What’s Wrong With Contraception?


Q. Why is Natural Family Planning OK but contraception is a grave sin? What is the difference?

A. The difference is that one is indulgence in pleasure and the other practices self control. Both methods have the same effect, limiting family size, but that does not make them equal morally. For instance, if Grandma is terminally ill you could kill her or allow her to die naturally. The end result is the same but the moral difference could not be greater. Never do evil so that good may come.

The couple who practices NFP abstains from pleasure in order to limit family size while the contracepting couple indulges in pleasure stripped from its meaning and purpose.

The NFP couple practices total self giving love in their union but the contracepting couple rejects the fertility of their mate and so the union is incomplete.

God designed sex and eating to be pleasurable so that we would not forget to procreate and nourish our bodies. Stripping the pleasure of sex away from its God-given purpose is disordered just like attempting to get the pleasure out of eating but avoiding the natural purpose by throwing up after every meal.

God created the marital union to be a tri-unity of pleasure, bonding and openess to children. The attempt to extract pleasure and bypass the purpose of sex and eating is called lust and bulimia.

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42 Responses to What’s Wrong With Contraception?

  1. Breastfeeding, when done properly, is also God’s plan for baby care and baby spacing. It is the most natural of the NFP methods and does not involve abstinence. It also bonds the mother and baby, and it is one NFP method that can be used without having a sufficiently serious reason. On the other hand, due to the many benefits for mother and baby, it could be said that you should have a serious reason not to breastfeed. Our federal government has told mothers that their babies are at risk if they do not breastfeed. The Seven Standards of eco-breastfeeding can be downloaded free at http://www.nfpandmore.org using the online NFP manual. Chapter 4 covers the instruction on breastfeeding. Sheila, volunteer of NFP International

  2. Dr. Acula says:

    Ms. Kippley,

    Couples should watch out if they are spacing their babies. Coming back into fertility after breastfeeding is very tricky as a woman most likely will not have a period before she ovulates again.

    This is why my 4 children are all about 18 months apart. ;)

  3. Ecological breastfeeding is 99% effective for postponing pregnancy during the first 6 months when the nursing mother has no periods. After 6 months, the chance of conception before the first period, according to 3 studies, is 6%. A woman can easily discern the return of the first menstruation or the first ovulation via the mucus and cervix changes.

  4. GoodForm says:

    I’m with you on all of this, but I find weak the argument that a contracepting couple rejects their fertility while the NFP couple does not. In one case, NFP, fertility is respected, yes. But in both cases fertility is avoided or rejected.

    As a practicing Catholic I’m totally on board with NFP, and the rejection of contraception. I have run into difficulty, however, in trying to defend the difference with my friends and some of my family.

    Your comparison with killing a terminally ill patient is convincing, though. Again, I don’t need to be convinced, it’s just the argument about one rejecting while the other is not that I don’t see winning too many people over with. In both cases fertility is avoided.

  5. bfhu says:

    GoodForm,

    The difference is not in the ultimate outcome of limiting family size. You are right: both NFP and Contraception accomplish the same goal of limiting family size. The difference is that NFP makes use of natural fertility/infertility ordained by God and practices self-mastery and self-denial in abstaining during fertile times. The contracepting couple however, is using artificail methods and practicing self-indulgence.

    It is that the marital union of a contracepting couple is not only not a total self-giving and UNION but that they are also saying with their bodies,

    “I reject your fertility but accept the pleasure of the sexual union.”

    But with NFP, even though it might be timed so as to limit family size, the reality is that there is nothing artificial that prevents conception so the sexual union is fully open to conception and the will of God. In addition to this, sexual abstinence must be practiced thus abstaining from the sexual pleasure of the marital union in order to limit family size.

    The main difference is that with contraception pleasure is extracted from the marital act while the NFP couple unite in total self giving each time.

    The contracepting couple practice faith in themselves and the NFP couple practice faith in God.

    It is a closely reasoned point that goes beyond ends and looks at the means, which most people in our utilitarian culture are not used to thinking about. Does this help?

  6. GoodForm says:

    Hey bfhu,
    Yes, this helps. Thank you for taking the time to explain this. The whole “what’s the difference” argument has been a huge stumbling block for me in trying to explain NFP to friends and family.
    I will re-read your post a few times.
    Thanks!!
    Tom

  7. Elizabeth Phillips says:

    The history of the Catholic Faith is to only use NFP if there is deep dificulty like a MOM is too ill due to physical or mental illness. I figure in both of those sex should not be really happening anyway. Why the change ..??? I agree with the above poster. NFP is really no different both couples are not open to many of children and want the same results.

  8. bfhu says:

    Elizabeth,

    Did you happen to read my response to Goodform? If not please read that and I will summarize below.

    The difference is:


    Contraception:
    The couple practices sexual self indulgence
    NFP: The couple must practices self control and self mastery

    Contraception: The couple is not required to practice self denial of sexual pleasure.

    NFP: The couple is required to practice self denial of sexual pleasure at times

    Contraception rejects the fertility of the loved one
    NFP allows each sexual act to be totally accepting of their loved one

    Contraception: One or both partners withholds their fertility
    NFP: Both partners are able to be totally self-giving of every part of themselves even their fertility.

    Contraception: Prevents the sexual act from being totally unifying
    NFP: Every sexual act is one of total union

    All methods of achieving a good outcome are not morally equal as in the example in my post about a very sick grandmother.

    It is good to have enough money to pay your bills (Good Outcome)
    But the goodness of having enough money does not make any method of obtaining that money automatically good. For instance, one could work for the money or rob a bank. The end does not justify the means.

  9. Elizabeth Phillips says:

    I am just saying that I researched the history of the catholic faith,and they only believed in NFP in XTREME circumstances..Not as something to replace birth control.
    SO your views are not necessarily what the foundation of the catholic faith believes. Why you think you see so many Hispanics have lots of kids,because they are raised up in the PURE CATHOLIC RELIGION which believes in BIG FAMILIES and NO BIRTH CONTROL..not even NFP. How can we say we truly trust GOD when we are still trying to prevent ourselves from having children,just like the world does with there birth control. You want1.2 kids and they want 1.2 kids same wants ..you just using different ways of getting there.

  10. Fr. J. says:

    Elizabeth, “extreme circumstances” does not cover it. NFP is permissible for the spacing of children, for financial reasons, and for health reasons.

    Latin American Catholicism is not more “pure” but it is more pre-modern and less theologically educated. There is a big difference.

    The Catholic Church does not have any family size goals.

  11. bfhu says:

    Thank you Fr. J. I just want to add also that the Catholic Faith DOES NOT teach that a couple MUST HAVE AS MANY CHILDREN AS POSSIBLE REGARDLESS OF FINANCES AND ENERGY OF THE PARENTS.

    This sort of thinking is irresponsible. Instead the Catholic Church teaches that both partners must abstain in order to be responsible parents if they are unable to support financially and emotionally all the children they might have.

  12. Elizabeth Phillips says:

    I challenge both of you to research it. I know because I have …look at what your founding fathers taught in the CATHOLIC faith concerning family and children. It was not what you both are teaching. Compromise has gotten in. Yes they believed that GOD desired for us to have big families and only if there was XTREME health or poverty conditions then you should practive NFP. There is nowhere in the bible that teaches that couples are suppose to abstain from each other to not have any more kids…NOWHERE. IT only teaches abstaining for fasting. Again what you are teaching is not lining up with God’s WORD. The way you think is the same that the world thinks that we should limit our children according to what we feel is a good number. Which again eliminates TRUSTING GOD. Why you think there are more and more Catholics just going ahead with the contraceptives,because they see no difference in what the modern catholics are teaching now,to what the world is teaching. Again I challenge bothe of you to research your catholic history on how they believed about family. God’s arm is not short that HE CAN NOT provide. His GRACE is SUFFICENT!!!Look at the DUGGARD family she is pregnant with the 18th child right now,and they are doing better financially then alot of people that have very few kids.

  13. EP – can you provide some links or citations to further back up your thinking?

  14. Elizabeth Phillips says:

    SURE! I will give you one paragraph and a link..but just look up catholic history on birth control and you will see NFP was frowned upon.

    Catholic Church and Birth Control
    History of Birth Control Ban
    The Catholic church has said since its beginning that birth control was “wrong”. Birth control was known at least since the times of the ancient Greeks and Romans. During these days birth control came in the form of animal skin condoms and various poisons to be used as spermicides.

    The first mention of the ban on birth control was in Genesis 38:8-10. In this story, Onan is ordered to sleep with his brother’s widow. He “pulled out” to not get her pregnant and was slain as a result.

    The next mention of birth control being wrong is in Deuteronomy 23:1. It says “He whose testicles are crushed or whose male member is cut off shall not enter the assembly of the Lord.” Pretty nasty ways of sterilization, those!

    This message is reiterated many times in subsequent years by church leaders. Clement of Alexandria (AD195) says, “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”. Reminds you of the “Every Sperm is Sacred” song from Monty Python, yes? You can find the messages over and over again through history. People are told, abstain if you don’t want kids.

    Over the centuries, all groups that broke off of the church agreed with the birth control ban as a “normal” part of life. It was never even thought of to change this mandate against birth control.

    It was only in 1930 that the Anglicans began to weaken, and they are very careful to say it can that birth control could only be used for *family planning* (i.e. perhaps stopping after 3 kids if you were already starving). But with this minor change, the floodgates had been opened. Soon all ‘reform’ religions said birth control in general was acceptable. Keep in mind that this change in message came VERY quickly after over 1,000 years of solid belief.

    Pope Pius XI was quite upset by this growing acceptance of birth control. He put out a Casti Connubii that said:

    “Since, therefore, openly departing from the uninterrupted Christian tradition some recently have judged it possible solemnly to declare another doctrine regarding this question, the Catholic Church, … in order that she may preserve the chastity of the nuptial union from being defiled by this foul stain, … proclaims anew: any use whatsoever of matrimony exercised in such a way that the act is deliberately frustrated in its natural power to generate life is an offense against the law of God and of nature, and those who indulge in such are branded with the guilt of a grave sin. ”

    So Pope Pius XI explicitly said that married people should have sex with the full expectation that children could result each time. To do anything else is a grave sin.

    Modern Times
    In 1966, there was a Papal Commission on Birth Control. This Commission voted 30-5 to relax the concerns on birth control. But in 1968, Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae reiterated the anti-birth-control stance. He said this was necessary because the commission was not unanimous, that governments could force sterilization if sterilization was “ok”, and that men who used women for sex would lose respect for them. His final point is that God created sex to create children – and that man should not interfere with this system.

    The ban includes all impediments with the sexual act – sterilization, withdrawl, the pill, condoms, etc. Note that the rhythm method (not having sex on certain days with the intent to avoid child-making) which once WAS banned is now considered to be OK. The church called this “Natural Family Planning”. However there are priests who still argue that the rhythm method – since it involves sex for pleasure while trying to avoid kids – is therefore wrong. Even abstinence in a marriage is apparently wrong, since married people should follow God’s will to try to have children

    http://www.lisashea.com/lisabase/aboutme/birthcontrol.html

  15. Elizabeth Phillips says:

    SURE

  16. Elizabeth Phillips says:

    http://www.lisashea.com/lisabase/aboutme/birthcontrol.html

    Over the centuries, all groups that broke off of the church agreed with the birth control ban as a “normal” part of life. It was never even thought of to change this mandate against birth control.

    It was only in 1930 that the Anglicans began to weaken, and they are very careful to say it can that birth control could only be used for *family planning* (i.e. perhaps stopping after 3 kids if you were already starving). But with this minor change, the floodgates had been opened. Soon all ‘reform’ religions said birth control in general was acceptable. Keep in mind that this change in message came VERY quickly after over 1,000 years of solid belief.

  17. Elizabeth Phillips says:

    I am trying but I think they blocked me

  18. Elizabeth Phillips says:

    Modern Times
    In 1966, there was a Papal Commission on Birth Control. This Commission voted 30-5 to relax the concerns on birth control. But in 1968, Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae reiterated the anti-birth-control stance. He said this was necessary because the commission was not unanimous, that governments could force sterilization if sterilization was “ok”, and that men who used women for sex would lose respect for them. His final point is that God created sex to create children – and that man should not interfere with this system.

    The ban includes all impediments with the sexual act – sterilization, withdrawl, the pill, condoms, etc. Note that the rhythm method (not having sex on certain days with the intent to avoid child-making) which once WAS banned is now considered to be OK. The church called this “Natural Family Planning”. However there are priests who still argue that the rhythm method – since it involves sex for pleasure while trying to avoid kids – is therefore wrong. Even abstinence in a marriage is apparently wrong, since married people should follow God’s will to try to have children.

  19. bfhu says:

    Can you give us a citation please?

  20. Elizabeth Phillips says:

    What do you mean by a citation,?If you just look up the history of the catholic church on birth control..you can pull it right up.

  21. Nan says:

    Author, Title, Publisher, Page number for books; author, title, issue, volume, page for periodicals.

  22. Nan says:

    The difference between generally pulling something up and citing is that pulling up a topic will reveal information from many sources, not all of which will be credible. Citations enable the next person to find the exact source upon which you relied. So everyone can be on the same page. In a literal sense.

  23. Elizabeth Phillips says:

    Let me ask you all a question..?? If you find out it is true what I am saying,will it change your beliefs and what you are teaching…? I seriously doubt it,instead you might just change religions. All I am doing is pointing out the hypocrisy in what you are saying. Spacing children is not biblically supported,just as birth control is not. NFP is just another way from man to play GOD by limiting there kids. Alot of Catholics do not do NFP because they just want a better way to space there kids out. People will continue to do this,until the selfish,self-centered mentality is changed. The biblical view is big families and if there was not big families in the bible it was not due to birth control but barreness. A Woman main purpose is to give birth and be a mother.GOD will not give you no more than you can bear ir than HE can provide for. TRUST HIM

  24. Nan says:

    In other words, you have no citation.

  25. “Let me ask you all a question..?? If you find out it is true what I am saying,will it change your beliefs and what you are teaching…? I seriously doubt it,instead you might just change religions. “

    Well, rather than be seriously insulting to our faith and our intellect and our commitment to the practice of the True Faith, why not provide some citations for your thesis?

  26. Elizabeth Phillips says:

    Just give me some time I will find the citations you need. I have wonderful catholic friends who can give me the info.

  27. Nan says:

    What happened to just pulling it up? Surely if you found the information online, you’d be able to post a link to it.

  28. Fr. J. says:

    Hmmm, Elizabeth, I thought you said you had researched all of this. So, where is your research?

  29. Elizabeth Phillips says:

    I found all my info on the internet. I am not Catholic,but I have wonderful Catholic friends,and they confirmed for me what I had found on the internet. That is why I asked you to research the history and confirm it as well. NFP was only used in XTREME circumstances. I promise you that if you research the history you will find the same what I say to be true. So again I challenge all of you to RESEARCH the history on NFP and what your forefathers believed concerning it. By the way I tried to post the link,but for some reason it will not show up on here.

  30. bfhu says:

    Elizabeth,

    You will not be able to post a true link but you can copy and paste the address. One of us can make it a working link.

  31. nan says:

    Yes, but where on the internet did you find your info? Much information on the internet is inaccurate so it’s quite important to be able to cite your sources. I’m Catholic myself and am well aware that there is frequently a huge gap between what Catholics think they know about Catholic teachings and actual Catholic teachings. In any case, “my friend said” exclusive of said friend’s identity, training and qualifications as an expert on Catholic teachings, isn’t a compelling argument.

    I don’t know why you’d have trouble posting a link; I’ve posted links here before and they worked just fine.

  32. Elizabeth Phillips says:

    Humanae Vitae (Of Human Life), Pope Paul VI, 25 July 1968:
    Humanae Vitae states that each and every act of sexual intercourse must be open to life. When NFP is used with the intention of avoiding pregnancy – through the possession of knowledge of when pregnancy will almost certainly not occur – then the intention precludes the consideration of being open to life against the tenant of Humanae Vitae that sexual acts must be open to pregnancy except under limited circumstances. If one does not know when pregnancy can take place then it can be said that acts of sexual intercourse are open to life. As Jesus well established in the Gospels, sin is in the desires of the mind as well as in the offensive act

  33. Elizabeth Phillips says:

    H.V. §16.2 If, then, there are serious motives to space out births, which derive from the physical or psychological conditions of husband and wife, or from external conditions, the Church teaches that it is then licit to take into account the natural rhythms immanent in the generative functions, for the use of marriage in the infecund periods only, and in this way to regulate birth without offending the moral principles which have been recalled earlier.

  34. Elizabeth Phillips says:

    “NFP may never be used with the contraceptive mentality (Contraceptive mentality – the desire and willingness to avoid pregnancy regardless of method to be used, natural, mechanical, or chemical.) per the teachings of the Church in Humanae Vitae §10.4; §16.2.”

  35. Elizabeth Phillips says:

    Natural Family Planning may never be used with the contraceptive mentality (Humanae Vitae by Pope Paul VI). It may only be used when their is grievous reason to do so. To use NFP without proper reason is a mortal sin regardless of what you may have been told by any person, even a priest. No moral permission can ever be granted for the use of NFP with the contraceptive mentality.

  36. Elizabeth Phillips says:

    Here is the link

    http://www.trosch.org/chu/nfp.html

  37. Elizabeth Phillips says:

    The number of children God gives to each couple must be accepted whether it is none or twenty-five. St. Catherine of Sienna (a great saint and doctor of the Church) was the 25th child of her parents. She was a twin. There is one woman today in South America who has approximately 70 children. She had many multiple births. God provided for all of these children even though the father was, to my recollection, a humble janitor. When birth control is not practiced an average family might well have eight children.

    Before being concerned with overcrowding of the planet, keep in mind that Earth is but one habitable planet among millions of habitable planets in this single small galaxy called “The Milky Way.” Keep also in mind that even if the foregoing is not true it is still God’s decision as to when the day of final judgement will come upon us. The worthy will be brought into Heaven before the Earth (as we know it), and all remaining thereon, will be destroyed and form a permanent Hell. — Sincerely in Christ, – fr. david

  38. Elizabeth Phillips says:

    Direct and Indirect Sterilization:
    All permanent and temporary acts that remove or limit the possibility of procreation are morally to be considered as acts rendering otherwise natural acts to be acts of sodomy. In effect any act opposed to the initial command of God to “be fertile and multiply” is a sodomite act. The encouraging or practicing of acts that delay the onset of puberty are included.
    Coaches of young women who direct diets and/or physical exercise knowing that such will postpone puberty (an act that is in itself morally condemnable) are direct participants in subsequent acts of sexual intercourse that have in effect become acts of sodomy. This practice is said to be common of girls in training for olympic competition under the direction of their coaches. The following is intended as a partial list of permanent and temporary sterilization practices:
    1. tubal ligations and vasectomies (both conditions may be reversible)
    2. unnecessary damaged to or removal of the uterus, testicles, etc.
    3. birth control pills, injections, patches, etc. (abortions at times occur)
    4. abstaining from sexual intercourse during the woman’s fertile period
    5. using spermicides or otherwise rendering sperm nonmotile
    6. inter uterine devices (abortions commonly occur)
    7. male or female condoms or cervical caps
    8. sexual promiscuity resulting in STD’s that inhibit procreation or cause sterilization
    9. douches, morning after pills (abortions at times occur), etc.
    10. procured abortion often inhibits fertilization, implantation, or causes miscarriage
    11. excessive exercise or dieting with knowledge that ovulation will be delayed

  39. “Before being concerned with overcrowding of the planet, keep in mind that Earth is but one habitable planet among millions of habitable planets in this single small galaxy called “The Milky Way.””

    Elizabeth, don’t tilt at windmills or beat the straw men to death. No one, and I repeat that NO ONE here is talking about over population or carbon footprints. Arguing against that is preaching to the choir.

    What we are very gently asking for – many times over now – is your evidence or citations for this seemingly more-Catholic-than-the-Pope argument against even using Natural Family Planning.

    Now you seem to provide quotes to Humanae Vitae – which I not only know well, but actually it was the teaching that brought me back to the Catholic faith. From there I am trying to understand, do you accept NFP as a legitimate option for folks in need of spacing births or are you continuing to cast aspesions on those who use it as no different than using birth control if the ends happen to be similar?

    (I can earn $1000 or steal it, in the end I have $1000, but it is NOT the same!)

    The ONE citation you finally offer is to a likely sedevacantist post that questions the veracity of the very Mass the Pope himself celebrates and has become unto itself an arbiter of what it things the Catholic Church is. It is not rocket science – once you begin to “know better” the way that site has, you have ceased to be Catholic and have instead become a new sect or denomination.

    So, Elizabeth, for the last time, I am begging, pleading, asking and imploring you to make a solid case against EVER using NFP using documentation from the magisterium, not your private opinion, or the opinions of those in open rejection of the magisterium and the approved Eucharistic rites.

    If you cannot do so, it is time for you to move on until you can back up what you say is Catholic as being truly Catholic, or conform yourself to the teachings of the magisterium.

    So provide solid sources that back up your stance that only the most extreme life threatening conditions and circumstances allow for the use of NFP and all other matters are as gravely sinful as you are claiming.

    Do that, or we are done here.

  40. Elizabeth Phillips says:

    Asimplesinner: All I was giving you was the background and history of NFP in the CATHOLIC religion and just letting you know that it was not to be used with a contraceptive mentality or used to take the place of birth control. However COMPROMISE creeped in and now catholics like yourself are trying to justify it, USING NFP is not open to life,but closed to it..so all that is up here is a LIE. This teaching is no different from people that take contraceptives. YOU PURPOSELY AVOID days of FERTILITY to AVOID NEW LIFE. WHY…?????? For the same reasons people take contaceptives and get abortions. Any child can see that W/OUT a CITATION. I am done here and I believe my point has been made. If you read the above CATHOLIC TEACHINGS ..I am sure you can see where they are coming from,and why many CATHOLICS today reject NFP and rather stay on contraceptives.,because you both have the same metality and that is I am only open to LIFE up until it is comfortable for me and then when I decide it is no more comfortable for me,THEN I AM CLOSED TO NEW LIFE!

  41. You are done here.

    Your invectives and accusitive baseless accusations against me when all I ever did was ask you for sound reasoning and citations are unwarranted, unwelcome and just plain rude.

    Your calling our writing and comments lies shows all the charity and scholarship of a fanatic.

    If your take on the matter (without resorting to exagerating or distorting our own) was never something that you would or could offer on the merits of reliable citations for your point. That is telling.

    I wish you well and bid you peace, but if you can’t back up your accusations with factual citations after being generously allowed a good deal of time to do so after making baseless accusations it is time for you to move on.

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