I wish I could say I enjoyed reading John Kippley’s book, Sex and the Marriage Covenant, the first time I read it. Instead, I found it painful to read, because I became aware that I had not been following the teaching of the Church for at least ten years of my own marital life. While we rejected artificial contraception after the second year of our marriage, I was not aware, or maybe I was culpably ignorant, that “withdrawal” was also considered an immoral practice. This was a humbling, indeed humiliating discovery and it marked a turning point in my marriage.
It is depressing to report how the priest responded when I confessed these past sins. He said: “So you want to take the high road?”
The discovery of the fullness of the Catholic teaching on sexual matters, I can honestly say, has increased the pleasure of marriage (which in our case has produced six children). It has deepened the love between me and my wife. Self restraint increased the pleasure of the marital act and it deepens love. Kippley’s book can be summarized in a single word: rationality.
I have referred to Sex and the Marriage Covenant in my teaching and writing. The author is learned, and his discussions of birth control in the New and Old Testaments are extremely valuable. Moreover, the anecdotes he offers from his engagement with modern Catholic exegetes, who are not too supportive of the Church’s teaching, offer to me final proof that exegesis without presuppositions is an impossibility. Modern exegetes simply ignore or misinterpret the Scriptural evidence for the immorality of contraception.
I strongly endorse this book and thank God for it. (Anonymous)