comments_image Comments

Catholics and Contraception: Letters From the Laity Paint a Very Different Picture Than the Bishops Want You to See

Written by Jon O'Brien for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post. New York Times/CBS News polling released this week backed up what most of us already knew: the majority of Americans (66 percent) support the ruling by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to include no-copay birth control in employee insurance plans. A similar number, 61 percent, believe that religiously-affiliated employers such as hospitals and universities should be expected to comply with this policy. Though it’s harder to quantify emotions, quickly skimming the headlines these days is all it takes to see: Catholics are upset. The reasons for these strong feelings are much more complex than can fit into a headline, however, and in most cases very different than the ones expressed by the US bishops. For Catholics, as for everyone, contraception is personal. Ever since the HHS decision was made public, Catholics for Choice has been hearing from Catholics who are indeed upset. We have heard from young women and retirees, fathers, mothers, lectors and church employees, many of whom have sat in a pew and listened to letters from their bishop condemning the HHS decision, experienced their personal contraceptive and political decisions becoming an issue in church like never before, or seen news coverage that didn’t reflect their own Catholic support for contraception. Parishioners may be encountering a new, political Catholic hierarchy, but the experience may yet create a new, political progressive Catholic movement in response. Here is a selection of the letters we received. Continue reading....