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Visiting theologian says contraceptive culture fails marriage

Marriage preparation courses in the Catholic Church should tackle today's contraceptive culture head on, says the visiting American Catholic moral theologian and scholar Prof Bill May.

"I do think that the contraceptive culture paved the way for widespread abortion," Prof May said in an interview with the Melbourne archdiocesan publication Kairos. "Many people look on abortion as a back-up to failed contraception."

"And of course many so-called contraceptives are in reality abortifacients. There's a link there."

Asked what essential elements should be included in marriage preparation for couples who lack understanding of the Catholic faith - and who may be already co-habiting, as many engaged couples are today - Prof May answered: "I'd start, first of all, with 'why do you two want to get married?'"

"I'd say: you obviously have something that you find attractive about each other -- but do you wish to spend the rest of your life with this person? Right now everything's rosy and hunky-dory, but if you get married you have to remember this: it's for better or for worse.

Prof May, an expert on Pope John Paul II's theology of the body, is Professor of Moral Theology at the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and the Family in Washington DC, and visiting professor at the John Paul II Institute in Melbourne. He is in Melbourne for an extended two month stay while he teaches two courses at the Institute.

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15 Aug 2002