Regarding the Notre Dame Decision on Contraceptive Coverage
“I strongly support the decision of the University of Notre Dame to stop the government-funded provision, through its third party administrator, of abortion-inducing drugs and sterilization procedures. I am also happy that the University will provide natural family planning services in its insurance plans. At the same time, I strongly disagree with Notre Dame’s decision to provide funding for contraception in its health insurance plans which involves it even more directly in contributing to immoral activity. The Catholic Church clearly teaches that contraception is an immoral action that contradicts the truth of marital love.
As Bishop of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, the local Church of which Notre Dame is a part, I wish to remind all the faithful of the diocese, including the faithful who are part of the Notre Dame community, of the Church’s definitive teaching that “every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible is intrinsically evil” (Catechism of the Catholic Church #2370). I encourage all who struggle with this teaching to study prayerfully this teaching of the Church, and I especially recommend the study of the encyclical of Blessed Pope Paul VI, “Humanae Vitae,” during this 50th anniversary year of the encyclical, as well as the rich teaching of Pope Saint John Paul II in his catecheses on the “theology of the body.” Many Catholics have come to a greater understanding and appreciation of the Church’s teaching through such study and prayer.
I understand Notre Dame’s desire to respect other religious traditions and the conscientious decisions of members of the Notre Dame community on this issue. Members of the community who decide to use contraceptives, however, should not expect the university to act contrary to its Catholic beliefs by funding these contraceptives. Notre Dame bears prophetic witness to the truths of the Catholic faith in its words and actions on many issues of importance for the good of our society. Not providing funding for contraception would not be popular with some, but it would truly be a prophetic witness to the truth about human sexuality and its meaning and purpose. I hope and pray that the University will reconsider its decision.”