We Must Explain Why Contraception is Wrong

This is possibly the most confusing Catholic teaching. I point out how even historically we have failed to explain it, followed by a discussion of some good arguments against it. I take my three principle arguments from a thick book on the topic by Dr. Janet Smith. I doubt all who need to understand will read it but, hopefully, my summaries help explain it.

Painting of St. Paul VI (CC BY-SA 4.0 Wegeta commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:"SAN_PAOLO_VI",_olio_su_tela_cm_cm_70x60._jpg_-_Opera_collocata_nella_Chiesa_di_Santa_Maria_delle_Grazie_di_Voghera.jpg)
Painting of St. Paul VI (CC BY-SA 4.0 Wegeta)

Here is the article on the National Catholic Register:

Right now, we have a certain dichotomy in the Church regarding contraception. We know what the Church teaches. However, from surveys we see that many Catholics use contraception. and it is clear, but we also know that many Catholics, even those who attend weekly, use contraception.

This is a problem. First, we have the obvious problem of contraception being grave matter and thus mortal sin if done with knowledge and consent. This leads to unworthy Communions. However, this also leads to a certain cynicism toward other Catholic moral teachings.

Recently, I’ve been reading Catholics and Contraception: An American History by Leslie Woodcock Tentler. It’s a history of how the U.S. Church lost the laity regarding contraception. Most of the book covers before the open rebellion of the 1960s. It quotes extensive material from the time on contraception: from mission sermons, to pastoral letters, to priests’ magazines.

It is shocking how often these simply argue from authority based on the word of a pope, or point to accidental dangers without ever explaining the core of why it is wrong. To certain segments of the population, this might work, but this lack of explanation will eventually lose part of the population.

I want to take one example to illustrate this, point out how we can reverse this trend if we explain ourselves, and summarize why contraception is wrong.

The rest is available on the Register.

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