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Assistant Professor of Philosophy
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620 Michigan Avenue NE LCI #106
Washington, D.C., District of Columbia,20064
The Catholic University of America, founded in 1887 by the U.S. Catholic bishops with the support of Pope Leo XIII, is the national university of the Catholic Church in the United States. Established as a graduate research center, the University began offering... more.
Postdoctoral Research Associate At James Madison Program
Lecturer In Philosophy
University Faculty for Life
University of Notre Dame
Visiting Research Professor, Myser Fellow At the Center for Ethics and Culture
The Becket Fund
Pontifical University of the Holy Cross
The B.C. Catholic Paper - What Pope Francis actually said about contraception
However, Dr. Melissa Moschella, a philosophy professor at The Catholic University of America, suggested that this may not be the case.
When talking about avoiding pregnancy in connection with the Zika virus, the Pope may not necessarily have been implying artificial contraceptive use, but may have been referencing Natural Family Planning, she said. Normally, if a married couple faces a serious reason to avoid pregnancy, the Church teaches that they may do so through Natural Family Planning, a process that involves identifying a woman's fertile periods and abstaining from sexual activity during those times. Moschella also explained that in the Africa case referenced by Pope Francis, the dispensation for the nuns was "not really an exception if you understand the rule." The case in question took place in the early 1960s, when the Vatican granted a dispensation to religious sisters living in the Belgian Congo who were in grave danger of rape due to civil unrest to use oral contraceptives. "In the case of rape, the person who's raped, from the moral perspective, has not engaged in a sexual act," Moschella said. "But that doesn't happen in the case of rape," Moschella stressed. However, Moschella said that this is "really different" from the situation surrounding the Zika virus.
The Rights of Children: Biology Matters | Humanum Review
Melissa Moschella is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at The Catholic University of America. Her work focuses on ethics and political philosophy, especially bioethics, natural law theory, and the moral and political status of the family.
Stop Common Core FL
Assistant Professor of Philosophy Catholic University of America
WOA! World Population Awareness
While many news outlets suggested that the Pope was introducing a change - or at least a softening the church's position, Dr. Melissa Moschella, a philosophy professor at The Catholic University of America, says those statements do not necessarily reflect any change or softening in the Church's stance on contraception.
The Pope may have referred to Natural Family Planning rather than contraceptive use. Natural Family Planning involves abstaining from sexual activity during a woman's fertile periods. Moschella also explained that the African case Pope Francis referenced was "not really an exception if you understand the rule. The Vatican had granted a dispensation for religious sisters in the Belgian Congo who were in danger of rape to use oral contraceptives. From the moral perspective - a victim does not consent to a sexual act. To understand the distinction, the professor continued, one must first understand the purpose of human sexuality and why the church opposes contraception. From the Catholic perspective, sex is a relationship that is fulfilled by having and bearing children together; so birth control is immoral because it violates the very nature of sex - trying to engage in sex without the natural possibility of pregnancy. "But that doesn't happen in the case of rape," Moschella stressed.
Melissa Moschella, PhD
Melissa Moschella, PhD Melissa Moschella, PhD Melissa Moschella is the 2014-2015 Myser Fellow at Notre Dame's Center for Ethics and Culture, and an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at The Catholic University of America. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College and received her Ph.D. in Political Philosophy from Princeton University. Her work focuses on ethics and political philosophy, especially bioethics and the moral and political status of the family. Her current book project, Procreation, Parenthood and the State, considers parental rights as derivative of parental obligations, and argues that parents (biological parents, in the focal case) have an obligation to raise their own children unless there are serious child-centered reasons not to. In addition to her academic work, Dr. Moschella also speaks and writes on contemporary political and social issues, including religious freedom, parental rights, the ethics of assisted reproduction, and the defense of marriage. Her articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New York Daily News, National Review Online and The Public Discourse, and she is a regular contributor to EWTN News Nightly.