Also, “it is really, patently absurd for women to be putting chemicals in their body to correct a condition that is not a defect.
“Fertility is a perfectly healthy condition,” Smith emphasized.
While it is true, said Smith, that many Catholics do not follow Church teaching on contraception, many Catholics “also don't abide by the Church's teaching about not having sex before marriage and not getting divorced and even, I'm sorry to say, having abortions.”
Smith even referenced areas outside the realm of sexuality that Catholics “are at odds with their Church,” such as, resistance to Church teaching on receptivity towards immigrants.
Contraception is “not an isolated teaching that's being ignored.”
On the reasons why many Catholics today are disconnected from Church teaching, the noted professor offered two explanations. “One, is that the influence of the culture is just overwhelming – the prominence of the media and the slant of the media on everything. Catholics are going to Church at most, once on Sunday but they're watching TV and reading the media hours and hours and hours of every week.”
“So what's going to have more influence on them?” she asked. “Their Church or their culture?”
The second reason for the modern disconnect between Catholics and Church teaching is “the dissent that happened in the 1960s against 'Humanae Vitae,'” Smith explained.
“A lot of priests were actually taught in the seminaries that the Church was going to change its position on contraception and therefore they shouldn't really bother to teach the Catholic faithful about it,” she said. This confusion over Church teaching on human sexuality is why “John Paul II made it one of his flagship items of his pontificate.”
One of Pope John Paul II's seminal works, the “Theology of the Body,” has “taken off like wildfire around the United States,” Smith told CNA. One the main purposes of the writings, she explained, “was to defend the Church's teaching of contraception.”
According to Smith, the U.S. is responding. “Young people all over the place come to huge conferences” on the theology of the body “and certainly, the training in the seminary is very different now – seminarians are learning the Church's teaching.”
Smith herself has had “over a million” copies of her talks on the Church's teaching regarding human sexuality distributed in recent years.
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