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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
Melissa Moschella, ...
Melissa Moschella, PhD
Melissa Moschella, PhD
Melissa Moschella, PhD
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.
work focuses on ethics and political philosophy, especially bioethics and the moral and political status of the family.
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.
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.
Melissa Moschella, Assistant ...
Melissa Moschella, Assistant Professor at The Catholic University of America, points out that the biological relationship that a child has to her parents is unique and irreplaceable.
In the first place, she points out that most adopted children seek to know (or to know about) their biological parents.
Melissa Moschella is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at The Catholic University of America.
work focuses on ethics and political philosophy, especially bioethics, natural law theory, and the moral and political status of the family.
News Briefs in English New - TCNL - The first Tamil Catholic website of Sri Lanka
Todd and Melissa Moschella, assistant professor of philosophy at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., said that the two pontiffs helped to explain the Church's respect for the dignity of women in a way that could be understood by a modern and changing world.
argued that the two saints' positions are important to consider in a world that defines women's rights and ability to participate in society by their access to products and procedures such as contraception and abortion.
"It's an illusion to think that's an issue of women's liberation," she
said, criticizing modern culture's tendency to use technology to render women infertile in order to conform to men's roles in the workplace.
In contrast, she
said, both Popes championed a more flexible workplace that respects women's role as caretakers for children or family members, as well as recognizing the important work that women do both in the home and outside of it.
also noted that while many people today think of the Church's beliefs as "anti-woman" and oppressive, women in the Early Church
recognized that Catholic teaching on sexuality, dignity and womanhood was "in accordance with their dignity," and in fact, "it was those teachings that made women flock to the Church."
commented that Pope John XXIII also revived the Church's emphasis on the inherent dignity and equality of women in calling the Second Vatican Council
The council's purpose, she
noted, "wasn't to define new doctrine," but to re-present the "perennial light of faith," including the Church's teachings on human persons, in such a way "that will resonate today."
The emphasis which the council placed on "the universal call to holiness" was significant, she
said, because it was a reminder that "we're all called to holiness."
The work of St. John XXIII was continued and deepened by St. John Paul II, Moschella
continued, particularly through his Theology of the Body, Letter to Women, and Mullieris Dignitatem.
In these works, the Pope particularly focused on "the equal dignity of man and woman as equally in the image and likeness of God
teachings illuminate that "there's a richness of that equal dignity that isn't a sameness," and that men and women have a "complementarity of gifts," rather than the same roles.
Misunderstanding this Marian nature of the Church leads to a misunderstanding of the priesthood, Moschella
continued, such as a distorted view of the all-male priesthood "as a position of power and privilege instead of just one more way to serve, which is really what it's all about."