How the Catholic Church Almost Came to Accept Birth Control — in the 1960s
When Rock began research on oral contraceptives, he believed that the pill offered a means of birth control that the church would accept, because it simply repressed ovulation and replicated the body’s hormonal condition in early pregnancy. In 1963, he even wrote a book making the case, called “The Time Has Come: A Catholic Doctor’s Proposals to End the Battle Over Birth Control.”
As momentum built for the church to reconsider its position, Pope John XXIII convened the Second Vatican Council, a gathering of thousands of bishops from all over the world, in 1962. The conference, known as Vatican II, resulted in a number of reforms that modernized church practices. Many believed that afterward, the church’s position on contraception might be relaxed. In fact, Pope John was putting together a committee to consider the matter shortly before he died. It then fell to Pope Paul VI to resolve the issue.