Papal Pronouncements

Re: “Maybe It’s the Cabin Pres­sure" by Tom Flynn (FI, June/July 2016). It is true that nothing much came of Pope Francis’s public statements about gay priests, contraception, and abortion. It will take lot more than casual comments even by the pontiff himself to reform the longstanding dogmas of the Catholic Church. However, abstruse as they may seem, the pope’s suggestions that under some circumstances contraception may be a “lesser evil than abortion" may suffice to stir some open controversy among South America’s many Catholic dissidents. The local bishops must know that 62.5 percent of Latin American women use some form of birth control. This figure is probably even higher amid the onslaught of the Zika virus. What morally sane clergyman would demand that a woman take an unreasonable risk of bringing a deformed baby into the world? It is the local bishops who are in actual contact with the miseries of the people; it is they who must be encouraged to speak up despite fears of disdain from Rome. Meaningful reform in the church will come from the bottom up, not the top down.

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