For the first time in almost 40 years the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops released a statement reiterating the Church’s position on contraception and the meaning of the marital embrace. Married love is meant to be a total gift of self, holding nothing back. The use of contraception witholds a spouse’s fertility from that gift and says, “I give you everything I am – except…” It turns the marital embrace from an act of mutual self giving to the mere satisfaction of lust and human emotion. Because of this, Pope Paul VI, in his encyclical Humanae Vitae (1968), prophetically surmised that the use of contraception would lead spouses to treat each other as objects instead of people (if you have not yet read that document I highly recommend it!).
Contraception has had a lasting effect on our society as we now accept certain behaviors as premarital sex, adultry, divorce for whatever reason, and abortion. The latest headline on Fox News this evening states that Almost 40% of Children Born in the U.S. in 2005 Were Out of Wedlock, an All-Time High. Although the teen birth rate is declining the number of unwed mothers in their 20s is climbing and people are ditching the traditional idea of marriage. “A failure to respect married love’s power to helf create new life has eroded respect for life and for the sanctity of marriage.”