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"It is through conscience that human beings see and recognize the demands of the divine law. They are bound to follow their conscience faithfully in everything they do."
VATICAN II
Religious Liberty, no 2.


Pastoral Guide. Moral-Canonical-Liturgical.

According to the new code of Canon Law
Vol. Two pp.724-743

 

by Fr. Thomas Pazhayampallil, S.D.B., KJC Publications. Bangalore. India

Part IV. Christian Life and Sexuality. Chapter 1 Birth Control. Article III. Morality of the artificial means of birth control 1. General Principle.

 

The general principle in this regard is that each and every marriage act must remain open to the transmission of life.79 Pope Paul VI, in his Encyclical, “Humanae Vitae”, after declaring that abortion is illicit, wrote: “Equally to be excluded, as the teaching authority of the Church has frequently declared, is direct sterilization, whether perpetual or temporary, whether of the man or of the woman. Similarly to be excluded is every action which, either in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible.81

Morality of marital acts does not depend solely on man’s intentions or motives. It depends on God’s intentions. That is to say, we have to take into account those laws which God has built into man’s sexual structure, the institution of marriage, the meaning and fulfilment of married love. The Church teaches that the evaluation of sexual behaviour in marriage must take account of that objective, divinely established order of reality over which the creature has no control, whose laws he must respect which imposes limits beyond which it is sinful for the creature to go.81

Pope John Paul II explains convincingly: “At the origin of every human person there is a creative act of God. No man comes into existence by chance; he is always the object of God’s creative love. From this fundamental truth of faith and reason it follows that the procreative capacity, inscribed in human sexuality, is — in its deepest truth — a cooperation with God’s creative power. And it also follows that man and woman are not the arbiters, are not the masters of this same capacity, called as they are, in it and through it, to be participants in God’s creative decision. When, therefore through contraception, married couples remove from the exercise of their conjugal sexuality its potential procreative capacity, they claim a power which belongs solely to God: the power to decide in a final analysis the coming into existence of a human person. They assume the qualification not of being cooperators in God’s creative power, but the ultimate depositaries of the source of human life. In this perspective, contraception is to be judged objectively so profoundly unlawful as never to be, for any reason, justified. To think or to say the contrary is equal to maintaining that in human life situations may arise in which it is lawful not to recognize God as God.”82

Contraception means that man, through his free, unilateral choice, cancels a plan which is a precise will of God: the plan of men whom God willed to create and which man vetoes. This is never lawful, since in this case man places himself above God or in God’s place, which is as much as to say that he does not recognize god as God. This is atheism.

2. Contraception, intrinsically evil

The Holy Father, Pope Paul VI, condemned all artificial means of birth control as intrinsically evil acts. For, in his encyclical, Humanae Vitae, we read: “he (man) has no such (unlimited) dominion over his generative fuculties as such, because of their intrinsic ordination towards raising up life, of which God is the principle.”83 “ .... it is not licit even for the greatest reason, to do evil so that good may follow therefrom, that is to make into the object of a positive act of the will something which is intrinsically a disorder and hence unworthy of the human person, even when the intention is to safeguard or promote individual, family or social well-being.”84 “Consequently it is an error to think that a conjugal act which is deliberately made infecund and so intrinsically dishonest could be made honest and right by the ensemble of a fecund conjugal life.85

3. Inseparable connection willed by God, unable to be broken by man on his own initiative, of the unitive and procreative aspects of the sexual act

The above teaching is founded on the inseparable connection willed by God and not to be broken by man on his own initiative, between the two meanings of the .conjugal act: the unitive meaning and the procreative meaning.86 There is an essential inseparability of the unitive and procreative aspects of the conjugal act.87

Pope John Paul II explains: “The indissoluble connection of which the encyclical, ‘Humanae Vitae' speaks between the unitive significance and the procreative significance inscribed in the marriage act makes us understand that the body is an essential part of man, that it belongs to the person's being and not to his having. In the act which expresses their conjugal love, the spouses are called to make of themselves a gift, the one to the other: nothing of what constitutes their being a person may be excluded from this donation. In this regard, let us listen to a text, of rare profundity, of the Second Vatican Council: ‘Married love is an eminently human love because it is an affection between two persons rooted in the will and it embraces the good of the whole person. . . . A love like that, bringing together the human and the divine, leads the partners to a free and mutual giving of self (Gaudium et Spes no.49). ‘Between Persons’: these so very simple words express the whole truth of conjugal love, interpersonal love. A love wholly focussed on the person, on the good of the person (it embraces the good of the whole person): focussed on the good which is the personal being. It is this good which the spouses reciprocally give one another (free and mutual giving of self). The act of contraception introduces a substantial limitation within this reciprocal giving and expresses an objective refusal to give to the other, respectively, all the good of feminity or masculinity. In a word, contraception contradicts the truth of conjugal love.”88

Whether this mutual giving of the whole person of one to the other is not had before through pills, or during through condom, diaphragm or interruption, or after through vaginal douche, does not change the specific nature of the sinful act.

The fact that conjugal love does not always bring forth fruit (children), does not alter the metaphysical nature of conjugal love. If the conjugal act does everything that is possible without any “reservation”, then there is the perpetual dedication.

In the above analysis of conjugal love, it is clear that abstinence from the conjugal act can foster union of the couples rather than cool it down. If the condition of the couple is such that they cannot surrender oneself to one another wholely, “ex integro”, then, they renounce the conjugal act.

“Copula” that is had in the safe period is not evil “natura sua” because here there is no reservation made “ex industria hum- ana”.89

Pope John Paul II said to priests participating in a course on “Responsible Parenthood” on 1 March 1984: “You too, who as ·priests act in the name of Christ, must show married couples that what is taught by the Chruch on responsible parenthood is none other than that original plan which the Creator imprinted in the humanity of the man and woman who marry, and which the Redeemer came to re-establish. The moral norm taught by “Humanae Vitae” and Familiaris Conso rtio” is the defence of the entire truth of conjugal love, since it expresses the absolutely necessary demands of this love”.89 bis-

Now we understand why the Church locates all discussion of sexuality in marriage and moral standards in the context of “true love”, and of all the misunderstanding that can arise concerning the Church, this is the most tragic, and of all the insults that can be hurled at her, this is the most malignant, that she, the love-Bride of Christ himself, is not the most supremely qualified “person” to speak on love.90

Contraception, the crucial issue underlying the evils of homosexuality, abortion, euthanasia, etc.

Intercourse has a God-given structure. Divorcing sexual expression from its inherent relationship to procreation is to do away with the necessity of marriage as an essential requisite for sexual expression; and more than that, it seems to justify homosexual relationships. If relationship to procreation is not a requisite for sexual expression, why must such expressions be limited to the heterosexual?.91

Contraception formally severs orgasm from procreation. This separation not only leaves the sex act sterile, it means that orgasm need not be confined to heterosexual relations and, in fact, not even to a human partner. For if orgasm can formally be separated from procreation, then, to put matters bluntly, any orifice will do and any instrument that produces orgasm will do. Seal off the penis or the vagina so that the sperm cannot fertilize the egg, and it becomes immediately evident that the vagina need not be the only orifice for sexual intercourse, nor the penis the only instrument.92

It is therefore no surprise that, as the practice of contraception becomes increasingly widespread, the incidence of homosexuality should increase massively. The emergence of homosexuality as a socially vigorous phenomenon can be correctly evaluated only within the context of the contraceptive society. Homosexuality is, after all, the ultimate in sterile sexual acts that can be profounded between two human beings. It carries to its logical conclusion the self-centred demand for personal gratification which characterizes contraception. Indeed, the disintegration of the family now in progress, involving, as it does divorce, adultery, child abuse, abortion, pre-marital promiscuity and the subversion of the relationship between man and woman to rivalry and bitterness, not to leave out the aforesaid blatant homosexuality, has its source in the contraceptive mentality. For the latter challenges the intelligibility of heterosexuality, marriage and love. Although abortion, sterilization, divorce and adultery are more serious issues than contraception, nevertheless the latter is the crucial issue underlying all others. As long as the contraceptive mentality retains its hold on society, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to stem their tide.93

If one has accepted the idea that erotic satisfaction was itself a justification, then he has to accept also the idea that if erotic satisfaction led to pregnacy, then the person concerned was entitled to have the pregnancy stopped. And, of course, we had those abortion bills that swept through the whole western world. In England, we have already destroyed more babies than lives were lost in the First World War. Throughout virtually the whole western world there now exists abortion on demand.94

K.D.Whitehead writes: “How is it that we (in U.S.A.) are now permitting the legalized killing of around a million of our children each year? How is that in supposedly civilized and Christian America we have killed more since the Supreme Court abortion decision of 1973 than in all the wars of American history? we have social acceptance of legalized abortion today because we had social acceptance of contraception first.”95

Indeed abortion on request is a logical concomitant of contraception on demand. Availability of contraception will not lessen recourse to abortion; it will only spread still further the mentality and style of life which produce the demand for abortion.96

Pope John Paul II in his address to Research Teams’ Liaison Centre and the members of the Board of Directors of the Federation of organizations for research and promotion of natural methods of family planning on November 3, 1979, said: “It must even be added that the generalization of contraception by artificial methods also leads to abortion, for both are, at different levels, certainly, in the line of fear of the child, rejection of life, lack of respect for the act or the fruit of union such as it is willed between man and woman by the Creator of nature. Those who study these problems thoroughly know this well, contrary to what certain lines of reasoning or certain movements of opinion might seek to make one believe.97

Dr. Marie Mignon Mascarenhas in the name of seventeen medical experts present in the Synod of Bishops, 1980, told the Synod Fathers: “Teenage pregnancies in the United States and other western countries show that wherever contraceptives are freely available: a) The incidence on induced abortions and repeated abortions is higher, b) That promiscuity has increased. This is especially alarming as cervical cancer incidence is reported to be higher in women who become genitally active at an early age. c) The incidence of sexually transmitted diseases is significantly higher in countries and communities (e.g., student) where contraceptives (especially the pill) is used, d) In couples using contraceptives, marital breakdown is higher. In U.S.A. one third of all marriages and one half of teenage marriages end in divorce or separation.

Couples using contraceptives which rely heavily on technology, have recourse to the next technical resort available and hence abortion follows as a natural corollary because contraception is not 100% effective. Hence abortion has become a method of family planning. Statistics show that in areas where contraceptives are freely available, abortion is on the increase. Together with this, the Planned Parenthood Bulletin of June 1980 reports that 17% of pregnancies occurring in women using I.U.D. were ectopic pregnancies (in the tube) and these can be fatal. From U S.A., Goldman reports that pelvic inflammatory disease, ovarian abscesses and cysts are 4.4 times more common in women wearing I.U.D. These facts tend to push doctors towai¦ the decision of abortion for their clients.”98

Many people in good faith try to eliminate abortion by using contraceptives but cannot succeed. A recent survey in France shows that 48 % of women declared in an interview prior to seeking abortion, that they did so either because they were not well-informed on contraception or simply because they preferred abortion to contraception."

Most Rev. Dermot J. Ryan, archbishop of Dublin, in an intervention in the Synod of Bishops 1980 said: “In some countries where contraception and abortion have been practised for some time, there is now anxiety lest the whole people would disappear as it were by a process of national suicide. The number of young people decreases and is insufficient to support and care for the old. This leads to the introduction of euthanasia. What sets out to be a life-giving and life-enhancing process winds up in death because the means used are not in accord with the will of God."IIK)

5. Procreation, intrinsic finality of sexual act

The sexual act by its nature is ordained towards procreation, Man’s biological nature is an essential dimension of his, and that radical separation from it disintegrates him at this basic root. This is above all true of the woman. The knowledge of the sexual in her biology is what scholastics would call “ontological”; it is stamped on her very being. Her maternal instinct is profoundly written in her biology and she is month by month reminded of this deep sexual role which she cannot escape. The indelible sexual stamp on her biology naturally and directly relates her to potential new life, to its beginning, its nature, its conservation. She is there when a baby is conceived, when it grows, when it is bom, when it feeds from her and when it develops from absolute helplessness to physical and emotional stability. Thus the sexual act is an act of human affirmation and commitment. It is also a transcendent reality as an affirmation of a man’s own, as well as his race’s future. Without a future, man is closed in upon himself in a form of implicit sexual despair because his sexuality is going nowhere in spite of multiplied sexual acts. Such sexual activity if it is in no way asociated with at least an implicit desire for children, lacks the structure of futurity and is therefore ‘per se’ a destructive sexual experience between two people.101

Procreation, then, is an essential and intrinsic finality of marriage and the marriage act.1112 To violate such a finality by human interference would be intrinsically immoral.

Procreation remains an essential and intrinsic finality of marriage and of the marriage act even in sterile marriages. Even sterile marriages are intrinsically ordered to procreation as an end in as much as the marriage bond consists in a fundamental right to acts which are ‘per se ’procreative.103

It must be stressed that the basis of the immorality of contraception is the principle of natural law that the inherent procreative purpose of the conjugal act must always be respected. Whatever technique one may employ — withdrawal, condom, pills, etc — it is never licit to perform the act and try to frustrate the procreative design.104

True, nature separates the unitive and procreative purposes. But nature does many things which man is not permitted to do. Nature for example induces disease, mental deterioration, death and other evils and yet this does not empower man to do these things. It is not permitted for man by direct intervention to separate the unitive and procreative aspects of the conjugal act.

Again, it is true that not all conjugal acts result in procreation. But we cannot deny that the act of coitus is the one natural means of procreation. The act itself does not lose its procreative meaning even though this or that act does not achieve its procreative effect.

A person cannot be used for pleasure

The Lord taught the people: “You have heard that it was said, ‘you shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Mt 5, 27-28). Pope John Paul II commenting on these words of our Lord said: “Adultery in the heart’ does not depend on the social or legal definitions of the term-adultery, as it is committed ‘in the flesh’, that is, if at least one of the partners in the act is married and therefore betraying a social-legal contract. Rather, Christ makes the moral evalution of the desire depend above all on the personal dignity itself of the man and the woman; and this has its importance both when it is a question of persons who are not married, and, perhaps even more, when they are spouses, wife and husband. But if the sinfulness of lustful (nonliving, impersonal, dominating) desire does not depend on *a juridical marriage bond but on the very dignity of the person — of reducing the other person to an object of one’s sexual desires always destroys the other person as a person in the mind of the one who desires the other person in that way, then it is just as wrong within marriage as outside it. Perhaps it is more so by the nature of the commitment one has made through marriage, that is, to love and cherish, not to lust for and dominate.”105

* The malice of contraception is precisely this: one uses the other person just for lust.106 It is adultery of which our Lord speaks!

To adulterate the relationship means, even in the metaphorical sense, to distort it, pollute it as compared with its original meaning. Now what is it, if not adultery, to reduce the conjugal relationship to a mere satisfaction of sexual need! A man who uses contraception cannot be said to “love” his wife and take up an attitude of donation towards her. In reality he does not love his wife but himself, and he commits adultery precisely for this reason, because the destination of his own love, which has become selfishness, is different and mistaken.

8. Contraception does not foster love

The proponents of contraception say that abstinence from the sexual act threatens marital affection and contraception helps to foster mutual love. Facts however prove the contrary. As we have seen, in a contraceptive world, evils such as abortion, divorce, infidelity, broken homes etc., are increasing. Indeed there cannot be any serious conflict of values for a married couple unless passion and selfishness overwhelm their inherent reasonableness.

9. Church’s doctrine does not depend on a majority vote

The objection that Pope Paul VI did not follow the majority opinion is also not valid. The doctrine of the Church does not depend on a majority vote. Even the doctrine of collegiality does not prevent the Pope from making a decision against the majority opinion.

10. Individual contraceptive acts, not justified by an overall fidelity in marriage

The Pope himself in his encyclical has said that it is an error to think that a conjugal act which is deliberately made infecund and so intrinsically dishonest could be made honest and right by the ensemble of a fecund conjugal life.107 A single act or several acts of adultery cannot be justified by a life of overall fidelity. It is then wrong to say that individual infecund acts of marriage, including those which have deliberately been made infecund are complete and take their moral quality from a truly fecund relationship between husband and wife, where mutual reverence and true marital love predominate.

11. Law of gradation, yes; but not gradation of law.

There are authors who say that the divine law forbidding contraception is an ideal to be achieved in the future, that human person comes only gradually to the grasp of moral value. Moral education would have to take into account this gradually maturing process.108 True, there is a law of gradation or gradual progress. But it is wrong to speak of the gradation of law, that is, there cannot be various levels of forms of divine law according to various persons and conditions. There cannot be a division or dichotomy between pedagogy and doctrine. The divine law is not merely an ideal to be followed in the future, but rather the mandate of God. The gradual progress cannot be achieved unless one accepts the divine law with a sincere heart. All this is put beautifully in the concluding address of Pope John Paul II, to the Synod of Bishops, October 25, 1980: “Directing their attention to those things which concern pastoral ministry for the good of spouses and of families, the Fathers of the Synod rejected any type of division or dichotomy between a pedagogy, which takes into account a certain progression in accepting the plan of God and doctrine, proposed by the Church, with all its consequences, in which the precept of living according to the same doctrine is contained, in which case there is not a question of a desire of keeping the law as merely an ideal to be achieved in the future, but rather of the mandate of Christ the Lord that difficulties constantly be overcome. Really, the ‘process of gradualness’, as it is called, can’t be applied unless someone accepts divine law with a sincere heart and seeks those goods which are protected and promoted by the same law. Thus, the so-called ‘lex gradualitatis’ (law of gradation) or gradual progress can’t be the same as ‘gradualitas legis’ (the gradation of the law), as if there were in divine law various levels of forms of precept for various persons and conditions.”109

Pope John Paul further explains: “Above all it is necessary to avoid ‘gradating’ God’s law to the measure of the various situations in which the spouses find themselves. The moral law reveals to us God’s plan regarding marriage, the total good of conjugal love: the desire to diminish that plan is a lack of respect towards man’s dignity. The law of God expresses the demands of the truth of the human person: that order of divine wisdom ‘which’ as St. Augustine says, ‘if we observe in this life, will lead to God, and unless we observe it, we will not reach God’ (De Ordine 1,9. 27; CSEL 63, 139).

In fact, we can ask ourselves if the confusion between the ‘graduality of the law’ and ‘the law of graduality’ does not have its explanation also in a scanty esteem for God’s law. The view is held that it is not suitable for every man, for every situation, and so it is desired to replace it with an order different from the divine

The spirit, given to believers, writes God’s law in our hearts in such a way that this is not only intimated from without, but is also and above all given within. To maintain that situations exist in which it is not, de facto, possible for the spouses to be faithful to all the requirements of the truth of conjugal love is equivalent to forgetting this event of grace which characterizes the New Covenant: the grace of the Holy Spirit makes possible that which is not possible to man, left solely to his own powers. It is therefore necessary to support the spouses in their spiritual lives, to invite them to resort frequently to the sacrament of confession and the eucharist for a continual return, a permanent conversion to the truth of conjugal love.”110

12. Practice does not justify doctrine

It is said that by far the great majority of people practise contraception. Therefore contraception cannot be intrinsically wrong. The answer to this argument is that doctrine cannot be changed to suit life. It should be the contrary, that is life should be according to doctrine.

13. Dominion over biological nature, not over natural law

Some say that if man exercises dominion over nature, he can also exercise dominion over his sexual faculty, using for example contraceptives. In reply to it we must say that the word ‘nature’ has different meanings. It may mean physical nature, or biological or animal nature or even rational nature. Man has dominion over physical, biological and animal nature. However he has no dominion over his rational nature. He discovers the laws regarding his conduct. He has to obey them thereby manifesting his submission to God, his Creator. If he does not obey the laws of his conduct (natural laws), he shows that he is independent of God. This is a contradiction. He being a created being cannot at the same time be not created, i.e., independent.

Even speaking physically and biologically, not everything in nature is natural. We must distinguish between what occurs in nature, e.g., malformed newborn babies, from what occurs according to nature, e.g., well-formed new born babies. The latter establishes the abnormality of the former and the general goal of medicine, namely, high level well being. For the most part, nature achieves her goal of optimum health. That is why living things have thrived through the ages. When nature does not, she may benefit from assistance. The art of medicine tries to supply that assistance by ministering to nature. Medicine, then, can be categorized as a co-operative art which does for nature what nature would like to do for herself if she could. As medicine is subalternate to nature, human nature in turn is subalternate to the laws of God immanent in man (natural laws).

Medicine is not an island unto itself. Medicine is subalternate to moral, just as military strategy is subordinate to morals. At times the military man has to forgo his own strategical dispositions not on the ground that they are not the best.... but because military success is not the highest of objects and the end of ends. When there is a confrontation between two sciences, one subalternate to the other, the subalternate science yields to the superior science; in our case, medicine yields to morals, although ultimately good morals is good medicine and bad morals is bad medicine.111

When man is said to exercise dominion over his bodily sexual functions it is understood in the following way. Man is free to contract marriage, or for the sake of the kingdom, to embrace a life of celibacy, or under proper circumstances to live in the world in the unmarried state. He, in union with his spouse, can determine the time, the frequency and the circumstances in which they will engage in sexual activity. They can decide on the number of children they can properly rear and educate, and the way, within clear limits, they will provide for this. But they cannot in the name of freedom vitiate their bodily sexual functions, and if they do so, it is neither freedom nor dominion that they exercise, but unqualified license.

Jean Guitton remarks that man is man because reason is added to animality. When “logos” of man is added to the “bios” of the animal, we get a being at once sublime and mad. We see it in our own time with the progress in science: reason makes man the master of nature. But at the same time, science is capable of destroying humanity by pollution or by an atomic accident.112

14. Sin of contraception, an act of disobedience.

The sin of contraception is basically an act of disobedience; it is to show disrespect for God’s law; it is the denial of our creaturehood; it is acting as if one were lord of one’s own life. It is the denial of our being bound to God. It is the same sinfulness which lies in suicide, or in euthanasia, in both of which one acts as if he were master of his life. For one who uses contraception says to himself: “I will never worry about the objective link between the marital act and procreation”. Every active intervention on the part of the spouses, which eliminates the possibility of conception through the conjugal act, is to stop the process which has to do with the origin of human life. It is to break the objective link between the sexual act and procreation. It is to act as if one were master of human life. Man is lord of nature, not of human life. Man has every right, and even the duty, to further human life. In this he shows himself the good steward who not only employs well but also defends the life entrusted to his care. But he has no right to intercept that process which has to do with the transmission of life. Man is not lord of human life, whether life is considered in its origin, duration or end.

15. Difference between contraception and safe period.

Here we must note that there is an essential difference between contraception and the practice of the safe period. True, both methods aim at securing the same effect, namely, avoiding conception. But there is a radical difference in the nature of the actions that bring about the desired results. In contraception, the normal effect of the marital act is unnaturally frustrated. But in the practice of the safe period method, the sex faculty is exercised in the moral manner, and nothing is done to prevent its natural consequences, so that if an ovum were present, conception could take place. Hence while artificial birth-conirol in any form is intrinsically evil, and so is never allowed, the rhythm method in itself is indifferent — it simply consists in abstaining from intercourse on certain days.113

In rhythm method the couple say: “We have such respect and reverence for the process which has to do with transmission of life that we will not have sexual intercourse when we have reason to fear its consequences.”114

In other words there is an essential difference between the antiprocreative act which tampers with nature and the non- procreative act which accepts nature.115 The couple may intend not to have a child. But it is not lawful for them to exclude the child.

For the rest, if the couple cannot even purposely choose a time for intercourse when procreation is not possible, it would mean that the right to marital act is not perpetual. Again, if the couple cannot choose a time when procreation is not possible, it would mean that they have to think “procreatively” every time they have sexual intercourse. This would mean that when they know that procreation is not possible, they have to pretend that they do not know that the wife cannot conceive.116

All this is appropriately said by Pope Paul VI in his encyclical, Humanae Vitae. He writes: “The Church is coherent with herself when she considers recourse to the infecund periods to be licit, while at the same time condemning, as being always illicit, the use of means directly contrary to fecundation, even if such use is inspired by reasons which may appear honest and serious. In reality, there' are essential differences between the two cases: in the former, the married couple make legitimate use of a natural disposition; in the latter, they impede the development of natural processes.”117 “. . . . 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. In fact, just as man does not have unlimited dominion over his body in general, so also, with particular reason, he has no such dominion over his generative faculties as such, because of their intrinsic ordination towards raising up of life, of which God is the principle.118

16. Evil consequences of contraception

From the practice of contraception there comes a loss of personal dignity, a lack of self-restraint, a loss of the spirit of self- sacrifice, marital selfishness, a loss of reverence for God and his law, a sense of hostility and rebellion towards God and his Church.

It is immorality that undermines the very foundation of our society.

The great Roman Empire fell because of immorality. The nation that loosens the bonds of the moral law will fall.119 More than any hydrogen or nitrogen bomb, immorality has a great destructive power. Physical force did not uproot Christianity from the Roman Empire. But immorality eradicated the Roman Empire.

Malcolm Muggeridge in the London Sunday Times writes: "We can survive energy crisis, inflation, wars, revolutions, and insurrections, as they have been survived in the past; but if we transgress against the very basis of our mortal existence, becoming our own gods and our own universe, then we shall surely and deservedly perish from the earth.”120

Pope John Paul II in his address to the youth of France at Parc des Princes, on 1st June 1980 said: “The essential point of the problem lies precisely there: namely, that man fulfils himself only to the extent to which he is able to impose demands on himself . ...

Moral permissiveness does not make man happy. The consumer society does not make man happy. They have never done so.”121

17. Acceptance of the cross and help of God’s grace, answer to the problems

We must approach the problem, then, of contraception from the Christian point of view. And the Christian point of view involves the cross and suffering and self-abnegation as preliminary to sharing in the glory and happiness of the Resurrection.122

St. Paul writes: “For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction” (phil 3, 18-19).

Pope John Paul II says in the homily at mass in Libreville on 19 February 1982: “Some are tempted to ask the Church to soften its requirements for Christian marriage for instance, or for the priesthood. In reality, as you all know, the Church in that case would cease to be the salt and the leaven Jesus spoke of; it would be still less credible, its message would be insipid, ambiguous, and her witness less effective still. Christ did not propose an easy way but a hard one, the narrow gate of the beatitudes, which is folly in the eyes of some men but which is the wisdom of God and the strength of God; the spirit of poverty, purity ”123

In the new situation in which married love finds itself, and wherein Christian couples hear themselves addressed by the Vicar of Christ, there is indeed a certain call to heroism; but it is a call without which Christian marriage loses its meaning as a community of unselfish love and a daily invitation to holiness. It is a call, moreover, which is made, not to those who are already perfect, but to “sinners” whom Jesus said he came to save — sinners who are also men and women of desire and who wish, not to become angelic spirits (an impossible and humanly undesirable aim), but to strive to lift their fully human and tender expressions of mutual love into the love of Christ for his Church. It is a call made to those who desire to live in the life of the Resurrection, where alone married love can be permanent and humanly perfect.124

Speaking of “Humanae Vitae”, Pope John Paul II said “Particularly in this regard we must be conscious of the fact that God’s wisdom supersedes human calculations and his grace is powerful in people’s lives. It is important for us to realize the direct influence of Christ on the members of his Body in all realms of moral challenges. On the occasion of the ‘ad limina’ visit of another group of bishops I made reference to this principle, which has many applications, saying ‘Let us never fear that the challenge is too great for our people; they were redeemed by the precious blood of Christ; they are his people. Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ vindicates to himself the final responsibility for the acceptance of his word and for the growth of his Church. It is he, Jesus Christ, who will continue to give the grace to his people to meet the requirements of his word, despite all difficulties, despite all weaknesses. And it is up to us to continue to proclaim the message of salvation in its entirety and purity, with patience, compassion and the conviction that what is impossible with man is possible with God. We ourselves are only a part of one generation in salvation history, but ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and for ever’ (Heb 13,8). He is indeed able to sustain us as we recognize the strength of his grace, the power of his word and the efficacy of his merits.”125

18. Sanctity in marriage is possible only if the couple conform themselves to God’s plan

Pope John Paul II in his concluding address to the Synod of Bishops, on October 25, 1980 said; “All spouses are called to sanctity in marriage according to God’s plan; but this vocation takes an effect in so far as the human person responds to the precept of God, and with a serene mind has confidence in divine grace and one’s own will. Therefore, for spouses, if both are not bound by the same religious insights, it will not be enough to accommodate oneself in a passive and easy manner to existing conditions, but they must try, so that, with patience and good will, they might find a common willingness to be faithful to the duties of Christian marriage.”126

Footnotes

79. Pope Paul VI, Encyclical, Humanae Vitae, no. 11,cf. in“AAS”, LX (1968)488.

80. Idem, no. 14, cf. in ibidem, p. 490.

81. Patrick Kelly, art. Christian Marriage, in “Doctrine and Life", June 1974, p. 318-319.

82. Address to participants in a study seminar on "Responsible Parenthood”, 17 September 1983, cf. in “L’Osservatore Romano", ed. English, 10th October 1983, p. 7.

83. Humanae Vitae, no. 13; cf. also Frederick Von Gagern, Marriage Partnership, Cork, 1968, p. 227-228.

84. Encyclical, Humanae Vitae, no. 14, cf. in “AAS", LX (1968) 491.

85. Idem, cf. in ibidem, p. 491.

86. Rev. Joseph F. Constanzo, art. Papal Magisterium and Humanae Vitae, m “L’Osservatore Romano", ed. English, August 6,1970, p. 6-7; idem, in ibidem, August 13, 1970, p. 6-8; idem, in ibidem, August 20, 1970, p. 4-6.

87. Pope John Paul II, Address to Participants of the 1st Congress for the Family of Africa and Europe, 15 January 1981, cf. in “L'Osservatore Romano , ed. English, February 2, 1981. p. 6.

88. Address to Participants in a study seminar on "Responsible Parenthood". 17 September 1983, cf. in “L’Osservatore Romano”, ed. English, 10 October 1983, p. 7.

89. Cf. Wilhelmus Bertrams, art. Notae aliquae quoad structuram metaphysicam amoris conjugalis, in “Periodica ", LIV (1965) 290-300.

89 bis. Cf. in “L’Osservatore Romano”, ed. English, 2 April 1984, p. 7.

90. Patrick Kelly, art. Christian Marriage, in “Doctrine and Life”, June 1974, p. 319.

91. John C. Ford and Gerald Kelly, Contemporary Moral Theology, vol. II, Marriage Questions, Westminster, 1964, p. 306-308.

92. Ramond Dennehy, Christian Married Love, Ignatius Press, 1981. p. 20.

93. Raymond Dennehy, Christian Married Love, Ignatius Press, 1981, p. 20-21.

94. Raymond Dennehy, Christian Married Love, Ignatius Press, 1981, p. 27.

95. Art. Consequences of the Contraceptive Mentality, in “L’Osservatore Romano", ed. English, June 22, 1978, p. 7.

96. Pastoral Letter of the Archbishops and Bishops of Ireland on “Human Life is Sacred", May I, 1975, cf. in “L’Osservatore Romano”, ed. English, May 22, 1975, p. 7. Cf. also Most Rev. James Carney, Archbishop of Vancouver, art. Attacks on the PopeMotivations and Consequences, in “L’Osservatore Romano”, ed. English March 6, 1975, p. 7.

97. Cf. in “L’Osservatore Romano”, ed. English, December 3, 1979, p. 16.

98. Cf. in “The Examiner”, December 6, 1980, p. 771.

99. Dr. M. M. Mascarenhas, art. Contraception and AbortionA Link, in “The Examiner”, December 6, 1980, p. 771.

100. Cf. in “L’Osservatore Romano”, ed. English, November 3, 1980, p. 13.

101. Rev. Peter Riga, ait. Humanae Vitae and the New Sexuality, in “L'Osservatore Romano”, ed. English, May 16, 1974, p. 4; p. 11.

102. Pastoral Guide, vol. II, no. 858.

103. Pastoral Guide, vol. II, no. 858.

93. Raymond Dennehy, Christian Married Love, Ignatius Press, 1981, p. 20-21.

94. Raymond Dennehy, Christian Married Love, Ignatius Press, 1981, p. 27.

95. Art. Consequences of the Contraceptive Mentality, in “L’Osservatore Romano", ed. English, June 22, 1978, p. 7.

96. Pastoral Letter of the Archbishops and Bishops of Ireland on “Human Life is Sacred", May I, 1975, cf. in “L’Osservatore Romano”, ed. English, May 22, 1975, p. 7. Cf. also Most Rev. James Carney, Archbishop of Vancouver, art. Attacks on the PopeMotivations and Consequences, in “L’Osservatore Romano”, ed. English March 6, 1975, p. 7.

97. Cf. in “L’Osservatore Romano”, ed. English, December 3, 1979, p. 16.

98. Cf. in “The Examiner”, December 6, 1980, p. 771.

99. Dr. M. M. Mascarenhas, art. Contraception and AbortionA Link, in “The Examiner”, December 6, 1980, p. 771.

100. Cf. in “L’Osservatore Romano”, ed. English, November 3, 1980, p. 13.

101. Rev. Peter Riga, ait. Humanae Vitae and the New Sexuality, in “L'Osservatore Romano”, ed. English, May 16, 1974, p. 4; p. 11.

102. Pastoral Guide, vol. II, no. 858.

103. Pastoral Guide, vol. II, no. 858. It is also immoral to perform the marriage act for other ends, viz. mutual help and allaying of concupiscence which are essentially subordinate ends while deliberately mutilating its basic character as a per se procreative act (John C. Ford and Gerald Kelly, Contemporary Moral theology, vol. II. Marriage Questions, Westminster, 1964, p. 137). Moreover an intrinsically evil act can never be performed even for a good purpose.

104. John C. Ford and G. Kelly, op. cit., vol. II, p. 275-278.

105. Cf. in ‘The Examiner”, November 1, 1980, p. 690.

106. Cf. Karol Wojtyla, Love and Responsibility, London, 1981, p. 30.

107. Cf. Pastoral Guide, vol. II, no. 971.

108. George Lobo, Christian Living according to Vatican II, Bangalore, 1980, p. 248.

109. Cf. in “L’Osservatore Romano”, ed. English, November 3, 1980, p. 6.

110. Address to Participants in a study seminar on "Responsible Parenthood", 17 September 1983, cf. in “L’Osservatore Romano”, ed. English, lOOctober 1983, p. 7.

111. Herbert Ratner, art. Medicine and Morals, in “L’Osservatore Romano”, ed. English, July 6, 1978, p. 9-10.

112. Cf. Raymond Dennehy, Christian Married Love, Ignatius Press, 1981,p. 77-78.

113. Z. Palakunnel, art. The Morality of the Safe Period Method, in “The Clergy Monthly", November 1957, p. 372.

114. William A. Marra, art. Human love and the Sacredness of Sex, in “HPR", July 1974, p. 18-28.

115. William E. May, art. Church Teaching and the Immorality of Contraception, in “HPR", January 1982, p. 16.

116. Patrick Kelly, an. Christian Marriage, in “Doctrine and Life”, June 1974, p. 314.

117. No. 16, cf. in “AAS”, LX (1968) 492.

118. Idem, no. 13, cf. in "AAS” LX (1968)489. Cf. also Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation, "Familiaris Consotio", 22 November 1981, in “L’Osservatore Romano”, ed. English, 21-28 December 1981, p. 7.

119. William Barclay, The Revelation of John, vol. II, Edinburgh, 1966, p. 145-146.

120. Cf. in “Sign", September 1978, p. 23.

121. Cf. in “L'Osservatore Romano", ed. English, June 16, 1980, p. 12.

122. Lawrence Cardinal Shehan, art. Humanae Vitae: 1968-1973, in “HPR", November 1973, p. 14-32; 51-54.

123. Cf. in “L'Osservatore Romano", ed. English, March 15, 1982, p. 18.

124. Owen Bennett, art. Good News for Family Life, in “HPR”, October 1978, p. 57.

125. Cf. in “L’Osservatore Romano”, ed. English, June 23, 1980, p. 5.

126. Cf. in “L’Osservatore Romano”, ed. English, November 3, 1980, p. 6.