Dear Father Bellon,
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading and replying to my letter! I don’t want to take advantage of your goodness, but I have another question to ask, if you will have the time and the opportunity to answer.
Often, after my conversion, I have tried to understand the issue with contraception. I did not understand why the Billings method, and natural methods in general, are allowed by the Church. (…).
I prayed a lot so that I would be enlightened on the matter.
It happened to me that the day before yesterday, during a beautiful relationship in which I felt loved and accepted, I also felt ready to conclude intercourse in a natural way, but I knew that he would “backpedal”.
I tried to tell him that I felt like doing it, that we should not be afraid, that we should accept that from our love something as beautiful as a child could be born, and that the choice shouldn’t be ours but God’s, that we should be open to Life, that otherwise our sexual relationship lost meaning and holiness, even our very being together as a couple lost meaning if there was not that kind of openness. Here are all the things that I understood and said… before he backpedalled and before I understood other things: that we had just committed a sin, that what we had done was against God, that his seed was the fruit of our love and did not belong to us anymore and it was a serious sin to disperse it, I felt as if I had aborted and I promised myself that I would never do it again, because I no longer wanted to offend God even at the cost of losing my partner.
I understood that, having no faith in God, he cannot understand the abandonment, the attitude of openness to life that derives from it.
The next day I called the teacher of the Billings method closest to my place and I have already started to practice abstinence during my fertile days. And I’m happy.
I am happy even if it costs me effort and sacrifice, accustomed as I am to indulge my or his every impulse. But even if I can’t sleep in my restlessness, I feel clean, and this is priceless. He says that he must endure my decisions and I am so sorry about this, but now that I have seen, I am not able to do otherwise.
Thank you, Father Bellon, please tell me if these insights of mine are in line with the teachings of the Church, help me with your advice and your prayers to grow in God.
Only today I reached your email and I apologize for the serious delay of my reply.
1. Everything you wrote to me is what is experienced by the people who unite according to God’s very wise plan of love for us.
You understood by yourself what the teaching of the Church says, namely that contraception ceases to be an act of authentic love.
It is a way to take and run. It is not that intimate communion by which one feels accepted and gifted to the end. Something is missing in contraception.
2. In light of what you wrote to me, it is useful to return to the teaching of John Paul II in Familiaris consortio.
His words are full of light and genuine love for Christian couples.
First of all, he points out that “when couples, by means of recourse to contraception, separate these two meanings that God the Creator has inscribed in the being of man and woman and in the dynamism of their sexual communion, they act as ‘arbiters’ of the divine plan and they ‘manipulate’ and degrade human sexuality-and with it themselves and their married partner-by altering its value of ‘total’ self-giving” (FC 32).
3. What is altered is no longer genuine.
On the contrary, it introduces something that is not according to the nature of the human being and in the end makes one feel bad.
Here it is not primarily a matter of physical evil, but of a spiritual and moral one, even if sometimes many people do not realize it.
Here is what the holy and great Pope says: “Thus the innate language that expresses the total reciprocal self-giving of husband and wife is overlaid, through contraception, by an objectively contradictory language, namely, that of not giving oneself totally to the other. This leads not only to a positive refusal to be open to life but also to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality”.
It is just what you have experienced.
4. Contraception is the direct opposite of what happens in a relationship fulfilled according to God’s plans.
The Pope says: “When, instead, by means of recourse to periods of infertility, the couple respect the inseparable connection between the unitive and procreative meanings of human sexuality, they are acting as ‘ministers’ of God’s plan and they ‘benefit from’ their sexuality according to the original dynamism of ‘total’ selfgiving, without manipulation or alteration” (Ib.).
One can almost feel the freshness of the original dynamism of ‘total’ selfgiving.
One would say: what is more beautiful than this?
5. John Paul II continues: “The choice of the natural rhythms involves accepting the cycle of the person, that is the woman, and thereby
and self-control” (Ib.).
6. He further clarifies: “To accept the cycle and to enter into dialogue means to recognize both the spiritual and corporal character of conjugal communion and to live personal love with its requirement of fidelity.
In this context the couple comes to experience how conjugal communion is enriched with those values of tenderness and affection which constitute the inner soul of human sexuality, in its physical dimension also” (Ib.).
How beautiful and meaningful is this expression: “the inner soul of human sexuality”.
Perhaps that is what many have not yet experienced.
It came natural to me to say to a couple, who had always used contraception and who has now split because she left her husband to go live by herself, that total donation has always been excluded and that unfortunately the inner soul of sexuality has never been experienced.
7. John Paul II concludes: “In this way sexuality is respected and promoted in its truly and fully human dimension, and is never ‘used’ as an ‘object’ that, by breaking the personal unity of soul and body, strikes at God’s creation itself at the level of the deepest interaction of nature and person.” (Ib.).
Contraception dissolves the unity of soul and body because it frustrates the higher side that we have in comparison to animal sexuality: the donation of the person, which is the true soul of human sexuality.
And it “strikes at God’s creation itself at the level of the deepest interaction of nature and person”, that is, between body and soul. This union is wounded.
And it also wounds the soul’s union with God.
I thank you from the bottom of my heart for what you wrote.
I remember you in prayer and I bless you.