In the News 2008

Rome snubs progressives’ call for revision of contraception ban


THE VATICAN has dismissed as “paid propaganda” a call from more than 50 progressive Catholic organisations urging it to renounce its opposition to artificial birth control.

A letter organised by the Washington-based activist group, Catholics for Choice, and published as a half-page advertisement in the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, called the

Church’s policy an “utter failure” and said that it had had a “catastrophic impact on the poor and powerless”, leaving them vulnerable to HIV. Speaking on Vatican Radio, Fr Federico

Lombardi, director of the Holy See press office, said that the criticism was “paid propaganda” from marginal dissident groups and that the letter missed the link between the human and spiritual relationship between spouses. “In the entire letter, the word ‘love’ doesn’t appear,” he said.

The president of Catholics for Choice, Jon O’Brien, denied the accusation, saying: “Catholics for Choice is a non-profit organisation. The money for the advertisement came out of our general support budget which contains money donated by individuals and foundations. It was especially sad to note the Vatican’s contention that Humanae Vitae is about love and that we did not mention the word. Our Open Letter was all about love, love for the Church and love for life.” The letter was published on 25 July, days before the fortieth anniversary of Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical that reaffirmed the Church’s prohibition of artificial contraception.

This article originally appeared in the August 2, 2008 edition of The Tablet.

Catholics for Choice