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The Church and Contraception: “…she was the only one who explained what we felt.”

—from the National Review article What the Pill Has Wrought… The Truth of Catholic Teaching on Contraception Begins to Register by Mark Regnerus

My wife and I elected to pursue a tubal ligation for her immediately following the birth of our third child, in 2008. We regretted it within three months. We thought it would make sex freer and more spontaneous. But it accomplished neither of those things. Instead, it reduced sex to satiation — a utilitarian means to an end. It still bonds, but it is different now from what it was when new life was possible. Unfortunately, untying fallopian tubes is not easily or cheaply accomplished. Sterilization left us with unanticipated regret about empty chairs around the table that will never be filled with laughter (and yes, some aggravation). We didn’t come to those conclusions after we joined the Catholic Church. No, the Church looked increasingly appealing because she was the only one who explained what we felt.

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Wide uptake of contraception changes people and communities. It alters the meaning of sex, fosters ambivalence about having children, and reinforces (though doesn’t cause) a consumptive rather than productive view of humanity — that we’re here to enjoy ourselves, to consume what life, work, and others have to offer us. It undermines the notion that we were made to love and be a gift to others, not to use and be used. Collectively, it splits the mating market into two parts — those looking for commitment and those just looking for sex — making the road to marriage notably longer and more confusing.

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…the Church may shrink. Her position on contraception is not easy to abide, and her popular credibility may further erode. So be it. Paul VI didn’t issue Humanae Vitae because it was convenient. It sure as hell was not. He did it because he foresaw the world that would come to be if he didn’t do something.

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