By: Tom Jensen
"They say birth control; what they mean is no birth, and no control."- G.K. Chesterton
It’s no accident that abortion and contraception are often mentioned in the same context; and the providers of contraception are also the providers of abortion. Abortion is the fruit of contraception. Once a society accepts contraception, it has basically said that sex is for recreation and one need not take responsibility for one’s actions in this area. Once that is an accepted mindset, the floodgates are open to a number of aberrations like abortion because it is simply a continuation of the "no responsibility" mindset. If I get a girl pregnant, I can just "get rid of" my responsibility by abortion.
When condoms are passed out in high schools, the message being spoken is "Here kids, go mess yourselves up emotionally and catch an incurable disease while you’re at it." When married couples contracept, the language being spoken is, "I love you and give myself entirely to you and accept you completely in everything that you are – almost; I don’t want your fertility." Bishop Fulton Sheen said, "The love between spouses is so real and so tangible that in nine months, you might have to give it a name." Spouses should realize that marital love is a participation in God’s creative act and that babies are good, not burdens to be avoided at all costs; especially the cost of poisoning women with dangerous chemicals so they can be available for sexual pleasure. Medicine is for sick people, not healthy people. Pregnancy and motherhood are not diseases.
There are occasions that are serious enough - personal convenience isn't one of them - to warrant the postponement of a pregnancy. When that is the case, natural family planning - not to be confused with the rhythm method - is a morally licit means to do so. It is morally licit because it works within God's design of the human body, not in spite of it. If you would like more info on natural family planning, there are some sites on the Web, such as "Pope Paul VI Institute's" website, www.popepaulvi.com
The Catholic position is not that every sexual act is sinful if it doesn’t produce a baby, but that it is sinful to deliberately use an artificial means to eliminate procreation from sex. Or, in other words, to seek the joy of sex while eliminating the corresponding responsibility.
Consider the words written by Pope Paul VI in 1968:
Upright men can even better convince themselves of the solid grounds on which the teaching of the Church in this field is based, if they care to reflect upon the consequences of methods of artificial birth control. Let them consider, first of all, how wide and easy a road would thus be opened up towards conjugal infidelity and the general lowering of morality. Not much experience is needed in order to know human weakness, and to understand that men--especially the young, who are so vulnerable on this point--have need of encouragement to be faithful to the moral law, so that they must not be offered some easy means of eluding its observance. It is also to be feared that the man, growing used to the employment of anti-conceptive practices, may finally lose respect for the woman and, no longer caring for her physical and psychological equilibrium, may come to the point of considering her as a mere instrument of selfish enjoyment, and no longer as his respected and beloved companion.
Let it be considered also that a dangerous weapon would thus be placed in the hands of those public authorities who take no heed of moral exigencies. Who could blame a government for applying to the solution of the problems of the community those means acknowledged to be licit for married couples in the solution of a family problem? 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.
Consequently, if the mission of generating life is not to be exposed to the arbitrary will of men, one must necessarily recognize insurmountable limits to the possibility of man's domination over his own body and its functions; limits which no man, whether a private individual or one invested with authority, may licitly surpass. And such limits cannot be determined otherwise than by the respect due to the integrity of the human organism and its functions, according to the principles recalled earlier, and also according to the correct understanding of the "principle of totality" illustrated by our predecessor Pope Pius XII.
Paul VI, Humanae Vitae #17
John Paul II:
The Church has always taught the intrinsic evil of contraception, that is, if every marital act intentionally rendered unfruitful. This teaching is to be held as definitive and irreformable. Contraception is gravely opposed to marital chastity; it is contrary to the good of the transmission of life (the procreative aspect of matrimony) and to the reciprocal self-giving of the spouses (the unitive aspect of matrimony); it harms true love and denies the sovereign role of God in the transmission of life.
John Paul II, Vade Mecum for Confessors Concerning Some Aspects of the Morality of Conjugal Life (n.2.4).
For further reading, I would recommend Humanae Vitae by Pope Paul VI; Casti Connubii by Pope Pius XI; and Familiaris Consortio "The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World" by John Paul II.
This is an extremely concise sampling of an enormous amount of documentation demonstrating the Magisterium's consistent condemnation of contraception. Anyone who pretends that there are any ambiguities in the Church’s teaching, or that the issue is up for debate, is simply trying to ignore the proverbial "elephant in the living room." I say this from "tough love," not malice – a person would be better off openly admitting that he wishes to defy Christ and His Church than to pretend to excuse contraception.
Printed with permission from Catholic Defense.