The Pope and Birth Control: A Crisis in Catholic Authority

ROME has spoken," runs an ancient proverb of the Roman Catholic Church. "The case is closed." No longer true. Last week Pope Paul VI formally promulgated his encyclical on birth control, which condemns all methods of contraception, except rhythm, as against the will of God. The pronouncement caused perhaps the most serious outburst of dissent the Catholic Church has experienced in centuries. Innumerable Catholics made clear that they would refuse to heed the words of a reigning Pontiff. Theologians defied his authority to insist that the encyclical was not binding on married Catholics...

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