Contraception help


Hi everybody,

I’m having a lot of trouble understanding the church’s opposition to contraception. My wife and I want to have kids, but we don’t want to have so many kids that we can’t afford to provide, say, a college education (I’m not talking about Harvard or anything, but even state schools are crazy expensive); or to spend a certain amount of time with each of the li’l guys.

How can that be a mortal sin?

Thanks in advance!


The Catholic Faith does not say that you have to have as many children as possible. NFP is as or more effective then ABC at preventing pregnancy, but it also makes adultery less likely and is said to improve the Marriage relationship…

It is a selection of family over materialism. College is not a necessary part of family life. I know many doctors, lawyers, engineers, who’s families had next to nothing and they worked their way through school, and are better for it.


You should probably consult the Catechism regarding this topic. It specifically states that the Catholic Faith does not require you to have as many children as humanly possible. It encourages responsible parenthood which indicates that a married couple must examine their financial, mental, and physical wellbeing when it comes to bearing children.

NFP is a moral and healthy alternative to Artificial Birth Control. My fiance and I are currently taking an NFP class and we are amazed by it’s scientific reasoning and accuracy.


The power to participate in the creation of an eternal, new human life is an awesome power. If we believe that life is sacred, that we must also hold that utilizing those holy functions that create life purely for our pleasure, and in a method closed to the creation of the new human life (the very purpose of those actions) is wrong. For it is a perversion of the blessing we were given, and is a profound sign of a lack of faith that God will provide and be there for you.

This was a universal Christian principle until the 1930s. Calvin said that contraception was a graver sin that murder, because it would seek – not only to kill – but to deny even life to the not-yet-created child. Luther said it was a form of sodomy. It has also been compared to a form of self-mutilation.


Hmm. That is interesting. Thanks!

As for NFP – does anyone know of any non-Catholic studies on it? No offense, but it always seems that the people I know who claim NFP is foolproof and super-scientific also have a dozen kids. :wink:


Taking Charge of Your Fertility (a book) offers a secular perspective in favor of NFP. Please note, though, that this system allows the use of condoms during fertile times, which is not in line with Catholic teaching.

Regarding NFP-using couples who have more children than average, don’t assume it is because the method “failed” them. I bet if you asked, you would discover most of the children were planned. The thing is, large families who use NFP are a demonstration that the method has NOT failed them; it has fostered in them the openness to life that they promised one another and God on their wedding day. All those little and little-grown-big blessings bring greater joy to their lives, and might not have come into existence if the parents had selfishly decided to contracept.


NFP can be used both to avoid Pregnancy and to achieve it more quickly so a couple with several children may well have been using it for the latter purpose :thumbsup:.


This is an article in Archives of Family Medicine. I am a medical student and I also needed more proof then just one person saying it works (esp faced with so many that said it doesn’t). This article is about Creighton model. Dr. Hilgers also did a study but you would have to go to a scientific library to get a copy.

**Results ** At 12 months, the following net pregnancy probabilities were found per 100 couples: method-related pregnancies, 0.14; pregnancies caused by user and/or teacher error, 2.72; pregnancies caused by achieving-related behavior (genital contact during a time known to be fertile), 12.84; unresolved pregnancies, 1.43; and total pregnancies, 17.12. Pregnancy probabilities were similar when stratified by the following reproductive categories: uncomplicated regular cycles, long cycles, discontinuing oral contraceptives, breastfeeding, and other.
**Conclusions ** Pregnancy probabilities of the CrMS compare favorably with those of other methods of family planning. Most pregnancies result from genital contact during a known fertile time. Women need not have regular cycles to use the CrMS successfully.


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The Church has no teaching on the number or spacing of your children. You are not required to have a specific number.

Only you and your spouse can discern whether or not your reasons for limiting your family are just.

You are asking the wrong question. Limiting your family size or spacing for a just reason is not a mortal sin.

The Church does not teach it is a mortal sin to space/plan your family.

The Church teaches contraception is an immoral *means *of doing so.

Every act of sexual intercourse between spouses is properly ordered to unity and procreativity. That means you cannot alter an act of intercourse, period. It is a sacramental renewal of the marriage covenant.

That means you are free to choose whether to have intercourse or not, but if you **do **have intercourse it must be as God designed and ordered it.

If you have a reason to avoid conception, you may do so via abstaining from intercourse.

Methods of natural family planning allow you to observe your signs of fertility and aids in the decision whether or not to have intercourse.

NFP is an alternative to complete abstinence, not an alternative to contraception.

The church has always maintained that abstinence is an acceptable means of spacing children.


Sure, there are many studies that have been done by medical journals.

Most recently, a report was published in Science Daily in February.

Some studies include:

The Los Angeles Study conducted by the US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare

The Doring Study

The Fairfield Study

The World Health Organization Study

should I go on?

I don’t think you realize how offensive this statement is.

It’s insulting and it’s ignorant.

First, natural family *planning *is exactly that-- it can be used to *conceive *as well as to avoid– unlike contraception which is used to mutilate the sex act and sterilize.

You can use the information of your fertility signs to find your most fertile days in order to conceive.

Second, you are implying that there is something wrong with having a dozen kids. I know several CAF posters who would take issue with you on that.

Third, you are implying that those who have many children didn’t want them, plan them, or know how to avoid having them. Talk about insulting!

Every one of my friends who has many children (many being somewhere between 4 and 7) have exactly the number of children they chose to have. And, every one of my friends who has had a reason to avoid has done so successfully, myself included.

Honestly, I understand your desire to learn about the Church’s teaching regarding contraception but please do not insult the generous people who choose to have large families. It’s very rude.


1ke, you’ve got me all wrong. I think it’s great if people choose to have large families. I have absolutely nothing against it. I was just pointing out something I thought was ironic. I absolutely don’t think there’s anything wrong with having 12 kids, but if someone said “Condoms are great at preventing kids! Yes, I have 10, myself,” I would find that statement a little fishy.

My statement was intended to be somewhat tongue in cheek. I’m honestly sorry it offended anyone.

Thanks for the references - I’ll try to dig them up.


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