Religion: Birth Control Blues

Roman Catholics who hope that the church will change its mind about birth control seize upon any reasonable rumors. Several were floating about last week, including a suggestion in the Italian weekly Panorama that Pope Paul VI might be planning a revision of his 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae, which condemned all artificial contraception.

One source of the speculation was a letter from the Vatican to bishops' conferences round the world suggesting responses to the current United Nations population year. One section of the 5,000-word document included a recommendation that couples should take into account "the demands of common welfare" in determining the...

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