Boston College Magazine
by Seth Meehan
"When the Massachusetts legislature voted in 1966 to end the last all-out ban on contraceptives in the nation, it was with the approval and assistance of the Boston Archdiocese On February 15, 1963, Boston’s cardinal Richard James Cushing (1895–1970) was the guest on “Conversation Piece,” an afternoon talk show on local radio station WEEI. Not for the first time since the campaign and election of President John F. Kennedy, a Boston Catholic, Cushing addressed public concerns about the role of the Catholic Church in politics. As Kennedy himself had done, Cushing offered the assurance that Catholics did not believe religious viewpoints should control political decision making in the democratic arena. The leader of 1.8 million Catholics in the Boston Archdiocese, Cushing told the radio audience that he had no desire to impose the Church’s moral judgments, by using his considerable influence over Massachusetts legislation, on people of other faiths. .."
Seth Meehan is a Ph.D. student in history at Boston College. His essay is drawn and adapted from an article titled “From Patriotism to Pluralism: How Catholics Initiated the Repeal of Birth Control Restrictions in Massachusetts.” Published in the Catholic Historical Review in July 2010, the article earned Meehan the Peter Guilday Prize from the American Catholic Historical Association.