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American priest backs Italian journalist's charge: priests negligent in teaching Humanae Vitae

September 17, 2010

An American canon-law expert has agreed with the controversial charge by an Italian journalist that Catholic priests have been negligent in their failure to teach the principles of Humanae Vitae.

Father Gerald Murray, a New York priest and canon lawyer, said that the argument by Vatican-watcher Sandro Magister of L’Espresso is actually “incontestable.”

Priests have been guilty of silence on the Church teachings regarding birth control, Father Murray confirmed. “Ever worse,” he said, “it is incontestable that some clergy have contradicted Humanae Vitae and have stated that contraceptive use is not sinful.” ?

“It would be good for the bishops of the United States to speak more often about the grave sinfulness of contraceptive use and encourage both generosity in receiving more children into our families, and the use of Natural Family Planning, not artificial contraceptives, to postpone pregnancy for serious reasons,” the New York priest said. He added that in hearing confessions, priests should treat the question delicacy, but should always confirm that the use of contraceptives is a serious sin.


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  • Posted by: lauriem5377 - Sep. 21, 2010 9:26 AM ET USA

    Every parish should have on-going adult education classes all the time to teach the Catholic faith. Many adults were short changed in regard to the knowledge of the faith growing up and have in turn short changed their own's time to get back to the serious teaching of the faith not only to children, but to all Catholics. Every Catholic home should have a Catholic Bible and catechism.

  • Posted by: pcgondreau8983 - Sep. 17, 2010 11:29 PM ET USA

    As almost any Catholic with his head half way out of the sand knows, this is hardly a controversial claim. It's about time the plain truth has been proclaimed, and that priests (and many bishops, too, for that matter) have been called to the mat for their scandalous complicity.

  • Posted by: HKS - Sep. 17, 2010 10:32 PM ET USA

    I am glad some US priest had the courage to say this because it is very true. I have never heard Humanae Vitae addressed at mass in almost 40 years since graduating from college.

  • Posted by: Chestertonian - Sep. 17, 2010 7:44 PM ET USA

    Bravo, Father Murray! Too bad he's in such a small but vocal minority. I can't remember the last time I heard similar words from the pulpit, despite the fact that my parish's priests speak out against abortion regularly. They just don't ever connect the dots between the two, and tend to be too gentle. It's time to take off the gloves and be both plainspoken and blunt.