Excerpts from the book New Perspectives on Contraception by Dr. Donald DeMarco
Contraception is contrary to the natural law, poses significant health risks, causes division within the self, inclines toward selfishness (p.48), and compromises marital intimacy. This seems to be a very high price to pay in order to prevent unwanted pregnancies. But contraception does not always succeed in this regard. One may pay this very high price, then, and not secure the one advantage that is supposed to offset all the disadvantages.
There are two basic desires that are innate in man: a desire for the infinite and a desire for the intimate. These desires are very powerful and often interfere with each other. The infinite without the intimate is abstract; the intimate without the infinite is unsatisfactory. Our appetite for the infinite is boundless; our appetite for the intimate is only too quickly quenched. The great problem in life is how to reconcile them. In pursuing the infinite without the intimate, one is likely to sacrifice a person for an abstract ideal. On the other hand, one may pursue the intimate to the exclusion of the infinite.
marital intimacy the desires for the intimate and the infinite are
reconciled. One is intimate with his spouse while at the same time
is in touch with God the Infinite Being who creates life through moments
of human intimacy. Loving union between spouses, therefore, is creative
not only inasmuch as it brings new human life into being, but also
(p. 49) Sexual intimacy intimates the infinite. To affirm this order is to affirm the fundamental order of creation. To violate it, which contraception does, is to make the infinite inaccessible and to make an idol of the intimate.
The Old Testament uses the word yadoah (to know) for the act of sexual union. Knowledge and sexual love have an important factor common in that they both imply an entering into something that is outside the self. The knower is united with the object of his knowledge and his knowledge is objective to the degree it is free from subjective prejudices and biases. The true knower knows his beloved as he is and not as he might prefer him to be. Likewise, the true lover will love his partner as he is, without altering his being to suit some convenience or security need. In this same sense, the ancients proclaimed "ubi amor, ibi oculus" - where there is love, there is vision (knowledge).
By taking knowing and loving together - yadoah - a special intimacy is achieved between husband and wife in which each knows and loves the other with reverence, that is, with respect for the way they are. This yadoah intimacy is the basis for creativity in the married life of husband and wife, in the life of the species, and in the continuing life of the community.
Intimacy requires knowledge and love in the strictest sense of these terms. But knowledge and love need courage, and courage needs faith. If there should be one sacrosanct, uncompromisable, inviolate relationship between people in all of society, it should be the sexual union between husband and wife. Marriage, then, demands extraordinary and well-developed virtues. Accordingly, one woman writer states that "marriage is the hallowed ground, the sanctified place for those lovers who should, who are able, who are permitted and who are determined to take the risk of procreation."12 Marital intimacy is difficult and menaced on all sides. Yet its difficulties pale when compared with its rewards, for it is the antidote par excellence for loneliness, selfishness, fear, and alienation. And it is the ordinary and unsurpassable means of conceiving new life, and by virtue of that new life, offering a weary world new hope.
begins when a man and a woman promise one another love and fidelity,
a promise that anticipates an abundance of communal benefits that
is the shared offspring of their creative intimacy.
|2001 Catholics Against Contraception|