Paradoxical Wisdom

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It lays out more clearly and persuasively what Paul VI taught in Humanae Vitae , while rooting the presentation in a richer biblical context. Through the marriage bond, God creates a communion of persons within which new life is brought forth as the fruit of conjugal love.

In other words, the two primary meanings of the marital embrace are joined together: the unitive meaning and the procreative meaning.

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The procreative meaning is that which is fulfilled in the blessing of children and the unitive meaning is that which comes from communion in love. These two meanings or ends of marriage the life-giving and the love-giving are so bound together that the marriage itself is gravely harmed, should they ever be divided.

More importantly, when both ends are embraced and lived to the full, abundant good comes to the family and to the larger society.

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On the other hand, married love is not true to itself unless it remains open to new life. Because authentic love gives all.

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One who truly loves his spouse not only loves her for what he receives from her but also for her own sake. This he does joyfully, as he enriches his beloved with the gift of himself. To love totally in marriage means not withholding the fertile part of being a man or woman; that is, the wife gives all of her femininity and the husband gives all of his masculinity.

Should one or both resort to contraception, they would be withdrawing their fertility from the giving.

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They would not be giving their all. Such action not only makes procreation impossible preventing cooperation with God in life-giving love but also damages the bonds of love harming the love-giving end. It is no surprise that many marriages are weak because of the use of contraception. Every time that a married couple uses contraception they withhold love from one another.

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The marital embrace then becomes solely focused on pleasure and is not the self-giving, unifying, and potentially fruitful act that God created it to be. Does that mean that married couples must have as many children as possible? Not at all. In light of this God-given fact, spouses can plan their families by taking into account the fertile or non-fertile times. We call this Natural Family Planning. When Paul VI issued Humanae Vitae , teaching that contraception is seriously sinful, he called for new research to provide couples with improved methods of family planning that were natural, ethical, and healthy.

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Since then, great advances have been made in understanding natural fertility and developing scientifically validated methods of fertility regulation commonly known as NFP. Today, these natural methods are as reliable as contraceptives. Simply put, if a woman is not fertile, she cannot become pregnant.

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