Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




In recent decades, the morality of artificial contraception has been hotly debated in the Roman Catholic Church. Many theologians and ethicists have challenged the hierarchical church teachings in the last fifty years. The opening chapter of the dissertation reviews Catholic Church teachings on birth control throughout history, and in Chapter Two I explore the theo-ethical reflections on artificial contraception from two different approaches (traditionalist and revisionist) and support the revisionists' perspectives, findings, and arguments. Then, in order to lay the context for my interpretations of my ethnographic interviews with ten participants, in Chapter Three I explore South Korean sexual culture and heterosexual, married South Korean Catholic lay people's sexuality in particular. In Chapter Four I present ten personal stories from South Korean Catholic heterosexual married women drawn from my ethnographic interviews.

In Conclusion I argue that the Church's condemnation of artificial contraception is impractical, morally irresponsible and pastorally hurtful, and argue that the theological and ethical perspectives of the revisionists are stronger and more adequate as guides for Catholic sexual ethical teaching precisely because the revisionists take seriously the lived experiences and particular challenges that Catholic married lay people face today. Accordingly, I suggest that the Roman Catholic Church teaching on contraception should be reshaped in conversation with the lived experiences of South Korean heterosexual

Catholic married lay people as well as the Catholic laity in other societies across the globe many of whom report similar experiences, struggles, and needs.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Available for download on Thursday, January 01, 2026