Roman Catholics: Democracy for Bishops

Meeting last week for the first time as a regional legislature of their church, 210 U.S. Roman Catholic bishops cut loose with a thoroughly traditional attack on birth control, and then moved on to put an end to one of the most anachronistic of Catholic spiritual customs: compulsory abstinence from meat on Friday.

The point of the hierarchy's statement on contraception was its charge that "Government activities increasingly seek aggressively to persuade and even coerce the underprivileged to practice birth control" as a condition of gaining relief benefits. This, the bishops charged, was an infringement upon "the freedom of spouses to...

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