Perhaps Pope Francis is making it more difficult to pinpoint what Catholics think of different moral dilemmas but he’s certainly giving us lots of opinions to fill our exam answers with!
News story number one on this gloriously sunny Thursday in half-term is that the Pope Francis says birth control is not absolute evil… in areas hit by the Zuka virus. Ah, the last part of the sentence is pretty important here. Pope Francis has said artifical contraception should be viewed “as the lesser of two evils” for women with the Zika virus. Generally the Catholic Church has said that only abstinence (choosing not to have sex) is the acceptable form of contraception although in 1968 they also said the rhythm method is allowed too. The latter not being a great form of contraception: using this method, a woman learns to recognise the days she is fertile, and doesn’t have sex before and during those days.
This method does not work for all couples. Women who have regular menstrual cycles and who are very careful about when they have sex usually find it to be effective. Women who have irregular cycles and who are not so careful often end up becoming pregnant. Natural family planning is used by around 3% of women in most of the UK, but around 5% in Northern Ireland.
It’s great though that Pope Francis is commenting on the need for contraception to stop unnecessary suffering of babies and that he’s actually used a quote from the Bible which we learn for out GCSE: ‘the lesser of two evils”.
Not satisfied with one news story to his today Pope Francis also wades into the controversy around US Presidential hopeful Donald Trump. The Pope has said, “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian”. This is in reference to Trump’s immigration policy where he wants to erect a wall to keep Mexican migrants out of the USA.