraception with belonging to the Catholic church?

nametaken Mon 04-Aug-08 16:13:52

You obviously haven't heard of the catholic pill grin

Elasticwoman Mon 04-Aug-08 20:16:20

LOL nametaken!

I notice that no RC has yet attempted to defend the indefensible.

nickytwotimes Mon 04-Aug-08 20:19:33

um, i am a catholic and all my churchy friends use artificial contraception. You only have to glance round our church and see the pews of Mumand /or Dad and 2.4 kids to see that most must be doing the same!

'Catholics For Choice' have some intersting things to say.
Will find link.

nickytwotimes Mon 04-Aug-08 20:20:44

Here it is

frogs Mon 04-Aug-08 20:21:21

Yes I do. I defer to my conscience. I could not be a good parent to 12-15 kids, which is undoubtedly what dh and I would have had without access to contraception.

I reconcile it with staying because virtually everyone apart from a few celibate males in Rome agrees with me. And if all the sensible people left the church, there'd be no-one staying behind to oppose the loony tendency.

Tbh I think you'd be pushed to find many priests who would actively support Humanae Vitae. Don't ask, don't tell seems to be the modus vivendi.

frogs Mon 04-Aug-08 20:22:45

Vasectomy seems to be a popular option for completed families, if my acquaintances are anything to go by. Maybe because it's a one-off sin and then you're done. grin

Elasticwoman Mon 04-Aug-08 20:57:45

frogs - a lot of Catholics think like you, I know. How do you reconcile your perfectly sensible view with belonging to a church which forbids condoms even in countries where AIDS is rampant?

The few Catholics I know who use and advocate natural contraception have large families. OK for those who have the resources to cope, but not for the majority, I'd say.

nametaken Mon 04-Aug-08 21:44:44

Thing is, the pill and the mirena coil are not just contraceptives, they are cures for painful periods.

Lots of catholic women have painful periods. If you get my drift.

expatinscotland Mon 04-Aug-08 21:46:17

My sister and her husband are practicing Catholics and he had a vasectomy about 10 years ago.

Later on, due to painful periods, she had endometrial ablation.

Elasticwoman Tue 05-Aug-08 15:39:41

frogs, you and nearly all the other catholics I know are very sensible but don't seem to have had the slightest effect on the celibate males in Rome in the last 30 or so years the issue has bothered me.

Tommy Tue 05-Aug-08 15:49:35

The Church (meaning the people) never wait til the Pope decides things - it always happens the other way round.

I am a Catholic - v committed and everything and use artificial contraception. I genuinely think that it is not a religious issue at all - I have never discussed it with my priest and nor would he expect me to.

nickytwotimes Tue 05-Aug-08 15:51:38

I must admit though that I do at times feel ashamed of my Catholocism on the grounds of it's role in Aids in Africa and on it's judgement of same-sex couples.
Sometimes I feel very hypocritical and it does get to me.

Elasticwoman Tue 05-Aug-08 16:10:27

Nicky2times - at first when I left the church I felt v cross with it on this and other issues. But I must say that when in the 80s I met a South African Catholic and heard that the RC church had taken a stand against apartheid, I regained some respect.

nickytwotimes Tue 05-Aug-08 16:34:50

elasticwoman, i know what you mean because I feel that the church does some excellent work re:justice and peace. I guess that's why I stay. Well, apart from all that God stuff and the community , etc, etc, lol!

Elasticwoman Tue 05-Aug-08 21:09:35

Nicky - the C of E does those things too. Must say I first heard about Amnesty International in a school assembly, back at the convent. They are the good guys - an Amnesty t shirt is the equivalent of a white hat in a western (did you see Clueless?)

jcscot Wed 06-Aug-08 09:59:08

I'm a practising Catholic and I have never used (and never will use) artificial contraception. I support Humanae Vitae - but I do have an issue with reconciling that encyclical with the current AIDS situation. We only have two children (not limited through choice, I had several miscarriages). I'm well aware that other Catholics may use artificial contraception and I would never condemn anyone for doing so. Who's to say that I wouldn't do the same if faced with other circumstances. Part of Catholicism and, indeed, Christianity is the notion of free will - we can all choose what to do and each of us is responsible for our own actions and conscience.

There have been a couple of threads about this recently, if you scroll down and look.

ilovemydog Wed 06-Aug-08 10:05:38

Does anyone know what Cherie Booth, a practicing Catholic meant when she stated that she forgot her 'contraceptive equipment' that subsequently resulted in the birth of her little boy?

Elasticwoman Wed 06-Aug-08 18:20:27

She meant she forgot her diaphragm. And that's what sparked off the debate on Woman's Hour.

jcscot, your integrity is admirable but doesn't shed any light on why people who don't share your views on birth control still belong to a church that condemns its use.

ilovemydog Wed 06-Aug-08 18:54:15

I was raised a Catholic and just don't understand the philosophical argument against artifical contraception.

Elasticwoman Thu 07-Aug-08 15:42:55

Haven't you seen The Meaning of Life (Monty Python)? "Every sperm is sacred". It's satire of course but based on the Catholic premise that all human life is sacred, including unborn children as early as fertilised eggs attaching themselves to the uterine wall.

Pity the R C church wasn't so keen to proclaim the sacredness of human life when the Nazis were committing genocide on the Pope's doorstep.

mosschops30 Thu 07-Aug-08 15:51:15

I do, i use a mirena. Not only for contraception but after ds my periods were roughly every 10 days and I would have a 1 or 2 day break, it was unbearable.

FWIW my priest says he knows that the majority of his congregation use contraception and he doesnt seem to mind, he always says he 'lives in the real world'

ilovemydog Thu 07-Aug-08 23:16:26

Elastic - yes, but Humanae Vitae was post Vatican II, which in my opinion, didn't contribute hugely to the philosophical debate as far as church dogma.

So, what happens in the situation, such as moss chops, where she is using contraception, but for medical purposes? That she may also benefit from the fact that it does suppress ovulation?

Catholics for Choice seem to have very good points from a practical stance - my fascination is what defines life. I don't know, and it would appear that there are lots of opinions. Personally I think that it's all potential life until the point of conception.

Elasticwoman Fri 08-Aug-08 17:27:16

Ah, but when is the point of conception? I used to assume it was more or less immediate after intercourse if a pregnancy was started. But I later read that it can take up to 4 days after sperm are introduced to the woman's reproductive organs, for egg to be fertilised and be implanted. Plenty of time for morning after pill or for coil to do its stuff.

Spidermama Fri 08-Aug-08 17:48:56

My DH is Catholic and I'm not though I do go to Mass regularly.

I've always had real problems with contraception but for me there's a big difference between the ones which allow conception but prevent implantation (coil) and the barrier methods which stop sperm and egg ever meeting.

Even so I dislike condoms and I hate the thought of catching all those vibrant little DNA tadpoles and chucking them in the bin. It feels very wrong and disrespectful. I was brought up a devout athiest btw.

I know my views are a bit loony so I don't tend to share them.

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