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by Catherine Frakas 06 Jul 2002

Contraception advice from a priest QUESTION from Bill March 28, 2000
The other night I was talking with a married couple in the parish. I was shocked when they told me that the Priest told them it was ok to use contraceptives, since they are getting older and don't want any unexpected children. They are worried about problems at this stage of their life. I pointed out the Popes teaching and gave them a copy. They said well since the priest is ordained by the church they feel his teaching is right. Can you please give me a few suggestions on things to do? First is for the married couple the second is the priest. Thank you and God Bless you Bill ANSWER by Mr. John Miskell on April 10, 2000
Dear Bill, Unfortunately what you describe occurs with some frequency in the American Church. I encountered a similar situation. Let me play it out for you. My wife and I were sponsoring a young couple into the Church. During one of the RCIA sessions Father Goodguy, the priest who was running the program was absent. That evening the discussion turned to birth control. One of the ladies on the RCIA team took charge of the group by dominating the conversation. While she was talking she made the comment; Father Badguy (wink, wink) who is no longer stationed at this parish said that if you have a very good reason to use artificial contraception and you feel okay with the decision to use it, then it's okay to use it. Now of course Father Badguy wasn't there to defend himself but even if he were it probably wouldn't had made a difference because I recalled that he had actually taught this one year earlier to the prior RCIA class. I waited until I had a chance to speak and voiced the position of the Church. This of course never endeared me to the lady who had been speaking but I was satisfied that I had made the right point to the class. Afterwards I was surprised when I spoke to the two we were sponsoring. The wife said; Well John you can say what you want but Father Badguy is a priest and you're a layman, obviously Father Badguy knows more about this than you do. Even though Father Badguy wasn't there and she never heard him actually say that, she heard what she wanted to hear and wasn't going to be easily convinced otherwise. I found a great article on the topic authored by the Couple to Couple League. The full article can be found on-line at; I copied the article and gave it to our young couple along with some other material I scrounged up. When Father Goodguy returned the following week I asked him to clarify the Church teaching about artificial birth control for the class. Thankfully he was very Catholic in his teaching. Next I wrote a letter to Father Badguy. In it I said that his name came up during RCIA and that it was claimed that he teaches that artificial birth control is allowed and morally acceptable. I asked him to comment one way or the other so-as to clear up the confusion that exists in the class. This of course put him in a very awkward position. He couldn't possibly put his heretical teaching in writing so his only options were to either deny the claim or to ignore my letter. He chose to ignore my letter and I made sure that everyone associated with the RCIA class was aware of his choice to not respond. I still pray for both of these priests and the young couple every day. I hope this will be of some help to you. John Miskell Back to Index Page

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