That's the reaction I think most people have when they hear, yet again, that the Catholic Church opposes contraception. It seems like one of the stupidest positions you could take. I mean, the Catholic Church is the great enemy of abortion - and isn't contraception all about preventing the circumstances that lead to abortion?
Well lets start with what the Church means by "contraception." It is any act which intentional drives a wedge between the love-giving and life-giving aspects of sexual intercourse; it seeks to derail the natural procreative process with which God graced human nature. (This is a quantum leap from the legitimate method of postponing or avoiding additional pregnancies offered by natural family planning - a husband and wife using the latest medical information regarding the wife's fertile and infertile times to determine when intercourse will most likely result in conception.)
There seems to be this Western cultural amnesia that EVERY form of Christianity was morally opposed to contraception up until 1930 (not to mention non-Christians such as Gandhi and Sigmund Freud). That was the year that the Anglican Church decided that it was permissible in some cases, but emphatically warned against recourse to contraception because of "selfishness, luxury, or mere convenience." From there it was a snowball effect, one Christian body after another abandoning its historic position (Martin Luther had gone so far as to claim that contraception was, "far more atrocious than incest and adultery,"and John Calvin that it "kills the son, which could be expected, before he is born." WOW - have you ever heard a Catholic theologian take it that far?) By 1968, the Catholic Church stood alone; that was the year Pope Paul VI issued his encyclical Humanae Vitae, and reiterated this element of classic, orthodox Christianity - this truth engrained in the natural order. And he predicted that if the Truth was ignored, there would be dire consequences. (Sound kind of like Moses? the Old Testament prophets? Jesus? Paul?)
Now, today's subject is owed to an article I just read by Christopher West over at the Catholic Exchange website (I'm there everyday), that demonstrates the connection between our culture's embrace of a contraceptive mindset and the explosion of "adultery, divorce, premarital sex, STD’s, out-of-wedlock births, abortion, fatherless children, homosexuality," etc . (Chris has some fantastic books out there - but I digress.) I just want to quote from his article, because I can't say it better myself; and I know Chris would want me to pass the info along:
"What’s the connection with contraception? While today’s societal chaos is certainly complex, the following demonstrates the 'inner logic' of contraception’s contribution. People are often tempted to do things they shouldn’t do. Deterrents within nature itself and within society help to curb these temptations and maintain order. For example, what would happen to the crime rate in a given society if jail terms suddenly ceased?
"Apply the same logic to sex. People throughout history have been tempted to commit adultery. It’s nothing new. However, one of the main deterrents from succumbing to the temptation has been the fear of pregnancy. What would happen if this natural deterrent were taken away? As history demonstrates, rates of adultery would skyrocket. What’s one of the main causes of divorce? Adultery. Apply the same logic to pre-marital sex. Such behavior has, indeed, skyrocketed. Premarital sex, as a kind of 'adultery in advance,' is also a prime indicator of future marital breakdown.
"It gets worse. Since no method of contraception is 100% effective, an increase in adultery and pre-marital sex will inevitably lead to an increase in 'unwanted pregnancies.' What’s next? So many people think contraception is the solution to the abortion problem. Take a deeper look and you’ll see that that’s like throwing gasoline on a fire to try to put it out. In the final analysis, there is only one reason we have abortion - because men and women are having sex without being “open to life.” If this mentality is at the root of abortion, contraception does nothing but foster and afford this mentality.
"Not everyone will resort to abortion of course. Some will choose adoption. Other mothers (most) will raise these children by themselves. Hence the number of children who grow up without a father (which has already been increased by the rise in divorce) will be compounded...
"What about homosexuality? Our culture is impotent to resist the 'gay agenda' because we have already accepted its basic premise with contraception — the reduction of sex to the exchange of pleasure. When openness to life is no longer an intrinsic part of the sexual equation, why does sexual behavior have to be with the opposite sex?" [End extended quotation from Chis West]
DUDE! All I can say after that is, "Contraception? Oh, COME ON! Can't you see where that has led us?"