The article being studied, “Myths and Consequences,” addresses the issue of whether or not birth control is acceptable, especially to certain religious groups. The Catholic Church, in particular, has always been against all forms of birth control except the “rhythm method,” and believes that sex within marriage should serve the dual purposes of connecting the couple and producing children. In today’s society, where most families cannot afford large numbers of children, many Catholics are either questioning the church’s beliefs or using birth control despite them. This topic is important because the problems of overpopulation, poverty, and family discord can all be traced, to some extent, to having more children than a family can comfortably handle or afford.
BASICS OF THE ARTICLE
The article is about how although the Catholic Church opposes birth control, most Catholics (97 % polled) admit to using some form of birth control, either physical or chemical (Cozzens 8). They do this despite claiming, for the most part, to agreeing with the overall premise of the Catholic Church, which that one of the primary reasons for sex within a marriage is to produce children (Cozzens 9). It also discussed the fact that approximately 50 years ago, the Church was very close to changing their view on birth control; in the end, the voracious arguments of three bishops served to persuade the Pope to keep the rules in place (Stone 14). The fact that high-ranking members of the church, up to and including the Pope were seriously thinking about changing this long-standing canonical law is amazing; the fact that they let themselves by swayed by a minority opinion also speaks volumes about how the church thinks. To the millions of Catholics affected by this issue, it could be life-changing.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS TOPIC
This is a topic which affects Catholics throughout the world; not just in the United States. Catholicism is a large denomination of the Christian religion, and its followers live all over the world. Therefore, this issue could be considered to have worldwide consequences (Selling 1040). Every Catholic, whether they follow the ban on birth-control or not, are affected by this issue, as those using birth control are likely to feel separated from their faith or guilty about disobeying one of its rules.
BIAS IN THE ARTICLE
The author of the article, Rachel Marie Stone, went to great lengths to remain unbiased. She presented the Catholic Church’s point of view, that of other religious groups, and that of laymen (Stone 15). She also showed how the Catholic Church was willing to open its mind regarding the issue, although it eventually decided to stick with its original rules (Stone 17). The author did show any anti-Catholic bias or anti-religious bias in general. She was very even-handed in presenting the issues involves in the issue of contraception.
MY PERSONAL REACTION TO THE ARTICLE
Growing up knowing that the Catholic Church was against birth control for any reason, and that most Catholics used it anyway, was confusing to me, both from a religious and personal level. Learning that the Church had seriously considered lifting its ban on birth control 50 years ago, only to be talked out of it, made me feel a little better about the issue. If the Pope the other high-ranking church officials are rethinking the issue of birth control, maybe it is no so bad that the average person chooses to use it, rather than having large families that they cannot support either financially or emotionally.