From a reader: “My wife has received the following arguments for contraception. Could you help me provide solid responses to these arguments? I need to help her. I need to help our marriage.”
The wife’s comments are in italics followed by my [John's] response.
Sex is not just for making babies, it also makes a couple closer and brings enjoyment.
I agree, but that’s not an argument for contraception. Sexual union is intended by God to be exclusively a marriage act. Within marriage it ought to be a true marriage act, a renewal of their marriage covenant and commitment of love, for better and for worse. In God’s plan, the marriage act is both for bonding and babies. It is God Himself who put togethr in one act what we call making love and making babies. What Jesus says about marriage applies also to the marriage act: What God has put together, let no one take apart. Contraception takes apart what God Himself has put together, and that’s wrong.
Contraception allows responsible family planning.
The morality of an action is not determined solely by a person’s intention. See more below.
Contraception avoids unwanted pregnancies.
Again, because it takes apart what God has put together, it is an immoral way of achieving that goal.
God made people in his own image, wanting them to be in control and make rational decisions (such as when to have children).
If you want to know what it means to be made in the image and likeness of God, look at Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the saints. If you want to know what it means to act contrary to being in the image and likeness of God, look at Adam and Eve and Jezebel and Herod and Herodias etc. We are not made to be in total control. We are called to be stewards of the gifts God has given us. St. Paul wrote: “You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Cor 9-19-20).
Christians should think of the well-being of existing children and the effect that another pregnancy would have on them.
That is an argument for using natural family planning.
There is no fundamental difference between contraception and NFP since the motive is the same in both cases – i.e. avoidance of pregnancy.
Completely false. The end does not justify the means. A good motive does not equalize the various ways of achieving that goal. Contraception remains the immoral taking apart of what God Himself has put together. Natural family planning respects the God-given meaning of the marriage act.
The sin of Onan isn’t about contraception but about lack of fraternal charity.
Not true. Three people — Onan, his father, and his younger brother — violated the so-called Law of the Levirate, but only one of them was killed. Namely, Onan, who was the only one to engage in the contraceptive act of withdrawal and spilling his seed. Furthermore, the punishment for the violation of the Levirate is clearly spelled out in Deuteronomy (25:5-10). The aggrieved widow can take off the shoe of her offending brother-in-law and spit in his face. Embarassing but hardly a death sentence.
John: I have replied above to the one-line “arguments” with some very short arguments. You need to read my article dealing with the Sin of Onan at our website. You would also do well to read and reread Chapter 1 of our manual, Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach, listed on the home page. To go further, read my Sex and the Marriage Covenant, also listed on the home page. You and your wife both need to read The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding: The Frequency Factor. Also on the home page.
Seven Day Bible Rosary: Great stocking stuffer for Christmas!
John F. Kippley