Family Planning & Birth Control


This is a thread inspiried from the Moral Theology section of the forums. Since I’m not Catholic, I thought I’d better post here. The question was ***Can a Catholic in good conscience use birth control ? ***

I would say in general the Catholic church teaches “No!” as the answer to that question but I think that’s probably an oft-disregarded teaching. Besides the specific rules, I think the underlying priniciple is a pro-family philosophy. God is a Creator after all, he would like our co-operation. But then there is that thing about the celibate clergy.

When I look back over my geneaolgy, my early French Canadian anscetors routinely had 10 kids in their families. Not all of them lived to adulthood. But let’s face it, back then many kids were an asset. In an industrialised age, they are more of a liability. Families are shrinking to near the replacement level in many western countries. Surely the Pill has played a major role in this?


Anyone who “thinks it’s great” should read Humanae Vitae and see how prophetic Pope Paul VI was or listen to Janet Smith’s tape “Contraception, Why Not” to see the impact contraception and the contraceptive mentality has had on our society. The incline in the rates of divorce, single parent households, abortion, pornography, etc. are all on nearly parallel paths along with the gradual (okay, maybe not so gradual) acceptance of contraception by most main stream protestant denominations.

Were killing ourselves from within.


The Groom Jesus gave His body completely to His Bride, The Church.

Likewise, our marriages should be a witness to that holy marriage. We should give our bodies completely to our spouses, and not contracept it.

(Family planning is OK. Contraception is not OK.)


That last sentence seems like a contradiction. No, I don’t get it. What then do you mean by family planning? Isn’t that you and your spouse agreeing on the number of children? After that, does it matter how you achieve it?


I voted “It’s great”. Although I think you may not have meant the question as asked.

Birth control is ok, Artificail contracetion is bad. My wife and I use NFP and choose to postphone pregnancy. We have four daughters and I need sleep.


Is your contention is that the means to achieving a goal are irrelevant? Let’s say I want a new Corvette. Does this mean I can lie, cheat, and steal to acquire one?

The Catholic Church doesn’t oppose birth control. She opposes artificial means of contraception that violate natural law.

This topic has been hashed out ad nauseum in these forums. The search function is your friend.

– Mark L. Chance.


Well, my jaw is agape somewhat. I did not know that and I’m rather surprised. What’s natural or fair or whatever is very personal. Could it be that this focus on mechanics has mislead people from the principle? Are we not creators?


We are only creators through the grace of God, not apart from God. By using contraceptives, you are removing God from the equation (or at least trying to).

There are also all kinds of other statistics that link contraception to all other types of social ills, if one cares to be open to the information. For example, did you know that Margaret Sanger (founder of Planned Parenthood - the single largest abortion provider in the country) first worked to legalize birth control because she knew that once society accepted that, they would eventually legalize abortions (which was her primary goal in the first place)?

Again, if you are really serious about knowing the connection between contraception and many of the social ills we have today, get a copy of Janet Smith’s “Contraception, Why Not?” You can get a free copy at


:thumbsup: I’m w/u on this one… the Contraception audio cd is a great source of information1 When I listened to it w/my non-Catholic Dh we both went “Ahhh, ohhh, ewww” the entire time. It’s so true, ever since the ABC boom, morallity is going down. The rates of divorce are higher, more single mothers, more abortions, more sexual immorality everywhere… I’m so lucky DH saw this the same way I did and didn’t protest to NFP.


Hi rmcmullan,

You have to go back a few steps to understand why The Church doesn’t allow artificial contraception. I’ll try to explain…

Firstly, you need to understand that Jesus is the Groom, and The Church is the Bride. (Jesus is the New Adam. Like the way the original Eve was born from the ribs of Adam in his deep sleep, the blood and water that founded the new Eve, ie The Church, was spilled form the side [ribs] of the Groom Jesus in His deep sleep [death].)

Jesus had to give His body completely, to the point of death, so as to fulfill His mission. What a catastrophe it would be if Jesus withheld His lifegiving body.

Secondly, you need to understand that Marriage is a sacrament; It is an outward sign of an invisible grace. That grace, is life; Spiritual life - Everlasting life - The life we could not inherit from Adam and Eve due to their original sin.

Thirdly, The Church’s stance against contracepting our bodies is not about pregnancy planning, but rather it is about our marriages being a witness to the work Jesus did on the cross.

That may be a harsh conclusion, but when I step back and look at contraception at a deeper level than just pregnancy planning, then The Church’s stance makes sense to me.


I voted “*Stay Away from it! It’s use will only lead to unhappiness.” *but I wish I had voted " Should be used only sparingly and with judgement." because I think there are ok types of BC to use.

I believe that the majority of BC methods are very unhealthy to those who use them. And many of them are abortificants (that WILL only lead to Unhappiness.)

but I think saying all BC leads to unhappiness is a bit too extreme.


Thanks, that was very useful in helping me to understand the Catholic way. I am thinking of it from such a different point of view. To me, it’s sort of like the Christian work ethic. It’s a responsibility and a good work for those that take it on. Some one needs to provide the next generation and that’s a responsibility. Also, it’s the most effective way to pass on our way of life, including our religion. That’s quite different than the Christ and the Church analogy.

I’m not sure what is meant by NFP, I think natural family planning, the details of which I’m happy not to go into! I thought the concern with the use of BC would be that otherwise fertile couples would unnaturally limiting their family size (for possibly selfish reasons). But it seems as though that’s okay, just so long as they do it naturally?


Wow! 82% of respondents are saying couples should stay away from NFP.

My guess is somehow people think that NFP isn’t birth control.


I didn’t respond because the poll doesn’t separate artificial bc from NFP. I think most of those who voted stay away were taking for granted the OP was speaking of artificial birth control especially since he made reference to the pill.


This is a very confusing poll for Catholics… I couldn’t answer without understanding the OP’s meanings…

I agree with this post…


No, Catholics are not to limit their family size for selfish reasons. Generosity is one of the characteristics of the sacrament of marriage. We may limit the family size for grave reasons and only after prayer, discussion and sometimes spiritual direction. the grave reasons are decided after careful consideration and analysis of all our resources.


The standard is that Catholics may limit family size for serious reasons, not grave reasons. “Serious” is a lower standard in moral theology than “grave”.

– Mark L. Chance.


NFP is NOT artificial birth control. There is a huge difference morally, spiritually, psychologically, physiologically, and chemically between NFP and artificial birth control.

I took the OP’s use of the term “birth control” to mean artificial birth control. Only one who does not really know the Church’s teachings against contraception and for NFP would call NFP “birth control”.


The OP (me) wasn’t aware that Catholics distinguished between the two.


Thanks for clearing that up. That makes a HUGE difference in how I would have voted in the poll - in short, I wouldn’t have voted because “NONE OF THE ABOVE” wasn’t an option. :smiley:

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit