CAN PRIESTS GIVE PERMISSION TO CONTRACEPT?
Dear Fr. Matthew
Believe it or not, there is confusion among some priests on moral issues like contraception and sterilization. The first thing to remember is that we priests do not determine morality, i.e., the rightness or wrongness of contraception and sterilization, or any other moral matter. Only God determines the moral order, and He teaches the moral order through his Church. The Church teaches that contraception and sterilization are seriously wrong, contrary to God's wonderful plan for spousal love. (See Humanae Vitae #11-14.)
We priests are not at liberty to contradict the teachings of the Church or even to pass over it in silence. We priests also must give an accounting to God for how we exercised our priesthood. We were ordained to proclaim God’s plan for human life, spousal love, marriage, and family. The people of God have a right to hear the authentic teachings of the Church from us at the pulpit, in the confessional, and in counseling. They really don’t want to hear our, or someone else’s, opinion on important matters.
I suggest that you:
- Be sure to get good and thorough teaching about NFP. You can know exactly where you are in your cycle if you use the method correctly.
- Read up more on the issue of contraception and sterilization. Read HUMANAE VITAE. The Couple to Couple League has many good things for you. Their website is www.ccli.org. See John Kippley's BIRTH CONTROL AND CHRISTIAN DISCIPLESHIP, and his SEX AND THE MARRIAGE COVENANT.
- For a good audio tape on these issues, call One More Soul (800 307 7685) for a free copy of Dr. Janet Smith's talk on "Contraception, Why Not?"
You are in my prayers.
Fr. Matthew Habiger OSB