Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
Catholic World News

Over 500 scholars affirm Church teaching on contraception

September 20, 2016

More than 500 scholars have signed a statement of support for the Catholic Church's teaching on contraception.

At a press conference held at the Catholic University of America on September 20, the scholars unveiled an "Affirmation of the Church's Teaching on the Gift of Sexuality." The statement was issued as a rebuttal to the "Wijngaards Statement," in which critics of the Church's teaching had called for acceptance of contraception.

"Scholarly support for the Church's taching on the gift of sexuality, on marriage, and on contraception has burgeoned in recent decades," said the signatories of the "Affirmation." They added that the Wijngaards Statement "offers nothing new to discussions about the morality of contraception..."

The Wijngaards Statement had argued that Humanae Vitae, the 1968 encyclical by Pope Paul VI reaffirming the Church's opposition to contraception, has now been shown inadequate. The authors of the "Affirmation" emphatically disagreed,

John Grabowski, a theology professor at Catholic University who served as an expert for the 2015 meeting of the Synod of Bishops, said: "Unfortunately, the Wijngaards Statement fails to acknowledge the vindication of Blessed Paul VI over the last 48 years by the sciences, the social sciences, and its further elaboration by the teaching of St. John Paul II and its support from Pope Francis."

The affirmation was signed by scholars including:

  • Janet Smith, a moral theology at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit;
  • John Garvey, the president of Catholic University;
  • John Haas, the president of the National Catholic Bioethics Center;
  • J. Budziszewski, a philosophy professoar at the University of Texas at Austin;
  • Father Wojciech Giertych, OP, theologian of the pontifical household;
  • Traci Rowland, dean of the John Paul II Institute in Melbourne, Australia;
  • George Weigel, biographer of St. John Paul II; and
  • Michael Novak, visiting professor at Catholic University and Templeton Prize winner.


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