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Religious Views and Family Planning

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Theology of the Body, Chapter 8 Journal

“…John Paul II shows the deepest theological reason for the immorality of contraception – it is fundamentally sacrilegious because it falsifies the sacramental sign of married love.”

God intends that marriage be expressed through the sign of the conjugal act. However, sacramental marriage encompasses both unity AND procreation. Contraception removes the “procreation” side of the purpose of marriage. However, calling contraception “immoral” relies on the assumption that not carrying out one of the purposes in every instance is immoral. A married couple can be united in the most intimate love and be entirely open to children. Thus their sacramental marriage fulfills both purposes. The idea that they cannot engage in as intimate a love without being open to procreation is shortsighted. The greatest unity a couple experiences is not necessarily through sexual intercourse. A greater connection might be felt in another setting without the physiology of the body stimulating sexual enjoyment / emotionality, making even more complete unity apart from the sexual act. Is the purpose of marriage both unity and procreation, or is the purpose of marriage sex, which induces both unity and procreation? I propose that unity can be achieved at a greater level outside of sexual intercourse and therefore sexual intercourse should be acceptable (morally) with or without being open in a given instant to procreating.

“Couples who use natural family planning (NFP) when they have a just reason to avoid pregnancy never render their sexual acts sterile; they never contracept.”

I don’t agree with this statement. Natural Family Planning renders the sexual act just as sterile as withdrawal or other forms of contraception because participating couples expressly choose a time when they will not produce a child to have sex. The intent is the same in any other case – choosing some means that is not ENTIRELY open to procreation. If it is acceptable to not be open to procreation through some means, then why not by other means? This is an inconsistent teaching. If contraception is wrong, then the Church should call all forms of contraception wrong. It shouldn’t try to justify one means of contraception, because it is “natural,” as being moral while the others are not. The couple choosing natural family planning commits the same sin as someone who practices withdrawal – they have sexual intercourse and do something else to ensure that a child will not be produced, whether that is determined beforehand or at the point of ejaculation.

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