I am a student at a Catholic school and I was asked to do research on contraceptives. I want to ask you for help on this topic and the Church’s point of view. I need to know with clear foundations why the Church opposes this method, whether it is a sin to use them, etc. Please, I’d appreciate your help. Browsing the Internet I arrived at a page where I found that you knew a lot about this topic, for this reason I wanted to write to you. I affectionately bid farewell. Thank you very much in advance.
Contraception is the refusal to have children either for non-substantial reasons or by illicit means. Often, when speaking against contraception, side effects caused by many pills or other contraceptives are mentioned, such as:
-Effects on lipid-glycidic metabolism: arteriosclerosis, dangers of hemiplegias.
-Cardiovascular effects: vascular, venous, arterial or mesentery thrombosis, cerebral or pulmonary hemorrhages and embolisms, heart attacks, hypertension, coronary occlusion, etc. (effects that increase by up to 250% when the contraceptive pill is combined tobacco or alcohol).
-Hepatic effects: virotic hepatitis, jaundice, stones, vascular lesions and tumors.
-Effects on the skin: acne, hair loss, hyperply, spots.
–Neuro-psychic effects: imbalances, depressions, suicidal tendencies, boredom, sadness, impaired libido, sexual disaffection.
-Gynecological effects: risks of infections, cysts, cancer of the uterus and breast.
-Genetic effects on descendants: Downs Syndrome, various malformations.
-Effects on fertility: decreased rules, total infertility; in young women, sexual growth (the ‘women-girls’ phenomenon) may be blocked.
For this reason, many women distrust the pill and resort to other means that are morally as bad or more unfair than that, such as sterilization and abortion. However, the problem is deeper and contraception would be equally immoral even if a pill was made that did not produce any harmful effects, or sterilization was completely reversible.
Pope John Paul II has pointed out strongly that the real problem of contraception is the mindset that animates it. It is the mentality of the closure to life, of the falseness in the relationship between man and woman and of the manipulation and objectification of love. First of all, contraception, as the name implies, implies opposition to the conception of a new life. It’s an attitude of rejection. The Pope has said that between resorting to natural methods (i.e. resorting to the fertility and infertility rhythms that nature itself foresees for women) and contraceptives there is not a simple difference of method but two conceptions of the person’s human sexuality that are “irreconcilable to each other.” In contraception “procreation becomes the ‘enemy’ to avoid in the practice of sexuality”’ (John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, n. 23). This practice is a hedonistic, i.e. selfish mentality, that puts pleasure above all else: a child, a new life, is an evil. This is contrary to God’s attitude that has given us life.
This is an opposition to life that is closely related to abortion. It is sometimes said that contraception must be encouraged so that there are fewer abortions. This is false. Even if they are different things, one results in the other. The one who does not want a new life tries first to prevent it from coming, but if she fails to avoid it, she will then try to destroy it. That is why John Paul II said: “the counter-values inherent in the ‘contraceptive mentality’… they are such that they make precisely this temptation (of abortion) stronger in the face of the eventual conception of an unwanted life. Indeed, the pro- abortion culture is especially strong precisely where the Church’s teaching on contraception is rejected.” (John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, n. 13).
Second, it implies a falsehood in the relationship between man and woman. We have already made reference to this: when the ability to give life, to beget, to be fruitful is deliberately removed from that act, that act becomes a lie.
Third, it implies an objectified relationship: it is degrading to the other spouse because they are seen only as an object of pleasure. Merely a thing gives pleasure and not a person to whom one gives themselves totally. When the sexual act comes down to the pursuit of pleasure, then it becomes the sum of two egotists, thus two egoists do not make a love.
Finally, in contraception spouses behave as absolute masters and arbitrators of creation. They dictate their own law, they use their bodies, their sex, pleasure, according to their own criteria, against the will of God expressed in natural law and in the divine commandments.
When couples, by means of recourse to contraception, separate these two meanings that God the Creator has inscribed in the being of man and woman and in the dynamism of their sexual communion, they act as “arbiters” of the divine plan and they “manipulate” and degrade human sexuality-and with it themselves and their married partner-by altering its value of “total” self-giving. 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. (John Paul II, Familiaris consortio, n. 32).
This is the deepest and most real problem of contraception.
Fr. Miguel A. Fuentes, IVE