Roman Catholics: A New View on Birth Control

Revisions in theology start inconspicuously enough—usually as footnote-laden articles in grey, learned journals with modest circulations. Future church historians may well date a profound change in Roman Catholic thinking on marriage from the current issue of a scholarly Belgian periodical called Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses, There, the Rev. Louis Janssens, 56, a respected professor of moral theology at the University of Louvain, cautiously endorsed oral contraceptive pills as a legitimate means of family limitation for Catholic couples.

Catholic moralists in the U.S. reacted to the article as if Canon Janssens had nailed...

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