- Check out the Catechism, paragraphs 2366-2374
- Humane Vitae was a prophetic document written soon after the birth control pill became popular in 1968
Thanks to John Pacheco of www.Catholic-legate.com for many of the points in this article
Another reference is the audio recording, "Contraception, Why Not?" by Janet E. Smith, PhD produced by "One More Soul"
Here is an issue where many Evangelicals feel the Catholic Church is "behind the times." They think that Catholics should get with it and not be so uptight. Some Evangelicals think that Catholics who refuse to give in to the "culture of contraception" are taking an almost hostile attitude against their spouses. They think that Catholics are anti-sex.
Nothing can be further from the truth. Actually, the desire to have natural relations with a spouse without anything interfering with God's miracle of conception creates a deep bond between a husband and wife. Quite frankly, the sex is better. It is well documented that married couples who don't use contraception have fewer divorces and report much greater intimacy than those using contraception. Advocates of contraception promised lower divorce rates, but divorce has doubled in direct proportion to availability of birth control. Barrier contraceptives were supposed to reduce sexually transmitted diseases. The opposite has occurred, The National Post reported that 25% of women between 15-25 years old have venereal warts. HIV and other STD's are on the rise in every country.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church (Eph 5:25)
Christ's Love is a life giving love, and if we are to love our wives as Christ loves the Church, we must not withhold life.
After 400 years, the Christian teaching on contraception was fully formed by the 4th century in the work of Augustine, in that the deliberate prevention of life was a sin.What many Evangelicals don't know is that Martin Luther, Wesley, Calvin and all protestants were together on this thinking until 1930. There was unity among Christian denominations on these social matters. It all changed at the Anglican Conference at Lambeth in 1930. This was the first major break in Christendom on social morality. The "Eugenic" movement was the pressure group that pushed it through in 1930, after being defeated in 1908 and 1920. The following quotes from their journals show their il- founded reasoning.
"Before eugenicists and others who are laboring for racial betterment can succeed, they must first clear the way for Birth Control ... to assist the race toward the elimination of the unfit..." (Margaret Sanger. "Birth Control and Racial Betterment." Birth Control Review, Volume III, Number 2, Feb. 1919, page 11.)
"Parenthood should be a licensed profession and only those fully equipped should be allowed to become parents ... Dr. Hart believes that the race has deteriorated and that this deterioration can be stopped only by scientific methods of reproduction..." (Birth Control Review, Volume VIII, Number 12, Dec. 1924)
This is the organization that convinced the Anglican Church to accept birth control. However, the Anglicans accepted on condition it only be used under situations that were serious. Of course that was like opening Pandora's box. Within 30 years, all other denominations accepted birth control. All except one - the Catholic Church.
The founder of Planned Parenthood, the world's largest abortion provider was the first to push contraception
Margaret Sanger, the eugenicist, atheist, who wrote the above article, founded Planned Parenthood after she successfully lobbied for contraception. Abortion was on the horizon.
Planned Parenthood is responsible for the majority of the 44,000,000 North American Abortions in the last 30 years. Those who think there is no link between contraception and abortion might be surprised at how entwined these issues are. The pill was supposed to reduce abortion. The opposite has occurred. In fact, abortion mills provide contraceptives free of charge to their clients because they know that it is good for business. About 50% of all abortions are due to contraceptive failures. The abortionists know that contraceptive failures will occur and that the woman, with or without her partner will seek an abortion. In fact the US supreme court cited failed contraception as a reason to legalize abortion. (Planned Parenthood vs. Casey)
Before I found the Lord, I went down this road. Both abortions I was involved with were a result of failed contraception, one was an IUD and the other was the pill.
My experience with abortion is here.
Sixty years after exonerating contraception at Lambeth, the Anglican Church declared gay sex to have no moral consequences. I pray other Christian Churches don't follow their lead on this one as they did on the contraception issue. Unfortunately, the United Church has already followed and the Presbyterians are on the verge.
Sigmund Freud, who had little sympathy for religion of any kind, regarded the separation of intercourse from its procreative end as a model of sexual perversity. The founder of modern psychoanalysis wrote: “. . . it is a characteristic common to all the perversions that in them reproduction as an aim is put aside. This is actually the criterion by which we judge whether a sexual activity is perverse - if it departs from reproduction in its aims and pursues the attainment of gratification independently . . . Everything that . . . serves the pursuit of gratification alone is called by the unhonored title of ‘perversion’ and as such is despised.”10
Contraception launched a lifestyle of sex outside of marriage. Today 67% of youth are sexually active before marriage. Teenagers are about as good at contraception as they are at making their beds, doing their homework and doing their chores. In 1966, 6% white babies were born out of wedlock, now it's up to 25%. In 1967, 22% of black babies were born out of wedlock, now 66% of black babies are born out of wedlock. There is much talk about women's rights but what about children's rights? This is not good for children. Most psychologists are in agreement that children with both parents stand a better chance of growing up well adjusted.
Sex before marriage means broken hearts and broken bonds. Broken hearts don't trust others as much. People with broken hearts don't trust themselves as much. People think they should take a partner out for a "test drive" before getting married. But this hasn't made it easier to learn if the person is compatible. Couples having sex often overlook important relationship differences because the sex is good. People who live together before marriage have a higher divorce rate.
If we have sex with someone before marriage and then break up with them, we have had sex with someone's future spouse. The scary thing is that doesn't consciously bother many people today. Unfortunately, the net result is that marriage is much more fragile. Most couples who have had premarital sex with others don't stick together. The bonding and commitment just aren't there.
When a couple is having sex using contraception, their internal dialogue is that it would not be OK to have a baby. When they approach sex with that attitude, it is much more likely that if conception occurs, the same attitude will prevail after conception, resulting in an abortion. That is another reason why abortion increases where contraception increases. Mother Teresa on this subject says:
In destroying the power of giving life, through contraception, a husband or wife is doing something to self. This turns the attention to self and so it destroys the gifts of love in him or her. In loving, the husband and wife must turn the attention to each other as happens in natural family planning, and not to self, as happens in contraception. Once that living love is destroyed by contraception, abortion follows very easily.
The link between contraception and the legitimization of homosexuality is plain. The Archbishop of Canterbury, who is a supporter of gay sex says in the book, "Theology and Sexuality" (ed. Eugene Rogers, Blackwells 2002). In the conclusion of this address, he asserted:
In a church that accepts the legitimacy of contraception, the absolute condemnation of same-sex relations of intimacy must rely either on an abstract fundamentalist deployment of a number of very ambiguous biblical texts, or on a problematic and nonscriptural theory about natural complementarity, applied narrowly and crudely to physical differentiation without regard to psychological structures.
In the 1968 document "Humane Vitae," everybody felt like a bomb hit society. The Catholic Church was reaffirming its stance on contraception. In Section 6, Pope Paul VI makes several predictions. He said we would see:
- Lowering of morality,
- Disregard for physical and emotional well being of women by men,
- Government would use contraception for coercive purposes,
- Women would begin to treat their bodies as if they are machines.
Without exception, every one of these predictions (prophesies) have come true. 1) To see the lowering of morality we need only check out today's afternoon soaps, talk shows, & MTV, 2) To see the disregard for physical and emotional well being of women by men we need only consider the bursting internet pornography market. 3) To see how Governments use contraception for coercive purposes, we can take a tour of the UN and their "population control" schemes. (more about that below). 4) To understand how women have begun to treat their bodies as if they are machines, we only need to look at the explosion of "reproductive options" such as surrogate mothers, in vitro fertilizations, etc.
I think it was a prophetic document in the midst of thousands of "sunny day" predictions about the how contraception was going to make marriages better, society better and make life more enjoyable. Why did the Pope have these insights when politicians, Christians of other denominations and even many Catholics thought that a contraceptive society would be one of health, wealth and happiness. I think he had this insight because it was given to him. He was like Jeremiah crying out about the sins of his people when they didn't understand where they had gone wrong.
Contraception paved the way to the "free sex" movement of the 1960's. In 70 years since contraception was accepted, we in modern society have become increasingly sex centred. I'm not here to judge. Thank God for the freedom and forgiveness I've received in Jesus.
Today, society considers the Catholic Church's views on sex "regressive, old fashioned and medieval". But "modern society" is more "regressive" than the Church. It is following Caligula in ancient Rome.
Perhaps the Church is Medieval, but if that is so,
then modern society is Primal!
The #1 dance song hit a couple of years ago was:
You and me baby, we ain't nothing but mammals
So let's do it like they do on the discovery channel
Never before in history has mankind been so sex centred. Internet porn (the "crack cocaine" of sex addiction), late night TV, and even sex on prime time TV are just a few ways that society pushes pornography right into our homes. Viagra is a top selling drug. Men can't keep up with the amount of sex they think they should have. My email inbox is full of the same kind of male enhancement spam as everyone else. In 2001, the National Post reported that 25% of girls in the age bracket 15-25 have venereal warts (which freely pass through condoms). Statistics Canada reports 100,000 abortions a year. In the gay community the stats are just as dramatic with their own set of devastating consequences. Recent laws and policies aimed at reducing those statistics by granting more sexual freedom have not diminished those statistics, in fact there has been an increase in suicide, STD's, alcoholism, and partner abuse.
Yet even with these devastating facts, modern culture thinks everybody has to have sex. People who don't have sex are viewed with pity or contempt. We wonder what is wrong with them. Psychiatrists have a field day with people who feel called to celibacy. Teenagers who want to wait until marriage are ridiculed by their peers. I don't believe the answer to our problems is more freedom using contraception and "safer sex" with condoms. I believe the solution is a personal relationship with Jesus and his call to chastity.
I know that many of my Evangelical friends are as upset about modern society's attitude about sex as the Catholics, but I'm afraid that very few have drawn a connection between birth control and our current "free sex" culture. I would like to suggest that birth control has a lot to do with why we in modern society are in this "sex mess."
The "condom sense" strategy that is being taught to high school students ignores a basic precept of human behaviour (especially men's). Getting people to think about condoms in the middle of sexual arousal is counter intuitive and quite frankly unsuccessful. Yet condoms provide a false sense of security because the couple will say "hey, we can pursue this because we have protection." The truth is that men just don't like using condoms and when both partners are aroused, the lust takes on a life of its own, and their intentions to use condoms are often thrown by the wayside. Even if they do have "safer-sex", once they feed the lust, there is a much greater chance that they will practice unsafe sex at some point. That is why chastity is a better strategy, because it does not feed the lust the way that contraception does. The National Post reported that 25% of women 15-25 years old have venereal warts. The virus passes right through condoms. Condoms often break and are often used "improperly".
Although condom packages say they are 95% effective. Their studies are conducted in labs. I don't know very many people who have sex in labs. Real world studies of condom use and their success show us that a couple who have regular sex using condoms stand a 16% chance of pregnancy in any given year. If I got on a plane and they said, "Fasten seatbelts, by the way this plane has an 84% chance of reaching its destination." I would get the heck off the plane!
We live in a culture where condoms can be handed out in schools and bibles can't. That says a lot about how far "progressive" we have become.
Condoms are a "band-aid" solution that compound the current problems and don't address the real problem, our immoral behaviour. This "condom sense" strategy is based on the idea that the solution to widespread sex is still more sex (using condoms) rather than taking a long sober look at what our society has become. Fr. Bob Bedard says "I would get laughed out of most high school classrooms if I simply stated that the answer to STI's is chastity, not condoms." Condoms are based on lust, chastity is based on love. Chastity means no sex outside of marriage.
In the clinical trials for the pill they tried to make a pill for men and women. One man got slightly shrunken testicles and they completely abandoned all further tests with men. In the experiments for the pill, 3 women died and all they did was adjusted the dosage. To me this is abuse of women. Women still die from the pill. Sure it is a tiny percent but with 16 million women on the pill (in the US) even a small percentage is a women is a lot.
50% of women stop the pill in the first year because of side affects. The pill creates depression, lowers libido, makes women more irritable, and creates weight gain. The reason is that it makes the woman's body think it is in its first few weeks of pregnancy. And women in their first weeks of pregnancy have depression, lower libido, are more irritable, and gain weight. In a pregnancy these side effects go away. The side effects of the pill go on indefinitely.
The pill is an abortifacient. The inside cover of the pill package says it works in 3 ways, (1) it stops ovulation, (2) if there is a breakthrough ovulation, the pill changes viscosity of mucus to inhibit travel (3) it will prevent the attachment of the fertilized egg (the little 1 day old baby) to the uterus wall. In this capacity it makes the woman commit abortion.
Some say NFP is not effective. Those couples are thinking of the old rhythm method that was 27% ineffective. In the British Medical Journal, Sept 18, 1993 a doctor reviews the evidence and demonstrates a .004 failure rate.
I've been confronted by those who say "there is no difference between Natural Family Planning (NFP) and contraception." That is a compelling argument. In fact the Church says that NFP should not be used for selfish reasons and .
Having said that, I suggest there are significant differences to NFP and contraception. If they are the same then why not do NFP?" The reply I get is "it demands a radical lifestyle change." I say perhaps that is a clue that there is a big difference between NFP and contraception.
- Blocks God out of the procreative act
- Treats natural gift of life and fertility like they were burdens
- It prevents bonding by violating procreative meaning of sex. Pope JP II says sex should be an act of total self giving. Withholding fertility means withholding something that belongs in the sex act. With contraception introduced into sex, it is not an act of total giving.
Many couples who refuse NFP are afraid. They are afraid of the abstinence. Women are
afraid men will get grumpy during the abstinence time. Men are afraid they
will feel deprived
7-12 days per month. Again the statistics show a different story. NFP
couples have a near 0% divorce rate and claim high levels of intimacy. The sex is better!
The big difference between Natural Family Planning (NFP), which observe cycles of the woman's body, and birth control, is that NFP is not closing the door to God's gift of life. Birth control is a refusal to God. It is closing the door. Couples that practice NFP are open to the gift of life, couples who use contraception are not.
God says "I want to be there during the fertile time but I gave you 3 weeks of great sex." There is absolutely nothing immoral about this. God built us that way. NFP couples report better communication. A man who uses NFP says "I'm willing to have a baby with you." Women find this a lot more romantic than "I want to have sex with you."
God reveals himself in Creation. The Church's position on contraception is based on a concept known as "Natural Law." This is a principle that says "use things in accordance with their nature." For instance, tomatoes grow better when they are treated like tomatoes, and they are watered and given light according to their natures. Today we live in a culture that separates sex from its original purpose ... sex is fun... contraception allows that, but not without serious consequences to the lives of the couple and to society at large.
Sex has a purpose. I know this sounds really prudish but the purpose of sex is babies and bonding. Some will ask, "but what about pleasure?" Pleasure is not the purpose of sex. It is a motive and a consequence. It is a pleasure to eat, sleep, and exercise but that is not the not the purpose of those things. The purpose is they are necessary for our survival. If you don't want babies and bonding don't have sex. So sex is a pleasure if used in the right place in the right way. In today's culture "sex" is more important than life. I think this is backwards. Today, if a woman gets pregnant, she is shocked as if something went wrong. Actually it means something went right with sex. If she gets bonded she's shocked as if she was not supposed to get bonded by sex.
A sperm has no immortal soul, the ovum has no immortal soul. But at conception God creates a new soul that never existed before and will live forever. Despite what the New Age may claim, the Catholic Church asserts that there are not a bunch of souls out there looking for a body. The soul is born at conception and is a new act of creation. God made it from nothing. It is amazing. Sex opens up this arena that God has created.
Approximately, 60% of abortions are entered into because of failed contraception and that includes Church going Christians. Almost zero abortions result from NFP, because the couple is obedient to God and are willing to accept this gift of a life if an unintended pregnancy occurs. When people are contracepting, they already have one foot in the door of the abortion clinic, because they are closed to life when it happens. I know this from my own experience.
An Evangelical emailed me:
"... [God is] providing the right for husband and wife to choose the timing of their child’s conception, a right you recognize by labeling that human-right as natural family planning. You have no moral right to claim that an alternative method of controlling the timing of contraception of children is immoral.
Most certainly parents are "co-operating with the love of God he Creator" when they conceive. They have a responsibility regarding the "regulation of births" (Catechism 2368). However, for them to use contraception to do that is to overstep their role as co-operators and would be an attempt to control God. God has not given us the "right to choose timing" if that right to violate the very nature of the sexual act. There is a big difference between a responsibility and a right. The Catechism explains the difference between NFP and contraception:
2370 Periodic continence, that is, the methods of birth regulation based on self-observation and the use of infertile periods, is in conformity with the objective criteria of morality.158 These methods respect the bodies of the spouses, encourage tenderness between them, and favor the education of an authentic freedom. In contrast, "every action which, ... whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible" is intrinsically evil
Whew! That's strong language. The Church has to be absolutely clear on this given the immensity of harm that has resulted in contraception. The devil never makes anything up by himself, he's not very creative. He takes good and beautiful things of God, like sex inside of marriage and distorts them. The Catechism goes on to say:
Thus the innate language that expresses the total reciprocal self-giving of husband and wife is overlaid, through contraception, by an objectively contradictory language, namely, that of not giving oneself totally to the other. This leads not only to a positive refusal to be open to life but also to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality. . . . The difference, both anthropological and moral, between contraception and recourse to the rhythm of the cycle . . . involves in the final analysis two irreconcilable concepts of the human person and of human sexuality.160
Apart from moral problem of contraception, the pill sometimes results in abortion by preventing the little human from attaching to the wall of her mother's womb.
Well, God does ask a lot from us. Jesus is radical. I'm sure my Evangelical brothers and sisters would agree that Jesus' vision for our lives is probably a lot different than our vision for our lives. It takes a lot of courage to surrender to Jesus' vision for our lives. No one said that the spiritual path would be easy. But the rewards are huge. People who say "yes" to God generally live very fulfilling lives, even though it is not always easy. God will not give us any more than we can handle. Many Christians say "I trust Jesus on everything" except on matters of fertility. This is the place where we should trust him unconditionally. To some people He will give large families, to others He will give small families, some people will be called to celibacy (Mat 19:10-12, 1 Col 7:6-9, 1 Col 7:24-35, 1 Col 7:38-40). He has a desire for each one of us.
Fertility is an opportunity to trust Jesus absolutely on something that is important. This is where the "rubber meets the road." It's easy to trust Jesus on little issues in my life but on something like fertility whoa, now that's asking a lot. Yup, that's right it is. Many Christians take birth control "just in case" Jesus can't figure out what size of family we should have. This is perhaps a lack of trust. Jesus asks a lot from us and wants us to trust him on all matters, even fertility.
We in North America are selfish. Our problem is that we don't want anything to interfere with our "quality of life." If someone has more than three kids they are approached by strangers who ask, "don't you know how to control yourself?" Many of these same intelligent people who criticize parents of large families, complain that our immigration laws are too open. These yuppie culturally sophisticated people fail to understand the simple relationship between the drop in family size and our need to increase immigration to avoid serious demographic problems.
Many couples are DINKS (Double Income No Kids) when they could be SILKS (Single Income Lots of Kids). Perhaps our "quality of life" will drop if we end up with more kids but I invite people who are worried about that to go to an old age home and find old ladies who had large families. Ask them if they were glad they had so many children. I doubt very much that you will find an old woman who says "I wish I had fewer children." In our old age the important thing will be our families, not how many cars we owned.
Catholics believe the Bible is very clear on the issue of contraception. Catholics feel the most vivid example is the account of Onan in Genesis 38:6-10.
Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn; her name was Tamar. 7 But Er, Judah's firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the LORD, and the LORD put him to death. 8 Then Judah said to Onan, "Go in to your brother's wife and perform the duty of a brother-in-law to her; raise up offspring for your brother." 9 But since Onan knew that the offspring would not be his, he spilled his semen on the ground whenever he went in to his brother's wife, so that he would not give offspring to his brother. 10 What he did was displeasing in the sight of the LORD, and he put him to death also.
Modern Evangelicals think this passage is not condemning contraceptive practice, but rather Onan's neglect in fulfilling his duty to carry on the lineage of his dead brother. The succeeding three verses, Deuteronomy 25:7-9 indicate that the penalty for abstaining from sex with your brother's widow was public humiliation NOT death:
"then his brother's wife shall go up to him in the presence of the elders, and pull his sandal off his foot, and spit in his face; and she shall answer and say, 'So shall it be done to the man who does not build up his brother's house.' "(Deuteronomy 25:5-9)
Onan's penalty of death in Genesis 38 was the result of a greater sin which Catholics and early reformers understand to be contraception. Catholics point that out refusing to carry on the lineage of his brother was punishable by public humiliation only, not death. In the Bible, all infertile methods of intercourse were subject to the death penalty: Bestiality in Leviticus 20:15-16, Homosexuality in Leviticus 20:13, Withdrawal in Genesis 38:6-10.Other passages that Catholics feel refer to contraception include Deuteronomy 23:1, Luke 23:28-29.
There are many references to where God refers to Himself as the Husband and to His people (the Church) as His wife (Isa. 54:5; 62:5; Jer. 2:2; 3:1, 14; 31:32; Eze. 16:8; 23:5; Hosea 2:7, 19, Ephesians 5:25, 2 Cor.11:2, Revelation 21:2) Catholics believe that even by its very words, contraception represents a slight and denial of creation itself. "Contraception" means "against the beginning". When God speaks about creation he says "In the beginning." (Jn 1:1)
A well meaning Evangelical man who doesn't want to give up contraception listed Bible verses that he uses to justify his contraceptive relations.
“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” Gen 1:28
He thought this gave parents dominion over reproduction rights and over "people" that haven't even been conceived yet.
The Catholic Church denounces the New Age idea that there is a heavenly soul floating around looking for a body before conception. Conception is the start of everything, body and soul. There is no entity before that. Therefore, the line "every living thing" cannot apply.
Even if we tried to twist the Scripture to mean some humans have dominion over others, that would be saying slavery is OK. This passage was giving humans dominion over creation, over non-humans. It was setting humanity above Creation, not other humans. Psalm 8 makes Genesis 1:28 clear:
4 what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?
5 You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
6 You made him ruler over the works of your hands;
you put everything under his feet:
7 all flocks and herds,
and the beasts of the field,
8 the birds of the air,
and the fish of the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas. (Psm 8)
This demonstrates that Genesis 1:28 is setting humanity apart from the rest of creation. It is not about parents having dominion over "preconceived souls." Another scripture that this person pointed to was:
"Behold, children are a gift of the Lord; The fruit of the womb is a reward." ~ Psalm 127:3
I fail to see how this is a justification for contraception. It is the opposite. It is a pro-conception statement. This is clarified in Genesis 8:17 which says "be fruitful and multiply." Another Scripture:
"Parents, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." ~ Ephesians 6:4
John Pacheco, Catholic apologist, explains that contraception is anti-Trinitarian:
"There is also another element in the Trinity that lends itself to human likeness. The Nicene Creed professes this about the Trinity: "I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life who proceeds from the Father and the Son." ... Catholic theology understands the Father as God knowing himself; the Son as the expression of God's knowledge of Himself; and the Holy Spirit as the result of God's knowledge of Himself. The Father 'looks' at the Son and the Son 'looks' at the Father. They behold in one another their mutual divine goodness and beauty. The love between the Father and the Son 'generate' (not "create" as there is no creation of God) another person, whom we call the Holy Spirit. And so, the Holy Spirit is love 'proceeding' or 'coming from' the first two persons of the Blessed Trinity.
The human family has, of course, a rather striking parallel to this. The ultimate act of intimacy in a marriage mirrors the eternal procession of the Trinity since the act of love itself 'generates' another human being. (Generation is probably even a better term to describe the act than create since humans can create nothing, and so the analogy is closer to the Trinitarian relationship than one might have originally assumed.)" Clearly then, we can see the great difficulties encountered when contraception is admitted into Trinitarian Christianity.
" Onan must have been a malicious and incorrigible scoundrel. [Genesis 38:9, 10].This is a most disgraceful sin. It is far more atrocious than incest and adultery. We call it unchastity, Yes a Sodomitic sin. For Onan goes in to her; that is, he lies with her and copulates; and, when it comes to the point of insemination, spills the semen, lest the woman conceive. Surely at such a time the order of nature established by God in procreation should be followed. Accordingly, it was a most disgraceful crime to produce semen and excite the woman, and to frustrate her at that very moment ... He committed an evil deed. Therefore, God punished him..." (Luther, Martin Luther's Works, Volume Seven)
"Besides [Onan] ... preferred his semen to putrify on the ground, rather than to beget a son in his brother's name....It is a horrible thing to pour out seed besides the intercourse of man and woman. Deliberately avoiding the intercourse, so that the seed drops on the ground, is double horrible. For this means that one quenches the hope of his family, and kills the son, which could be expected, before he is born. ...Moreover he thus has, as much as was in his power, tried to destroy a part of the human race. When a woman in some way drives away the seed out the womb, through aids, (contraception) then this is rightly seen as an unforgivable crime. Onan was guilty of a similar crime, by defiling the earth with his seed, ...." (Calvin, John Commentary on Genesis)
"Onan, though he consented to marry the widow, yet to the great abuse of his own body, of the wife he had married, ... he refused to raise up seed unto his brother. Those sins that dishonour the body are very displeasing to God, and the evidence of vile actions. Observe, the thing which he did displeased the Lord--And it is to be feared, thousands, especially of single persons, by this very thing, still displease the Lord, and destroy their own souls. " (Wesley, John Commentary on Genesis)
John Pacheco writes:
The Catholic Church has always opposed contraception from its very beginning. In fact, it has been the heretical groups like the Gnostics (2nd century), the Manichaeans (4th century) and the Cathari (12th century) who opposed Christianity's teachings on this subject. Here is a selection of citations from the early Church Fathers right down to John Paul II which reaffirm the wickedness of contraception.
Contraception is not a new thing that was invented in this century. It has been around as long as sex has been around. The Church has always taught that contraception is wrong. In the days of the Early Church Fathers (100-200 A.D.) it was called coitus interruptus:
" They take wives according to the laws of matrimony by tablets announcing that the marriage is contracted to procreate children; and then, they copulate in a shameful union only to satisfy lust for their wives." (St. Augustine, Against Faustus, 15:7, 400 A.D.)
"I am supposing, then, although you are not lying [with your wife] for the sake of procreating offspring, you are not for the sake of lust obstructing their procreation by an evil prayer or an evil deed. Those who do this, although are called husband and wife, are not; nor do they retain any reality of marriage, but with a respectable name cover a shame. Sometimes this lustful cruelty, or cruel lust, comes to this, that they even procure poisons of sterility [oral contraceptives].I dare say that either the wife is in a fashion the harlot of her husband or he is an adulterer with his own wife." (Marriage and Concupiscence, 1:15:17, 419 A.D.)
"Moreover, he [Moses] has rightly detested the weasel [Lev. 11:29]. For he means, 'Thou shalt not be like to those whom we hear of as committing wickedness with the mouth with the body through uncleanness [orally consummated sex]; nor shalt thou be joined to those impure women who commit iniquity with the mouth with the body through uncleanness." (Letter of Barnabas, 10:8, 74 A.D.)
"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." (Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor to Children, 2:10:91:2, 191 A.D.)
"[Christian women with male concubines], on account of their prominent ancestry and great property, the so-called faithful want no children from salves or lowborn commoners, they use drugs of sterility [oral contraceptives] or bind themselves tightly in order to expel fetus which has already been engendered [abortion]." (Hippolytus, Refutation of All Heresies, 9:12, 225 A.D.)
"They [certain Egyptian heretics] exercise genital acts, yet prevent the conceiving of children. Not in order to produce offspring, but to satisfy lust, are they eager for corruption." (Epiphanius, Medicine Chest Against the Heretics, 26:5:2, 375 A.D.)
"Why do you sow where the field is eager to destroy the fruit, where there are medicines of sterility [oral contraceptives], where there is murder before birth? You do not even let a harlot remain only a harlot, but you make her a murderess as well. Indeed, it is something worse than murder, and I do not know what to call it; for she does not kill what is formed but prevents its formation. What then? Do you condemn the gift of God and fight with his [natural] laws? (John Chrysostom, Homilies on Romans, 24, 391 A.D.)
"You may see a number of women who are widows before they are wives. Others, indeed, will drink sterility [oral contraceptives] and murder a man not yet born." (St. Jerome, Letters 21:13, 396 A.D.)
I don't (nor does the Church) pretend to have full answers to all the problems of our "first world" selfishness that deprives "third world" countries of development but I will say that I don't think the solution is condoms. That's the "band-aid" solution we want to throw at those countries so we don't have to give up any of our luxuries. It would be better if we practiced generosity and self sacrifice as a solution to third world problems. This is a concept that we in the first world seem to know little about. So it makes sense to me that the first world, would throw the third world a quick fix solution like condoms. Then we don't have to take responsibility for teaching them about morals, which is something I think North America knows little about. What we are basically saying to them is "hey we don't want to look at our moral behaviour so we'll send you condoms so you don't have to look at your moral behaviour." We are also saying "we won't fix your real problems but at least we'll let you have 'fun' and have sex and that way you can stay spiritually unconscious." I'm not saying sex is bad. It is great, but only in the context for which God created it-marital intimacy and the gift of life.
We have been dropping a gazillion condoms on Africa for years and there is not any sign of increased economic benefits, except to the condom companies. Nor has there been significant changes in HIV infection levels. It also seems to have actually torn families apart because the men have been unfaithful to their wives thinking they could have safe sex.
Abstinence Campaigns have been much more successful than the Safer Sex campaigns in Africa. In Uganda they have reduced STD's by over 50% since 1992 through abstinence campaigns. On the other hand, in Botswana and Kenya, where safer sex programs have been implemented, statistics show a rise in HIV transmission. The statistical rise ran parallel to the rise in condom sales.
This "condom sense" strategy ignores a basic precept of human (especially men's) behaviour. It is based on the idea that the solution to widespread sex is more sex (using condoms). The concept of contraception is a "band-aid" solution that doesn't address the real problem, and it compounds the current problems. Fr. Bob Bedard says "I would get laughed out of most university classrooms if I simply stated that the answer is chastity, not condoms".
The truth is that men just don't like using condoms and when both partners
are aroused, their intentions to use condoms are often thrown by the wayside.
Even if they do "successfully" use the condom, once they feed the lust with
"safer-sex" there is a much greater chance that they will practice unsafe sex.
That is why chastity is a better strategy, because it does not feed the lust
the way that contraception does.
Our North American problem is that we don't think humans can live without sex. But we can. Sex is optional. It's not like food. (Chastity is defined as no sex outside of marriage)
I don't pretend to have solutions to worldwide socio-economical and health problems. But I don't think the UN's "population control" schemes are that answer. Many have criticized the Church for not supporting "population control" schemes that advocate wide spread use of contraception. The UN denies aid to countries that don't adopt an aggressive contraception campaign and planned parenthood is trying its best to include abortion access in that package of necessary qualifications.
The emaciated children on TV has little to do with contraception, it has much more to do with corrupt governments, natural disasters and tribes oppressing other tribes.
Some might say that they are worried that the Church has a lot of power to teach morals. I believe God intended to establish a teaching body that would not change its understanding of morality with every change in the socio-economical wind. I believe God promised Peter that he would protect the Church from errors in teaching. A look at my own miserable life before becoming Catholic is all the evidence I need to assure me that it is better to trust the Church with morals than to my own feeble reasoning which is riddled with self-rationalizations.
One of the most intelligent men in the world and the richest human on the planet ate humble pie. After an investment of more than 40 million dollars Bill and Melinda Gates brainchild of a solution to AIDS in Africa has turned out to actually increase the incidents of AIDS. Test trials on 3,000 high risk women (prostitutes etc) using the vaginal gel completely failed and tons of them got AIDS. In fact, the vaginal gel actually increased the incidence of AIDS among these women. The directors of the tests called the women "heros." I couldn't help but think what he actually treated them as was human laboratory mice. He said this was empowering to women, instead he caused them to be infected with AIDS and so these African women became failed guinea pigs for clinical testing that he could not get away with on North American women.
In light of Pope Benedict's comments on condoms there has been a firestorm in the sex hungry media. So much so that very few media outlets had the guts to print the Pope's entire comment and even changed what he had said to make their sound bite.
‘I would say that this problem of AIDS cannot be overcome with advertising slogans. If the soul is lacking, if Africans do not help one another, the scourge cannot be resolved by distributing condoms; quite the contrary, we risk worsening the problem. [The media changed the word "risk" to "are"]
‘The solution can only come through a twofold commitment: firstly, the humanization of sexuality, in other words a spiritual and human renewal bringing a new way of behaving towards one another; and secondly, true friendship, above all with those who are suffering, a readiness - even through personal sacrifice - to be present with those who suffer.
We in the "First World" look at the population control problem from the eyes of a first world country. We have old age security. They do not. Their children are their security in their old age. That is who takes care of them in their old age and when they are sick.
Some sociologists, environmentalists and economists have demonstrated that the entire population of the planet could live on an area the size of Texas. (if people weren't so selfish.) There would be 1000 square feet per person, which is a slightly higher density than San Francisco but a slightly lower density than the Bronx in New York City.
Overpopulation is not the problem, under population is our problem. The replacement birth rate is 2:1. Many countries are well below that. John Pacheco writes:
This reality is well known by the US government which predicts that the current situation with social security which has four people working for every person receiving social security, will shrink to 2 to 1 by the year 2030. It is unlikely that the economy can support such an arrangement. Italy is burying more people than are born. Russia has lost 500,000 in total population every year since 1989. Europe will shrink to a fraction of its current population by the end of the 21st century, which has negligible immigration, will lose 25% of its population by 2050. Not only have we disobeyed God by ceasing to multiply, we have not filled the earth. Australia, a continent nearly the size of the United States only has 19 million people versus 280 million for the US. Most of South America is so sparsely populated that telephones do not exist except in major cities.
North American culture is dying. In Quebec the French language is under serious threat because they are having so few babies. We use contraception and abort our babies and then travel half way around the world to adopt a baby because there are no babies available for adoption in North America.
Theology of the Body - a quiet sexual revolution that is bringing the children of chaos back to becoming children of the Light
Pope John Paul II did a fantastic series of lectures on human sexuality. These lectures from his Wednesday audiences have brought a renewed love of the Bible and an incredible movement of the spirit to purify people's sexual lives, and to convince us of the true meaning of love, sex, marriage and openness to life. Christopher West is doing a great job of teaching this. www.tobinstitute.org
Here's some videos comparing Natural Family Planning (NFP) to contraception (based on the popular Mac vs. PC ads):
Lord Jesus, let Your prayer of unity for Christians
become a reality, in Your way.
We have absolute confidence
that you can bring your people together,
we give you absolute permission to move.