Back in February, Maura Casey printed an op-ed in the Hartford Courant that got republished out here in little Great Falls, MT. I responded and the Great Falls Tribune was kind enough to print my response.
Since it is behind a firewall, despite the fact that it was provided to them free of charge, here is the text of the response:
Another Catholic woman speaks out
It was kind of Maura Casey to invite Catholic women to speak up about …something. I am not sure what. It tangentially has to do with her mother, her Catholic faith, and her preferences for regulating fertility. I am also a strong, smart woman, and I use natural family planning. I also happen to be Catholic. Most of this is none of your business. It’s between me, my husband and God.
And in fact, the anecdote Ms. Casey cites is also none of my business. It is indeed tragic that Casey’s mother felt that contraceptives were the only answer to the serious problems she faced as a wife to a husband who cared so little for her personal mental and physical health that he impregnated her six times in seven years. I don’t know how or if contraceptives improved her health. But the problem of a husband insensitive to her needs likely remained. And those sins, his sins, are not the Church’s fault.
The ironic fact is that the problem in the 1950s is still our problem today. How do human beings make the best use of their God-given gift of sexuality? Contraceptives do not answer that question. The use of contraceptives is oriented toward subverting the natural fertility of the woman in situations when pregnancy is apparently considered a bad thing…and neither the male nor the female is willing or able to engage in prudent delay of gratification.
People abstain from sexual relations for other reasons all the time – exhaustion, illness, travel for work, etc. (Even some radical couples who are not yet married!) Further, Natural Family Planning (NFP) is effective as a method for couples to use when avoiding a pregnancy for prudent reasons. For more information on studies that prove the effectiveness of NFP, visit http://www.physiciansforlife.org .
In terms of federal funding, candidates and presidents will have to make policy decisions, including the allocation of resources to causes that serve the public good. However, under the Constitution, the Catholic Church has a right to make judgment calls about morality for its institutions and its members. To imply, as Ms. Casey does, that the only sane Catholic women are those who disagree with the Church on contraception is insulting and offensive.
It’s too bad that Ms. Casey and her 99 friends are only in acquaintance with Catholic women who have decided the church is wrong about contraception. I wonder how many of them have ever even tried NFP? Or researched its effectiveness? Based on an informal poll of me and my 99 friends, I would say about half use NFP currently. I guess it depends on who you hang out with at fellowship hour.
Contrary to popular belief, the pope doesn’t want to know what’s going on in your bedroom. But the Church is forced to speak up when the president threatens to invade the administrative boardrooms of Catholic institutions. “Health care” mandates that contradict our explicit moral conscience are unconstitutional, and this is what the Catholic bishops, hospital administrators and social services directors oppose.
To be clear, in its opposition to the proposed HHS mandate to provide contraception to insured employees, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops objects to the way this mandate restricts and even negates the religious freedom of Catholic institutions. It is a scientific fact that contraceptive devices can and do destroy a life that is developing after conception. It is not just hormonal regulation. The Catholic Church or any other faith group should not be forced to provide a means of destroying innocent life under the guise of health care.
Just because some Catholic women disagree with the pope on the issue of contraception does not change the facts. Yes, the Catholic Church does still teach that contraception is not an acceptable means of regulating fertility for its members. The fact that every single American bishop decided to speak up and condemn the HHS mandate is a clear indication to this smart, strong Catholic that there must be serious issues at stake that go beyond anecdotes and polemics.
There, I spoke up.