I wonder what fraction of Catholics routinely violate official doctrine that prohibits the use of birth control, then feel guilty about it. The Associated Press reports (via Fox):
…[Pope] Benedict [XVI] reiterated the Church’s ban against artificial birth control as well as more recent teaching against using artificial procreation methods.
Pope Paul VI’s 1968 “Humanae vitae” (“On Human Life”) encyclical prohibits Catholics from using artificial birth control. …
“What was true yesterday remains true even today. ‘The truth expressed in ‘Humane vitae’ doesn’t change; on the contrary, in the light of new scientific discoveries it is ever more up to date,” the pope added.
Shortly after the encyclical came out, Ayn Rand criticized it at Ford Hall Forum, on December 8, 1968. Her speech is reproduced in The Voice of Reason.
Rand argues that the church’s antipathy toward sex is rooted in the “doctrine that man’s sexual capacity belongs to a lower or animal part of his nature,” a doctrine that Rand utterly rejects. Rand then points out the great harm that comes from a prohibition of birth control: romantic couples who do not want to have children — and in many times and places cannot afford to feed them — face a “silent terror hanging… over every moment of love.”
The encyclical claims that birth control violates the will of God; Rand explains at length what this doctrine entails and why it is harmful to human life and happiness. The 18-page essay is well worth reviewing in light of the new Pope’s comments. Selections of Rand’s talk are provided by the Ayn Rand Lexicon under the topics of love, sex, and birth control.