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

Marriage and the World

(p.108) Secular society, concerned as it is with worldly things, is not well disposed to hear the message of Humanae Vitae. …

Material concerns are often a decisive factor for many married couples. Children are expensive and require a considerable investment in time, care, and attention. It is easy to regard them as incompatible with a life-style of material comfort. Contraception appears to be a simple and effective way for such couples to limit their family without compromising their life-style.

People who reject the Church's teaching on contraception, by and large, do so not because they understand and disagree with it, but largely because their commitment to a certain life-style prevents them from giving the Church a fair hearing. Nonetheless, they do offer "reasons" for dismissing Church teaching. They often accuse the Church of being excessively idealistic, or simply unrealistic, or out of step with the modern world, or lacking compassion for the economic and psychological hardships couples must undergo in having and raising children.

The Church teaching concerning contraception is not primarily negative, but based on a most positive understanding of marriage, sexuality, and God. Marriage, in the truest sense, is not an arbitrary arrangement, but an institution established by Christ (Mt. 19: 3 ff.; Mk. 10: 2 ff.) Marriage, therefore, is divinely instituted. This lofty, exalted (p.109) understanding of marriage is nowhere better realized than in sexual union where the human act of husband and wife comes into intimate relationship with the creative act of God. Sexual union between husband and wife takes place on holy ground, as it were, since it is the place where God's creation and the married couple's procreation of new life intersect.

It is most fitting, when in the presence of God, or in a holy place, to show appropriate signs of reverence. Just as God asked Moses to remove his shoes when he was standing in the Divine presence,5 and just as people kneel when they come into Church, it is also appropriate for married couples not to defile the holy ground, which is their sexual union and intimacy with God, with the employment of contraceptive devices.

The essential purpose of contraception is to prevent the initiation of new life. The use of contraception, therefore, represents a choice that is essentially " contralife."6 Moreover, since God is the Creator of new life, contraception is not only contralife but contra-God-the-Creator.

The notion that husband and wife become two-in-one-flesh through sexual union implies that each presents to the other the gift of self. This is the meaning of love, to give of oneself to one's beloved. The sexual act between husband and wife, however, represents a very pure form of love since it requires the spouses to love each other unreservedly and whole-heartedly. Contraception, since it is a way of holding back by not including the procreative dimension of one's being, compromises the two-in-one-flesh unity of the marital act. The use of contraception is not compatible with the kind of pure and total gift that marriage asks of husband and wife.

2001 Catholics Against Contraception