Contraception and Christianity Term Paper

Pages: 6 (2181 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion

Contraception and Christianity

Pope Paul VI's 1968 encyclical, entitled "Humanae Vitae," or "On Human Life, condemned the use of all artificial means of contraception as a sin and called on all Roman Catholics to reject the contraceptive mentality (Feuerherd 2003). it, instead, taught Catholic couples to use natural family planning methods in regulating the size of their families. Today, Catholic Pro-life bishops committee needed to produce a brochure, which will explain this "culture of life" in a more positive and appealing way to Catholic couples. Committee Chairman Charles Chaput admitted that an overwhelming majority of Catholic couples use contraceptive means to limit their families despite knowing the Church's position and teaching. Chaput emphasized the need to foster a fuller understanding of the teaching itself. Bishop Joseph Galante believed that the positive values of natural family planning must be reinforced for greater unity between husband and wife and their growth in grace in keeping with God's plan. The bishops envisioned that the effort would encourage Catholic couples to be true to their "vocation of marriage." (Feuerherd)

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In a meeting, American Catholic bishops restated and tightened the Church's opposition against contraception (Reference and Education 2003). One bishop called contraception a "silent killer." Most statistics showed that Catholics use artificial birth control at the same rate as non-Catholics. Bishop John Nienstedt of Ulm, Minnesota urged parishioners to heed what the Church teaches. He said that high school and college students felt that it was their basic human right to express themselves as they felt or desired (Reference and Education).

Term Paper on Contraception and Christianity Assignment

The Holy Bible points to marriage as the first human relationship (Mueller, ed, 2001, p 436). God Himself established it as the cornerstone of society and meant to be a blessing to humankind. It was His response to the first man's need for a suitable companion in his aloneness. God intended to establish that it was to be the closest and most intimate human relationship. In this union, the bodies of the partners would belong to each other. They were joined together for a lifelong commitment and to be a joy and fidelity to each other (Mueller).

From the beginning of creation, marriage was to be a union of sexual beings who should multiply or reproduce (Mueller, ed, 2001, p 442). Before the fall of man, God delighted in His creation, which included this sexual union, and saw that it was "very good." After the fall, there have been both proper and improper uses of this gift of human sexuality. But God's purpose and attitude towards it have not changed and cannot change. The New Testament tells Christians to give in to the conjugal rights of their spouses and not to deprive them of these rights, except for brief periods. A married Christian's body rightfully belonged to his or her spouse. The Holy Bible also clearly confines the use of that gift within the vocation of marriage (p 443). People who are not married to each other are not free to use it. Doing so constitutes fornication or adultery. This also expressly means that an unmarried Christian must avoid sexual relations with anyone. God also called a husband and his wife to an intimate relationship and life, which can bring them joy and would be a blessing to them both. This was to be their commitment, even at the point of sacrifice. They were to submit to each other in reverence all their lives. They were to perform different roles but these would be difficult if they were not living in God's grace. Only in God's grace can marriage be strong and full of God's love and forgiveness (Mueller).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that God created the human race in His own image and likeness (the Vatican 2007). In the humanity of man and woman, God inscribed the vocation of marriage and the accompanying capacity and responsibility of love and communion. He commanded His first creatures to be fruitful and to multiply. Sexuality affects all the aspects of a human person in terms of affectivity, the capacity to love and to procreate. God gave both man and woman an equal personal dignity in creating them in His image and likeness. They are to view each other in the same way. The Roman Catholic Church views and teaches that a couple's union in marriage is a way of imitating the Creator's generosity and fruitfulness. It was to be a permanent union until death parts them (the Vatican).

Every Christian or Catholic must be chaste. Chastity integrates sexuality within the entire person so that there is inner unity of man as well as self-mastery over his body and spirit (the Vatican 2007). Self-mastery trains a person in human freedom. Through it, he is able to govern his passions and finds peace. He does not allow passions to dominate him and lead him to become unhappy. His dignity leads him to act out of a conscious and free choice from within and not through blind impulses or external control. Guided by this, he is able to secure the best suitable means to his goal. Chastity develops from the cardinal virtue of temperance, which controls the passions and appetites with reason. Self-mastery cannot be developed overnight. It comes as a result of perseverance, which begins from childhood and adolescence. Chastity and temperance are the virtues every Christian or Catholic, married or not. The unmarried Christian needs the virtues to stay away from sexual activities. The married Christian needs them in deciding when and how to use the gift of sex. Married couples were to live conjugal chastity or continence. The Catholic Church teaches that those who are engaged to marry must live in continence and view it as a time of testing for mutual respect and fidelity. They are to reserve intimate expressions of affection for the state of marriage (the Vatican).

The marriage bond between baptized persons is sanctified as a sacrament by the Catholic Church (the Vatican 2007). The Church orders sexuality into this conjugal love between a man and a woman. Their physical intimacy translates into a sign and pledge of spiritual communion between them. The Church views sexuality as not confined to merely biological acts. It includes and concerns the entire person and the love and commitment they have for each other until death. Thus, their acts of marriage are noble and honorable human. They signify and enrich them in joy and gratitude, joy and pleasure. God infused the experience of pleasure and enjoyment of the body and spirit of the spouse into these acts. The Church, thus, teaches that spouses should not seek the pleasure and enjoyment separately from the purpose of these acts. The spouses must learn how to keep themselves within the limits of moderation (the Vatican).

The two-fold end of marriage consists of the good of the spouses themselves and the transmission of life (the Vatican 2007). The spouses, thus, have the obligation to fidelity and fecundity or fertility. Conjugal fidelity is rooted in the covenant of the spouses' irrevocable personal consent. By marrying each other they freely give themselves definitively and totally to each other. By doing so, they cease to be two and become one flesh. Their covenant obliges them to preserve it as a unique and indissoluble union. The Church blesses and raises that fidelity into a sacrament. The sacrament of matrimony allows a man and a woman to share Christ's fidelity to His Church. Fecundity or fertility, on the other hand, is the end or purpose of marriage. It is a gift to which the conjugal love between a committed and married couple tends. A child does not develop from the outside nor is added to the couple's mutual love. The child develops from their mutual giving. The Church, therefore, teaches that each marriage act should remain in this condition and order for the procreation of human life. The Magisterium expounded on this particular issue on the inseparable connection between procreation and the marriage act. It is a connection, which God Himself established and man may not break. The unitive significance and the procreative significance are both inherent in sex or the marriage act (the Vatican).

The married Christian man and woman are called to the unity in order to give life (the Vatican 2007). In so doing, they share in the creative power and fatherhood of God Himself. Thus, the Church teaches Christian couples to consider the transmission of life as their proper mission. When they educate their children, couples must realize that they are cooperating with the love of God the Creator in that act. When they do, they can fulfill this duty with a sense of human and Christian responsibility (the Vatican).

Part of this responsibility is the regulation of procreation (the Vatican 2007). A married Christian man and woman may want to space the births of their children. They must genuinely desire this out of the generosity, which grows from responsible parenthood. They need to make sure that their… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Contraception and Christianity" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Contraception and Christianity.  (2007, April 22).  Retrieved October 27, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Contraception and Christianity."  22 April 2007.  Web.  27 October 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Contraception and Christianity."  April 22, 2007.  Accessed October 27, 2020.