I'm getting just a little tired of hearing that "98% of American Catholics use contraception."
In the first place, it's such a dam' silly fake statistic. To buy it, you'd have to believe that 98% of the Catholics in America were sexually active people of childbearing age. I can vouch that this isn't the case in any parish I've ever attended.
In the second place, even if the statement is amended to "98 of sexually active American Catholics of childbearing age use contraception," we're still missing a ton of information. I'd like to see the following questions asked of self-identified Catholics:
a) Do you attend Sunday Mass every week unless impeded by a serious reasons such as illness or the care of infants, etc.?
b) Do you participate fully in the sacramental life of the Church?
c) If you are married, are you validly married in the Church?
d) If the answer to a-c is "yes," do you presently accept the Church's teaching against artificial contraception and avoid its use in all circumstances?
Now, there are still those who will insist that we add an "e" question, to wit: "Have you ever at any time violated the Church's teaching against artificial contraception?" But I think that question isn't needed; it encourages people to tell us about their private past sins, for which they are presumably repentant; it doesn't tell us if they only used it once or used it habitually for years, etc. A "yes" or "no" answer to "d" is the best measure of how many active, practicing, participating Catholics in otherwise good standing actively reject Church teaching against contraception.
Are there still going to be "no" answers to "d"? Probably. Church teaching against contraception could be taught more vibrantly and embraced more fully by lots of people. But I have a feeling that the number of those who answer "yes" to a-c, but still say "no" when it comes to "d", would be significantly, perhaps even dramatically, less than that oft-cited 98%.
Just for fun, because there's no way for me to do a scientific poll, I'd like to ask my Catholic readers to respond to questions a-d if they'd like. If you're uncomfortable attaching your real name, you can post anonymously on this one--but please "tag" your comment at the bottom with either a number or a world city (e.g., "London" or "78" or some such thing) so I can approve it.
UPDATE: Welcome, New Advent readers (and thanks to Kevin Knight for the link!) I do moderate comments on this blog, but am trying to approve them as quickly as possible. Your patience is appreciated!