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Clash of opinions on Humanae Vitae July 21, 2008

A militant pro-abortion group has launched a publicity campaign encouraging Catholics to protest the Church's teaching on contraception, while a group of orthodox Catholic priests has urged other clerics to proclaim and defend that teaching.

The pro-abortion group "Catholics" for Choice has urged lay Catholics to lobby their bishops for a change in the perennial moral teaching of the Christian faith. Jon O'Brien, the president of the group, pointed out that most married Catholics ignore the Church teaching and use contraceptives. "It is time for them to speak out and say enough is enough," O'Brien said.

The leader of "Catholics" for Choice argued that in some countries where Catholic institutions exercise great power, people "are dying as a result of the ban" on contraceptives. His statement presumably referred to the argument that AIDS is spread by the lack of access to condoms.

However, the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, a group of 600 orthodox Catholic priests and deacons, meeting in Baltimore last week, strongly endorsed the Church's teaching. Referring to the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae, in which Pope Paul VI reinforced the traditional teaching, the Confraternity approved a statement asking "all its brother clergy to teach, explain, and defend this timely encyclical."

"While sometimes a difficult teaching to embrace and maintain, it is nevertheless the only means to uphold the natural law and to safeguard the sanctity of the human person, marriage, and the family as well as civilization itself," the Confraternity proclaimed. The group pointed out that in the 40 years since Pope Paul issued the encyclical, the steadily growing public acceptance of contraception has been associated with epidemics of sexual promiscuity, deviancy, venereal disease, divorce, illegitimacy, and other problems including sharp increases in breast cancer and uterine cancer.

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