Excerpts from the book New Perspectives on Contraception by Dr. Donald DeMarco


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 meanings 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.

(p.119) Church teaching concerning NFP 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.

2001 Catholics Against Contraception