While we discuss if Catholic hospitals should cover contraceptives, more than 35,000 people die of starvation each day and 85 percent of the deaths are children 5 and younger. Many of these children live in developing countries where the Catholic Church is prominent.
Haiti (80 percent Catholic) is a good example of everything wrong with the church’s position on contraceptives. Haiti couldn’t support their population prior to the earthquake, much less after it.
In Haiti before the quake, 1.9 million people (20 percent) needed food assistance; malnutrition affects 24 percent of children younger than 5; the average family size is seven; maternal mortality is 300 deaths per 100,000 live births (U.S. has 24, most European countries are under 10); infant mortality is 54 deaths per 1,000 live births (U.S. has six, most European counties are under five).
In 1966, a Papal Commission advised Pope Paul VI birth control was not evil and Catholics should be allowed to decide birth control for themselves. However, the commission chairperson advised the pope any change would jeopardize the church’s credibility. So in 1968 the pope reiterated the anti-birth control position.
The Catholic Church’s position has changed on other issues: slavery was morally acceptable, as long as masters treated their slaves humanely; Galileo was condemned for teaching the earth revolved around the sun and until 1966 it was a sin to eat meat on Friday.
The world would be a better place with less suffering and death if the Catholic Church openly supported responsible family planning.