Contraception and Catholic Teaching

Donald DeMarco
Reproduced with Permission

In the first question of his Summa Theologica, Saint Thomas Aquinas explains why we need more than mere philosophy in order to find our way in life and attain salvation. "The truth about God," he writes, "such as reason could discover, would be known only by a few, and that after a long time, and with the admixture of many errors."1

For the same reasons, we need to have at our disposal not only the truth about God as revealed by Holy Scripture, but the truths about God and man that are taught by the Catholic Church as her received Magisterium. As Aquinas writes elsewhere, "If the only way open to us for the knowledge of God were solely that of reason, the human race would remain in the blackest of ignorance."2

Professor Janet E. Smith, who is among the world's foremost researchers, writers, and lecturers on the Church's teaching concerning contraception, provides a good illustration of how easy it is for people to adjust to the darkness of their own ignorance. When Dr. Smith, who teaches philosophy at the University of Dallas, in Irving, Texas, introduces the topic of contraception to her students, the overwhelming majority indicate their disagreement with Church teaching. But when she asks them if they are familiar with the reasons the Church offers in condemning contraception, she finds few, if any, who are. When she asks them whether they think they are entitled to an opinion, let alone a fair opinion, on a subject about which they have read and thought little or nothing, she finds that they begin to look a bit shame-faced.3

On a more positive note, she finds that when students have a chance to read and discuss the encyclical Humanae Vitae, a good number of them not only appreciate the Church's wisdom on the subject of contraception, but accept it in a way that transforms their lives.

Pressures to conform to the world's way of viewing contraception come from many sources and are very powerful. Pope Paul VI made note of this in Humanae Vitae, the Church's most definitive denunciation of contraception. "It is not surprising," he wrote, "the Church finds herself a sign of contradiction -- just as her Founder. But this is no reason for the Church to abandon the duty entrusted to her of preaching the whole moral law and the law of God."

Marriage and the World

Secular society, concerned as it is with worldly things, is not well disposed to hear the message of Humanae Vitae. Wealthy nations are concerned about maintaining or improving their comfortable standard of living. In order to protect this interest, they sell programs to undeveloped countries of population control that heavily emphasize the use of contraception. These countries often have little choice but to accept these programs, especially when their acceptance is the very condition upon which more legitimate forms of government aid are granted.

The United Nation's conferences on the family and on women, held in Cairo in 1994 and in Beijing in 1995, epitomize the secular imperative that a low fertility rate achieved through government-enforced contraception is the key to progress, both for women as individuals as well as for nations as a whole. This dubious association of progress with the employment of contraception on a massive scale makes it appear that the cause of some of the world's most serious problems is female fertility. As one astute observer has remarked in criticizing the UN's prevailing contraceptive strategy: "All the UN approaches to women are subsumed by the driving need to control and curtail their fertility."4

Material concerns are often a decisive factor for many married couples. Children are expensive and require a considerable investment in time, care, and attention. It is easy to regard them as incompatible with a life-style of material comfort. Contraception appears to be a simple and effective way for such couples to limit their family without compromising their life-style.

People who reject the Church's teaching on contraception, by and large, do so not because they understand and disagree with it, but largely because their commitment to a certain life-style prevents them from giving the Church a fair hearing. Nonetheless, they do offer "reasons" for dismissing Church teaching. They often accuse the Church of being excessively idealistic, or simply unrealistic, or out of step with the modern world, or lacking compassion for the economic and psychological hardships couples must undergo in having and raising children.

The Church teaching concerning contraception is not primarily negative, but based on a most positive understanding of marriage, sexuality, and God. Marriage, in the truest sense, is not an arbitrary arrangement, but an institution established by Christ (Mt. 19: 3 ff.; Mk. 10: 2 ff.) Marriage, therefore, is divinely instituted. This lofty, exalted understanding of marriage is nowhere better realized than in sexual union where the human act of husband and wife comes into intimate relationship with the creative act of God. Sexual union between husband and wife take place on holy ground, as it were, since it is the place where God's creation and the married couple's procreation of new life intersect.

It is most fitting, when in the presence of God, or in a holy place, to show appropriate signs of reverence. Just as God asked Moses to remove his shoes when he was standing in the Divine presence,5 and just as people kneel when they come into Church, it is also appropriate for married couples not to defile the holy ground which is their sexual union and intimacy with God, with the employment of contraceptive devices.

The essential purpose of contraception is to prevent the initiation of new life. The use of contraception, therefore, represents a choice that is essentially "contralife".6 Moreover, since God is the Creator of new life, contraception is not only contralife but contra-God-the-creator.

The notion that husband and wife become two-in-one-flesh through sexual union implies that each presents to the other the gift of self.7 This is the meaning of love, to give of oneself to one's beloved. The sexual act between husband and wife, however, represents a very pure form of love since it requires the spouses to love each other unreservedly and whole-heartedly. Contraception, since it is a way of holding back by not including the procreative dimension of one's being, compromises the two-in-one-flesh unity of the marital act. The use of contraception is not compatible with the kind of pure and total gift that marriage asks of husband and wife.

Church Teaching on Contraception

Contraception negates the creative act of God. It also compromises the unity of the relationship between the marriage partners. For these two reasons, fundamentally, the Church teaches that contraception is disordered and morally wrong. It is wrong, according to the Church, because it separates the procreative and the unitive meanings of the marital act. In this way, the Church condemns contraception primarily because it violates the goods of marriage and procreation. In Humanae Vitae we find the following statement:

By safeguarding both these essential aspects, the unitive and the procreative, the conjugal act preserves in its fullness the sense of true marital love and its orientation toward man's exalted vocation to parenthood.8

In the same document, the denunciation of contraceptives of every kind is most clear: "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.9 Here, the Church is explicitly rejecting such forms of contraception as the Pill, condoms, and spermicides.

Sexual intercourse is naturally ordered to procreation. This order, like the way leaves are ordered to produce food by undergoing photosynthetic activity in the presence of sunlight, exemplifies the natural law. In the Latin text of Humanae Vitae (Latin is the official language of the Church), the expression "per se destinatus" (in itself ordered) is used to indicate the natural relationship that exists between intercourse and procreation. What Church teaching opposes is the violation of the natural ordination between intercourse and the initiation of new life that God, Himself, has established. The Church does not oblige people to have as many children as possible, or to engage in sexual intercourse every time the wife appears to be fertile. She teaches that if the married spouses do have sexual union, that they do not deliberately attempt to negate the natural order that God established between the marital act and His power to create new life. Contraception, so to speak, slams the door in the face of God and encloses the married couple in a world that is deprived of important avenues to and therefore to sources of supernatural help.

At the same time, the Church does not forbid married couples from enjoying conjugal love when they know that procreation is either unlikely or impossible. The Church has no objection whatsoever to married couples making love when the wife is already known to be pregnant, when the wife or husband are infertile, or when the partners themselves are infertile as a couple. As Pope Paul VI states in Humanae Vitae: "Marital acts do not cease being legitimate if they are foreseen to be infertile because of reasons independent of the spouses."

Similarly, the Church does not require people to pray all the time. But she does hold that whenever a person prays to God, he does so with reverence. Although we need not pray always, we are never permitted to blaspheme. This negative prohibition should not be difficult to grasp since it is readily understood in thousands of commonplace circumstances. For example, while it is not required that a husband always talk to his wife, it is required that when he does speak to her, that he should do so respectfully. A wife is not obliged to prepare all meals, but when she does prepare a meal, she should not deliberately render it indigestible.

The understanding that intercourse is naturally linked to procreation has enjoyed a long and consistent history. All Christians churches were solidly united against the use of contraception until 1930 when, at the Lambeth Conference in England, the Anglican Church allowed married couples to use contraception, but only for grave reasons.

Sigmund Freud, who had little sympathy for religion of any kind, regarded the separation of intercourse from its procreative end as a model of sexual perversity. The founder of modern psychoanalysis wrote: ". . . it is a characteristic common to all the perversions that in them reproduction as an aim is put aside. This is actually the criterion by which we judge whether a sexual activity is perverse -- if it departs from reproduction in its aims and pursues the attainment of gratification independently... Everything that... serves the pursuit of gratification alone is called by the unhonored title of 'perversion' and as such is despised."10

Throughout her history the Catholic Church has maintained a clear, forceful, and consistent position in her teaching about the essential evil of contraception. After surveying the Church's historical teaching on contraception, Paul VI's Minority Commission offered the following statement:

One can find no period in history, no document of the Church, no theological school, scarcely one Catholic theologian, who ever denied that contraception was always seriously evil. The teaching of the Church in this matter is absolutely constant. Until the present century this teaching was peacefully possessed by all other Christians, whether Orthodox or Anglican or Protestant.11

In 1931, the year after the Lambeth Conference opened the doors to contraception for the Anglican Church, Pope Pius XI issued his encyclical Casti Connubii ("On Chaste Wedlock") in which he reiterated the Church's long-standing opposition to contraception, while explaining that, for right reasons, it is permissible to confine conjugal acts to known periods of infertility. In 1980, at the Synod of Bishops, representatives of national hierarchies from around the world addressed the issue of contraception. After giving the matter careful consideration, the bishops professed their agreement with Humanae Vitae and Vatican II's Gaudium et Spes on contraception. John Paul II ratified their statement and, reflecting on the significance of the matter at hand, stated:

Consideration in depth of all the aspects of these problems offer a new and stronger confirmation of the importance of the authentic teaching on birth regulation reproposed in the Second Vatican Council and in the Encyclical Humanae Vitae.12

Scholars have provided highly detailed and lengthy argumentation that the Catholic Church's teaching concerning contraception has been infallibly taught by the ordinary magisterium under the conditions articulated by Vatican II in Lumen Gentium 25.13 Moreover, if the Church had been wrong throughout the centuries on an issue of such fundamental importance as contraception, how could she maintain her claim to being the authentic interpreter of Christ's teachings?

In July of 1987, at a conference on responsible procreation, John Paul II reminded participants that the Church's consistent teaching has been vigorously expressed by Vatican II, Humanae Vitae, Familiaris Consortio, and Donum Vitae. He went on to say "The Church's teaching on contraception does not belong in the category of matter open to free discussion among theologians. Teaching the contrary amounts to leading the moral consciences of spouses into error."14 In the words of one bishop: "The Church has not changed its teaching against contraception. What is more, the Church cannot change its teaching against contraception. Because the Church sees that teaching as based on God's moral order."15

Natural Family Planning

Because the Church's teaching concerning contraception has roots in the natural law, she, as would be expected, has no objection to anything that is natural. Therefore, she is an ardent supporter of a form of child-spacing or fertility regulation in marriage known as Natural Family Planning (NFP). Some have objected that NFP is "unnatural" because it require periodic abstinence, taking the wife's body temperature, reading charts, checking mucus, and so on. In this case, however, such critics use the word "natural" to mean "spontaneous," a meaning that does not reflect the Church's mind when she uses the word in conjunction with her natural law teaching. Accordingly, what the Church means by "natural" in this context, refers to the normal functioning or proper order of things. Setting a broken humerus or using corrective lenses restores the normal functioning of the arm or the eyes. NFP is natural, not because it has any claims to spontaneity, but because it respects the order of nature. Contraception, in sundering the natural relationship between intercourse and procreation, does violence to the natural law. As Pope John Paul II states in his Apostolic Letter, Familiaris Consortio: "When... by means of recourse to periods of infertility, the couple respect the inseparable connection between the unitive and procreative meanings of human sexuality, they are acting as 'ministers' of God's plan and they 'benefit from' their sexuality according to the original dynamism of 'total self-giving', without manipulation or alteration."

NFP can be used, in the positive sense, to enhance the couple's chances of achieving pregnancy. In a situation where the husband has a low sperm count, for example, by combining knowledge of the time of ovulation with a period of abstinence that allows the husband to build up his sperm count, the conditions for conceiving are greatly increased. On the other hand, NFP can be used, in the negative sense, in order to avoid conception.

Planned Parenthood's official statistician, Christopher Tietze has reported that the effectiveness of one method of NFP -- the "temperature method" -- is 99%, which is higher than most contraceptives.16 Mother Teresa, who won a Nobel Peace Prize for her work with the poor in Calcutta, reports that her NFP program in India prevented 1.1 million births in that country.17 A study of 20,000 Hindu, Muslim, and Christian women of Calcutta who were taught NFP was reported in the India Medical Journal. The report stated that NFP was as successful as the Pill in avoiding pregnancies.18 Unlike the Pill and other forms of contraception, it should be noted, NFP has no undesirable side-effects. As many practitioners of NFP have come to learn through experience, it is marriage that is the sacrament, not contraception.

The most common objection to using NFP in order to avoid conception is that it appears to be morally equivalent to using contraception. What is the difference in this case, people say, between using NFP and using contraception since the desired end is the same, namely, to avoid conception?

Apart from the issue of side-effects, which is decisive in itself, one must recognize the difference between an end and a means. Most of morality, in fact, is concerned not about ends but about means. The end, moral as it may be in itself, does not justify the employment of an immoral means. Having a child is a good end, but surely achieving that end by means of kidnapping is morally distinguishable from becoming a parent by means of loving union with one's spouse. Money may be a desirable end, but obtaining it through theft, blackmail, or extortion, as opposed to earning it justly, is the difference between immorality and morality. Virtually everyone in the history of moral philosophy recognizes the validity of this distinction. Contraception violates the order established in nature by God between intercourse and procreation.

Also, there is a profound difference between an immoral act and no act at all. This difference is not only metaphysical (between being and nonbeing), but can be felt personally and intensely on a psychological level. Suppose, for example, an engaged couple is preparing its list of wedding guests. The couple wants some people to come and others not to come. The traditional approach is to invite those whom you want to be your guests, and not invite those whom you do not. But let is imagine that this particular couple, instead of simply not inviting certain people, sends them a disinvitation: "Dear John and Mary: We are getting married, but we do not want you to come to our wedding. Our ushers have been instructed to escort you to the parking lot if you dare show up. Your presence is not wanted. Stay away. We do not want to see you." It is not difficult to appreciate the difference in impact on John's and Mary's feelings that receiving such a "disinvitation" would have, as compared with their not receiving an invitation. Sending out such a disinvitation could very well ruin whatever vestige of friendship existed between the two parties. The difference between the disinvitation and no invitation is the difference between insult and etiquette, contempt and civility. It is one thing not to invite a person; it is quite another to explain to him that his presence is unwanted.

Using contraception is like sending a disinvitation to God. It is like telling God that He should not show up, that His creative act is not only unwanted, but disrespected. But abstaining from intercourse as part of NFP does not send any such message. By refraining from intercourse at a time when a couple does not want to conceive sends an altogether different and more tacit message: "We do not invite or invoke your creative act at this time, but we will not insult you by profaning the means you have established to inititate new life by exploiting it for our own purposes while disinviting your presence through contraception. We will abstain rather than profane."

Another common objection to the Church's promotion of NFP and rejection of contraception is that it represents a beautiful "ideal," but it is not very practical for most married couples. But NFP has proven to be eminently practical wherever it has been used, whereas the "ideals" that contraception promoters envisioned, such as less sexual anxiety, happier marriages, fewer divorces, and better rapport between parents and children, have proven to be decidedly impractical and unrealistic.

Among married couples who practice NFP, divorce is rare. Josef Rozer, M. D., author of a sympto-thermal method, reports not a single divorce or abortion among 1,400 married couples who used NFP. John Kippley, founder of the Couple to Couple League, reports a divorce rate among married couple who teach NFP at 1.3%.19

The contraception debate is not between an out-dated Church whose ideals are unrealistic and a modern, secular world that has no ideals but is hard-nosed and realistic. The debate is between the Church, whose ideals are realistic (in the sense that they can, with effort, be realized) and a world whose ideals are not. Contraception advocates are not without ideals. It is simply that their ideals cannot be realized through the contraceptive means that they propose. To believe that contraception will bring about a greater two-in-one-flesh intimacy is to believe in an impossibility.

An ideal may be difficult, but it should not be dismissed simply because it is an ideal. The "ideal" for each hole in golf is to make par. In fact, this is a minimal ideal. Amateur golfers and the legion of struggling recreational performers known as "duffers," often find this ideal hard to fulfill. Yet no golfer protests that golf is an unrealistic game and that par should be whatever number of strokes it takes for a player to complete a hole. The "ideal" is necessary to give the game its structure, meaning, and direction.

It is precisely because the Church's teaching is based on the natural law that her ideals are both realistic and realizable. By contrast, the ideals of the world are often based on dreams that have no relationship with either nature or the natural law. Such dreams are fundamentally unrealistic.


Because man is ordered to God, the separation of the marital act from procreation also separates man as a person from God. Neither the personal nor the spiritual can be entirely divorced from the physical. Contraception, in separating the sex act from life, inevitably separates, at least to some degree, the sexual being from the author of life. Spiritual contraception is a predictable consequence of physical contraception. To erect a barrier against God's creative act, is inseparable from becoming alienated from God in other ways. The contraceptive barrier against reality is also a barrier against truth. According to one theologian, "God, through His Church, both denounces contraception and proffers the graces to regulate the size of one's family by continence. Disbelief in the one truth implies disbelief in the other."20 The contraceptive act that excludes God may also exclude His grace.

Continence can be a greater expression of love than contraceptive sex. When husband and wife decide, with good reason, to forego the marital act rather than use contraception, they honor the personal wholeness that sexual union implies. It is better that they not use sex to express their love than to misuse it. A married couple honors the wholeness of the marital act in two ways only: 1) positively, by expressing it in its natural wholeness and integrity; 2) negatively, by not expressing it at all, rather than defiling it by expressing it in a vitiated way. The same can be said about telling the truth. One may tell the truth or not say anything at all. But it is the falsified truth, the lie, which is morally objectionable.

The fact that physical contraception leads to spiritual contraception is perhaps nowhere better evidenced than in what has been referred to as the current "Condom Generation." The condom has become a metaphor for isolation, not only from new life and sexually transmitted diseases, but from any intrusion or penetration from the outside world, including truth, love, and grace. A university student has explained the matter simply and directly: "We are the condom generation. We have learned to protect ourselves against intrusion, mental, auditory, physical, emotional. Don't try the shock treatment, it will have the opposite effect from what you hope."21

Victims of the Condom Generation distrust everything that is not part of themselves. Given time, when they realize that there is no justification for trusting themselves and no one else, they learn to distrust themselves as well. The spiritual contraception that physical contraception engenders makes it exceedingly difficult to communicate to those who are practicing contraception the truth about the alienating effect their practice has on them.

The Church's teaching on contraception is based on the natural law, incorporates the sacramental character of marriage, honors the dignity of the marital act, and affirms the sacredness of new human life. In addition, it recognizes man's nature as a person, that is, an embodied, engendered, being-in-the-world who lives and develops through knowledge and love. A person is an individual, unique and unrepeatable; but a person is, at the same time, communal and capable of profound interpersonal relationships. In referring to the personalistic implications of marriage, the most common and fundamental form of human community, John Paul states that "this conjugal communion sinks roots in the natural complementarity that exists between man and woman and is nurtured through the personal willingness of the spouses to share their entire life project, what they have and what they are. For this reason such communion is the fruit and sign of a profoundly human need."22

Contraception, as John Paul II has pointed out on many occasions, contradicts the "innate language that expresses the total reciprocal self-giving of husband and wife."23 In a verbal lie, the word contradicts what one knows to be the case. In a bodily lie, the body's expression (the language of the body) contradicts the meaning the person ascribes to that bodily expression. When Judas gave Christ a kiss, he did not intend it to mean friendship, which a kiss signifies naturally, but to indicate betrayal. His kiss was a lie. He did not intend it to mean what it means in the natural language of the body. Contraceptive intercourse is a lie on a deeply personal level because, on the one hand, intercourse symbolizes the total giving of the partners to each other, whereas contraception, on the other hand, is their willful negation of each other's procreative potential.

As a person, a human being is not simply a body or simply a spirit, but an embodied spirit. Sexuality, therefore, is not merely biological. To allege that contraception negates only the biological dimension, leaving the partners free to have sex with each other on a more spiritual level, is to do violence to the integrity of the person. Sexuality is diffused throughout the whole of one's personality. When husband and wife share the marital act, they express love to each other as incarnate persons, not as either animals or angels. Man is a person. Contraception contradicts his integrity and wholeness as a person.

The possibility that the marriage act can produce a child, a new image of God, gives husband and wife a dimension that clearly transcends their individualities. Recognition of this supra-personal dimension elicits a sense of wonder and privilege, what one might call awe. An American woman reported that she and her husband were able to experience "awe" once they abandoned contraception and allowed God to re-enter their conjugal relationship.24 An Australian woman reports this same sense of "awe" when she and her husband honor God's creative presence.25 Finally, a Pulitzer Prize winning novelist makes essentially the same point that if such "awe" is not experienced between the sexes, their union is reduced to a mere transaction. To exclude the procreative possibility is not only to invite lust and power, he writes, but to abandon that world of love in which God is the supreme master.26

As a person, one lives, not by lust, but by love. Love, which is the promotion of the good of another, proceeds from the wholeness of the loving person. True love between spouses is a synthesis of two wholes, two persons in one flesh. Lust is fragmentary. It is a synthesis between fragments, between appetite and that part of the other that arouses the appetite. Lust aims at the disintegration of personality, a direction that is essentially meaningless. Lust is also chained to necessity, whereas love is always given in an atmosphere of freedom. Contraception prevents love from being truly whole. Because of its fragmentary propensities, it is highly compatible with lust.

Referring to the incarnate love that husband and wife freely share with one another, Pope Paul VI writes:

This love is of the senses and of the spirit at the same time. It is not, then, merely a question of natural instinct or emotional drive. It is also and above all, an act of free will, whose dynamism ensures that not only does it endure through the joys and sorrows of daily life, but also that it grows, so that husband and wife becomes in a way, one heart and one soul, and together attain their human fulfillment.27

For John Paul II, that which "constitutes the essential evil of the contraceptive act" is the way it violates the interior order of conjugal union, an order that is rooted in the very order of the person.28

The Church teaches that the spouses minister the sacrament of marriage to each other. It is, therefore, most fitting that as they express, in sexual union, that mysterious language of their bodies, they do so in all truth that is proper to it.


Humanae Vitae affirms the Church's consistent and historical teaching that there is an "inseparable connection, willed by God and unable to be broken by man on his own initiative, between the two meaning of the conjugal act: the unitive and the procreative."29

This teaching is not a mere "ideal" for those who find contraception to be more "realistic". It is eminently practicable, as attested by the great successes reported throughout the world by couples who practice Natural Family Planning. Moreover, because NFP honors the personal wholeness of its practitioners, it accords with the nature and dignity of their incarnate humanity.

Church teaching recognizes the priority that the person has over pleasure, that love has over appetite, and that generosity has over selfishness.

Those married couples who honor the unitive and procreative meanings of the sexual act in their lives are in a most favorable position to grow closer to each other without separating themselves from God. They understand that the dignity of procreation and the sacredness of new life bear a direct relation to Christ, who instituted marriage, and God the Father, who creates new life.

A good marriage is the basis for a good family. Since the family remains the fundamental unit of society, a good marriage plays an immense and indispensable role in providing essential benefits for society. The future of humanity passes through the husbands and wives whose invocations of life confer upon them the status of fathers and mothers. The quality of today's marriage is crucial to the quality of life for the next generation.

The Church's teaching concerning marriage and contraception is directed to the home, but its implications are far-reaching, both in time and in space. One of the greatest disappointments the Church has experienced in the second half of the twentieth century is not so much the informed dissent from and conscientious rejection of Humanae Vitae, but in so many Catholics turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to its liberating message. It is the truth, not the capacity to dismiss Church teaching, that makes people truly free. The Promethean gesture is self-defeating. God is man's supreme benefactor and the Church is his most reliable teacher. The Church shines a light that reveals the holiness of marriage, the value of the family, and the inviolability of human life. She is also a channel of grace that helps make the truth livable, and a community of helpmates who assist in making them shareable. Her truths are the truths that will enable husbands and wives to find the freedom they need in order to love each other as God wills, and to raise children who will take their rightful places in the world and continue the work of renewing the face of the earth.


1 Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, I, 1,1. [Back]

2 Thomas Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentiles, I, 4. [Back]

3 Janet Smith, "Humanae Vitae: A Hidden Treasure," The British Columbia Catholic, Nov. 7, 1993. [Back]

4 Blanca Reilly, "Gender Politics at the U. N.," Crisis, June 1995, P. 10. [Back]

5 Exodus 3:5: "Take off your shoes, for the place on which you stand is holy ground." [Back]

6 Germain Grisez, Joseph Boyle, John Finnis, and William E. May, "'Every Marital Act Ought To Be Open To New Life': Toward A Clearer Understanding," The Thomist, 52, 3, July, 1988, pp. 365-426. Here the authors develop and explain in great detail the "contralife" implications of contraception. [Back]

7 Pope John Paul II, in his "Theology of the Body" speaks extensively of the "gift of self" that husband and wife bring to their marriage. See John Paul II, Original Unity of Man and Woman: Catechesis on the Book of Genesis (Boston, MA: Daughters of St. Paul, 1981). [Back]

8 Pope Paul VI, Humanae Vitae. [Back]

9 Ibid., See also Catechism of the Catholic Church (Ottawa, ON: Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1992), section 2370, p. 483. [Back]

10 Sigmund Freud, A General Introduction to Psycho-Analysis, trans. By Joan Riviere (New York, NY: Liverwright, 1935), p. 277. [Back]

11 "Minority Papal Commission Report," The Catholic Case for Contraception, Daniel Callahan (ed.), (London, England: Collier-Macmillan, 1969), p. 179. [Back]

12 Ronald Lawler, Joseph Boyle, and William E. May, Catholic Sexual Ethics (Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, 1985), p. 156. See also John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio, sec. 29. [Back]

13 John C. Ford, and Germain Grisez, "Contraception and the Infallibility of the Ordinary Magisterium," Theological Studies, June 1978, Vol. 39, No. 2, pp. 258-312. [Back]

14 John Paul II, "The Church's teaching on contraception is not a matter for free discussion among theologians," L'Osservatore Romano, July 6, 1987. [Back]

15 Archbishop John F. Whealon of Hartford, CT, The Hartford Catholic Transcript, Feb. 28, 1980. [Back]

16 Herbert F. Smith, "The Proliferation of Population Problems," Why Humanae Vitae Was Right, Janet E. Smith (ed.), (San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 1993). P. 399. [Back]

17 "The Billings Ovulation Method of Birth Regulation," (World Organization Ovulation Method Billings, undated flyer), p. 1. [Back]

18 Jon Hunt, "Doctor defends the natural method," Birmingham Post (England). [Back]

19 Janet Smith, op. cit. 1993, p. 432. John Kippley, Catholic Dossier, op. cit., p. 48. [Back]

20 Paul Quay, "Contraception and Conjugal Love," Janet E. Smith (ed.), op. cit. 1993, p. 43. [Back]

21 Professor Janine Langan made this point in her opening address at the Second Panamerican Conference on Family and Education, Toronto, ON, May 27, 1996. See also Janine Langan, The Catholic Register, Nov. 18, 1996. [Back]

22 Familiaris Consortio, sec. 19. [Back]

23 Ibid. [Back]

24 National Catholic Register,Oct. 11, 1987. [Back]

25 Melinda Reist, The Pill and Liberation Methodology (Stafford, VA: American Life League, 1992), p. 10. [Back]

26 Norman Mailer, The Prisoner of Sex (Boston, MA: Little, Brown & Co., 1971), pp. 173-74. [Back]

27 Humanae Vitae, sec. 9. [Back]

28 John Paul II, Reflections of Humanae Vitae (Boston, MA: Daughters of St. Paul, 1984), p. 33. [Back]

29 Humanae Vitae, sec. 12. For an excellent presentation and analysis of this encyclical, see Janet E. Smith Humanae Vitae: A Generation Later (Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1991), chapters 3-5. [Back]