“By safeguarding both these essential aspects, the unitive
and the procreative, the conjugal act preserves in its fullness the
sense of true mutual love and its orientation toward man’s exalt
ed vocation to parenthood.”
Periodic continence, that is, the methods of birth regula
tion based on self-observation and the use of infertile periods, is in
conformity with the objective criteria of morality.
ods respect the bodies of the spouses, encourage tenderness be
tween them, and favor the education of an authentic freedom. In
contrast, “every action which, whether in anticipation of the con
jugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its
natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means,
to render procreation impossible” is intrinsically evil:
Thus the innate language that expresses the total reciprocal
self-giving of husband and wife is overlaid, through contra
ception, 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. . . . The differ
ence, both anthropological and moral, between contracep
tion and recourse to the rhythm of the cycle . . . involves in
the final analysis two irreconcilable concepts of the human
person and of human sexuality.
“Let all be convinced that human life and the duty of trans
mitting it are not limited by the horizons of this life only: their true
evaluation and full significance can be understood only in reference
man’s eternal destiny.
The state has a responsibility for its citizens’ well-being. In this
capacity it is legitimate for it to intervene to orient the demography of the
population. This can be done by means of objective and respectful infor
mation, but certainly not by authoritarian, coercive measures. The state
may not legitimately usurp the initiative of spouses, who have the primary
responsibility for the procreation and education of their children.
area, it is not authorized to employ means contrary to the moral law.
51 § 4.