If I am morally bound to never use contraceptives, what am I to do?

Judie Brown
American Life League, Inc.

In your marriage you have a conversation that is ongoing regarding your bodies: conjugal relations. During such times you recognize the possibility that you may be blessed with a child.

Perhaps you are not aware that any form of artificial family planning can jeopardize your health, both physical and spiritual. The very act of using such a method denies the possibility of a child, and in fact says no to that possibility. Such methods are direct interventions in the natural processes of the body and may render you and your spouse sterile. They are often unsafe physically and predispose both of you toward a negative attitude toward the blessing, the gift of a child. Moreover, their failure rate is worth investigating. Abortion is often the sequel to failed contraception.

The conjugal act is an expression of total self-giving of one to the other. It is the total surrender of each and is based on trust, love and conversation. It is often called the language of the body because in the act there is the word yes: everything that I am is yours and everything that you are is mine. Moreover I am you, you are me. We are one. What is best for you is best for me.

However, when artificial methods of family planning are used, that yes is really hollow.

The true meaning of marriage is the total self-giving of both and the recognition that children are welcome; children are blessings. Babies are gifts to be anticipated and appreciated because they are literally the fruit of the union entered into on your wedding day.

The more that you learn about each other, how you function and what it means to anticipate the possibility of procreating another human being, the better you will understand each other, respect each other, and share in the true meaning of the body as nature intended. Such an experience contributes at every level to a strengthening of the marriage, of the bond that drew you together and was recognized on your wedding day, and of your ability to appreciate the communion of two persons in one flesh. Truly, living such personal love for one another enriches tenderness, affection, and the very soul of human sexuality in its physical, emotional and spiritual aspects. Neither of you is an object of the other, but each are at a very deep level committed to love, to life, to family.

It is also clear that married couples can occasionally face situations that are very difficult. When such circumstances arise, and concerns for bearing a child develop, the answer is never to compromise the full truth of the meaning of the conjugal act. Rather the response is found in learning self-restraint, anticipating a better time and appreciating that if a child is conceived, all is not lost but will work itself out because of the true and abiding love that spouses share through their total trust in each other and in God. For ultimately the couple agrees in their statement to God, "Thy will be done".

It is never impossible to live out the full meaning of your mutual love for one another. But there is a serious problem with relying on methods of family planning only because you are negatively disposed to a family. This is, as you have seen from these few words, not only unnatural but unhealthy for the full development of your relationship as husband and wife.

Remember, the use of such chemicals or devices can not only jeopardize your body, but also jeopardizes your immortal soul. This is exactly what Christ teaches: "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; fear him rather who can destroy both body and soul in hell." (Matthew 10:28)

Judie Brown


jer 31/Jul/00