What is the Church's teaching on contraception? Is it really irrational?
|The sexual faculties are perfectly exercised|
only within Holy Matrimony between the
one husband, and the one wife.
"And the two shall become one flesh... (Gen 2:24)
Simply put, the Church's teaching is this: sex finds its perfect expression only within marriage, in unselfish self-giving, open to life. Or to put it in another way: only between one man and one woman in Holy Matrimony giving themselves to each other in non-contraceptive sex. All other exercise of the sexual powers that falls short of this ideal is therefore not ideal and is in a grave or in some way a sin.
What?! A sin? Yes. A sin. And let me name those that fall short of the sexual ideal: pre-marital sex, extra-marital sex, homosexuality, bestiality, masturbation, and contraception. And they have different gravities. Yet nevertheless, they all fall short of the sacred exercise of sex and is therefore a sin. Artificial contraception involves a holding off from the full and authentic exercise of the sexual powers because it falls short of being open to that for which the sexual act logically gives sequence: the openness to the transmission of LIFE.
"But, but, but... a lot of people do it. I know a lot of Catholics who contracept, who do not believe what the Church teaches on contraception." And here dear brothers and sisters is the great logical fallacy I often hear among many people. Failure to live up to the ideal by a few or even by a majority does not change in any way the call and the challenge of the ideals. Look at the Ten Commandments. At no point in human history has the Ten Commandments been ideally realized. And yet, we do not say that we ought to trash the Ten Commandments because everyone is a failure in living up to its challenge.
And here again is another reason with which to counter this fallacy. "Many people contracept, in spite of what the Church teaches... why not change the teaching." As I have said, the ideals and the moral law which God asks of us are not dependent on what the majority does. For if it were true that we would just follow what many people do, why not also legalize marital unfaithfulness, why not drug use, corruption in government, wife-beating, injustice, murder, and the like... All of them fall short of the true ideals through which a human person becomes a true and human person. NO! We do not and we must not institutionalize digression from the ideals.
"But, but... are you saying that the Church teaches that couples should just give birth irresponsibly, even though they cannot responsibly raise children...?" I did not say that. Neither does the Church say that. And I find it fascinating that even some 'fashionable and politically-correct' Catholics would be ashamed of the Church's teaching on contraception because it seems for them irrational since in their defective understanding it teaches people just to let the woman get pregnant and afterward do nothing about the children that are born. NO, again. And it is here that responsible parenthood ought to be underlined. One of the ends of Holy Matrimony is the rearing up of children in the Christian life, in the life of God, in goodness, and as good citizens of our country. And you do not do this by being irresponsible by just bringing children into this world and then doing nothing about them later on...
|Responsible Parenthood can only be exercised |
with Natural Family Planning and without an anti-life,
To sum up then: the teaching on contraception is part of the Church's teaching and regard for Holy Matrimony. And this is not a license for irresponsible parenthood. Responsible Parenthood and Natural Family Planning with due regard for life go hand in hand. And this teaching calls us to the highest denominator of what a human being should be: the respect for the sacredness of the sexual act as what the Creator God gave to us in Holy Matrimony.
On succeeding posts, I will discuss some details on NFP (and why it is not a failure or inapplicable for women with irregular monthly periods as some secularists would have us believe), how do we regard the failures to live up to the ideal of chastity within and outside of marriage, the role of conscience in moral decisions and why it does not change the objective moral norm regarding contraception nor is it a license for subjectivism, vice, and moral frivolity.