Jeremiah 6:16

Thus saith the Lord: Stand ye on the ways, and see and ask for the old paths which is the good way, and walk ye in it: and you shall find refreshment for your souls.


Male Contraceptives May Soon Become A Reality

Male Contraceptives May Soon Become A Reality

This article, as well as others like it, and conversations that I have had with fellow students in the past two days have prompted me to post this.

Why is Natural Family Planning accepted by the Church while contraception is condemned? They both do the same thing--prevent pregnancy.

Because you don't judge the morality of actions by their effects or consequences. You judge their morality by what they essentially are. Using contraceptives such as condoms or diaphragms may accomplish the same end result as Natural Family Planning, but the ways they go about it are very different.

Pope Paul VI's encyclical Humanae Vitae defines contraception as "every action which, in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible" (14). Such an action actively eliminates or withholds the procreative good of the marital act. This is sinful because "every marriage act must remain open to the transmission of life" (11). Since one of the two ends of sexual intercourse is procreation (the other being unity of husband and wife, 12), engaging in sex while deliberately frustrating the procreative act is, as Pope John Paul II has repeatedly called it, "a lie in the language of the body."

If practicing contraception is to lie in the language of the body, to practice Natural Family Planning is to take the Fifth. Natural Family Planning (typically) involves restricting sexual relations to infertile periods in the woman's cycle. Although intercourse during these times is less likely to produce a conception, a couple always remains open to the possibility, having taken no action to render it impossible; therein lies the difference (see Humanae Vitae 16). During fertile periods abstinence is practiced, a sacrifice which shows respect for God's gift of sex and its proper ends. Conversely, practicing contraception during these times displays a lack of respect for this gift and a focus instead on selfish pleasure.

One further difference needs to be pointed out. Contraception is often a practice of convenience, while Natural Family Planning, to be licit, must be a practice of necessity, requiring "serious motives to space out births, which derive from the physical or psychological conditions of husband and wife, or from external conditions" (16). Thus it must not be used as "contraception Catholic style."

If you have any questions, corrections, problems or comments please feel free to comment and we'll get into it.

Note: This is a post from my original blog on 28 April 2006

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