Birth control controversy erupts anew

 |  NCR Today

The controversy over the Catholic bishops and the Obama mandate has spawned a veritable Pandora's Box of discussion and argument far beyond anything the bishops expected.

In an especially perceptive online New York Times essay, Gary Gutting, a Catholic and a philosopher, contends that the bishops are wrong in claiming birth control is contrary to the teachings of the Catholic church. There may have been a time, he says, "when the vast majority of Catholics accepted the bishops as having an absolute right to define theological and ethical doctrines. Those days, if they ever existed, are long gone. Most Catholics ... now reserve the right to reject doctrines ... and to interpret in their own way the doctrines they do accept."

"The ultimate arbiter of religious authority is the conscience of the individual believer," Gutting says.

Christmas-NCR-gifts-half_0.jpgGive a subscription to our award-winning newspaper and save $10.

"It follows that there is no alternative to accepting the members ... as themselves the only legitimate source of the decision to accept their leaders as authorized by God."

Since 98 percent of sexually active American Catholic women practice birth control and 78 percent of Catholics think a good Catholic can reject the bishops' teaching on this matter, says Gutting, "the bishops' claim to authority in this matter has been undermined. ... The immorality of birth control is no longer a teaching of the Catholic Church."

Read the whole essay here.

Support independent reporting on important issues.

 One family graphic_2016_250x103.jpg


NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.

Commenting is available during business hours, Central time, USA. Commenting is not available in the evenings, over weekends and on holidays. More details are available here. Comments are open on NCR's Facebook page.



NCR Email Alerts


In This Issue

July 14-27, 2017