rocket_science.gifOk, 64 comments later, I think we’re inching towards progress, but slowly. So how about another way of looking at it.

Let’s say a Catholic couple is monitoring their fertility. No particular purpose in mind, they’re not necessarily thinking that a child is the thing they most want in the world right now, but they’re not opposed to having a child either. They are, to employ the common Papist parlance, open to life. If it happens it happens, we’re not going to try to stop it. Every sexual act they share is uninterrupted and life giving. Let’s even give them the benefit of the doubt and say that it’s also pleasurable for everyone.

Now let’s say that they come home from a family gathering tired after a long day of working and attending to other obligations. They put their two kids to bed and crash on the couch. They’re enjoying something on the TV to relax before hitting the sack, when the wife does some quick mental math and realizes, they’re fertile.

This may or may not be a bombshell to everyone here, but, upon realizing this, if they’re both tired from a long day and quite ready to go straight to bed as soon as Lost is over, they have no obligation to have sex. It is not the obligation of Catholics to attempt to have a baby at every available opportunity.

It seems like some of the non-Catholics in the comments on the previous couple posts seem to think that the Catholic teaching against contraception somehow means that sex can only happen for the purpose of conceiving children or that sex outside of times when conception is possible is somehow taboo. This is not the case.

Personally, what this teaching has meant for me is a conclusion that I came to prior to becoming Catholic. It seemed wrong and bothersome to me to keep putting all these layers between myself and my wife and between myself and God’s blessing. Prior to becoming Catholic, not out of obedience to anyone, we realized that we wanted sex to be pure and unpolluted with artificial contraptions or medications.

So we came to a sort of laissez faire attitude towards conception. Have sex when we want to have sex with no barriers, giving a complete gift of self to each other, and let God work out where and when children come into the mix. This is the Church’s teaching on the subject. The stuff about who gets to finish when is a lot of straining gnats and swallowing camels. I’m a bit tired of all the biology that’s gone on in the comment section on the last post. Can we please rest assured that Catholicism has nothing against orgasms for anybody who’s married? That’s part of the sexual act as a whole. If you’re missing that you’re missing part of it what the act as a whole should be. But I gotta tell you, this obsession with orgasms some people in the comment box seem to have is a bit odd.

It’s about a holistic approach to the sexual act. An approach that emphasizes honesty with the language of the body. Giving that really gives, receiving that really receives, and faith in God that really believes that when He gives you a child He wants you to have it and He’ll help you take care of it.