I have a question about contraception. How long has the church considered contraception a mortal sin ? and what options did married couples have before NFP was discovered or considered an option?


Since the beginning of the Church. There has been no time when the Church taught contracpetion to be anything other than intrinsically disordered and grave matter.



yes since her earliest days the Church has preached against contraception, specifically drugs and folk practices alleged to prevent or end a pregnancy, as well as against direct abortion and infanticide. items from nature have been tried from time to time in various cultures as primitive condoms or diaphragms, and more effective ones became available in the 19th-20th c. both as barrier type contraceptives, spermacides, and various preparations to “bring on delayed menses”.

Other “improvements” on various mechanical methods of preventing fertilization and/or implantation, or early interruption of conception, based on primitive use of pessaries, sponges and other natural objects have included various types of IUD with or without added chemical spermicides.

the first hormonal based ABC, the pill, was introduced in the early 60s, with massive health risks for the first generation of women to try it, and the same risks remain today.

the Rhythm method, early NFP, where fertile periods were calculated solely on the basis of counting days from onset of ones period was taught by Catholic doctors beginning in the early 20th c.

More reliable methods of predicting and determining fertility, including examination of cervical mucous and basal temperature, the basis of the twomost reliable NFP methods today were introduced in the late 70s early 80s, and perfected through more experimentation. What is today often called ecological breastfeeding–or demand feeding–was probably the most widely used method of avoiding pregnancy, and at least my generation found it notoriously unreliable.

one method has been available since the beginning of time and is the only guaranteed 100% effective method of preventing conception–abstinence.

Yes, folks, there are times in marriage when it is a necessity, so get over the “you are here solely to serve my physical needs” mentality and learn about real love and marriage, which is what you have when the sex part dries up and blows away, and you have to really know each other intimately without the bridge of sexual activity. (I am not addressing OP or other posters specifically here, just the current generation who cannot envision being deprived of sex, which they regard as both absolute right and necessity).


Prior generations found breastfeeding more effective at delaying the return of fertility because they did true ecological breastfeeding, baby wearing, and on demand feeding.


and my generation had to fight even to get the doctors and hospital nurses to allow, let alone encourage BF. my mother’s generation was often hide-bound by rigid feeding schedules, and even if they did BF, as she did (bucking the tide, at least in her circle) felt they had to comply with such restrictions.

the medical establishment and “baby industry” have a lot to answer for


Periodic continence is as old as the marital act itself. St. Paul addresses it in scripture. He talks about the ‘why’s’ and ‘when’s’ and the ‘for how long’s.’ What shortened with modern NFP was how long the space of continence (abstinence) was.

It has long been known especially by women that every act of sex did not produce a baby. It wasn’t scientists who discovered the signs of fertility. It was women. And it used to be passed down from one generation to the next. It is only in societies that find children to be a burden that have ignored natural phases of infertility.

The Church, bride that she is, has again and always encouraged us to see things God’s way and not try to “control” that which is really not ours to control.


You happen to remember the chapter, verse ect. he talks about that? Would be useful when someones up railing about how we should never use any form of NFP and we should always make sure we can have as many kids as humanly possible even if there are serious health risks. Yes, I’ve seen people argue that :confused:


You know, before the 60s, I don’t believe that NFP would have been considered all that useful. As late as the 1940s and 50s children were still seen as a blessing, not an economic burden. Of course, as we have moved from living off the good earth by the sweat of our brow to living in the suburbs and working sitting on our bottoms in front of a computer the whole dynamic changed. Back 100 years ago having 12 children would be considered a great blessing, both spiritually and economically. Just some thoughts.


Don’t forget that NFP can also effectively be used to achieve pregnancy.


True that!

Were I not going into the priesthood I would totally make sure the woman who would be my wife would know that.


God bless you for discerning into the priesthood! And thank you, from me and all Catholics.

NFP has been a blessing to me and my marriage. Not only is it approved by the church, but the period of abstinence “removes the pressure” to only relate to my spouse with the marital act, and during that time of prayer we also get a chance to deepen our relationship on an intellectual level.

However if you ever end up in counseling couples in NFP, be sure to let them know that, for NFP to really work, both couples must be living chaste lives. Otherwise the time apart is destructive rather than constructive.


Artificial contraception - always considered a mortal sin
Options- everything on here that has already been told to you by previous posters.
I remember when growing up in the 50’s that everyone had lots of children and all the Mother’s stayed home and everybody sure seemed to care about one another a lot more then. It didn’t matter if you were Catholic or not, just about everyone in the neighborhood I grew up in had at least 6 children each, some as many as 14. One family would have an apple tree that they shared with everyone, another a pear tree, another a garden, one had a tomato plants that wouldn’t end, another grapes, another had all kinds of vegetables, we just all shared with one another and everyone cared about everyone else, we need to do more of that. There is always enough, some people are just too selfish to share. My father had a garden of flowers, vegetables, tomatos and shared with everyone, whatever they needed or wanted. It was usual to see people going in and out of our yard in the evening taking what they needed for their salad that night and we usually were the family that climbed the apple tree getting every last apple down for someone, or pear. I say we all begin to do this again, just share, like Blessed Mother Teresa said, if you can’t feed the world, just feed one other person.


I hate todays society when it comes to children.

We have 4 kids. 6, 3, 2 and 6 months and oh the questions.

"So are you done yet?
“You going to have anymore?” (complete with look like I’m completely out of my mind)
“You know they make a pill for that?”
“You know what causes that right?”:mad:

When did people decide your “family plan” was any of their business. The worst part for me is some of my family is Methodist. Right after we got married, my Aunt was compelled to tell me that there are many “good Catholics” that use Birth Control. sigh Yeah, had awesome reactions the last 3 years pregnancy.


It seems to me that fortunately many Catholics are coming around on this issue, and I don’t think that in 30 years people will be asking those same questions, well, not in catholic circles (not much hope for the methodists though).


At least will have them out numbered! :slight_smile:


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