Biblical support for Church's teaching against contraception?


#1

I am discerning marriage to a non-Catholic and need some help defending the Church’s teaching against contraception. We agree on most issues, however, he is struggling with the idea of not using birth control if/when we are married. I have explained natural family planning to him (in my admittedly limited knowledge of it) but we need to educate ourselves more on it.

He is willing to accept that contraception/birth control is sinful if it can be proven Biblically because he does not subscribe to a “religion” that tells him what to believe (yes, I see the huge flaws in this but it’s where he’s at in his faith journey). He does recognize abortion as sinful, but is not convinced that contraception is wrong if we aren’t ready for kids in the marriage.

Where can I point to in the Bible that defends this teaching clearly?

Thank you!!!


#2

I suggest you spend a little time with this. Not all sins are specifically spelled out in the bible, because it wasn’t necessary.

catholic.com/tracts/birth-control


#3

Genesis 38

8
d Then Judah said to Onan, “Have intercourse with your brother’s wife, in fulfillment of your duty as brother-in-law, and thus preserve your brother’s line.”*
9
Onan, however, knew that the offspring would not be his; so whenever he had intercourse with his brother’s wife, he wasted his seed on the ground, to avoid giving offspring to his brother.
10
What he did greatly offended the LORD, and the LORD took his life too.


#4

Any New Testament, NT, references?


#5

Why does he accept that abortion is sinful? I don’t think abortion is referred to in the New Testament. Does he think that drunk driving is okay because the bible doesn’t forbid it?


#6

I share your point (and have my own frustration about the logical inconsistency of his disagreement on the issue).

I think the Genesis 38/Onan reference will help if I can provide evidence that its interpretation is sound. I think the link to the tract on birth control that SMOM provided will help support that:

“The biblical penalty for not giving your brother’s widow children was public humiliation, not death (Deut. 25:7–10). But Onan received death as punishment for his crime. This means his crime was more than simply not fulfilling the duty of a brother-in-law. He lost his life because he violated natural law, as Jewish and Christian commentators have always understood. For this reason, certain forms of contraception have historically been known as “Onanism,” after the man who practiced it, just as homosexuality has historically been known as “Sodomy,” after the men of Sodom, who practiced that vice (cf. Gen. 19).”


#7

The book “The Bible and Birth Control” by Charles Provan is worth reading. He is not a Catholic.


#8

How about explaining to him that regardless of what he does or doesn’t find in the Bible, that it is important to you to not use artificial birth control? Would that carry any weight with him?


#9

dilleachta
This may also assist:
**“In the fourth century St. Augustine wrote, “Relations with one’s wife when conception is deliberately prevented are as unlawful and impure as the conduct of Onan who was slain.” **St. Thomas Aquinas, in the thirteenth century, taught clearly the constant doctrine of the Christian religion that birth-control is a grave sin. He writes, “Next to murder, by which an actually existent human being is destroyed, we rank this sin by which the generation of a human being is prevented.” *Contra Gent., *Bk. III., c. 122]. It is not a new law by any means.”
radioreplies.info/radio-r…ol-1.php?t=111

rtforum.org/lt/lt67.html
“That Onan’s unnatural act as such is condemned as sinful in Gen. 38: 9-10 was an interpretation held by the Fathers and Doctors of the Catholic Church, by the Protestant Reformers, and by nearly all celibate and married theologians of all Christian denominations until the early years of this century, when some exegetes began to approach the text with preconceptions deriving from the sexual decadence of modern Western culture and its exaggerated concern for ‘over-population.’ ” [Pope Pius XI, *Encyclical on Christian Marriage, Casti Connubii (31 December 1930)].

The revered Fr John A Hardon, S.J. in* Modern Catholic Dictionary*:
CONTRACEPTION. Deliberate interference with marital intercourse in order to prevent conception. It is the performance of the marriage act with the positive frustration of conception. Also called conjugal onanism, from the sin of Onan, referred to in the Bible (Genesis 38:8-10);
therealpresence.org/cgi-bin/getdefinition.pl
[My emphases].


#10

Some understand the prohibition in Galatians 5:20 against *sorcery *or *witchcraft *(Greek: pharmakeia, use of drugs, medicines, potions, or spells; poisoning, witchcraft; remedy, cure) as a prohibition that includes using contraceptive pharmaceuticals.


#11

I was just re-reading “Rome Sweet Home,” by Scott and Kimberly Hahn. Both were scripture only Presbyterians. This time around, I was struck by the fact that, while in a Protestant seminary, Kimberly selected contraception as her research topic. I can’t repeat here all the arguments that she laid out against it from a biblical basis, but it was very convincing. It convinced many of the students in her class, as well as her husband. This was long before she was convinced that the Catholic Church was right about anything else. If you can get a copy of the book, I suggest reading that chapter.


#12

He knows it’s non-negotiable with me- which is a point of concern in our discernment of marriage. I think talking about the reasoning behind the belief is helping his perception of the issue though. Also, statistically, natural family planning is up to 99% effective when followed diligently, oral contraception is 91%-99% effective. So I brought that up to him as well.

, Casti Connubii (31 December 1930)].

The revered Fr John A Hardon, S.J. in* Modern Catholic Dictionary*:
CONTRACEPTION. Deliberate interference with marital intercourse in order to prevent conception. It is the performance of the marriage act with the positive frustration of conception. Also called conjugal onanism, from the sin of Onan, referred to in the Bible (Genesis 38:8-10);
therealpresence.org/cgi-bin/getdefinition.pl
[My emphases].

The Genesis reference will probably be my strongest resource with him since he does not recognize/accept the teachings of the Church as valid (unfortunately).

Interesting, I haven’t heard that before.

Great suggestion! I have read that book but I admit I skipped over a lot of Kimberly’s portion. I will go back and look at that chapter!


#13

dilleachta #1
he does not subscribe to a “religion” that tells him what to believe
Where can I point to in the Bible that defends this teaching clearly?

  1. To believe in the Bible is to believe in Christ.
  2. To believe in Christ is to believe what He teaches.
  3. What Christ teaches is found in the Bible.
  4. **Christ teaches in the Bible: **
    “You are Peter and on this rock I will build MY Church." (Mt 16:18)
    “The gates of hell will not prevail against it.”(Mt 16:18)
    “I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of heaven." ( Mt 16:19)
    “Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven.” (Mt 16:19) [Later, also to the Twelve]. [My emphasis]

**Sole authority: **
“Strengthen your brethren.” (Lk 22:32)
“Feed My sheep.”(Jn 21:17).
5) Christ never wrote anything of this but His Catholic Church, established by Him collected, from among very many writings a chosen set which She declared, through the Popes succeeding His chosen St Peter, to be the Word of God.
6) So the Bible tells us clearly whom to believe and that Christ gave us His Church with St Peter leading His Apostles – with Christ assuring them and us “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and behold, I am with you all days, even unto the consummation of the world.”

If he is to believe the Bible against contraception, what about the Christ, His Church, and His Presence in, with and through Her – so defended in the Bible?


#14

[quote=“Mark 10:6-8”]“But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh.
[/quote]

One flesh. Not two fleshes separated by a latex (or chemical) barrier.


#15

From Catholic Register: The earliest reference to contraception and abortion is in the Didache, a document from the second half of the first century or early second century. Didache reads: “You shall not practice birth control, you shall not murder a child by abortion, nor kill what is begotten” (2).

Read more: ncregister.com/daily-news/abortion-contraception-and-the-church-fathers/#ixzz45wiRXMF9


#16

Pre-cana should cover this pretty thouroughly


#17

Thanks so much for the info!

I still cannot fathom that using ABC is a mortal sin. :shrug:


#18

Kozlosap #17
Thanks so much for the info!
I still cannot fathom that using ABC is a mortal sin.

The People of God have to be guided by the sacred teaching authority (Magisterium), and obey it – to possess the sensus fidei. As Msgr George A Kelly, explains: “The sensus fidei of the Catholic Church calls for Catholics to be trained ‘to think with the mind of the Church’…” *Battle for the American Church (Revisited), *Ignatius, 1995, p 33].

**Answer by Fr.Stephen F. Torraco on June 19, 2006 (EWTN): **
“If you want an objective reason as to why contraception is a serious evil and NFP is not only morally justifiable but also praiseworthy, that objective reason is this: with contraception, there is the deliberate rupture of the intimate link between the unitive and procreative meanings of the marital act. With NFP, there is no such rupture.

“The argument to which you refer (the results are the same with NFP and contraception) is purely utilitarian and does not take into consideration the entire human act. Furthermore, as I have pointed out several times, the condoning of contraception quite logically is also the condoning of genital activity with anyone or anything, as well as of in vitro fertilization and cloning. The Church’s teaching on contraception does not at all depend on faith. It is a clear and rational defense of the very essence of civilization.”

In reality some make up their own immorality to declare independence from the Magisterium, with the logical result that each one poses as pope, and “represents the crux of the confusion in the minds of believers about the meaning of their religion in the modern world.” Fr James V Schall, S.J., concludes: “The result of no real orthodoxy is skepticism and usually counter-orthodoxy.” Distinctiveness of Christianity, Ignatius Press, p 176].


#19

What is worth noting is that all Christian denominations taught that contraception was a sin until the 1930’s and that more and more Protestants are returning to this belief.


#20

Hello Susanne, this is one of the points I have brought up to my fiance as well. He said that he looked into this but could not find any official reference to back up the claim that prior to the 1930s Christians all agreed that contraception was sinful. Do you or anyone else happen to know a source that demonstrates this understanding?


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.