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NOLA archbishop, parishioners respond to Pope's contraception comments

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) -

Archbishop Gregory Aymond said Pope Francis' recent comments about Catholics and procreation are not a signal that the church is changing its stance on contraception.

Pope Francis long ago signaled he would be a different type of pontiff, and now his words relating to contraception have generated global headlines.

Francis said this week that Catholics do not have to breed “like rabbits” and should instead practice responsible parenting.

In New Orleans, Catholics responded from the archbishop on down.

"I have no objection to what he said. I mean, I think it's great,” said a female parishioner outside St. Patrick's Catholic Church in the CBD.

"I just think that it's a changing world, and we're still trying to live by our Catholic rules,” said another woman.

Aymond said the Pope understands the challenges of family life.

"I'm afraid that what he said might be misunderstood by some, but what he said from I have read and what I believe is that people have to do responsible parenthood, and that a couple together have to decide the number of children that they believe that they can love and raise and the timing in between those births,” Aymond said.

Still, Aymond is aware some in the church do not embrace church teachings on “artificial contraception” that goes beyond abstinence.

"But the church has always and continues to uphold the ideals and what we believe is called for us to do by God to be faithful disciples,” he said.

"One of the misconceptions about the Catholic Church is that we expect that you're open to life constantly and you're supposed to have as many as possible,” said David Dawson, director of the Family Life Apostolate within the Archdiocese.

He is a young, married Catholic with a growing family.

"Once a married couple begins to think about the openness to life and what it means to have a child, it's scary,” said Dawson.

And he knows the challenges are many for young adults trying to observe church teachings on family planning.

"Suffering is hard to do, very hard to do," he said. "I can speak from my own experience of being part of this particular generation, and it's not something that we look forward to. So the idea of having new life that is completely dependent upon us is scary.”

Dawson believes the Pope's perspective with resonate with many.

"Responsible parenthood - not only responsible for when I have a child, but I'm responsible for my spouse, responsible for my sexuality, right? I'm responsible for the decisions that I make regarding my capacity to make life,” Dawson said.

And while following the church's teaching on contraception may not be easy, some said it serves to strengthen the relationship between a husband and a wife.

"We've got to be on the same page, and I've got to listen and learn where she's coming from, and she's got to be hearing my own feelings,” said Dawson.

Aymond said in next week's edition of the Archdiocese's newspaper, there will quotes from the Pope along with explanation.

For more resources on “natural” family planning and marriage, go to the Archdiocese's website: http://fla.arch-no.org

Copyright 2014 WVUE. All rights reserved.


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