‘The Church is not against birth control at all’: Cardinal Walter Kasper



a synopsis would be good, in case we want to read but can’t access the link. Thanks!

Good idea. I can’t edit the Original post anymore, but here is a quick synopsis.

The Cardinal was responding to a question from a reporter, who asked, "whether married couples who already have “three children and live in poverty” should not be “allowed to use birth control to prevent more conception?”

Cardinal Kasper responded, “Well, the Church is not against birth control at all. … It’s about the methods of birth control. … I do not want to enter into this characteristic…how they have to do it. It’s their personal conscience and their personal responsibility.”

There were several other questions and comments on the page…I’m not sure how much I’m supposed to copy/paste here so I’ll just leave it at that I guess.

So now I don’t understand your emoticon in the first post. This is a very true and orthodox statement by Cardinal Kasper on the Catholic teaching regarding the regulation of births aka “birth control”.

Yeah, I don’t see the problem. The Cardinal is correct in saying that we are against certain methods of birth control, correct?

I tried to look at the actual interview, but it’s audio. Experience has taught me that much can be hidden within the ellipses of a LifeSiteNews quotation.

Cardinal Kasper is not wrong, though. The Church is against artificial contraception (a method of birth control). Regulating births through NFP is “birth control” in the technical sense. But it is acceptable because it works within the natural designs of fertility rather than frustrating them.

The Church teaches that** contraception** is gravely wrong. Contraception is a widely used form of birth control but it is not the only method of birth control. The Church does not teach that birth control without use of contraception is wrong.

I think he is right and wrong.

He is right, in that the Church is not against “birth control”, if we define birth control as taking natural intervention to “avoid” pregnancy, yet still fully embracing pregnancy if it be God’s will.

However, he is wrong if he views “birth control” as defined above with more assured “prevention” of conception through devices and drugs.

With this thought in mind, even NFP is contrary to Church teaching, if it is used with the intent or hopes to simply “prevent” conception for personal or economic convenience rather than to delay God’s plan for procreation.

Its complicated, but the bottom line is NFP is fine for planning, but if you intent is prevention and not planning, it is as much against Church teaching as the pill, condoms, or inter-uterine devices.

Yet, before we judge those who use NFP, we must be careful to remember that it is only God who knows their hearts, and not us.

Peace and all good.

The lifesitenews community freaks me out with the eagerness with which they condemn others (even a cardinal in this case) as heretics.

I can’t handle that Lifesite News, man. Cannot read their stuff; it makes me queasy.



I can understand a sort of knee-jerk recoiling at the phrase “The Church is not against birth control at all” simply because, in popular parlance, we often use “birth control” and “artificial contraception” interchangeably. But the Church tends to use language much more precisely, which is what Cardinal Kasper is doing.

A good practice – especially when it is a successor to the Apostles that is speaking – is to set aside our knee-jerk reaction and calmly ask if there is a different way to understand the situation than what our initial impulse dictates. Tossing out accusations of heresy should be a last resort not a first response.

Kasper responded, “Well, the Church is not against birth control at all. … It’s about the methods of birth control. …** I do not want to enter into this characteristic…how they have to do it. It’s their personal conscience and their personal responsibility.**”

This bolded statement is where I find the most concern. The first part may be technically correct, but is likely misleading many. The bold section here is the real problem. Sin is never a mater of personal conscience.

A couple of quotes…

Cardinal Kasper, whose theological works have been praised by Pope Francis as “serene” and “kneeling theology,” laid out a plan at the February consistory of cardinals to allow divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to return to the reception of Communion “after a period of penance,” but without making any change in their circumstances. This suggestion reportedly aroused an angry response by several cardinals present at the consistory and has since triggered a backlash.

In an interview with the liberal Jesuit magazine Commonweal on his trip to New York, said the high standards required by Church teaching on marriage could be considered an “ideal” to which the Church ought not hold people in the practical realm.

Speaking of ‘remarried’ couples who live together as “brother and sister,” Kasper told the magazine, “I have high respect for such people. But whether I can impose it is another question. But I would say that people must do what is possible in their situation.”

“We cannot as human beings always do the ideal, the best. We must do the best possible in a given situation,” he said.

Such things as Kasper says here are very concerning. I am not yet satisfied that Kasper’s views will rule the day, not that they are precisely the views of the Pope, but they certainly inspire a lot of anxiety.

I do feel strongly that the many conflicting comments and cryptic statements coming out of the Vatican are harmful to the laity. Even though many of them are doctrinal, they are wildly misinterpreted. For example, the statement that Christ’s death redeemed all of mankind. True, yes, but to my mind deliberately provocative. Maybe it is the Pontiff’s wish to provoke, but I wish the Vatican would have some of its mercy on us!

Totally agree. LifeSite has long struck me as being the Joe McCarthy of the pro-life movement.

This is where listening to the full interview would be of benefit. Those ellipses denote that something has been left out. That might provide the context that would set your mind at ease.

In any case, I would extend Cardinal Kasper the benefit of the doubt and assume that he is not undermining Catholic teaching on artificial contraception. He could just be saying that he’s not getting into that aspect in his present discussion. :shrug:


This topic got locked or deleted the last time it was up. Artificial Birth Control is always wrong, not Natural Family Planning. That’s not an opinion. It’s Church teaching.


Again, it cannot be overstated, NFP, if used with the intend to absolutely prevent and not plan is NOT Church teaching.

Cardinal Kasper said nothing technically incorrect. We used to see this sort of quote all the time from priests, bishops and religious back in the bad old days of the 70’s through early 90’s. (I live in Milwaukee towards the end of that period, so I KNOW) Fr. Richard McBrien in his old syndicated columns was a master at it. Write things that were technically and defensibly true, but written in such a way that the average Joe frequently understood it in a manner totally at odds with catholic teaching.

Charity demands that we not speculate on the motivations of such frighteningly ambiguous statements and quotes, so that’s all I’ll say. And even the most tightly wound orthodox among us should admit that evangelization is rather more than simply condemning sin and demanding repentance. Mistakes get made sometimes in the balance between prioritizing the message of joy and hope that is Christ and being faithful to the truths that necessarily follow.

Actually, you’ve overstated it, so it can be overstated.

If you meant couples using NFP to never have any kids from the time the first marry, you’re correct that that’s a problem. But if a couple marries with the intent to have kids and later discovers a serious issue that forever after that make pregnancy unsafe or imprudent, it’s not immoral at all to use NFP to absolutely prevent pregnancy.

“Serious” is rather hard to define and God has provided humanity with plenty of non-cerebral assistance in that discernment process. More often than not, plain old healthy human sexual desire among spouses who love each other will be enough to root out frivolous reasons not to have children. It’s our nature and NFP innately respects that nature in a way ABC does not.

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