Christian views on birth control

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Among Christian denominations there is a large variety of positions toward birth control.


  • Some emergency care facilities, invoking religious objections, refuse to provide EC because it may interfere with the implantation of a fertilized egg. Such objections cannot be allowed to stand against the urgent needs of a woman who has been raped. Emergency care facilities — whether religiously affiliated or not — are ethically and morally obligated to offer the best care possible to everyone who comes through their doors in need of care. EC is basic health care for women who have been raped.
  • On the surface, Roman Catholics and Southern Baptists might seem unlikely bedfellows in opposing mandated coverage of contraceptives under Obamacare, but observers say it points to ongoing reconsideration of the morality of birth control among the Southern Baptist Convention’s leading thinkers.
    Evangelical leaders are tripping over themselves in the rush to stand with Roman Catholic bishops against this perceived governmental overreach,” Jacob Lupfer, a doctoral candidate in political science at Georgetown University, said in a Religion News Service commentary in December. “At the same time, a growing number of white evangelical leaders are attempting to sow seeds of doubt about the morality of birth control itself.”
    Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., responded that on that point, Lupfer “understates his own case.”
    “A good many evangelicals hope to do far more than sow seeds of doubt about the morality of birth control,” Mohler replied. “Our concern is to raise an alarm about the entire edifice of modern sexual morality and to acknowledge that millions of evangelicals have unwittingly aided and abetted that moral revolution by an unreflective and unfaithful embrace of the contraceptive revolution.”
    In a 2012 column for the Christian Post, Mohler said most evangelical Protestants welcomed the development of artificial birth control as a medical advance just as they celebrated the discovery of penicillin. A shift occurred in the 1980s, with the rise of the Religious Right and opposition to abortion on demand.
  • The commission on Research and Social Action has authorized official use of a statement which reads in part:
    “4. To enable them the more thankfully to receive God’s blessing and reward, a married couple may so plan and govern their sexual relations that any child born to their union will be desired both for itself and in relation to the time of its birth.
    “5. In God’s providence, and as a result of the power He gave men to subdue the earth and have dominion over it (Gen. 1:28), man has developed various means by which a married couple may control the number and the spacing of the births of their children. The means which the married pair uses to determine the number and the spacing of the births of their children are a matter for them to decide with their own consciences, on the basis of competent medical advice, and in a sense of accountability to God.
    “6. So long as it causes no harm to those involved, either immediately or over an extended period, none of the methods for controlling the number and spacing of the births of children has any special moral merit or demerit. It is the spirit in which the means is used, rather than whether it is ‘natural’ or ‘artificial’, which defines its ‘rightness’ or ‘wrongness’. ‘What ever you do, do all to the glory of God’ (1 Cor 10:31) is a principle pertinent to the use of the God-given reproductive power.
  • We assure you that we remain close to you, above all in these recent days when you have taken the good step of publishing the encyclical Humanae Vitae. We are in total agreement with you, and wish you all God's help to continue your mission in the world.
  • You [Manicheans] make your auditors adulterers of their wives when they take care lest the women with whom they copulate conceive. They take wives according to the laws of matrimony by tablets announcing that the marriage is contracted to procreate children; and then, fearing because of your [religious] law [against childbearing] . . . they copulate in a shameful union only to satisfy lust for their wives. They are unwilling to have children, on whose account alone marriages are made. How is it, then, that you are not those prohibiting marriage, as the apostle predicted of you so long ago [1 Tim. 4:1-4], when you try to take from marriage what marriage is? When this is taken away, husbands are shameful lovers, wives are harlots, bridal chambers are brothels, fathers-in-law are pimps.
  • For thus the eternal law, that is, the will of God creator of all creatures, taking counsel for the conservation of natural order, not to serve lust, but to see to the preservation of the race, permits the delight of mortal flesh to be released from the control of reason in copulation only to propagate progeny.
  • For necessary sexual intercourse for begetting [children] is alone worthy of marriage. But that which goes beyond this necessity no longer follows reason but lust. And yet it pertains to the character of marriage . . . to yield it to the partner lest by fornication the other sin damnably [through adultery].... [T]hey [must] not turn away from them the mercy of God . . . by changing the natural use into that which is against nature, which is more damnable when it is done in the case of husband or wife. For, whereas that natural use, when it pass beyond the compact of marriage, that is, beyond the necessity of begetting [children], is pardonable in the case of a wife, damnable in the case of a harlot; that which is against nature is execrable when done in the case of a harlot, but more execrable in the case of a wife. Of so great power is the ordinance of the Creator, and the order of creation, that . . . when the man shall wish to use a body part of the wife not allowed for this purpose [orally or anally consummated sex], the wife is more shameful, if she suffer it to take place in her own case, than if in the case of another woman.
  • This proves that you [Manicheans] approve of having a wife, not for the procreation of children, but for the gratification of passion. In marriage, as the marriage law declares, the man and woman come together for the procreation of children. Therefore, whoever makes the procreation of children a greater sin than copulation, forbids marriage and makes the woman not a wife but a mistress, who for some gifts presented to her is joined to the man to gratify his passion.
  • I am supposing, then, although you are not lying [with your wife] for the sake of procreating offspring, you are not for the sake of lust obstructing their procreation by an evil prayer or an evil deed. Those who do this, although they are called husband and wife, are not; nor do they retain any reality of marriage, but with a respectable name cover a shame. Sometimes this lustful cruelty, or cruel lust, comes to this, that they even procure poisons of sterility [oral contraceptives] . . . Assuredly if both husband and wife are like this, they are not married, and if they were like this from the beginning they come together not joined in matrimony but in seduction. If both are not like this, I dare to say that either the wife is in a fashion the harlot of her husband or he is an adulterer with his own wife.
  • Moreover, he [[[Moses]]] has rightly detested the weasel [Lev. 11 :29]. For he means, 'Thou shalt not be like to those whom we hear of as committing wickedness with the mouth with the body through uncleanness [orally consummated sex]; nor shalt thou be joined to those impure women who commit iniquity with the mouth with the body through uncleanness"'
  • Adding to their passionate opposition to the rule that employees of religiously affiliated institutions must receive insurance coverage for birth control, Roman Catholic bishops and some evangelical groups have asserted that it also requires coverage of some forms of abortion.
    They contend that methods of contraception including morning-after pills and IUDs can be considered “abortifacients” because, these advocates say, they can act to prevent pregnancy after a man’s sperm has fertilized a woman’s egg.
    “We object to the use of drugs and procedures used to take the lives of unborn children,” the Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, president of the Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod, said Thursday at a hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
    Their reasoning is that life begins the moment an egg is fertilized, and that if a contraceptive has the potential to prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus, it is aborting a life.
    “They can and do prevent implantation or can cause ejection even after implantation,” said Richard Land, the head of the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, referring to morning-after pills and citing medical advisers to his group. “IUDs emphatically do allow conception and do not allow implantation,” he added.
    Several scientists and doctors said in interviews that this view did not reflect the way the birth control methods actually work. “There’s so much evidence for how these things work prior to fertilization,” said Diana L. Blithe, director of contraceptive development for the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. “And there’s no evidence that they work beyond fertilization.”
  • [A]s late as 1908 the Lambeth Conference of the Anglican Church stated that birth control "cannot be spoken of without repugnance," and denounced it as "demoralising to character and hostile to national welfare."
    But the Anglicans were the first church to issue a statement in favour of contraception, which they did at the Lambeth Conference in 1930 by a majority of 193 to 67. A group of American Protestants followed in 1931.
  • The Church’s teaching on contraception can only be rightly understood in the context of its wider teaching on the nature and goods of marriage. But the norm itself against contraceptive acts, taught and defended since the early Church, binds universally — in the language of moral theology, ‘’semper et pro semper’’, without exception. It singles out a particular type of freely chosen behavior, namely, deliberate acts intended to render sexual intercourse infertile.
    Sexual intercourse, the tradition holds, is legitimate and good (and, for Christians, grace-imparting) when and only when it is marital. Marriage is a one-flesh communion of persons with two defining goods: the unity and perfection of the spouses and the procreation and education of children. Intercourse that is marital will always respect the full one-flesh significance of the marital relationship by retaining a unitive and procreative character.
  • [W]henever a man or woman, married or unmarried, engaging in sexual intercourse, believe they will or might bring into existence a new human life, and consequently adopt any action — before, during, or after intercourse — specifically intended as an end or means to prevent procreation, they violate the procreative significance of sexual intercourse. They contracept. And contraceptive acts in Catholic tradition have always been judged to be intrinsically evil. (The method adopted to render sex sterile is incidental to the application of the norm.)
    If contraceptive acts were wrong for married persons, but legitimate for unmarried persons, they would not be wrong per se, would not be intrinsically evil, but circumstantially evil. Although some Catholics hold this, the view seems clearly to be inconsistent with both the Church’s theological and doctrinal traditions.
  • [W]hen John Paul II teaches in Familiaris Consortio (FC) that the “language” of contraceptive acts between married persons objectively contradicts the language of marital self-giving, he intends to single out the objective harm that these acts do within marriage and to spouses. But since he taught later in Veritatis Splendor that contraceptive acts are intrinsically evil, semper et pro semper, we know he did not intend his teaching in FC to specifically settle the wider question of whether contraceptive acts are legitimate for non-married persons.
    If however doubt still lingers as to the scope of the authoritative Catholic teaching on contraception, an appeal to older formulations should dispel it. A penitential manual in the 10th century written by the Benedictine monk, Regino of Prüm, includes all persons, married and unmarried, within the scope of the negative norm: “If anyone (si aliquis) for the sake of satisfying sexual desire or in deliberate hatred does something to a man or to a woman so that no children may be born of him or her, or gives something to drink so that he cannot generate or she conceive, let it be held as homicide” [1]. This text was incorporated into canon law in the 13th century in the form of the decretal ‘’Si aliquis’’. The collection of moral norms in which this is found remained part of Western Catholic canon law up to the twentieth century (nearly 700 years!).
  • When Thomas Aquinas formulates his argument against contraceptive-type acts, he singles out every deliberate attempt to render a male ejaculatory act (“emission of semen”) incapable of generat-ing. In fact, his discussion of contraceptive acts is in the context of a discussion of why intercourse be-tween non-married persons is wrong [2]. For Aquinas, this type of act is ‘’contra naturam’’ (against nature). Aquinas’ contra naturam argument against contraceptive acts dominates Catholic theological literature on the question up until the middle of the 20th century.
    Since texts of canon law going back 700 years, papal encyclicals in the 20th century and the most influential theological arguments in Catholic history formulate the norm against contra-ceptive-type acts as universal, applied to every act by every person intended to render sexual acts sterile, the view that the Church’s condemnation only applies within marriage — and therefore does not apply to (i.e., the acts can be legitimate and even obligatory for) fornicators, adulterers and prostitutes — ought to be set aside as inconstant with Catholic traditional teaching.
  • [W]hen the area of public controversy widens and the problems raised become more acute because of new chemical and biological discoveries, it will be useful to outline the history of the Christian Churches’ teachings on contraception.
    For centuries the Christian doctrine regarding deliberate family limitation was clear-cut and unambiguous. The primary (some Fathers of the Church claimed the ‘’only’’) aim of sexual intercourse in marriage was the procreation of children. Secondary aims such as mutual help between husband and wife or the alleviation of concupiscence were much less important in the marriage relationship. Any artificial interference with the natural processes of coitus and conception was contrary to the laws of god, and must be condemned as gravely sinful. St. Augustine of Hippo wrote: “Sexual intercourse even with a lawful wife is unlawful and shameful, if the offspring of children is prevented. This is what Onan, the son of Juda, did, and on that account God put him to death”. For priests of laymen to query these eternal and immutable laws as laid down by St. Augustine in the fourth, and elaborated by St. Thomas Aquinas in the thirteenth century, was not merely presumptuous but possibly heretical. Even the coming of the Reformation and all it represented in the way of challenge to the dogmas of the medieval Catholic Church had no apparent influence on Christian doctrine concerning birth control. Protestant divines were as much in agreement on this point as they were in disagreement about others.
  • Of recent years many have entertained doubts about the validity of arguments proposed to forbid any positive intervention which would prevent the transmission of human life. As a result there have arisen opinions and practices contrary to traditional moral theology. Because of this many had been expecting official confirmation of their views. This helps to explain the negative reaction the encyclical received in many quarters. Many Catholics face a grave problem of conscience.
  • 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.
  • Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law.
  • A murder before birth.
    • St. John Chrysostom, Homily 24 on the Epistle to the Romans PG 60:626.50-51).
  • [I]n truth, all men know that they who are under the power of this disease [the sin of covetousness] are wearied even of their father's old age [wishing him to die so they can inherit]; and that which is sweet, and universally desirable, the having of children, they esteem grievous and unwelcome. Many at least with this view have even paid money to be childless, and have mutilated nature, not only killing the newborn, but even acting to prevent their beginning to live [[[w:Sterilization|sterilization]]]"
  • [T]he man who has mutilated [[[w:Sterilization|sterilized]]] himself, in fact, is subject even to a curse, as Paul says, 'I would that they who trouble you would cut the whole thing off' [Gal. 5 :12]. And very reasonably, for such a person is venturing on the deeds of murderers, and giving occasion to them that slander God's creation, and opens the mouths of the Manicheans, and is guilty of the same unlawful acts as they that mutilate themselves among the Greeks. For to cut off our members has been from the beginning a work of demonical agency, and satanic device, that they may bring up a bad report upon the works of God, that they may mar this living creature, that imputing all not to the choice, but to the nature of our members, the more part of them may sin in security as being irresponsible, and doubly harm this living creature, both by mutilating the members and be impeding the forwardness of the free choice in behalf of good deeds.
  • Observe how bitterly he [Paul] speaks against their deceivers . . . 'I would that they which trouble you would cut the whole thing off' [Gal. 5:12] .... On this account he curses them, and his meaning is as follows: 'For them I have no concern, "A man that is heretical after the first and second admonition." If they will, let them not only be circumcised but mutilated' [Titus 3:10]. Where then are those who dare to mutilate [[[w:Sterilize|sterilize]]] themselves, seeing that they drawn down the apostolic curse, and accuse the workmanship of God, and take part with the Manichees?
  • Why do you sow where the field is eager to destroy the fruit, where there are medicines of sterility [oral contraceptives], where there is murder before birth? You do not even let a harlot remain only a harlot, but you make her a murderess as well.... Indeed, it is something worse than murder, and I do not know what to call it; for she does not kill what is formed but prevents its formation. What then? Do you condemn the gift of God and fight with his [natural] laws? . . . Yet such turpitude . . . the matter still seems indifferent to many men—even to many men having wives. In this indifference of the married men there is greater evil filth; for then poisons are prepared, not against the womb of a prostitute, but against your injured wife. Against her are these innumerable tricks.
  • The Church of England does not regard contraception as a sin or a contravention of God's purpose. It is interesting to see how the thinking of the Church on this subject developed through the 20th century. In 1908 the Bishops of the Anglican Communion meeting at the Lambeth Conference declared that:-
    'the Conference records with alarm the growing practice of the artificial restriction of the family and earnestly calls upon all Christian people to discountenance the use of all artificial means of restriction as demoralising to character and hostile to national welfare.'
    Some of the Church oppo-sition at this time reflected a national concern about falling birth rates. By the 1920s, certain sections of the Church were beginning to develop a richer understanding of sexuality. Sexual love can be seen as good not just because it enabled the human race to reproduce itself. Sexual love was good in itself, and it provided an essential way for a husband and wife to express and strengthen their love for each other. In the Garden of Eden God had said, 'It is not good that the man (Adam) should be alone' (Genesis 2:18). It was also argued that people were limiting their families in order to give children a better chance of success. The debate makes fascinating reading and went on through the 1920s until the Lambeth Conference (meeting of all Bishops of the Anglican Communion - the Anglican Church worldwide - which takes place every ten years) of 1930. The 1930 resolution was greeted with mixed reactions and reads as follows:
    'Where there is a clearly felt moral obligation to limit or avoid parenthood, complete abstinence is the primary and obvious method.' but if there was morally sound reasoning for avoiding abstinence 'the Conference agrees that other methods may be used, provided that this is done in the light of Christian principles.'
    By the 1958 Lambeth Conference, contraception was a way of life among most Anglicans, and a resolution was passed to the effect that the responsibility for deciding upon the number and frequency of children was laid by God upon the consciences of parents 'in such ways as are acceptable to husband and wife'.
    In 1968, the Lambeth Conference considered the Papal Encyclical Humanae Vitae and while recording their appreciation of the Pope's deep concern for the institution of marriage and family life, the Bishops disagreed with his idea that methods of contraception other than abstinence and the rhythm method are contrary to the will of God.
  • The fact that man in his freedom stands above nature and is therefore at liberty to interpret sex in terms of personality and relation and to use it for personal and relational ends, leads to the conclusion that contraception is morally right in certain circumstances.
  • Ninety percent of [the theologians on the papal birth control commission] concluded that birth control was not intrinsically evil and that the teaching against contraception could be changed.
  • As a destroyer of life, Satan is definitely not into encouraging childbearing. Every child that is born has the potential to thwart his purposes by receiving God’s grace and becoming a subject of the kingdom of God. So anything that hinders or discourages women from fulfilling their God-given calling to be bearers and nurturers of life furthers Satan’s efforts.
    • Nancy Leigh DeMoss, "Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free", (Chicago: Moody Press, 2001), p.169
  • Pope Benedict XVI has said that condom use can be justified in some cases to help stop the spread of AIDS, the Vatican’s first exception to a long-held policy banning contraceptives. The pope made the statement in interviews on a host of contentious issues with a German journalist, part of an unusual effort to address some of the harshest criticisms of his turbulent papacy.
    The pope’s statement on condoms was extremely lim-ited: he did not approve their use or suggest that the Roman Catholic Church was beginning to back away from its prohibition of birth control. In fact, the one example he cited as a possibly appropriate use was by male prostitutes.
    Still, the statement was something of a milestone for the church and a significant change for Benedict, who faced intense criticism last year when, en route to AIDS-plagued Africa, he said condom use did not help prevent the spread of AIDS, only abstinence and fidelity did.
  • There is no mention of contraception in the Bible, Old Testament or New, nor did the term enter the vocabulary of Catholic moral theology until the second half of the twentieth century. Before then, the most relevant term used by theologians was onanisma, from the biblical story of Onan (Genesis 38:4–10), which was described as masturbation or sexual intercourse performed without the intention of reproduction. Sex was only for procreation, the Christian church declared, which made onanisma a sin.
    The human reproductive system was poorly understood even in the early years of the twentieth century. Many people thought women were merely the vessels, and that the man’s seed sprung on its own into a baby. That’s why spilling seed, or losing semen, whether in sex or masturbation, was labeled a sin.
    Still, the Catholic Church had no official position on birth control until 1930, when Pope Pius XI issued a papal encyclical called “Casti Connubii” (Latin for “Of Chaste Wedlock”). The pope acknowledged that birth control was widely used “even amongst the faithful,” although he wasn’t happy about it, and called this trend “a new and utterly perverse morality.” He added that it amounted to a “shameful and intrinsically vicious” attempt to get around the natural “power and purpose” of the conjugal act. The pope did, however, offer the faithful an important loophole: A married couple would not be sinning, he said, if the husband and wife knew that natural reasons prevented them from having children.
  • “Be fruitful and multiply.” If sex were not enjoyable our species probably would not have fruitfully multiplied. Sex is a powerful drive, and for most of human history it was firmly linked to marriage and childbearing. Only relatively recently has the act of sex commonly been divorced from marriage and procreation. Modern contraceptive inventions have given many an exaggerated sense of safety and prompted more people than ever before to move sexual expression outside the marriage boundary. When adhered to strictly, marital fidelity has always protected individuals and society. This site is dedicated to calling society back to the sure and safe boundary of abstinence until and faithfulness within marriage.
  • "I think in the minds of a lot of Catholics, [the reaction was], 'We're not going to pay any attention to this,'" says Mark Massa, a Jesuit priest the dean of theology at Boston College. "[They thought,] 'the church doesn't know what it's talking about on bedroom issues.'"
    For Massa, author of ‘’The American Catholic Revolution: How the '60s Changed the Church Forever’’, the 1968 birth control encyclical had the effect of weakening church authority among the Catholic laity.
    "When people see what they regard as a bad law, it breeds contempt for good law," Massa says, "and I think that's exactly what happened with Humanae Vitae. People started to say, 'Well, maybe the church's position on a whole realm of other things was equally mistaken. What else did the church get wrong?'"
  • [A]cceptance of the importance of children does not in itself necessitate a rejection of birth control, nor does it imply a total ban on the use of all forms. What it does demand is an openness on the part of married couples to the coming of children into their relationship.
    • Stanley Grenz, “Sexual Ethics: A Biblical Perspective” (Dallas: Word Publishing, 1990), p. 130.
  • [T]his argument could be (and has been) used to reject human action in nearly every area of life. Death, for example, also belongs to the divine prerogative, and therefore by extension of this argument all attempts to heal sickness or forestall death would constitute meddling in matters which belong to God.
    • Stanley Grenz, “Sexual Ethics: A Biblical Perspective” (Dallas: Word Publishing, 1990), p. 131.
  • The argument against the pill on the basis of interference with normal body functioning is not to be lightly discounted. Nevertheless, this assertion would by extension eliminate many procedures of medical science… procedures that seek to regulate or alter body functioning for medical reasons ought not be eliminated categorically.
    • Stanley Grenz, “Sexual Ethics: A Biblical Perspective” (Dallas: Word Publishing, 1990), p. 134.
  • [Fr. Richard McCormick maintains that] there are many Jesuits who do not accept the thesis that every contraceptive act is morally wrong. I can vouch for the fact that very many bishops share the same conviction.
  • I asked Kimberly what she had found out that was so interesting about contraception. She shared that before 1930 there had been a unified witness of all Christian churches: contraception was wrong in all circumstances.
    • Scott Hahn, Kimberly Hahn. “Rome Sweet Home”. Chapter 3 “New Conceptions of the Covenant”, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, (1993).
  • Kippley’s argument was that every covenant has an act whereby the cove-nant is enacted and renewed; and that the marital act is a covenant act. When the marriage covenant is renewed, God uses it to give new life. To renew the marital covenant and use birth control to destory the potential for new life is tantamount to receiving the Eucharist and spitting it on the ground.
    Kippley showed that the marital act demonstrates the powerful life-giving love of the covenant in a unique way. All the other covenants show God’s love and transmit God’s love, but it is only in the marital covenant that the love is so real and powerful that it communicates life.
    • Scott Hahn, Kimberly Hahn. “Rome Sweet Home”. Chapter 3 “New Conceptions of the Covenant”, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, (1993).
  • So, do the majority of Catholic women follow the teachings of Humanae Vitae on contraceptive use?
    Available data show they do not. Their choice to disregard this teaching started well before the letter was released. Among American Catholic women, for example, as of 1955, 30 percent used artificial contraception. Ten years later, that number had reached 51 percent, all before the ban was reiterated in 1968.
    By 1970 the number of Catholic women in the U.S. using birth control hit 68 percent, and today there is almost no difference between the birth control practices of Catholics and non-Catholics in the United States. Globally, as of 2015, there is little difference between Catholic and non-Catholic regions. For example, the percentage of contraceptive use in heavily Catholic Latin America and the Caribbean was 72.7 percent, – a 36.9 percent increase since 1970 – compared to 74.8 percent in North America.
  • If there are any [[[evangelical]]] moral objections to subsidizing contraception, they're generally not based on the notion that birth control ... is evil, but rather on the more ideological question of what the government should or should not be paying for. Is birth control a legitimate form of health care, and is it the role of government to pay for it? ... Here is where evangelicals who do not have a problem with contraception are now broadly sympathetic with Roman Catholics who oppose it. ... We don't want to see anyone being forced by the government to compromise their religious views, even when we disagree with their religious views.
  • In 2006, the Pontifical Council for the Health Care Pastoral, led by Cardinal Javier Lozano Bar-ragán, was asked by Benedict to report on the use of condoms as a way of combating HIV.
    "The pope is saying that if you can prevent disease, the use of condoms could be permissible," said John Allen, senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter. "But this has been in the mix for a while," he argued. "I think Benedict has been thinking this way since 2006, which is why he asked for the commission to look into it.
    "The problem was not Benedict, it was others in the Vatican who argued that if you said using condoms was OK in certain situations, it would send out the message that they were approved. This was a PR problem."
  • Sodomy is also contraception, a notion based on texts like Gen. 1:28 and Gen. 38:6-10. The whole rabbinical commentary tradition certainly did. See Jeremy Cohen, "Be Fertile and Increase, Fill the Earth and Master It: The Ancient and Medieval Career of a Biblical Text" (1989).
    In any event, they are all forms of contraception, which is defined as the "use of any means of preventing sexual intercourse from resulting in conception."--The Oxford Companion to Law, ed. D.M. Walker (1980), s.v. "Contraception."
  • [Some] complain of the scantiness of their means, and allege that they have not enough for bringing up more children, as though, in truth, their means were in [their] power . . . or God did not daily make the rich poor and the poor rich. Wherefore, if any one on any account of poverty shall be unable to bring up children, it is better to abstain from relations with his wife.
  • The Conference, while declining to lay down rules which will meet the needs of every abnormal case, regards with grave concern the spread in modern society of theories and practices hostile to the family. We utter an emphatic warning against the use of unnatural means for the avoidance of conception, together with the grace dangers-physical, moral and religious- thereby incurred, and against the evils with which the extension of such use threatens the race. In opposition to the teaching which, under the name of science and religion encourages married people in the deliberate cultivation of sexual union as an end in itself, we steadfastly uphold what must always be regarded as the governing considerations of Christian marriage. One is the primary purpose for which marriage exists, namely the continuance of the race through the gift and heritage of children; the other is the paramount importance in married life of deliberate and thoughtful self-control.
  • [T]he Conference agrees that other methods may be used, provided that this is done in the light of Christian principles.
    • Lambeth Conference, (1930)
  • The Conference believes that the responsibility for deciding upon the number and frequency of children has been laid by God upon the consciences of parents everywhere: that this plan-ning, in such ways as are mutually acceptable to husband and wife in Christian conscience is a right and important factor in Christian family life and should be the result of positive choice before God. Such responsible parenthood, built on obedience to all the duties of marriage, requires a wise stewardship of the resources and abilities of the family as well as a thoughtful consideration of the varying population needs and problems of society and the claims of future generations.
    • The Lambeth Conference (1958)
  • 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 needed 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 an anticonceptive 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 the selfish enjoyment, and 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 would 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 the respect due to the integrity of human organism and 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.
  • Because only the birth of a child justified sexual intercourse between husband and wife, any attempt to prevent conception was regarded as evil. From the medieval Slavic perspective, contraception, abortion, and infanticide were similar offenses; provisions against birth control did not always distinguish among them. All three represented the same thing: an attempt to forestall the introduction into the world of a new soul. For that reason, all three offenses were sometimes called dusegube, literally, 'the destruction of a soul.'
    • Eve Levin, Sex and Society in the World of the Orthodox Slavs, 900-1700, (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1989), pp. 175-176
  • Lutheran Church in America
    Adopted by its Second Biennial Convention in 1964 as part of its statement on marriage and family:
    “1. Marriage is that order of relation given by God in love which binds one man and one woman in a lifelong union of the most initiate fellowship of body and life. This one-flesh relation, when properly based on fidelity and love, serves as a witness to God’s grace and leads husband and wife into service one of the other. In their marriage, husband and wife are responsible to God for keeping their vows and must depend upon his love and mercy to fulfill them.
    “2. God has established the sexual relation for the purpose of bringing husband and wife into full unity so that they may enrich and be a blessing to each other. Such oneness, depending upon lifelong fidelity between the marriage partners and loving service one of the other, is the essential characteristic of marriage. Marriage should be consummated in love with the intention of maintaining a permanent and responsible relation. Continence outside of marriage and fidelity within marriage are binging on all.
    “3. Procreation is a gift inherent in the sex relation. In children the one flesh idea finds embodiment. Children bring great joy to marriage and reveal how God permits men to share in his continuing creation. Married couples should seek to fulfill their responsibilities in marriage by conceiving and nurturing their children in the light of Christian faith.
    4. Husband and wife are called to exercise the power of procreation responsibly before God. This implies planning their parenthood in accordance with their ability to provide for their children and carefully nurture them in fullness of Christian faith and life. The health and welfare of the mother-wife should be a major concern in such decisions. Irresponsible conception of children up to the limit of biological capacity and selfish limitation of the number of children are equally detrimental. Choice as to means of conception control should be made upon professional medical advice.”
  • The LCMS does not have an official position on "voluntary contraception" or voluntary childlessness. However, in its 1981 report on Human Sexuality: A Theological Perspective (which has been "commended to the Synod for study and guidance"--1983 Res. 3-15), the Synod's Commission on Theology and Church Relations makes the following statement: In view of the Biblical command and the blessing to "be fruitful and multiply," it is to be expected that marriage will not ordinarily be voluntarily childless. But, in the absence of Scriptural prohibition, there need be no objection to contraception within a marital union which is, as a whole, fruitful. Moreover, once we grant the appropriateness of contraception, we will also recognize that sterilization may under some circumstances be an acceptable form of contraception. Because of its relatively permanent nature, sterilization is perhaps less desirable than less-far reaching forms of contraception. However, there should be no moral objection to it, especially for couples who already have children and who now seek to devote themselves to the rearing of those children, for those who have been advised by a physician that the birth of another child would be hazardous to the health of the mother, or for those who for reasons of age, physical disability, or illness are not able to care for additional children. Indeed, there may be special circumstances which would persuade a Christian husband and wife that it would be more responsible and helpful to all concerned, under God, not to have children. Whatever the particular circumstances, Christians dare not take lightly decisions in this area of their life together. They should examine their motives thoroughly and honestly and take care lest their decisions be informed by a desire merely to satisfy selfish interests.
    With respect to voluntary childlessness in general, we should say that while there may be special reasons which would persuade a Christian husband and wife to limit the size of their family, they should remember at all times how easy it is for them simply to permit their union to turn inward and refuse to take up the task of sharing in God's creative activity. Certainly Christians will not give as a reason for childlessness the sorry state of the world and the fear of bringing a child into such a world. We are not to forget the natural promise embedded in the fruitfulness of marriage. To bear and rear children can be done, finally, as an act of faith and hope in God who has promised to supply us with all that we "need to support this body and life."
  • If men did not stray, if women had rights, if AIDS did not kill, perhaps the church’s strict ban on condom use would be morally defensible. But none of these conditions applies in Africa to-day. As a consequence, the cost of the church’s inflexibility may mean not only untold human suffering, but the loss of millions of innocent lives.
  • [I]t is contrary to the teachings of the Church artificially to curtail or prevent the [birth]] of children. We believe that those who practice birth control will reap disappointment by and by.
    • First Presidency statement (David O. McKay, Hugh B. Brown, N. Eldon Tanner), The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Office of the First Presidency, April 15, 1969
  • Ever more clearly there emerges the strict connection which, at the level of mentality, exists between the practice of contraception and that of abortion. This is demonstrated in an alarming way also by the development of chemical preparations, intrauterine devices and injections which, distributed with the same ease as contraceptives, in reality act as abortifacients in the initial stages of development of the new human being"
    • John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, (March 25, 1995), n. 13.
  • By any measure the presence of sexual concerns in the penitentials is prominent. The variety of sexual behavior touched on in the more ample handbooks is striking, running the gamut from heterosexual delicts through homosexual infractions, bestiality to autoerotic acts. The number of canons dealing with sex as a percentage of the total is disproportionately large in comparison to those dealing with other types of offence. Finally, there is a clear continuity of such concern for sexual behavior during the centuries that the penitentials flourished. That much is undeniable.
    So penitentials would appear to be excellent sources for the study of sex in early medieval Europe. Indeed, they have been so recognized and used in accounts of contraception, the regulation of marital sexual relations, and the variety of sexual offences. These accounts are usually presented as pieces of serial history in which penitentials are listed in what is thought to be chronological order, accompanied by their sexual contents.
    • Pierre J. Payer in Vern L. Bullough and James A. Brundage, eds., Handbook of Medieval Sexuality, Part 1, Sexual Norms, Confession and the Study of Sex in the Middle Ages p.5, Garland, (1996).
  • Every attempt of either husband or wife in the performance of the conjugal act or in the development of its natural consequences which aims at depriving it of its inherent force and hinders the procreation of new life is immoral.
  • (The following statement was adopted by the Lutheran Churches of the Reformation)
    God is the Creator of all human life (Gen. 30:2; 1 Sam. 2:5f; 2 Kgs. 5:7; Acts 17:25,28) and desires to create spiritual life in all sinful human beings, that everyone come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved (1 Tim. 2:4). Married couples should reproduce in observance of the following Biblical principles:
    1. The command of God to be "fruitful and multiply" (Gen. 1:28; 9:1,17; 35:11; 1 Tim. 5:10,14; AC XXIII, #5 & 8, Triglot p. 612; AP XXIII, #7-8, Trigl. p. 365-73; LC 6th Comm., # 207, Trigl., p. 6394).
    2. Children are a blessing from the Lord (Gen. 1:28; 15:2-5; 17:5f.; 24:60; 33:5; 48:9; 49:25; Lev. 26:9; Deut. 28:4; Josh. 24:3; Ruth 4:11f.; Psalm 107:38; 127:3-5; 128:3-6; 147:13; Prov. 5:18; 17:6; LC 4th Comm., # 105, Trigl. p. 6115).
    3. It is God who opens or closes the womb (Gen 16:1-2; 17:15-19; 20:18; 21:1-2; 25:21; 29:31; 30:2-6, 23f; Deut. 32:18; Lev. 20:20f; Judg. 13:3; Ruth 4:13; 1 Sam. l:19f; 2:21; Job 10:8-12; Psalm 22:9-10; 113:9; 139:13-16; Eccles. 11:5; Isa. 8:18; 43:1,7; 44:2,24; 49:1,5; 66:9; Jer. 1:5; Lk. 1:36f, 57f; Heb. 11:11).
    4. Having children is a good work for Christians (1 Tim. 2:15; AP XXIII, #32, Trigl. p. 3736).
    5. Christians are to be mindful that they are not only to be fruitful and populate the earth, but they are to bring up their children as Christians and thus populate heaven (Prov. 3:21f.; 4:3f., 20-22; Mk. 10:13-16; Acts 2:38f.; Eph. 6:1,4; Heb. 2:10).
    6. In Scripture barrenness is regarded as an affliction (Gen. 11:30; 15:2; 16:2; 18:11f.; 25:21; 30:1,22f.; 1 Sam. 1:2,5-7, l0f.; Prov. 30:15f; Luke 1:7,24f.,58).
    7. There are many examples in Scripture of fruitful parents among the godly (Gen. 3:20; 4:1,25; 5:4; 24:60; 30:1-24; Judg. 13:2f; Job 1:2; 42:13-16).
    8. The Word of God prohibits us to "put asunder" marriage (Matt. 19:4-6), including its purposes (1 Cor. 7:2,5; Gen. 2:24).
    9. The Bible exhibits the wrath of God upon those who defy His will (Gen. 38:8-10; Exod. 21:22; Rom. 1:18).
    10. God desires that we put our trust in Him in all matters, also in His will and ability to provide for the children that He gives us (Exod. 23:20,26; Psalm 30:7; 37:25f.; Phil 4:13; 1 Pet. 5:7).
    Pastors should counsel families both publicly and privately to observe these principles. The churches and ministers should not take it upon themselves to investigate the private practices of their members (Eighth Commandment). Refusal to reproduce should be treated first by patient instruction and counsel. Nevertheless, when a situation becomes a public scandal then evangelical discipline is in order (Matt. 18:17).
    While we allow for exegetical differences and exceptional cases (casuistry), we must also maintain and teach the principles relating to this issue (Matt. 28:20; Acts 20:27). Such was the united teaching of Dr. Martin Luther and the "Old Missouri" fathers (C.F.W. Walther, F. Pieper, A.L. Graebner, C.M. Zorn, W.H.T. Dau, J.T. Mueller, W. Dallman, F. Bente, E.W.A. Koehler, L. Fuerbringer, T. Engelder, Th. Laetsch, G. Luecke, W.A. Maier, M.J. Naumann, et al.) and LCR leaders such as P.E. Kretzmann and W.H. McLaughlin.
    The reasons given to justify the prevention of conception are often based upon myths, selfishness, materialism, hedonism (love of pleasure), convenience, usurpation of God's prerogative, or humanistic reasoning and generally indicate a distrust of the Almighty God and His Word.
  • Father Francis J. Connell, who wrote "Birth Control: The Case for the Catholic," doesn't neces-sarily discount the public health argument. Rather, he basically ignores it, appealing only to religious reasoning. He begins his argument with a disclosure: "The discussion of this subject as I intend to present it will be fully appreciated only by those who admit that there is a Supreme Being, whom men are obliged to serve and to obey."
    His argument:
    Each organ has its proper purpose, each faculty its proper function... A human being can direct his faculties of soul and of body to the purposes intended by the Creator, or he can distort them to other ends. And on the way he chooses to employ them depends the morality of his actions...
    When husband and wife perform their marital functions in the natural manner, they are concurring in the designs of God toward the preservation and the propagation of the human race...To them parenthood means, not merely the procreation of another member of society, but primarily coöperation with the Almighty in the creation of an immortal soul that is destined to be happy with God forever.
    Father Connell's argument suffers from racial bias as well. He claims that "birth control as it is now practised in the United States is bound to bring about a notable decline in our white population in the near future." He then goes on to cite "a prominent member of the American Eugenics Society."
    As for a solution to unrestrained childbirth, Connell believes couples can, through the church, learn restraint if they cannot afford a child. But as Wharton points out, that restraint may not be realistic. As he cites one woman as saying, "'I'm for any way that will keep me from having another child,' the mother pleaded. 'Any way so long as I can keep from losing that man I got.'"
    This is the dichotomy that split us in the 1930s. And they are essentially the same issues that divide us now, despite legal and cultural acceptance of birth control. In the eyes of many religious Americans, contraception still appears to promote sin and interfere with the divine plan. To those who want contraception to be widely available, the religious opposition seems entirely irrelevant, especially in light of practical concerns about disease and poverty. The two positions remain entirely irreconcilable. Hence, 73 years later, we're still having this conversation.
  • Most of clergymen condemn birth control None of them condemns the brutality of a husband who causes his wife to die of too frequent pregnancies. I knew a fashionable clergyman whose wife had nine children in nine years. The doctors told him that if she had another she would die. Next year she had another and died. No one condemned; he retained his benefice and married again.
    • Bertrand Russell : ‘Why I am not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion’, seventh edition, 1996, London, p. 56
  • Among the problems which need a religious and moral assessment is that of contracep-tion. Some contraceptives have an abortive effect, interrupting artificially the life of the embryo on the very first stages of his life. Therefore, the same judgments are applicable to the use of them as to abortion. But other means, which do not involve interrupting an already conceived life, cannot be equated with abortion in the least. In defining their attitude to the non-abortive contraceptives, Christian spouses should remember that human reproduction is one of the principal purposes of the divinely established marital union (see, X. 4). The deliberate refusal of childbirth on egoistic grounds devalues marriage and is a definite sin.
    At the same time, spouses are responsible before God for the comprehensive upbringing of their children. One of the ways to be responsible for their birth is to restrain themselves from sexual relations for a time. However, Christian spouses should remember the words of St. Paul addressed to them: «Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency» (1 Cor. 7:5). Clearly, spouses should make such decisions mutually on the counsel of their spiritual father. The latter should take into account, with pastoral prudence, the concrete living conditions of the couple, their age, health, degree of spiritual maturity and many other circumstances. In doing so, he should distinguish those who can hold the high demands of continence from those to whom it is not given (Mt. 19:11), taking care above all of the preservation and consolidation of the family.
    The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church in its Decision of December 28, 1998, instructed the clergy serving as spiritual guides that «it is inadmissible to coerce or induce the flock to… refuse conjugal relations in marriage». It also reminded the pastors of the need «to show special chastity and special pastoral prudence in discussing with the flock the questions involved in particular aspects of their family life».
  • It appears to be true that a significant strand of thought in the early Christian Church did not primarily address abortion in terms of the language of personhood, and the killing of persons. Indeed, in the early Church, there is sometimes no sharp distinction between contraception and sterilization, on the one hand, and abortion on the other. This was neither because the Church wished to downgrade the evil of abortion, nor necessarily to elide the distinction between contraception and murder in the sense in which the fifth commandment prohibits it. Rather, both contraception and early abortion were looked upon as grave contra-life sins. Practically speaking, however, there could have been little profit, as the work of Aristotle and Aquinas inadvertently reveals, in speculation about the nature of the early embryo or even fetus, given the paltry biology at hand.
    • Christopher Tollefsen, “Missing Persons: Engelhardt and Abortion”; in Ana S. Iltis, Mark J. Cherry, "At the Roots of Christian Bioethics", (M & M Scrivener Press 2010 ISBN 978-0-9764041-8-7), p. 166
  • In general it is morally legitimate to use a material agent in order to forward the well-being of a man in his personal relations in society, e.g. wearing glasses or deaf aid. If on moral grounds the unitive object of an act of coitus must be achieved without involving the procreative end, then there is nothing in principle wrong in using a material agent, for that agent is forwarding the personal relational factor essential for marriage, and good marriages are essential for society and the welfare of children.
    • Canon Warner, “Theological Issues of Contraception”, Theology, 57:8-14, p.12 (January 1954)

Tara Isabella Burton, “How birth control became part of the evangelical agenda“, VOX, (Oct 7, 2017)[edit]

  • [A]mong evangelical Protestants, at least, birth control — and who has access to it — has only recently become a major political issue. Unlike Catholics, whose catechism denounces use of most forms of contraception as a sin, evangelical Protestants by and large do not. (Because of the disparate nature of evangelical Protestantism, which includes hundreds if not thousands of separate denominations, it’s difficult to speak of a “formal stance” in the way we can of Catholics.) But alongside Catholic organizations like [w:Little Sisters of the Poor| Little Sisters of the Poor]], it’s evangelical-led companies like Hobby Lobby that have been on the forefront of opposition to the ACA birth control mandate.
  • In contrast to the Catholic stance, the current set of evangelical objections to the [[ACA birth control mandate have less to do with any formal doctrine about birth control per se than they do about wider cultural issues, including the abortion debate, the aftermath of the sexual revolution, and precedents for religious exemptions more generally.
  • When Hobby Lobby filed its 2012 lawsuit objecting to the mandate on religious grounds — with the Supreme Court ultimately ruling in its favor — it didn’t do so because of a general objection to birth control. Rather, it did so because certain forms of birth control, including Plan B, also known as the "morning after pill,” could be considered an abortifacient because it prevents implantation of an already fertilized egg. Hobby Lobby founder David Green wrote in a 2012 op-ed for USA Today: “Being Christians, we don’t pay for drugs that might cause abortions. Which means that we don’t cover emergency contraception, the morning-after pill or the week-after pill. We believe doing so might end a life after the moment of conception, something that is contrary to our most important beliefs.”
    The extent to which this line of reasoning applies to other forms of contraception has been a subject of debate among evangelicals, particularly in regard to the pill, which critics have argued — often in the absence of conclusive scientific evidence — may prevent the implantation of an already-fertilized egg. But these are often academic arguments — confined to scholars or pastors at conferences — rather than ones that apply to the average evangelical Christian’s lived experience.
  • Talcott noted that objection to birth control among evangelicals had been more prevalent prior to the developments of the 20th century. Christians disenchanted by the outcomes of the sexual revolution, he said, might find themselves “attracted to the older view, the historic forms of marriage and Christianity and trying to see what resources are maybe there for trying to help us figure out what to do today in this sort of Wild West of Christianity. ... The marriage debate, transgender issues, are [all] forcing on the conservative wing evangelicals to think about what marriage is, and how birth control can fit into that.”
    For those evangelicals, birth control — particularly the Pill — represents the worst excesses of the sexual revolution: a change in mentality from one that venerated reproduction and family life to one that focused on the individual’s (and, particularly, the individual woman’s) right to transcend their personal biology in pursuit of personal or sexual fulfillment. As Agnieszka Tennant, writing about her disillusionment with the Pill in Christianity Today, puts it: "Could Mircette have changed not just the hormonal makeup of my cells, but also what cannot be seen under a microscope? Could it have served as one more safety lock on the door not just to my womb, but also to my figure, my marriage, my home, my career, my gym routine?”
  • [E]vangelical couples like Sam and Bethany Torode published books like 2002’s Open Embrace: A Protestant Couple Rethinks Contraception, which argued that taking medical steps to delay childbearing went against God’s plan for creation and contributed to an ethos of selfishness (the two ultimately divorced after nine years and four children, retracting their position on contraception and leaving the evangelical church).
    A 2015 article in Al Jazeera profiled a number of evangelical Christians who took this stance, including Andrew Walker, director of policy studies at the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, who said, “The idea of talking about children as a ‘scare’ and viewing them as an obstacle to the American dream, that’s not a Christian way of looking at family. ... That’s what I like to tell young couples: The family is actually a pretty adaptable institution. It doesn’t necessarily have to put a brake on your life.”

Allan Carlson, (May 2007). "Children of the Reformation". Touchstone. 20 (4), (2007)[edit]

Father Francis J. Connell, “Birth Control: The Case for the Catholic”, The Atlantic, (October 1939)[edit]

  • Among the most important of man's faculties is the sexual power. Its chief purpose is the generation of new life. This purpose pertains to the social order; it concerns the common good rather than the individual good. When husband and wife perform their marital functions in the natural manner, they are concurring in the designs of God toward the preservation and the propagation of the human race. The full import of this objective is perceived only by those who admit the eternal destiny of mankind. To them parenthood means, not merely the procreation of another member of society, but primarily coöperation with the Almighty in the creation of an immortal soul that is destined to be happy with God forever.
    However, when husband and wife deliberately and positively frustrate the procreative purpose of sexual intercourse, they pervert the order of nature and thus directly oppose the designs of nature's Creator. And since the reproductive function is so vital to the upkeep of the race, and since any exception to this law would be multiplied indefinitely, every act of contraceptive frustration is a gravely immoral act, or, in Catholic terminology, a mortal sin.
  • It does not follow from Catholic principles that conjugal inter-course is forbidden whenever conception is naturally impossible, as when a woman is already pregnant or advanced in years. Nature itself includes such conditions in its plan, and so in these circumstances a married pair do nothing against nature, nothing immoral, if they make use of their marital rights, provided they have the power of complete coition. They are not positively frustrating the chief purpose of the sexual act, they are not opposing the designs of nature and of nature's Author.
    It is important to note that the argument which is being urged against contraception is not based on any such principle as 'It is always sinful to oppose or to check any force of nature.' The misunderstanding of this point has occasioned innumerable objections of the species known as reductio ad absurdum against the Church's denunciation of contraceptive practices. For example: 'The Catholic teaching on birth control would lead to the conclusion that a person commits a sinful act whenever he cuts his hair or trims his nails, since in performing these actions one frustrates nature.'
    The flaw in this manner of reasoning is the failure to distinguish between the restricting of a natural power and the preventing of the purpose of a natural power. The former by no means necessarily includes the latter. It is within the designs of nature itself that there should be opposition and conflict among the multitudinous forces and agents that operate in the universe, that one creature should restrain and control the tendencies and activities of another and utilize them to its own advantage. The animal violently interrupts the vital functioning of the plant by using it as food, and man does the same to the animal; but there is no frustration of any divinely ordained purpose in this process. On the contrary, there is the fulfillment of the Creator's design that the lower in the scale of perfection should contribute to the sustenance of the higher. Similarly -- to answer the specific objection -- when a person cuts his hair or trims his nails he does indeed curtail the growth of these bodily appendages, but their chief purpose, the utility of the individual himself, is promoted rather than frustrated. Certainly nature does not call for an unchecked augmentation of hair and nails; they must be clipped if they would be beneficial to the whole person, to whom they are subservient as the lesser good to the greater. But it is an utterly different case with contraception, which prevents the very primary purpose of sexual activity and inverts the due order of things by making the social benefit of conjugal intercourse subservient to the benefit of the individuals concerned.
    This can be illustrated by a development of the parallelism which exists between the faculty of nutrition and that of sex. The primary purpose of the former is to preserve the life of the individual; the primary purpose of the latter is to preserve the life of the human race. To attract human beings to the due use of these faculties, the Creator has annexed to the functioning of each a feeling of pleasure. Sexual gratification is particularly vehement, and in this is manifest the sagacity of divine providence, inducing men and women to undertake the arduous duties of parenthood for the benefit of the human race. But, to continue the analogy, it is possible for a person to enjoy the pleasure accompanying the use of either of these faculties, and at the same time to distort his action in such wise that its chief purpose is rendered unattainable. This is what takes place relative to the sexual faculty when contraception is employed. And the analogous case in the use of the nutritive faculty is the revolting practice of some ancient Roman gourmands, who ate to satiety and then induced regurgitation. In each case the sensual gratification intended by the Creator as an incentive to the use of the respective faculty is sought and enjoyed, while the divinely established main purpose is deliberately and positively obstructed. Is it not strange that many persons who shudder at the very thought of the disgusting custom of the ancient voluptuaries do not hesitate to defend and to practise the equally perverse operation of contraception?
  • If the human race is in existence ten thousand years hence, no matter what changes may have taken place in the social and economic and scientific spheres, the Catholic Church will still be preaching the same doctrine on birth control that it is teaching today.

Couple to Couple League, “Church Teaching on Birth Control“, from "What Does the Catholic Church REALLY Teach about Birth Control?", (1981)[edit]

*Are some forms of unnatural birth control worse than others? Yes. Those forms that act after conception has occurred to prevent the continuation of the pregnancy participate in the additional evil of abortion. "From the moment of its conception life must be guarded with greatest care, while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes" (Gaudium et Spes, 51). 
Surgical abortion is the most obvious but not the only form. The intrauterine device (IUD) acts primarily as an early abortion agent by preventing implantation of the week-old human life.
The birth control Pill makes the inner lining of the uterus very hostile to implantation. It is not known how often the Pill acts in this way, but it cannot be denied that the Pill may be acting as an early abortion agent in any given cycle in any given woman.
  • In the natural act of completed marital sexual intercourse, there is a symbolic bodily unity of man and wife. However, in every form of unnatural birth control, there is a positive effort to destroy the [w:Procreative|procreative]] potential of an act that God has given us as a unique sign of married love.
    Looked at in another way, the sex act is meant by God to be a symbolic way in which a couple are called to renew, at least implicitly, their marriage covenant. In this bodily union, they are called to affirm anew their original promises of married love, to take each other for better or for worse, to be as one until death.
    Unnatural birth control contradicts the symbolic renewal of the marriage covenant. Instead, it says, "I take you for better but not for the imagined worse of parenthood."
  • In the New Testament, it is possible that the Greek "pharmakeia" refers to the birth con-trol issue. "Pharmakeia" in general was the mixing of various potions for secret purposes, and it is known that potions were mixed in the first century A.D. to prevent or stop a pregnancy. The typical translation as "sorcery" may not reveal all of the specific practices condemned by the New Testament. In all three of the passages in which it appears, it is in a context condemning sexual immorality; two of the three passages also condemn murder. (Gal. 5:19-26; Rev. 9:21, 21:8). Thus it is very possible that there are three New Testament passages condemning the use of the products of "pharmakeia" for birth control purposes.
  • The growing use of unnatural birth control since 1913 has been accompanied by an almost 500% rise in the divorce rate. Among Catholics, the divorce rate formerly was much lower than the national average, but the divorce rate has risen sharply since the mid-1960s when Catholics began using unnatural birth control at about the same rate as the rest of a culture that is no longer Christian. Even if other factors have contributed to the breakdown of family stability, there are ample indicators that the use of unnatural birth control has been a significant factor.
  • Many couples who have left unnatural methods of birth control have reported an improved marriage relationship with NFP. This has been confirmed by scientific social studies and by informal surveys showing an extremely low divorce rate among couples practicing NFP.
    Improved communication, ab-sence of feelings of being used, development of non-genital courtship, peace of conscience, and no fear of the dangerous effects of some unnatural methods have all been mentioned as contributing to the improved relationship. In addition, the practice of NFP helps to develop the same character strengths that are necessary for marital fidelity and life-long marriage.
  • The question of birth control has been raised many times for 19 centuries of Christian life, and the Church has always responded with a firm and universal negative to abortion, sterilization and all forms of unnatural birth control. The encyclical Humanae Vitae in 1968 simply reaffirmed this universal Tradition.
  • Before 1930, no Protestant Christian church accepted contraception, sterilization or abortion. However, in 1930 the Church of England accepted contraception. Many churches followed that path, but there are still some Protestant churches that reject all forms of unnatural birth control. The Eastern Orthodox churches likewise retain the authentic Christian Tradition against contraception.

Thierry Dejond, S. J., Contraception, “Contraception”, originally was printed by Emmaus under the title "Contraception: a social problem.", ‘’ETWN’’, (1996)[edit]

Malcolm Gladwell, “John Rock’s Error”, The New Yorker, (2000-03-10).[edit]

  • In 1958, Pope Pius XII approved The Pill for Catholics, so long as its contraceptive effects were “indirect”—that is, so long as it was intended only as a remedy for conditions like painful menses or “a disease of the uterus.” That ruling emboldened Rock still further. Short-term use of The Pill, he knew, could regulate the cycle of women whose periods had previously been unpredictable. Since a regular menstrual cycle was necessary for the successful use of the rhythm method—and since the rhythm method was sanctioned by the Church—shouldn’t it be permissible for women with an irregular menstrual cycle to use the Pill in order to facilitate the use of rhythm? And if that was true why not take the logic one step further? As the federal judge John T. Noonan writes in “Contraception,” his history of the Catholic position on birth control:
    If it was lawful to suppress ovulation to achieve a regularity necessary for successfully sterile intercourse, why was it not lawful to suppress ovulation without appeal to rhythm? If pregnancy could be prevented by pill plus rhythm, why not by pill alone? In each case suppression of ovulation was used as a means. How was a moral difference made by the addition of rhythm?
    These arguments, as arcane as they may seem, were central to the development of oral contraception. It was John Rock and Gregory Pincus who decided that the Pill ought to be taken over a four-week cycle—a woman would spend three weeks on the Pill and the fourth week off the drug (or on a placebo), to allow for menstruation. There was and is no medical reason for this.
  • John Rock’s long battle on behalf of his birth-control pill forced the Church to take notice. In the spring of 1963, just after Rock’s book was published, a meeting was held at the Vatican between high officials of the Catholic Church and Donald B. Straus, the chairman of Planned Parenthood. That summit was followed by another, on the campus of the University of Notre Dame. In the summer of 1964, on the eve of the feast of St. John the Baptist, Pope Paul VI announced that he would ask a committee of church officials to reëxamine the Vatican’s position on contraception. The group met first at the Collegio San Jose, in Rome, and it was clear that a majority of the committee were in favor of approving the Pill. Committee reports leaked to the National Catholic Register confirmed that Rock’s case appeared to be winning. Rock was elated. Newsweek put him on its cover, and ran a picture of the Pope inside. “Not since the Copernicans suggested in the sixteenth century that the sun was the center of the planetary system has the Roman Catholic Church found itself on such a perilous collision course with a new body of knowledge,” the article concluded. Paul VI, however, was unmoved. He stalled, delaying a verdict for months, and then years. Some said he fell under the sway of conservative elements with-in the Vatican. In the interim, theologians began exposing the holes in Rock’s arguments. The rhythm method “‘prevents’ conception by abstinence, that is, by the non-performance of the conjugal act during the fertile period,” the Catholic journal America concluded in a 1964 editorial. “The pill prevents conception by suppressing ovulation and by thus abolishing the fertile period. No amount of word juggling can make abstinence from sex and the suppression of ovulation one and the same thing.”
  • In hindsight, it is possible to see the opportunity that Rock missed. If he had known what we know now and had talked about the Pill not as a contraceptive but as a cancer drug—not as a drug to prevent life but as one that would save life—the church might well have said yes. Hadn’t Pius XII already approved the Pill for therapeutic purposes?

John T. Noonan, Jr., John Thomas Noonan, “Contraception: A History of Its Treatment by the Catholic Theologians and Canonists”, (1986)[edit]

  • The judgments made by Christians on contraception in the first four centuries can be understood only if the existence, effect, and use of contraceptive technique in the Roman Empire are appraised.
    The existence of contraceptive technique in the pre-Christian Mediterranean world is well established. The oldest surviving documents are from Egypt.
    • Ch.1, Part 1 50-450 Contraception in the Roman Empire
  • Contraceptives were discriminated from abortifacients in theory. In practice it was difficult to distinguish between abortive and contraceptive effects of some potions, and according to the most authoritative writer, Soranos, this difficulty attended every potion he would recommend. Use off the sterile period, precoital pessaries, postcoital exercise, and gum for the male genitals were all intended to work only contraceptively. All of the latter methods, however, did involve an attack on the sperm; even the sterile period was supposed to be sterile because the menstrual flow would affect the seed.
    It is also germane to the Christian judgment that almost all the methods used were intended to achieve only temporary sterility. Only a few potions were apparently intended to sterilize permanently. The other potions and all the other means proposed were ways by which pregnancy might be postponed or a given time.
    • Ch.1, “Greco-Roman Information”
  • It may, however, be helpful to make two points on the language used by the church writers to describe contraceptive behavior, as these points bear on the frequency with which such behavior is encountered, and to add to these points two medieval estimates of the incidence of contraceptive behavior.
    The common practice of the scholastic writers was to identify artificial contraceptives by the comprehensive but blind phrase “poisons of sterility.” The repetition of this circumlocution of Augustine is not evidence that the theologians using it were not familiar with particular forms of such poisons. The phrase was an easy way of designating contraceptives without imparting detailed information about them and without becoming involved in an appraisal of their efficacy.
    • Ecclesiastical Description

John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio, (November 22, 1981)[edit]

  • 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.
    • n.13
  • Contraception falsifies the inner truth of conjugal love.
    • 32.
  • When couples, by means of recourse to contraception, separate these two meanings that God the Creator has inscribed in the being of man and woman and in the dynamism of their sexual communion, they act as 'arbiters' of the divine plan and they 'manipulate' and degrade human sexuality—and with it themselves and their married partner—by altering its value of 'total' self-giving. 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.
    • n. 32.

Paul VI, "Humanae vitae: Encyclical of Pope Paul VI on the Regulation of Birth, July 25, 1968". The Vatican., Archived from the original on March 3, 2011. Retrieved 2006-10-01.[edit]

  • This new state of things gives rise to new questions. Granted the conditions of life today and taking into account the relevance of married love to the harmony and mutual fidelity of husband and wife, would it not be right to review the moral norms in force till now, especially when it is felt that these can be observed only with the gravest difficulty, sometimes only by heroic effort?
    Moreover, if one were to apply here the so called principle of totality, could it not be accepted that the intention to have a less prolific but more rationally planned family might transform an action which renders natural processes infertile into a licit and provident control of birth? Could it not be admitted, in other words, that procreative finality applies to the totality of married life rather than to each single act? A further question is whether, because people are more conscious today of their responsibilities, the time has not come when the transmission of life should be regulated by their intelligence and will rather than through the specific rhythms of their own bodies.
    • “New Questions”, n.3
  • Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.
    Finally, careful [consideration]] should be given to the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authority who care little for the precepts of the moral law. Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone. It could well happen, therefore, that when people, either individually or in family or social life, experience the inherent difficulties of the divine law and are determined to avoid them, they may give into the hands of public authorities the power to intervene in the most personal and intimate responsibility of husband and wife.
    Consequently, unless we are willing that the responsibility of procreating life should be left to the arbitrary decision of men, we must accept that there are certain limits, beyond which it is wrong to go, to the power of man over his own body and its natural functions—limits, let it be said, which no one, whether as a private individual or as a public authority, can lawfully exceed. These limits are expressly imposed because of the reverence due to the whole human organism and its natural functions, in the light of the principles We stated earlier, and in accordance with a correct understanding of the "principle of totality" enunciated by Our predecessor Pope Pius XII.
    • “Consequences of Artificial Methods”, “Limits to Man's Power”; n.17
  • Our next appeal is to men of science. These can "considerably advance the welfare of marriage and the family and also peace of conscience, if by pooling their efforts they strive to elucidate more thoroughly the conditions favorable to a proper regulation of births." It is supremely desirable, and this was also the mind of Pius XII, that medical science should by the study of natural rhythms succeed in determining a sufficiently secure basis for the chaste limitation of offspring. In this way scientists, especially those who are Catholics, will by their research establish the truth of the Church's claim that "there can be no contradiction between two divine laws—that which governs the transmitting of life and that which governs the fostering of married love."
    • “To Scientist”, n.24

"Pro-Life Activist's Encyclopedia", American Life League, “The Birth Control Pill: Enabler of the Sexual Revolution“, EWTN[edit]

  • The historically sharp dividing line between birth control and abortion has well and truly been obliterated by the New Abortionists: The pharmaceutical companies
  • [I]t is obvious that the Pill has contributed greatly to our country's exploding divorce rate, which was about 18 percent in 1965 and now stands at about 50 percent.
  • After the Pill was introduced in the mid-1960s, fornication and 'shacking up' both almost doubled in a period of only five years. This behavior also increased steeply when abor-tion was legalized in 1973.
    People of all ages (but especially teenagers) are fornicating more than ever before. Wife-swapping clubs, sex addiction treatment organizations, hard-core pornography, and 'fantasy [sex] tours' to Far East nations have increased tremendously.
    Even the original developers of the birth control pill now acknowledge that their invention has led to widespread promiscuity. Dr. Robert Kirstner of Harvard Medical School said that "For years I thought the pill would not lead to promiscuity, but I've changed my mind. I think it probably has."
    And Dr. [w:Min-Chueh Chang| Min-Chueh Chang]], one of the co-developers of the birth control pill, has acknowledged that "[[[Young]] people] indulge in too much sexual activity ... I personally feel the pill has rather spoiled young people. It's made them more permissive."
    Dr. Alan Guttmacher, former director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, also drew a clear picture of the connection between abortion and contraception within the context of increased promiscuity; "When an abortion is easily obtainable, contraception is neither actively nor diligently used. If we had abortion on demand, there would be no reward for the woman who practiced effective contraception. Abortion on demand relieves the husband of all possible responsibility; he simply becomes a coital animal."
    Finally, psychologists Eugene Sandburg and Ralph Jacobs noted the obvious connection between contraception and abortion as birth control; "As legal abortion has become increasingly available, it has become evident that some women are now intentionally using abortion as a substitute for contraception."
    Dr. Min-Chueh's quote, above, showed that he was certainly correct in his assessment of the situation. In 1970, only 4.6 percent of all girls aged 15 had fornicated before marriage. In 1990, this rate had increased more than sevenfold to 33.1 percent. Of all unmarried girls in the 15 to 19 age bracket, 28.6 percent had fornicated in 1970. This rate had more than doubled to 61.4 percent by 1990.
  • The evolution of the birth control pill from pure contraceptive to frequent abortifacient poses important questions to pro-life activists.
    Many women (including pro-lifers) who would never even consider a surgical abortion now use low-dose birth control pills that cause them to abort on an average of once or twice every year. A large number of pro-life women use these pills, and these are usually the women who cannot seem to make the connection between contraception and abortion in their minds.
    These women and their husbands are employing a self-defense mechanism known as denial, and this eventually causes their entire pro-life philosophy to unravel. Ironically, the average pro-abortion woman has at most two or three surgical abortions during her childbearing years, while the average 'pro-life' woman on the Pill for ten years aborts at least ten times.
    Some researchers (using very conservative figures) have calculated that the birth control pill directly causes between 1.53 and 4.15 million chemical abortions per year between one and two and a half times the total number of surgical abortions committed in this country every year!

Kathleen Mary Raviele “Levonorgestrel in cases of rape: How does it work?”, Linacre Q. May, 2014; 81(2): 117–129.[edit]

Osservatore Romano, "Married Love and Contraception", (Oct. 10, 1988)[edit]

  • Some fifty years ago contraceptives were debated in terms of marital ethics. Their advocates insisted on the right of each married couple to live their sexual life as they choose, without any pressure from outside (except from those who harped on the population bomb). The context has significantly changed today. The use of contraceptives is no longer presented as a personal right of married people but, we are told, as almost a universal social duty for everyone. For if marriage is on the wane, sex is on the increase. The sexual revolution of the 1960s has been totally successful. We have achieved sexual liberation on a universal scale: "sex for everyone". Sex, of any type and with anyone, has indeed become a main commodity of our consumer society - so absorbing and yet so handily casual without any ties attached.
    Nevertheless, not everything is perfect in this new Garden of Eden. Unfortunately it turns out that sex is not quite "safe"; it is accompanied by dangers (pregnancy, disease). So, our liberated culture has to become a "safe-sex culture"; and in this context contraceptives are presented as more required than ever.
  • The practice of contraception is by its very nature a major impediment to growth in married love and married happiness.
  • Until quite recently, the argument presented by Christian [moralists]] against artificial birth-control has mainly been that the sexual act is naturally designed for procreation, and it is wrong to frustrate this design because it is wrong to interfere with man's natural functions. Many persons are not quite convinced by this argument, which does seem open to rather elementary objections. After all, we do interfere with other natural functions, for instance when we use ear-plugs or hold our nose, etc., and no one has ever argued that to do so is morally wrong. Why then should it be wrong to interfere for good reasons with the procreational aspect of marital intercourse?
  • The argument for conjugal contraception could be summarized as follows. The marriage act has two functions: a biological or procreative function, and a [spiritual]]-unitive function. However, while it is only potentially a procreative act, it is actually and in itself a love act: it truly expresses conjugal love and unites husband and wife. Now, while contraception frustrates the biological or procreative potential of the marital act, it fully respects its spiritual and unitive function; in fact it facilitates it by removing tensions or fears capable of impairing the expression of love in married intercourse. In other words - this position claims - while contraception nullifies the procreative aspect of marital intercourse, it leaves its unitive aspect intact.
  • Contraceptive intercourse is an exercise in meaninglessness. It could perhaps be compared to going through the actions of singing without letting any sound of mu-sic pass one's lips.
    Love-duets used to be more popular on the movies than they are nowadays. Two lovers who, together and in opera-style, express their mutual love in song. How absurd if they were to sing silent duets: going through the motions of singing, but not allowing their vocal chords to produce an intelligible sound: just meaningless reverberations...; a hurry or a flurry of movement signifying nothing. Contraceptive intercourse is very much like that. Contraceptive spouses involve each other in bodily movements, but their "body language" is not truly human. They refuse to let their bodies communicate sexually and intelligibly with one another. They go through the motions of a love-song; but there is no song.
  • Contraception is in fact not just an action without meaning; it is an action that contradicts the essential meaning which true conjugal intercourse should have as signifying total and unconditional self-donation. Instead of accepting each other totally, contraceptive spouses reject each other in part, because fertility is part of each one of them. They reject part of their mutual love - its power to be fruitful.
  • In [true]] marital union, husband and wife are meant to experience the vibration of human vitality in its very source. In the case of contraceptive "union", the spouses experience sensation, but it is drained of real vitality.
    The anti-life effect of contraception does not stop at the "No" which it addresses to the possible fruit oflove. It tends to take the very life out of love itself. Within the hard logic of contraception, anti-life becomes anti-love. Its devitalizing effect devastates love, threatening it with early ageing and premature death.
  • It islogical that their love-making be troubled by a sense of falseness or hollowness, for they are attempting to found the uniqueness of the spousal relationship on an act of pleasure that tends ultimately to close each one of them sterilely in on himself or herself, and they are refusing to found that relationship on the truly unique conjugal dimension of loving co-creativity which is capable, in its vitality, of opening each of them out not merely to one another but to the whole of life and creation.
  • In the body language of intercourse, each spouse utters a word of love that is both a "self-expression" - an image of each one's self - as well as an expression of his or her longing for the other. These two words of love meet, and are fused in one. And, if this new unified word of love takes on flesh, God shapes it into a person - the child: the incarnation of the husband's and wife's sexual knowledge of one another and sexual love for one another.
    In contraception, the spouses will not let the word - which their sexuality longs to utter - take flesh. They will not even truly speak the word to each other. They remain humanly impotent in the face of love; sexually dumb and carnally speechless before one another.
    Sexual love is a love of the whole male or female person, body and spirit. Love is falsified if body and spirit do not say the same thing. This is what happens in contraception. The bodily act speaks of a presence of love or of a degree of love that is denied by the spirit. The body says, "I love you totally", whereas the spirit says, "I love you reservedly". The body says, "I seek you"; the spirit says, "I will not accept you, not all of you".
    Contraceptive intercourse falls below mere pantomime. It is disfigured body-language; it expresses a rejection of the other. By it, each says: "I do not want to know you as my husband or my wife; I am not prepared to recognize you as my spouse. I want something from you, but not your sexuality; and if I have something to give to you, something I will let you take, it is not my sexuality".
    This reflection enables us to develop a point we touched on earlier. The negation that a contraceptive couple are involved in is not directed only toward children, or only toward life, or only toward the world. They address a negation directly toward one another. "I prefer a sterile you", is equivalent to saying, "I don't want all you offer me. I have calculated the measure of my love, and it is not big enough for that; it is not able to take all of you. I want a 'you' cut down to the size of my love..." The fact that both spouses may concur in accepting a cut-rate version of each other does not save their love or their lives - or their possibilities of happiness - from the effects of such radical human and sexual devaluation.
  • Normal conjugal intercourse fully asserts masculinity and femininity. The man asserts himself as man and husband, and the woman equally asserts herself as woman and wife. In contraceptive intercourse, only a maimed sexuality is asserted. In the truest sense sexuality is not asserted at all. Contraception represents such a refusal to let oneself be [known]] that it simply is not real carnal knowledge. A deep human truth underlies the theological and juridic principle that contraceptive sex does not consummate marriage.
    Contraceptive intercourse, then, is not real sexual intercourse at all. By it the spouses simply do not become "one flesh" (Gen 2: 24). That is why the disjunctives offered by this whole matter are insufficiently expressed by saying that if intercourse is contraceptive, then it is merely hedonistic. This may or may not be true. What is true - at a much deeper level - is that if intercourse is contraceptive, then it is not sexual. In contraception there is an "intercourse" of sensation, but no real sexual knowledge or sexual love, no true sexual revelation of self or sexual communication of self or sexual gift of self. The choice of contraception is in fact the rejection of sexuality. The warping of the sexual instinct from which modern society seems to suffer is not so much an excess of sex, as a lack of true human sexuality.
  • True conjugal intercourse unites. Contraception separates, and the separation works right along the line. It not only separates sex from procreation, it also separates sex from love. It separates pleasure from meaning, and body from mind. Ultimately and surely, it separates wife from husband and husband from wife.
    Contraceptive couples who stop to reflect can sense that their marriage is troubled by some deep malaise. The alienations they are experiencing are a sign as well as a consequence of the grave violation of the moral order involved in contraception. Only a resolute effort to break with contraceptive practices can heal the sickness affecting their married life. This is why the teaching of Humanae vitae, as well as subsequent magisterium on the matter, far from being a blind adherence to an outdated posture, represent a totally clear-sighted defence of the innate dignity and true meaning of human and spousal sexuality.
  • Our argument so far is that contraceptive marital sex does not achieve any true per-sonalist end. It does not bring about self-fulfillment in marriage, but rather pre-vents and frustrates it. But - one may still ask - does it follow that open-to-life marital sex alone leads to the self-fulfillment of the spouses? I think it does; and the reason lies in the very nature of love. Love is creative. God's love (if we may put it this way) "drove" Him to create. Man's love, made in the image of God's, is also meant to create. If it deliberately does not do so, it frustrates itself.
  • [P]rocreative intercourse fulfills because it expresses the human person's desire for self-perpetuation. It expresses it and does not contradict it, as contraception does. It is only on life-wishes, not on death-wishes, that love can thrive. When a normal married couple have a child, they pass their child joyfully to each other. If their child dies, there is no joy, there are tears, as they pass its dead body to one another. Spouses should weep over a contraceptive act: a barren, desolate act which rejects the life that is meant to keep love alive, and would kill the life their love naturally seeks to give origin to. There may be physical satisfaction, but there can be no joy in passing dead seed; or in passing living seed only to kill it.
  • If continuous and growing sexual frustration is a main consequence of marital contraception, this is also because the contraceptive mentality deprives the very strength of the sexual urge of its real meaning and purpose, and then tries to find full sexual experience and satisfaction in what is basically little more than a physical release.

Norman St. John-Stevas, “Life, Death and the Law: Law and Christian Morals in England and the United States”, (2002), Ch.2[edit]

  • Karl Barth is another contemporary theologian who has discussed contraception at rather greater length. Having conceded that family planning is generally accepted by theologians as desirable, he goes on to discuss the legitimacy of the means that may be employed. Abstinence he characterizes as an “heroic” course, which is not wrong in itself but may be psychologically dangerous. The safe period might seem the ideal expedient, but the anxiety caused by its unreliability as well as its check on the spontaneous nature of sexual expression are grave objections to its use. ‘’Coitus interruptus’’ is fraught with psychological dangers and its practice may well imperil marital union. There remains the last alternative of contraception, the use of mechanical devices, which are not evil in themselves. If, says Dr Barth, human interference with the natural act of ‘’coitus’’ is regarded as wrong in itself, then all four methods must be rejected without distinction. If, on the other hand, family limitation is recognized as desirable, then it should be recognized that all the methods are open to some objection, and this is the price to be paid for an extension of freedom. In making the choice between the various methods certain considerations apply. The choice must be made in faith and with a free conscience, and it must be a joint decision of husband and wife taking into account the significance of their joint life together and the whole purpose of the matrimonial union. These Protestant approaches are similar in that they offer no binding principle which can be universally applied, but rather that in certain circumstances the informed Christian conscience can conclude that contraception islawful without the incurring of sin.
    • pp.78-79
  • Although Protestant opinion was responsible for the passing of the Comstock law and its State derivatives, the profound changes which have taken place in its assessment of birth control now render it hostile to such legisla-tion. Those who accept contraception as a positive good could hardly favour its theoretical outlawing. The same is true of those who favour its use in exceptional circumstances only, and those who leave the whole matter to be decided by the individual conscience. To legislate on the matter would be to substitute the collective moral assessment of the community for that of the individual. In Connecticut and Massachusetts, the Protestant churches have taken a leading part in seeking to repeal or amend the legislation passed by their predecessors. This zeal may not have been totally disinterested since the laws in question are now by an historical paradox enthusiastically supported by the Roman Catholic community, and the movement for repeal is certainly influenced by dislike of Catholic power, as well as by a less reasonable anti-Catholicism. Protestants and others might well be satisfied by the lifting of the ban on contraceptive advice given for medical reasons, and although this limitation has become illogical with the theological acceptance of contraception as part of married life, it might well be acceptable since in practice it means that married couples who wish to obtain contraceptives may do so.
    • ”Anglican and Protestant Opinion and the Law”, pp.81-82

“How the Catholic Church came to oppose birth control”, The Conversation, (July 9, 2018)[edit]

Alfonso Card. López Trujillo, Francisco Gil Hellín; “PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR THE FAMILY”, "Vademecum for confessors concerning some aspects of the morality of the conjugal life".[edit]

  • When the penitent shows a willingness to accept the moral teaching, especially in the case of one who habitually frequents the sacrament and demonstrates trust with regard to the spiritual help it offers, it is good to instill confidence in divine Providence and be supportive, in order to help the penitent to examine himself honestly before God. For this purpose it will be necessary to verify the solidity of the motives inducing a limitation of fatherhood or motherhood, and the liceity of the methods chosen to distance or avoid a new birth.
    Special difficulties are presented by cases of cooperation in the sin of a spouse who voluntarily renders the unitive act infecund. In the first place, it is necessary to distinguish cooperation in the proper sense, from violence or unjust imposition on the part of one of the spouses, which the other spouse in fact cannot resist. This cooperation can be licit when the three following conditions are jointly met:
    1. when the action of the cooperating spouse is not already illicit in itself; 2. when proportionally grave reasons exist for cooperating in the sin of the other spouse; 3. when one is seeking to help the other spouse to desist from such conduct (patiently, with prayer, charity and dialogue; although not necessarily in that moment, nor on every single occasion).
    Furthermore, it is necessary to carefully evaluate the question of cooperation in evil when recourse is made to means which can have an abortifacient effect.
    • The Teaching of the Church on Responsible Procreation

Rich Vincent (2005). "Responsible Family Planning: The Legitimacy of Contraceptive Use for Christian Couples". TheoCenTric. Archived from the original on 2006-11-30. Retrieved 2006-10-01.[edit]

  • All methods involve some unnatural element intruding into the course of marital union. What is natural about imprisoning “couples in a casuistry of methods, and forc[ing] them to discover tricks in order to dodge and escape the letter of the official doctrine”? Isn’t it obvious that the distinction between “natural” and “artificial” almost disappears, becoming very imprecise and blurred? “The act that becomes ‘safe’ by means of a computation of days or by mastery of the will is in every instance not natural, unless one plays with words.” Therefore, both practitioners of “natural family planning” and users of contraception are engaged in “planned procedures to avoid pregnancy that require communication between husband and wife.”

Daniel K. Williams, “Defenders of the Unborn: The Pro Life Movement Before Roe v. Wade”, (2016)[edit]

  • With the exception of some Protestant fundamentalists, Catholics stood almost alone in their refusal to countenance artificial birth control and sterilization under any circumstances. While a sizeable minority of Catholics (a minority that included 30 percent of married, white Catholic women of childbearing age, according to a 1955 survey) quietly violated official Catholic teaching by using forbidden means of birth control and then abstaining from communion until they received absolution for their "sin" from a priest, the majority of Catholics continued to follow their church's teaching on this issue, and some launched public efforts to oppose the rapid liberalization of public attitudes toward contraception and sterilization.
    They believed that birth control was equally wrong for both Catholics and non-Catholics, because the use of contraception not only violated nearly two thousand years of Church teaching but was also an offense against natural law which should have been accessible to anyone-whether or not they were Catholic-by reason alone. In their view, abortion, contraception, and sterilization were violations of the same natural law principles, so they were dismayed when Protestants, who for the most part still opposed abortion, nevertheless rejected natural law arguments against contraception and sterilization, thus jettisoning the philosophical principles on which, for Catholics, opposition to abortion rested. Protestants saw the matter differently of course. Though nineteenth-century Protestants had often conflated contraception and abortion, Protestants of the mid-twentieth century separated the two issues, approving of one as a beneficial social good while condemning the other as the taking of a human life that should be performed only in extreme circumstances. But Catholics were convinced that a compromise on contraception would inevitably lead to an acceptance of abortion, and they became increasingly vocal in their defense of the natural law principles that condemned both practices. Indeed, in their successful campaign against a referendum to legalize birth control in Massachusetts in 1948, they claimed that birth control was "like abortion" and against "God's law."
    • p. 15.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]