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'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.



Comments


More Marriage & Family

10 silly reasons why being in a relationship is awesome Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While we're all for power in the single person, being in a relationship can be a great thing, especially if you are comfortable with the person. You get warmth and love, but there are quite a few other great things, often taken for granted, that you are gifted when in ... continue reading


Are you having a bad hair day? 13 ways to turn your boring ponytail into something exciting Watch

Image of Don't let your hair drag you down anymore; tie it up and take control.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's one of those days; your hair isn't cooperating at all and you've reduced yourself to a simple ponytail to reign in your wild hair. However, the ponytail doesn't have to be an unfavorable, last ditch resort anymore. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - After you ... continue reading


Need change, but can't commit? 11 ways to temporarily change your hair, that won't leave you with regret Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Hair is a funny thing; it's with you all the time and you become so used to it and comfortable with it. At the same time, you can begin to get completely sick of it, but remain afraid of changing it. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - If you make a drastic change to ... continue reading


Watch what happens when you ask adorable kids questions about love Watch

Image of Jubilee Project's latest video shows kids may know more about love than most adults.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's amazing how much insight young children have that often goes unnoticed. This group of kids under the age of 12 were asked questions about love, and what they say is brilliant. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Jubilee Project, a nonprofit group seeking to ... continue reading


3 easy ways to meet your match this Valentine's Day Watch

Image of Places to meet potential romance are behind every corner.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

If you're single this Valentine's Day, take heart - there are a lot of places in which to meet other people who are anxious to get to know you! Let's cross off the most obvious one - single bars. With their loud, deafening music, and alcohol-impaired patrons, ... continue reading


Lift up love and marriages around you with these 6 ways to pray for marriages Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While it is important to try to express appreciation and love to your significant other every day, there are a choice few days in the year that remind you to reconnect and make time for each other. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Valentine's Day is shaped all ... continue reading


Do you hate Valentine's Day? Here's how to fight back! Watch

Image of Hate how Valentine's Day is celebrated? Tired of gender stereotypes reinforced by slick marketing? Fight back, retake the HOLY DAY for St. Valentine and the people who are most worthy of your love.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Valentine's Day is supposed to be the feast day of St. Valentine, the Roman saint who gave his life for his steadfastness in faith. Despite the sacrifice by the early Catholic cleric, the modern interpretation of the holiday has devolved into a secular orgy of ... continue reading


10 ways to avoid those 'love blunders' this Valentine's Day Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (News Consortium)

The custom of showing affection and attention to loved ones on Valentine's Day, Feb. 14, has become part of the fabric of our culture. There is a kind of unwritten law or expectation that, on that day, spouses are supposed to do or give something that signifies ... continue reading


40 beautiful quotes about love that will ignite the flame in your heart Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

When you fall in love, your whole self is consumed. You are constantly enthralled with thoughts of your loved one. Here are 40 beautiful quotes about love that will bring a certain someone to mind: LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - 1. "If I loved you less, I might be ... continue reading


Need help with your marriage? Here are 5 'Commandments' for a healthy marriage Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

At times, marriage can be tough. Compromising with another person every day can get tiring, leaving you exhausted and feeling lost. You are not alone. No marriage is perfect and happy all the time. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - With the help from ... 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, Psalms 79:8, 9, 11, 13
8 Do not count against us the guilt of former ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 79:8, 9, 11, 13
13 And we, your people, the flock that you pasture, ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 6:36-38
36 'Be compassionate just as your Father is ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for March 2nd, 2015 Image

Bl. Charles the Good
March 2: In 1086, St. Canute, King of Denmark and father of Blessed ... 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