Contraception and Communion

It is often said that many Catholics practice artificial contraception while having no qualms about continuing to receive communion. I have no way of knowing whether or to what extent such reports may be true. But this writer puts the matter in a different perspective.

Contraception and Communion

Interesting. I’ve never heard that one before.

I think the fact that some Catholics pick and chose teachings to follow or not to follow has to do with not knowing God/Jesus intimately enough to trust Him. I guess the author is presenting it here as spiritual contraception. It’s thought provoking but, to me, it implies that someone is unable to receive grace through the Eucharist if they break Church rules, like using ABC.

It’s a fallacy to argue that the use of ABC not only blocks conception, but also prevents enough grace from entering a person’s life that it renders them incapable of understanding why other church teachings are wrong.

Thomas Aquinas said that, while there is an infinite amount of grace in the sacraments, that does not mean that one receives an infinite amount of grace. The amount of grace one receives depends upon one’s preparation, disposition, attention, and thanksgiving. One essential disposition that should be present in both marriage and communion is openness, self-surrender. It is an act of faith in the spouse.

The author keeps mixing ‘spousal consent on ABC’ with, “an act of faith in the spouse.” I don’t like how the author uses what he probably thinks are clever plays on words and ideas in order to express his frustration with Catholics. I think he got to far out there.

I don’t think the author is saying it cuts you off from all spiritual graces possible to the sacrament, but to contracept is to hold back oneself from full commitment to Christ’s teaching. Christ is ready to fully give himself, but the person who contracepts (or otherwise knowingly continues acting against Church teaching) is not wholely giving himself or herself to Christ. The parallel works in a sense. Even Saint Paul likened the union of Christ and the Church to spousal love and marriage.

I would say that if you are contracepting you are doing something the Church states as bad, therefore you are acting a sin. If you are contracepting deliberately it is a sin. And if you are acting a sin knowingly you shouldn’t go to communion, like with any other sin of that type.

I don’t have a problem in the author saying that the same way contracepting spouses are not loving themselves completely (the way God wants), they are halting the graces that the Eucharist can give them (The Eucharist needs the persons free will toward Him “to work”, as we need to “say yes” too). I would say that getting the Body of Christ in a state of sin (whatever that would be), is something bad even, because that’s why you need confession. Taking the Eucharist is an act of faith, and you are expressing solemnity to the divinity, but this can’t be just be about “getting up and taking it” (meaning any way we want), it must be done in a certain way (to be correct), we need to be “clean” to act that solemnity with sincerity. (But of course, this needs to be known, in the sense that if one doesn’t know he is doing wrong, the gravity of the problem is not the same)

Now the difficulty of situations, our weaknesses, and all that is another problem, I would think that the author was just stating that, “something happens” when we “don’t understand” the situation we can be in, as there is a consequence. Referring that our spirituality (acting the faith through love and therefore getting closer to God) will not grow. And maybe even, make us move away from God.

I believe one thing that the author states is that love gives life. Life meaning two things that maybe different, they are similar. Life as in children, and life, as in the ability to act with zeal, with “life”, by His strength in us, towards God therefore acting His way, His commandments and loving truly. This “life”, while not abiding to the Churchs teachings will not go forward (the way it should), in any of the two circumstances. Well that’s how I got it.

Wesrock, I concur with you too, and will add the Ephesians scripture:
“25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her 26 to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, 27 that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 So (also) husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave (his) father and (his) mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church. 33 In any case, each one of you should love his wife as himself, and the wife should respect her husband.” Ephesians 5, 25-33

“September 19, [1937]. Today, the Lord told me, My daughter, write that it pains Me very much when religious souls receive the Sacrament of Love merely out of habit, as if they did not distinguish this food. I find neither faith nor love in their hearts. I go to such souls with great reluctance. It would be better if they did not receive Me.”
(Saint Faustina’s Diary 1288) Posted 10/23/16 Divine Mercy

From the article:

“Reception of the Eucharist—communion—and marital relations are both meant to be life-giving acts, fruitful acts. Both involve great risks, and, as such, require great faith in the spouse. In both, there is to be a communion of flesh.”

Comparing the marital union between husband and wife to the union of Christ with his bride, the Church, has long been a theme in Catholic theology. [It was also a theme in the religious Puritans of New England, who viewed marital love as a prefigurement of the union with Christ to be experienced in heaven.] So I can well accept the writer’s use of this theme.

It is Catholic teaching, of course, that contraception is a grave matter, and that if engaged in with full knowledge and consent, cuts one off from sanctifying grace.

But teaching about this has been so lacking for so long, I wonder to what extent full knowledge and consent are present. The teaching needs to be reintroduced and emphasized.

Still, the act itself remains disordered, and as such, has many adverse effects on families and societies.

Mary Eberstadt outlined those in a lengthier article, “The Vindication of Humanae Vitae".

Jim; as I think you know, I see this very differently. IF all followed the teachings then grand. BUT time and again I hear the same thing… the men will not show any restraint. Do we really expect women to go back to a child every year until their bodies fail them? 18, 20 children?

I don’t expect anyone to have a child every year or to have 18 to 20 children. That is not the teaching of Humanae Vitae. But the inception of a contraceptive culture has already had it’s own disastrous effects on society. It enabled fornication, adultery, same sex marriage, abortion, fatherless children, motherless children, destruction of families and society. Mary Eberstadt’s article provides more details, as does her book “Adam and Eve After the Pill.”

WHY do you always see only the bad side? These things have always been there; and adding abortion to the list! Makes no sense.

And women always had access to contraception of some kind… sponges and vinegar was one old trick

Same sex marriage? Really?

I am speaking of families, married Catholic families. And i am in Ireland where even in living memory there were these vast families and women worn out …

Now they use contraception and the children are the better for it.

This is the reality my dear. Believe me. And surely there has to be some humanity here.

I have a cousin and her husband who welcomed 16 children into the world, none are twins. I am Godmother to #12 whom she said would be the last. God blessed her with 4 more after that. All children were loved and nurtured and raised in the Catholic church. Meals had to go a long way-such as jambalaya, gumbo, beans and rice, spaghetti, and boiled or fried catch-of-the-day, chicken on Sunday. God provided work for her husband, food, shelter, and clothing-some hand-me-downs. Did He not feed 5,000? The children learned to share. They were not envious or jealous, but happy with what they had and when one succeeded. I’m not saying everyone should have lots of children. I would have to say after 4-5, I would go with NFP. Not altogether foolproof, and if God sent another blessing, he/she would surely be welcomed. No reason for contraceptives except medical necessity such as temporarily for endometriosis or other conditions. Then I could still go to Holy Communion. I’m not always right and appreciate any correction.

This is a very dark view of men and the manner of their love. :frowning:

When did, in your opinion, the contraceptive culture begin?

No .A realistic one where I live, my friend . Darkness is only where we do not shine the light of truth and reality … facing truth brings freedom. Compassion follows

I’m sorry to hear this. Are you referring to a city, or the particular milieu in which you have lived? I hope you personally have not been treated in this way.

  1. That was the year that the Lambeth Conference of the Anglican church first approved of contraception in limited circumstances. Before that, every Protestant denomination had the same teaching on contraception as did the Catholic Church. After that, the newly permissive change in teaching spread to other Protestant denominations and enabled the sexual revolution. Once sex was separated from procreation, anything was permitted, up to same sex marriage and beyond, and abortion served as backup birth control.

Putting your two posts together you must see how the following question arises:

so there was no fornication, adultery, same sex relationships, abortion, orphans, destroyed families nor societies prior to 1930?

I get the argument. But it’s taken too far here. And, the author is mixing well known ideas (that you’ve pointed out) with nonexistent ideas hoping that no one will notice.

There is no comparison made of a consensual agreement within a marriage to anything. There are only comparisons of the trust/sacrificial relationship between a husband and wife. In most marriages, contraception is consentual between spouses. There is no issue of a lack of trust in the spouse.

Drawing a causation from contraception to an individuals support of gay marriage and abortion is a bridge too far.

I don’t even know how to broach the subject of NFP in the atmosphere of “trust in God” that the author creates.

There was fornication and adultery before 1930. But it was less common, less accepted, never taken as a normal activity. Remember, all of Christianity had the same teaching on contraception as the Catholic Church: it was morally wrong. Every Catholic parish, every Protestant church, taught this. Protestant ministers were expected, (even if the expectation were unspoken) to have large families.

Women were reluctant to give in to extramarital or non-marital sex, because it might result in pregnancy. The woman might have to go someplace where she was unknown for the pregnancy and delivery. The man would be expected to be financially responsible for the child and probably the mother as well. Popular romantic fiction contained stories of love, courtship, and marriage, in that order. (No sex since that came after marriage.)

Widespread acceptance of contraception broke the link between sex and marriage, and the link between marriage and children. Extramarital sex became more common, and more accepted. Children became objects to be acquired, or not, on our schedule. And since contraception often failed, abortion was required as a backup. With marriage no longer viewed as a prerequisite for children, unwed pregnancy increased, resulting in fatherless families, a harbinger of poverty. If there was no connection between sex, marriage, and children, same sex marriage became thinkible.

But no need for me to go through all the details. The sexual revolution works itself out in socially destructive ways. Mary Eberstadt gives all the details in her book “Adam and Eve After the Pill.”

Yes, it may be that contraception is consensual between husband and wife. It means that they are willing to give themselves to each other, but not all of themselves. “We will give ourselves totally to each other, taking the risk of full commitment, but only if we can be sure that nothing will come of it.”

There used to be a paragraph in the old wedding ritual wherein the priest recited,

“ This union, then, is most serious, because it will bind you together for life in a relationship so close and so intimate, that it will profoundly influence your whole future. That future, with its hopes and disappointments, its successes and its failures, its pleasures and its pains, its joys and its sorrows, is hidden from your eyes. You know that these elements are mingled in every life, and are to be expected in your own. And so not knowing what is before you, you take each other for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death. . . . It is a beautiful tribute to your undoubted faith in each other, that recognizing their full import, you are, nevertheless, so willing and ready to pronounce them.”

The couple, the words imply, not knowing what the future holds for them, is willing to join together, holding nothing back. But contraception does hold something back.

Contraception will often be mutually preferred, and reflects no loss of trust in the other - but rather a commonly shared anxiety about future circumstances, deemed best avoided.

The quote from the wedding you provide - and its reference to “faith in each other” seems to stand without reading in an interpretation connected with contraception. I suspect the quote simply assumes that the coming of children “will happen” (like heath, sickness, joy, etc) and thus you accept that unknown future. It’s silent on whether you can influence your future.

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