For over fifty years a contraceptive mentality has been entrenched in the world. The Church has steadfastly taught that artificial means to prevent or terminate conception are intrinsically immoral. Why is that?
God created human sexuality -- "Male and female He created them..." Intimate sexual relations are special and meant for husband and wife in a life-long union. Each marital union essentially has a twofold purpose: the expression of marital love and the openness to life or procreation. Love means the deep abiding desire for the good of the spouse. This love is not limited by selfishness. It is a love that is fertile; it bears fruit. This means that love is expressed not only in deeds and words but also in the joyful acceptance of the gift of the conception of new life.
This is not an ideal that would be nice, but rather the way God intends it to be. Objections to the Church's position on artificial contraception have been arguments centering the difficulty of having and rearing a large number of children or even one child. Yet, the occurrence of many births is rare for couples who do not use birth control. Moreover, the Church has always sanctioned natural family planning. With NFP the wife and husband can scientifically and accurately postpone birth for as long as it is necessary. But, there is a caution. The same contraceptive attitude can creep into the use of NFP, that is, not wanting children for selfish reasons (luxuries, easier life style, etc.).Natural Family Planning is not what many older people remember as the rhythm method which was inaccurate. NFP is precise in determining when the wife is able to conceive. As opposed to the artificial means, it strengthens the marriage bond because the use of NFP is a team (husband and wife) effort and not a responsibility left only to the woman.
Pope Paul VI rightly predicted back in 1968 in his encyclical Humanae Vitae that the use of artificial means of contraception would lead to a rise in immorality including pre-marital sex, abortion, the devaluing of women. In short, it has ushered in a world where anything goes as far as sexual activity is concerned even the attempts to redefine marriage.
Hopefully, true love will prevail. We need a world that is less selfish, a world open to life.
Continued next week.