Skip to comments.Birth Control
Posted on 12/13/2013 7:14:49 PM PST by narses
In 1968, Pope Paul VI issued his landmark encyclical letter Humanae Vitae (Latin, "Human Life"), which reemphasized the Churchs constant teaching that it is always intrinsically wrong to use contraception to prevent new human beings from coming into existence.
Contraception is "any action which, either in anticipation of the conjugal act [sexual intercourse], or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible" (Humanae Vitae 14). This includes sterilization, condoms and other barrier methods, spermicides, coitus interruptus (withdrawal method), the Pill, and all other such methods.
The Historic Christian Teaching
Few realize that up until 1930, all Protestant denominations agreed with the Catholic Churchs teaching condemning contraception as sinful. At its 1930 Lambeth Conference, the Anglican church, swayed by growing social pressure, announced that contraception would be allowed in some circumstances. Soon the Anglican church completely caved in, allowing contraception across the board. Since then, all other Protestant denominations have followed suit. Today, the Catholic Church alone proclaims the historic Christian position on contraception.
Evidence that contraception is in conflict with Gods laws comes from a variety of sources that will be examined in this tract.
Contraception is wrong because its a deliberate violation of the design God built into the human race, often referred to as "natural law." The natural law purpose of sex is procreation. The pleasure that sexual intercourse provides is an additional blessing from God, intended to offer the possibility of new life while strengthening the bond of intimacy, respect, and love between husband and wife. The loving environment this bond creates is the perfect setting for nurturing children.
But sexual pleasure within marriage becomes unnatural, and even harmful to the spouses, when it is used in a way that deliberately excludes the basic purpose of sex, which is procreation. Gods gift of the sex act, along with its pleasure and intimacy, must not be abused by deliberately frustrating its natural endprocreation.
Is contraception a modern invention? Hardly! Birth control has been around for millennia. Scrolls found in Egypt, dating to 1900 B.C., describe ancient methods of birth control that were later practiced in the Roman empire during the apostolic age. Wool that absorbed sperm, poisons that fumigated the uterus, potions, and other methods were used to prevent conception. In some centuries, even condoms were used (though made out of animal skin rather than latex).
The Bible mentions at least one form of contraception specifically and condemns it. Coitus interruptus, was used by Onan to avoid fulfilling his duty according to the ancient Jewish law of fathering children for ones dead brother. "Judah said to Onan, Go in to your brothers wife, and perform the duty of a brother-in-law to her, and raise up offspring for your brother. But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so when he went in to his brothers wife he spilled the semen on the ground, lest he should give offspring to his brother. And what he did was displeasing in the sight of the Lord, and he slew him also" (Gen. 38:810).
The biblical penalty for not giving your brothers widow children was public humiliation, not death (Deut. 25:710). But Onan received death as punishment for his crime. This means his crime was more than simply not fulfilling the duty of a brother-in-law. He lost his life because he violated natural law, as Jewish and Christian commentators have always understood. For this reason, certain forms of contraception have historically been known as "Onanism," after the man who practiced it, just as homosexuality has historically been known as "Sodomy," after the men of Sodom, who practiced that vice (cf. Gen. 19).
Contraception was so far outside the biblical mindset and so obviously wrong that it did not need the frequent condemnations other sins did. Scripture condemns the practice when it mentions it. Once a moral principle has been established in the Bible, every possible application of it need not be mentioned. For example, the general principle that theft is wrong was clearly established in Scripture; but theres no need to provide an exhaustive list of every kind of theft. Similarly, since the principle that contraception is wrong has been established by being condemned when its mentioned in the Bible, every particular form of contraception does not need to be dealt with in Scripture in order for us to see that it is condemned.
The biblical teaching that birth control is wrong is found even more explicitly among the Church Fathers, who recognized the biblical and natural law principles underlying the condemnation.
In A.D. 195, Clement of Alexandria wrote, "Because of its divine institution for the propagation of man, the seed is not to be vainly ejaculated, nor is it to be damaged, nor is it to be wasted" (The Instructor of Children 2:10:91:2).
Hippolytus of Rome wrote in 255 that "on account of their prominent ancestry and great property, the so-called faithful [certain Christian women who had affairs with male servants] want no children from slaves or lowborn commoners, [so] they use drugs of sterility or bind themselves tightly in order to expel a fetus which has already been engendered" (Refutation of All Heresies9:12).
Around 307 Lactantius explained that some "complain of the scantiness of their means, and allege that they have not enough for bringing up more children, as though, in truth, their means were in [their] power . . . or God did not daily make the rich poor and the poor rich. Wherefore, if any one on any account of poverty shall be unable to bring up children, it is better to abstain from relations with his wife" (Divine Institutes 6:20).
The First Council of Nicaea, the first ecumenical council and the one that defined Christs divinity, declared in 325, "If anyone in sound health has castrated himself, it behooves that such a one, if enrolled among the clergy, should cease [from his ministry], and that from henceforth no such person should be promoted. But, as it is evident that this is said of those who willfully do the thing and presume to castrate themselves, so if any have been made eunuchs by barbarians, or by their masters, and should otherwise be found worthy, such men this canon admits to the clergy" (Canon 1).
Augustine wrote in 419, "I am supposing, then, although you are not lying [with your wife] for the sake of procreating offspring, you are not for the sake of lust obstructing their procreation by an evil prayer or an evil deed. Those who do this, although they are called husband and wife, are not; nor do they retain any reality of marriage, but with a respectable name cover a shame. Sometimes this lustful cruelty, or cruel lust, comes to this, that they even procure poisons of sterility [oral contraceptives]" (Marriage and Concupiscence 1:15:17).
The apostolic traditions condemnation of contraception is so great that it was followed by Protestants until 1930 and was upheld by all key Protestant Reformers. Martin Luther said, "[T]he exceedingly foul deed of Onan, the basest of wretches . . . is a most disgraceful sin. It is far more atrocious than incest and adultery. We call it unchastity, yes, a sodomitic sin. For Onan goes in to her; that is, he lies with her and copulates, and when it comes to the point of insemination, spills the semen, lest the woman conceive. Surely at such a time the order of nature established by God in procreation should be followed. Accordingly, it was a most disgraceful crime. . . . Consequently, he deserved to be killed by God. He committed an evil deed. Therefore, God punished him."
John Calvin said, "The voluntary spilling of semen outside of intercourse between man and woman is a monstrous thing. Deliberately to withdraw from coitus in order that semen may fall on the ground is doubly monstrous. For this is to extinguish the hope of the race and to kill before he is born the hoped-for offspring."
John Wesley warned, "Those sins that dishonor the body are very displeasing to God, and the evidence of vile affections. Observe, the thing which he [Onan] did displeased the Lordand it is to be feared; thousands, especially of single persons, by this very thing, still displease the Lord, and destroy their own souls." (These passages are quoted in Charles D. Provan, The Bible and Birth Control, which contains many quotes by historic Protestant figures who recognize contraceptions evils.)
The Church also, fulfilling the role given it by Christ as the identifier and interpreter of apostolic Scripture and apostolic tradition, has constantly condemned contraception as gravely sinful.
In Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI stated, "[W]e must once again declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun, and, above all, directly willed and procured abortion, even if for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as licit means of regulating birth. 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 excluded is every action which, either in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible" (HV 14).
This was reiterated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: "[E]very action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible is intrinsically evil" (CCC 2370). "Legitimate intentions on the part of the spouses do not justify recourse to morally unacceptable means . . . for example, direct sterilization or contraception" (CCC 2399).
The Church also has affirmed that the illicitness of contraception is an infallible doctrine: "The Church has always taught the intrinsic evil of contraception, that is, of every marital act intentionally rendered unfruitful. This teaching is to be held as definitive and irreformable. Contraception is gravely opposed to marital chastity, it is contrary to the good of the transmission of life (the procreative.aspect of matrimony), and to the reciprocal self-giving of the spouses (the unitive.aspect of matrimony); it harms true love and denies the sovereign role of God in the transmission of human life" (Vademecum for Confessors 2:4, Feb. 12, 1997).
Pope Paul VI predicted grave consequences that would arise from the widespread and unrestrained use of contraception. He warned, "Upright men can even better convince themselves of the solid grounds on which the teaching of the Church in this field is based if they care to reflect upon the consequences of methods of artificially limiting the increase of children. Let them consider, first of all, how wide and easy a road would thus be opened up towards conjugal infidelity and the general lowering of morality. Not much experience is needed in order to know human weakness, and to understand that menespecially the young, who are so vulnerable on this pointhave need of encouragement to be faithful to the moral law, so that they must not be offered some easy means of eluding its observance. It is also to be feared that the man, growing used to the employment of anti-conceptive practices, 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" (HV 17).
No one can doubt the fulfillment of these prophetic words. They have all been more than fulfilled in this country as a result of the widespread availability of contraceptives, the "free love" movement that started in the 1960s, and the loose sexual morality that it spawned and that continues to pervade Western culture.
Indeed, recent studies reveal a far greater divorce rate in marriages in which contraception is regularly practiced than in those marriages where it is not. Experience, natural law, Scripture, Tradition, and the magisterium, all testify to the moral evil of contraception.
Ignoring the mountain of evidence, some maintain that the Church considers the use of contraception a matter for each married couple to decide according to their "individual conscience." Yet, nothing could be further from the truth. The Church has always maintained the historic Christian teaching that deliberate acts of contraception are always gravely sinful, which means that it is mortally sinful if done with full knowledge and deliberate consent (CCC 1857). This teaching cannot be changed and has been taught by the Church infallibly.
There is no way to deny the fact that the Church has always and everywhere condemned artificial contraception. The matter has already been infallibly decided. The so-called "individual conscience" argument amounts to "individual disobedience."
NIHIL OBSTAT: I have concluded that the materials presented in this work are free of doctrinal or moral errors. Bernadeane Carr, STL, Censor Librorum, August 10, 2004 IMPRIMATUR: In accord with 1983 CIC 827 permission to publish this work is hereby granted. +Robert H. Brom, Bishop of San Diego, August 10, 2004
Freep-mail me to get on or off my pro-life and Catholic List:
Please ping me to note-worthy Pro-Life or Catholic threads, or other threads of general interest.
The pope speaks for and to catholics, not to other christian religions. nor to anyone that has no religion.
The Differences the Pill has Made
Pastors Preach Against Contraception From Pulpit
Catholics and Contraception: Boston, 1965
Abortion, Contraception and the Church Fathers (Catholic teaching unchanged for 2000 yrs)
Contraception and Catholicism (What the Roman Catholic Church really teaches)
6 Reasons Why Contraception is Sinful and Contrary to God's Will
Time To Admit It: The Church Has Always Been Right On Birth Control
Paul VI: “danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities ...”
The Truth about The Church's Teaching about Contraception.
Letter from Archbishop John G. Vlazny on the matter of freedom of conscience and decisions by HHS
Bishop Olmsted's Letter to Catholics [Catholic Caucus]
Liberty for the Amish & Quakers but not Catholics. . .
Contraception mandate prompts Peoria bishop to instate St. Michael Prayer (Catholic Caucus)
Phoenix bishop (Olmstead): defy feds on birth control
A letter from Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr concerning HHS edict
Speak honestly: abortion is ‘the killing of tiny human beings in the womb’ – Denver bishop
Bishop [Daniel Jenky] Blasts Secularist Intolerance, Calls For ‘Assertive Action’ to Defend Church
(Pittsburgh Bishop Zubik comments:) HHS delays rule on contraceptive coverage
Dolan: Natural law, not religious preference, dictates all life sacred
Religious leaders blast HHS over contraception mandate
Mandated Contraception, Sterilization: Caesar Demands Church Violate Conscience
OBAMA’S CONTEMPT FOR RELIGIOUS LIBERTY (mandates coverage of sterilization & contraception)
Obama Admin Decides to Require Religious Institutions to Cover Free Contraception
Jews and Evangelicals stand with Church against contraception mandate
Obama Supporters Worried He May Grant Contraception Exemptions to Catholic Hospitals
Catholic college sues HHS over contraception mandate
Children of the Reformation: A Short & Surprising History of Protestantism & Contraception
Implications of Obama Admin move to force Cath hospitals to provide contraception and sterilizations
Catholic doctors’ group launches petition against contraception mandate
Contraception mandate tramples religious freedom, US bishops say
Planned Parenthood Cuts Contraception, Not Abortion After De-Funding
Contraception underlying cause of breakdown of family, sexual morality, says expert
Contraception: The Reason Catholics Have Abandoned Confession
U.S. Bishops’ Publication Urges Priests to Preach on Contraception, Sterilization, IVF
Contraception: The Bitter Pill
Catholic Bishops Warn of ‘Civil Disobedience’ Over Contraceptives [Philippines]
Relationships Market After 50 Years of The Pill
Contraception: The Bacteria Devouring America’s Soul
Christians examine morality of birth control [Ecumenical/Orthodox Presbyterian]
The Cost of Contraception: Women's Health - Response to CNN
The Connection between Contraception and Abortion
Baby Bust: The Demographics of Global Depression
The Surest Sign of a Decadent Culture
Protestants and Birth Control
The Protest of a Protestant Minister Against Birth Control
Contraception: Why Not?
The Bible & Birth Control
Our Gravest Moral Responsibility: Convert the Contraception Mentality
Contraception and Conversion
Evangelical Leaders are Ok with Contraception
The pill and 50 years of misery [the pill kills!]
The dawn of demonic deception [the birth control pill] Researcher finds strong link between contraception and HIV
The Birth-Control Riddle
Social Science Proves Humanae Vitae
"Contraception Is Wrong. Now Here's How You Use It . . ."
Suit claims birth control warning not enough
Natural and Unnatural (father of 5 shocks mother of 1)
Planned Parenthood Uses Teens to Distribute Injectable Birth Control in Rural Ecuador
Study: Low-Dose Birth Control Pills Decrease Bone Density in Young Women
Spanish drug agency confirms grave effects of morning-after pill
Another Woman Dies of Hormonal Contraceptive in Switzerland
Study Finds Half of Women on "Birth Control Shot" Suffer Bone Problems
The Re-Birth of Population Control: Human Life Seen as a Carbon roblem
Radio Replies First Volume - Birth Control
Abortion, birth control pill linked to breast cancer, surgeon says
God before contraception (Australia)
Fighting the 'contraceptive mentality'
Birth control pill creator regrets population decline
Polluted Water, Polluted Culture (one more consequence from contraception)
Abortifacients -- The Other Forbidden Grief
NFP and Contraception: What’s the Difference?
Wisconsin requiring Catholic institutions to provide contraceptives coverage
Contraception: The history you may have missed and would rather not know
Why does Pope Benedict talk about Humanae vitae in the new encyclical? [Catholic Caucus]
New Evangelical Documentary Exposes Abortifacient Qualities of the Birth Control Pill, Promotes NFP
In Quiverfull Movement, Birth Control Is Shunned
Press in a Dither Again over Pope’s Reaffirmation of Catholic Teaching
How Birth Control Changed America for the Worst
If You Are Contracepting, You Are Part of A Very Big Problem
Vatican and Italian government criticize sale of RU 486 in Italy
New Condom Ads Target Catholics, Latinos
St. Padre Pio, Humanae Vitae, and Mandatory Abortion
Responsible Parenthood in a Birth Control Culture, Part Two [Open]
Responsible Parenthood in a Birth Control Culture, Part One [Open]
Humanae Vitae and True Sexual Freedom — Part 6 of 6 [Open]
Contraception v. Natural Family Planning — Part 5 of 6 [Open]
Sex Speaks: True and False Prophets — Part 4 of 6 [Open]
Contraception and the Language of the Body — Part 3 of 6 [Open]
Does Contraception Foster Love? — Part 2 of 6 [Open]
Contraception and Cultural Chaos — Part 1 of 6 [Open]
Priests still suffering from effects of Humanae Vitae dissenters, Vatican cardinal says (Must read!)
"Provoking reflection" (Contrasting views on Humanae Vitae)
Humanae Vitae The Year of the Peirasmòs - 1968
Catholics to Pope: Lift the Birth Control Ban
[OPEN] The Vindication of Humanae Vitae
Catholic Clergy Challenge Colleagues to Reacquaint Themselves and Their People with Humanae Vitae
White House proposes wide "conscience clause" on abortion, contraception
THE EX CATHEDRA STATUS OF THE ENCYCLICAL "HUMANAE VITAE" [Catholic Caucus]
“A degrading poison that withers life”
Australia Study: 70 Percent of Women Seeking Abortions Used Contraception
[Fr. Thomas Euteneuer] In Persona Christi: The Priest and Contraception
A Challenging Truth, Part Two: The Day the Birth Control Died
A Challenging Truth, Part One: How Birth Control Works
Ten Challenges for the Pro-Life Movement in 2008
The concept of the "intrinsically evil"
Pope Tells Pharmacists Not to Dispense Drugs With 'Immoral urposes'
Massive Study Finds the Pill Significantly Increases Cancer Risk if Used more than Eight Years
Birth Control Pill Creates Blood Clot Causing Death of Irish Woman
Seminarians Bring Church’s Teaching on Contraception, Sexuality to YouTube
Abortion and Contraception: Old Lies
History of Catholic teaching on Contraception
Pope: Legislation "Supporting Contraception and Abortion is Threatening the Future of Peoples"
Contraception: Why It's Wrong
On Fox News Fearless HLI Priest Takes on Sean Hannity (may be indebted for saving his soul)
VIDEO - SEAN HANNITY vs REV. THOMAS EUTENEUER (must see!)
The Early Church Fathers on Contraception - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus
Pope on divine love vs. erotic love
Conjugal Love and Procreation: God's Design
The pope is Christ’s Vicar on Earth. He has the authority to speak to all humans. Unfortunately, the current pope preaches different things to different religions. So don’t pay too much attention to this one. Check out Pope St Pius X; he’s the last pope to be declared a saint. He preached to all men the Catholic Faith.
This article does not qualify for a Catholic Caucus because it mentions the beliefs of non-Catholics.
I recommend you read John 10:16. Thanks if you do.
I will, I think my bible is in the closet. Moved less than a year ago from a home with barn and basement to a condo withou either. Still keep finding boxes that need to be opened...
as they say in Mexico...EL WRONGO!!! the pope is the head of all who profess Christianity, just as the president is the leader of all Americans, Demos and Repubs....you may not agree with him, but he is still your president/pope.
people who profess no particular religion or those who are non-Christian, pay close attention to the Pope because he influences so many people....and they like him!!
‘The apostolic traditions condemnation of contraception is so great that it was followed by Protestants until 1930 and was upheld by all key Protestant Reformers. Martin Luther said, “[T]he exceedingly foul deed of Onan, the basest of wretches . . . is a most disgraceful sin. It is far more atrocious than incest and adultery. We call it unchastity, yes, a sodomitic sin. For Onan goes in to her; that is, he lies with her and copulates, and when it comes to the point of insemination, spills the semen, lest the woman conceive. Surely at such a time the order of nature established by God in procreation should be followed. Accordingly, it was a most disgraceful crime. . . . Consequently, he deserved to be killed by God. He committed an evil deed. Therefore, God punished him.”
John Calvin said, “The voluntary spilling of semen outside of intercourse between man and woman is a monstrous thing. Deliberately to withdraw from coitus in order that semen may fall on the ground is doubly monstrous. For this is to extinguish the hope of the race and to kill before he is born the hoped-for offspring.”
John Wesley warned, “Those sins that dishonor the body are very displeasing to God, and the evidence of vile affections. Observe, the thing which he [Onan] did displeased the Lordand it is to be feared; thousands, especially of single persons, by this very thing, still displease the Lord, and destroy their own souls.” (These passages are quoted in Charles D. Provan, The Bible and Birth Control, which contains many quotes by historic Protestant figures who recognize contraceptions evils.)’
How far the mainline Lutheran, Presbyterian and Methodist churches have fallen.
I am sure that at the end times there will not be divisions of christians, it will not be needed as Christ will be with all. Those that hear his voice will be his, but not all will hear his voice. We know that not all will hear his voice as many follow the anti christ. Its Jesus church, he will determine which one’s are his from all the earth. He also gave warning in the NT when he speaks of those that he tells to enter and those that said they cast out devils in his name etc. They don’t enter. All that believe in Christ must be wary of who they think deserve to be his. At that time many will be left outside, and when the door closes, all is over.
....The pope is important to catholics, but does not speak FOR all but does speak TO all those that read or hear him the catholic belief. I never said if I agree or disagree with what he says, but it has no bearing on my belief. If that were true I would also be obligated to believe in all the saints that have been canonize. I would have to believe in Novenas, that wearing a certain cloth around my neck would mean hat Mary would see to it that I got everlasting life. Miraculous Metals, Our lady of Guadalupe, Fatima and many other things the popes have spoken of...Some catholics also believe that Mary is a Co-redemperous, I find some things catholic leaders speak of come close to blasphemy..The pope speaks for and to you....not me. Your saying it so, is part of your belief system not mine...There is much good in the Catholic church, but some really silly stuff according to only me, I speak for myself, you don't. God bless.
16 And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd.
I’m not Catholic, and I fully agree with this piece.
:O) thank you, I will still go looking for my bible, but that may take a lot of time..
“Unfortunately, the current pope (sic) preaches different things to different religions.”
Please provide proof for this statement.
“So don’t pay much attention to this one.”
I don’t think it’s prudent to give advice like this. Nor do I think it’s prudent to render circular fire on the Church by these kind of verbal attacks on the Pope.
Prudence is a virtue. “I, wisdom, dwell in prudence” Proverbs 8:12
And rash judgment is an offense.
St. Thomas Aquinas: “When the human intellect lacks certainty is when a person forms a negative opinion on some doubtful, hidden matter, it is called judgment by suspicion or rash judgment.”
“The sinfulness of rash judgment lies in hasty imprudence with which the critical appraisal is made...” Fr. John Hardon
“Rash judgement is unfounded labeling of people negatively. It is a sin frequently committed and least frequently confessed.”