Lo and behold! Pope Francis has opened a synod of bishops to discuss family life, and has said, in a headline-worthy statement if ever there was one, that he does not want to place an “undue burden” on his flock. Does that mean that he wants to change the Church’s official stance on birth control, on abortion, and other “family” issues like same-sex marriage? Cross your fingers. But in any case, his call for open discussions of the issues, not just “beautiful and clever ideas”, is a breath of fresh air. Surveys show that Catholics in the Western World have largely ignored the Church’s teaching on birth control anyway, and Catholic college students in one study laughed out loud when the interviewer asked them if they followed the Church’s admonitions on sexual conduct, leading the researcher to conclude that Catholic colleges were doing a great job of creating lapsed Catholics.
There could be no better news for our ailing planet than that the Catholic Church would put its stamp of approval on birth control. It’s incredible that they have not yet understood that we are in a serious crisis. The population bomb is real and it’s mainly happening in the Developing World where Catholicism is a powerful force. Our resources are simply not adequate to feed and water these 7 billion souls and climbing. Until families, and especially women, can control the number of children they bear, the crisis will continue. Francis must have seen this in his days in the trenches in Argentina. If you’re the praying sort, pray that he will see the light and produce a papal bull that could change the world, one pill or one piece of latex at a time.