A new Vatican-sponsored catechism intended for youth suggests that Christian couples “can and should” use “contraceptive methods” when deciding on how many children to have.
The revelation comes two days before the eve of the official launch of the so-called “YouCat,” produced specially for the Church’s World Youth Day event, to be held in Madrid this coming August.
The Vatican’s spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, told CNA April 11, “I have not yet seen the text of YouCat and am therefore unable to comment further.”
The Vatican has scheduled a press conference for April 13 to officially release the text.
Organizers of World Youth Day have already ordered 700,000 copies of YouCat to give to young pilgrims along with a sleeping bag, map and other accessories.
The catechism is laid out in a question and answer fashion. Question 420 in the Italian language edition states:
“Q. Puo una coppia christiana fare ricorso ai metodi anticoncezionali?” (Can a Christian couple have recourse to contraceptive methods?)
“A. Si, una coppia cristiana puo e deve essere responsabile nella sua facolta di poter donare la vita.” (Yes, a Christian couple can and should be responsible in its faculty of being able to give life).
Vatican sources who spoke to CNA April 11 on the condition of anonymity speculated that the problem was in the original German text, a fact that was later confirmed by CNA.
“YouCat” is to be published in 12 additional languages. The English edition, published by Ignatius Press, does not contain the problematic language. It is not yet known if other language versions also contain the same controversial statement on contraception.
The Catholic Church has always opposed the use of contraception. In the official Catechism of the Catholic Church, its use is described as “intrinsically evil.”
The creation of the 300-page YouCat was overseen by Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, Archbishop of Vienna. It was given the doctrinal seal of approval by the Bishops of Austria in March 2010. Cardinal Schonborn was also the editor of the universal Catechism of the Catholic Church, published in 1992.
He is slated to be in attendance at the launch press conference on Wednesday.
Also slated to be present are Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity and Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion Council for the Promotion of New Evangelization.