Q. 1. My wife and I would like to practice some form of birth control as part of our family planning. Can you tell me what form of birth control is allowed by the Catholic Church?
A. 1. The following brief from "Humanae Vitae" that is found at Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, states:
"The encyclical opens with an assertion of the competency of the Magisterium of the Church to decide questions of morality. It then goes on to observe that circumstances often dictate that married couples should limit the number of children, and that the sexual act between husband and wife is still worthy even if it can be foreseen not to result in procreation. Nevertheless, it is held that the sexual act must "retain its intrinsic relationship to the procreation of human life", and the "direct interruption of the generative process already begun" is unlawful.
Abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, is absolutely forbidden, as is sterilization, even if temporary. Similarly, every action specifically intended to prevent procreation is forbidden. This includes both chemical and barrier methods of contraception. All these are held to directly contradict the "moral order which was established by God".
Therapeutic means which induce infertility are allowed (e.g., hysterectomy), if they are not specifically intended to cause infertility (e.g., the uterus is cancerous, so the preservation of life is intended). Natural family planning methods (abstaining from intercourse during certain parts of the woman's cycle) are allowed, since they take advantage of "a faculty provided by nature."
The acceptance of artificial methods of birth control is then claimed to result in several negative consequences, among them a "general lowering of moral standards" resulting from sex without consequences, and the danger that men may reduce women "to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of [their] own desires"; finally, abuse of power by public authorities, and, a false sense of autonomy.
For further information, please visit the following links:
The Encyclical Letter Humanae Vitae on the Vatican website