Bishop Claims Birth Contol Pill Is Cause of Clergy Sex Abuse

From the Wisconson State Journal, 7.27.2008.

Spotted by Peter Isely. Thanks, Peter.

I could comment on this bishop’s nuttiness, but it takes by breath away, so I’ll just pass and let the author do it for me.

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Wineke: No, Bishop. Birth Control Doesn’t Cause Sex Abuse.

Bill Wineke



Read Wineke’s blog at www.madison.com/wsj/blogs


Madison’s Roman Catholic Bishop Robert Morlino says he understands the underlying cause of the clergy sex-abuse scandal in his church: the birth control pill.


More precisely, what Morlino claims is that widespread disobedience to Pope Paul VI’s ban of the pill led to all sorts of depravities, including marital infidelity, pornography, a loss of respect for women, and, most interesting to me, at least, sex abuse by priests.


Friday was the 40th anniversary of the encyclical, “Humanae Vitae,” the letter Paul VI wrote upholding the church’s traditional teachings on birth control and, effectively, banning the use of the pill by Catholics.


The Catholic Church accepts some forms of birth control, mostly variations of the “rhythm” method of refraining from sexual activity during times of likely fertility, but bans the pill and the use of condoms or other barrier methods. Before Humanae Vitae, many Catholics had hoped the church would approve the pill as a “natural” form of control, as opposed to the “artificial” barrier methods.

Morlino made his comments several weeks ago at a staff retreat, but they were published Thursday in the diocesan newspaper, The Catholic Herald.


Despite the fact the pope ruled against “artificial” forms of birth control, some bishops and priests and many lay people, however, decided to follow the dictates of their own consciences rather than the pope’s ruling, Morlino said. It was these decisions to follow private conscience rather than church teaching that led to the downfall of much morality, the bishop asserted.


“Once bishops, priests and others decided that they could use conscience to excuse them from obedience to truth, as taught by the church — when bishops and priests started giving conscience the authority to determine moral truth, rather than obey the truth as taught by the church, it’s not surprising that (during those years) some priests and some bishops started to follow their own conscience in terms of sexual misconduct,” the bishop said.


This leads me to only one question: Does anyone in the Diocese of Madison ever tell this guy he’s talking nonsense?


To ascribe the biggest scandal in church history to the idea that individuals have no right to form their own conscience is just bizarre.


Priests do not molest children because they disagree with Humane Vitae, and they do not molest children because they feel the right to disobey church teachings. Priests, like all other pedophiles, abuse children because they are sick human beings.


Those bishops who cover up the misdeeds of their priests don’t do so because they don’t accept the authority of the pope as supreme teacher. Bishops cover up the misdeeds of their church because they fear scandal and because they think the welfare of the ordained is more important than the souls of children.


There are many, many priests who disagree with the church prohibition of artificial birth control. There are very few priests who abuse children.


The bishops have never really faced up to the troubling questions posed by the clergy abuse/bishop cover-up dilemma. Dismissing it as a manifestation of a contraceptive mentality is to do a disservice to the priests and to the people in their pews.




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