HLI’s Contraception Education Series

Looking at life and family issues in the light of faith and reason.

 

When someone hears that the Catholic Church has a teaching about contraception, a common response is “Why?” Since this crucial teaching is so rarely given in venues where everyday Catholics can hear and consider it, there is widespread ignorance of, and therefore rejection of, the Church’s teaching.

This teaching dates back many centuries, but was reiterated and expanded in Pope Paul VI’s Humanae vitae in 1968. Following continued confusion and widespread rejection of this teaching, Saint Pope John Paul II shed further light on this teaching in his encyclical Evangelium vitae and a series of Wednesday audiences over several years, which has come to be known as The Theology of the Body. Here we offer a brief introduction to a beautiful teaching that we believe, when understood, will be embraced with great joy.

Copies of each of these booklets may be ordered through HLI’s Store by clicking here. Ask about bulk discounts. Each file may also be downloaded for individual private use below.


contraceptioncovers-dignityThe Dignity of the Human Person and the Moral Life

What is the Catholic Church Thinking?

You’ve heard the accusatory questions. Why is the Catholic Church always trying to tell people how to live their lives? Why does it force its views on women in particular?
These and similar questions may be earnestly felt, but they reflect a deep and common error. The Church, like so many other institutions, proposes what she believes to be true. She obviously doesn’t force anyone to believe anything, as evidenced by even the many Catholics who are confused about what the Church teaches, and thus, disagree. But it is important to understand that there is a specific line of reasoning to why the Church thinks what she thinks, particularly with regard to contraception.

Download a pdf of The Dignity of the Human Person and the Moral Life here.


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An Introduction to Church Teaching on Contraception

Most Catholics reject the Church’s teaching on contraception not because they’ve carefully considered it, but because they’ve never had to do so.

When someone hears that the Catholic Church has a teaching about contraception, a common response is “Why?” Since this crucial teaching is so rarely given in venues where everyday Catholics can hear and consider it, there is widespread ignorance of, and therefore rejection of, the Church’s teaching.

This teaching dates back many centuries, but was reiterated and expanded in Pope Paul VI’s Humanae vitae in 1968. Following continued confusion and widespread rejection of this teaching, Blessed Pope John Paul II shed further light on this teaching in his encyclical Evangelium vitae and a series of Wednesday audiences over several years, which has come to be known as The Theology of the Body. Here we offer a brief introduction to a beautiful teaching that we believe, when understood, will be embraced with great joy.

Download a pdf of An Introduction to Church Teaching on Contraception here.


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Contraception and Women

Isn’t “the Pill” Good for Women and Society?

One gets the idea, especially since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which declared contraception “essential medicine,” that hormonal contraceptive drugs are like Aspirin or vitamins – all benefit and (now, literally) no cost.

The fact is, however, that this assumption is grossly wrong, and it is women who pay the greatest price for this error. If you read widely enough, you may find reports of class action lawsuits against the producers of various kinds of contraception, of the growing body of science that shows the harm done to women’s bodies and to the environment. But you won’t hear the media raise the question of whether or not hormonal contraception is good for women, most likely because sterility has become to many a more desired health outcome than natural fertility, so the many threats to women’s health that come from using contraception are consistently ignored.

Download a pdf of Contraception and Women here.


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Abortifacients

Do Some Contraceptives Cause Abortions? The debate is over language, not science.

In 1963, the United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW) shared the widely held definition of abortion as being “all the measures which impair the viability of the zygote at any time between the instant of fertilization and the completion of labor.” Indeed, until the mid‑1960s, scientists universally acknowledged that human life begins at the moment of fertilization of the ovum by the spermatozoa, somewhere in the Fallopian tube. In its effort to dispense with this inconvenient fact, the birth control industry was already moving from contraceptive methods toward those that caused or might cause chemically-induced abortion as a means of preventing births, and research directed toward this goal was already underway in Japan and several European countries.

Download a pdf of Abortifacients here.


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Contraception vs. NFP

What is the Difference Between Contraception and Natural Family Planning?

Every married couple has the responsibility to prayerfully practice what the Catholic Church calls “responsible parenthood,” as it pertains to the number and spacing of children. Spouses are to exercise this responsibility with generosity in receiving the gift of life, and with prudence, while avoiding selfishness and carelessness. Although children are the supreme gift of marriage, Catholic couples are not obliged to have as many children as humanly possible. While always remaining open to the possibility of a new life, couples may, when a serious reason is present, choose to postpone pregnancy.

But how can a married couple practice responsible parenthood? While our culture sees contraception as the best way to “plan” a family, the Catholic Church teaches that choosing to make oneself infertile through contraception is irresponsible and an “intrinsic evil.” Married couples are called to embrace and to be open to children, who are a living sign of their love.

Download a pdf of Contraception vs. NFP here.