Answer: “Difficulties” on the part of “family circumstances” and “sufferings of those parents who, in extreme want, experience great difficulty in rearing their children” are no excuses whatsoever for practicing contraception (Casti Connubii).
In reality, the economic excuse is nothing new; in fact, the Church has had to deal with it for thousands of years. For instance, Lactantius, an early Christian author, wrote in 307 A.D. on this very subject.
Lactantius, Divine Institutes 6:20: “[Some] complain of the scantiness of their means, and allege that they have not enough for bringing up more children, as though, in truth, their means were in [their] power… or God did not daily make the rich poor and the poor rich. Wherefore, if any one on any account of poverty shall be unable to bring up children, it is better to abstain from relations with his wife.”
In more recent times, Pope Pius XI specifically mentions the economic excuse and condemns it, along with all people who defend it.
Pope Pius XI, Casti Connubii (#’s 60-61), Dec. 31, 1930: “We are deeply touched by the sufferings of those parents who, in extreme want, experience great difficulty in rearing their children. However, they should take care lest the calamitous state of their external affairs should be the occasion for a much more calamitous error. No difficulty can arise that justifies putting aside the law of God which prohibits all acts intrinsically evil. There is no possible circumstance in which husband and wife cannot, strengthened by the Grace of God, fulfill faithfully their duties and preserve in wedlock their chastity unspotted. This truth of Christian faith is expressed by the teaching of the Council of Trent: ‘Let no one be so rash as to assert that which the Fathers of the Council have placed under anathema, namely that there are precepts of God impossible for the just to observe. God does not ask the impossible, but by His commands, instructs you to do what you are able, to pray for what you are not able that He may help you.’”
This condemns the extreme poverty excuse as well as all excuses. Pope Pius XI teaches that spouses who do not desire conception to take place during conjugal relations because of poverty, even if it is extreme, have no faith in God and that He can provide for them and regulate the size of their family, and they have also committed a mortal sin if they tried to prevent, or are against (either by thought or deed) the conception of a child in anyway, which is an intrinsically evil act.
He also warns that God will curse spouses for committing this mortal sin, and thus their problems will only get worse without God to help them. To their calamitous state (for example, extreme poverty), they would have added a calamitous error, mortal sin, and thus bring down God’s wrath upon themselves. For Pope Pius XI warns: “However, they should take care lest the calamitous state of their external affairs should be the occasion for a much more calamitous error.”
Objection: Pope Pius XII taught that NFP is lawful for at least certain grave reasons. So you have no right to condemn it, as he was the Pope.
Answer: Even Popes can be wrong in their fallible capacity.
It is true that Pope Pius XII taught that Natural Family Planning is lawful for certain grave reasons in a series of fallible speeches in the 1950’s. However, this does not justify NFP. Pius XII’s speeches were fallible, and were therefore vulnerable to error.
In studying papal errors throughout history in preparation for its declaration of papal infallibility, the theologians at Vatican I found that over 40 popes held wrong theological views. In a notorious case of papal error, Pope John XXII held the false view that the just of the Old Testament don’t receive the Beatific Vision until after the General Judgment (and this false view was later infallibly rejected by the Church and condemned as a heresy after he died, although the Pope was not obstinate nor condemned himself during his life). And many other errors have been held by various Popes, and also great scandals have been caused by many bad Popes throughout the Church’s 2000 year long history, as can be consulted in The History of the Popes book series. But none of these errors were taught by popes from the Chair of St. Peter in an infallible manner, just like Pius XII’s speech to Italian midwives is not a declaration from the Chair of St. Peter.
One of the most notorious cases of papal error in Church history is the “Synod of the Corpse” of 897. This was where the dead body of Pope Formosus – who by all accounts was a holy and devoted pope – was condemned after his death by Pope Stephen VII for a number of supposed violations of canon law. Pope Sergius III was also in favor of the judgment, while later Popes Theodore II and John IX opposed it. This should show us very clearly that not every decision, speech, opinion or judgment of a pope is infallible.
Those who think that they are safe following something simply because it was endorsed by pre-Vatican II theologians or by Pope Pius XII in his fallible capacity are gravely mistaken. Even though the explosion of the Great Apostasyoccurred at Vatican II, its momentum by a departure from the Faith was well in motion prior to Vatican II, as is evidenced from many pre-Vatican II books which promoted condemned heresy and modernism. Most of the priests had already fallen into heresy in the 1950’s, as is proven by the fact that almost all of them accepted and embraced the new religion of the Vatican II Church when it was imposed.
The bottom-line remains that it is an infallible teaching of the Catholic Church that the primary end of marriage (and the conjugal act) is the procreation and education of children. This is a de fide teaching of the Catholic Church; it is a dogma. Natural Family Planning subordinates the primary end of marriage and the conjugal act to other things and is therefore gravely sinful and forbidden.
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 ‘The primary end of marriage is the procreation and the education of children.’”
Objection: Pope Paul VI also taught that NFP is lawful in his encyclical Humanae Vitae. Surely, two Popes successively teaching the same thing on matters of morals cannot be wrong. God would not allow them to teach wrong. Therefore, NFP is not wrong.
Pope Paul VI, Humanae Vitae (# 16), July 25, 1968: “… married people may then take advantage of the natural cycles immanent in the reproductive system and engage in marital intercourse only during those times that are infertile, thus controlling birth in a way which does not in the least offend the moral principles which We have just explained.”
Answer: Yes, Antipope Paul VI explained correctly that NFP is birth control when he promoted it in his encyclical Humanae Vitae, as we saw above.
And regarding the objection that God would not allow errors or even heresies to be embraced by men in the Church, we must consider the following prophetic words from the Bible: “there must be also heresies: that they also, who are approved, may be made manifest among you.” (1 Corinthians 11:16-19) Haydock Commentary explains: “There must be also heresies: By reason of the pride and perversity of man’s heart; not by God’s will or appointment; who nevertheless draws good out of this evil, manifesting, by that occasion, who are the good and firm Christians, [and who are not,] and making their faith more remarkable. (Challoner)”
Despite the Magisterial teaching which condemns “Natural Family Planning”, simple logic will tell Catholics that it’s wrong. If the Church has condemned artificial contraception because it prevents the conception of offspring, why would it be permissible to do the same thing by means of a different method? In truth, Holy Scripture itself could not be more clear when it says that: “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 mayst obtain a blessing in children.” (Tobias 6:22)
Paul VI’s endorsement of “natural” birth control, or NFP (as though there were something natural about constantly taking temperatures, consulting charts and jumping through other such hoops to determine the infertile periods), is not the official position of the Catholic Church, but the official and accepted position of the heretical Vatican II sect.
The bottom-line remains that it is an infallible teaching of the Catholic Church that the primary end of marriage (and the conjugal act) is the procreation and education of children. This is a de fide teaching of the Catholic Church; it is a dogma. No Pope or law can change this dogma because dogmas never change. Dogmas are thus unchangeable, eternal truths revealed by God through scripture, the Natural Law and the Popes through their infallible capacity from the Chair of St. Peter; and they must be believed by all under pain of heresy and mortal sin and no one can ever deviate from these laws and truths without losing his faith.
Pope Pius X, Lamentabile, The Errors of the Modernists, July 3, 1907, #22: “The dogmas which the Church professes as revealed are not truths fallen from heaven, but they are a kind of interpretation of religious facts, which the human mind by a laborious effort prepared for itself.” – CONDEMNED STATEMENT by Pope Pius X.
As we can see here, dogmas are truths fallen from heaven which cannot possibly contain error. To better illustrate the point that dogmas can never change, consider the following example: The Catholic Church or a Pope could never officially hold or teach that which is against nature, such as the secular heresy that abortion is a human “right” or that homosexuality is “natural”. Similarly, a Pope could never proclaim as an infallible dogma (a dogma that must be believed by all the faithful under pain of heresy and mortal sin) any doctrine that would contradict an already established dogma of the Catholic Faith, such as a “dogma” that would deny the Divinity of Jesus Christ. That is common sense. Therefore, any “Pope” or so-called “Catholic Church” that would hold to such an error or declare such a “dogma” would not be Catholic or the Catholic Church, but a heretic (an antipope) and a non-Catholic Church.
Catholic Prophecy foretold that there would be a Great Apostasy and a counterfeit Church in the Last Days. Catholic prophecy and the New Testament paint a picture of the last days as a massive spiritual deception aimed to deceive those who intend to practice the true faith (the Catholic Faith), and which leaves the Earth with almost no one maintaining the true faith. So it is not at all impossible or strange that God would allow such a deception to occur. In fact, it was specifically predicted to occur. Did not Our Lord Himself prophesy that the true Faith would be almost extinguished when he comes back the second time to judge the living and the dead? Yes he did. “But yet the Son of man, when he cometh, shall he find, think you, faith on Earth?” (Luke 18:8)
The exact same message is heard in the Church approved Revelation and Prophecy of Our Lady of La Salette, which prophesies the exact same situation, warning us that: “Rome will lose the Faith and become the seat of the Anti-Christ… the Church will be in eclipse [meaning that the Catholic Church will not be visible to most men due to something being in its way (i.e., the Vatican II sect) obscuring its sight].” (Our Lady of La Salette, Sept. 19, 1846)
Henry Edward Cardinal Manning, The Present Crisis of the Holy See, 1861, London: Burns and Lambert, pp. 88-90: “The apostasy of the city of Rome from the vicar of Christ and its destruction by Antichrist may be thoughts so new to many Catholics, that I think it well to recite the text of theologians of greatest repute. First Malvenda, who writes expressly on the subject, states as the opinion of Ribera, Gaspar Melus, Biegas, Suarrez, Bellarmine and Bosius that Rome shall apostatize from the faith, drive away the Vicar of Christ and return to its ancient paganism. … Then the Church shall be scattered, driven into the wilderness, and shall be for a time, as it was in the beginning, invisible hidden in catacombs, in dens, in mountains, in lurking places; for a time it shall be swept, as it were from the face of the earth. Such is the universal testimony of the Fathers of the early Church.”
Thus, this is the kind of spiritual deception we’re talking about here—that would occur in the last days, in our days. Mortal sins such as NFP (which is no different from artificial contraception in intent), and other sins, especially sexual sins, and immodest dress, are undoubtedly major causes for why most people have been entirely abandoned by God.
2 Peter 2:1-5 “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there shall be among you lying teachers, who shall bring in sects of perdition, and deny the Lord who bought them: bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their riotousnesses, through whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you. Whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their perdition slumbereth not. For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but delivered them, drawn down by infernal ropes to the lower hell, unto torments, to be reserved unto judgment: And spared not the original world, but preserved Noe, the eighth person, the preacher of justice, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly.”
In the Gospel, Jesus Christ not only informs us that in the last days the true faith would hardly be found on the Earth, but that “in the holy place” itself there will be “the abomination of desolation” (Mt. 24:15), and a deception so profound that, if it were possible, even the elect would be deceived (Mt. 24:24). St. Paul says that the man of sin will sit “in the temple of God” (2 Thess. 2:4). The Apocalypse describes in detail the Whore of Babylon, a false bride (i.e. a Counter Church) which arises in the last days in the city of seven hills (Rome) and which spreads spiritual fornication all over the Earth. The fact that the last days are characterized by a spiritual deception intending to ensnare Catholics proves, rather than disproves, the authenticity of the Catholic Church.
For more information, please consult the texts: The Great Apostasy and a counterfeit Church predicted in the New Testament and in Catholic Prophecy; and: Is the Vatican II sect the Whore of Babylon prophesied in the Apocalypse?
These articles gives the stunning evidence that the Vatican II sect, a counterfeit Church which opposes the true Catholic Church in the last days, is the Whore of Babylon prophesied in Apocalypse chapters 17 and 18.
Pope Leo XIII’s Supernatural Revelation is also a great example and proof that the Vatican II Church is not the Catholic Church: Pope Leo XIII’s supernatural experience and Original Prayer to St. Michael prophesying an apostasy in Rome in the last days
Now, Paul VI was the man who claimed to be the head of the Catholic Church from June 21, 1963 to August 6, 1978. He was the man who promulgated the Second Vatican Council and the New Mass. Paul VI solemnly ratified all 16 documents of Vatican II. It is not possible for a true Pope of the Catholic Church to solemnly ratify teachings that are heretical. The fact that Paul VI did solemnly ratify the heretical teachings of Vatican II proves that Paul VI was not a true pope, but an antipope.
It’s important to keep in mind that Paul VI was the one who gave the world the New Mass, the other new “sacraments,” and the heretical teachings of Vatican II (i.e. religious liberty, salvation outside the Church, esteem for false religions, prayer and divine worship with false religions, NFP, etc). If you go to the New Mass or embrace the teachings of Vatican II, the confidence that you have that these things are legitimate is directly connected to the confidence that you have that Paul VI was a true Catholic Pope.
You can read an expose of the amazing heresies of Antipope Paul VI in the article: The Heresies of Paul VI. The article will show, from his official speeches and writings, that Paul VI was a complete apostate who was not even remotely Catholic. All of the official speeches and writings of the men who claim to be pope are contained in the Vatican’s weekly newspaper, L’ Osservatore Romano. The Vatican has reprinted issues of their newspaper from April 4, 1968 to the present. From those speeches, one will see that Paul VI was not a true pope because of the irrefutable and undeniable evidence that he was a complete heretic and an apostate.
Objection: The Pope in his teaching to the universal Church on matters of Faith and morals cannot lead us astray. Pope Pius XII placed the teaching to midwives in the Acta, thus making it universal, since it was sent to all the bishops of the world. An honest person would realize that Catholics learn from the Pope, and submit to his judgments. If you refuse to believe Pius XII’s authoritative teaching, it is the matter for mortal sin. You should not be quick to judge a bad motive on Catholics who submit to the Pope. It is necessary for one’s salvation to submit to the Pope, and you are advocating rebellion. Pope Pius XII’s speech to midwives is an authoritative statement. Learn from the Pope, love the Pope, and never dissent from the Pope. There is no holiness where there is dissent from the Pope. The Pope’s teaching on the lawful use of the sterile times was not an ex Cathedra pronouncement, therefore it is not infallibly true, but it is infallibly safe since he made it universal. All teachings of the Fathers must be understood and interpreted through the teaching of the magisterium. Our Lord commissioned St. Peter and his successors. The Papal office is an office created by God Himself, and it cannot fail and those that sit in that office cannot lead Catholics astray. The office protects the Pope. Pope Pius XI and Pius XII have spoken on this issue, the matter is settled. To rebel against the Pope’s teaching is to foster schism. You need to submit and obey by believing what these Pope’s have taught. A refusal to assent to Pius XII’s teaching is mortally sinful; and it is schism, and therefore you are outside the Church.
Answer: It is an easily proven fact of history that fallible people in the Church as well as fallible statements by the Popes can lead us astray and teach error. Indeed, even the Pope himself is only infallible when speaking from the Chair of St. Peter.
First, Pope Pius XII’s statement is not an authoritative statement as this objection falsely claims. In fact, it is not even an encyclical! Rather, all it is is simply a heretical and fallible speech to midwives that also directly contradicts the Holy Bible, Apostolic Tradition, as well as the unanimous teaching of the Popes, Fathers, and Saints of the Catholic Church from the beginning, as we have seen in this article. In truth, nothing more than this should be needed to be said to an honest person than to point out to him that the Church has always rejected every form of birth-control for 2000 years. Furthermore, in contrast to Pope Pius XII’s fallible statement concerning NFP, Pope Pius XI’s encyclical Casti Connubiiis an infallible declaration from the Chair of St. Peter that directly condemns as a mortal sin all kinds of birth control, which of course includes NFP.
Second, a fallible statement cannot be “infallibly safe”! That a normal person even makes such a directly contradictory statement in the same sentence makes one question the sanity or honesty of those people who make this argument. Indeed, this perverse and false argument could not be made more false or erroneous even if one tried to.
It is also a known fact that Pope John XXII taught heresy in a sermon, yet this false argument denies that Pope Pius XII could do the same in his speech to midwives, even though his speech to midwives is just as fallible and in no way different from Pope John XXII’s fallible, condemned and heretical sermon. If Pope John XXII could teach heresy in a sermon not intended to be the universal or infallible teaching of the Catholic Church, then so could Pope Pius XII in his speech to midwives that was also not intended to be made universal and infallible even in the first place. It is clearly evil and false to claim otherwise and to give the Pope infallibility outside of infallibility — which obviously is a ridiculous and false argument — and in this way make his statement out to be more than what it really is.
Third, it is claimed that Pope Pius XII placed the teaching to midwives in the Acta (the Vatican’s official organ for publishing authentic documents and speeches) thus making it universal, since it was sent to all the bishops of the world. But where is the proof that Pope Pius XII ever did this? We have never seen this proof nor has it ever been provided by anyone so far even though we have asked for it specifically; hence that it is still not even certain or a fact that it was ever put in the Acta at all.
But even if it was put in the Acta, it is still not known that the Pope himself put it there. Anyone of his subjects with the authority to do so could have put it in the Acta themselves without the pope knowing it or even intending it. Indeed, if the heretics who use this false objection cannot even prove that the Pope himself put it in the Acta, then their supposed “evidence” is even more worthless.
But even if Pope Pius XII himself did put it in the Acta, and this could be proven, the evidence would still be fallible! That’s the point. It’s fallible. Indeed, this argument even admits that the evidence is fallible, yet, in its sheer stupidity, it perversely makes it out to become “infallibly safe”, teaching that: “The Pope’s teaching on the lawful use of the sterile times was NOT an ex Cathedra pronouncement, therefore IT IS NOT INFALLIBLY TRUE,butit is infallibly safe since he made it universal.”
Just because a teaching of a Pope is universal doesn’t make it infallible or infallibly safe. Infallibility must also be invoked by the Pope (and the Pope must meet certain requirements) in order for his teaching to become “infallibly safe”. Otherwise it is always liable to error. Thus, since a Pope is only infallible when speaking from the Chair of St. Peter and when fulfilling certain conditions — and since popes have been allowed to fall into errors in the past by God in their fallible capacity — this proves that it’s entirely possible for a valid Pope to teach grave errors or even heresy on faith or moral matters in his falliblecapacity, and that it’s possible God could allow such a thing to occur in the last days.
If Pius XII’s speech to midwives is notinfallible, then it cannot be “infallibly safe”. How can something be “infallibly safe” when it so obviously contradicts 2000 years of Catholic teaching and tradition, in addition to the infallible decree in the encyclical Casti Connubii of Pope Pius XI, that condemns as a mortal sin all forms of birth-control, which of course includes NFP? No heretic has ever been able to answer this question or with any Church teaching. All they ever say is that it cannot be wrong and that God could or would not allow such an error to be taught. However, as we have already seen, this can indeed happen and God has allowed it to happen. In fact, it was even foretold that it would happen in the last days, but the heretics just refuse to believe it in this case since they want to believe in and defend this vile doctrine.
The fact that God would allow the Popes, Fathers and Saints of the Church to teach for about 2000 years that all forms of birth control (which includes NFP) is mortally sinful, and that thus those who are using this false argument about NFP have to hold that the whole Church erred in 2000 years, in addition to having to argue that the infallible decree of Pope Pius XI in Casti Connubii is false, or that it doesn’t mean what it actually says when it teaches that no excuse (not even starvation or death) can be used to prevent procreation, does not seem to move these bad willed people one bit, sad to say.