Be Fruitful & Multiply (Gen. 1:28)

January 2008

Genesis 38:8-10 reads: "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" (Douay-Rheims).

According to Allan Carlson, a Lutheran, in an article titled "Children of the Reformation" (Touchstone, May 2007), "the Protestant churches maintained unity with the Catholic Church on the contraception question for four centuries, only to abandon this unity during the first half of the twentieth century." Carlson opposes contraception.

As Carlson reports in his article, Martin Luther wrote in Commentary on Genesis: "Onan must have been a most malicious and incorrigible scoundrel. This is a most disgraceful sin. It is far more atrocious than incest and adultery. We call it unchastity, yes, a Sodomitic sin…. Surely at such a time the order of nature established by God in procreation should be followed." John Calvin wrote in Commentary on Genesis: "the voluntary spilling of semen outside of intercourse between man and woman is a monstrous thing. Deliberately to withdraw from coitus in order that semen may fall on the ground is doubly monstrous. For this is to extinguish the hope of the [human] race and to kill before he is born the hoped-for offspring."

According to Carlson, "A few decades later, the Synod of Dordt [the Dutch Reformed Church] would declare that Onan's act 'was even as much as if he had, in a manner, pulled forth the fruit out of the mother's womb and destroyed it.'"


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New Oxford Notes: January 2008

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Since I have come back to the church in 1987, I have not heard that preached in the pulpit. I have only heard Father Corapi mention it in one of his talks how he refuses to give absolution if a woman is on birth control. Never have I heard a sermon on the evils of contraception. Posted by: clandr56
February 19, 2008 05:50 PM EST
This is an excellent choice to include in your periodical. Material such as this is the reason we subscribe. I have not come across so much on this subject gathered from so many sources before, but I am not an expert. This should be included in a dossier for reference. Posted by: joreill
January 10, 2008 12:00 PM EST
AMEN! This is an EXCELLENT note, and a fantastic addition to this periodical.

It is very interesting in our parish. We have some young people who are really into NFP and reject contraception (many have big and growing families) and they struggle to live the faith.

However, others don't get it (especially the baby boomers for some reason) Most of them come to Church for a sense of nostalgia and don't know or understand the Church's teachings. If they do understand, then they are in knowing dissent (a dangerous place to be).

It is difficult for me to understand how any thinking person could read the Church's teaching, then look at the effects of ABC (artificial birth control) on society, and then determine the Church is wrong. Such people are either ignorant or deluded. Don't they know the sociological data? The divorce rate has climbed 500% percent since reliable contraceptives hit the market early in the last century. The divorce rate DOUBLED after the introduction of the birth control pill!

The population of Western Democracies is shrinking, and the population is greying. The social welfare security net therefore is breaking. Many countries are scarred out their minds trying to figure out how to make their versions of social security solvent in the coming generations given their declining and greying populations. They hope to offset this danger with immigration. Of course, in Europe that immigration often comes from non-Christian nations... the very identity of the continent is threatened.

Of course, all the above doesn't address the POSITIVE effects of abandoning contraception in our marriages. Couples who reject ABC have a very low chance of divorce, report happier marriages with better communication, and often have better sex lives than their contracepting counterparts. The Church's teaching on the evils of contraception is GOOD NEWS! And furthermore, if a couple has serious reasons, the scientifically proven methods of NFP (natural family planning) provide a moral way to space babies while living in accord with God's law. The divorce rate for families who use NFP as opposed to ABC is between 2% and 4%. Compare that to our culture's 50% divorce rate and tell me the Church is wrong.

People need to THINK and accept the Church's teachings on the evils of ABC. Let us hope they do.

Posted by: eakter
January 10, 2008 07:03 PM EST
Has there been any discussion regarding the connection between the sex scandal in the Church and the overwhelming disregard to Humanae Vitae by clergy and laity? (cfallace@verizon.net) Posted by: fallace@optonline.net
April 20, 2010 07:46 AM EDT
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