Theology: Church & Birth Control: From Genesis to Genetics

For Roman Catholics, contraception is currently the most explosive of religious questions; can Pope Paul VI modify the teachings of his predecessors and admit to the church some means of birth prevention apart from abstinence? During the worldwide debate on the subject, few Catholics have had the chance to examine the full record of what Popes and theologians of other centuries really said about birth control. Now they have. In Contraception (Belknap Press, Harvard; $7.95), Notre Dame Law Professor John T. Noonan Jr., 38, has produced a magisterially documented history of...

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