This is a tough topic for many people to understand and to follow, but once the situation is examined in depth, I think it is easy for us to understand what the Catholic Church teaches about contraception and the surrounding issues related to it. I believe that history, culture, good relationships, theology, and more are on the side of the Catholic Church.
Yet, before we start we have to answer this question – What is love?
Many people think it is a feeling or something that comes and goes.
How about these two definitions:
- Love is a gift of the whole person given to another.
- Love is choosing what is best for another regardless of the cost to myself.
HISTORY OF CONTRACEPTION
All of Christianity rejected Contraception until 1930 – where the Lambeth Convention of the Anglican Church allowed it in narrow circumstances.
“Carried to its logical conclusion, the committee’s report, if carried into effect, would sound the deathknell of marriage as a holy institution by establishing degrading practices which would encourage indiscriminate immorality. The suggestion that the use of legalized contraception would be ‘careful and restrained’ is preposterous.”
Can you imagine the Post writing that today? Regardless, they were right. Society had a common sense about contraception as well, which is why contraception was outlawed until the 60’s. This common sense wasn’t something new, just look at the Protestant reformers.
“[T]he exceedingly foul deed of Onan, the basest of wretches . . . is a most disgraceful sin. It is far more atrocious than incest and adultery. We call it unchastity, yes, a sodomitic sin. For Onan goes in to her; that is, he lies with her and copulates, and when it comes to the point of insemination, spills the semen, lest the woman conceive. Surely at such a time the order of nature established by God in procreation should be followed. Accordingly, it was a most disgraceful crime.”
“The voluntary spilling of semen outside of intercourse between man and woman is a monstrous thing. Deliberately to withdraw from coitus in order that semen may fall on the ground is doubly monstrous. For this is to extinguish the hope of the race and to kill before he is born the hoped-for offspring.”
Our choices in light of this history is this:
- Either 1,950 years of consistent Christian tradition (and the current stance of the Catholic Church) is wrong or;
- All of Christianity had it correct until 1950 (and the Catholic Church still does).
1 – Marriages would be better – Unwanted pregnancies would decrease – Abortions would decrease
But, what has happened?
- Divorce rate doubled between 1965-1975 from 25% to 50%
- One demographer has shown that access to the pill paralleled the increase to the divorce rate
- Those that use contraception have fewer children and later in marriage.
- Early years of marriage are fun, but there is a change in attitude
- But, children are harder to walk away from – They also make you less selfish
- Also showed there was more adultery because a women is more “available” and the natural consequences (babies) aren’t as easy to achieve.
2 – Less unwanted pregnancies?
- In 1960 some 6% of white babies were born out of wedlock – 22% in 1992
- In 1960 22%of black babies were born out of wedlock – 68% in 1992
3 – Fewer abortions?
- 50% of women who have abortions go because contraception failed.
- “I got pregnant by accident”…how? This means something went RIGHT not.
Even the phrase “unwanted pregnancies” was never known before contraception. Because humanity knew that pregnancy followed sex. But, now that people have tried to separate the two (and have a false sense of control), when contraception fails, they are shocked that babies happen.
Our culture now views pregnancy as a “disease” that needs to be “prevented”.
Pope Paul VI’s predictions
In his groundbreaking encyclical, Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI predicted the following would happen if contraception was widely used:
1) “how wide and easy a road would thus be opened up towards conjugal infidelity and the general lowering of morality”
- he got this one right
- The other person is no longer a person, but an object for pleasure.
3) “Who will stop rulers from favoring, from even imposing upon their peoples, if they were to consider it necessary, the method of contraception which they judge to be most efficacious? In such a way men, wishing to avoid individual, family, or social difficulties encountered in the observance of the divine law, would reach the point of placing at the mercy of the intervention of public authorities the most personal and most reserved sector of conjugal intimacy.”
- Forced abortions
- He had Christian tradition
- He had the Holy Spirit
- He used natural law – We should use thing according to their nature.
- If I want grass in my backyard, I better not pave it.
- If you want to have a car run correctly – Don’t put oil in the gas tank.
- If you don’t use your bodies and sex according to their nature, then it is going to mess things up.
Most people never ask the question, “what is sex intended for” or “what is the purpose of sex”. They merely assume it is for pleasure. But, God didn’t create us just to have a good time in bed. Sex has two purposes:
- Procreation – babies
- Union of the Spouses – bonding
- Rape – the purpose of rape is neither for babies or bonding.
- premarital sex – It certainly isn’t for either thing, though many disguise it as bonding. Why isn’t it bonding?
How does society view children and portray them?
- More children will take our money
- More children take our freedom
- More children will use up the earth’s resources
In other words, they are a burden.
But, the Bible has a different view.
- As a blessing from God. Curse – to be barren in the Bible
- As Gifts
- That the Earth was made for humans to properly use
- As immortal souls that we participate with God in creating. WE CREATE WITH GOD (pro – create)
3 things that contraception does:
- It blocks God out of the sexual act (violates procreation)
- It treats children as a burden, not a gift.
- It prevents bonding between the spouses.
Think of these two different phrases:
- I want to have sex with you vs I want to have a baby with you – one says I want to pleasure myself and use you to do it the other says I want to spend the rest of my life with you.
When a couple has sex they are worshiping God with there bodies when done in the proper context.
How does the pill work? Makes the woman’s body think it is pregnant
- Stops ovulation
- If that fails then – it changes the mucus so that the sperm isn’t in a good environment
- In some cases it can also prevent implantation of a fertilized ovum into the Uterus = a chemical ABORTION
NFP experts say that when a couple understands and follows the method, NFP is about 99 percent effective in avoiding pregnancy.
- Billings method uses signs of cervical mucus
- Sympto-Thermal Method monitors the cervical mucus, changes of the cervix and uses temperature as a cross-check. A second kind is ecological breastfeeding, which uses frequent suckling and longer feedings.
Some of the Benefits to NFP
- More sex on average.
- Women have more self-respect for themselves
- Sex isn’t about just feeling good and therefore the women don’t feel like objects
- More satisfaction
- Better communication and marriages. Must talk for it to work
- Marriages last longer (less than 2% get divorced)
- Freedom from guilt and sin
- Grow closer to God
- Cheaper than contraception
- No side effects
Now, NFP isn’t perfect. It is difficult for many couples to have self-control or to carry the cross that NFP might be for some couples. But, it is certainly worth it.
The Church gets the final word in answering the questions above. From the Catechism:
2370 Periodic continence, that is, the methods of birth regulation based on self- observation and the use of infertile periods, is in conformity with the objective criteria of morality. These methods respect the bodies of the spouses, encourage tenderness between them, and favor the education of an authentic freedom. In contrast, “every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible” is intrinsically evil:
Thus the innate language that expresses the total reciprocal self-giving of husband and wife is overlaid, through contraception, by an objectively contradictory language, namely, that of not giving oneself totally to the other. This leads not only to a positive refusal to be open to life but also to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality…. The difference, both anthropological and moral, between contraception and recourse to the rhythm of the cycle . . . involves in the final analysis two irreconcilable concepts of the human person and of human sexuality.
I hope this helps frame this issue for you.
But, if you want further arguments…
**Birth Control Makes Women Less Happy
**Why Contraception is A Long-Term World-Wide Disaster.
**The Pill And Women’s Health
**Social Science Proves Humanae Vitae and NFP Right.
**Sexually Transmitted Death
**The Pope and Condoms
**The Vindication of Humanae Vitae