Human Life International is grateful for the chance to re-present unchangeable Church teaching on contraception, in greatest respect for all the faithful shepherds of the Catholic Church.
As the Brazilian bishops recently affirmed in addressing the threat posed by the Zika virus, the actual Church teaching on the matter of couples using contraception is unequivocal: The use of contraceptive methods by married couples to prevent pregnancy is always morally illicit.
Casti Connubi 54: “But no reason, however grave, may be put forward by which anything intrinsically against nature may become conformable to nature and morally good. Since, therefore, the conjugal act is destined primarily by nature for the begetting of children, those who in exercising it deliberately frustrate its natural power and purpose sin against nature and commit a deed which is shameful and intrinsically vicious.”
Humanae vitae 14: Therefore We base Our words on the first principles of a human and Christian doctrine of marriage when We are obliged once more to declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun and, above all, all direct abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children. Equally to be condemned, as the magisterium of the Church has affirmed on many occasions, is direct sterilization, whether of the man or of the woman, whether permanent or temporary.
Similarly excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means.
Neither is it valid to argue, as a justification for sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive, that a lesser evil is to be preferred to a greater one, or that such intercourse would merge with procreative acts of past and future to form a single entity, and so be qualified by exactly the same moral goodness as these. Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good,” it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it —in other words, to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general. Consequently, it is a serious error to think that a whole married life of otherwise normal relations can justify sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive and so intrinsically wrong.
In light of these doctrinal teachings, it is difficult to understand the reference to the use of contraception as “a lesser evil,” as compared with abortion. This may be the case, but it is morally irrelevant, since the same teachings that engage this question reaffirm that an evil may never be chosen that a good might come from it. These doctrinal truths cannot be changed by a statement made in a press release or interview.
Church doctrine clearly allows married couples, with consciences formed in the truth, to use natural methods (fertility awareness/periodic abstinence) to postpone pregnancy for serious reasons (CC 53, HV 14).
As the Holy See Mission to the United Nations and the Brazilian bishops have recently argued, however, there does not currently exist scientific proof validating the most common and sensational claims associated with the Zika virus. The panic surrounding the spread of Zika is being used to agitate for loosening of laws on abortion and for the promotion of contraception by those who always agitate for these evils. We hope the bishops of Latin America will be supported in their loving and truthful defense of Church teaching amid the political pressure for greater acceptance of contraception as a false solution to the Zika panic.