New Jersey Governor and Republican presidential candidate, Chris Christie, a Roman Catholic, created a bit of controversy recently when he revealed he is personally opposed to his church’s ban on the use of contraceptives by married couples.
Let’s get a little background. In 1968 pope Paul VI issued his controversial Humanae Vitae encyclical banning all forms of artificial birth control. Catholic sources have stated this ruling is infallible and irreversible. Although the church is strikingly vague in its distinction between “mortal” and “venial” sins, mainline Catholic sources state that the use of artificial birth control is definitely a “mortal” sin.
“The Church also has affirmed that the illicitness of contraception is an infallible doctrine: “The Church has always taught the intrinsic evil of contraception, that is, of every marital act intentionally rendered unfruitful. This teaching is to be held as definitive and irreformable. Contraception is gravely opposed to marital chastity, it is contrary to the good of the transmission of life (the procreative aspect of matrimony), and to the reciprocal self-giving of the spouses (the unitive.aspect of matrimony); it harms true love and denies the sovereign role of God in the transmission of human life” (Vademecum for Confessors 2:4, Feb. 12, 1997).
“Ignoring the mountain of evidence, some maintain that the Church considers the use of contraception a matter for each married couple to decide according to their “individual conscience.” Yet, nothing could be further from the truth. The Church has always maintained the historic Christian teaching that deliberate acts of contraception are always gravely sinful, which means that it is mortally sinful if done with full knowledge and deliberate consent (CCC 1857). This teaching cannot be changed and has been taught by the Church infallibly.”
The vast majority of “Christians” believe that human life begins at conception (Psalm 139:13,16)…
…but is the prevention of conception via birth control a sin as the Catholic church dictates? While Scripture doesn’t specifically address the question of artificial birth control, a fairly recent development, most Christians agree it would be sinful for a couple to use any form of birth control that ends life (abortion or abortifacient). The Catholic magisterium cites Genesis 38:8-10 as Scriptural support against birth control where Onan “spilled his semen on the ground to keep from providing offspring for his brother.” In proper context Onan’s sin wasn’t precisely the spilling of his semen on the ground, it was sidestepping his brotherly responsibilities. In a 2012 CNN poll, 86% of those who identified themselves as Evangelical, born-again Christians disagreed with the statement, “Using artificial means of birth control is wrong.”
Humanae Vitae was a disaster for the Catholic church. More than a few Catholics wondered why the church prohibited contraceptives but lent its imprimatur to the rhythm method/natural family planning. Weren’t the results the same? Many cash-strapped Catholic families wondered how a bunch of old celibate priests could dictate family planning? The encyclical opened up a Pandora’s Box. Incredulous Catholics began to question and doubt other obligatory church teachings. A recent survey reveals that a whopping 79% of Roman Catholics take Christie’s side in this contraception debate. But as some Catholics are aware, the church hierarchy is hardly uniform in its opinion on birth control. Many liberal Catholic bishops and priests quietly approve of the use of contraceptives by married couples.
But God has Good News for all the “cafeteria” Catholics who have lost confidence in their church. One’s faith should be in Jesus Christ, the Savior, the Rock, who never changes and will never lead anyone astray, NOT in a church or religion. Praise the Lord for salvation by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ ALONE.
“For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” – 1 Peter 2:6.