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Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 17, 2010
Letter to the Editor

Wisconsin's bishops are flat-out wrong

Regarding the Aug. 12 article "Catholic Church, contraception coverage collide:" When the Wisconsin Catholic bishops say artificial contraception is "gravely immoral" and opposed to church teaching, they are flat-out wrong.

The bishops, of course, are pastors, administrators and lobbyists, but they are not theologians. If they were, they would know that Catholic theology considers the use of artificial contraception to be "a solidly probable opinion," i.e., a perfectly moral choice for a Catholic.

Some bishops outside of Wisconsin are better informed. South African Catholic Bishop Kevin Dowling knows that 47% of his people have tested positive for HIV. Said Dowling: "The only solution we have at the moment is condoms."

The Catholic bishop of Maputo, Mozambique, was asked by his people on that AIDS-ravaged continent about the use of condoms. The bishop replied, "If you are HIV positive and you have unprotected sex you have in the eyes of God committed murder. If you are HIV negative and you have unprotected sex with someone who is infected, you have, in the eyes of God, committed suicide." He concluded: "So, my children, wearing a condom is not a sin . . . not wearing one is."

Marquette University in allowing insurance coverage for contraception is in line with these bishops and with mainstream Catholic theology. The Wisconsin bishops are out of step and uninformed.

Daniel C. Maguire
Professor of Moral Theology
Marquette University

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