This is a thread spinning off a support thread in Spirituality regarding sterilization.
In respect to the PP, I did not want to create an environment of hostility or debate. I know that she is greatly struggling, and she has my prayers.
This thread is to discuss the Church's teachings regarding Birth Control, Contraception, and Sterilization.
I would like to begin by quoting the Catechism:
2366 Fecundity is a gift, an end of marriage, for conjugal love naturally tends to be fruitful. A child does not come from outside as something added on to the mutual love of the spouses, but springs from the very heart of that mutual giving, as its fruit and fulfillment. So the Church, which is "on the side of life,"151 teaches that "it is necessary that each and every marriage act remain ordered per se to the procreation of human life." (HV 11.) "This particular doctrine, expounded on numerous occasions by the Magisterium, is based on 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." (HV 12; cf. Pius XI, encyclical, Casti connubii.)
2367 Called to give life, spouses share in the creative power and fatherhood of God. (Cf. Eph 3:14; Mt 23:9.) "Married couples should regard it as their proper mission to transmit human life and to educate their children; they should realize that they are thereby cooperating with the love of God the Creator and are, in a certain sense, its interpreters. They will fulfill this duty with a sense of human and Christian responsibility." (Cf. Eph 3:14; Mt 23:9)
2368 A particular aspect of this responsibility concerns the regulation of procreation. For just reasons, spouses may wish to space the births of their children. It is their duty to make certain that their desire is not motivated by selfishness but is in conformity with the generosity appropriate to responsible parenthood. Moreover, they should conform their behavior to the objective criteria of morality:
- When it is a question of harmonizing married love with the responsible transmission of life, the morality of the behavior does not depend on sincere intention and evaluation of motives alone; but it must be determined by objective criteria, criteria drawn from the nature of the person and his acts criteria that respect the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love; this is possible only if the virtue of married chastity is practiced with sincerity of heart. (Cf. Eph 3:14; Mt 23:9)
2369 "By safeguarding both these essential aspects, the unitive and the procreative, the conjugal act preserves in its fullness the sense of true mutual love and its orientation toward man's exalted vocation to parenthood." (Cf. Eph 3:14; Mt 23:9)
2370 Periodic continence, that is, the methods of birth regulation based on self-observation and the use of infertile periods, is in conformity with the objective criteria of morality. (Cf. Eph 3:14; Mt 23:9.) These methods respect the bodies of the spouses, encourage tenderness between them, and favor the education of an authentic freedom. In contrast, "every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible" is intrinsically evil: (Cf. Eph 3:14; Mt 23:9.) Thus the innate language that expresses the total reciprocal self-giving of husband and wife is overlaid, through contraception, by an objectively contradictory language, namely, that of not giving oneself totally to the other. This leads not only to a positive refusal to be open to life but also to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality. . . . The difference, both anthropological and moral, between contraception and recourse to the rhythm of the cycle . . . involves in the final analysis two irreconcilable concepts of the human person and of human sexuality. (FC 32.)
2398 Fecundity is a good, a gift and an end of marriage. By giving life, spouses participate in God's fatherhood.
2399 The regulation of births represents one of the aspects of responsible fatherhood and motherhood. Legitimate intentions on the part of the spouses do not justify recourse to morally unacceptable means (for example, direct sterilization or contraception).
Additionally, Pope John Paul II restated the Church's teachings regarding contraception and sterilization:
“Contraception is to be judged so profoundly unlawful as to be never, for any reason, justified. To think or to say the contrary is equal to maintaining that in human life, situations may arise in which it is lawful not to recognize God as God.” (Pope John Paul II L’Osservatore Romano, October, 10, 1983)
Now that the Church's teachings have been laid out, I would love to have a discussion regarding the morality of the use of artificial birth control, other forms of contraception (foams, diaphrams, condoms, etc), and sterilization.