Diocesan News

Ask the Register: does the Church still forbid contraception?

Q. Does the Church still forbid contraception?  What about cases of rape? I’m confused by the news recently.

A. Dr. Janet Smith, noted and faithful moral theologian and Vatican consultant, says that contraception “is the act of doing something before, during, or after an act of spousal intercourse to prevent the act from achieving the end of procreation.”

The Church teaches that acts of contraception are always contrary to plan of God, since every act of spousal intercourse is intended to be a life-giving and unitive gift of self. Acts of contraception are always wrong, without exception. 

Dr. Smith says the case of rape is a very different circumstance. She says that “for a woman to do something to prevent a rapist’s sperm from uniting with her ovum is a part of justifiable self-defense. Her act has nothing to do with violating God’s plan for sexuality. She is not choosing to use contraception to prevent a spousal act of sexual intercourse from achieving its natural end. She is not refusing to make a complete gift of herself to her spouse. She is fending off a rapist and all his physicality.”

As Janet Smith says, a hormone or pharmaceutical that works “by either destroying an embryonic human being or rendering the uterus an inhospitable place for an embryonic human being,” is an abortifacient, and notes the very serious evil of abortion, in every single circumstance. We can never undertake an act to directly kill an unborn child.

Acts of contraception are never a morally good choice. Nor is the use of abortifacients.Natural Family Planning, in the context of marriage, can be a moral and joyful approach to marriage for couples seeking to do God’s will.

Write to Ask the Register using our online form, or write to 3700 Sheridan Blvd, Lincoln NE 68506-6100. All questions are subject to editing. Editors decide which questions to publish. Personal questions cannot be answered. People with such questions are urged to take them to their nearest Catholic priest.

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