Social services and Catholic teaching
Tough economic times can affect many Texas families. As Catholics, we serve God by serving the poor through our parish ministries, food banks, Catholic Charities, and St. Vincent de Paul Societies. We are also direct needy folks to government-provided health care and financial assistance through the YourTexasBenefits.com website.
However, applicants should be aware that some of the services offered through the site are counter to Catholic teaching. The most prominent example is the Women's Health Program, which, while providing important medical services (e.g., cancer screenings, pap smears, etc.), also supplies contraceptives. Contraception has long been considered contrary to Church teaching and natural law because it "denies the sovereign role of God in the transmission of human life" (Vademecum for Confessors, 1997). Faithful Catholics are called to avoid such services, even while taking advantage of the other services offered by the site; particularly those benefits offered to women that are in accordance with Catholic teachings.
As Catholics, we hold marriage as a sacred partnership of life and love that is designed and endowed by God in natural law. Husband and wife "surrender themselves to each other" with total fidelity and permanence and to fulfill their duties to each other within their family. Hence, the openness to life and creation through marriage is in accordance to God's will; artificially impeding conception is counter to God's will. Instead, the Church advocates for Natural Family Planning techniques, which use planned abstinence at different stages of a woman's fertility cycle to reduce the chances of pregnancy.
For more information, feel free to consult the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishop's Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services or contact the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops.