Contraception a ‘clear factor’ in decline of chu

In a recent interview, Bishop Alexander Sample of Marquette said there are
two “grave moral concerns” that the Church must address in the public
square: the “protection of innocent human life” and “the defense of
traditional marriage.”

BY Patrick B. Craine

MARQUETTE, Michigan, December 7, 2011 ( – Contraception
has been a “clear factor” in the steep decline of parishioners at
Catholic churches across the United States, says Bishop Alexander Sample of
Marquette, Michigan.

“Not everyone wants to talk about it, but that is a clear factor in the
decline of the Catholic community,” the bishop told Catholic World Report
in a newly-published interview.

The prelate, who at 50 years old is one of the youngest in the country,
lamented that many small parishes are struggling to stay open while there
simply are not enough Catholic children to fill parochial schools.

“Couples are using artificial contraceptives to limit the size of their
families, and sterilization is also becoming a common practice,” he
observed.  “Families think they have the number of children they want,
and then close off any further openness to life that God might want to bring
into their family.”

He noted also that the drop in numbers is explained by Catholics leaving the
faith.  “They are not well formed in the faith and have been swayed by a
secular culture. They don’t see religious values as important,” he said.

According to the bishop, these problems resulted from poor catechesis in the
wake of the Second Vatican Council, which took place in 1962-1965.

“While I certainly don’t blame the Council, much upheaval occurred in
the Church in its aftermath,” he said.  “Culturally, society was
experiencing the sexual revolution, the women’s liberation movement, and
the anti-war movement, among others. There was an anti-authoritarian

“In this time of great confusion, catechesis suffered. We booted the
Baltimore Catechism out the door, but there wasn’t anything to replace
it,” he continued.  “I was taught the faith in Catholic schools using
materials that were weak and insubstantial. I wasn’t being taught my
faith. The liturgy suffered from experimentation as well.”

“My generation raised up the next generation. Since we weren’t taught
the faith, we raised children who weren’t either,” he added.

As a remedy, the bishop called for a renewal of catechesis and the promotion
of Pope Benedict’s XVI efforts towards liturgical reform.  “If we can
get catechesis and the liturgy right, we’ll be well on our way to the
renewal and growth of the Church for which we hope,” he said.

Bishop Sample said there are two “grave moral concerns” that the Church
must address in the public square: the “protection of innocent human
life” and “the defense of traditional marriage.”

“As a society, we must take steps to protect the unborn, and also the
elderly and handicapped,” he explained.  “And, since marriage and
family are the basic unit of society, the health of society rests on the
health of marriage and family life. Anything which threatens either of these
is seriously destructive.”

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