Catholic Response to Protestant Argument Against Anti-Contraception Position

Firstly, I tried some keyword searches on the forums to find an comprehensive argument against contraception, but I was specifically looking for something mostly from Scripture, as I intend to present an argument against contraception to Protestants. I didn’t find anything very quickly regarding these specific counterpoints, so I started this thread.

I myself and basically convinced of the Catholic position that contraception is wrong. And I was looking for some Protestant sources in agreement with this. However, I came across this article, and I was curious for a Catholic rebuttal of the counterpoints here.

*]Onan was not killed for spilling his semen, but for adultery
*]Other mentions of spilled seed or failure to fertilize are not condemned because of that reason

Here is the article in question

If this belongs in another board, I apologize, this seemed like the best one.

You might find these helpful:

The Sin of Onan Revisited by Fr. Brian Harrison

Contraception and Chastity by Elizabeth Anscombe

How do they figure that Onan was an adulterer? Wasn’t he following the Jewish custom and took his deceased brother’s wife as his own to give her children…

I believe Scott Hahn and his wife came to the conclusion artificial contraception was wrong while they were still Protestant. Try this:

It makes sense to me that you are not a Catholic because the teaching that contraception is wrong is a teaching of the Catholic Church.

However, Catholic or not, my advice is for you to read “Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology Of The Body” by Pope John Paul II.

You may or may not agree with his arguments about contraception but you will have a better understanding of the reasoning behind the Church’s position.

This is an easier book to read.
"Theology of the Body in Simple Language Paperback – April 11, 2009
by Philokalia Books (Adapter), Pope John Paul II (Author)

Just to be clear, it is only the Catholic Church that still teaches this particular truth. All other Christian communities also held this belief until the Anglican church allowed it in limited circumstances in 1930. The following 40 years saw the vast majority of non-Catholic’s abandoning this perennial teaching. So it has been a “Catholic only teaching” for the past 50 or 60 years. 100 years ago it was a Christian teaching.

billson555 #1
Onan was not killed for spilling his semen, but for adultery.
I was curious for a Catholic rebuttal of the counterpoints here.

"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."…ol-1.php?t=111
“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);
[My emphases].

HelenRose, I think you may have misunderstood a bit. I am currently not Catholic, but am actually in the process of seeking confirmation. I didn’t mention that, as it wasn’t immediately relevant.

I DO agree with the Catholic Church that contraception is wrong. And thank you for your resources :slight_smile:

Adultery does not come into the picture. The usual claim of those who favour contraception is that Onan was punished by God for failing to act in accordance with the law of the time. However, the Bible says Onan was punished for “what he did” rather than for what he didn’t do. What he did - the positive act - was to frustrate the procreative nature of marital relations. Contraception.

Also of note is that the only punishment mentioned in the Bible for failing to follow that law (failing to act to provide a child for a brother’s widow) was a public humiliation. In the case of Onan, God responded a good deal more severely - punished him for “the thing he did”.

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