Letter from this week’s Tablet (a weekly Catholic magazine which used to be more intellectual than it is now):
As a teacher of theology in a Catholic school, I am constantly questioned – or should I say grilled – on the Church’s teaching on contraception. Although I agree that more should be done to educate and inform people of the alternatives to the use of artificial forms of birth control, I am somewhat uneasy that any form of control, be it artificial or so-called natural, is indicative of a contraceptive mentality. It is my opinion and that of many of my pupils that having sexual intercourse during a woman’s perceived safe period diminishes the sexual act, and reduces it to a mere mechanical process which lacks both spontaneity and faith.
I’m not completely sure, but I think this is a spoof. The giveaway phrases are 1) the use of “so-called”, and 2) the appeal to the views of his pupils. If you’re well enough informed about Catholic theology to teach it, and you’re the kind of person who thinks that Paul VI conceded too much to the liberals in Humanæ Vitæ, you’re unlikely to invoke a bunch of teenagers as your authority to counterbalance the Church’s magisterium.
Spoof or not, the letter illustrates well what is probably the most glaring weakness in the official church line (which is, of course, adhered to by very few).