Nfp, abc...

Lots of threads about NFP and ABC. Leads me to a question: How long as ABC been around? And how long as the Church taught against it?


Artificial Birth Control is my best guess

The Pill’s only been around about 50 or so years, but artificial birth control techniques have been around for as long as human beings have pretty much. (We see one example of it in Genesis actually. I’ve also read somewhere about how Roman women in the ancient empire would take some sort of potion to try and make their womb inhospitable for life.)

The Church has always opposed it. The earliest condemnation I’ve seen was from the Epistle of Barnabus written about 75 AD, which specifically condemns oral sex. The Early Church fathers have a lot to say about it also.

Yes, ABC has been around since the beginning. The Book of Genesis has mentions (the sin of Onan, some people think Sodom and Gomorrah), and St. Augustine wrote about the evils of herbs and teas used to prevent pregnancies or to procure abortions. It’s always been around, always will be. But I don’t think it has ever been embraced or even widely accepted the way this generation has done.

And yes, there are lots of these threads today…

Yep…ABC has been around for thousands of years, and the Jews (our religious ancestors, whose religion was fulfilled with Christ, thus bringing us Christianity) taught against it. In fact, no Christian group approved of contraception/abc until 1930. That’s right. For 1,930 years (not including the preceeding millennia of Jewish teaching against ABC) there was a constant and united voice against ABC. Then in 1930, the Anglicans (at the Lambeth Conference) decided that such could be used in dire circumstances. Not long after that, Christian groups began to fold. And now, it seems ONLY the Catholic Church holds fast to this Christian doctrine.

Silphium is one plant that was used to prevent pregnancy in ancient Mediterranean cultures. There is evidence that Greeks and Egyptians used it for this purpose as early as the 7th century BC. There are also Egyptian scrolls dating to the 20th century BC that describe various birth control methods. Even animal skin condoms have existed for ages. So artificial birth control has existed longer than the Church. It wasn’t something magically discovered in the last century.

As for teaching against it; in the list of the works of the flesh that are immoral (Galatians 5:19-21) there is a word that is often translated as sorcery or witchcraft. Galatians 5:19 contains the word pharmakeia which included dispensing of potions and drugs used for magic. Because it comes near sins such as immorality, impurity, and licentiousness some posit that it might refer not just to witchcraft, but also the use of potions to cover up those sins (i.e contraceptive and abortifacients to cover up illicit affairs). That is speculation though.

For more concrete teachings both Clement of Alexandria and Hippolytus wrote against contraception in the early 2nd and 3rd centuries.

Long and short is that contraception has existed probably since the dawn of civilization and the Church has taught against it from the beginning.

Yes, this is absolutely correct and bears repeating often.

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