Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr. James Farfaglia

7/27/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The unitive and procreative are inseperable in the expression of marital love in the conjugal act

When we begin to understand the mystery of the Sacrament of Marriage and how it is a reflection of the marriage of Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5: 21-33), we can then begin to understand why contraception is intrinsically evil.  In order to be in tune with God and His holy will, a married man and a married woman must have a profound, intimate and personal relationship with God.  This relationship is fostered and deepened through a daily and well-disciplined life of prayer.  Christian marriage is a call to learn the way of love; a vocation to follow Jesus Christ.


Highlights

By Fr. James Farfaglia

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/27/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in Marriage & Family

Keywords: marriage, natural family planning, Humanae Vitae, sex, sexuality, conjugal act, conjugal life, Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II, Theology of the Body, Fr James Farfaglia


CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - You may be surprised to learn that prior to 1930 every Christian denomination agreed in their opposition to contraception.  In 1930, the Anglican Church, motivated by increasing social pressures, stated that contraception could be allowed in some circumstances. 

Shortly thereafter the Anglicans gave in, allowing contraception.   Since then, all other Protestant denominations followed the example of the Church of England. 

Today, the Catholic Church stands alone in opposition to contraception.  However, even though the Catholic Church affirms that contraception is intrinsically evil, the majority of Catholics in America completely reject and ignore the Church's teaching on procreation. 

The first cries for change within the Catholic Church came about in the late 1950's and the early 1960's with the availability of the birth control pill.  In July of 1968, Pope Paul VI published an encyclical letter Humanae Vitae (On Human Life) which reaffirmed the constant teaching of the Catholic Church that artificial birth control is intrinsically evil. 

The encyclical was confronted by a massive revolt within the Catholic Church and it is believed that 96% of Catholics in this country completely reject Humanae Vitae.

Why does the Catholic Church affirm that contraception is intrinsically evil?  The reason is founded on this principle: every marital act must keep together "the inseparable connection, established by God, which man on his own initiative may not break, between the unitive significance and the procreative significance which are both inherent to the marriage act."  (Pope Paul VI, Humanae Vitae, 12)  

This fundamental principle contained in Humanae Vitae is true because the nature of sexual intercourse, which is both life-giving (pro-creative) and love-giving (unitive), reflects the plan of God for marriage.

A man and a woman must not intervene to separate their fertility from their bodily union in the marital embrace.  To do so is to disrupt the plan of God for marriage, sexuality and married love.   Therefore, the Church's teaching is not only affirmed by Divine law, but by natural law as well.

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.  God's gift of sex must not be abused by frustrating its natural end-procreation, which is always integrally connected to the unitive dimension and the mutual expression of the gift of self which reveals the heart of the meaning of the marital embrace.
 
However, this does not mean that married couples only have sexual intercourse when they want to conceive a child.  Mutual love or the good of the spouses, one of the three purposes of marriage, indicates that sex is good, sex is holy and that the sexual union between the spouses enhances, in a very deep way, the intimate love between husband and wife.

Nevertheless, we must keep in mind that the three purposes of marriage: the good of the spouses, the procreation of children and the education of children, are equal and form one single entity.  The first purpose of marriage is not superior to the other two. 

The Catholic Church continues to affirm that every conjugal act must be open to the transmission of life.  The Catholic Church continues to affirm that all forms of contraception are intrinsically evil.  However, the Catholic Church does teach that there is a moral, ethical way to regulate births. The moral way to regulate the procreation of children is through the use of Natural Family Planning.
   
Humanae Vitae explains this clearly with these words:  "If therefore there are well-grounded reasons for spacing births, arising from the physical or psychological condition of husband or wife, or from external circumstances, the Church teaches that married people may then take advantage of the natural cycles immanent in the reproductive system and engage in marital intercourse only during those times that are infertile, thus controlling birth in a way which does not in the least offend the moral principles which we have just explained." (Pope Paul VI, Humanae Vitae, 16)

True Christian love is what makes a marriage a good marriage, a happy marriage and marriage filled with joy. 
   
Married couples that are imbued with Christian love would never consider using artificial birth control or Natural Family Planning for selfish reasons. 

Furthermore, husband and wife cooperate and participate in the on-going miracle of God's creation.  The fundamental task of marriage and family life is to be at the service of life.  

Responsible parenthood is lived out within the structures which God has established in human nature.  God's design is that the nature of sexual intercourse is both life-giving (pro-creative) and love-giving (unitive). 

Married couples are called, through holy matrimony, to cooperate with God the creator in the continuation of the human race.

Every husband and every wife must be in tune with God and what He wants.

Too many Americans make all of their decisions, especially the size of their family, based on selfish motives.  Christian marriage, by the very nature of Christianity and the very nature of the Sacrament of Marriage, calls a married man and a married woman to seek God's holy will in their lives. 

Thus, when married couples prudently discern the number of children for their family, most importantly, they must be in tune with what God wants for them; what God is asking of them.

Every child is a gift from God.  Some married couples are called to have a large family.  Some married couples are called to have a smaller family.  Some married couples cannot have children and within that great suffering, they find another calling subordinate to their vocation to marriage. 

In order to be in tune with God and His holy will, a married man and a married woman must have a profound, intimate and personal relationship with God.  This relationship is fostered and deepened through a daily and well-disciplined life of prayer.

Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is the perfect model of a creature's relationship with God the creator.  She listened attentively to what God was asking her through the angel Gabriel.  At first she was afraid, but then she trusted.  Trust is essential.  Trust God.  When we do not trust God, we take our focus off of Him and we turn inwards and our ego takes over.

When we begin to understand the mystery of the Sacrament of Marriage and how it is a reflection of the marriage of Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5: 21-33), we can then begin to understand why contraception is intrinsically evil. 

This is why we must gain a new vision of sexuality that not only considers the biological dimension of the conjugal act, but above all the theological dimension.

----- 

Father James Farfaglia, is a contributing writer for Catholic Online and author of Get Serious! - A Survival Guide for Serious Catholics.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for November 2014
Lonely people:
That all who suffer loneliness may experience the closeness of God and the support of others.
Mentors of seminarians and religious: That young seminarians and religious may have wise and well-formed mentors.



Comments


More Marriage & Family

British doctor to face charges for negotiating sex-selective abortion Watch

Image of Forty-six-year-old Dr. Prabha Sivaraman was one of two doctors filmed allegedly agreeing to arrange abortions on account of the gender of the fetus in a 2012 investigation.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A doctor in Great Britain has been ordered to appear in court. Forty-six-year-old Dr. Prabha Sivaraman was one of two doctors filmed allegedly agreeing to arrange abortions on account of the gender of the fetus in a 2012 investigation. It's the first such case ... continue reading


Couple married 73 years die 28 hours apart Watch

Image of Inseparable for seven decades, death proved no match for their remarkable bond.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Helen and Joe Auer had been married in 1941. Joe was a proud World War II veteran. Helen bore her husband 10 children. After it was all said and done, they had seen the births of 16 grandchildren, 29 great grandchildren and one great-great grandchild. Helen ... continue reading


Marriage rates at an all-time low in the U.S. Watch

Image of Marriage rates among young people in the U.S. are at an all-time low.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While homosexual marriage remains very much in the news, with homosexuals and lesbians protesting their right to enter marriage, another related trend isn't garnering much attention. Marriage rates among young people in the U.S. are at an all-time low. Many ... continue reading


Holy, Healthy Marriages Thrive on Communication

Image of Communication is key to the success of any marriage.

By Teresa Allen, M.S. Candidate, Clinical Psychology, Institute for the Psychological Sciences

Presently, October 5-19, Pope Francis is leading a Synod of Bishops in an Extraordinary General Assembly in Vatican City to discuss pastoral approaches to matters of family, marriage and evangelization. The theme of the event, "The pastoral challenges of the family in ... continue reading


Lesbians win discrimination case by discriminating against Christian family Watch

Image of Jenifer McCarthy and Melissa Erwin successfully sued Liberty Ridge Farms for discrimination after the Giffords refused to host their same-sex wedding ceremony on their property.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Owners of a family farm in New York who were sued because they refused to host a gay wedding on their private property, are asking the courts to reconsider a punitive decision against them. They are asking that their First Amendment rights and their right to religious ... continue reading


Victory for life in Texas as abortion advocates lose their minds over latest defeat Watch

Image of Texas women celebrate a victory for life.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A major pro-life victory for the unborn will see the number of abortion mills in Texas reduced from 40 to just 10. And while that number is still 10 too many, the latest appeals court ruling in Texas represents a small victory for life. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Catholic teacher sues diocese after she was fired for... Watch

Image of In vitro fertilization requires the conception of several children in a test-tube to maximize the outcome of success, but then the unwanted children are destroyed before being implanted into their mother's womb.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Roman Catholic schoolteacher who says she was fired for trying to become pregnant through in vitro fertilization (IVF) will have her case heard in court following a favorable ruling by a U.S. District Court judge. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Former Roman ... continue reading


REPORT: One in 10 girls worldwide sexually abused Watch

Image of The study revealed that about six out of 10 children aged between two and 14 were subjected to physical punishment from their parents or guardians on a regular basis.

By Catholic Online - (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The world has a long way to go in regards to respecting its female inhabitants, according to a new United Nations reports. The grim statistics compiled by officials have found that 120 million girls, or slightly more than one in 10 are raped or sexually abused ... continue reading


STUDY: For children, there is NO 'amicable divorce' Watch

Image of Parents who remain amicable during a divorce do their children no favors, according to a new study.

By Catholic Online - (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"Amicable divorce," which usually refers to the dissolution of a marriage without bad feelings or upheavals on the part of the parents still do the children no favors. That's the findings of a major study conducted across the United States. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


LARGELY FATHERLESS: 36 percent of those turning 21 this year grew up without dads Watch

Image of It must be noted that there are a lot of individuals, through courage, perseverance and hard work, overcome the disadvantage of being born into a single-parent household.

By Catholic Online - (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Approximately 36 percent of the American generation, more than a third, born from 1993 through 2012, due to turn 21 this year, were born to unmarried mothers. According to the Centers for Disease Control, at least 40 percent of the babies born in each of the ... continue reading


All Marriage & Family News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Revelation 20:1-4, 11--21:2
1 Then I saw an angel come down from heaven with the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 84:3, 4, 5-6, 8
3 Even the sparrow has found a home, the swallow a ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:29-33
29 And he told them a parable, 'Look at the fig tree ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 28th, 2014 Image

St. Catherine Laboure
November 28: St. Catherine Laboure, virgin, was born on May 2, 1806. At an ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter