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.
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.