"Since, as I’ve argued, members of the church are themselves this source, it is not for the bishops but for the faithful to decide the nature and extent of episcopal authority. ...The mistake of the Obama administration — and of almost everyone debating its decision — was to accept the bishops’ claim that their position on birth control expresses an authoritative “teaching of the church.” (Of course, the administration may be right in thinking that the bishops need placating because they can cause them considerable political trouble.) The bishops’ claim to authority in this matter has been undermined because Catholics have decisively rejected it. The immorality of birth control is no longer a teaching of the Catholic Church. Pope Paul VI meant his 1968 encyclical, “Humanae Vitae,” to settle the issue in the manner of the famous tag, “Roma locuta est, causa finita est.” In fact the issue has been settled by the voice of the Catholic people."
Bridget Mary's Reflection
I agree. The bishops, indeed the institutional church's position on Humanae Vitae, reflects the minority opinion and has been soundly rejected by the Catholic people. If teaching is not received by the faithful, it is not valid teaching. This is often referred to as the "sense of the faithful".
"Although many Episcopal Conferences published statements regarding Humanae Vitae, it is the Canadian Bishops' statement which has been the subject of the most controversy, as has been widely interpreted as a loophole whereby Catholics may feel permitted to use birth control. Central to the debate is the role and importance of personal religious freedom of conscience." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winnipeg_Statement