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Does Contraception Foster Love? — Part 2 of 6 [Open]
CatholicExchange.com ^ | July 22, 2008 | Christopher West

Posted on 07/22/2008 9:16:05 PM PDT by Salvation

Does Contraception Foster Love? — Part 2 of 6

July 22nd, 2008 by Christopher West

We continue a series of reflections on the issue of contraception in light of the 40th anniversary of Humanae Vitae. When Pope Paul VI issued this document on July 25, 1968, it fell like a bomb. Many people wished the issue would just go away. It hasn’t. And it won’t. In fact, it can’t “go away.” This encyclical takes us to the very foundations of human life (humanae vitae).

In the last column, we looked at how contraception has played a key role in the cultural chaos in which we’re now immersed. Here we’ll look briefly at what seems to be at the heart of the matter — love. It all comes down to this: What is love? Does the mere exchange of sexual pleasure offer any surety of love? Our culture is sated with sexual indulgence but remains starved for love. Perhaps contraception has had something to do with this sad state of affairs.

It seems what we often call “love,” when submitted to honest examination, amounts to little more than mutual using for pleasure. In the language of John Paul II, the opposite of love is not hatred. The opposite of love is using another person as a means to an end. I know this is a cliche, but why do so many wives claim “headache” when their husbands want sex? Might they feel used rather than loved?

The Catholic teaching on sex is an invitation to embrace the love that really corresponds to the deepest desires of the human heart. That is a demanding love, to be sure. Should we expect it to be otherwise as followers of Christ? “Love one another,” Jesus says, “as I have loved you” (Jn 15:12). This means it’s going to hurt. It’s going to demand sacrifice.
St. Paul says it plainly: husbands are to love their wives “as Christ loved the church” (Eph 5:25). Then he concludes this marvelous passage with the most exalted presentation of sexual love in all of human history: “‘’or this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the church” (Eph 5:21-32).

heart-in-hand.jpgThe Church, so often accused of devaluing sex, ascribes to sexual love the highest possible value — it is meant to be a merging of the human and the divine. Anything less, the Church proposes, is a counterfeit for the love we yearn for at the deepest level of our beings. Sexual love is meant to image the mysterious and eternal “exchange of love” within the Holy Trinity. In the normal course of events, the mutual exchange of husband and wife leads to a “third” — a new human life conceived through the work of the Holy Spirit, “the Lord, the Giver of life.”

Contracepted intercourse marks a determined “closing off” of the sexual act to the Holy Spirit, to the very life and love of God. In short, whether they realize this or not, contracepting couples are saying, “We prefer the momentary pleasure of sterlized sex over the opportunity of participating in the eternal love of the Trinity.” To which I respond … bad choice! But do you think if couples really knew they were saying this, that they would continue to do so? “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Lk 23:34).

Most couples simply have no idea what they’re getting themselves into when they sterilize their sexual acts. So none of this is about assigning culpability. If I drink a cup of poison — but don’t know it’s poison — I haven’t committed suicide; I’m not culpable for my own death. But it will still kill me, because whether I think it’s poison or not has no bearing whatsoever on whether it is poison or not. Furthermore, if you know it’s poison and I don’t, what would be the loving thing to do if you saw me reaching out to drink it?

The Church is not trying to impose her morality on us. Like any loving mother, she is trying to prevent her children from unwittingly ingesting a very dangerous “poison to love.” As the 40th anniversary of Humanae Vitae approaches, let us thank Pope Paul VI for loving us so much.

[Editor’s note: Please enjoy regular features from this and other enlightening authors discussing Catholic teaching on sexuality in CE’s Theology of the Body channel.]

 

This column first appeared as part of Christopher West’s Body Language series for the Catholic press (http://www.christopherwest.com/).

Christopher West is a fellow of the Theology of the Body Institute. His books and tapes on the “theology of the body” are available from our online store.


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Moral Issues; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: birthcontrol; catholic; catholiclist; contraception; life; tob
For your information and discussion.

Open thread.

1 posted on 07/22/2008 9:16:05 PM PDT by Salvation
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To: nickcarraway; Lady In Blue; NYer; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; Catholicguy; RobbyS; markomalley; ...
Catholic Discussion Ping!

Please notify me via FReepmail if you would like to be added to or taken off the Catholic Discussion Ping List.

2 posted on 07/22/2008 9:18:50 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
More from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

enter the Table of Contents of the Catechism of the Catholic Church here
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
From the Catechism of the Catholic Church
(click on the book for the link.)
 
 
2399 The regulation of births represents one of the aspects of responsible fatherhood and motherhood. Legitimate intentions on the part of the spouses do not justify recourse to morally unacceptable means (for example, direct sterilization or contraception).

2370 Periodic continence, that is, the methods of birth regulation based on self-observation and the use of infertile periods, is in conformity with the objective criteria of morality. These methods respect the bodies of the spouses, encourage tenderness between them, and favor the education of an authentic freedom. In contrast, "every 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:

Thus the innate language that expresses the total reciprocal self-giving of husband and wife is overlaid, through contraception, by an objectively contradictory language, namely, that of not giving oneself totally to the other. This leads not only to a positive refusal to be open to life but also to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality. . . . The difference, both anthropological and moral, between contraception and recourse to the rhythm of the cycle . . . involves in the final analysis two irreconcilable concepts of the human person and of human sexuality.

3 posted on 07/22/2008 9:21:28 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
Does Contraception Foster Love? — Part 2 of 6 [Open]
Contraception and Cultural Chaos — Part 1 of 6 [Open]

[OPEN] The Vindication of 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 Purposes'

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


4 posted on 07/22/2008 9:25:15 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation; informavoracious; larose; RJR_fan; Prospero; Conservative Vermont Vet; ...
+

Freep-mail me to get on or off my pro-life and Catholic List:

Add me / Remove me

Please ping me to note-worthy Pro-Life or Catholic threads, or other threads of interest.

5 posted on 07/22/2008 9:33:27 PM PDT by narses (...the spirit of Trent is abroad once more.)
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To: Salvation

I thought sex sells, no?


6 posted on 07/22/2008 9:50:24 PM PDT by narses (...the spirit of Trent is abroad once more.)
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To: narses

**Our culture is sated with sexual indulgence but remains starved for love.**

How did we reach this point? In my mind, we lost our way, lost our morals, didn’t listen to the Gospels, became indifferent to the Word of God in the Gospels.

There is no hidden treasure in sexual indulgence; the hidden treasure is in the true love that a man and a woman have for one another as they grow together during their married life.


7 posted on 07/22/2008 9:51:14 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

“How did we reach this point?”

Socialism. For more than 100 years America has been embracing a socialist government. Read Abe Lincoln’s speeches. One of the central tenets of socialism has always been “free love”. Chemistry gava us contraception. Better (socialist) living through chemistry has been the result. And the death of millions of children.


8 posted on 07/22/2008 9:53:57 PM PDT by narses (...the spirit of Trent is abroad once more.)
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To: narses

**And the death of millions of children.**

So sad.


9 posted on 07/22/2008 9:55:24 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation; informavoracious; larose; RJR_fan; Prospero; Conservative Vermont Vet; ...

This thread is the dead elephant in the middle of the room.

Please consider the points made. Please post your prayers for me and you and all of us affected by the modern destructive sexualized society we have and the horrific impact it has on each of us and our children.


10 posted on 07/22/2008 9:56:09 PM PDT by narses (...the spirit of Trent is abroad once more.)
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To: Salvation

Don’t Forget the women who take Contraception are not in the state of Grace.. Mothers not in a state of Grace Probably don’t nurture their families in Religion... and then we have a Generation of Cafeteria Catholics..


11 posted on 07/22/2008 10:03:44 PM PDT by philly-d-kidder (Kuwait where the Weather is always Partly Sandy!)
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To: All
Another source for information about contraception and abortion is Priests for Life
12 posted on 07/22/2008 10:04:28 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: philly-d-kidder

**Mothers not in a state of Grace Probably don’t nurture their families in Religion... and then we have a Generation of Cafeteria Catholics..**

Excellent point. You may be ahead of the series here! LOL!


13 posted on 07/22/2008 10:10:12 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: philly-d-kidder

Nor does contraception enhance the role of a father.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I hate man-bashing. It hurts me as a woman, to have men tossed around and degraded by womens’ comments.

Dear Lord, I pray, help these women to see that without men they would not even be alive!


14 posted on 07/22/2008 10:12:08 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

People think there are only two people in a marriage. There are really (at least):

Man

Wife

God

The generations that made the man/wife

The generations that gave the church to man/wife (in spite of dungeon, fire, and sword...)

The generations (the Church) to come from man/wife

Procreation IS evangelizing in its most fundamental form. It is creating new souls within the promise to live the Christian walk and perpetuate the church and preserve its glory. The church’s most aggressive recruiting drive must come from within. I am shocked and amused at the aggressive drives to evangelize to Africa or China or that scummy neighborhood down the street and yet “God only wants two kids from us.” The church is the bride of Christ. Sometimes the bride stops at two kids cuz it doesn’t trust the husband, Christ, to provide for more. Or it has a headache.


15 posted on 07/23/2008 4:10:01 AM PDT by Puddleglum
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To: Salvation
Most couples simply have no idea what they’re getting themselves into when they sterilize their sexual acts.

I disagree. While some couples do not realize what the consequences of practicing contraception will be, almost all Catholics are aware of the Church's teaching that contraception is evil. They are not ignorant of what the Church teaches. Therefore, even if they do not realize that practicing contraception will adversely affect their marriage, they do know that it is objectively evil or, at least, that the Church says that it is objectively evil. Therefore, they are culpable. Catholics who dissent from this teaching are not merely disagreeing with a particular doctrine, they are rejecting the Church's authority. Therefore, it is no wonder that the same Catholics who reject the Church's teaching on birth control also question or reject other Church teachings and not just on matters of morality, such as divorce, homosexuality, abortion, but on matters of faith, such as belief in the Real Presence. Contraception is poison all right but most of those who greedily drink from that cup don't care whether or not this poisons affects their conjugal lives or their faith.

16 posted on 07/23/2008 5:03:31 AM PDT by steadfastconservative
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To: Salvation
Contracepted intercourse marks a determined “closing off” of the sexual act to the Holy Spirit, to the very life and love of God.

Considering the number of persons born despite contraception, this assertion is dubious.

17 posted on 07/23/2008 5:12:37 AM PDT by jude24 (Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?)
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To: Salvation
I would suggest that contraception is not ALWAYS used in a manner of self-interest. We had to deliver my child by emergency C-section because of a severely abrupted placenta (the only thing I had done that day was walk around in a mall - and the doctors often encourage walking and exercise for the health of the mother and baby) -and it was discovered that the placenta had grown into the wall of the uterus which meant that when it abrupted, it tore out like tree being uprooted. Which left a lot of damage.

Because he couldnt find the placenta on the sonagram, he opted to use a 'classical' C-section incision. There was no time to consider options - I had lost a LOT of blood and the first that doctor told me that if it was a choice between me and the baby, he was saving the baby. I told the doctor THANK YOU!

Because there was a lot of damage and a bad infection after the C-section, the doctor insisted I get on the pill for a year after I had my daughter. He did not want to take a chance of compromising the integrity of the womb or endangering a life by another pregnancy. As soon as a year was up, I stopped taking the pill.

The pill DOES have its benefits.

18 posted on 07/23/2008 6:05:16 AM PDT by Alkhin (Hope looks beyond the bounds of time...)
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To: Salvation

This particular area of contraception is very near and dear to my heart. My husband and I spent the first few years of our marriage contracepting. I was a cradle Catholic that really didn’t know or understand the Church. Luckily, we got into a group of young couples through the Church and began to learn a lot! When I found out that the pill could be an abortificient I was devastated. Heartbroken! How many potential babies had my husband and I possibly lost?

I went off the pill the next day and was pregnant a month later. I’d like to say that everything was great after that but it wasn’t. We were one phone call away from splitting up after my son was born. It was a very ugly point in our life together. My dad was the strong one and wouldn’t come and get me. He gave me some wonderful advice and we were able to hang on a little longer.

It wasn’t until after our daughter was born that we finally went to Natural Family Planning classes. I truly believe that the knowledge gained from those classes and a renewed faith in God solidified our marriage. It’s not always rosy but it is so much more respectful, kind and loving. I am grateful that we were able to stick together through that rough patch because I can’t imagine ever being with anyone else. He is an amazing husband and father.

That gift we are able to give to each other without barriers of any kind is the best present ever. We are about to celebrate the first birthday of our fourth child and welcome any more children God has planned for us.


19 posted on 07/23/2008 6:58:44 AM PDT by samiam1972 ("It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish."-Mother Teresa)
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To: Puddleglum

**There are really (at least):

Man

Wife

God**

I agree wholeheartedly. Love is a decision by the man and wife blessed by God. Not an infatuation.


20 posted on 07/23/2008 9:04:56 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: steadfastconservative

**Therefore, they are culpable. Catholics who dissent from this teaching are not merely disagreeing with a particular doctrine, they are rejecting the Church’s authority. **

But is the author stating that couples do not realize the FULL consequence of their actions?


21 posted on 07/23/2008 9:06:25 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: jude24

But what about the cases where the egg is not fertilized dur to the contraceptive devices used? People know.


22 posted on 07/23/2008 9:08:13 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: samiam1972
Thatnks for your testimony about Natural Family Planning. Here are some other threads with additional information for those who are not familiar with it. (No, it is not rhythm.)

Journey to the Truth (Natural Family Planning) [Open]

Enslaving Women One Pill at a Time (Birth Control Pills and Natural Family Planning)

New Study Shows Natural Family Planning Technique More “Effective” Than Contraception

Fargo) Diocese set to require pre-marriage course in natural family planning

Making Babies: A Very Different Look at Natural Family Planning

Clerical Contraception (Important Read! By Fr. Thomas J. Euteneuer)

(Fargo) Diocese set to require pre-marriage course in natural family planning

Natural Family Planning Awareness Week, July 25, 2004

IS NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING A 'HERESY'? (Trads, please take note)

Thanks Doc: More (and Younger) Doctors Support Natural Family Planning

Couple say Natural Family Planning strengthens marriage

Reflections: Natural family planning vs sexism

British Medical Journal: Natural Family Planning= Effective Birth Control Supported by Catholic Chrch

Natural Family Planning

23 posted on 07/23/2008 9:11:40 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

Because rubber can interfere with God’s soverign plan...


24 posted on 07/23/2008 10:52:35 AM PDT by jude24 (Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?)
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To: narses; Salvation
“This thread is the dead elephant in the middle of the room.”

Of course it's dead. A huge majority of Catholics are “dependent” on Contraception and those under 40-45 have never even heard of Humanae Vitae.

A friend made a great point recently. It takes at least 8 years of education and training w much scrutiny to become a priest but to get married, well....

25 posted on 07/23/2008 3:15:32 PM PDT by cpforlife.org (A Catholic Respect Life Curriculum is available FREE at KnightsForLife.org)
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To: jude24
Because rubber can interfere with God’s soverign plan...
Diet Coke on the monitor after reading this one...
26 posted on 07/23/2008 6:07:44 PM PDT by RochesterFan
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To: Salvation
The author is saying that because they do not realize the full consequences of their actions, they are not culpable. But that is not true. As long as they know that what they are doing is wrong, then they are culpable. There are very few Catholics in this country, who do not know that the Church condemns contraception. Catholics who practice contraception may be ignorant of its full effects but they are not ignorant about its immorality. Some small percentage of these Catholics may believe that the Church's teaching is wrong because they have incorrectly formed their consciences but that, too, is their fault. After all, it isn't as though the Church's teaching is some kind of secret or that copies of Humanae Vitae aren't widely available. But the fact of the matter is that most Catholics know darn well what the Church teaches but that many of them simply refuse to accept and follow it. They are certainly to blame and it's time we stopped making excuses for them.
27 posted on 07/24/2008 5:16:55 AM PDT by steadfastconservative
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