Pope Francis on Birth Control: the Magisterium Will Say No

During his inflight press conference on his return journey from Canada, Pope Francis said that while theologians should research the morality of birth control, ultimately, the magisterium will make the final decision.

Newsroom (31/07/2022 3:15 PM Gaudium PressDuring Pope Francis’ return flight from Canada, a journalist asked him about the possibility of a development in the Church’s teaching on contraception.

“This is very timely. But know that dogma, morality, is always in a path of development, but development in the same direction,” Pope Francis responded.

The pope went on to say that he thinks the development of Catholic moral doctrine, in general, is fine but recommended in particular that it follows the rules outlined by the 5th-century theologian St. Vincent of Lérins.

Pope Francis explained that St. Vincent of Lérins taught “that true doctrine in order to go forward, to develop, must not be quiet, it develops ut annis consolidetur, dilatetur tempore, sublimetur aetate.”

“That is, it consolidates with time, it expands and consolidates, and becomes more steady, but is always ‘progressing.’ That is why the duty of theologians is research, theological reflection. You cannot do theology with a ‘no’ in front of it … the magisterium will be the one to say no,” the pope added.

Pope Francis addressed the recent controversy over a book published by the Vatican’s publishing house, which discussed “the possible legitimacy of contraception in certain cases.”

The book “Theological Ethics of Life: Scripture, Tradition, and Practical Challenges” is a 528-page synthesis of a theological seminar sponsored by the Pontifical Academy for Life in 2021.

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Pope Francis said: “On the issue of contraception, I know there is a publication out on this issue and other marriage issues.”

“These are the proceedings of a congress and in a congress there are hypotheses, then they discuss among themselves and make proposals. We have to be clear: those who made this congress did their duty because they tried to move forward in doctrine, but in an ecclesial sense, not out, as I said with that rule of St. Vincent of Lerins.”

– Raju Hasmukh

(with files from CNA)


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