John Paul II: Contraception is profoundly illicit

Pope John Paul II: “Contraception is to be judged objectively so profoundly illicit that it can never, for any reason, be justified. To think, or to say, anything to the contrary is tantamount to saying that in human life there can be situations where it is legitimate not to recognize God as God. Users of contraception attribute to themselves a power that belongs only to God, the power to decide in the final instance the coming into existence of a human being.” (Address on Responsible Procreation)

The Magisterium teaches that contraception can never be justified, not for any reason. Those persons who claim that contraception can be justified outside of marriage, to prevent a child from being conceived out of wedlock, are rejecting this magisterial teaching. Those persons who claim that contraception can be justified by the principle of double effect are rejecting this magisterial teaching. Those persons who claim that, when abortifacient contraception is used for a medical reason, it is permissible to choose to have contracepted sex, are rejecting this teaching. The holy Pontiff teaches, just as the Magisterium has taught many times, that contraception is NEVER justified. Those who say otherwise have rejected the infallible teaching of the ordinary and universal Magisterium. Those who teach otherwise are teaching heresy.

Contraception is called “profoundly illicit” because it is gravely immoral by the very nature of the chosen act, in and of itself. The moral nature (or moral species) of an act is its essential moral meaning; it is the inherent moral nature of the act — the very core of the act, in terms of morality, before the eyes of God. Nothing is more profound concerning human acts than the moral nature of the act, whether it is intrinsically evil or intrinsically good, by its very nature.

Those who think or say otherwise, are in effect saying that, in some circumstances, or with certain intentions, it would be legitimate “not to recognize God as God.” In other words, the choice of contraception is a rejection of the will and plan of God for human sexuality; such a choice treats the human will, its intentions and its choices in certain circumstances, as if it were the highest moral power. And yet this type of wickedness is currently widespread among persons who call themselves Catholics. And there is no shortage of Catholic teachers who have distorted the magisterial against contraception, so as to justify it with certain intentions or in certain circumstances.

The above text is an excerpt from my book:
Roman Catholic Teaching on Abortion and Contraception

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic moral theologian and
translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

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1 Response to John Paul II: Contraception is profoundly illicit

  1. John Platts says:

    Here is a verse from Sacred Scripture that tells us that it is God who decides when a person will live and die: “I will kill, and I will cause to live” (Deuteronomy 32:39).

    Since only God has the authority to decide when one lives and one dies, it is always morally wrong to choose to usurp the authority that is reserved to God by preventing the conception of a life by contraception, or by killing an life that has already been created by murder. I actually agree with the statement made by Pope John II regarding the immorality of contraception in his Address on Responsible Procreation. Murder usurps God’s authority to decide when a person dies by the direct and voluntary killing of an innocent person, whereas contraception usurps God’s authority to decide whether a child will be conceived as a result of the sexual act by preventing procreation from occurring by artificial means.

    The choice to use abortifacent contraception is always morally wrong because it interferes with God’s authority to decide whether or not a child will come into existence as well as preventing an a child who is conceived as a result of a sexual act that is contracepted by abortifacent contraception from developing into a new human being. The choice to engage in sexual acts while using abortifacent contraception (such as the birth control pill or IUD’s) also has bad consequences that would not be there in non-contracepted sexual acts. Contraception cannot completely remove the bad consequences of an act of natural sexual intercourse that would be there absent the use of contraception, because contracepted sexual intercourse can still result in pregnancy, and because contracepted sexual acts can have bad consequences that occur regardless of whether a pregnancy occurs (such as the transmission of a sexually transmitted disease from an infected partner to the other partner or emotional scars resulting from non-marital sexual intercourse). Engaging in sexual acts that are contracepted by abortifacent contraception is always intrinsically evil and gravely immoral because the use of abortifacent contraception frustrates the sexual act of its natural power to generate life and ordered towards the killing of a child conceived as a result of the sexual act contracepted by abortifacent contraception, but it is also sometimes more gravely disordered in the circumstances than a non-contracepted sexual act would be because of the additional bad consequences of abortifacent contraceptive use. There are Catholics who choose to use abortifacent contraception, even though they are actually rejecting the will of God, refusing to recognize Him as God by their contraceptive use, and gravely offending Him.

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