The media folks tell us that the Catholic world is filled with opinions about what the next Pope needs to do, so here is my take on it.
What the Church needs is a Pope who will have an agenda for attacking the sexual revolution right within the Church. Blessed John Paul II made the teaching of Humanae Vitae the principal focus of his teaching for the first ten years of his pontificate, but he never developed an agenda for getting it taught all throughout the Church. More people learned about the encyclical from secular newspapers than in their parish churches.
It seems to me that the Church needs to require engaged couples and all of those working in parish and other ministries to be well instructed about Catholic teaching on love, marriage and sexuality. A US Bishops’ committee in 1989 urged that all engaged couples should be required to attend a full course on natural family planning, but 23+ years later only six or seven dioceses have adopted that course of action. And those may be using a program that basically teaches “Catholic birth control” without teaching ecological breastfeeding, morality, and the parts of Humanae Vitae about needing a sufficiently serious reason to use systematic NFP.
We have had the teaching of Humanae Vitae at the papal level for 44+ years, but mere repetition cannot be expected to accomplish the needed change. We need a Pope who will propose and do his best to enforce an agenda for persuading the acceptance of Humanae Vitae as the positive counterpoint to the sexual revolution that is destroying both Church and State in the West.
The bottom line: the Church needs to require the right kind of courses as preparation for marriage and ministries. Such courses will include ecological breastfeeding as the first and foremost way of natural baby spacing. They will also include an easy to grasp theology such as the covenant theology that was so helpful to Scott and Kimberly Hahn, and the right kind of courses will teach the need to have sufficiently serious reasons to use systematic NFP.
For more on this, see NFP International at www.NFPandmore.org.