"The doubts in my mind about the morality of birth control were probably the first steps on my way to Catholicism."

Fr. Bloom,

I hope you don't mind my emailing you a random question, but I happened to find your site on the internet tonight and I saw your email address. I find myself getting into discussions about morality and theology quite a bit these days. I know part of the reason is that I am very excited about my faith and don't mind discussing it, but the biggest reason seems to be that I stand along amongst my peers for some of my beliefs. I am in medical school at the University of Alabama. Even among other Christians I get questions, especially about birth control. The doubts in my mind about the morality of birth control were probably the first steps on my way to Catholicism. I was very intrigued by a talk by Janet Smith at my college a few years ago. Now I'm definitely sure about my views on the subject, and they aren't very well respected in a scientific and medical atmosphere. I guess I'm an easy target for jokes because I don't plan to use contraception, and most people in my class, and especially my non-Catholic Christian friends, think that's a ridiculous decision. We just had a teacher the other day implying that anyone who hasn't figured out what birth control is yet are idiots. She seemed to think it was the only way to go. Anyway, of course that brought several comments from my friends who don't understand my decision at all.

But the point of my email is really about Authority and what the Church teaches. How do you explain authority and trust in the Church's teachings to people who are not Catholic, or even to Catholics who are questioning why you follow the Church on certain issues. I was discussing with my dad my decision to not use contraception when my fiance and I get married (he's a physician and a Protestant, so this really doesn't make sense to him), and he questions why I should follow the church on everything because "they've changed their minds in the past." He is always saying that, referring to their approach to science or celibacy or whatever. He keeps claiming that a lot of very intelligent people are Catholics and disagree with certain stances of the church (ie Andrew Sullivan). And I would argue that a lot of very intelligent people love the church and still follow it's teachings because of their faith. Anyway, I had another friend ask the same thing recently, about how do I know the church isn't just going to change its mind with the next pope or anything concerning contraception (or whatever)....and how do you trust it if it's changed its mind in the past. When I get questions like these I feel like I don't respond well on the spot and I'm not always sure what to say. Could you give me some guidance.

I know this is a really long and random email, but I saw your site and liked it and I hoped you could help me. Take your time, I know you are a busy man.

If you don't have time to respond, that's okay...I can always ask someone else, I just felt moved to email you.

God bless you, Anna


Dear Anna,

Thanks for the confidence - and please accept my apologies in taking so long to respond. I did pray for you after getting your email, but then it kind of got buried. It would be wonderful if you could come to Seattle after graduating - we certainly need more medical professionals who can support or help people in living their faith. But you will also be a godsend in Alabama or wherever you wind up.

Rather than an argument, I would encourage you to share with your friends that you sincerely believe Jesus is God - and that his mission as bridegroom (Mk 2:19, etc.) was to form a bride which is his church. Even though the Catholic Church sometimes seems old and not so beautiful, Jesus would never divorce her so he could marry a newer model.

All of the Church's (i.e, Jesus') teaching on sexuality must be seen in that marriage context. Contraception goes against the total giving which should be a part of each marriage act. These are hard teachings, but if a person loses sight of the basic vision, they easily fall into what is destructive to individuals and society in general. You can see it in our society's current push to change the whole meaning of marriage by having ceremonies involving two men or two women.

Those are my thoughts. More important you have my prayers. God bless,

Fr. Bloom


Other Questions

Interview on Birth Control

Catholic Teaching on Birth Control

Women Priests

The Crisis of the Catholic University

The Abortion Issue.

Homily on Abortion and Homosexuality

The Challenge of Secular Humanism

The Religion of our Culture: Naturalism

Magdalene Sisters and other anti-Catholic Pornography (Warning: Contains graphic descriptions.)

The Catholic Church: Founded by Jesus

Hitler's Pope: Comic Book Approach to Church History

Simple Catholicism

C.S. Lewis: To Dissenting Priests