Why Catholic Church discourages contraceptives?
Whenever there is an interest of offering family planning services to adolescents by civil societies a section of religious leaders especially the Catholic leaders raise a stern refusal to such plans. Recently when such a proposal was being discussed, even officials from the Ministry of Education asked for wider consultation with all stakeholders, especially the religious leaders. Surely religious leaders have a big influence of the matters of education to life and matters involving conscience.
In matters of love, relationship, sex and marriage Jesus often taught extreme things. For him true love is something that hurts. If love does not cause pain and stretch the lover, it is not love at all. One of his familiar saying is, “no one can have greater love, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” Only in dying we understand the real meaning and the depth of love. He shocked his listeners by declaring that divorce and remarriage constitute adultery (Mk 10:1-12). Catholic Church looks at contraceptives as something that compromises true love. It compromises on self-giving, sacrifice, and being fruitful in love.
For centuries, having inspired by a biblical text in the book of Genesis, that it is sin to “spill the seed of life,” Christianity as a whole prohibited any form of contraception because it considered any act that stood in the way of pregnancy an affront to “God’s design.” But in 1930 the Anglican Church endorsed the use of contraceptives, but advised its Christians to use them in the “light of Christian principles” but did not give more light on the teaching.
In 1968, when the famous Pill commonly came in use, after several arguments, Pope Paul VI sent out an encyclical entitled Humanae vitae, Latin for “Human life” giving clear teaching on the use of contraceptives. The letter served to uphold the Church’s orthodox views on marriage, “married love,” and birth control. In it, he wrote that abortion, even for “therapeutic” means, was totally out of the question, as was sterilization, whether temporary or permanent.
In article no. 14 the document says, “…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”. Such unnatural forms include the Pill, the intrauterine device, foams, diaphragms, condoms, withdrawal, mutual or solitary masturbation and sodomistic practices. On the other hand, the Church always upholds the values of total self-giving of married couple to each other and the practice of conjugal chastity. That is, being pure in body, mind and soul and totally faithful to each other without any reservation.
The Catholic Church strongly believes that human sexuality is sacred and it should be open to life and not merely for pleasure. It believes that merely self-seeking pleasure is hedonistic—inhuman and ungodly. This way of self-gratification is against Christian Charity. Because the foundation of Christian moral the human person. Self-gratification merely objectifies the human person that should be avoided.
Concerned religious leaders always insist that introducing artificial family planning especially to adolescents introducing them to unhealthy practices of human sexuality, demeaning the sacredness of sex and indirectly (or directly) introducing them to many sexual vices.
Catholic Church is never against sex within the sacred matrimony, but it believes that suppressing fertility by using contraception denies part of the inherent meaning of married sexuality and does harm to the couple’s unity. But the Church always supports and educates married couple the Natural Family Planning which surely calls for self-discipline, personal sacrifice, and mutual love and concern on the part of each partner.
In the matter of contraceptives, the Church’s teaching is not only about observing a rule, but about preserving the total, mutual gift of two persons in its integrity. Only by doing this man and women reach full maturity in life and love.
Fr. Lazar Arasu