Melinda Gates, Ursuline graduate and lifelong Catholic, parts ways with church on issue of birth control

Melinda French Gates speaks in May 2010 at the dedication of the French Family Science, Math and Technology Center at Ursuline Academy of Dallas. The Gates Foundation was a major donor to the center

Melinda Gates has never been one to create a public stir.

She’s created a bit of one within the Catholic Diocese of Dallas.

Gates, a Dallas native, lifelong Catholic, and 1982 graduate of the Ursuline Academy of Dallas, is arguably among the most influential philanthropists in the world. With her husband, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, she directs a foundation worth almost $34 billion. Normally, she does this with as much reserve and as little fanfare as a billionaire named Gates can possibly manage.

Last week, however, she raised some eyebrows, including those of Dallas Bishop Kevin Farrell, when she reiterated in an interview with Newsweek her support for family planning, including a massive financial commitment by the foundation to distribute contraceptives in developing countries around the world.

She mentioned that even though Catholic teaching forbids the use of of artificial contraception, some of the Ursuline nuns who taught her back in Dallas (when she was Melinda French) are quietly supporting her in this cause.

That, apparently, caught the Dallas bishop’s attention. [more]

Dallas Morning News