Christopher Lansdown is Puzzling over the Church’s Objection to Artificial Contraception

It’s an honorable attempt to grapple with the problem, but I think he makes some important mistakes. Most importantly, he conflates all technology with the attempt to “thwart” nature. It’s not. Some technology thwarts nature. Some technology perfects or enhances nature. It’s the difference between being shot with a bullet and being shot with penicillin when you are dying of a raging fever.

My basic reason for coming to accept the Church’s position is that I can ultimately make little distinction between arguments for artificial contraception and arguments for the return of the regurgitarium. What lies at the back of both is the notion that the revealed purposes of some natural function are less important than My Sovereign Right to Pleasure. The revealed purpose of eating is nourishment, conviviality, and (in the Eucharist) communion with God. The revealed purpose of sex is union and fruitfulness (and, in the sacrament of matrimony) participation in and imaging of the cosmic union of Christ the Groom with the Bride who is the Church.

The insistence at the back of artificial contraception is that Pleasure is the goal and union and fruitfulness are merely by products or, worse still, positive evils to be overcome. I see no difference between that and the rationale for gorging yourself, puking it up, and doing it all again. It’s just a question of which pleasure you happen to prefer more: orgasm, or taste.

Some will argue feebly that with the regurgitarium you hurt others in a starving world by wasting food. And so you do. But the exaltation of My Pleasure Uber Alles has racked up quite a body count in the abortuaries of the world too. Once pleasure is the guiding criteria, things cannot help but come to that pass.


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