Natural Family Planning (NFP) is the practice of deliberately restricting the marital act exclusively to those times when the wife is infertile so as to avoid the conception of a child. NFP is used for the same reasons that people use artificial contraception: to deliberately avoid the conception of a child while carrying out the marital act.
2. WHY IS NFP WRONG?
NFP is wrong because it’s birth control; it’s against conception. It’s a refusal on the part of those who use it to be open to the children that God planned to send them. It’s no different in its purpose from artificial contraception, and therefore it’s a moral evil just like artificial contraception. Contraception (Latin: against conception) generally refers to various methods of preventing pregnancy (birth control). The Catholic Church is officially opposed to contraception, but the great majority of self professed Catholics ignore the prohibition. The Catholic Church officially condemns all forms of contraception as a heinous sin against God and life.
3. PROCREATION IS THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF MARRIAGE
It is a divine law, a dogma of the faith (de fide), that the primary end of marriage is procreation (bearing children) and the education of children. Pope Pius XI decrees it “is beyond the power of any human law” to teach otherwise.
Pope Pius XI, Casti Connubii (# 8), Dec. 31, 1930: “To take away from man the natural and primeval right of marriage, to circumscribe in any way the principal ends of marriage laid down in the beginning by God Himself in the words ‘Increase and multiply,’ is beyond the power of any human law. … This is also expressed succinctly in the  Code of Canon Law [Canon 1013]: ‘The primary end [or purpose] of marriage is the procreation and the education of children.’”
A Practical Commentary on Canon 1013 explains that: “there can be no controversy over the primary object of marriage. The perpetuation of the human race is willed by the Creator, who from the creation of mankind appointed the means for this purpose… The Holy Office condemned the opinion defended by some recent authors who deny that the procreation of children is the primary end of matrimony, and regard its secondary ends not subordinate to its primary end but independent of it.” (April 1, 1944; Acta Ap. Sedis, XXXVI, 103.)
It could not be more clear from both the Natural Law as well as the teachings of the Church that: “The primary purpose of marriage is the procreation and education of children.” (The 1917 Code of Canon Law, Canon 1013) Therefore, it is heresy to teach that procreation and education of children is not the only primary end of marriage. Any deliberate plan by man to frustrate the marital act by attempting to make conception impossible is a grave sin against this primary purpose of marriage.
The 1917 Code of Canon Law, Canon 1081: “The matrimonial consent is an act of will by which each party gives and accepts the perpetual and exclusive right to the body for the performance of actions that of their nature pertain to the procreation of children.”
A Practical Commentary on Canon 1081 explains that: “The Canon, in specifying the purpose for which the right to the body exchanged, also indicates what is lawful and what is unlawful in this matter for married persons. Whatever contributes to the procreation of children is licit, while whatever use of each other’s body impedes procreations is illicit.” Any plan by spouses to prevent conception when they engage in the marital act is illicit. Since it impedes procreation, it does not contribute to the procreation of children, but works against it.
4. THE TEACHING OF THE SOLEMN AND INFALLIBLE MAGISTERIUM
OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH CONDEMNS ALL FORMS OF BIRTH CONTROL AS WELL AS THE INTENTION THAT IS OPPOSED TO PROCREATING CHILDREN AS A MORTAL SIN AGAINST NATURE
A pope can teach infallibly, not just in matters of faith, but also in matters of morals.
Pope Pius IX, First Vatican Council, Session 4, Chapter 4. Definition of infallibility: “… we teach and define as a divinely revealed dogma that when the Roman pontiff speaks EX CATHEDRA, that is, when, 1. in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, 2. in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, 3. he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole church, he possesses, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals. Therefore, such definitions of the Roman pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the church, irreformable. So then, should anyone, which God forbid, have the temerity to reject this definition of ours: let him be anathema.”
A doctrine of faith or morals becomes part of the Solemn (Extraordinary) Magisterium when a pope infallibly defines it and hence makes it a dogma of faith or morals. Not only the Ordinary Magisterium (non-infallibly defined doctrines) but also the Solemn Magisterium (dogmas of faith), by an infallible definition from Pope Pius XI’s encyclical Casti Connubii in 1930, condemns the contraceptive intent and hence any method used to carry out that intent (which includes any new methods that science and medicine had not yet invented, such as birth control pills that were introduced to the public in the early 1960’s.)
Casti Connubii is an encyclical addressed to the entire Church. In this encyclical, Pius XI plainly states what the Faith of the Church is on Christian Marriage. When a Pope plainly and authoritatively states what the Faith of the Church is in an encyclical to the entire Church, that represents the teaching of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium, to which a Catholic is bound. His teaching shows that all forms of birth prevention are evil. (We quote a long excerpt from his encyclical which sums up the issue below.) In addition, there is solemn language used by Pope Pius XI in Casti Connubii which constitutes a solemn and infallible (ex cathedra) pronouncement. Note the bolded and underlined portions.
Pope Pius XI, Casti Connubii (#’s 53-56), Dec. 31, 1930: “And now, Venerable Brethren, we shall explain in detail the evils opposed to each of the benefits of matrimony. First consideration is due to the offspring, which many have the boldness to call the disagreeable burden of matrimony and which they say is to be carefully avoided by married people not through virtuous continence (which Christian law permits in matrimony when both parties consent) but by frustrating the marriage act. Some justify this criminal abuse on the ground that they are weary of children and wish to gratify their desires without their consequent burden. Others say that they cannot on the one hand remain continent nor on the other can they have children because of the difficulties whether on the part of the mother or on the part of the family circumstances.
“But no reason, however grave, may be put forward by which anything intrinsically against nature may become conformable to nature and morally good. Since, therefore, the conjugal act is destined primarily by nature for the begetting of children, those who in exercising it deliberately frustrate its natural powers and purpose sin against nature and commit a deed which is shameful and intrinsically vicious.
“Small wonder, therefore, if Holy Writ bears witness that the Divine Majesty regards with greatest detestation this horrible crime and at times has punished it with death. As St. Augustine notes, ‘Intercourse even with one’s legitimate wife is unlawful and wicked where the conception of offspring is prevented. Onan, the son of Judah, did this and the Lord killed him for it (Gen. 38:8-10).’
“Since, therefore, openly departing from the uninterrupted Christian tradition some recently have judged it possible solemnly to declare another doctrine regarding this question, THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, TO WHOM GOD HAS ENTRUSTED THE DEFENSE OF THE INTEGRITY AND PURITY OF MORALS, standing erect in the midst of the moral ruin which surrounds her, in order that she may preserve the chastity of the nuptial union from being defiled by this foul stain, raises her voice in token of her divine ambassadorship and through Our mouth proclaims anew: ANY USE WHATSOEVER OF MATRIMONY EXERCISED IN SUCH A WAY THAT THE ACT IS DELIBERATELY FRUSTRATED IN ITS NATURAL POWER TO GENERATE LIFE IS AN OFFENSE AGAINST THE LAW OF GOD AND OF NATURE, AND THOSE WHO INDULGE IN SUCH ARE BRANDED WITH THE GUILT OF A GRAVE SIN.”
These sentences fulfill the conditions of an infallible teaching regarding a doctrine of morals. The Pope is addressing the Universal Church, “the Catholic Church.” He makes it clear he is proclaiming a truth, “Our mouth proclaims.” The topic deals with morals, “the Catholic Church, to whom God has entrusted the defense of the integrity and the purity of morals.” And lastly, he binds Catholics to this teaching under pain of grave sin, “those who indulge in such are branded with the guilt of a grave sin.” This is infallible, ex cathedra language; anyone who denies this simply doesn’t know what he is talking about. This also serves to refute those many voices today who say things such as: “there have only been two infallible statements in Church history, the Assumption and the Immaculate Conception.” That is complete nonsense, of course, but one hears it quite frequently.
One can see that Pope Pius XI condemns all forms of contraception as mortally sinful because they frustrate the marriage act. Does this condemn NFP? Yes it does, but the defenders of Natural Family Planning say “no.” They argue that in using Natural Family Planning to avoid conception they are not deliberately frustrating the marriage act or designedly depriving it of its natural power to procreate life, as is done with artificial contraceptives. They argue that NFP is “natural.”
Common sense should tell those who deeply consider this topic that these arguments are specious because NFP has as its entire purpose the avoidance of conception. However, the attempted justification for NFP – the claim that it doesn’t interfere with the marriage act itself and is therefore permissible – must be specifically refuted. This claim is specifically refuted by a careful look at the teaching of the Catholic Church on marriage and ITS PRIMARY PURPOSE. It is the teaching of the Catholic Church on the primary purpose of marriage (and the marriage act) which condemns NFP.
Catholic dogma teaches us that the primary purpose of marriage (and the conjugal act) is the procreation and education of children.
Pope Pius XI, Casti Connubii (# 17), Dec. 31, 1930: “The primary end of marriage is the procreation and the education of children.”
Pope Pius XI, Casti Connubii (# 54), Dec. 31, 1930: “Since, therefore, the conjugal act is destined primarily by nature for the begetting of children, those who in exercising it deliberately frustrate its natural powers and purpose sin against nature and commit a deed which is shameful and intrinsically vicious.”
Besides this primary purpose, there are also secondary purposes for marriage, such as mutual aid, the quieting of concupiscence and the cultivating of mutual love. But these secondary purposes must always remain subordinate to the primary purpose of marriage (the procreation and education of children). This is the key point to remember in the discussion on NFP.
Pope Pius XI, Casti Connubii (# 59), Dec. 31, 1930: “For in matrimony as well as in the use of the matrimonial right there are also secondary ends, such as mutual aid, the cultivating of mutual love, and the quieting of concupiscence which husband and wife are not forbidden to consider SO LONG AS THEY ARE SUBORDINATED TO THE PRIMARY END [that is, Procreation of children] and so long as the intrinsic nature of the act is preserved.”
Therefore, even though NFP does not directly interfere with the marriage act itself, as its defenders love to stress, it makes no difference. NFP is condemned because it subordinates the primary end (or purpose) of marriage and the marriage act (the procreation and education of children) to the secondary ends.
NFP subordinates the primary end of marriage to other things, by deliberately attempting to avoid children (i.e., to avoid the primary end) while having marital relations. NFP therefore inverts the order established by God Himself. It does the very thing that Pope Pius XI solemnly teaches may not lawfully be done. And this point crushes all of the arguments made by those who defend NFP; because all of the arguments made by those who defend NFP focus on the marriage act itself, while they blindly ignore the fact that it makes no difference if a couple does not interfere with the act itself if they subordinate and thwart the primary PURPOSE of marriage.
To summarize, therefore, the only difference between artificial contraception and NFP is that artificial contraception frustrates the power of the marriage act itself, while NFP frustrates its primary purpose (by subordinating the procreation of children to other things).
5. THE HOLY BIBLE INFALLIBLY CONDEMNS ALL FORMS OF BIRTH CONTROL AND TEACHES THAT BOTH THE INTENTION AS WELL THE ACT AGAINST PROCREATION OF CHILDREN IS DAMNABLE AND A MORTAL SIN
The best example of God’s utter hatred and detestation of all those who perform the marital act while trying to thwart the procreation of the children that God wanted to bless them with is found in The Book of Genesis where God Himself directly killed a man named Onan for practicing contraception. The reason Onan in The Book of Genesis was killed was because “He knowing that the children should not be his, when he went in to his brother’s wife, spilled his seed upon the ground, lest children should be born in his brother’s name.” Notice how clearly the biblical text shows that the reason he did this “detestable thing” was “lest children should be born in his brother’s name”, thus showing us that the act of performing the marital act while taking steps to hinder procreation is hated by God. This absolutely proves that the act of trying to hinder conception (in action or thought) is condemned and sinful according to God’s Holy Law.
Genesis 38:8-10 “Juda, therefore said to Onan his son: ‘Go in to thy brother’s wife and marry her, that thou mayst raise seed to thy brother.’ He knowing that the children should not be his, when he went in to his brother’s wife, spilled his seed upon the ground, lest children should be born in his brother’s name. And therefore the Lord slew him, because he did a detestable thing.”
What deed was Onan killed for by God? Obviously, he was killed for the wicked and selfish deed of having sexual relations while practicing contraception; and for being against conception; for, “As St. Augustine notes, ‘Intercourse even with one’s legitimate wife is unlawful and wicked where the conception of offspring is prevented.Onan, the son of Judah, did this and the Lord killed him for it (Gen. 38:8-10).’” (Pope Pius XI, Casti Connubii # 55; St. Augustine, De Conjugiis Adulterinis, Book II, Chapter 12)
Since Onan wanted to selfishly and lustfully enjoy the sex act without intending having children as God’s holy law requires, the evil angel Asmodeus that kills lustful and wicked people, was permitted by God to slay him (cf. Tobias 3:8). Haydock commentary explains: “[Genesis 38] Ver. 10. Slew him, perhaps by the hand of evil angels, Psalm lxxvii. 49. Asmodeus, &c., who slew the libidinous husbands of Sara. (Tobias iii. 7.) (Menochius)”
In addition to this irrefutable biblical example from The Book of Genesis that shows that contraceptive marital sexual acts are hated by God, we read in the biblical Book of Tobias or Tobit (which not surprisingly is missing from most protestant “bible” versions; whereas in the few versions they are included, these verses shown below are nevertheless missing) that the holy youth Tobias was commanded by almighty God through the Archangel Raphael to never perform the marital act for the sake of lust and that he shall be “moved rather for love of children than for lust,” so “that in the seed of Abraham” he “mayest obtain a blessing in children”. Tobias who was a holy and virtuous person consented to this admonishment by the holy angel and answered God in his prayer that “not for fleshly lust do I take my sister to wife, but only for the love of posterity”.
The Holy Bible, Tobias 6:22; 8:9 “And when the third night is past, thou shalt take the virgin with the fear of the Lord, moved rather for love of children than for lust, that in the seed of Abraham thou mayest obtain a blessing in children… [Tobias said:] And now, Lord, thou knowest, that not for fleshly lust do I take my sister to wife, but only for the love of posterity, in which thy name may be blessed for ever and ever.”
The holy youth Tobias approached his bride Sara after three days of prayer, not for fleshly lust but only for the love of posterity, having been instructed by the Archangel Raphael that to engage in the marital act he shall “be moved rather for love of children than for lust”.
According to God’s will, spouses are to engage in the marital act for the “love of posterity” (children), not for lust. No, contrary to what most people today say, the Holy Bible is clear that spouses are to come together “only for the love of posterity” if they want to please Our Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Word of God in the Bible is indeed true when it says that, “the devil has power” over all spouses who come together for the purpose of gratifying their fleshly pleasures, giving “themselves to their lust, as the horse and mule, which have not understanding”.
Tobias 6:16-17 “Then the angel Raphael said to him [Tobias]: Hear me, and I will show thee who they are, over whom the devil can prevail. For they who in such manner receive matrimony, as to shut out God from themselves, and from their mind, and to give themselves to their lust, as the horse and mule, which have not understanding, over them the devil hath power.”
Haydock Commentary adds about: “Verse 17.Mule, which are very libidinous, [Showing excessive sexual drive; lustful.] Psalm xiii.”
The interesting thing about the sexual connection of a horse and a mule is that they cannot produce offspring, thus making their sexual relations completely sterile and unproductive. So what does this mean for marriage? It means that this verse alone proves that God’s Holy Word in the Bible condemns as sinful and unlawful all human sexual relations or acts that (1) are performed for the sole sake of lust; (2) that cannot produce offspring naturally (not referring to natural infertility or defects); and (3) that are done with an intention or mindset opposed to procreating offspring. St. Paul in the New Testament also connects the will to bear children to salvation, teaching that a woman: “shall be saved through child-bearing; if she continue in faith, and love, and sanctification, with sobriety.” (1 Timothy 2:15)
We also see in The Book of Tobit that the Holy Bible teaches that both the intention as well as the act against procreation of children is damnable and a mortal sin since we see described in the Bible that the devil is able to both gain control and prevail over those vile and wretched people who commit lustful acts of birth control either in thought or deed. And so, it is certain that all spouses who are opposed to procreation while at the same time desiring to perform the marital act are committing a mortal sin. In truth, “I will show thee who they are, over whom the devil can prevail” and who “give themselves to their lust, as the horse and mule, which have not understanding” that the “the devil hath power” over. “For they who in such manner receive matrimony, as to shut out God from themselves, and from their mind, and to give themselves to their lust, as the horse and mule, which have not understanding, over them the devil hath power.” (Tobias 6:16-17)
Origen (c. 184-254), in his Homilies on Genesis, comments on a similar passage of The Book of Tobias found in Psalm 31:9 (Psalm 32:9), and he says that people who have marital relations for any other purpose than the procreation of children are even worse than “dumb beasts”. Therefore, “Let the married women examine themselves and seek if they approach their husbands for this reason alone, that they might receive children, and after conception desist. For those women… when they have attained conception, do not later assent to copulation with a man. But some women, for we do not censure all equally, but there are some who serve passion incessantly, like animals without any distinction, whom I would not even compare to the dumb beasts. For even the beasts themselves know, when they have conceived, not to further grant opportunity to their males. The divine Scriptures also censures such when it says: "Do not become like the horse and the mule who have no understanding," [Ps. 31:9 (Ps. 32:9)] and again, "They have become stallions." [Jer. 5:8] But, O people of God, "who love Christ in incorruption," [Eph. 6:24] understand the word of the Apostle in which he says: "Whether you eat or drink or whatever else you do, do all to the glory of God." [1 Cor. 10:31] For his remark after eating and drinking, "whatever else you do," has designated with a modest word the immodest affairs of marriage, showing that even these acts themselves are performed to the glory of God if they are attended to with a view to posterity alone.” (Origen, Homilies on Genesis, Homily V, Section 4, On Lot And His Daughters)
God’s words are clear. Spouses are to engage in the marital act moved rather for love of children than for lust. So when a married couple goes out of its way to avoid children by deliberately avoiding the fertile times and restricting the marriage act exclusively to infertile times, they are committing a sin against nature – they are sinning against the God whom they know sends life. NFP is therefore a sin against God and nature, since God is the author of life, and NFP thwarts His designs. This is so obvious that one can only marvel at how utterly unreasonable and stupid all those NFP defenders are who claim that one can practice birth control in one way, but not in another; and that by doing it in one way (which they deem lawful) one is not committing a sin, but while doing it in another way (which they deem unlawful) one is committing a sin! But is not the motive, purpose or intention exactly the same in both cases? Of course they are! How then can one be lawful and the other not lawful? Greater stupidity and unreasonable thinking is hard to imagine!
It is not a complicated matter to understand that using Natural Family Planning to avoid pregnancy is wrong. It is written on man’s heart that such activity is wrong. It is also clear from the infallible word of God and the Bible that all forms of birth control are inherently evil and against nature.
Genesis 30:1-2 “And Rachel seeing herself without children, envied her sister, and said to her husband: ‘Give me children, otherwise I shall die.’ And Jacob being angry with her, answered: ‘Am I as God, who hath deprived thee of the fruit of thy womb?’”
We all know that God is the One who opens the womb, the One who killeth and maketh alive. “The Lord also remembering Rachel, heard her, and opened her womb.” (Genesis 30:22) In truth, “The Lord killeth and maketh alive, he bringeth down to hell, and bringeth back again.” (1 Kings 2:6)
So why would a woman who desires to fulfill the will of God make a systematic effort to avoid God sending her a new life? What excuse could such a person possibly make for going out of her way to calculate how to have marital relations without getting pregnant with the child God was going to send? Why would a woman (or a man) who believes that God opens the womb try to avoid His opening of the womb by a meticulous and organized effort, involving charts, cycles and thermometers? The answer is that those who engage in such behavior as NFP selfishly turn from God (which is the essence of sin) and refuse to be open to His will.
God, and not man, is the only one that can lawfully decide whether a couple shall receive a child or not. Can you imagine what Jacob would have said to Rachel if she had discovered a new way to avoid “the Lord opening her womb?” He would probably have rebuked her as an infidel.
Contrary to the many heretics of our times, The Holy Bible does have quite a lot to say about the greatness and blessing of receiving children from God. The Bible presents children as a gift from God (Genesis 4:1; Genesis 33:5), a heritage from the Lord (Psalm 127:3-5), a blessing from God (Luke 1:42), and a crown to the aged (Proverbs 17:6). God sometimes blesses barren women with children (Psalm 113:9; Genesis 21:1-3; 25:21-22; 30:1-2; 1 Samuel 1:6-8; Luke 1:7, 24-25). God forms children in the womb (Psalm 139:13-16). God knows children before their birth (Jeremiah 1:5; Galatians 1:15).”
The first thing we must recognize is that children are a gift from God (Psalm 127:3-5). They are not burdens to bear, but blessings to receive with joy. From a biblical perspective, every married couple should "expect" to have children and at least be prepared for the possibility. The inability to have children was considered a curse, and the ability to conceive a joy. No one was ever recorded in the Bible as being unhappy about bearing children.
6. THE TEACHING OF THE ORDINARY MAGISTERIUM AND THE HOLY FATHERS AND SAINTS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH INFALLIBLY AND UNANIMOUSLY CONDEMNS NFP AND ALL FORMS OF BIRTH CONTROL AS WELL AS THE INTENTION AGAINST PROCREATION AS MORTALLY SINFUL
A doctrine of faith or morals that is taught by the unanimous consent of the Fathers is part of the Ordinary Magisterium. The Catholic Church infallibly teaches that all biblical doctrines that have been held by the unanimous consensus of the Church Fathers are true and hence, binds all Catholics to believe them also.
Pope Pius IX, First Vatican Council, Session 2, January 6th, 1870, ex cathedra: “I, Pius, bishop of the Catholic Church, with firm faith... accept Sacred Scripture according to that sense which Holy mother Church held and holds, since it is her right to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the Holy Scriptures; nor will I ever receive and interpret them except according to the unanimous consent of the Fathers.”
The Council of Trent in the 16th century was the first to infallibly define that a consensus can indeed make a doctrine part of the Ordinary Magisterium. And it was the first to infallibly define that the only kind of consensus that can do this is the unanimous consensus of the Church Fathers.
Pope Paul III, Council of Trent, Session 4, AD 1546, ex cathedra: “Furthermore, in order to restrain petulant spirits, It decrees, that no one, relying on his own skill, shall, in matters of faith, and of morals pertaining to the edification of Christian doctrine, wresting the sacred Scripture to his own senses, presume to interpret the said sacred Scripture contrary to that sense which holy mother Church, whose it is to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the holy Scriptures, hath held and doth hold; or even contrary to the unanimous consent of the Fathers; even though such interpretations were never (intended) to be at any time published. Contraveners [that is, those who oppose or contradict this] shall be made known by their Ordinaries, and be punished with the penalties by law established.”
As we will see, the unanimous consent of the Fathers, and therefore the Ordinary Magisterium, condemns the contraceptive intent and hence any method used to carry out that intent (which includes the new methods that modern science has invented, such as NFP, foams, and birth control pills).
All the fathers and saints teach that the sin of contraception is committed in thought (intent) as well as in deed. St. Augustine sums it up well: “I am supposing, then, although you are not lying [with your wife] for the sake of procreating offspring, you are not for the sake of lust obstructing their procreation by an evil prayer or an evil deed...” (St. Augustine, On Marriage and Concupiscence 1:15:17, A.D. 419)
The intent, plan, deed, desire, or prayer (thought or wish) that conception does not occur during conjugal relations is when and where the mortal sin of contraception is first committed, even if no contraceptive method is used, because “evil thoughts are an abomination to the Lord.” (Proverbs 15:26) Spouses who are having marital relations must always desire to beget children (and cannot be against it in their will, thoughts or actions), even if for some reason it is humanly impossible to beget children. This is the unanimous teaching of the Fathers and of the Saints.
First, we must learn about the truth that the Holy Fathers of the Church unanimously teaches that one must perform every single marital act for the explicit and direct purpose of procreation of children for the act to be lawful and without sin. This means, according to the Fathers of Church, that spouses must actively think about the fact that they are performing the marital act for the sake of begetting children before they perform the marital act, while also desiring to beget children for the love and glory of God. The Holy Bible even gives spouses a good example of a short prayer to use before they perform the marital act: “And now, Lord, thou knowest, that not for fleshly lust do I take my sister to wife, but only for the love of posterity, in which thy name may be blessed for ever and ever.” (Tobias 8:9)
The Holy Fathers, of course, got their teaching from Holy Scripture and Apostolic Tradition. We see this truth being taught to us in the Holy Bible by God when He spoke to Tobias through the Archangel Raphael, saying: “thou shalt take [that is, perform the marital act with] the virgin with the fear of the Lord, moved rather for love of children than for lust, that in the seed of Abraham thou mayest obtain a blessing in children… [Tobias said:] And now, Lord, thou knowest, that not for fleshly lust do I take my sister to wife, but only for the love of posterity, in which thy name may be blessed for ever and ever.” (Tobias 6:22; 8:9) Our Lord’s words about “the seed of Abraham” is explained by St. Paul to refer to those who are going to be saved from Hell by Christ’s blood since God says in the New Testament that “if you be Christ’s, then are you the seed of Abraham, heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:29)
It is thus clear that the Holy Bible teaches us that spouses who perform the marital act must make an explicit act of their will before they perform every single marital act, desiring to beget children and being “moved rather for love of children than for lust, that in the seed of Abraham thou mayest obtain a blessing in children.” Notice how insistently and clearly the infallible, Holy Scripture commands spouses to perform the marital act for the explicit purpose and love of begetting children (and not for lust), teaching them that: “thou shalt take [that is, perform the marital act with] the virgin with the fear of the Lord, moved rather for love of children than for lust”.
The Magisterium of the Church also teaches that one must desire to beget children before one performs every single marital act in order for the act to be lawful and without sin since “the conjugal act is destined primarily by nature for the begetting of children” (Pope Pius XI, Casti Connubii #54) and since “the act of marriage exercised for pleasure only” is condemned as a sin for both the married and unmarried people alike (Pope Innocent XI, Various Errors on Moral Matters # 9, 1679).
Pope Pius XI adds in Casti Connubii that the “sacredness of marriage which is intimately connected with religion and all that is holy, arises… from its purpose which is the begetting and education of children for God” and that all “Christian parents must also understand that they are destined… to propagate and preserve the human race on earth”. Our Lord Jesus Christ in the New Testament of the Bible also connects the will to bear children to salvation, teaching that a woman: “shall be saved through child-bearing; if she continue in faith, and love, and sanctification, with sobriety.” (1 Timothy 2:15) The Holy Fathers of the Church all agree with the Holy Scriptures and the Magisterium of the Church in this regard.
St. Clement of Alexandria (c. 198 A.D.): “To have coitus other than to procreate children is to do injury to nature.” (The Paedagogus or The Instructor, Book II, Chapter X.--On the Procreation and Education of Children)
St. Caesarius of Arles (c. 468-542): “AS OFTEN AS HE KNOWS HIS WIFE WITHOUT A DESIRE FOR CHILDREN...WITHOUT A DOUBT HE COMMITS SIN.” (W. A. Jurgens, TheFaith of The Early Fathers, Vol. 3: 2233)
St. Augustine, On Marriage and Concupiscence, A.D. 419: “It is one thing not to lie [with one’s wife] except with the sole will of generating [children]: this has no fault. It is another to seek the pleasure of the flesh in lying, although within the limits of marriage: this has venial fault [that is, venial sin as long as one is not against procreation].” (Book I, Chapter 17.--What is Sinless in the Use of Matrimony? What is Attended With Venial Sin, and What with Mortal?)
St. Jerome, Against Jovinian, A.D. 393: “But I wonder why he [the heretic Jovinianus] set Judah and Tamar before us for an example, unless perchance even harlots give him pleasure; or Onan, who was slain because he grudged his brother seed. Does he imagine that we approve of any sexual intercourse except for the procreation of children? … He who is too ardent a lover of his own wife is an adulterer [of his God and of his wife].” (Book 1, Section 20; 40)
St. Augustine, De Conjugiis Adulterinis, A.D. 396: “Since, therefore, the institution of marriage exists for the sake of generation, for this reason did our forebears enter into the union of wedlock and lawfully take to themselves their wives, only because of the duty to beget children.” (Book II, Chapter 12)
Pope St. Clement of Rome (1st century A.D.): “But this kind of chastity is also to be observed, that sexual intercourse must not take place heedlessly and for the sake of mere pleasure, but for the sake of begetting children. And since this observance is found even amongst some of the lower animals, it were a shame if it be not observed by men, reasonable, and worshiping God.” (Recognitions of Clement, Chapter XII, Importance of Chastity)
Athenagoras the Athenian (c. 175 A.D.): “Therefore, having the hope of eternal life, we despise the things of this life, even to the pleasures of the soul, each of us reckoning her his wife whom he has married according to the laws laid down by us, and that only for the purpose of having children.For as the husbandman throwing the seed into the ground awaits the harvest, not sowing more upon it, so to us the procreation of children is the measure of our indulgence in appetite.” (A Plea For the Christians, Chapter XXXIII.--Chastity of the Christians with Respect to Marriage)
St. Finnian of Clonard (470-549), The Penitential of Finnian #46: “We advise and exhort that there be continence in marriage, since marriage without continence is not lawful, but sin, and [marriage] is permitted by the authority of God not for lust but for the sake of children, as it is written, ‘And the two shall be in one flesh,’ that is, in unity of the flesh for the generation of children, not for the lustful concupiscence of the flesh.”
St. Athanasius the Great (c. 296-373), On the Moral Life: “The law of nature recognizes the act of procreation: have relations with your wife only for the sake of procreation, and keep yourself from relations of pleasure.”
St. Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-215): “For it [the Holy Scripture] regards it not right that this [sexual intercourse] should take place either in wantonness or for hire like harlots, but only for the birth of children.” (The Stromata or Miscellanies, Book II, Chapter XVIII.--The Mosaic Law the Fountain of All Ethics, and the Source from Which the Greeks Drew Theirs)
St. Augustine, Against Faustus 22:30, A.D. 400: “For thus the eternal law, that is, the will of God creator of all creatures, taking counsel for the conservation of natural order, not to serve lust, but to see to the preservation of the race, permits the delight of mortal flesh to be released from the control of reason in copulation only to propagate progeny.”
Lactantius, The Divine Institutes 5:8, A.D. 307: “There would be no adulteries, and debaucheries, and prostitution of women, if it were known to all, that whatever is sought beyond the desire of procreation is condemned by God.”
Lactantius, The Epitome of the Divine Institutes, A.D. 314: “Moreover, the passion of lust is implanted and innate in us for the procreation of children; but they who do not fix its limits in the mind use it for pleasure only. Thence arise unlawful loves, thence adulteries and debaucheries, thence all kinds of corruption. These passions, therefore, must be kept within their boundaries and directed into their right course [for the procreation of children], in which, even though they should be vehement, they cannot incur blame.” (Chapter LXI.--Of the Passions)
Lactantius, The Epitome of the Divine Institutes, A.D. 314: “Let lust not go beyond the marriage-bed, but be subservient to the procreation of children. For a too great eagerness for pleasure both produces danger and generates disgrace, and that which is especially to be avoided, leads to eternal death. Nothing is so hateful to God as an unchaste mind and an impure soul.” (Chapter LXII.--Of Restraining the Pleasures of the Senses)
Apostolic Constitutions of the Holy Apostles, A.D. 375: “And fornication is the destruction of one’s own flesh, not being made use of for the procreation of children, but entirely for the sake of pleasure, which is a mark of incontinency, and not a sign of virtue. All these things are forbidden by the laws;” (The Sacred Writings of Apostolic Teaching and Constitutions, Book V, Chap. XXVIII)
Apostolic Constitutions of the Holy Apostles, A.D. 375: “When the natural purgations do appear in the wives, let not their husbands approach them, out of regard to the children to be begotten; for the law has forbidden it, for it says: "Thou shalt not come near thy wife when she is in her separation." [Lev. xviii. 19; Ezek. xviii. 6.] Nor, indeed, let them frequent their wives’ company when they are with child. For they do this not for the begetting of children, but for the sake of pleasure. Now a lover of God ought not to be a lover of pleasure.” (The Sacred Writings of Apostolic Teaching and Constitutions, Book V, Chap. XXVIII)
St. Clement of Alexandria (c. 198 A.D.): “Marriage in itself merits esteem and the highest approval, for the Lord wished men to "be fruitful and multiply." [Gen. 1:28] He did not tell them, however, to act like libertines, nor did He intend them to surrender themselves to pleasure as though born only to indulge in sexual relations. Let the Educator (Christ) put us to shame with the word of Ezekiel: "Put away your fornications." [Eze. 43:9] Why, even unreasoning beasts know enough not to mate at certain times. To indulge in intercourse without intending children is to outrage nature, whom we should take as our instructor.” (The Paedagogus or The Instructor, Book II, Chapter X.--On the Procreation and Education of Children)
St. Augustine, On The Good of Marriage, Section 11, A.D. 401: “For necessary sexual intercourse for begetting [of children] is free from blame, and itself is alone worthy of marriage. But that which goes beyond this necessity [of begetting children] no longer follows reason but lust.”
Pope St. Gregory the Great (c. 540-604): “The married must be admonished to bear in mind that they are united in wedlock for the purpose of procreation, and when they abandon themselves to immoderate intercourse, they transfer the occasion of procreation to the service of pleasure. Let them realize that though they do not then pass beyond the bonds of wedlock, yet in wedlock they exceed its rights. Wherefore, it is necessary that they efface by frequent prayer what they befoul in the fair form of conjugal union by the admixture of pleasure.” (St. Gregory the Great, "Pastoral Care," Part 3, Chapter 27, in "Ancient Christian Writers," No. 11, pp. 188-189)
Pope St. Gregory the Great (c. 597 A.D.): “Lawful copulation of the flesh ought therefore to be for the purpose of offspring, not of pleasure; and intercourse of the flesh should be for the sake of producing children, and not a satisfaction of frailties.” (Epistles of St. Gregory the Great, To Augustine, Bishop of the Angli [English], Book XI, Letter 64)
St. Maximus the Confessor (c. 580-662): “Again, vice is the wrong use of our conceptual images of things, which leads us to misuse the things themselves. In relation to women, for example, sexual intercourse, rightly used, has as its purpose the begetting of children. He, therefore, who seeks in it only sensual pleasure uses it wrongly, for he reckons as good what is not good. When such a man has intercourse with a woman, he misuses her. And the same is true with regard to other things and one’s conceptual images of them.” (Second Century on Love, 17; Philokalia 2:67-68)
St. Maximus the Confessor (c. 580-662): “There are also three things that impel us towards evil: passions, demons, and sinfulness of intention. Passions impel us when, for example, we desire something beyond what is reasonable, such as food which is unnecessary or untimely, or a woman who is not our wife or for a purpose other than procreation.” (Second Century on Love, 33; Philokalia 2:71)
St. John Damascene (c. 675-749): “The procreation of children is indeed good, enjoined by the law; and marriage is good on account of fornications, for it does away with these, and by lawful intercourse does not permit the madness of desire to be inflamed into unlawful acts. Marriage is good for those who have no continence; but virginity, which increases the fruitfulness of the soul and offers to God the seasonable fruit of prayer, is better. "Marriage is honourable and the bed undefiled, but fornicators and adulterers God will judge" [Hebrews 13:4].” (St. John of Damascus, also known as St. John Damascene, Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, Book IV, Chap. 24)
Gratian, Medieval Marriage Law (c. 1140): “Also, Jerome, [on Ephesians 5:25]: C. 14. The procreation of children in marriage is praiseworthy, but a prostitute’s sensuality is damnable in a wife. So, as we have said, the act is conceded in marriage for the sake of children. But the sensuality found in a prostitute’s embraces is damnable in a wife.”
Venerable Luis de Granada (1505-1588): “Those that be married must examine themselves in particular, if in their mind thinking of other persons, or with intention not to beget children, but only for carnal delight, or with extraordinary touchings and means, they have sinned against the end, and honesty of marriage.” (A Spiritual Doctrine, containing a rule to live well, with divers prayers and meditations, p. 362)
There are three main reasons for why the Natural Law, the Holy Bible, Apostolic Tradition, as well as the Church and Her Popes and Saints all teach that spouses must always desire to beget children before they perform the marital act for the act to be lawful and without sin.
The first reason is that the Natural Law teaches that “the conjugal act is destined primarily by nature for the begetting of children” (Pope Pius XI, Casti Connubii) and that “the act of marriage exercised for pleasure only” is condemned as a sin for both the married and unmarried people alike (Pope Innocent XI). The Natural Law is rooted in design. God, the Supreme Designer, has imprinted a design on all created things – including the human person, both in his spiritual and physical being – a purpose for which each has been created. Thus, with regard to the human person, the Creator has designed speech for communicating the truth and the mouth to swallow food etc. Likewise, the Creator has designed the sexual organs for something noble, namely, for procreating children.
Pope Pius XI, Casti Connubii (# 60), Dec. 31, 1930: “This sacredness of marriage which is intimately connected with religion and all that is holy, arises from the divine origin we have just mentioned, from its purpose which is the begetting and education of children for God, and the binding of man and wife to God through Christian love and mutual support; and finally it arises from the very nature of wedlock, whose institution is to be sought for in the farseeing Providence of God, whereby it is the means of transmitting life, thus making the parents the ministers, as it were, of the Divine Omnipotence.”
The second reason why spouses must always desire to beget children before they perform the marital act (in order to be able to perform the marital act without any sin) is that all sexual acts (even marital, natural, lawful and procreative ones) are intoxicating and affects the person similar to the effect of a strong drug. In fact, the sexual act is many times more intoxicating than many drugs that are unlawful to abuse. But when people are performing the sexual act, not for the motive of begetting children, but for the sake of lust or for satisfying or quenching their fleshly desires, they are committing an act that is intrinsically sinful, selfish, and unreasonable, and are thus abusing the marital act in a similar way that a drug user abuses drugs, or a glutton abuses food. It is an inherently selfish act that are not founded on reason, but only on their unlawful, unbridled and shameful search for a carnal pleasure, similar to the action of a person that uses drugs in order to get intoxicated or high.
This is also why the Church teaches that even the normal, natural and procreative “act of marriage exercised for pleasure only” is condemned as a sin for both the married and unmarried people alike (Pope Innocent XI) and “that those marriages will have an unhappy end which are entered upon... because of concupiscence alone, with no thought of the sacrament and of the mysteries signified by it.” (Pope Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos, #12)
Since the Church and the Natural Law condemns even the normal, natural and procreative marital act exercised for the motive of pleasure only, it is obvious that all sexual acts that is performed without the will to beget children are condemned for the same reason by the Church since they are utterly unreasonable, shameful, and selfish.
A sick person is allowed by God’s permission to take drugs in order to lessen his pain. But when this sick person uses more drugs than he needs in order to get intoxicated, or continues to use the drug after he gets well, he commits the sin of drug abuse. This is a perfect example of those who perform the marital act for the only sake of lust or for pleasing or quenching their sensual desires. They are gluttonous or overindulgent in the marital act, and are thus sinning against their reason and the Natural Law. For “the sin of lust consists in seeking venereal pleasure not in accordance with right reason...” and “lust there signifies any kind of excess.” (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Second Part of the Second Part, Q. 154, Art. 1)
A person who uses a drug that makes him intoxicated needs an absolutely necessary reason (such as a grave illness) to excuse his usage of the drug from being a sin, and when he does not have such an absolutely necessary excuse to excuse his drug usage, he commits the sin of drug abuse. It is exactly the same in the case of married people. When married spouses do not excuse the marital act (which is intoxicating in a way similar to a drug) with the honorable motive of begetting children, they perform an act that is inherently sinful, selfish, unreasonable, and unnatural since “the conjugal act is destined primarily by nature for the begetting of children” (Pope Pius XI, Casti Connubii) and since “the act of marriage exercised for pleasure only” is condemned as a sin by the Natural Law (Pope Innocent XI). And so, the marital act needs an absolutely necessary excuse to legitimize and make moral the inherently evil act of getting intoxicated just like one needs an excuse like a grave illness to legitimize and make moral the inherently evil act of getting intoxicated by a drug.
An inherently evil act must always be excused with an absolutely necessary motive or purpose. Otherwise, it will always be a sin. Two examples that clearly demonstrates this fact of “excusing” an otherwise evil act are found in the case of a man injuring another person, which is excused in the case of self-defense; or as in the case of a man getting intoxicated, which is excused when a man is sick and requires this intoxication in order to get pain relief. All other inherently evil acts than what is absolutely necessary are strictly condemned as sins, since they cannot be excused with an absolutely necessary motive. For example, a man cannot hurt another man if he wants his money, or if he does not like him, and a man cannot get drunk or intoxicated just because he is sad or unhappy, for none of these excuses are absolutely necessary. Thus, these excuses are not enough by themselves to excuse these acts from being sinful. In truth, some evil acts cannot even be excused at all, such as in the case of a man suffering from hunger, but who nevertheless is never allowed to hurt or kill another person in order to get food to survive. It is thus a dogmatic fact of the Natural Law that “the generative [sexual] act is a sin unless it is excused.” (St. Bonaventure, Commentary on the Four Books of Sentences, d. 31, a. 2, q. 1) It could not be more clear from the Natural Law as well as the teachings of the Church that “Coitus is reprehensible and evil, unless it be excused” (Peter Lombard, Archbishop of Paris, Sententiarum, 3, d. 37, c. 4) and that is also why all who commit the marital act without excusing it, will always commit sin. “Therefore the marriage act also will always be evil unless it be excused...”. (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Supplement, Q. 49, Art. 5)
Someone might claim (in opposition to the teaching of Pope Innocent XI and the Natural Law) that the marital act for the sole purpose of pleasing or quenching one’s sexual desire or concupiscence is really necessary and allowed and not sinful because it helps people stay away from committing sins like adultery, fornication or other sexual sins, but this argument is false and easily refuted since no one will ever be so tempted that he cannot withstand the sensual temptation of the flesh. It is thus not absolutely necessary to perform the marital act for the sole purpose of quenching one’s sexual desire or concupiscence, and that is why this selfish act will always be sinful for all spouses who perform the act for this purpose. Everyone can withstand their sensual temptations with the help of God, and to say otherwise is blasphemous impiety and heresy and against God’s Holy Word, since all the unmarried must do this every day.
James 1:13-15 “Let no man, when he is tempted, say that he is tempted by God. For God is not a tempter of evils, and he tempteth no man. But every man is tempted by his own concupiscence, being drawn away and allured. Then when concupiscence hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin. But sin, when it is completed, begetteth death.”
Even the married must be able to resist their sensual temptations every time their spouse is away from them, or when their spouse is sick or unable to perform the marital act for any other reason. In the case of a grave illness, however, the reason why a person needs to take a drug that makes him intoxicated is absolutely necessary. This proves that the act of marriage for the sole reason of sexual pleasure or for the purpose of quenching concupiscence is not absolutely necessary or that this motive by itself can excuse the marital act. All spouses can obviously remain chaste if they want too but they never (or almost never) choose to do so, but this is ultimately their own fault. The marital act must be excused with the motive of procreation. The secondary motives of the marital act (such as the quenching or quieting of concupiscence) can follow the first motive of procreation, but performing the marital act for the sole motive of quenching concupiscence cannot excuse the sexual act as procreation always must excuse the sexual act. The secondary ends or motives of the marital act can thus follow after the first motive of procreation, but performing the sexual act for the sole reason of quenching concupiscence cannot excuse the act from being a sin since procreation is the only motive that always must excuse the act from being a sin, according to the teaching of the Church.
The third reason why spouses must always desire to beget children before they perform the marital act (in order for the marital act to be without any sin) is that all sexual acts (even marital, natural, lawful and procreative ones) are shameful, which is why people never perform any sexual acts in front of other people. “Now men are most ashamed of venereal acts, as Augustine remarks (De Civ. Dei xiv, 18), so much so that even the conjugal act, which is adorned by the honesty of marriage, is not devoid of shame… Now man is ashamed not only of this sexual union but also of all the signs thereof, as the Philosopher observes (Rhet. Ii, 6).” (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Second Part of the Second Part, Q. 151, Art 4)
And so, when people are performing such inherently shameful acts not governed by a will to procreate children, but rather for lustful and selfish reasons, they are sinning against the Natural Law imprinted on their hearts since “the conjugal act is destined primarily by nature for the begetting of children” (Pope Pius XI, Casti Connubii) and since “the act of marriage exercised for pleasure only” is condemned as a sin (Pope Innocent XI). Since the marital act is shameful by its own nature, it must be excused by a motive that is absolutely necessary – and this purpose is procreation of children.
Some people may object that there are many other events that are shameful and that are not yet inherently sinful such as soiling one’s pants or being forced to show oneself naked to other people against one’s own will. This objection, however, fails to notice the obvious difference between 1) people committing acts of lust with a desire or longing; and 2) events which are shameful but who are not desired or longed for by a person in a sensual way.
Acts of lust are acts performed for the sake of a pleasure and are performed with the will and purpose of satisfying a sensual desire while the events or acts of soiling one’s pants or being forced to show oneself naked to other people is not a desire or lust that is sought after. Thus, these people do not desire that these events should happen. If those people who endured the events of soiling their clothes or naked exhibition against their will would sensually desire or lust for that these shameful events would happen in the same way that a man or a woman lust for and desire that sexual acts or acts of lust happen, they would indeed be declared the most disgusting perverts. Who but a complete and satanic pervert would sensually desire or lust after soiling their pants or being exhibited naked? Consequently, it is not a mere shameful act or event that is sinful, but the shameful act that is performed with the intention of pleasing oneself sensually—that is sinful.
“For St. Augustine says (Soliloq. i, 10): ‘I consider that nothing so casts down the manly mind from its height as the fondling of a woman, and those bodily contacts.’” (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Second Part of the Second Part, Q. 153, Art. 2)
St. Methodius taught that the marital act was “unseemly,” and St. Ambrose agreed with the Holy Bible that it causes a “defilement” (Leviticus 15:16). St. Augustine agreed with the Holy Bible that “It is good for a man not to touch a woman” (1 Corinthians 7:1) and that sexual pleasure, lust or concupiscence for both the married and unmarried people alike are not something “good” or “praiseworthy” but are truly the “evil of concupiscence” and the “disease of concupiscence” that arose as an evil result of the original sin of Adam and Eve.
This is also why the Holy Bible urges people to remain unmarried and in a life of chastity since the married man “is solicitous for the things of the world, how he may please his wife: and he is divided” (1 Corinthians 7:33). The sexual pleasure is very similar to the effect of a strong drug, and drugs as we all know are very easy to become addicted to by abusing them or overindulging in them. The stronger a drug is, the more is also our spiritual life hindered, and that is why the angelic life of chastity will always be more spiritually fruitful than the marital life according to the Bible and God’s Holy Word. And so, it is clear that Holy Scripture infallibly teaches that marriage and the marital life is an impediment to the spiritual life, while the chaste and pure life “give you power to attend upon the Lord, without impediment.” (1Corinthians 7:35)
Someone might say that it is the sexual member that is shameful or evil to expose to others, and not concupiscence or the sexual lust. But this argument is false and easily refuted since no one who is not a complete pervert would have sex in front of other people even though their whole body was covered by sheets or blankets. This proves to us that it is the sexual pleasure or concupiscence itself that is shameful and evil, and not only the exhibition of the sexual organ. For “man is ashamed not only of this sexual union but also of all the signs thereof,” (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica) and this proves to us that not only the sensual desire is shameful, but also the very sexual act and “also of all the signs thereof”.
St. Jerome: “Thus it must be bad to touch a woman. If indulgences is nonetheless granted to the marital act, this is only to avoid something worse. But what value can be recognized in a good that is allowed only with a view of preventing something worse?”
The sexual pleasure is always an evil pleasure to experience in itself since it is a shameful and intoxicating pleasure that is very similar to the evil pleasure people experience when they abuse alcohol or drugs, and that is why it is always an evil pleasure to experience even for married couples, even though married spouses do not sin during their normal, natural and procreative marital acts, since “those who use the shameful sex appetite licitly are making good use of evil.” (St. Augustine, Anti-Pelagian Writings) St. Augustine in his book On Marriage and Concupiscence, explains this evil thus: “Wherefore the devil holds infants guilty [through original sin] who are born, not of the good by which marriage is good, but of the evil of concupiscence [lust], which, indeed, marriage uses aright, but at which even marriage has occasion to feel shame.” (Book 1, Chapter 27)
St. Augustine’s reference to the lawful use of “the shameful sex appetite” means that spouses are only allowed to engage in marital intercourse as long as they perform the act for the sake of conceiving a child. Spouses who perform the marital act without excusing it with the motive or purpose of procreation are thus “making evil use of evil” according to St. Augustine. “I do not say that the activity in which married persons engage for the purpose of begetting children is evil. As a matter of fact, I assert that it is good, because it makes good use of the evil of lust, and through this good use, human beings, a good work of God, are generated.” (St. Augustine, Against Julian, 3.7.15) It is thus obvious that the cause of the shame that is inherent in the sexual act, as we have seen, is “the evil of the sex appetite.” (St. Augustine, Anti-Pelagian Writings)