I attended a talk today as part of a Theology of the Body series. A couple shared about what contraception means to them within the confines of their marriage. They used contraception prior to their understanding of the Catholic Church’ teaching and they stopped using contraception after they understood the beauty and wisdom of the Church’ teaching.
The husband presented a model with five layers.
The lowest level is the base hormonal instinct of sexual urges. This occurs naturally during a woman’s fertile window and the man responds to it, instinctively.
The next is the emotional realm where you feel a longing for romance and intimacy.
The third level is that of reason, which is committing to decisions made in the couple’s dialogue regarding their readiness for children based on their current stage of life.
The fourth level is willpower, which is the conscious choice to act according to reason.
Whenever either party experiences instincts or emotions veering towards sexual activity, it is Reason which supersedes these lower level desires and it is an act of will to engage or disengage in sexual activity.
The overarching level in the structure is faith, which is the understanding of the Church’ teaching and submitting fertility decisions to God alone.
The couple also shared about how contraception is a recent phenomenon and the Catholic Church’ response to it, in particular, Pope Paul VI’ response in the form of an encyclical, Humane Vitae. In it, the church takes an unequivocal stand against contraception.
My main takeaway is about how the Church should not compromise its standards as a result of human failings, but that the Church has to set its bar high as we are called to be saints! An important point that struck me from Robert Barron’s interview with Dave Rubin.
At the end of the day as Catholics, we are called to do God’s will in every aspect of our lives and submit to God… everything.