Most modern Catholics reject church teachings on marriage, sex and contraception, Vatican admits

Not surprising but still interesting:

The Vatican conceded Thursday most Roman Catholics reject its teachings on sex and contraception as intrusive and irrelevant, and officials pledged not to “close our eyes to anything” when it opens a two-year debate in October on some of the thorniest issues.

Core church doctrine on the nature of marriage, sexuality, abortion and divorce is not expected to change. But Pope Francis is well aware the church has lost much of its relevance and credibility in today’s secular world and is seeking to redirect priests to offer families, and even gays in civil unions, a “new language” that is welcoming and responsive to their needs.

Already, the working document for the synod discussions marks a sharp change from past practice. It is the result of a 39-point questionnaire that asked Catholics around the world about their understanding of, and adherence to, the church’s teaching on sexuality, homosexuality, contraception, marriage and divorce.

Thousands of ordinary people, clergy and academics responded. Usually, such working papers are compiled by bishops alone.

The responses were brutally honest.

The moral evaluation of the different methods of birth control is commonly perceived today as an intrusion in the intimate life of the couple

“A vast majority [stressed] the moral evaluation of the different methods of birth control is commonly perceived today as an intrusion in the intimate life of the couple and an encroachment on the autonomy of conscience,” the document said.

“Many responses recommend that for many Catholics the concept of ‘responsible parenthood’ encompasses the shared responsibility in conscience to choose the most appropriate method of birth control.”

Asked if the church might change its position to align itself with the practice of most of its faithful, Monsignor Bruno Forte, a meeting organizer, said, “We will not close our eyes to anything. These problems will be considered.”

Most modern Catholics reject church teachings on marriage, sex and contraception, Vatican admits

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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