Jesus Christ never condemned it, so where do we get the idea that its sinful?
Because the whole point of sex is procreation. Once you take procreation out of the equation, you’re essentially just having intercourse for the purpose of lust.
Children are not a disease, and contracepting treats procreation as such.
Contraception violates natural law. Natural law is the idea that things and people work best when treated in accord with their design. We know, for example, that our eyes were made to see. Our digestive systems were made to digest food so as to provide our bodies with energy. Etc. In short, God designed our bodies in a certain way and doing something to deliberately render a part of it dysfunctional is wrong, just as it would be wrong to deliberately blind oneself or to make oneself vomit after eating to avoid the consequences of weigh gain.
So it’s not revealed truth that contraception is sinful but rather something that we should be able to reason our way to.
Mine is a crude explanation and I don’t really have time to write a thesis about it, but I recommend Janet Smith’s essay on natural law and sexual morality. goodmorals.org/smith5.htm
7 But Er, Judah’s first-born, was wicked in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord slew him. 8 Then Judah said to Onan, “Go in to your brother’s wife, and perform the duty of a brother-in-law to her, and raise up offspring for your brother.” 9 But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so when he went in to his brother’s wife he spilled the semen on the ground, lest he should give offspring to his brother. 10 And what he did was displeasing in the sight of the Lord, and he slew him also. (Genesis 38:7-10)
Some understand that contraceptive practices are displeasing in the sight of the Lord based on the story of Onan, above.
That is a teaching handed down from the very beginning.
Up until the 1930’s , all Christians, including all Protestant denominations, agreed with the Catholic Church’s teaching condemning contraception as sinful.
Contraception is wrong because it’s a deliberate violation of the design God built into the human race, often referred to as “natural law.” The natural law purpose of sex is procreation. The pleasure that sexual intercourse provides is an additional blessing from God, intended to offer the possibility of new life while strengthening the bond of intimacy, respect, and love between husband and wife. The loving environment this bond creates is the perfect setting for nurturing children.
Birth control has been around for millennia. Scrolls found in Egypt, dating to 1900 B.C. As to Christ, contraception was so far outside the biblical mindset and so obviously wrong that it did not need the frequent condemnations. Scripture condemns the practice when it mentions it. Once a moral principle has been established in the Bible, every possible application of it need not be mentioned.
The biblical teaching that birth control is wrong is found even more explicitly among the Church Fathers, who recognized the biblical and natural law principles underlying the condemnation.
Here is a good, in depth discussion of the subject:
And here is an audio of a q/a.
Until the past few decades there was no such thing as contraception as we know it today. So it’s not surprising that Jesus didn’t talk about it. It didn’t exist.
Furthermore, ancient people would have rarely wanted to avoid conception within marriage. Children were considered a blessing (and the inability to bear children was considered a curse). There would have been no market for contraception for married couples - only for people having “irregular” sexual relations.
There was really only one form of “contraception” available to ancient people: the man gets “close” and then, at the last moment, withdraws and “spills his seed” on the ground. This withdrawal method is sometimes called “Onanism” after the one Biblical account of a man (named Onan) who did this: Gen 38:8-10. It didn’t work out well for Onan - God struck him dead.
There’s an eating disorder called bulimia, where a person (usually a woman) will indulge in eating but then induce vomiting to expel the meal. This is an attempt to separate the enjoyment of the act (eating) from the natural consequences (weight gain).
Contraception is sexual bulimia.
It’s a good explanation, nodito, but I think what I always have problems with is, that it’s dodgy thing to cite “natural law”. By nature, human beings aren’t meant to live as long as we do, on the whole, and it would be much more in accordance with “natural law” to let measles or cancers or whatever ravage us, or indeed that we should simply die of old age earlier than we often do. (If God designed our bodies, He also designed diseases to destroy them (and to suggest that He didn’t, or at least He allowed development, I think treads a line close to Gnosticism) ).
Now there is absolutely a moral argument to be made against contraception (cf. what SolomonGrundy wrote above) and I agree with it, but it’s no more against nature for a couple to use a condom than it is to have kidney dialysis. Well, that’s my view anyway :shrug:
If you view conception as a disease to be treated then I can see why you would think that.
Conception doesn’t have to be a disease, but it can be unwanted. An unwanted pregnancy can be worse than a disease for some people.
Where do we get it from? The human body, basically. Which is why even non-Catholics around the world are beginning to question its use.
I think your confusion is between what is natural, or appearing in nature, and what is in accord with nature. I often hear people argue in the context of a contraception debate that by this logic, prescription glasses or hearing aids, for example, are not natural, and therefore wrong. Or, on the flip side, that some people are naturally infertile (or naturally blind) and so it can not be a violation of natural law to render oneself sterile. But that’s confusing what is in nature (sickness, illness, sterility, blindness, death, etc) with what is in accord with our natures.
Our bodies were designed in a certain way, to function in a certain way. Our eyes were designed to see; we know this even though some people are born blind or acquire river blindness. Because our eyes were designed to see, it is in accord with our nature to restore eye sight when we can. That diseases that hurt eyesight exist in nature doesn’t contradict this.
When a person gets measles, we rightly identify that as an attack on the body, an illness that can be legitimately treated. This is because it is not a violation of our nature, of the way we were designed, to attempt to restore our bodies to health.
But consider that contraception does not cure an illness, but actually renders a functioning system of the body to be dysfunctional. Yes, sterility exists in nature. Yes, some people are born without the necessary anatomy to reproduce. But we can still logically look at the reproductive system and deduce that it was designed so that when man and woman come together they may conceive a child. So it is in accord with our nature to maintain the act as it was designed and to maintain our reproductive systems the way they were intended to be. It is a violation of this nature to render oneself sterile or alter the act to be something other than how it was designed to be.
So to look at your main objection, I would argue that kidney dialysis is in accord with nature because it seeks to help restore the body to health, whereas a condom is not in accord with nature because it seeks to circumvent/deny/change the way our reproductive systems were designed to interact.
There is a very important distinction, though. Kidney dialysis (or other such examples) seek to restore to the body the way it ought to work. Contraception goes against the way a body ought to work.
It would be more apt to compare kidney dialysis with someone seeking to heal infertility rather than someone seeking to render themselves infertile.
I guess we were composing our posts at the same time. Well put.
Because it is exactly opposite of what God Himself commanded our first parents TO DO, starting with Genesis 1:28 and then again to Noah and his sons in Genesis 9:1,7
1 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth…7 And you, be fruitful and multiply, bring forth abundantly on the earth and multiply in it.”
Jesus also never explicitly condemned selling children into slavery. Catholic morality is not a matter of “It’s only bad if Jesus explicitly condemned it, otherwise, it’s up for grabs.” Jesus laid down the general principles (which had been progressively revealed throughout the Old Testament) and He entrusted this Revelation to the Church to apply in every age.
We could just as easily say, “Jesus Christ never endorsed it, so where do we get the idea that contraception is not sinful?”
Because of its divine institution for the propagation of man, the seed is not to be vainly ejaculated, nor is it to be damaged, nor is it to be wasted [Instructor of Children 2:10:91:2 (c. A.D. 197)].
To have coitus other than to procreate children is to do injury to nature [ibid., 2:10:95:3].
St. Clement of Alexandria
Well, there is a 100% effective way to not get pregnant, and it doesn’t involve surgery or contraception. Or acting like Miley Cyrus.
Respectfully, there are cases when it is no the woman’s choice. Not disagreeing with you in the least, just pointing that out. As some of us have had to go through this situation.
Back to the topic, artificial contraception was a tricky subject for me coming into the Church. In conservative synagogue, we talked about Onanism being misunderstood, that Onan’s crime was in not doing what the Lord asked (impregnating his sister-in-law0, not merely “spilling his seed.” We were taught that Catholics and Orthodox Jews are benevolently mistaken in this interpretation, and therefore do not believe in withdrawal or barrier methods of contraception.
Years ago, before the Church was on my radar, my husband and I learned the hard way “the Pill” can be abortifacient; the first I’d heard this word was my atheist GP who explained why he would never have put me on birth control to start with as “Catholics are right about this s----.”
I still struggle a bit with the teaching. It’s not a perfect word. In a perfect world anyone having sex would be married, financially set, and emotionally stable to have children. It’s not so and therefore sometimes I wonder just how much our society would have to learn, grow, and change for all of us to leave ABC behind. Not against the Church’s teaching or speaking against it, just working toward my part in understanding better, defending it to others, and working toward such a world.
Wouldn’t it be great if all seven billion of us were devoutly Catholic? How much better would the world be.
But would that not take away my right to fornicate?