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Handling the conflict. Many priests all over the world will still go on bending the rules against the use of artificial contraceptives with compassion

Handling the conflict. Many priests all over the world will still go on bending the rules against the use of artificial contraceptives with compassion

Integration 2002(56): 17

This article summarizes the book "Bending the Rules" by Jim Bowman, on priests counseling on issues that conflict with Catholic church rules and the need to be compassionate. The book addresses the issue of whether the church is a religion of law, of compassion, or conscience. There should not be a conflict between the two; however, in the case of the Pope's "Humanae Vitae" stance on birth control, there is controversy among bishops, priests, and lay public. Priests counsel parishioners to use modern contraception when the circumstances warrant and in accordance with their informed conscience. Even Pope John Paul II, who affirmed the ban against contraception in his encyclicals, did not treat the ban as a non-fallible teaching. The Bowman book reports the findings from interviews with 50 American priests, who had an average pastoral experience of over 25 years. The priests reported their advice on issues that conflicted with Church rules and compassionate practice, such as birth control. Another banned "confessional research" book quoted from a tape recorded response of Pope Paul VI and said that the Pope thought the controversy over his encyclical might have brought people closer to what is really God's will on the matter of artificial contraception. Almost all of the priests said that the question of birth control hardly was discussed in their pastoral ministry. One priest said that in premarital counseling, he advised that there were differences in opinion about contraception, but that official doctrine opposed it. One priest believed that the teaching was not on solid ground.

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Accession: 046211529

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PMID: 12294058

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