Is artificial contraception really evil while natural is good?

I know that this topic appears on this forum frequently. Of course I haven’t read every thread regarding this matter but only three of them and I still cannot find what’s wrong in my reasoning. At the beginning I want to apologize for my poor English (it’s not my native language) but I hope somebody will not only be able but have patience to understand me properly.

I’m the Catholic and I think my faith is very deep but I have problem which concerns many Catholics: I disagree with Church teaching about contraception. Of course I agree that every contraception which can influence the woman health or cause death of conceived baby is morally wrong (and in second case it’s very serious), but condom or some alternative intercourse techniques don’t have such disadvantages.

Firstly, I cannot understand why intercourse which is only for unity with spouse and pleasure and not for procreation is intrinsically evil. Does anybody really know why (except ‘because Church teaches so’)? Secondly, methods of birth regulation based on self-observation (NFP) are for me contraception as well as e.g. condoms or alternative techniques (ABC), so both methods should be considered as good or bad. I cannot find any difference in essence between them. In following points I try to explain my point of view. If somebody is able to write precisely what’s wrong in it, I’ll be very grateful. And not only me, but every person who sees the whole issue similary.

  1. Some person wrote wisely: ‘Pleasure in sexual activity was developed to encourage more reproduction. Therefore to have sex for mere pleasure is to neglect the purpose of sex and do injury to nature’. At first it seems to have sense but what can be evil in intercourse without procreative intension is not the act itself, not the pleasure, but the intension and switching off the procreative aspect itself. For example if you decide to conceive a baby in 2 years time you have moral responsibility for this decision regardless of the fact you have sexual activity during this time or you are abstinent.
    Generally, there are three fruits of an intercourse: unity, happiness and procreation. All are without doubt good. And if we eliminate one of them, the others are still GOOD. What I wrote above, the mere elimination can be evil, not an intercourse which still bring us some goodness. So if I have choice not to make love (and I especially mean long-term abstinence) or do it in the way that eliminate procreation I should choose the latter.

  2. I can’t believe the idea that God created sexual desire to force us, against our will, to produce babies. In such assumption we could say that pleasure and happiness which accompany sexual activity without procreation aspect is forbidden.

  3. The most ridiculous thing is that some people claim NFP keeps procreative aspect. It is pure hypocrisy. English is not my native language, but in polish we have very similar word in this place (‘prokreacyjny’), so if ‘procreative’ isn’t connected with ‘producing a baby’ (but more with preventing it), I don’t know what does this word really mean.
    We use NFP because we want to avoid that a child will be conceived. And it’s not like some think ‘I do nothing so it cannot be wrong’. My answer: ‘You block conception, like e.g. using condoms, but you use time as a mean for achieving the purpose’.

  4. Saying that the NFP is natural, given by God way for responsible parenthood and the ABC is artificial or unnatural, altering something, nothing changes, because it is like statement: ‘cultivating tomatoes in winter (in glasshouse) and eating them is evil because God creates the nature to give us tomatoes only in summer’. Similarly solarium, scuba diving, planes etc. should be treated as intrinsically evil (somebody can say that glasshouse tomatoes taste not so good and solarium isn’t the same as sun but it’s not a matter of evil and it’s very well that procreative marital act is more excellent but it doesn’t render the ordinary one evil). But I remember there were ideas that if God had wanted us to fly He would have given us wings.

  5. Most Catholics has similar point of view and I don’t only think about lay people but priests, bishops and cardinals. It doesn’t prove that we are right but either only very few people are so close to God that can understand His idea about sexuality or something is wrong about the teaching).

Of course I could accept the Church teaching without understanding WHY. But I partially cannot, partially don’t want to. Firstly, because my conscience says me something else. Secondly because me reason do the same. I don’t regard using condom as a sin, not only mortal sin, but even venial. I know that following our own conscience if it is in contradiction with the Church teaching is very risky but until we really try to understand and accept this teaching and ask God to help us find the truth it appears to be good way. I was confirmed in such judgment by several priests and the Catechism confirms it too in many parts especially in 1778 and 1779: …In all he (human person) says and does, man is obliged to follow faithfully what he knows to be just and right…Conscience is the aboriginal Vicar of Christ…It is important for every person to be sufficiently present to himself in order to hear and follow the voice of his conscience.

So, if somebody says, that person uses artificial contraception surely commits mortal sin, he is for 99.9% wrong.

First, NFP is not contraception. Contraception is something you use when you want to avoid a pregnancy. NFP is a system that allows you to decide when to have intercourse based on your family plan. If you are not ready for a child, then you know when you should abstain, whereas you also know when to have intercourse when you are trying to conceive. That is the key difference.

The next logical question is “so what?” Why all this fuss about how bad contraception is? When God created the world, he gave us 1 rule, do not eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. What did we do? We ate. Why? Because we wanted to become like God. We directly violated his command due to our desire for power. With contraception. we want our cake and want to eat it too. We want to have control over the number of children we have, but we are not willing to deny ourselves our desires. Sound familiar? Control and power are brothers, and can cause some major spiritual damage. With NFP, we surrender our Control to God, recognizing that, even with perfect practice of NFP, conception can occur. Speaking from experience, it makes it more meaningful, knowing that sex is a privilege, not a right, and must be exercised with respect and care.

You have written a great deal here, and I think I understand what you are saying. I am no means an expert on this subject, but I am teaching a teen class on Theology of the Body so I can tell you what I understand as a novice learning the subject.

Here is the explanantion as I understand it as a Catholic. God is love - very simple, yet profound. I’ve heard it explained that the Holy Spirit as the third person in the Holy Trinity is manifest simply by the love between the Father and the Son. In this same way, God created us in His image and gives us the capacity for such love. Pure love, the love of God, can be characterized as having four qualities. It must be:

Free - We must give it freely, as Jesus gave His body up freely for our sins.
Total - We must hold nothing back when we love.
Faithful - We must keep loving, even when it is hard.
Fruitful - We must allow our love to bear fruit in the world, whether physically or otherwise.

If we do not love with all four of these conditions, it is not pure, authentic love. It is not love as God created it, but a counterfit of true love. When we contracept, we are not being ‘Total’ and we are not allowing our love to be ‘Fruitful’, or open to life.

Think about it this way, and I don’t mean any of this arrogantly or directly aimed at anyone, including ‘Przemek’: When we contracept, we are telling God “Thanks for the intimacy and the pleasure in this gift of love, this is great. But actually, you can keep that other part (life-giving ability He shares with us). Thanks, but I’m going to do it my way.” Can you imagine telling God that you don’t want the most precious gift he has offered to give to you - His true, authentic love and the ability to share in His creative power? Likewise, contracepting is also sending the message to your spouse: “I love you… but not that much. I give myself freely to you… except for this part.”.

The most common analogy used in the Bible regarding God’s people is marriage. Jesus repeatedly refers to Himself (in parable form) as the Bridegroom, the Church His bride. See especially the parallel between Gen 2:24 and Eph 5, especially Eph 5:22-27, 31. Jesus didn’t contracept when He gave Himself to the Church. He gave Himself up freely, totally, faithfully, and fruitfully for us on the cross at Calvary. When the parallel between the love between Christ and His Church and the plan He has for husband and wife is understood, it becomes clearer why contraception is counter to God’s plan and is labeled “intrinsically evil”.

Sexual intercourse, then, is the realization of this authentic love, when the two become one. All aspects of sex (procreative, pleasure, etc.) together fully realize authentic love as a gift from God and a foreshadowing of the glory that awaits us in Heaven. It is also a direct parallel to the feast of the Eucharist, when Jesus offers Himself up and the two (bridegroom - Jesus and bride - Church) become one.

In the same way, this is why sex outside of marriage doesn’t make sense and degrades God’s gift of love. If two people have sex outside of marriage, their bodies are renewing marriage vows to one another that never were shared in the first place. Their bodies are lying to each other. In just the same way, when a married couple consummates their marriage and renews their vows (this is the intent of sex) while contracepting, they are also lying to each other because they are not practicing the free, total, faithful, fruitful love they promised to each other at their wedding.

You are correct here, anyone using NFP to prevent conception without a good reason (i.e. medical issues, no finances to support a child, etc.) is using it as a contraceptive. This is not the intent of NFP as the church teaches it. I know less about NFP than I do about Theology of the Body, so I’ll stop there before I say something wrong. The explanation is pretty delicate, but John Martignone does a great job in newsletter issues 95, 98 & 99:

biblechristiansociety.com/newsletter

As for the other main focus of your post on contraception, a great deal of resources are available here on a website run by Christopher West:

theologyofthebody.com/default.asp

Christopher teaches Theology of the Body as it was taught in the 129 homilies by Pope John Paul II. I didn’t make any of the stuff up in the post, and it is not my opinion: it is the teaching of the church via Pope John Paul II. Also, I am currently teaching a class on Theology of the Body for teens, put together by Jason and Crystallina Evert. It is the same material geared towards teens, and I can say unashamed that I’m probably learning more from the class than they are:

tobforteens.com/

Anyone else chime in if they know more or have additional resources, I am learning but am not an expert. Also, nothing in this post was intended to be directed at any one person ot attack or otherwise. I’m just trying to explain as best I can.

Couple wanting to avoid having a child at a certain period of time is not necessarily a bad thing. It is an analagous issue to a person who wants to lose weight: it me be a good or bad goal, you can’t tell without more information.

But if two people have legitimate reasons to want to lose weight and one choses diet and excercise and the other continues to gorge himself, but pukes his food up before it is digested are these both “good” ways to lose weight?

Of course not. The reason NFP is morally acceptable is precisely the reason why nobody wants to use it. It is difficult, requires sacrifice, discipline and communication. Contraception is like eating the cake you wanted and puking it up.

NFP requires those period where you can’t have what you want. Human nature being what it is, that period winds up stripping bare the “reasons” the couple has for avoiding pregnancy and often time revealing those reasons to be flimsy rationalizing.

NFP has been 100% “effective” for us. But there is little question in my mind that if we used contraception we’d have quit after the second child and missed out on the blessing of our third child… so far!

God is clever that way. He’s sees things that we often don’t and warns us of dangers we’d never see until they are too late. Contraception is just one example.

If we eliminate one of them, it affect the others.

The unity is *not *a true physical union of flesh when a piece of latex separates a husband from his wife. I’ll move on. You brought up “happiness” so let’s look at that aspect. Contraception can interfear with the pleasure of the act. Many men complain about condoms disrupting their fullest pleasure. My own experience with a diaphram taught me diaphrams can interfear with the woman’s pleasure and contribute to urinary tract infections. Don’t ignore those physical side effects of contraception. Hormonal birth control pills can even permanantly damage a woman’s sex drive. [/FONT]http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2005/may/05052603.html

NFP is better than contraception, but NFP is NOT always good for marriage either. NFP will only be good for a marriage if the couple has a good reason for avoiding pregnancy. (The Church permits NFP to avoid pregnancy when the couple has serious/grave/just reasons to avoid pregnancy.) Avoiding pregnancy and children in marriage for trivial reasons by any method is *not *good. One of the reason why NFP is better than contraception is because the abstinance required for effective NFP causes couples to seriously examine their reasons for avoiding children.

Good heavens! A baby is NOT a tomato, it’s a human being created in God’s image and likeness with an immortal soul. Conceiving or preventing conception of a baby is a million times more important morally than growing food.

Besides which, God created the tomato specifically for our use as food, so He has blessed our use of them to feed ourselves, whether by growing them ‘unnaturally’ or not. As for scuba diving or any of your other examples - they are totally irrelevant. There’s no question in those examples of any sort of life, human or plant, being created or destroyed or denied a chance.

Nobody is ever forced to have babies at any time - but they are a natural side-effect of both sex and marriage. Even the best artificial methods have failure rates - condoms especially have a VERY high failure rate.

And sex and marriage automatically go together, by the way. If you aren’t married, you shouldn’t be having sex full stop. And marriage and willingness to have babies goes together automatically as well. If you ARE married, you are asked in Church, before God, whether you will lovingly accept the children that God blesses you with. If you aren’t prepared to answer ‘yes’ to that, and mean it, then DON’T GET MARRIED! I’m not prepared, which is why I’m not married!

Being married but not willing to accept children is like being a nun but refusing to accept the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience that go along with that. In neither situation are you FORCED either to have babies or to vow those things, but you can’t go back once you’ve promised. You have to show faith and trust in God who will always help you if you are married and fall pregnant or a nun and perhaps struggling with your vows - if you sincerely want that help.

As to artificial versus natural means of contraception. Put it this way. If I want money to pay my bills, the right way to get it is to go and get an honest job and work for it. If I inherit it, or earn it through wise investment, that’s morally fine as well. If I go out and deal drugs or rob banks to obtain money, that’s a morally wrong way of doing it. End result is the same, but one way of getting to that end is wrong.

In regard to conceiving a child - God gives us natural limits on our fertility. A woman is only fertile for a short time each month, for a few decades of her life. So it’s clear that He doesn’t expect us to be constantly having babies any more than He expects us to be poor.

BUT we have to use the morally RIGHT means to avoid pregnancy, just like we have to use the morally correct means to obtain money.

And if we can’t trust the Church in its teaching on contraception, why trust it in its teaching on anything at all? Why trust that Jesus really existed? That He was really divine as well as human? That He founded the Catholic Church on His Apostles? All these things are taught us by the Church.

Funnily enough, I trust more to those teachings of the Church that go AGAINST popular trend - like the Eucharist, like contraception. I don’t think Paul VI would have been as adamant as he was about it in Humane Vitae without special guidance from the Holy Spirit.

This Church teaching comes from the Jews and cannot be changed or ignored as the Protestants have done.

Need a source?
ccli.org/nfp/morality/bible.php

Need another? Click my signature.

Besides, condom sex is like washing your feet with your socks on.

By the way, your English is very good.

I think you should read Humanae Vitae. It’s available online via EWTN.
Also, Christopher West’s book Good News about Sex and Marriage. It really makes things clear.

The whole argument seems to hinge on two things…

  1. It’s natural therefore god-given therefore OK.
    2 .It’s open to life (i.e. god can chose to create a pregnancy if he so desires).

**Point 1: **I agree with you. If natural is good, artificial is bad/interfering with god’s plan, then why stop with contraception. Why not anything man made/learnt? There are many things that come naturally, som good, some bad. This cherry picking use of Natural law etc. is kind of confusing.

Point 2. I don’t see NFP as being any more open to life than most other forms of contraception. There are threads on this forums where NFP couples discuss that they have avoided children for 10 years etc with use of NFP.

So it obviously works pretty well (as it should, it’s not *that *easy to get pregnant).

Now take condoms, which LilyM states are not a reliable way of avoiding pregnancy. If this is true, then yeah, you are ironically more open to life by using a condom than you are using NFP…

The third agrument often used is that "well, it’s not what you are doing (avoiding children), but the way you go about it which is what’s important. (ref; LilyMs curious bank robbing example).

This is usually coupled with the “sacrificial” argument, that by abstaining, couples are coming closer to god, and each other etc etc.

But this third argument is equally illogical, as avoiding sex within marriage is not a good deed in itself. Couples could just use condoms, deny themselves sex here and there (to get the sacrifice bit in), then there really is no difference.

he he…

So your real answer is that “it’s wrong because the church says so”.

lol, I’ve never heard it put that way before. I like it!! :smiley:

Thanks to each of you trying to help me (and not only me) understand Church teaching about sexuality. If I really understand it I will not only introduce it into my life but be ardent supporter of it. Now I’m the opposite and I’m of course afraid of possible consequences of my false teaching (I don’t especially teach anybody but I don’t hide my beliefs). So, please, do everything to find and explain where I’m wrong in my reasoning. Because I’m still not convinced…

Most Catholics want to convince (among them I am) others that ‘pro choice’ in fact means ‘pro abortion’. And the same people have allergic reaction when they listen to someone saying that NFP means contraception. Can anybody explain me how can I practice NFP without contraception meaning? As I’ve written, for me abstinence on fertile days and making love on others is as well contra conception as e.g. a condom. Both sides want to eat cake and avoid pregnancy.
Please, imagine pope has just said NFP is contraception as well and is intrinsically evil. Try to argue that he is wrong using your mind and heart, not others’ words until you fully understand and feel them. After that imagine that pope has just said contraception is allowed (of course when there are just reasons) and now he understand that contraception works the same way that NFP. How do you suggest he (pope) is wrong (using your own words).

With condoms we have the same because I know many children that were born because their parents believed in condom effectiveness.

[quote=mpernot]If we do not love with all four of these conditions, it is not pure, authentic love. It is not love as God created it, but a counterfit of true love. When we contracept, we are not being ‘Total’ and we are not allowing our love to be ‘Fruitful’, or open to life.
[/quote]

But intercourse isn’t the love itself. Further, ‘Total’ and ‘Fruitful’ doesn’t mean as many as physically possible.

[quote=mpernot]Can you imagine telling God that you don’t want the most precious gift he has offered to give to you - His true, authentic love and the ability to share in His creative power?
[/quote]

Here is probably the most important and difficult issue. At the beginning we must assume that both sides (people claiming that every intercourse should have live-giving aspect and the others) want to fulfill God’s will, especially concerning new life creation. We shouldn’t think that people using contraception are doing it because they want to tell God: I know that You want me to have more babies (or want them earlier) but I don’t agree. Of course sometimes it can be, but nobody has doubt that saying NO to God is a sin, so it’s nothing to discuss then. I think God wants the decision to create a new life to be our decision, which should of course be in agreement with His will, not only the matter of obedience or, what’s worse, by chance. So first must be the decision and after that procreative intercourse. Making love opened to procreation whenever I want without such decision, believing that God will steer the procreation process beside my will is for me wrong way. But maybe I’m wrong just in this approach?

[quote=mpernot]Sexual intercourse, then, is the realization of this authentic love, when the two become one. All aspects of sex (procreative, pleasure, etc.) together fully realize authentic love as a gift from God and a foreshadowing of the glory that awaits us in Heaven.
[/quote]

I don’t associate such significant meaning with sexual activity. For me it’s only one of pillars of love, something which serve authentic love, not its realization.

[quote=mpernot]The explanation is pretty delicate, but John Martignone does a great job in newsletter issues 95, 98 & 99.
[/quote]

John Martignone is very wise and clever man and I like his way of reasoning. I listen to his Monday’s broadcasts regularly (by podcasts). I’ve read these newsletters but I’m still not convinced. We have no place to discuss them here so I’ll write only that the most strong argument against the contraception seamed to me Onan case. But I’ve read Genesis 38 a couple of times and for me God punished Onan because he didn’t do what he should have done, not especially because he used withdraw technique.

[quote=manualman]But if two people have legitimate reasons to want to lose weight and one choses diet and excercise and the other continues to gorge himself, but pukes his food up before it is digested are these both “good” ways to lose weight?
[/quote]

Similar comparison used John Martignone in his newsletters. But if we want to be closer to contraception we have to change slightly second man behaviour: he pretends that he eats (puking is something unpleasant and disgusting that makes us being against to such behaviour and has no relevant thing in contraception). Then it looks differently. In addition analyzing first person we have diet which corresponds with abstinence during fertile days but exercises correspond with nothing (and are in first person favor).

[quote=manualman]The reason NFP is morally acceptable is precisely the reason why nobody wants to use it. It is difficult, requires sacrifice, discipline and communication. Contraception is like eating the cake you wanted and puking it up.
[/quote]

Do you really think that this is the precise reason? It’s a bit ridiculous. In addition my cake is intercourse without procreation aspect and I don’t puking it up.

[quote=manualman]Human nature being what it is, that period winds up stripping bare the “reasons” the couple has for avoiding pregnancy and often time revealing those reasons to be flimsy rationalizing.
[/quote]

This is very strong argument for NFP.

Because of size limit the rest in the next post…

[quote=LilyM]Good heavens! A baby is NOT a tomato…
[/quote]

You are right about ‘good heavens’ if you have understood it like that. I only wanted to refute the idea that contraception is evil because it’s not natural, prepared by God way of birth control. And remember that there is only one example which fits perfectly: contraception itself.

[quote=LilyM]If I go out and deal drugs or rob banks to obtain money, that’s a morally wrong way of doing it. End result is the same, but one way of getting to that end is wrong.
[/quote]

It is again comparison used by John Martignone in his newsletters. I have had no doubt that the means to an end matter. But we cannot conclude more from that examle.

[quote=LilyM]And if we can’t trust the Church in its teaching on contraception, why trust it in its teaching on anything at all?
[/quote]

Because with everything else generally I agree in my mind, heart and conscience or it doesn’t influence directly my life, so I don’t think much about it (like e.g. Holy Mary virginity). The Church teaching is like signposts which lead us to God and to understanding His will. But I think, God don’t want to have slaves who are obedient but against in their hearts. He wants to develop our souls to such a level that in our free decisions, thinking, behavior we’ll be in complete agreement with Him. The reason I started this discussion is because I know how significant is to follow Church teaching.

In addition I must write that the reason I have used the word ‘generally’ at the beginning of previous paragraph is because actually there are another issues that bother me. One of them is that the Church, which is usually very strict about what is written in the Bible, decided that giving people bread alone fulfill Jesus will. However, Jesus always said about flesh and blood together. But it’s the matter for another thread.

[quote=Jude Smith]I think you should read Humanae Vitae.
[/quote]

It’s certainly a good idea. Maybe one day, during reading any article or this encyclical I’ll say: now I know what it is all about. But the problem with reading is that if you stand against even one sentence, all following paragraphs are almost worthless, because you are keeping tightly to your point of view. Of course I will not stop reading about this issue but I hope discussion can be more fruitful. And the most precious is prayer, so we shouldn’t stop asking God to reveal us the truth.

Przemek,

You have made some good points, and received some good answers.

For me, it came down to accepting or rejecting the authority of the Church. That authority was given to the Church by Christ himself. If one trusts Christ, then one must trust his Church, and therefore all of the Church’s teaching. If I don’t agree with or understand one of the Church’s teachings, then the problem must be with* me*, not with Christ’s Church. With that humility, I was able to accept this teaching.

“If you’re Catholic and you disagree with your Church. What do you do? You change your mind.” -Archbishop Charles J. Chaput

The problem I see with arguments against NFP as “acceptable” is that they often compare NFP abuse with ABC. In that case, there is no difference. However, when NFP is used properly, there is no sin. The couple must use NPF prayerfully, and truly have a serious reason to avoid pregancy. They must discuss these reasons every month during the fertile time to determine if the reason they avoided pregnancy last month, is still valid this month. It is work for the couple. It makes them communicate better and brings them closer together, to enjoy the marital union as God intended.

Another justification I see for ABC, is that it’s OK for “me” because I’m married (not fornicating or committing adultery), or whatever the case may be. But, when I realized the horrific consequences of contraception on society, I decided I could not support it’s use for “me” anymore. Please read this to see what I mean.

You will be in my prayers.

I agree with you. While God is pleased with faithful obedience even when we don’t understand, I think God wants us to eventually understand more about Him and to want with all our hearts what He wants.

I used contraception for years, so I have gone through some of what you are going through. When I used contraception, I didn’t really understand the Church teachings on the matter (or some others.) I even fell away from the Church for a while. When I returned to the Church, I came back ready to follow her teachings, but I wanted to understand them.

One things that helped change my heart on contraception was reading through the Bible quotes and references found in the Catechism section on marriage and family. (I recommend you do that.) Prayerfully reading those Bible quotes convinced me that God sees children as blessings, and in my heart I kind of panicked because I feared God would bless me with more children than I wanted if I followed the Church teachings. I was afraid of what that might mean to my life. My use of contraception was based in largely on fear–but Jesus tells us, “Be not afraid!”

The Church teachings tell us we need to have a serious/just/grave reason to use NFP to avoid pregnancy. When I finally started to understand and accept the Church teachings, my next reaction was, “Thank goodness I have a significant reason to avoid pregnancy!” My heart *still *wasn’t in the right place, but God met me where I was and helped move me closer to where He is.

My heart is now changed. I eventually discovered that a* very* effective way to prevent unwanted pregnacy is by* wanting* pregnancy.

I hope this discussion might become fruitful to you as well. In addition to reading through the Bible quotes referenced in the Catechism, I invite you to pray about and reflect on your reasons for wanting to avoid pregnancy. (Couples using NFP typically do that on a regular basis because of the abstinence involved, but contraception is sometimes used simply out of habit.) You may have a serious/just/grave reason for avoiding pregnancy, but it’s a good indicator that your heart is moving in God’s direction if that makes you a little sad that you don’t feel able to welcome a child at the present time.

God bless you, and may the Holy Spirit enlighten your heart and mind as you discuss, pray and reflect on this matter.

Each and everyone of us is created in God’s image. Since God is love, we are all created in love and, therefore, our bodies are a physical manifestation of God’s love for us. In other words, our existence is God’s way of making His love (invisible by definition) tangible on Earth. Our bodies make God’s invisible love visible - this struck me as so simple yet extremely profound when I first learned it. John Paul II describes this as the Saramentality of the Body - like other sacramentals, our bodies are not true sacraments but do serve as an outward sign of God’s saving power.

Framed in this understanding, intercourse is the method by which God’s invisible love becomes visible in the world (takes about 40 weeks :wink: ) Intercourse is love itself beause it is meant to parallel and reflect the love that the Father and Son share. “The two become one” and are joined by means of love, and God designed our bodies to reflect both this relationship (Jesus-church is to bridegroom-bride is to husband-wife) and His creative power.

I gather that you are talking about number children here; if so, I agree. I unfortunately don’t have a better way of explaining this in an NFP context, as I’m not yet good at explaining NFP. I can only say that being open to the transmission of life and trusting God doesn’t mean that we are supposed to try to conceive another child as soon as the last one is born. The intention isn’t to populate te world as quickly as possible, but rather to make sure that we are including God (including God in His own plan, imagine that!). A good resource for you to look into might be the book “Life-Giving Love” by Kimberly Hahn. She discovered NFP even before she converted to Catholicism by doing research to understand God’s plan for our bodies. My wife tells me that Kimberly discusses these issues in the book, and I intend to read it as well.

Przemek:

I understand your confusion. Here are some thoughts that may help you.

The Church teaches that the marital act must be both procreative and unitive, everything seems to flow from this. Where you are likely confused is in what “procreative” actually means…or more precisely what the church is intending it to mean. (this is where I was confused as well.)

Here is a link that a helpful poster on this forum gave me:
lifeissues.net/writers/cat/cat_03conjugalact.html

So you can see by this link that procreative does not mean “resulting in life.” Also, it is clear that the “open to life” arguments are merely distractions from the real issue at hand and are basically irrelevant.

I don’t know if it will help you feel more comfortable with the Church’s teaching (didn’t really do it for me), but I think it should help you understand it a bit better.

–Rico

Another aspect of NFP that hasn’t been specifically mentioned yet (or I missed it) is ecological breastfeeding. Basically, it means that mom is with the baby and breast feeding as much as possible. Good for bonding between baby and mom, but also delays the return of menstruation.

This is part of God’s design for how we are meant to faithfully space out children. Plus, it is so much healthier for mom and baby.

One can disregard God’s will without physically saying “no” to God, or without even realizing they are doing it for that matter. When one contracepts, they are in fact telling God that they don’t want to share in His creative power, that they “know better”. When the sexual act is fully understood by its context in God’s original design for it (what I have tried to convey in previous posts), logic dictates that altering any part of that plan (removing the possibility of conception) must be interpreted as rejection of it. Whether it is one’s intention to say this “no” or not, that is exactly what is being said. I don’t presume to know anyone’s intentions and am not attempting to condemn anyone, that’s not my place. My place is simply to explain.

The only thing I would be careful of here is your use of the word chance. “Chance” is a subjective term that we use when God’s will happens and we don’t understand and/or recognize it. We should always be open to all possibilities of God’s will because we never know what form it may take. This includes the babies one is trying to prevent from being born while contracepting.

With all due respect, I don’t think assuring fulfilment of the couple’s will is the most important part of this act. I think the most important part is making sure that God’s will as a possibility is not prevented, even if it’s a possibility we don’t understand or agree with. Contraception is labeled as intrinsically evil because it severely restricts (I won’t say eliminate; nothing is impossible for God) the possibility of life being created as part of His plan. Whenever a couple consummates their marriage by having sex, God’s will may or may not be to bring forth life from that union. We don’t know for sure - that’s the whole point. The only way to assure that His plan is not compromised is by adhering to the way he established the marital union. There’s definitely a lot of faith and trust here, but God gave us His love freely, totally, faithfully, and fruitfully. He didn’t hold anything back from us, and the least we can do is share it without holding back.

I didn’t make this connection on my own, either. This is what John Paul II taught in Theology of the body. He had a term for it called the Nuptial meaning of the body. The nuptial meaning of the body is the marital meaning of the body; “…the body’s capacity of expressing love, that love precisely in which the person becomes a gift and… fulfills the very meaning of his body and existence.”. He spoke on this during his general audience “Revelation and Discovery of the Nuptial Meaning of the Body” on January 16, 1980. I won’t try to explain it better than he did; here is a link to that general audience:

ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/jp2tb13a.htm

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