The Church isn't anti-contraception because...

Jenny Uebbing

One of the most difficult Catholic teachings to accept - for believers and non believers alike - is the Church's position on contraception.

I imagine (actually no, it's not imagined. I get these questions all the time.) that people are confused primarily about the motives behind the teaching,  while simultaneously reeling in disbelief that anyone could - or would - choose to live without artificial birth control in the modern world.

First, let's start with a couple reasons why the Church doesn't forbid contraception.

It's not because:

- The Pope is attempting to raise a standing army of believers.

- Catholic women are being imprisoned by the productivity of their own uteruses and prevented by perpetual morning sickness from running for office or owning small businesses.

- The Church doesn't want sex to be enjoyable.

Whether or not you agree with the Church's teaching on this matter, know that it has NOTHING to do with the above reasons, promise. And know also that you're not being particularly funny or original when you insist otherwise at a cocktail party or in the com box.

Now how about some of the reasons why Catholics are forbidden from using contraception?

- Many forms of hormonal contraception are abortifacient (capable of causing abortion) in addition to being contraceptive.

- The introduction of contraception into the marital relationship opens a pathway for mutual use of the other and makes truly selfless love really, really hard ... and unlikely.

- Contraception is fundamentally anti-woman and anti-child. It says, in effect, that the female body is broken/in need of suppressing/better off poisoned than functional, and that the child is disposable.

- It makes a woman "on" 24/7. And if you're available for sex 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, you'd better be ready to perform ladies, lest he start looking elsewhere. So empowering.

This last point is worth expanding on, because in the oft-maligned and eerily prescient bombshell of a papal encyclical, Humanae Vitae, Bl. Pope Paul VI warned about 3 very specific things which would result from the introduction of widespread contraception:

1. A decline in the moral standards of the young leading to greater marital infidelity in entire generations (more premarital sex, more promiscuity, more teen pregnancy, more divorce.)

2. A lowering of respect for women as men see them more and more as tools to to use to serve their own desires. (more spousal abuse, more domestic violence, rise in sex trafficking and sex slavery)

3. Contraception will become a tool in the hands of amoral or immoral states seeking to control populations and repress entire classes. (Aid dollars tied to contraception and sterilization campaigns, "benevolent" foreign governments seeking to sterilize poor, indigenous populations "for their own good,"Western-style contraceptive campaigns undermining traditional values in non-Western countries)

So basically, check, check, check.

Every single thing the Church warned about has happened.

And every single time the culture tries to fix the above issues by calling for "better access to women's healthcare (aka suppressing or mutilating the female body), better access to condoms and birth control for those poor, indigenous populations who just don't know any better and who there really should be fewer of, anyway (aka eugenics), and younger and more aggressive introductions to the Pill for adolescent girls ... the problems get worse.

You can't fix all the things contraception has helped to bring about with more contraception.


The Church understands that, has always understood that, from the very beginning.

Now to get about the business of bringing the culture up to speed.

Topics: Church teaching , Contraception , Culture

Jenny Uebbing is the content director of our marriage and family life channel, where her blog Mama Needs Coffee will be permanently hosted. She lives in Denver, CO with her family, where she writes and speaks on Church teachings on marriage, contraception, NFP and bioethics.


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