Thursday, July 05, 2007

What's Wrong with Contraception?

"JARZJR" asked the following question in the HCR forum:
Whats wrong with contraception? As long as it's purely contaception and non abortifacient then it's not taking a human life. Are your objections to it the "spilling seed" argument or the "be fruitful and multiply" argument?

Contraception is wrong on many levels, my friend. The relationship of Adam and Eve before the fall should be seen as our model b/c it shows us how God intended man and woman to interact. There, we see that man and woman are to be "one flesh" and they are to "be fruitful and multiply."

The idea of two becoming one envisions a total and complete giving of oneself to the other. Two can become one only when there are no barriers between them and no witholding anything from the other. The seed of man and the womb of woman are precious because it is by these that man is able to participate in the work of the Creator. By these God brings his greatest work of art into the world: a human being, who bears the very image of God Almighty.

But then we come along with our condoms, creams, birth control pills, and RU-486 clouding the vision that God had in mind for his people. Now two become about a half, with only partial self-giving and always holding a little something back. It's as if we say to Him, "I don't care that you have made me to participate in your work. I want it my way." It's as if we say to each other, "I don't love you enough to share with you my procreative power."

Besides Adam and Eve in the garden, we can also look to the design with which we were created. Look at the human body and the functions that each part is intended to play. Look at how human beings are supposed to be created. God gave us our "private parts" for a reason, and intended a particular use for them. Whenever we use our bodies for something other than what God made it for, we sin.

To put it another way, the use of contraception is a violation of the natural law of our bodies. Our human sexuality is supposed to be unitive and procreative. Contraception denies both of these ends. Thus, it is a grave sin.

Finally, I have never seen any proof from Scripture that contraception is morally acceptible. I've only seen passages that speak against it, the sin of Onan being only one. There are many others (here). For more on the immorality of contraception, go here for a list of 37 articles on the subject. You can also read about Natural Family Planning here.

Pax Christi,


Elaine Vigneault said...

So...if the story of Onan is to be interpreted literally as the spilling of man's seed is a sin, then oral sex, anal sex, sex with infertile people, sex with a firtile woman who is not ovulating, and male masturbation are all sins, whereas women may masturbate and do all other activities because no eggs are lost by those activities.

Athanasius contra mundo said...

There is a great book on this subject called "Christ, Covenant, and Contraception"

Denise said...

The sin of Onan was disobedience to God's command to raise up heirs for his deceased brother.

Sex with contraception assumes a child would be unwelcome. That presents the temptation of abortion. It tempts the father to abandon his child. And those are just the start.

phatcatholic said...

elaine........the sin of Onan does not address every moral problem involved here, which is why I did not rely solely on it. Did you notice the other arguments I made as well?

Jason said...

Related to this topic is the lie of "safe sex." How, exactly, is an activity that is intended to unite the bodies and souls of two people and create life supposed to be safe? I guess if you eliminate that last part about creating life and lie to yourself about sex just being something you do for fun with someone you may (or may not) love -- and nothing more -- but that's clearly an imperfect human twisting of the perfect divine plan for which we are intended.

Anonymous said...

I am a Catholic and I use contraception - birth control pills and condoms both. I also have a medical condition that may prove to render me infertile (I can't be sure until I try, and I'm not ready to find out just yet). Ironically, one treatment for said medical condition is the use of birth control pills (of course, that's only a viable treatment until you actually want to have children, then it's a whole other mess). I've tried other treatments and they didn't help me at all. You can't imagine how my health has improved with the use of my hormonal birth control. My Catholic health insurance even pays for it after meeting specifically for my situation and speaking with my doctors.

I have plenty of "excuses" that I'm not entirely comfortable with, not the least of which is the massive over population the world is already suffering from. I can't see denying my love for my man just to keep from furthering the overpopulation myself. I think that participating in said overpopulation would be very wrong of me. But does that mean I can't have sex my entire life and always keep my husband at arm's length?

Anyway, despite that a zillion other things I tell myself, deep down I am uncomfortable with the choice I've made to use contraception. Perhaps it is simply because I'm finally at a place where I can internalize the anti-contraception messages, or maybe it was the way you phrased it, but your blog has really made me think. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

oh, but one more question - let's say I do have a horrible time concieving when I want to have children. What do you think about fertility treatments? Is that going behind God's back and being selfish by manipulating my own reproductive abilities? Or is that a blessing because it allows me to "be fruitful and multiply?" When you look at it one way, it seems that fertility treatments would also be a sin because it is disregarding the plan God has for me. But you never hear about the evils of fertility treatments. I'm curious to know your thoughts on the matter.

les said...

There are fertility treatments that seek to correct an imbalance in the body or some other medical condition that is creating or contributing to the infertility. Those kinds of treatments are standard therapeutic medicine and are not considered immoral. Note they are trying to deal with the source of the symptom of infertility.
However, there are other treatments that bypass the normal and morally licit manner of creating children, ie. test-tube babies, sperm donors, etc. which the Church teaches are gravely sinful and when employed with that specific knowledge and consent constitute mortal sin and unconfessed keep us from communion, unless we wish to add sacrilege to the list.

That's a nutshell. National Catholic Bioethics Centre, and Couple to Couple League, can provide a lot of detailed resources on the entire subject.

les said...

The real problem here is how deeply we've allowed the "me" culture to infiltrate our Catholic families and our thinking.

From the moment of our baptism we belong to God. We need to teach children and teenagers that what they do with their life is God's decision. They need to hear that constantly from day one. We should never ask a child "what do you want to be when you grow up?" but rather "what does God want you to be when you grow up?"

There is another fallacy of our culture that "falling in love" is permanent and irrevocable and trumps everything. Hogwash. Just look at the divorce stats. We are free human beings, even to the point of refusing God, (to our peril)
We need to teach children what Catholic marriage really is, so they know what they are doing. What it is not is just our decision which we ask God to bless. And contrary to popular teaching in Catholic circles it really isn't a vocation.
Marriage is a sacrament that seals, binds and sets in motion the vocation. The vocation is to make sure the spouse makes it to heaven and to create more souls to populate heaven and make sure they get there too. Everything else we do is to support that vocation, our job, etc.

And we don't have to worry about overpopulating heaven.

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