ContraceptivesI think the point often gets sidetracked to fertility issues like this was highschool biology class. It’s not. The point of the Church’s rules on contraception is to preserve the integrity of the marital act which, not to put too fine a point on it, is vaginal intercourse between a married man and a woman with nothing between them, open to the possibility that life could come from the act they are committing.

The minute you mess with the integrity of any aspect of that act (in which orifice the intercourse takes place, the number or type of persons involved, or the fertility) you’re doing violence to the nature of the marital act. God made it a certain way for certain purposes.

With artificial contraception you’re lying with your body. You’re saying ”I’m giving you everything”, and yet you’re holding back. Now, there could be a way to lie with your body with NFP, but it’s not doing so by its very nature.

You could intentionally hold back your fertility from your partner and use the fast from sex as a way to render yourself infertile, but it’s not necessary. NFP can be used as a method of responsibly spacing pregnancy while still maintaining the integrity of the marital act. The obvious difference is that nothing artificial is placed between the husband and wife to prevent conception. To use JPII’s language, the giving capacity of the man still gives and the receptive genius of the woman still receives. Conception is left in the hands of God. The couple has done nothing to change the nature of the act to prevent conception.

Every form of artificial contraception necessarily places something between the husband and wife that attempts to portray either the giving of the man or the receiving of the woman as other than what it appears to be. It says one thing and does another. If it’s condoms, the man is giving and then taking back. If it’s hormonal contraception, the woman is going through the motions of receiving while making sure her body will not actually receive it.

It’s this fundamental dishonesty in the place where we most clearly image God that the Church finds so detestable about contraception. Here, where we should be speaking most clearly and honestly with the language of our bodies, contraception throws in lies and muddies the waters of communication.

That’s why, despite this being a debate about contraception, conception is almost a side issue. In having sex when the chance of conception is less, man and woman are still authentically giving and receiving, they’re still giving the total gift of themselves to each other with no interruptions, they just might be lessening their chances of having a baby. The act itself is authentic and honest.