I am weighing in as a Catholic obstetrician and gynecologist.
On a daily basis, Catholic healthcare providers face the dilemma of “following the teachings of the church,” which bans the use of artificial methods of family planning, versus following their conscience by prescribing reliable and safe methods.
The church allows natural methods and when practiced to the letter, these are effective and safe. In real life, however, they have a high failure rate.
Numerous surveys indicate that a large number of Catholics around the world ignore the teachings of the church in this regard.
By calling this synod, Pope Francis has indicated a willingness to listen.
Let us hope that the synod will clear up the dilemma faced by many in their daily lives, and allow Catholics to follow their conscience and do whatever is right for their particular situation.
One would also hope that the synod will ask for input of healthcare providers in this regard.
William J. LeMaire M.D., emeritus professor,
University of Miami,
Miller School of Medicine,