Kiwi to challenge Catholic contraception ban

6:12 am on 5 October 2015

A New Zealander chosen by the Pope to attend the Catholic Synod on the Family in Rome wants to challenge the church's ban on contraception.

Pope Francis

Pope Francis Photo: AFP

Four New Zealanders - two bishops and two lay people - have been chosen to attend the synod which will discuss the church's stance on abortion, same-sex marriage and contraception.

A document released by the Vatican, 'The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and the Contemporary World', set the tone for the discussion at the synod.

It noted that there had been significant societal shifts since the last full Synod on the Family in 1980. Specifically, it spoke of fewer marriages, more divorces, people having sex and children outside of marriage, and the legalisation of same-sex marriage in some places.

Around 260 people were attending, and would dissect the document, and discuss if the church needed to change its stance on anything it raised.

New Zealand delegate Sharron Cole three-minute speech and a written submission would raise the church's ban on contraception, which she felt needed to be lifted.

"It has caused enormous angst [and anxiety], and probably the majority of Catholics, in the western world anyway, ignore the church's teaching on contraception," said Ms Cole.

"Even if the church in the end doesn't change, it must be willing to confront, and to discuss. I believe the laity is at a point where it won't just take, 'they're not at the table for discussion' as an answer. The church is absolutely and solidly pro-life, so it will never approve abortion or euthanasia."

The other New Zealanders attending are Dr John Kleinsman, Cardinal John Dew and Bishop Charles Drennan.

Following the synod, the bishops will vote on any proposed changes to the Catholic church's stance. If approved, the proposals go to Pope Francis and his advisors for approval.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs