Excerpts from the book New Perspectives on Contraception by Dr. Donald DeMarco
Contraception and Compromised Intimacy
(p.39) Contraception prevents fatherhood from coming to be, it protects the freedom of the individual from the responsibilities of parenthood, and it separates husband and wife from each other so that their degree of intimacy with each other is at least compromised.
Does contraception lead toward or away from freedom? This question cannot be answered realistically apart from understanding the relationship that exists between freedom and love. If freedom simply means separation from others or pure individuality, thenlove would actually hinder such a form of freedom. But without love, man is in a state of misery. Therefore, the freedom he seeks cannot exist without love. Love guides and directs freedom to what is good. To love another person means to use one's freedom in the interest of securing the other person's good. In this sense, freedom is not a terminal value but something that allows a good to be realized.
Contraception compromises the intimacy between husband and wife because it negates part of their being, in particular, that which is ordered to procreation. Another way of expressing this "compromise" is to say that the unselfishness of their spousal love is diluted by the presence of self-interest. The dominant philosophy of the (p.39) secular world, however, does not regard such self-interest as problematic.
Contraception is consistent with this withdrawal into the self, as well as a withdrawal from God the Creator of Life. Pope Paul VI fully recognized this shift toward the Ego and was profoundly saddened by the radical under-appreciation of love it presupposed: "In love there is infinitely more than love. We would say that in human love there is divine love. And that is why the link between love and fecundity is deep, hidden, and substantial! All authentic love between a man and a woman, when it is not egoistic love, tends towards creation of another being issuing from that love. To love can mean 'to love oneself,' and often love is no more than a juxtaposition of two solitudes. But when one has passed beyond that stage of egoism, when one has truly understood that love is shared joy, a mutual gift, then one comes to what is truly love."3
of two solitudes" is a most poignant expression. It succinctly
captures the frustration of performing an act which is designed to
bring about unity while retaining sufficient self-interest to fall
back on one's isolated self. This contradiction has been duly noted
by a number of distinguished artists.
|2001 Catholics Against Contraception|