Pope Francis invites you to share your experience

In preparation for the 2014 Synod on the Family, Pope Francis is calling on all the faithful to let him know how certain doctrines of the Catholic Church impact Catholic practice.


In particular, three areas are of special importance:

Please, share your testimony by clicking on the appropriate Category below and adding a Comment.

  1. The present official total ban on the use of contraceptives, in any circumstances. See FAMILY PLANNING – BIRTH CONTROL. Click left to read the testimonies or add you own.
  2. The prohibition for Catholics who are divorced and have remarried by civil law to receive Holy Communion. See DIVORCED AND REMARRIED. Click left to read the testimonies or add you own.
  3. The prohibition for gay or lesbian Catholics to have intimate sexual relationships. Click right to read the testimonies or add you own. HOMOSEXUAL RELATIONSHIPS. 

Please, share your experience by clicking on the appropriate Category above and adding a Comment.



5 testimonies on “Pope Francis invites you to share your experience

  1. Sex for a Catholic?!
    If you mean by that term the loving intimacy and the joy of physical union …. er ….. it simply didn’t exist for my husband or me! Any pleasure which could have been early on in marriage was killed off by Ogino Knaus and his Rhythm Method! If my memory serves me correctly!!! the only time a woman is ‘on heat’ is at the time of ovulation. The times in between she does her ‘duty’ but with no pleasure at all. It was no comfort to know that our sex life complied to the letter with the Church’s teaching on contraception and the dark evils thereof!

    We Catholic women were docile idiots to go along with the rhythm method. By the time Humanae Vitae came along in 1968, I’d been married for 6 years and had had 3 children and 2 miscarriages. My best friend was married in 1962 the same year as I was and by 1968 she had 6 children, one a year since her marriage. She chose to be sterilized after two ensuing miscarriages and told me she was simply too mentally and physically exhausted to go on having babies because rhythm wasn’t working. O sinful woman, daughter of Eve. Off with her head.

    Humanae Vitae changed everything. A week after its publication, my husband, a stocks and shares expert, looked at the financial pages of the Frankfurter Allgemeine and said “No Change!”. I asked, what he meant, and he told me Bayer and Schering shares had remained constant. Bayer and Schering were the two pharma companies producing the Pill in those days. In other words, Catholic women who were already bold enough to be taking it hadn’t stopped buying it because of Humanae Vitae.

    After it became known that the Pope’s two Vatican placemen on the international papal commission who voted against the 19 (I believe) other members of the commission who had voted in favour of a change to the Church teaching on contraception, Catholic women woke up! Catholic publications were crammed with women’s reports of their own experiences and there was a deluge of criticism of the failure of the Church to support them.

    Large numbers of intelligent, thinking Catholic women took a corporate decision in those days, some of them took longer than others, but they took it: to ignore Catholic teaching and lead their sex lives guided by their own wisdom and instinct.

    Did the world fall apart? Absolutely not. Were Catholic women less stressed and fearful of the next pregnancy? No longer. We were all popping the magic Pill! Did marriages fall apart? Some did, most didn’t …. of that generation it has to be said.

    Some Catholic women, good mothers often with a gaggle of children, had extra-marital affairs secretly. I know of none who ever regretted doing that!

    None of us wanted to be disobedient Catholics. We loved our church. What we didn’t love and ultimately rejected outright was the power of a celibate priesthood – many of whom we knew had ‘boyfriends’ – to tell us what to do in bed (or for that matter on the bear rug in front of the fire!).

    There are thousands of celibate priests in Rome and elsewhere who continue to support the ban on contraception. Well, all I would recommend is to put them all in a big hall together and make them listen to someone reading Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt which makes Oliver Twist’s poverty-stricken life in the workhouse seem like a cosy alternative.

    Some people I know are doing terrific work trying to change the minds of our Catholic leaders. I thank them from the bottom of my heart. But one thing is certain. No Pope, however committed to the poor and magnanimous of heart is going to allow the words of a woman to change anything at all. Don’t forget the words of St John Chrysostom: “Amongst all the savage beasts, none is found as harmful as woman”. And what about the revered Aquinas? “Woman is an occasional and incomplete being, a misbegotten male.” Or St John Damascene: “Woman is a sick she-ass …. a hideous tapeworm …. the advance post of hell”.

    The cardinalate still believes all that in the depths of their dark hearts.

    If it were not for my conviction that the fullness of all human knowledge about Jesus Christ was not deposited in the Catholic Church, I’d have said toodle-oo decades ago.

    This tape worm ends her testimony with a note on Angela’s Ashes.

    The McCourt family lived in Limerick when the author was a boy. He had 7 siblings but three further babies died in their poverty stricken home with walls dripping with water and no toilet. Did any Pope ever care a jot? ….. I do ask some stupid questions, don’t I?!

  2. The institutional church has a very ambiguous attitude to sex. The idea that you have to renounce it to be a “man of God” really undermines claims that sex is beautiful and God-given. Most people get the overriding impression that the “Church” disapproves of sex in general and considers all sexual sins as equally terrible.

    I remember as a very young girl, reading the story of Saint Maria Goretti. The way it was written led me to believe that a person who was raped would be guilty of the sin of having sexual intercourse outside marriage. If you didn’t resist unto death, the message was, you hadn’t really tried hard enough to protect your “purity”.
    You may think that I was very silly and I was! However, I honestly think that there is still an element of that attitude around.

    I think ths has had terrible consequences in cases of clerical abuse because the abused have been made to feel dirty and as though they have somehow caused or colluded in their abuser’s sin. That made it easy to write them off or swear them to secrecy.
    I’m sure that the negativity about sex and the desire to keep up the show of “holy celibacy” contributed to the “cover-up” culture. I am sure that some clergy have still not got the message that sexual abuse is evil because it is abuse, not merely because it is sex.

  3. I am an average middle-class, middle aged English catholic. I have 3 grown up children. All of them lived for several years with the partners they were eventually to marry, as do most young people in this country. In each case the decision to marry came after making sure, through living together, that the relationship was strong and likely to last. When they were sure, they decided to marry and have children. To limit the size of their families they use contraception, seeing this as the responsible way to live. Among my many Catholic friends I find this is the usual pattern. The result of church teachings is that my children feel themselves separated from a church which views their best and most intimate relationships in cold and unrealistic way. Their view is that celibate priests simply do not know what they are talking about.

  4. I found out yesterday that the priest who married me and my husband 22 years ago, the priest I had idolized as a first grader, was indicted for public indecency, soliciting sex from an off duty police officer, and failing to inform said same that he was HIV positive. Some are assuming he’s an abuser because he is gay. Some are calling for the end of priestly celibacy. Some are simply praying for him. I remember him as a young man who was joyful, warm, a wonderful and compassionate homilist, and a passionately creative and talented liturgist. I know of another view that the tradition of expecting a person to be mature enough to freely choose a life of permanent celibacy adolescence or young adulthood permanently stunts that person’s psychosexual development. I will never take seriously the church teachings on sexuality until its clergy are not mostly made up of immature, inexperienced and privileged men who shouldn’t be trusted to balance a checkbook, much less exert such control over anything or anyone. It’s been proven over and over again that women who can control the number and timing of their children’s births, and thus gain more overall self determination, are able to take better care of the children they have. I do not think twice about using reliable and safe methods of birth control, nor has any doctor I’ve ever gone to in my entire life.

  5. This statement challenges the Church to find a new foundation upon which to build a theology of sexuality. I am suggesting that marriage was not the focus of many of the scripture writers. Rather, being human authors with no experience of any encounter with a Triune God, they missed the divine revelation that connected the creation of humanity with the Trinity: God created humanity in the image and likeness of God. In the image and likeness of God he created him; male and female he created them. I suggest that our sexuality was that unifying force that binds humanity “so that man does not live alone.” As the three divine persons are bound into a perfect unity by the bonds of faithful and eternal love, so the attraction leading to a commitment between human persons BECAUSE OF THEIR GENDER is what enables humanity to be in the image and likeness of the Trinity.

    We see this attraction throughout creation, and sometimes the sexual attraction leads to frenzy among animal species and sometimes it leads to lifelong and monogamous commitment. among others. I believe that this sexual attraction transcends gender; sometimes it is between opposite genders and sometimes it is between the same gender, as we also see reflected in the other species of creation. Allowing for the mutations that come with evolution, there emerges into the human consciousness that human children need the complete and longterm nurturing of their parents to achieve full and mature adulthood. Thus marriage becomes an ideal and its necessary characteristics emerge. I’m not a theologian, so I can’t explain all of this either clearly or completely, but I urge those who are theologians to pursue this line of theologizing in the spirit of “Faith seeking understanding.”

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