Although I like meeting people on CatholicMatch, I’m frustrated that some of them judge me for not agreeing with the Church’s stance on contraception.
I am a practicing Catholic and take my faith seriously. I believe I am a good person and a Catholic in good standing. But my conscience tells me that not being able to plan a family as you can afford one is irresponsible and something that a couple should decide for themselves, without a guilt complex being incurred by the Church hierarchy.
A lot of families today are on welfare and struggling because they have too many children. I don’t want to be one of those. I want to have a happy marriage. I’d like to hear your opinion on this issue.
– A Common Sense Values Member
Dear Common Sense Values Member,
Thanks so much for your important question and explanation of your beliefs. It’s always refreshing to dialog with someone who is passionate about what they believe.
Your valid concern about being a responsible parent and the Church’s position on contraception brings up a number of points to talk about, so I’ll address the most important point now to help you understand why the Church’s teaching is correct and why we need to follow it, and then I’ll follow up with more points next Monday.
First, the Church does not mandate couples must have endless numbers of children regardless of being able to provide for them. Children are not “things” that we acquire during marriage like we do furniture or nick-nacks. That would be a materialistic view of children and not one the Church preaches.
However, in helping spouses become good and responsible parents, the Church is 100% correct in condemning the use of “artificial birth control” as a means to plan a family precisely because artificial birth control methods eliminate God from the marriage covenant.
When a couple marries, they create a 3-way covanent: God, the bride and the groom. This union is a reflection of the Holy Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Since God has given a woman a natural system within herself to know when she is fertile or infertile, she can avoid pregnancy if necessary and God is still part of the equation. This system, which is widely and successfully practiced, is called the Natural Family Planning method.
When a wife takes the pill, has her tubes tied, the husband gets a vasectomy, or any of the other forms of artificial birth control, the couple has shut God out of their married life, even if they don’t know this, even if they don’t intend to do this. The artificial means makes it impossible for God to be included, which translates to the couple having said, “No” to God and removed His ability to act.
Getting married requires not just love, but responsibility. Responsibility to each other, and to God. He created marriage so that spouses would become one flesh and bring children into the world, so even though there are times when it is appropriate and for the good of the spouses to avoid pregnancy, every couple still has the responsibility to bring new life into the world. I encourage you to consult Pope Paul VI’s encyclical, Humanae vitae, regarding appropriate times to avoid pregnancy.
This is the number one reason why a couple should not introduce artificial contraception into their relationship. I would like to refer you to one of the most knowledgeable speakers/writers on this issue, Dr. Janet Smith, to learn more about why artificial contraception is not good for marriages. However, allow me to list a few of the other important reasons to avoid using artificial contraception:
- Artificial contraception harms a woman’s body. Depression is one of the prominent side affects of taking the pill, getting sterilized, etc., not to mention the harmful side affects of the pill such as increased risk of stroke, heart attack, ability to conceive after stopping, etc.
- Since the rise in numbers of women taking artificial contraception, divorce rate has also significantly risen.
- Contraception makes sex a “utilitarian” concept, one that is far removed from God’s original intent.
I hope this helps. Look for my article next Monday where I will cover more points. Feel free to continue the conversation at firstname.lastname@example.org.