Remeber the Catholic Church has been around for around 1600 or so years....they know long term planning...and having fewer Catholics is bad for business.
They don't know long term planning. They are a bunch of reactionary old farts who don't know what century it is. The clergy has reacted against more liberal policies of the church from the 60s and 70s. The hierarchy has become much more conservative over the last 30 years. As a result, they are running themselves out of business.
Many, if not most, catholics support priests marrying. The clergy does not. As a result, many people who considered becoming priests do not. While I was catholic, I actually considered priesthood. I disregarded it quickly because of the requirement to be celibate.
The church has a shortage of priests. In my former diocese we used to have 2 priests. Now there is one priest for three local churches. I have seen other diocese where the priest had to be "imported" from Central America or Africa because those are the only areas poor/ desperate enough that a life of celibacy is an acceptable tradeoff to escape them.
The problem could be helped if they allowed women to be priests. Many, if not most, catholics support female priests. The clergy does not. So, their policies, while true to some kind of tradition and orthodoxy, are ultimately making the church nonviable. No priests, no church.
To get back to the point on birth control, NPR cited a poll that said 58% of catholics are okay with birth control. I think it is probably more, if my old friends are any indication. The clergy does not agree. So they are alienating most of their congregants in a way that only leaves the fringe lunatics. It is as if there are two distinct catholicisms - one practiced by the clergy and a minority of hardline congregants (see Agent40
or Bill Donahue) and one practiced by the majority of catholics. I do not think the church can last very long with such a disconnect.
Moderate catholics will end up as episcopalians, unitarians, or whatever is handy/ appealing.