Why is contraception wrong ?

So i am coming back to my catholic faith and am married to an atheist, i have been trying to learn about what it is to be a good catholic christian and something that i have been thinking about lately is contraception. In my younger years i didnt not even think about if it was immoral or not to use it, but i am now. So why is it immoral ? I have a young daughter, and our family probably couldn’t survive if we had another child right now financially so why is it wrong for me to prevent that ? i know for sure my husband would not like it if i told him that we shouldn’t have sex unless we wanted to have a baby. because i know he for sure doesn’t want to have one right now, maybe later, but for sure not right now .
any advice on this would be much appreciated !

Great question.There are 2 mutually reinforcing purposes to marital intercourse: unitive and procreative. They cannot be separated. They are not ours to pick and choose from. If we accept one gift we accept the other. The marital act is sacramental, it is an offering of self to God and our spouse. Our whole self…our will, our body, and all of our fruits. We must accept the other person, our spouse with all their defects and gifts (including their fecundity). Otherwise you’re picking around God’s gift.

Intercourse should be a renewal of your marital bonds, a total self-donation for the eternal good of the other. Sex is not this reciprocal pursuit of pleasure, but instead a total gift of self to the other for the love of God. Viewed this way, and lived this way, marital intercourse will take the couple to far higher ecstasy than…I got mine you get your reciprocity. Sex is a foretaste of the unity and joy we will experience in heaven. In such total abandonment to their other, with God…for God…there is no room or need for a condom.

A condom or pill is telling God that we know how to have marital union better than He designed it!

I would speak to him of all the issues that come from using the pill to a woman’s body for one thing. I am sure that he should care enough about you to not want to endanger your life in that manner. I would also suggest investigating Natural Family Planning as it is now done. It is NOT the same old rythmn method that was only partially reliable of years past. It will take both of you cooperating but I think if it is really understood, it may turn out to be a great tool for marital commitment and closeness which he’d be able to appreciate as well.

Marquette Monitor. Much healthier than the pill.

There is also the matter of giving yourself entirely to your spouse. Sex as an expression of love means the full giving of one’s self to their spouse during the act, this includes the procreative aspect. By using a birth control pill or a condom you are separating yourself from your spouse. No matter how close you “feel” you are still not giving of yourself fully.

There is also the matter that most birth control pills are abortifacients which work in 3 steps.

  1. Attempt to prevent ovulation (keep the egg from being released/made).
  2. If the first fails, it attempts to prevent fertilization by thickening the mucus in the fallopian tubes to try and prevent the sperm from getting through.
  3. If that too fails, it attempts to prevent implantation by the thickening (or thinning) of the walls (or mucus lining the walls) of the uterus.

It is this last step that is the biggest problem because it is allowing the fertilized egg, which is now a human with both sets of DNA, to be expelled from the body, effectively allowing it to die, aka. an abortion.

I have a young daughter, and our family probably couldn’t survive if we had another child right now financially so why is it wrong for me to prevent that ? i know for sure my husband would not like it if i told him that we shouldn’t have sex unless we wanted to have a baby. because i know he for sure doesn’t want to have one right now, maybe later, but for sure not right now .
any advice on this would be much appreciated !

The first part of your question was answered so I will address this part. There is nothing intrinsically immoral with the intention of preventing childbirth in and of itself. If childbirth is prevented for a just reason, it can actually be virtuous

Casti Cannubii

  1. And now, Venerable Brethren, we shall explain in detail the evils opposed to each of the benefits of matrimony. First consideration is due to the offspring, which many have the boldness to call the disagreeable burden of matrimony and which they say is to be carefully avoided by married people not through virtuous continence (which Christian law permits in matrimony when both parties consent) but by frustrating the marriage act. Some justify this criminal abuse on the ground that they are weary of children and wish to gratify their desires without their consequent burden. Others say that they cannot on the one hand remain continent nor on the other can they have children because of the difficulties whether on the part of the mother or on the part of family circumstances.

What the Church teaches is intrinsically evil is not the intention itself, which could be virtuous or immoral depending on the circumstances, but rather the means/method used to carry out this intention. Continence, usually called NFP today is a moral means of carrying out a just intention to prevent pregnancy while the pill, condoms, pulling out, etc… can never be a justifiable means of preventing pregnancy.

The reasoning behind why NFP is a moral means and contraceptives are not is based in natural law.

natural law

By studying the innate meanings of our ourselves and in particular our bodies, which are created in the image and likeness of God (The Trinity), we can come to know God’s law. It logically follows that if God created us, the way he created us has innate meaning. The sexual act was designed with innate meaning by God, and when that innate meaning is ignored or contradicted its a serious matter. All of the Church’s teaching on sexual immorality is based at its core in recognition of this.

The in depth explanation of how this all plays out would take quite a while to explain on here so if your interested in diving in deeper just ask and I’m sure many on here would be happy to give you some reading material that would help. I recommend the following:

Humane Vitae

Veritatis Splendor

Casti Cannubii

Love and Responsibility by JPII

A common analogy is bulimia. Just about everyone agrees that it’s wrong to enjoy the pleasure of a good meal but then barf it up. That’s wrong because it divorces the rightful pleasure of a biological act from the more practical aspect of nutrition. We all know this because of “natural law.”

So consider artificial contraception: a couple enjoys the pleasure but then intentionally divorces that from the more practical aspect of procreation. It makes a farce of the whole thing and often leads to disordered seeking of the pleasure alone.

Lots of threads in the past about this topic … keep digging!

I think all this advice is good and well but how can it be morally correct to bring a child into the world knowing you can’t give it food in its stomach clothes on its back or the time it needs. I think your being a good mother this way and I support you! I’m doing the same have you seen the programme on channel 4 15 kids and counting? That’s not in my opinion right because you make be going forth and multiplying but how can they believe they are giving each of there kids quality time and love. You go girl at least I’m behind you I’m sure ill get abuse now.

Well the unexplored option is continence, that is, fixed periods of sexual abstinence, during and around fertile periods.

These periods of temperance, if lived joyfully with God, and your spouse, enrich a marriage beyond comparison. Take walks, talk, plan your vacation, offer the effort to God for the sanctity of your marriage, for the health of your children.

Edward says it well. No one would argue with you that there are times when a couple might not be suited to bring a child into the world. But the discussion is about the means taken to avoid children – notice the difference in those two angles!

It’s wrong because it’s up to God to decide when children are born, not us. For the first ten years of my marriage we used contraception. I wasn’t very serious about my faith. Anyway looking back I wonder what wonderful children my wife and I could have had. But of course we put those lives second to career and money. There are Catholics who won’t have kids because they can’t afford another 30k a year for an elite private school or are afraid of the stretch marks.

I just work with under privileged children and when you speak about personal dreams for a child like private school that’s selfish all I’m saying is now a days a kid needs more than live. Not to be spoilt rotten but the simple things people I see find it hard to give there children 2 meals a day and that’s starving themselves. It’s very easy to be a devout catholic if your in the right situation but if your thrown in to another situation I see that as god giving you a sign to do it a different way.

But once again, are you talking about the decision to not have children, or the methods used to avoid pregnancy once the decision is made?

Compendium issued by Pope Benedict XVI

  1. When is it moral to regulate births?


The regulation of births, which is an aspect of responsible fatherhood and motherhood, is objectively morally acceptable when it is pursued by the spouses without external pressure; when it is practiced not out of selfishness but for serious reasons; and with methods that conform to the objective criteria of morality, that is, periodic continence and use of the infertile periods.

  1. What are immoral means of birth control?


Every action - for example, direct sterilization or contraception - is intrinsically immoral which (either in anticipation of the conjugal act, in its accomplishment or in the development of its natural consequences) proposes, as an end or as a means, to hinder procreation.


Also discuss this with Catholic Answers apologists --they have I think various materials – both to believers and non-believers.

Modern humans have uncritically accepted the idea that our bodies are irrelevant to who we really are. This manifests itself in many ways, not least of which the way in which people presume they can have premarital relations without it affecting their future marital relationship at all…

But even within marriage, this foolish assumption runs afoul of reality. The simple fact is that our bodies were designed such that there is a deeply intertwined relationship between sexual intimacy and “makin babies.” Our modern notion that this is only an accidental relationship that can be made merely optional via technology shows both our arrogance and our ignorance. When a couple uses a pill or condom to indulge in the pleasure or intimacy while actively blocking the fertility of their actions, they change the very nature and meaning of the encounter. They are speaking a LIE with their bodies!

This does NOT in any way mean that all are called to have 5+ kids! Humans are mammals and nearly all mammals on earth are capable of discerning the fertile time in the female cycle. It really isn’t rocket science. Your DOG can figure it out, so can you. The reason people refuse is largely because they WANT to alter the nature of sex. Monitoring fertility and abstaining during potentially fertile times is difficult, requires a lot of self control and self denial. These are practically heresy in 21st century America. But by denying one’s urges for a time because of serious reasons not to have more kids is fundamentally different than doing what you want while sterilizing your lovemaking. The former maintains the underlying reality that sex and babies are different facets of the SAME subject. Contraception promotes the dangerous lie that sex and babies are unrelated topics unless you will them to be tied together. I say it’s a dangerous lie and offer the following evidence:

  1. Every nation and culture in which contraception is widely accepted as a cultural good has a skyrocketing divorce rate and rate of children born to broken homes.
  2. Every nation on earth in which contraception is widely accepted as a cultural good has a negative population growth rate among the portion of the population that holds that view. (Regardless of whether you believe Earth is overpopulated or not, everyone should be alarmed at a culture that is fundamentally oriented to decreasing population. Once established, it is VERY hard to alter once global population becomes halved, then halved again…)
  3. Every culture in which contraception is widely accepted as a cultural good has a skyrocketing rate of promiscuity and adultery.
  4. Every culture in which contraception is widely accepted as a cultural good has a skyrocketing rate of pornography.

The above aren’t coincidences! Correlation may not prove causation, but more often than not the smoking gun really does give you a pretty good clue about who the shooter was…

Be careful with the broad generalizations. I would not say “Every culture in which contraception…” because it’s not true. The Muslim world is an example where contraception is prevalent, yet they do not have the issues that other cultures have (abortion, legal homosexual marriage, etc.).

It it more proper to state “Every culture in which secularization…”

The Islamic world has NOT been immune to the negative effects of contraception. Islam has no central teaching authority able to address issues like the pill which did not arise in Muhammed’s day, so they are a bit scattered. In places like Palestine and Yemen where the imams have been against contraception, fertility rates are still quite high (well above replacement levels).

In the West, contraception became culturally acceptable starting in the 1920’s and hit near universal status in the 1960’s. Abortion took another decade and normalization of gay relationships took yet another few decades after that. No surprise, then, that Islamic cultures that are just now accepting contraception at rates similar to where the West was in the 1930’s have not yet manifested these outcomes. But evil seeds WILL sprout there just like they have here.

One can argue that very low divorce rates or premarital promiscuity rates in Islamic places is more due to unrelated cultural restrictions, but that’s a pretty unsupported assertion when one looks at the early impact of contraception of these issues in the West (say the 1930s). What CAN be seen is that in those Islamic countries (like Lebanon, Brunei, Iran, Bahrain, Azerbaijan, Qatar) in which contraception has not been opposed on religious grounds by most local imams for more than a generation is that they are below replacement levels of fertility (just like most of the West has been since the 1960’s). Interestingly, for all the anti-life problems of the more hard core versions of Islam in places like Afghanistan, Yemen and Egypt, one problem they DON’T seem to have is that of understanding that sex and babies are NOT separate things. Not coincidentally, those Islamic countries have growing populations.

Islamic culture has lots of problems that are rapidly causing it to unravel in many areas. But it is interesting to see the way that in rejecting current Western values, they may have actually saved some of the babies while tossing out the bathwater…
(pun intended)

A couple of articles for you that give a historical view of the Jewish roots of the Catholic teaching and where Protestantism ran aground:



Contraception has always existed, and will continue to exist until Christ’s return.

The difference between the Islamic World and the rest of the world deals with the morality. The morality is still imposed on that culture, where it is not elsewhere.

Contraception is a tiny part of the big picture. The lack of morality is what causes the other problems.

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