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Pope Benedict Renews Catholic Opposition to Birth Control, Contraception

by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 3
, 2008

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The Vatican ( -- Pope Benedict XVI renewed the position of the Catholic Church on Friday against the use of birth control and contraception. The position is part of the panoply of Catholic pro-life teachings that also include opposition to abortion, euthanasia and bioethics practices like human cloning and embryonic research.

The pontiff's comments came on the 40th anniversary of the encyclical that originally announced the comprehensive teaching.

Pope Benedict called the original encyclical "an important document which addresses one of the essential aspects of the marital vocation and of the specific path of holiness that follows from it."

He said the use of birth control "means negating the intimate truth of conjugal love, with which the divine gift (of life) is communicated."

The pope appeared to acknowledge dissident Catholics who depart from the practice but did not back down in supporting the Catholic Church's themes.

He recognized that "the world, as well as many of the faithful, have a lot of difficulty understanding the message of the Church" and added that the goal of the teaching is to protect "the beauty of conjugal love."

"To exclude this communicative dimension through an action directed to prevent procreation means to deny the profound truth of spousal love, with which the divine gift is communicated," he said.

"Technological answers often seem the easiest, even to great human questions," he wrote, but "technology cannot substitute for a mature approach to freedom when love is involved."

He reaffirmed the use of natural family planning for couples wanting to space their children.

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