Question about Contraception vs. Celibacy


My husband and I are going to sign up for NFP, however I have a question about contraception. I know that the church teaches that all forms of contraception are wrong because it prevents pregnancy. The Bible says to be fruitful and multiply, and that is why couples should have children. However, why does this not apply to priests as well? The Bible doesn't command all people to get married, so does it command all 'married' people to reproduce? I'm not asking for argumentative purposes, but out of genuine curiosity. Why should the 'be fruitful and multiply' rule only apply to those who get married, or better yet why does it not mean that all people are supposed to get married and multiply?


You have presented a straw man case for the catholic objection to contraception. We do not avoid contraception because it delays or prevents pregnancy, we avoid it because it is destructive to a healthy married sexuality.

In Humanae Vitae, Paul VI affirmed that married sex is both unitive and procreative. John Paul II's Theology of the Body develops that concept further and notes that contraception not only breaks the procreative function of sex, but damages the unitive function in the process.

Even catholics can come to think of these two functions as entirely separate: unitive vs procreative. But in reality they are completely entwined. The unitive function is damaged when the couple tries to chop off the procreative. NFP also prevents pregnancy (when used for that purpose), but does so differently. The fasting/abstinance periods are a crucible test of your "serious reason" for avoiding pregnancy that you must pass every month. You never develop the mental divorce between sex and babies that the habitual contraception user does. As a result, NFP provides a foothold on what would otherwise be a slippery slope to an attitude of selfish sexual gratification instead of the mutually giving experience it is supposed to be.

You are right that children are a blessing from God. But it doesn't follow that catholics are supposed to "go and have as many as possible." Some are given the gift of many, some aren't.

Humanae Vitae is available online at the Vatican website.


This is not why contraception is gravely immoral. Contraception separates the unitive and procreative elements of the marital act. God ordered our sexuality in a particular way. Whenever we choose to engage in the marital embrace, we must maintain the elements in the way God designed them. We may not separate them.

We can chose when and whether we engage in the marital embrace, but when we choose to do so we may not separate the unitive and procreative elements in any way.

God gave this command to Adam and Eve within the context of marriage.

We are each called to chastity in our state in life. For priests and other unmarried people this means refraining from sexual intimacy. Only within marriage does God’s command regarding fecundy apply.

No, it is not a requirement-- nor even a possibility-- that each married couple reproduce. It is, in general, the purpose of marriage and part of the consent required when we marry. The threefold elements of marriage are permanency, fidelity, and fecundy. Some enter marriage intending to conceive but may then encounter circumstances that prevent it.

The use of our sexual faculties is for the purpose of procreation, and that is always within marriage.

Not all people are called to marriage-- we know this because Christ himself tells us that some will be celibate for the Kingdom. If God’s command given to Adam and Eve was a requirement of every person, Christ’s teaching would have been radically different than what he actually did teach. He reaffirmed the command regarding the two becoming one in marriage. He did not indicate that all must marry. He indicated the opposite-- some are called to celibacy for specific purposes.

I suggest you read the Catechism sections on the Sacrament of Marriage and on the Sixth Commandment as well as the Papal Encyclical Casti Connubii.

#4 post # - 91

what is being alluded to is , how , in The Original Plan , before the Fall, Adam was going to be given power to bring forth holy children , through the spoken word !

Total union of the body , mind and heart , in divine power ...

Adam , having been made in Image of The Father , whose Word brought forth creation , seems such a possibilty is also logical and coherent ....and fulfilled , in one sense , . with what takes place in The Eucharistic celebration ...

Priests ,as spiritual fathers , through whom divine life is imparted ...that also helps the body ...

For couples , such a deeper understanding of sexuality can help to put focus and priority in the right place , without undue resentment of deprivation, since the potential for spiritual union , is still there ...

Blessings !


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