Melinda Gates optimistic that Church will change teaching on contraception

But experts say Pope Francis can't change longstanding doctrine even if he wanted to

Melinda Gates. (Credit: Russell Watkins. Department for International Development)

Pope Francis cannot change Church teaching on contraception, despite the hopes of Melinda Gates.

In a recent BBC interview, Gates has said she is “optimistic” that the Catholic Church will change church teaching on contraception in order to help women in developing countries.

“We work very extensively with the Catholic Church and I’ve had many discussions with them because we have a shared mission around social justice and anti-poverty,” Gates said.

“And I think what this Pope sees is that if you’re going to lift people out of poverty, you have to do the right thing for women,” she said, even though “we have agreed at this point to disagree” on contraception.

Her comments come as her charity, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is currently co-hosting an international summit in London on the issue of access to contraception in the developing world.

She said she was “optimistic” that the Catholic Church would re-examine its teachings on contraception and that they might change over time.

But such change is impossible, said John Grabowski, associate professor of moral theology and ethics at Catholic University of America.

“The Church’s teaching on opposing contraception isn’t a recent teaching, it’s not something made up by Pope Paul VI in 1968,” he told CNA.  

Instead of contraception, the Church proposes various methods of fertility awareness, or Natural Family Planning, to help families plan their children in such a way that does not separate the procreative and unitive aspects of sex.

While these methods have been effective in developing countries where it is taught and promoted well, the Church could do yet more to support people who want to follow Church teaching, Grabowski noted.

“Could the Church doing a better job of talking about these methods of fertility awareness and their benefit? Absolutely,” he said.

“We’ve got a culture that is promoting and empowering contraception and the Church (needs to) articulate a clear enough alternative with a vision and how we can realize it.”

Full story at Catholic News Agency.

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  1. unfortunately, it seems as though she has been speaking to high level church officials who have led her to make these statements. if the pattern holds, there will appear another document that will seem to affirm the moral tradition , but then have key obfuscation clauses that speak of ‘ discernment’ ‘adaptation’, etc ; and finding a path in a personal siituationist way. it will lengthen the ‘dubia list. complaining cardinals will be cashiered or removed to remote ‘perifieries’.

    • drewelow, you may very likely be correct. I doubt, however, that Church teaching will change as it has in so many other denominations. We have to be mindful, or at least aware, of how “immoral” the general public thinks the Church’s teaching is. When you have less than 25% of Catholics going to church on a regular basis, and the same in other denominations, there is no moral compass against which they can judge, other than their own beliefs of right and wrong. When I grew up, if the Church said something was wrong, it was wrong. Now, if the Church says something is wrong, it’s open for discussion. And, the Church usually loses the argument to popular culture.

      • i truly hope i am horribly wrong

      • Immoral, Bob One. Do you know how many people have used the birth control pill to cheat on husbands and wives, or even lovers? a vast amount and Pope Paul saw it coming. It has led to so many broken homes and children without two parents it is pathetic. And the backup as we all know is abortion. Add to that the breast cancer epidemic, of even very young women, since it is a carcinogen, and it is also adds estrogen to our waterways which is deforming our fish. It is pure poison in more ways than one.

      • I can only wonder why the Gates are not using their money to push Natural Family Planning. I guess a little self control is too much to ask.

  2. Michael McDermott says:

    As we are seeing more and more with the ‘$ame Old $candals’ harming the Catholic Church – Money is at the root of much of the Evil.
    Too many Inside the Priesthood and particularly the ‘professional catholics’ (small ‘c’) are swayed by Big $$ as opposed to any sort of arguments made by those who are of limited financial means.

    Blessed are the Poor – Who Keep their Mouths Shut, save to ask for handouts from the Rich. Ahem.

  3. Typical mainstream NO Catholic. This is what V2 has done to people’s minds. Now, before everybody hurtles themselves through cyberspace to attack me for saying that, I don’t mean all of you, just most of you. Say what you want, the ilk of Bill & Melinda Gates simply is not accommodated by the traditional faith, and people like them simply cannot be found at the TLM parishes. The NO faith is different religion.

  4. Gratias says:

    Vade retro, MelindaGates!

  5. Gates has said she is “optimistic” that the Catholic Church will change church teaching on contraception in order to help women in developing countries. Of course she is not standing up for herself or her circle of friends; she is doing this for all the ignorant, third world primitives who can’t make moral decisions on their own. What a typical liberal Catholic bigot.

  6. Joel Fago says:

    The Church will change teaching on contraception when it changes its teaching on the sacredness of life which it will never do.

  7. Roberta Siena says:

    Bill Gates’s father worked for Planned Parenthood!

    Watch YouTube less than one minute.
    In an appearance on NOW With Bill Moyers on May 9, 2003, the world’s leading philanthropist and head of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation explains his focus on population control, noting that his father, William Gates, Sr. served on the national board of Planned Parenthood and has remained committed to the eugenics agenda for many decades. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZ6mjx4J7dM

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