The National Catholic Review

Several Catholic bishops across the US have been at the forefront in the fight against same-sex marriage in recent weeks:

In Newark, Archbishop John Myers released a pastoral letter, apparently meant for August but held back until just weeks before November elections, in which he suggested that Catholics who support same-sex marriage might refrain from taking communion. Read more here and listen to a report from NPR here.

Washington state is putting the question of same-sex marriage to voters after the legislature passed a same-sex marriage bill earlier this year, signed into law by Gov. Chris Gregoire, a Catholic who cited her faith’s emphasis on social justice as a motivating factor. The three Catholic dioceses in that state are coordinating efforts, and Seattle’s Archbishop J. Peter Sartain released a video in which he urged voters to defeat the law. Read more here.

Voters in Minnesota are being asked if that state’s constitution should be amended to ban same-sex marriage. Archbishop John Nienstedt is asking the Catholic faithful there to fund television ads to adopt the amendment. Nienstedt has long been a vocal opponent to same-sex marriage in Minnesota, with his efforts including the distribution of anti-same-sex marriage DVDs to hundreds of thousands of households. Read more here.

In Chicago, Cardinal Francis George used the occasion of a golden anniversary ceremony for hundreds of couples to remind them of the Church’s teaching against same-sex marriage. He suggested that same-sex relationships are friendships and should be honored in some way, but denounced any change to current marriage laws. The Catholic governor of Illinois, Pat Quinn, supported civil union legislation in that state, and has promised to advocate for full marriage rights. Read more here.

Finally, San Francisco welcomed its new archbishop, Salvatore Joseph Cordileone, who is considered the architect around the campaign to overturn the same-sex marriage law in California in 2008. Several gay rights activists protested outside the installation Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral. Read more here.

Same-sex marriage is already a reality in many states, and its adoption in several more is inevitable. The Catholic Church offers a much needed voice for many of our society’s most troubling issues, including poverty, the environment, and immigration. Should church leaders continue to focus their energies on marriage, or redistribute its resources to other areas where their efforts might be more impactful? Have they considered the pastoral challenges they and their pastors may face after waging so public a campaign on so emotional an issue? Has acceptance of same-sex marriage become common, even among Catholics, and, if so, are some church leaders harming evangelization efforts with these political campaigns?


Mark Burke | 10/6/2012 - 5:15pm
Tim #35, 

I didn't ask about Abp. Myers, but Cardinal George. I'm wondering about is he being properly grouped with the others. Did he simply give an innocuous (if such is possible) homily on marriage to a group of anniversarians, or was he making a more explicit political point?  

Thanks, though.  
Mike Brooks | 10/6/2012 - 3:10pm
@Ed Alten

Hi Ed -

Thought I'd take a stab at responding to your post.  I think that the difference you're speaking of is the same as the difference between "marriage" and "civil unions."  The problem, as I've been following it, is that homosexual advocates are no longer happy with the words "civil union;" they now demand the word "marriage," which implies an identical status as male-female couples, including the value of their sexual acts.  And, as you know, the Church has two issues with gay "marriage:" one, having the term "marriage" reserved for the complementary union of man and woman; and two, the sinfulness of homosexual behavior.

Moreover, the legalization of civil unions has been used as a springboard to gay "marriage."

I've heard of proposed contractual arrangements wherein two people of any sex or any relationship can form (e.g., a mother and a son), essentially, a business partnership where all of those government marriage perks can be obtained by the partners; but, again, I believe that the homosexual activists refuse this compromise, because it fails to address what they really seek:  forced acknowledgment by society that their disordered sexual behavior is the same as and as consequential to society as reproductive sex.
Tim O'Leary | 10/6/2012 - 2:48pm
Mark #25
Since you asked, here is a link to the executive summary of the pastoral letter: When Two Become One. The full pastoral letter is here and is well worth a complete read  (it is 15 pages).

Archbishop Myers does ask that those who promote gay marriage not receive communion, as they are directly separating themselves from explicit Catholic teaching. He quotes St. Paul to give the reason he is obligated to preach the gospel, even when it is politically unpopular. “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For, the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” (2 Tim 4:2-4)

He notes that heterosexual marriage is a natural and pre-political institution, and cannot change just because a law tries to redefine it. Since the family is the central unit of society, the attribution of the civil “marriage” term to a homosexual couple or other unions beyond that of a man and woman weakens the whole fabric of our society.

Voting for gay marriage is unjust and has victims, the Archbishop warns. The change would impact negatively on the common good of begetting and rearing the next generation of our society. Those who hold to the truth of marriage will be discriminated against in employment and the public square, and will be prevented from running adoption services (as has already happened in IL and MA). Legal and civil actions will be taken against houses of worship of many denominations and religions, hotel managers, photographers, owners of reception halls, whose consciences are opposed to hosting gay marriages. Catholic teaching and biblical teaching on homosexuality has already been defined as “hate speech” in Canada and Britain. So, the stakes are very high. 
Edward Alten | 10/6/2012 - 2:32pm
I have been a Catholic all my life and I hope a faithful one, accepting and believing in all Church Teaching, including the Church's Social teaching. I am at a loss to understand why there hasn't been a ground swell by Catholic State Legislators to separate civil unions between same sex partners involving the same legal rights (inheritance, joint tenants, etc) as traditional marriage but not include congegal rights. I would think that a legal separation of the goods of marriage i.e. procreation & companionship could be palatable to the Church if the intimate sexual component could be withheld from a civil union so that it could only be performed by civil authority and not the Church. To be sure I do not understand why the Church has been so silent about this since it is rapidly becoming ''a sign of the times''. The teaching of the sinfulness of sex outside of marriage could be preserved and also allow those civil unions that are formed only for companionship (no sex) could be made legal.

I would appreciate any one reading this to respond.
David Smith | 10/6/2012 - 2:51am
Brian (#6), I think the issue is whether or not the privileged place in society of procreational marriage should be maintained. It's a very clear line.

It has nothing whatsoever to do with whether other types of cohabitational relationships should be given certain benefits equivalent to those of marriage.

The push to regard gay ''marriage'' as marriage in name officially is a push for political power and social position. That the two things - equivalency of benefits and identity of name - should be conflated is a success of advertising over logic. People and politicians should be ashamed of having been taken in. Whether or not it's too late to reverse the results of that gullibility is the question of the moment. I suspect that, sadly, it probably is too late.

People aren't a hundredth as smart as the smartest of us wish they were. 
Bill Mazzella | 10/5/2012 - 5:54pm
The more the bishops speak the more likely Obama will be elected. They were thoroughly humiliated in 08 and are truly self destructive. They are the Pharisees who live in mansions, forget the gospel and talk of issues that they do not experience in their gilded lives at all. Woe to them.
Paul Leddy | 10/5/2012 - 4:30pm
re #5 Amy Ho-Ohn: ''Somebody has to keep telling people, yes, you can say no to your sexual appetities and no, it will not kill you to live without ''sex'' and in fact your life can be better and more meaningful if you do''

Celibacy/chastity is not saying no to one's sexual appetites.  That would be a very unhealthy thing to do.  "Chastity", in one respect, is accepting one's sexual appetities and sublimating them to (in one's opinion) a greater good - for the ''sake of the kingdom.'' 
It will kill you to live without sex, because it is not possible.  In every interaction with another - it is in some way sexual because we are not disemboded spirits living on earth - we are human beings, made male and female.
Living a celibate lifestyle is not better than marriage, it is another way of loving.
We are all called to live a chaste life according to our status.  Ultimately, our desires - all our desires - must be directed towards God.
''Your faith and hope, then, are centered in God.
By obedience to the truth you have purified yourselves for a genuine love of your brothers: therefore, love one another constantly from the heart.''
1 Peter 1: 18-23
No one is denying anyone intimacy, friendship and sexual expression. We all need these to live a healthy life. These make us generous and generative, whether we are single or married. It makes us human. It diminishes all our relationships if we say "gay" marriage is equal to marriage.  Can intimate, loving, charitable friendships between two men or two women be generous and generative?  Yes.  May they involve genital sexual expression? No.  Why? Because that is what the Church teaches; and they teach that for a reason.
It is more than a disservice to blithly claim that "gay" marriage is a political right.  Defining marriage is not a right of the state.  It is not a duty of the state. Politicians are politicians, not moralists.  And, they will pander to our detriment.
Civil Unions?  If we must.  Even King Canute couldn't stop the tide from coming in.
But "gay" marriage?  You tell me.

Tim O'Leary | 10/13/2012 - 6:02pm
Michael #81-82
This has gone on way too much and is way off topic. But I did receive your email and I will respond over the weekend.
ed gleason | 10/5/2012 - 3:37pm
Brian P;; Sorry .. I didn't mean to make you the arbiter of meanness but you do have experience about  Bronx playground behavior. So how do the Bronx handlers work with 'kids' when they exclude others from playing in the sandbox.?  (-:
Michael Barberi | 10/13/2012 - 4:25pm

I sincerely do not want to rehash this issue with you in the future. I trust that you will review these studies carefully so that we can agree on the findings.  If you cannot refute the findings of respected studies, e.g., the Fehring studies, then merely agreeing that a "large percent" of sexually active adults who practice birth control, use a form of contraception condemned by the Church, is disengenuous. 

As for the state of catechesis, catechesis is only a reflection of Church teachings. Theologians who educate themselves in moral theology, are well versed in Church teachings and their underlying philosophy and theology. They conduct scholarly research and are responsible for assisting the Church heirarchy with doctrine formation as well as reformation. While you may choose to abide by all Church teachings, most theologians disagree with many Church teachings such as contraception for legitimate reasons. You may call the majority of theologians and the many priests and bishops who disagree with Humanae Vitae, dissenters, but this ignores the profound division in our Church as well as the work of the Holy Spirit that Jesus promised "His Church" (inclusive of the laity, theologians and clergy). These Catholics strive to live a life of holiness, as most Catholics who attend weekly Mass, and many that do not. Most clergy refrain from public statements that disagree with certain Church teachings because of Vatican reprisal. Nevertheless, there are studies that poll priests.

Note that 44% of priests do not completely agree with the doctrine on birth regulation (LA Times Survey of Roman Catholic Priests and Nuns, 1994; link is As for bishops and most theologians, see John Flanagan, Is Contraception Instrinsically Evil?, link is, 
Brian Pinter | 10/5/2012 - 3:12pm
To Ed Gleason:

The only place where I have standing as the arbiter of what is mean or not mean is when my children argue over Thomas the Tank Engine trains,  and perhaps in some circumstances at the Seaton Playground on 235th St.  I suggest you refer your question to Frank Gibbons. 
P.S. Re what happened to Rev. Andrus - so much for Matt. 5:44.
Michael Barberi | 10/13/2012 - 3:29pm

I sent you an email. Did you get it?

After you study the information provided, let's agree on what that percent is. As the studies I referenced make clear.....more than 90% of sexually active adults in child bearing years, who practice birth control, use some form of contraception condemned by the Vatican as intrinsically evil.

The percentages you referenced about "the same population"..e.g., Catholics, is not correct if you are basing it on the 2012 Gallup poll. The table, my mistake, is all Americans, both Catholics and non Catholics. You can rely on the Hoge study, but you need to limit comments to the issues Hoge polled.

Most Catholics who disagree with the Church teaching on abortion (e.g., with circumstances like in the Phoenix case), and same sex civill marriage, and divorce with circumstances, as well as contraceptoin...strive to live a life of holiness. Your "guess" is not accurate and it offends the many Catholics who disagree with these teachings for good and just reasons (philosophical, theological, anthropological). Even Benedict XVI, as Cardinal, proposed a way where married Catholics could divorce and remarry. 

History demonstrates that teachings not received eventually were reformed. The Holy Spirit leads us to the truth in agreement and disagreement. 

ed gleason | 10/5/2012 - 3:02pm
Brian Pinter .. was this mean at yesterday's ceremonies?

"The Rev. Marc Andrus, the Episcopal bishop for Northern California and a strong same-sex marriage supporter, reported that he was snubbed when he showed up for the A/B Cordileone's s ordinaltion  at the cathedral service, which came three days after Andrus had written an open letter offering a spiritual home to any Catholics who felt disowned by the archbishop's views.'

he was left in the basement while others were escorted in he went home.
Read more:

The Orthodox bishops and Cardinals and a horde of bishops made it to the sanctuary.
so the snub did not go back beyond the 1100s.
SF polititions were not  snubbed because they were not there....
Tim O'Leary | 10/12/2012 - 9:58pm
Michael #76-79
I've read your posts but haven't been able to check the sources. In any case, regarding your question at the end of #76, here is what I can agree on. A large percent of people who see themselves as Catholic, and are sexually active, use birth control methods that they know the Church finds immoral. I do not have the data to know the percent but that shouldn't matter.

Smaller but still substantial percentages of the same population, confirmed by Gallup, believe divorce, fornication, homosexual sex, abortion, doctor assisted suicide and pornography are morally ok. 

I would also guess that the depth of commitment to a life of holiness is not there. But as you said above, polls do not determine the truth of the faith. It is more a measure of the state of catechesis.
Brian Pinter | 10/5/2012 - 2:40pm
To Frank Gibbons:

In my posts here, the only bishops I mentioned were Kevin Dowling and Cardinal Schonborn, and I praised both of them.  I didn't say or imply that anyone in the hierarchy was mean.  Perhaps you could clarify your accusation?  Thank you, by the way, for making my point about setting up a straw man argument and so artfully, but pointlessly, knocking it down.
Michael Barberi | 10/12/2012 - 5:11pm

I found a 2012 Gallup Survey you might find of interest. It did not segment by degree of religiosity, but the findings are similar to the Hoge Survey.

Birth Control Most Widely Seen as Acceptable; Having an Affair, Least
The issue of birth control tops the list of morally acceptable behavior across the 18 issues tested this year. At the bottom of the list is the issue of "married men and women having an affair," which only 7% of Americans find morally acceptable. Having an affair has been at or near the bottom each year since Gallup began tracking these issues in 2001.

Americans' views on the moral acceptability of each issue held largely steady this year compared with last - except in the case of the death penalty. This year, 58% of Americans say the death penalty is morally acceptable, down from 65% last year. The 58% reading is the lowest in Gallup's 12-year history of asking about the death penalty in this way. Gallup will update its longer-term trend question on the death penalty in October, which will help confirm whether the downturn in support seen in the current poll is part of a larger trend.

Let's try to agree on something. See the question at end of my comment #76.
Frank Gibbons | 10/5/2012 - 2:15pm
Brian Pinter,

You wrote "This political season suggests to me that being opposed to gay marriage and being pro-life (meaning anti-abortion in any and all circumstances; nothing about the death penalty, war, ecology, etc.)"

And yet just last month (in the thick of the polictical season) Archbishop Chaput argued that the death penalty "should have no place in our public life." 

I submit that this omission helps to foster your own unhelpful "dichotomy" of Heartless Hierarchal Meanies and your Open-Minded self. 
Michael Barberi | 10/11/2012 - 6:49pm

My apologies, the information about the opinions of Catholics who attend weekly Mass was taken from the 1993 NCR/Gallup Poll on page 6 of the book by Philip S. Kaufman OSB "Why You Can Disagree and Remain a Faithful Catholic".  F. Fehring's study in 2007 linking religosity and contraceptive use is more up to date. However, there may be more current research all with a similar conclusion.
ed gleason | 10/5/2012 - 12:42pm
Am I hearing Myers right?.. Catholics who don't give a damn about ceremonies that happen in the basement of city hall can't go to communion anymore. ? 
How about those Catholics who don't go to the city hall basement to get a permit for replacing their water heater.?[like me]  Bishops of course never go to city hall basements for any reason so why are they pontificating about civic basements?
Amy Ho-Ohn | 10/10/2012 - 10:12pm
Michael says: "Based on the Hoge Survey, it is reasonable to presume that at least 64% of weekly Mass attendees practice a form of birth control condemend by the Vatican (e.g, condom and pill)."

The Hoge study says 64% of weekly mass attendees think you can be a good Catholic without obeying Church teaching on birth control. That would be a superset of those who are actually doing it; it would include people who never did but know their children do, people who once did, and are reluctant to condemn others for doing what they once did; people who think it is only permissible in cases in which pregnancy would be dangerous to the woman's life; all the people who just don't think they should ever call anybody "not a good Catholic;" non-Catholic spouses who come to mass; uncatechized people, including teenagers, who don't pay much attention to Church publications.

The Hoge study says 55% of weekly mass attendees think you can be a good Catholic without attending weekly mass. Does this mean that 55% of the weekly mass attendees aren't really attending weekly?

If your only thesis is that 90% or so of all couples currently practicing a method of birth control are practicing a method condemned by the Vatican, then I agree, that's plausible. But I don't see what it proves. It's like discovering that 90% of murderers use a weapon to commit murder; it implies nothing about the incidence of murder or societal acceptance of it.
Thomas Piatak | 10/5/2012 - 12:15pm
How awful!  The American bishops are following the lead of the Pope and the teaching of the Church.  Don't they know they're supposed to follow instead the editorial position of the New York Times?
Tim O'Leary | 10/10/2012 - 8:58pm
Sandi #72
You demand data but you don’t provide data, statistically credible or otherwise, to make the counter claim that a 'majority' of women taking communion are practicing non-approved birth control. Let's see it if you have it. But, from your postscript comment, I don't think you want to gather the data. You just assume you are right.

Michael #73
Before I respond to your question, can you send me the link to the Dean Hoge survey you cite, so I can read the source data? And can you get me the reference that someone who undergoes sterilization is forbidden from having sex again? Here is a counter source. You say NFP is the only licit form of birth control. What about the calendar method? Or abstinence?

I know you and Sandi see the requirement of precise language as evidence of obstructionism, but I live in the scientific world, and use statistics all the time in my profession. I would never get away with the loose language and the constant changing of the definitions and the denominator you so blithely ignore.

If you (and Sandi) are sticking with the belief that those not using NFP must be using a proscribed contraception, why aren't you making the claim that 98.9% are using proscribed contraception then, if NFP is only 1.1%. What accounts for the 8.9%?
T BLACKBURN | 10/5/2012 - 11:18am
If you look up "marriage" in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, you will be told to "see Matrimony." By the way, "homosexuality" by itself gets only two paragraphs. One of those paragraphs says homosexual persons are called to "chastity." I can't find any reference to same-sex marriage. That does not mean the Church has only recently discovered its opposition to that, but it does suggest that the issue was not at fever pitch when the Catechism was being edited, not that long ago.

Matrimony (not marriage) is the sacrament. The state can't mess with that. If the state chooses to redefine marriage (not the sacrament), that's the state's business. The trouble will could come when the state requires the Chuch to recognize its definition of marriage - by, say, witnessing to same-sex marriages or providing facilities for the marriage or the reception or whatever. That should be an avoidable conflict.

The bishops who want to get involved ought to maintain those distinctions so it is clear what they are talking about. As of now, some Catholics are taking what the bishops are saying as episcopal encouragement for old-fashioned gay bashing.

Finally, a separate question: In some cases the Church has approved of companionate marriage and provided the sacrament of matrimony where intentionally no sex is involved. Would this be allowable for gay people. If not, why not?
Sandi Sinor | 10/10/2012 - 5:17pm
Tim, I don't know where you and Amy go to church. In my area, people choose parishes - the neo-cons favor some, the progressives favor others and some get both, primarily because of location, school etc.  I would say mine is about 50-50, both due to location and due to the school.  The reality is - neither you nor Amy have produced even a shred of verifiable, statistically credible evidence that a ''majority'' of women taking communion are not practicing non-approved birth control but only approved birth control (NFP is a method of birth control and is recognized as such by the CDC).  I know a whole lot of Catholic women who have been married a long time, and none used NFP throughout their marriages. One or two tried it, but quickly tossed it out as being too stressful on the marriage, which is a pattern Michael noted. 

But, I went round and round with you once before and I know that you are not interested in facts, only in grasping at any straw you can find to support your personal perceptions and preferences.

p.s. a whole lot of people would find your suggestion to interview people after mass about the details of their choice of birth control to be highly intrusive and highly offensive.
Kang Dole | 10/5/2012 - 9:52am
"The Catholic Church is the most credible candidate..."

Not everyday that I take a page from Ronnie Reagan, but "I'm from the Catholic Church, and I'm here to help you concerning sex" is one of the more terrifying things you could hear.
Sandi Sinor | 10/10/2012 - 4:40pm
Tim, don't you see what you're doing? The same thing you did on the election poll thread - you don't like the reality - the results of objective studies and data -  so you do everything you can to twist and distort and misunderstand the message because you don't like it.  I can't tell if the misunderstanding is on purpose or just because you really don't understand much about statistical methods, but the results are the same - you don't seem to get it.  The only thing you haven't resorted to on this discussion (yet) was your fall-back on the election poll that you didn't like - deciding they need a way to weed out the ''real-as-defined-by-Tim-O'Leary'' Catholics from all of those Catholics who didn't realize they need your official imprimatur to call themselves Catholic.  
Brian Pinter | 10/5/2012 - 9:42am
To Amy Ho Ohn:  I find your argument to be a straw man.  You draw a false dichotomy - all homogenital sex is for meanignless, self-gratification.  All hetero-marital sex is sacred.  It's easy to plunge your daggers into such a feather weight scenario.  But life is not that simple, not that black and white.  I think this is why a good number of Catholics, people of good will and faith, find difficulty with some church teachings on this question - because the extremes to which those positions are taken are out of touch with the reality of people's lives.  Perhaps it would be more helpful if the teaching voice of the church were experience, as Archbishop Kevin Dowling has said, as a humble, searching ministry trying, with the people of God, to find solutions to very  complex moral questions.  This ''either/or'' thinking might be useful for academic text books, but has very little use in real life.
Amy Ho-Ohn | 10/10/2012 - 4:31pm
@Michael Barberi,

It seems you're trying to prove that the overwhelming majority of Catholic laypeople have demonstrated by their behavior that they reject Catholic doctrine. Professor Shriffin (Columbia?) also recently received some publicity for writing that most of the heterosexuals in the communion line are obviously receiving unworthily. And that is almost certainly false.

The communion line includes a large plurality of people who are of old enough to have never used birth control and had several children in consequence. Also many women who put off marrying until the threshold of middle age and spent all their married years trying to conceive. Also many people who had some children out of wedlock and never married, though they have repented of the out-of-wedlock sex (not of the children, one hopes) and received absolution. Also many couples who used birth control for a time, then decided to have children, then repented of their use of birth control and have received absolution. Also people who never married. Also people who were rendered sterile by accidents, including difficult deliveries. Also not a few people who try to avoid pregnancy by the "calendar method" but welcome children when God sends them.

All these people are able to receive communion validly. In most parishes, they constitute a majority of the assembly.

Finally, there is the case of an individual who uses birth control continuously and obstinately, yet simultaneously regrets it, wishes to stop, looks for opportunities to reduce the temptation, celebrates the Sacrament of Reconciliation repeatedly and repeatedly convinces her/his confessor to pronounce absolution. They also receive licitly; the justification is exclusively a matter for the penitent and the confessor.
Amy Ho-Ohn | 10/5/2012 - 9:28am
The Church's position on human sexuality is unpopular right now and will probably remain so for a decade or so. But in the long run, the ineluctable validity of the Church's teaching will be acknowledged.

The marital act is immensely important, potentially dangerous and invariably life-transforming, for good or for bad. Self-gratification is wrong, using an animal as a self-gratification toy is even worse, and using another human being as a self-gratification toy is worst of all. These things are wrong because of what they do to society, because of what they do to the one treated as a "toy," and because of what they do to the practioner's own character and personality.

Same-sex "marriage" is popular with the segment of the population that wants to change people's attitudes; those who want to confuse the sacred marital act with plain, banal, meaningless "sex" and those who want to confuse objective moral principles with mere "psychological insights."

Somebody has to keep telling people, yes, you can say no to your sexual appetities and no, it will not kill you to live without "sex" and in fact your life can be better and more meaningful if you do. The Catholic Church is the most credible candidate because, in spite of all the bad apples, it still offers a lot of good examples of ordinary human beings who live happily and sanely without physical intimacy.
Michael Barberi | 10/10/2012 - 3:14pm

Sadly and arrogantly you miss the larger picture and focus on one data point or a sentence in my overall commentaries. This only deflects from the real issue.

The issue about those Catholics using birth control is about the percent that are using a form of birth control condemned by the Vatican as intrinsically evil (the pill, sterilization, withdrawal, the IUD, the condom), and what percent practice NFP. Catholics who are practicing birth control, practice it for most of their child bearing years...because the years of birthing is limited by the fact that the average Catholic has about 2 children.

Therefore, the survey in question measured the use of birth control among a sample of the female population ages 15-44. Of course, a subset of this group will not be practicing birth control because they are pregnant or want to be pregnant or are not sexually active.

The answer to the question of what percent of married Catholics are practing birth control, at times when they don't want more children, is that more than 90% of them practice a form of birth control condemned by the Vatican and only an extremely low percent of them practice NFP.  In other words, for those who use birth control, only 1.1% of Catholics practice NFP. 

The "ever use" statistics are not important in that "ever use" can mean "I tried this once" gives no frequency or prevalance. In other surveys, about 80% of those who used NFP switched to a more effective method of birth control. That is obvious from the statistic that only 1.1% of Catholics were practicing NFP in the month prior to the survey date.

I may have erred in not stating the facts as 100% accurate, but this is a blog and not a professional paper on the prevalance of birth control. I leave that to the surveys I referenced. All you are doing is skirting the issue and making statements like "I was never arguing about the % who practice NFP". Get real. That is the point of this entire discussion. In other words, more than 90% of Catholics who use a birth control method, practice contraception (a form of birth control condemned by the Vatican). Do agree with that statement? If not, what percent do think it is and what is your source?
Brian Pinter | 10/5/2012 - 9:22am
This political season suggests to me that being opposed to gay marriage and being pro-life (meaning anti-abortion in any and all circumstances; nothing about the death penalty, war, ecology, etc.) are now the litmus tests for authentic Christianity.  For 2000 years they never have been.  Authentic Christianity was identified with the Creeds or the Sermon on the Mount or the 10 Commandments.  But those two issues - gay marriage and abortion -  are now the non negotiables of Catholic Christianity.   Jesus didn't mention these, but he did preach that love of enemies, non-violence, forgiveness, and the avoidance of being greedy are essential for membership in the Kingdom of God.  What happened to those?  I have never heard a sermon on loving enemies or non-violence.  I've never seen a letter from a bishop on the importance of loving enemies, or the dangers of greed and self aggrandizement.  In light of all the righteous rage we hear from pulpits directed against gay marriage and pro-choice politicians, I am reminded of Jesus' observation, ''You blind guides!  You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.''  Matthew 23:24.
Sandi Sinor | 10/10/2012 - 12:39pm
Michael and Vince, must commend you on both your tenacity and especially on your patience in attempting to educate someone who seems to have little understanding of statistical measurement and analysis. Sadly, it's a losing battle trying to educate someone who doesn't want to learn. They don't want facts that get in the way of their preferred perceptions. So not easy to discuss the reality with those who even have trouble with the basics (eg, understanding the differences between snapshot data (usage of contraception during the 3 months prior to the interview and the questions dealing with ''ever'' use). Sort of ironic that the paper on the USCCB website pretty much confirms what you have been saying, Michael (such as that only 5.1% of Catholic women from 15-44 have ever used NFP).
Tim O'Leary | 10/5/2012 - 8:58am
Eugene #2
What a strange question to ask of Christians! You may as well ask why Jesus didn't bring Salvation only to the Jews and left the rest of humanity unsaved? How Christian would it be if we cared only about our own members, and left the rest of the world to their sins? That would be the opposite of the Evangelical mission. If you truly love someone, you should care about their health and well being, both physical and spiritual, even if they don't want you to.
Tim O'Leary | 10/10/2012 - 10:10am
Michael #64
I never made the argument for % NFP practice, in any of my posts, ever!

You are making a completely unwarranted presumption that everyone who isn’t using NFP is contracepting. But, most people who do not use contraception are not using NFP, as in this survey. I and my wife never used it, even though we know how to. In #50 above, I gave you multiple subsets of women who would not use contraception but you only now have come to accept that many women, Catholic and other, do not practice contraception for most of the time in their lives.

Here is a direct quote from the paper you linked to (page 17): “Despite the fact that the NSFG data is probably the best and largest data set on contraceptive use among a representative sample of women in the U.S., there are limits to this study and to the data set. The NSFG data set focused on all women between the ages of 15-44, not only married women. Approximately 30% of the U.S. respondents were not using any method of family planning in the month of interview (i.e., the most frequent method was no method of contraception). Some of these women were not sexually active, some were trying to achieve a pregnancy, and some were currently pregnant.” – no mention of 90%, here or in the whole paper.

So, the 90% remains unwarranted. Of the 30%, the author says some were not sexually active, some were pregnant and some were trying to get pregnant. But look at the quotes above, and the shrinking denominator.
#37 (Michael) - “More than 90% of Catholics practice contraception” – all Catholics!
#42 (Vince) - “it refers to women throughout their life cycle” – all women, ever (including withdrawal at some time)
#48 (Michael) – first concession to eliminate the old and the young, but not fertile or pregnant…
#64 (Michael) – excludes those who are pregnant, or want to be pregnant, or not sexually active, and focuses only on women who want to have sex without children.

So, in your last post, the 90% is now for those who want to exclude new life while still having sex. But, this has already dropped the majority of women who attend mass.

The shrinking denominator is a major way for bias to creep into statistics, as it is the easiest way to pass off the percents in a smaller subset for the whole group. I recommend everyone with any familiarity with statistics have a look at this paper (page 13-17 of the pdf).

Michael – While we now agree that the 90% could only possible refer to a subset of Catholic women, I do not dispute that a lot of Catholics are struggling with the contraception issue, and even the abortion issue. It is important to understand their situation but to also understand the universal call to holiness (even martyrdom) and the duty of the successors of the apostles to preach the true faith, in season and out (2 Tim 4: 1-4). I also know that you are working harder than most to reconcile your personal beliefs with those taught by the Church. You are to be praised for that. 
Eugene Pagano | 10/5/2012 - 7:15am
How is it any of the Roman Catholic bishops' business whether non-Roman Catholics can enter into same-sex weddings?
Michael Barberi | 10/10/2012 - 12:29am

As I mentioned several times, the key issue is the percent of females in child bearing years who are practicing NFP-PC. For Catholics it is 1.1%. You missed other important findings.

> The 30% of respondants that were not using any method of birth control were: women that were not sexually active, were trying to get pregnant or were currently pregnant.

>  44.2% of Catholics in this survey used some form of contraception (e.g., the pill, sterilization, IUD, withdrawal) and a similar percent of non-Catholics used contraception (44.7%).

> Of the percent of Catholics that had "ever used" birth control methods, only 5.1% ever used NFP-PC, 87.4% used a condom, 65.6% used the pill, 56.8% used withdrawal, 27.1% were surgically sterile or had a vasectomy, and 19.6% ever used calendar rhythm. 

Thus, if we exclude those women who want to get pregnant, those not sexually active or who are currently pregnant, we are left with women who are sexually active and don't want to have children (or more children) and use birth control methods to avoid conception during sexual intercourse. Of these women (Catholic and non-Catholic), more than 90% use some form of contraception.

These conclusions are similar to the findings of the 1982-2008 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Survey on "Use of Contraception in the U.S." In this study, 61.8% of females ages 15-44 were using contraception (defined as including NFP) but only .6% were using NFP-PC or NFP-Rhythm. The other 38.2% of females ages 15-44 were not using contraception and this included those that were surgically sterile (which I would include as using contraception), pregnant, seeking pregnancy or never had intercourse. Hence, of all those who were using some form of contraception (inclusive of NFP that the government counted as a form of contraception), more than 90% were using a form of birth control condemned by the Vatican as intrinsically evil. In other words, the percent using NFP or Rhythm was less than 10% of all contraceptive methods used.

Tim, give it up. Very few Catholics use NFP. 
David Smith | 10/5/2012 - 1:12am
It sort of depends on how you define ''leader''. The hierarchical Church believes that its leaders should be teachers. A lot of Western cultural Catholics seem to believe that Church leaders should, like political leaders in democracies, follow the crowds they lead. Semantic disconnect.
Tim O'Leary | 10/9/2012 - 11:33pm
I tackled those with a ''?'', but thought the rest were just statements.

Thomas #59
''None of my business'' is not very caring, sounds a little like ''I am not my brother's keeper.'' I don't think we can abandon any of our neighbors as we are called to evangelize all, especially the marginalized, and to protect children (remember the millstone). We do part ways on the prudential judgment of the harm civil gay marriage will have on society. But at least we do agree that engaging in homosexual sex is not compatible with faithful Christianity. 

Now Michael #61
First, thanks for the link. It contains a whopping admission in the conclusions paragraph, defined by the author as a key limitation of the study. 30% of the respondents were not using any method of family planning (the author describes this as the largest single answer) and only 17% were using the anovulant pill. No hint of 90% anywhere in this study. In the ''ever ever used a method,'' the pill only rose to 66% Catholics. See that what is called ''calendar rhythm'' method hit a not-so-small 19.6%. 

It is very troubling that 48% of the women 15-44 who self-identified as Catholic had had abortions. I hope this poll doesn't lead my liberal colleagues to conclude the sensus fidelium says abortion is ok (because one has to be faithful to have a sensus fidelium). Given this, the author says it is his goal to get a better handle on the degree of Catholicity in his future research, as self-identification is inadequate. I think I mentioned this problem to Vince in a recent post. 

There were some other interesting/sad articles in your PDF, relating to decreased sexual libido in women on hormonal contraceptives, and Loyola University (once Jesuit?) teaching it's Medical Students on how to abort a child, to comply with external Medical Review boards. Makes one think the Lapsi in Diocletian's time were far better than our lapsed (collapsed?) today.
Vince Killoran | 10/9/2012 - 5:43pm

Since you are unwilling or unable to respond to the questions I posed directly to your original points I'll sign off on this thread.
Michael Barberi | 10/12/2012 - 5:16pm

Just to be clear, the 2012 Gallup Poll was a poll of "Catholics".  
Michael Barberi | 10/9/2012 - 5:15pm

1. The issues involving sexual ethics, e.g., same-sex marriage, In vitro fertilization, abortion, contraception, divorce and remarrige, all have their root in principle, in large part, in Humanae Vitae. My comments, if you read and reflect on them, covered many issues, not just contraception. The moral dilemma and suffering facing many married couples today are caused by an intrasignent Vatican and unintelligible and unconvincing moral theories the underpin the teachings. I gave multiple examples: the Phoenix case, a married women whose life is threatened by another pregnancy, the use of Plan B in a rape case, and the use of a condom for seropostive couples. Each of these common cases, lacks compassion and charity as well as social I mentioned. 

Here is the link you wanted about the recent study.  
In this issue Natural Family Planning ...

Adobe PDF
Richard J. FehringPhD, RN ... CatholicsContraception and Abortion—theNational Survey of Family Growth ... Current Medical Research –Summer/Fall 2010 Author 

This study makes clear that only 1.1% of Catholics ages 15-44 use Natural Family Planning-Periodic Continence are as birth control method, compared to .6% of non-Catholic women. These Catholics (and non-Catholics) also use other methods of birth regulation (e.g., sterilization, the pill, condom, other), and no method (those who want to become pregnant, seniors etc). 

Tim...why don't you own up to the facts and stop using your logic based on incomplete information and ignorance of the surveys I offered you for reflection. If you want the links to the other surveys, let me know. I apologize if I made your effort difficult, but making definitive arguments (e.g., using your math on incomplete information and not focusing on the real issue) is not scholarly or professional, especially when you did not read the survey.

2. I called you ignorant of the facts because it is the truth and because you constantly make erroneous statements that you assert I made. This habit of yours has been criticized by other bloggers. Your knee-jerk reaction to most factual statements and evidence lacks any degree of serious study and reflection. If you want to start afresh, let's agree on some rules where we, and others, can have a conversation with you on point. I don't like to use rhetoric and I am open you your thoughts. However, I do not like your style of argument. 

3. Your last stream of comments were answered in that females in child bearing years were accounted for in terms of all forms of birth regulation used, and those that do not use any birth control method, as they were part of the survey.

4. As for same-sex marrige, I made my points clear in post #37 which you largely ignored. They are in line with the comments of Thomas Rooney, OFS. I reiterate one of my conclusions:

We live in a pluralistic society and there is, for better or worse, a separation of church and state. The state is empowered to pass civil laws involving marriage, same-sex unions, rights and duties, et al., that apply to all Americans. The Catholic Church, other Christian Churches, as well as those of the Jewish religion are empowered to to formulate laws and models of marriage that apply to their faithful parishioners. 

While the RCC can and does formuate doctrine and teachings (mostly negative injunctions when it comes to sexual ethics), only 44% of Catholics believe that to engage in homosexual acts is always morally wrong. 55% of Catholics who attend weekly Mass say that you can be a good Catholic without a Church wedding....and 64% of Catholics who attend weekly Mass say you can be a good Catholic without obeying the Church's teaching on birth control. See other findings in the link below.

Source and link: Dean Hoge "Catholic Identity Among Young Adult Catholics",
Vince Killoran | 10/9/2012 - 2:57pm
"Abandoning the definition of civil marriage we have had for thousands of years is not innocuous at all. It will have profound effects on society, altering the understanding of marriage that has lasted thousands of years. People should reflect on this before they vote."

I don't see "the profound effect" unless you mean that there can be no discrimination in public accomodations. Fair enough.  Just as the segregationists plead that their "timeless" institutions must change so too do those who harbor anti-gay positions and take taxpayer money, police & fire protection, etc.  As Michael has pointed out several times-and you chose not to engage or acknowledge-this doesn't mean you need to invite a married gay couple to your next BBQ, or that a church must conduct marriage ceremonies for them. 

Your argument can't be based on some sense that civil disorder will result because the definition of marriage in civil society isn't really changing much at all: Anglo-American law quite easily accomodates the marriage of same-sex partners. If you have evidence from legal scholars that proves otherwise-or, better yet, evidence from states where gay marriage has been legal for a few years already and has resulted in chaos, that would strenghten your position. Or at least raise it above the level of raw self-assertion.

We're back to a moral or religious-based argument then-and the reality that we live in a pluralistic society that protects invidividual rights.  
Thomas Rooney OFS | 10/9/2012 - 4:13pm
Tim #58 "Would I be right that you both endorse sodomy for those inclined to that practice (sorry for being blunt, but the truth matters)?"
Speaking for myself, I wouldn't say I endorse it.  I would say it's none of my business.

"Do you go further and hope that the Catholic Church blesses this practice in a Church wedding at some time in the future?"
No.  The Church has its doctrines about what constitutes a valid sacramental wedding for its members.  (the underlined being the crux of my point)

Homosexuality is not a disease, and it should not be treated as such.  It is not an "inclination" along the lines of prostitution and adultery, and I think the CCC bears that out in its statements regarding homosexuality, in that I do not see specific canons devoted to the treatment of adulterers and prostitutes. 

Are homosexual acts to be avoided?  For Catholics who wish to remain faithful to the Church, yes.   However, our Church doesn't get to make the rules for the vast swaths of the population who ARE gay and who do NOT practice our faith.  We're not talking about doctrine here; we're talking about  discriminatory treatment of a sizeable minority in a free country.  I've said it here and it's been said by others before - we live in a pluralistic society.  How someone chooses to set up housekeeping or probate or whatever is none of my business and it is none of yours.

"I truly believe that the common good, and especially children, will be harmed by this change."
This unfortunately is our impasse; our opinions are diametrically opposed when it comes to this last.  I truly believe that the common good, myself and my children are unharmed and are in no danger whatsoever by the civil acceptance of same sex couples.   

Thank you for the discourse nonetheless, Tim.  Peace be with you,

Helen Deines | 10/5/2012 - 12:35pm
Today there was an obituary in the Louisville Courier-Journal for an 84 year-old woman who died leaving her husband and four children, all married, with many grandchildren.  The obit explained that the couple had owned a neighborhood grocery for many years and were lifelong parishioners in the church from which she will be buried with a Mass.  The couple's oldest daughter was listed with a wife, by name, praise God.  Memorial gifts were requested to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

I said a little prayer of thanksgiving this morning, and smiled in appreciation for how supportive families like these are gradually changing our church.  Most Catholics outside the hierarchy seem to have a deep understanding of the basic principles of the dignity of the human person and God's unconditional love. 
Tim O'Leary | 10/9/2012 - 3:45pm
Vince #55 and Tom #56
You both directly equate the righteous fight against racism with the fight for homosexual marriage, as if the color of skin (an attribute like color of hair) is akin to a form of alternate sexual behavior. I think this is illogical and unscientific but understand the strength of this political tactic.

Would I be right that you both endorse sodomy for those inclined to that practice (sorry for being blunt, but the truth matters)? Do you go further and hope that the Catholic Church blesses this practice in a Church wedding at some time in the future? And if they do, why should they even frown on fornication, masturbation, fetishes, consensual sadomasochism, etc.? Should all this teaching be tossed out? If so, my only conclusion is that you both have come to the conclusion that the Catholic Church has been teaching false doctrine for centuries, so, it couldn't be the true Church.

Tom, thanks for asking about me, but I think I will be fine. I don't intend to open up a reception hall or an adoption service anytime soon. But I am not in this discussion just to protect myself. I truly believe that the common good, and especially children, will be harmed by this change.

As regards the Christian approach to our homosexual brothers and sisters, we should always treat everyone with as much love and consideration as possible, without abandoning the Gospel. It is evil to pretend that a sin is a good, if it is really a sin. It would be like a doctor telling a patient not to worry about his alcoholism, or even a cancer. How caring would that be?

So that ''truth'' judgment must be made first, especially in matters that can decide a person's eternal destiny. As regards to preaching the Gospel, in season and out, shouldn't we do the same for anyone, no matter what their sexual inclination is, such as prostitution, adultery, various fetishes, even those oriented to children? Or, do you just single out the last as an abomination?
Michael Barberi | 10/11/2012 - 5:51pm

The issue we are discussing is a statistical one. I never said that statistics, e.g., counting heads who disagree, make a teaching true or false. Polls and opinion polls are not used to formulate doctrine. However, if a teaching (such as JP II's Theology of the Body) makes a claim that any form of contraception is a false, evil and destructive love, and couples who practice contraception have a utilitarian attitude and a diabolical love grounded in concupisciense....but there is no evidence whatsoever in existential reality that such a claim is true, then statistics can be used to claim a truth or a falsehood.

Nevetheless, and to your point about Humanae Vitae and the overwhelming number of Catholics that disagree with this teaching, a teaching "not received" means that the teaching does not posses any power to change behavior. This is particularly troublesome when a teaching is claimed to be Divine Law and a moral absolute, and the contraceptive act is professed to be intrinsically evil. Kindly note that based on the history of the Chruch, all teachings not-received were eventually reformed. 

Your comments about the 64% might be right. Then again you may be completely wrong. You seem to be implying that only an enlightened few who attend weekly Mass abide by all Church teachings. If so, I would agree that a small percent of Catholics who attend weekly Mass agree completely with all Church teachings. Frankly, I could not understand where you were going with your rhetoric. Nevertheless, I continue to believe that your experience and opinon is not the reality of all Catholics in the U.S.

Amy, I do appreciate your comments, but disagree with your conclusions. Thanks for agreeing that it is plausible that 90% of all couples 15-44 who practice birth control, use some form of contraception condemned by the Vaticana as intrinsically evil. 


I agree with your comments about being accurate. I was a senior partner in a worldwide healthcare consulting firm and was responsible for many studies involving actuarial science. However, cut me a little slack and I will cut you some. We need to see the larger picture and not get lost in the numbers. Hopefully, as a professional you know what I am taking about. I reached a pinicle in my profession for becoming a national expert, knowing numbers and their practical well as their limitations.

Since email blogging is a poor communciations method, let me try to put aside some of your concerns. When I say NFP-PC, I mean natural family planning and periodic continence. This term stands for all effective methods of NFP-PC such as the Calendar Method and the SymptoThermal Method and other modified versions of these methods. These methods all involve abstaining from sexual intercourse on fertile days as proscribed by the Church as the only licit method of birth control. 

Tim, I hope we are both learning about precise language as well as respecting and responding to each other's points. 

With respect to your puzzlement about why I did not profess that 97% or 99% of Catholics ages 15-44 who use a birth control method, use a method condemned by the Vatican as intrinsically evil (e.g., steriliation, condom, withdrawal, pill, IUD)....I was being ultra-conservative. Many other studies say the number who use NFP-PC is 2%-3%, not necessarily based on the degree of religiosity.  Since there are limitations in all studies of this kind, I choose to use the words "more than 90%" for a number of reasons, one of them included the results of the Hoge Survey, where 90% of Catholics who attend weekly Mass don't believe that taking the pill or using a condom is always morally wrong. Hence, I choose to be ultra-conservative to make my point....that an extremely small percent of Cathlolics ages 15-44 who use a birth control method, use NFP-PC. 

R. Fehring (the author of the study we were discussing) also conducted a study in 2007 on "The Relationship Between Religiosity and Contraceptive Use Among RC Women in the U.S."  In this study, he found that only 2% - 3% of Catholics ages 15-44, who are considered orthodox and take their faith very seriously, use NFP-PC programs while 39% used sterilization. 

The link to the Hoge study is (hopefully it works):

Hoge may have updated this survey, but I am unware of it. He died a few years ago but CUA continues his good work. 

Since we both have spent quite a lot of effort on this point, let's reach a conclusion and agreement. To that end, let me know if you agree with the statment below:

More than 90% of Catholics (ages 15-44) who practice birth control, use a birth control method condemned by the Vatican as intrinsically evil (sterilization, withdrawal pill, condom, IUD). Further, only about 2% -3% of those Catholics ages 15-44, who either attend weekly Mass or consider themselves orthodox and take their faith seriously, use NFP-PC as a birth control method.
Thomas Rooney OFS | 10/9/2012 - 2:59pm
@Tim says, quoting Archbishop Myers - "'Those who hold to the truth of marriage will be discriminated against in employment and the public square, and will be prevented from running adoption services (as has already happened in IL and MA). Legal and civil actions will be taken against houses of worship of many denominations and religions, hotel managers, photographers, owners of reception halls, whose consciences are opposed to hosting gay marriages. Catholic teaching and biblical teaching on homosexuality has already been defined as “hate speech” in Canada and Britain."

Taking off on Michael's point earlier, a lot of businesses and services went under because of the supposed "immoraility" of black customers attempting to buy goods and services from white businesses.  That's the free market.  The establishments that practice exclusivity for any reason are free to do so. Just as their potential clientale are free not to partake of their services if they disagree with said exclusivity.  Same can be said here...if they cannot stay afloat, they've shot themselves in the foot.  The societal need will be filled by other organizations that will not discriminate.

Hate speech.  In order to keep in line with the spiritual works of mercy, do you point out to same sex couples that they are an abomination before God?  If "God Hates Fags" should we not follow Westboro Baptist's example and let them know?

"Will private religious schools be required to accommodate homosexual couples at events, on family committees, on retreats? Will they be permitted to teach that homosexual sex is immoral (and dangerous, medically)?"

Private relgious school accomodation for SSC's and curriculum?  No.  See my above comments above on exclusivity.   

You've not answered my questions, however.  Where is the discrimination against you?  How have you been victimized by same sex couples?   

We do agree on one thing however.  People should reflect on all of this before the vote.

Tim O'Leary | 10/10/2012 - 1:58pm
Sandi #66
It was a one month ''snapshot'' not a three month snapshot, but I'm guessing you didn't actually read the document. In the ''ever use'' category there are no data where 90% can be deduced from, since the right question is not asked and there is no denominator. It just isn't there.

And, my argument never was about NFP, so repeating that has nothing to do with my argument that the unqualified 90% on contraception is bogus.

While I know a lot of you dissent on Church teaching, must you also dissent on math and honesty as well? Why do you fight so hard for the false 90% number when a 40-60% number would do just as well for your argument? In the ''ever use'' table, only 65.6% Catholics said they ever used the pill. The same table has 19.6% using the calendar method. Why omit the calendar method number every time?

I agree with you that ''sadly, it's a losing battle trying to educate someone who doesn't want to learn. They don't want the facts that get in the way of their preferred perceptions.''
Tim O'Leary | 10/9/2012 - 2:30pm
Thomas #52
Archbishop Myers had a list of likely infringements on religious liberty, which I summarized in the last paragraph of #31 above, but since this is the second time the question has been asked, I copy it here: ''Those who hold to the truth of marriage will be discriminated against in employment and the public square, and will be prevented from running adoption services (as has already happened in IL and MA). Legal and civil actions will be taken against houses of worship of many denominations and religions, hotel managers, photographers, owners of reception halls, whose consciences are opposed to hosting gay marriages. Catholic teaching and biblical teaching on homosexuality has already been defined as “hate speech” in Canada and Britain.''

It is clear from the HHS mandate discussion that freedom of religion is being narrowed to places of worship, and that lay people will not be protected, no matter what their religious beliefs are. Even publishers of bibles will not be free from the secular arm of the law (see that Tyndale House Publishers has recently filed suit). There are 30 suits, presently.

But, it is not only religious rights that are at risk, but the rights of children. The good of an orphan in adoption is at stake. Giving a 2-man homosexual household equivalence to a father-mother marriage has already happened in IL and MA. Will private religious schools be required to accommodate homosexual couples at events, on family committees, on retreats? Will they be permitted to teach that homosexual sex is immoral (and dangerous, medically)? Abandoning the definition of civil marriage we have had for thousands of years is not innocuous at all. It will have profound effects on society, altering the understanding of marriage that has lasted thousands of years. People should reflect on this before they vote.
Tim O'Leary | 10/9/2012 - 3:06pm
Why does every blog topic find its way back to contraception with you? Are you an advocate of gay marriage, the actual question on this post?

Anyway, so much for civility - you called me ignorant twice in your post, once about the history of contraception that I never mentioned above, and again about a survey you never gave me a link to. I just asked if you could show that 90% made mathematical sense? Can you?

By the way, my wife and I never used contraception in many years of (fertile) marriage, and never used NFP either, and many other Catholic families I know would say the same, so where would we show up in a poll? But if we used it once, we would fit into a poll of ''ever having used contraception.'' Even one slip up would get us into the 90%? (We do have a lot of children, though we think that's a blessing.)

As regards your earlier question about the pretty important doctrinal beliefs that the Virgin Mary was perpetually a virgin and that the word brother had other meanings, I give the links rather than distract from this post’s topic.