Blog Template Theology of the Body: Is Contraception a SIN?

Monday, June 12, 2006

Is Contraception a SIN?

It depends on who you ask.

Since the Bible says very little on point, those in the "sola scriptura" vein have got some leeway, unless we have embraced the tradition of those who assume that "be fruitful and multiply" is the harried command of a God who urgently needs to build a task force rather than the gracious invitation of a God who allows His creatures to love. But those of us who would keep an ear to the Tradition in which Scripture emerged have got some serious issues to skirt regarding any freedom of conscience that we presume to employ in this area. The Fathers hated it; the rigorous traditions of our brethren in Rome, Constantinople, and Yeshoda House, etc., condemn the practice as being as "unchaste" as fornication. Their reasoning has to do with the nature of the marital act itself rather than condemning anyone's squeamishness about bringing children into the world- that is, the Tradition frowns on contraception because it impedes and distorts the total gift of self that is enacted in the marital act's proper, natural openness to the possibility of children. In sum, the Tradition says that a barrier is a barrier is a barrier, and marital consummation is just not supposed to be about the imposition of barriers.

I urge with the Tradition that Natural Family Planning is NOT the same thing as contraception (although some people I know like to throw the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak, and claim that since NFP is sometimes abused by being used contraceptively, all contraception is therefore permissible. Does not follow) NFP is completely different from contraception, because with NFP there are no barriers to distort the nature of the marital act. Rather, an NFP couple carefully abstains entirely in order to avoid pregnancy where serious considerations would make conception truly unwise. So this is the difference: contraception = disordered sex; NFP = orderly sex at orderly times.