Explaining evils of contraception

On another thread it was asked why the Church allows smoking and drinking but says contraception is evil, so I thought I would open an:

Explaining evils of contraception thread.

This is not a smoking and drinking are bad/good thread but both can easily be used to expound on why we believe contraception is intrinsically evil. Also, please sound off on why NFP is different than contraception. We’ve done this thread before but I really want, for the sake of those who call NFP “Catholic Birth Control” and condoms “the same as NFP because they have the same result.” a place for referencing the good of NFP and the bad of contraception.

To all those who disagree please be specific so we can answer the questions directly.

Couples who practice NFP have a divorce rate of <3%.
Couples who contracept have a divorce rate of about 50%.

That says enough to end any arguments with the culture-of-death camp.

Oh, couples who pray together have a divorce rate of less than 1%.:slight_smile:

Ok, i’ll bite :slight_smile:

Inside marriage, the Roman Church says that we need to be open to life on all occasions. The exact quote is: “Each and every marriage act must remain open to the transmission of life”. CCC p.569
The Church uses the quote from the creation story in Genesis which says “be fruitful and multiply” as part of the marriage act.

Problem: The book of Genesis has too many literal problems to be used to quote literally.

Correct me if i’m wrong, but Jesus never said anything about such things.(since he did away with many of the other laws) If anything, he taught according to the 10 commandments… specifically the 6th commandment - i.e. “You shall not commit adultery… But i say to you that everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

1 Corinthians 7:5
St. Paul said: “Do not deprive each other (inside marriage), except perhaps by mutual consent for a time, to be free for prayer, but then return to one another, so that Satan may not tempt you through your lack of self-control.”

Problem: The Church overlooks this verse, but quotes St. Paul on many other teachings.

The interpretation of 1 Corinthians 7:5 could be viewed as: To avoid outside temptations, keep each other satisfied as needed.
(i.e. nothing about being open to having a child on each occasion.)

Oboy, a good chance to be on the “other” side of this issue, since I first announced some abstractions I perceived in a rather ill-fated thread that could possibly lead me toward Church teachings.

First, I’m not convinced one can put together Church teachings straight from the Bible on this for a complete story, and I do think the Church tends to avoid talking about St. Paul’s exhortations, maybe because it sounds embarrassing or contradictory on its surface. I, too, think that the “go forth and multiply” verse is rather lame and highly abused for this purpose.

That said, my theory is based on a model of a human being I learned from my SD; a human being has physical, mental, emotional, sexual, social, and spiritual components.

A man separates from his parents and cleaves unto his wife. (“Cleave” is a very interesting word, as it is its own antonym.)

This mean he hooks up with her. Then the unit they form (based on their success at unitive actions) are given a share in God’s procreative power. The unit’s unity depends on how willing the spouses are to truly communicate.

Here’s the catch; I’m suggesting that this communication could take place along any of the six axes above. If there is anything that interferes with that communication, then it limits the degree to which the two can become one. For example, if they are not forthcoming about their emotional needs, giving the other a chance to help take care of them, that can cause as much problems as the sexual deprivation St. Paul spoke of.

It would be fairly easy to expand this argument to include an attempt at complete communications along all the human axes listed above.

I’m looking at contraception as able to interfere in the two having a perfect union. To that degree, it keeps a “separation,” or a chasm, as it were, between the two in that area. This separation from each other causes the two, who are pledged to become one, to be less attached, bringing them less close to God. In essence, this separation from each other causes a separation from God, which is sin.

That said, if my theory is anywhere near right, I do think the “evil” aspect of contraception might be overplayed. I think it is just as evil for spouses to maintain barriers between them in the other areas. Therefore, if my theory of incomplete unity is really what is behind the Church teachings on contraception, then She also has to equally condemn all other sorts of partial communication, such as regard emotional needs, social needs, and the others.

Whether I can believe the Church’s teachings on contraception, though, I still have some resistance. Perhaps it is in the way that the Church spends soooo much time and energy on the teachings with regards to sexual sins but so little time on how to go about loving each other in the way we should outside of sex – that is, for example, how to love our enemy and why, or how to discuss issues among brothers without fighting.

In general, I think the Church is too hung up on sexual sins and not attentive enough to practically any other kind. Perhaps the biggest problem with Church teachings on contraception is that we hardly ever hear about these other forms of couples “lying” to each other. We need to encourage spouses to develop along all those other lines of communications, or harping on the contraception angle makes us seem limited in our view of marital union at best, and makes the whole Church appear like a sex-control society, and rather strangely preoccupied with people’s bedroom activities – especially strange when those in charge ostensibly don’t have any bedroom activities.

One of the most effective criticisms of the church (not just Catholic) on this sexual preoccupation I’ve heard was by a former Anglican priest (then Buddhist guru-ish dude, then non-denominational) turned philosopher, the late Alan Watts. I am not saying we should agree with him on his theology, but I think he has some good points about how we tend to zero in on sexual sins but give lots of leeway on others such as uncharitableness. Also keep in mind he lived from 1915 to 1973, so the attitudes that were prevalent in those days may have since shifted. I’ve uploaded his “Sex and the Church” to www.wordsfree.org/watts.

Alan

P.S. Ugh. After 1/2 hour uploading that huge file, the connection failed in the last minute or so. IOW, the tail end of the “Sex and the Church” file might be cut off. I don’t have time to deal with it now because I have to go play “At the Lamb’s High Feast” and other good things at 8:00 Mass.

I wasn’t clear as to the argument of your post so forgive me for speaking too much. It certainly isn’t an argument for contraception, so maybe it was one against it? St. Paul is simply speaking of the importance of the sexual union to the holiness of the married couple. But he certainly isn’t reducing the sexual act to mere avoiding sin by going at it as often as possible. If that’s the case I should steal pieces of candy to avoid stealing a car, or rather get married so I can lust after one body rather than walking around lusting after everyone I see. Lust isn’t stopped that way anyhow, and I’m sure anyone who lusts after their spouse in marriage is going to keep lusting after others out of marriage. Yes marriage can help one from lusting after others, but it isn’t because you now have one person you can lust after all you want! It’s because you seperate yourself from lust altogether by giving yourself to your spouse in love!

Also keep in mind that St. Paul’s teaching is simply a homily focusing on one aspect. It would be foolish to look at it and find the entire Church teaching on marriage in it just as much as it would be foolish to look at this essay and find the entire argument against contraception.

Does having sex often with your husband or wife keep you from lusting after strangers? If anything if you are having frequent sex with contraception because you can’t control yourself long enough to have a period of abstinence now and then, chances are you probably are more easily tempted by outside things than the man or woman who out of love for their spouse can abstain from sex rather than constantly needing them to keep from sin. Why? The holy couple isn’t having sex to keep from sin but out of love for each other. Simply avoiding sin is not the purpose of marriage!! Holiness is!

I would also argue the Church doesn’t ignore this verse and that in fact it is encouraging self control by telling the Christian faithful not to use contraception. Contraception encourages a lack of self control. That is what is great about NFP. Couples actually learn to respect each other as persons consecrated to God not as outlets for lust that can be used any time they want without any consequences thanks to contraception.

The Church teaches simply that you shouldn’t separate the procreative function of sex from the recreative. There isn’t anything wrong with a married couple having sex to further their holy union even if it is unlikely that a new soul will be conceived. That is why the Church allows NFP. This is also in line with St. Paul’s teaching of couples returning to each other. Contraception however says NO GOD. I hate your stupid plan for my body and for my participating in your creation of new souls, how dare you make it hard for me to get pleasure. I want my husband or wife’s body but I don’t want their fertility, I don’t want the complete person you made them, just the parts I can use. It is a 100 percent refusal to new life, marriage vows, and God. NFP on the other hand isn’t a no to God. If God want’s to create a new life he will no matter how seldom or often the couples have sex. The important thing is the couples haven’t shut themselves off to God’s will as the contraceptive couples have.

If you don’t want children don’t get married. The Church teaches that married Couples should be generous with new life also as children are a great help to your salvation. So one should never use contraception, and even if using NFP should be sure to have as many children as possible, and maybe one more to be safe :wink:

One of the biggest evils of contraception is that it’s led to worse evils. The people that practice contraception today, are the people that will be in the abortion clinics tomorrow when their contraception techniques fail.

I’m not making a blanket statement on this, so keep the burning posts to a minimum. But in today’s “Self Satisfaction” society, too many people have let contraception modify their lifestyle. And when a baby pops up, they can’t let it get in the way.

Thanks,

I am NotWorthy

Hi, Caldera!
Perhaps I could help with a few of these issues. I am married, expecting my first child in about a month (boy), and practice NFP.

  1. Who says Genesis has “too many literal problems”? Not the Church (who hasn’t said one way or another)…and if you’re Catholic, this should matter.
  2. Even if a healthy amount of allegory was thrown into the Creation Account, that does not negate the truth of the teachings.
  3. Allegory does not preclude literal interpretation. It’s not an “either/or”, it’s a very Catholic “both/and”. This is a false dichotomy.
  4. This is neither the only, nor the best, biblical basis for these teachings. More on this in a bit…

[quote=Caldera] Correct me if i’m wrong, but Jesus never said anything about such things…"
[/quote]

  1. You’re wrong.
  2. Mark 10:6"But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ 7’For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, 8and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one.[Note: not two people separated by a piece of latex and a healthy dose of selfishness.] 9Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."
  3. It appears that Jesus didn’t think Genesis had “too many problems” to quote from - this kinda’ destroys your first and second points.

[quote=Caldera] Problem: The Church overlooks this verse
1 Corinthians 7:5]…The interpretation of 1 Corinthians 7:5 could be viewed as: To avoid outside temptations, keep each other satisfied as needed…
[/quote]

  1. It is offensive to say that the Church “overlooks” any part of scripture. Having defended it so vigerously with the blood of martyrs for nearly 2000 years, saying that now she considers parts of it more-or-less worthless is not a position you should want to take.
  2. You may want to hold off on your personal interpretation trumping the Church’s infallible pronouncements for a while.
  3. True, it could be viewed as such. It could also be viewed with Jewish eyes. What I mean by this is it could be viewed in light of Onan’s sin, which every faithful Jew would have known without Paul mentioning it.

Sidenote: What is Onan’s sin?
Gen 38:6-10
Judah got a wife named Tamar for his firstborn, Er. But Er, Judah’s firstborn, greatly offended the Lord, so the Lord took his life. Then Judah said to Onan, ‘Unite with your brother’s widow, in fulfillment of your duty as brother-in-law, and thus preserve your brother’s line.’ Onan, however, knew that the descendents would not be counted as his; so, whenever he had relations with his brother’s widow, he wasted his seed on the ground, to avoid contributing offspring for his brother. What he did greatly offended the Lord, and the Lord took his life too.

Onan’s sin is pretty straight forward - *coitus interruptus. *John Kippley, in Covenant, Christ and Contraception (New York: Alba House, 1970, page 19), explains it this way:

"Onan went through the motions of the life-giving act but refused to accept the consequences. He withdrew in order that the act could carry no reproductive consequences . . . [H]e went through the motions of the Levirate covenant, but he denied the reality of that covenant."
From CA:

Catholic teaching regards marriage as a covenant which has as one of its constituent elements an openness to new life and the procreative good. Sexual intercourse involves a renewal of the marriage covenant. Contraceptive intercourse is a violation of that covenant because it acts directly against procreation, one of the basic goods of marriage. By acting contraceptively, Onan robbed sexual intercourse of its life-giving meaning and acted against the good of his potential offspring’s life. Both his intent and his concrete actions were against life. As a result, Onan received the Old Testament penalty for his crime.

I would also recommend the following sites:
Apologetics against contraception:
catholicintl.com/noncatholicissues/contraception1.htm
Infallible document Humanae Vitae:
vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_25071968_humanae-vitae_en.html
Humanae Vitae explained:
nfpoutreach.org/Steinbrock_in_Light.htm

Finally, for any who would say “NFP is the same as artificial contraception”, I would simply reply, “OK. They’re the same. Why don’t you switch, and never artificially contracept again? They’re the same, right?”

In peace and love,
RyanL

[quote=AlanFromWichita] I do think the “evil” aspect of contraception might be overplayed. I think it is just as evil for spouses to maintain barriers between them in the other areas. Therefore, if my theory of incomplete unity is really what is behind the Church teachings on contraception, then She also has to equally condemn all other sorts of partial communication, such as regard emotional needs, social needs, and the others.

Whether I can believe the Church’s teachings on contraception, though, I still have some resistance. Perhaps it is in the way that the Church spends soooo much time and energy on the teachings with regards to sexual sins but so little time on how to go about loving each other in the way we should outside of sex – that is, for example, how to love our enemy and why, or how to discuss issues among brothers without fighting.

In general, I think the Church is too hung up on sexual sins and not attentive enough to practically any other kind.
[/quote]

Perhaps it is because it is the sexual sins which are being normalized by society, while society still respects the communication, emotional needs etc. Very often the Church’s energy is most focused on the doctrines which are most abused, which I think sexual morality would qualify these days.

Yallguys,

“St. Paul is simply speaking of the importance of the sexual union to the holiness of the married couple. But he certainly isn’t reducing the sexual act to mere avoiding sin by going at it as often as possible.”

Well, that is your interpretation. (maybe the Church as well, i don’t know)

Did it ever occur to you that it might be exactly what he was saying?
(i.e. In order to avoid temptation outside of marriage, satisfy your partner so that adultery doesn’t happen?)

This makes more sense to me when combined with Jesus’ teaching on adultery.

Are you trying to read into something that isn’t there? It’s seems pretty clear what he is trying to say.

Go through other teachings of St. Paul and see how the Church uses the specific quotes to justify their teaching without having to interpret them.

Hi RyanL,

Please don’t make me point out the literal problems with the creation stories… this thread could get ugly. :eek:

There is a protestant by the name of Hank Hennigraph (sp?) who takes the bible for it’s literal meaning. (last i’ve heard) I just don’t think it’s possible to be able to do that.

I need to get out of this thread for now… hopefully i can get back to it again later tonight…if not, then sometime during the week.

I’ll be back to reply asap.

[quote=Caldera]Please don’t make me point out the literal problems with the creation stories… this thread could get ugly.
[/quote]

Caldera,
I have no intention of making this thread about anything other than contraception.
What I clearly said was that literal or allegorical, there is no reason to treat Genesis as “other than” the inspired word of God. Again, Jesus aparently felt it was worthy enough to quote…

RyanL

You might find the following of interest:

But the negative values inherent in the “contraceptive mentality”-which is very different from responsible parenthood, lived in respect for the full truth of the conjugal act-are such that they in fact strengthen this temptation when an unwanted life is conceived. Indeed, the pro- abortion culture is especially strong precisely where the Church’s teaching on contraception is rejected. Certainly, from the moral point of view contraception and abortion are specifically different evils: the former contradicts the full truth of the sexual act as the proper expression of conjugal love, while the latter destroys the life of a human being; the former is opposed to the virtue of chastity in marriage, the latter is opposed to the virtue of justice and directly violates the divine commandment “You shall not kill”.

But **despite their differences ** of nature and moral gravity, contraception and abortion are often closely connected, as fruits of the same tree. It is true that in many cases contraception and even abortion are practised under the pressure of real life difficulties, which nonetheless can never exonerate from striving to observe God’s law fully. Still, in very many other instances such practices are rooted in a hedonistic mentality unwilling to accept responsibility in matters of sexuality, and they imply a self-centered concept of freedom, which regards procreation as an obstacle to personal fulfilment. The life which could result from a sexual encounter thus becomes an enemy to be avoided at all costs, and abortion becomes the only possible decisive response to failed contraception.

The close connection which exists, in mentality, between the practice of contraception and that of abortion is becoming increasingly obvious. It is being demonstrated in an alarming way by the development of chemical products, intrauterine devices and vaccines which, distributed with the same ease as contraceptives, really act as abortifacients in the very early stages of the development of the life of the new human being.

Evangelium Vitae #13

God Bless…

[quote=midgetface]Also, please sound off on why NFP is different than contraception. We’ve done this thread before but I really want, for the sake of those who call NFP “Catholic Birth Control” and condoms “the same as NFP because they have the same result.” a place for referencing the good of NFP and the bad of contraception.
[/quote]

The following may be of interest…

Responsible Parenthood
10. Married love, therefore, requires of husband and wife the full awareness of their obligations in the matter of responsible parenthood, which today, rightly enough, is much insisted upon, but which at the same time should be rightly understood. Thus, we do well to consider responsible parenthood in the light of its varied legitimate and interrelated aspects.

With regard to the biological processes, responsible parenthood means an awareness of, and respect for, their proper functions. In the procreative faculty the human mind discerns biological laws that apply to the human person. (9)

With regard to man’s innate drives and emotions, responsible parenthood means that man’s reason and will must exert control over them.

With regard to physical, economic, psychological and social conditions, responsible parenthood is exercised by those who prudently and generously decide to have more children, and by those who, for serious reasons and with due respect to moral precepts, decide not to have additional children for either a certain or an indefinite period of time.

Responsible parenthood, as we use the term here, has one further essential aspect of paramount importance. It concerns the objective moral order which was established by God, and of which a right conscience is the true interpreter. In a word, the exercise of responsible parenthood requires that husband and wife, keeping a right order of priorities, recognize their own duties toward God, themselves, their families and human society.

From this it follows that they are not free to act as they choose in the service of transmitting life, as if it were wholly up to them to decide what is the right course to follow. On the contrary, they are bound to ensure that what they do corresponds to the will of God the Creator. The very nature of marriage and its use makes His will clear, while the constant teaching of the Church spells it out. (10)

Humanae Vitae #10

God Bless…

[quote=NotWorthy]One of the biggest evils of contraception is that it’s led to worse evils. The people that practice contraception today, are the people that will be in the abortion clinics tomorrow when their contraception techniques fail.

I’m not making a blanket statement on this, so keep the burning posts to a minimum. But in today’s “Self Satisfaction” society, too many people have let contraception modify their lifestyle. And when a baby pops up, they can’t let it get in the way.

Thanks,

I am NotWorthy
[/quote]

What you’ve just mentioned is spoken in detail in Evangelium Vitae (I’ve posted a blurb in a post above). You might want to read it in its entirety if you haven’t do so already.

God Bless…

Sexual intercourse is (drum roll, please) a form of intercourse. IOW, it is a form of communication. In the communicative act of sexual intercourse, the husband says to his wife, “All that I am and have is yours. I willingly give it all to you.” The wife says, “I willingly and lovingly accept all that you have to give me.”

Contraception, fornication, adultery, et cetera turn this communication into a lie.

– Mark L. Chance.

[quote=mlchance]Sexual intercourse is (drum roll, please) a form of intercourse. IOW, it is a form of communication. In the communicative act of sexual intercourse, the husband says to his wife, “All that I am and have is yours. I willingly give it all to you.” The wife says, “I willingly and lovingly accept all that you have to give me.”

Contraception, fornication, adultery, et cetera turn this communication into a lie.

– Mark L. Chance.
[/quote]

I’ve heard this sort of thing before, but never had a clue where you were coming from until this time.

Alan

[quote=Caldera]Problem: The Church overlooks this verse, but quotes St. Paul on many other teachings.
[/quote]

First, the church hasn’t overlooked any scripture.

[quote=Caldera]The interpretation of 1 Corinthians 7:5 could be viewed as: To avoid outside temptations, keep each other satisfied as needed.
(i.e. nothing about being open to having a child on each occasion.)
[/quote]

Second, I’d like to see a scripture passage in the bible that says the contrary, to NOT be open to having a child on each occasion.

Faithfulness to God’s Design (For Marriage)
Men rightly observe that a conjugal act imposed on one’s partner without regard to his or her condition or personal and reasonable wishes in the matter, is no true act of love, and therefore offends the moral order in its particular application to the intimate relationship of husband and wife. If they further reflect, they must also recognize that an act of mutual love which impairs the capacity to transmit life which God the Creator, through specific laws, has built into it, frustrates His design which constitutes the norm of marriage, and contradicts the will of the Author of life. Hence to use this divine gift while depriving it, even if only partially, of its meaning and purpose, is equally repugnant to the nature of man and of woman, and is consequently in opposition to the plan of God and His holy will. But to experience the gift of married love while respecting the laws of conception is to acknowledge that one is not the master of the sources of life but rather the minister of the design established by the Creator. Just as man does not have unlimited dominion over his body in general, so also, and with more particular reason, he has no such dominion over his specifically sexual faculties, for these are concerned by their very nature with the generation of life, of which God is the source. “Human life is sacred—all men must recognize that fact,” Our predecessor Pope John XXIII recalled. “From its very inception it reveals the creating hand of God.”

Humanae Vitae #13

God Bless…

[quote=mlchance]Sexual intercourse is (drum roll, please) a form of intercourse. IOW, it is a form of communication. In the communicative act of sexual intercourse, the husband says to his wife, “All that I am and have is yours. I willingly give it all to you.” The wife says, “I willingly and lovingly accept all that you have to give me.”

Contraception, fornication, adultery, et cetera turn this communication into a lie.

– Mark L. Chance.
[/quote]

This is one of my favorite reasons too. Contraception is a faulty form of communication.

When I was still so confused and frustrated about contraception all those years ago people kept quoting Bible verses. Since people can twist any Scripture to back up their own ideas I was unconvinced. For me, following natural laws is what finally got through this Catholic skull.

The Scriptural arguments are good if that is what the concern is, but for those like me it was getting down to the nitty-gritty. Understanding what our sexual side was really for helped me to understand a lot more than just contraception. It helped me develop so much more respect for myself. To contracept is to tell a lie with your body and a lie to your body.

[quote=AlanFromWichita]I’ve heard this sort of thing before, but never had a clue where you were coming from until this time.
[/quote]

I had to re-read the argument a few times myself before it sunk in. See chapter six of The Meaning of Contraception (New York: Alba Press, 1970) by Mary Rosera Joyce.

Also, this link does a reasonably good job of discussing the radical unity of body and soul and how what we do with our bodies is a form of communication that is either true or false.

– Mark L. Chance.

Catholic Answers has a very good article explaning the Catholic reasoning behing bith control. It helped me a geat deal. Let me know what you think.

**www.catholic.com catholic.com/

**http://www.smilieland.com/graphics/ani-btn-pla-23.gif

Love & peace in Christ,
Bob

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