Last week I began paraphrasing Pope Paul VI's encyclical Humanae Vitae (On Humans Life) which deals with the regulation of birth. This was occasioned by the Obama Administration's violation of religious liberty and conscience by requiring Catholic institutions to include abortifacients and artificial birth control in the insurance coverage they provide to employees."
The following is a continuation of this encyclical.
No government, nor any outside power, has the right to interfere with religion or the family. Our faith teaches that "children are the supreme gift of marriage and contribute to the welfare of their parents." (Humanae Vitae, no. 9) In the consideration of having children, husband and wife are not free to act independently of God. They should know that the very nature of conjugal acts is twofold: unitive and procreative. Each and every marital act should be expressive of love and the openness to new life.To use this divine gift destroying, even if only partially, its meaning and its purpose is to contradict the nature both of man and of woman and of their most intimate relationship, and therefore it is to contradict also the plan of God and His will. On the other hand, to make use of the gift of conjugal love while respecting the laws of the generative process means to acknowledge oneself not to be the arbiter of the sources of human life, but rather the minister of the design established by the Creator. (no. 13)
This means that it is against the dignity of man and woman to use chemicals, pills, devices and surgical procedures that prevent conception. However, the natural method, that is natural family planning, is compatible with moral principles. Here the married couple make use of a natural disposition because they use the marriage act during the infertile times. These times can be precisely pinpointed each month. It should be noted that even the use of the natural method to space births must come from selfless motives.
Pope Paul VI continues the encyclical by enumerating the consequences of the use of artificial birth control. The road would be more easily opened to marital infidelity. Men "... may finally lose respect for the woman and, no longer caring for her physical and psychological equilibrium, may come to the point of considering her as a mere instrument of selfish enjoyment, and no longer as his respected and beloved companion..." (no.17)
Essentially God instituted marriage for men and women. He created the conjugal act for a selfless purpose which is love and the openness to children. Excluding this purpose makes the use of sex selfish which eventually leads to an-anything-goes attitude. This not the world that God designed for us. He wants us to share His love and not become hardened.
The conclusion next week...