Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr. James Farfaglia

7/27/2012 (3 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 (3 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'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More Marriage & Family

4 amazing Bible verses to help you in your darkest days Watch

Image of Trust in the Lord like a child trusts its mother.

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

At times life can be a one-of-a-kind roller coaster ride with all its ups and downs. Some of us feel that life has really been raining down the negatives and consider abandoning everything we've started. The dreams, the goals, the path He wants us to take and ... continue reading


Acid attack victim stars in viral beauty tutorial video with powerful message Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An Indian awareness organization, "Make Love Not Scars" launched a beauty tutorial video titled: "How to Get Perfect Red Lips" that stars 18-year-old Reshma, an acid attack victim. The beauty tutorial shows her carrying out her make-up routine; the upbeat mood changes ... continue reading


Model Melanie Gaydos embraces her unique beauty, takes on the fashion industry

Image of Melanie Gaydos poses during a shoot.

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

No one can ever tell Melanie Gaydos she is not beautiful. In fact, the 27-year-old model embraces her appearance with such comfort and confidence that she successfully taken on the fashion industry, despite her diagnosis of a rare genetic disease.   MUNTINLUPA, ... continue reading


Woman plans natural birth in ocean with DOLPHIN MIDWIVES Watch

Image of Dorina Rosin decorates her body and poses along the shore.

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Channel 4's <i>Extraordinary Births</i>, host Katie Piper visited a mom-to-be and her partner in Hawaii for their extraordinary, unorthodox birth plan. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - Dorina Rosin, a spiritual healer, wanted introduce her baby ... continue reading


Stranded in Portugal, couple unexpectedly births twins and meets tragedy Watch

Image of Fred and Kim Spratt pose after the premature birth of their twins Hudson and Hayden.

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Fred and Kim Spratt desperately want to return home to New Jersey after their romantic "babymoon" to Portugal ended in tragedy.  MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - Before traveling to Portugal on May 2, the Spratts consulted with their doctor, who cleared ... continue reading


The World Meeting of Families is coming: Here's what you can learn from the event Watch

Image of

By CNA/EWTN News

The World Meeting of Families event next month in Philadelphia aims to lead families to know their importance as a gift from God and to help them open their hearts to Jesus Christ, a priest involved in the event has said. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - The family "is ... continue reading


Twin Strangers meet online and discover shocking similarities Watch

Image of Jennifer and Ambra after enhancing their similarities.

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The website twinstrangers.com brought together 23-year-old Ambra and 33-year-old Jennifer in an astonishing doppleganger encounter. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - 26-year-old Niamh Geaney joined forces with two friends to work on a project called Twin Strangers. ... continue reading


Pope Francis to allow all Catholic priests to forgive abortions Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

During the upcoming Holy Year, Pope Francis will allow all priests to forgive women who seek absolution and have had abortions. The pope proceeds with his "year of mercy" by opening up this opportunity. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - By expanding the number of ... continue reading


Special needs students hope they will be remembered during Pope's U.S. visit Watch

Image of A group representing Catholic students with intellectual disabilities is hoping a U.S. visit from Pope Francis could spark nothing less than a renaissance in Catholic education.

By Matt Hadro, CNA/EWTN News

A group representing Catholic students with intellectual disabilities is hoping a U.S. visit from Pope Francis could spark nothing less than a renaissance in Catholic education. Washington D.C. (CNA/EWTN) - "We hope that Pope Francis will further open up the ... continue reading


Hero teen keeps dad alive in the wilderness for two days Watch

Image of Charlie and David Finlayson pose for a picture at the hospital.

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

David Finlayson and his 13-year-old son Charlie have a stronger bond now after the teen heroically saved his father from death following a terrible hiking accident. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - The Finlayson father-son duo were on a two-week backpacking ... 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, Colossians 1:15-20
15 He is the image of the unseen God, the first-born ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 100:1, 2, 3, 4, 5
1 [Psalm For thanksgiving] Acclaim Yahweh, all the ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 5:33-39
33 They then said to him, 'John's disciples are ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 4th, 2015 Image

St. Rosalia
September 4: St. Rosalia, daughter of Sinibald, Lord of Roses and Quisquina, ... 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