Catholic Teaching on Contraception

For Married Couples Only?

Condemnation of Contraception Is a Universal Norm


Sexual intercourse, the tradition holds, is legitimate and good (and, for Christians, grace-imparting) when and only when it is marital. Marriage is a one-flesh communion of persons with two defining goods: the unity and perfection of the spouses and the procreation and education of children. Intercourse that is marital will always respect the full one-flesh significance of the marital relationship by retaining a unitive and procreative character. The normative work this does in sexual ethics is primarily negative. Sexual acts that intentionally disregard either the unitive or the procreative goods of marriage are non-marital and therefore wrongful acts. Intercourse between non-married partners violates the unitive good, as do all coercive sexual acts. Contraceptive acts will against the procreative good; they are therefore non-marital, even if between married persons, and so wrongful. They are wrongful precisely because by definition they entail a will against the procreative good of marriage. Let me repeat: all non-marital sex is wrongly chosen, both inside and outside of marriage. Fornication is sex between non-married persons. Masterbatory acts are non-unitive. Contraceptive acts are non-procreative and non-unitive, insofar as rejecting the procreative meaning of sexual intercourse they do not realize between couples an integral one-flesh union.

See our other posts on contraception and abortion at:

Contraception and Birth Control

OPINION: Abortion Issues

Read or download the entire interview at Catholic Teaching on Contraception For Married Couples


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