Author’s Note: A copy of this letter is being mailed to the Vatican; I plan to post any response I receive.
Last month, you called Catholics to “responsible parenthood,” reminding us that we need not breed “like rabbits” in order to be good Catholics. I am a young Catholic woman, married and raising a child. I was glad to hear the Church acknowledge that humans can – and must – enter parenthood with great intention and care! This gift of forethought is what sets humans apart from animals. A rabbit in the woods does not stop to consider when might be the best time to have a litter of kits, or whether there might be adequate food and shelter for them when they arrive; the rabbit’s body simply knows that it is breeding season, and breeds. Humans have the capacity to consider our decisions, using our reason and conscience, and we have a responsibility to do so. We are called to be fruitful and multiply, not simply to multiply!
You followed this call to responsible parenthood by affirming the Church’s teaching that Catholic couples should only use “natural” methods of family planning. At this I was dismayed, because these methods do not work for all women. I would know; I am one of them. There are a range of “natural” family planning methods, and I researched them all, in search of one that would suit my body. Unfortunately, I learned that none would work. I’d like to share what I learned with you, Pope Francis, because I know that I am not the only Catholic woman who faces this challenge. Continue reading