Contraception is the No.1 Enemy of Marriages

Anthony Zimmerman
Published in the Homiletic and Pastoral Review
December 1997
Reproduced with Permission

Father Clarence Hettinger's "The End of the Annulment Explosion" (July 1996) augurs well for improvement in the operation of marriage courts. How can it be, he chides gently, that couples are obviously capable of marriage on the wedding day, but routinely become incapable retroactively? God, who arranged marriage for humans in general, must have equipped them in general to succeed in the permanent commitment. Fr. Hettinger's warm, wise, and pastoral article does HPR immense credit.

He alludes to four early warning signs of marital failure, "criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling." Indeed, couples have to work through these obstacles and so prevent a terminal "stonewalling." Has it not been so from the time of Adam and Eve?

What is the new problem today? Let's face the monster down. Have priests and lay instructors acquired the insight that today's marriage stonewall mason is contraception? By contracepting a man tramples with filthy boots on the delicate self awareness of his woman. She normally carries her nose high aware of her dignity as an incredibly unique and gold-filigreed image of God. The insensitive husband makes light of her deeply cherished assets. The woman responds by scorning the man who sins with her. Who trades off his inheritance for a cheap mess of pottage. Mutual masturbation breeds mutual contempt. The bedroom begins to reek of sulphur. No wonder they both opt finally to leave. But hopping into another bedroom to befoul that also with sinful actions is going to be a second disappointment.

The Lord has a superb plan for marriage. He made it durable, to fit all cultures from Adam and Eve until the angels blow their trumpets. Let the word go forth: "NO CONTRACEPTION, PLEASE!" Christ discarded His calm but once in the Gospels: when He picked up a whip of rope and swished it about to drive merchants out of the temple. He kicked over the tables and coins clattered on the stone floor. He upset cages as frightened doves took off with whistling wings. He takes fire when sin is commercialized. Today He says: "Get these condoms and pills and sterilizing knives out of the bedroom! How dare you turn my temple into a bordello?"

We know the answer: Divorce is rare among users of natural methods. They usually learn to be yoked together without cracking each other's heads by stonewalling. Pastors, instructors, set your jaws firmly like Isaiah, like Jeremiah. Tell the whole truth. Your people deserve to hear the entire the Gospel, including the hard parts. Contraception is the number one enemy of marriages today. Help clean this (d)evil out of the Church.