Thursday, March 1, 2018

Youcat commented through CCC – Question n. 420.

YOUCAT Question n. 420 - May a Christian married couple regulate the number of children they have?

(Youcat answer) Yes, a Christian married couple may and should be responsible in using the gift and privilege of transmitting life.    

A deepening through CCC

(CCC 2368) A particular aspect of this responsibility concerns the regulation of procreation. For just reasons, spouses may wish to space the births of their children. It is their duty to make certain that their desire is not motivated by selfishness but is in conformity with the generosity appropriate to responsible parenthood. Moreover, they should conform their behavior to the objective criteria of morality: When it is a question of harmonizing married love with the responsible transmission of life, the morality of the behavior does not depend on sincere intention and evaluation of motives alone; but it must be determined by objective criteria, criteria drawn from the nature of the person and his acts, criteria that respect the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love; this is possible only if the virtue of married chastity is practiced with sincerity of heart (GS 51 § 3). 2368  

Reflecting and meditating 

(Youcat comment) Sometimes social, psychological, and medical conditions are such that in the given circumstances an additional child would be a big, almost superhuman challenge for the couple. Hence there are clear criteria that the married couple must observe: Regulating births, in the first place, must not mean that the couple is avoiding conception as a matter of principle. Second, it must not mean avoiding children for selfish reasons. Third, it must not mean that external coercion is involved (if, for example, the State were to decide how many children a couple could have). Fourth, it must not mean that any and every means may be used.

(CCC Comment)

(CCC 2369) "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 exalted vocation to parenthood" (Cf. HV 12). (CCC 2399) The regulation of births represents one of the aspects of responsible fatherhood and motherhood. Legitimate intentions on the part of the spouses do not justify recourse to morally unacceptable means (for example, direct sterilization or contraception).     

(The next question is: Why are all methods of preventing the conception of a child not equally good?)

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