Contraception: Could the Church be Right?
For your meditation this Easter season: Could the Church be right? In 1979, Pope John Paul II delivered the first of 129 lectures devoted to A Theology of the Body during his weekly Wednesday audience. These revolutionary talks described how our bodies could be used as a study of God. First and foremost, we were created in the image and likeness of God. But, just as God is in communion through the trinity, we most precisely reflect God when in communion as well. According to John Paul II, "Man becomes the image of God not so much in the moment of solitude as in the moment of union." Thus, the sexual act is the least inadequate way we can experience God and His love for us. Sexual love, in fact, is meant to be an icon pointing us toward the love of God rather than a secular idol that directs our focus away from Him. During this mystical embrace, our bodies become the sacramental sacrifice between spouse and bride, just as the Eucharist becomes the sacramental sacrifice between the marriage of Christ and His Church. In both cases, "this is [my] body given up for you." It is no wonder, then, why this act should be treated with the utmost respect.
How then, does contraception fail to uphold the dignity of the sexual union? The answer will take more than this newsletter. However, the simple response suggests that to respect our bodies as we were created, we accept that sex was meant to have both a procreative and a unitive dimension. Thus, contraceptives, in separating the procreative aspect of sex from the unitive, violate the perfect design of human sexual love. And if the sex act need not be in any immediate way procreative, why must it be in an immediate way unitive? Herein lies the problem.