Contraception and the Vocations Crisis

Go here for my latest article for InsideCatholic; in which we analyze the connections between the contraceptive culture and the vocations crisis.

UPDATE: The Anchoress links and comments with further insights here.

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  • Thou Art Jules

    Thank you for sharing that with us! I love reading anything regarding the effects of contraception and am always finding more information. It's amazing!

  • Mike

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  • Karen

    I really think a big part of the problem with regards to contraception is that most priests don't talk about why it's wrong and that leaves many people with the impression that it's just a backwards church teaching. I remember in my pre-Cana class that it was hit on very briefly. The couple presenting that portion of the class glossed over the no contraception part very quickly. Even worse, the text had a line that essentially let you know that the decision to use contraception or not was left to the conscience of the couple. Perhaps if it was put out there in no uncertain terms that it's wrong and a mortal sin, people might react differently.

  • romishgraffiti

    Even worse, the text had a line that essentially let you know that the decision to use contraception or not was left to the conscience of the couple.Indeed. One of the effects of the infection of Catholic thought by secular moral relativism is the error that conscience is a Catechism line-item veto. For a corrective see: and

  • kkollwitz

    "decide to either die to self through marriage or die to self through a religious vocation"This was exactly the choice to be made in my childhood in Louisiana.In our 6th grade Religious Ed class on vows, the kids learn that a mark of adulthood is to take a vow of selflessness: either a vow to follow the religious life, or a vow to a spouse and your children.

  • Just another mad Catholic

    "decide to either die to self through marriage or die to self through a religious vocation"A friend of mine shared a home video of his daughter learning to walk a couple of days ago which expounds Fr L's point perfectly, he an his wife love each other so much that it really shows, a perfect reminder of why I want to get married :)

  • jedesto

    Fr. L,Many thanks for a much-needed essay! Please consider a post for the laity, married or not, expanding on the "dying to self" aspect with regard explicitly to contraception and the vocation to a devout life .

  • Al

    Excellent analysis.

  • Ben Vallejo

    Marriage is a sort of Holy Orders or religious vow and Holy Orders and religious vow are a sort of Marriage. Unfortunately the two callings are evaluated in terms of sex. In one vocation, sex is allowed and the other one sex isn't.But what most of us miss out is that the two vocations need sex. In marriage, sex is to transmit life (which is very holy and biological) and in Holy Orders or religious vows, sex is sanctified by the fact that one has to give it up.The two vocations are really about giving it all up. Of course the sex act is pleasurable and the Song of Songs rightfully declares it is and thus is the greatest work of erotic literature ever, but sanctification goes well beyond what has to be given up. The same too is true with a religious callingThe giving up while remarkable in itself compares nothing to what we look forward to, and that is to love in the most perfect way.

  • Ben Vallejo

    And may I add another thought Father Longenecker… Many Latin Rite Catholics have a big issue about married priests. While a majority may be willing to have married priests, many can't imagine priests doing their marriage obligations! One lady friend tole me that she read John Paul II's "Love and Responsibility" and while orgasm was discussed in the book, she wasn't unnerved by it all. But she couldn't imagine that a book like that be written by a married pope! Married priests like you I believe have a unique charism of showing what true chastity is and the whole idea of giving it all up. I will be remembering you in my prayers as I hope you remember me.

  • laurazim

    Check out the blog "Mary's Anawim" (it's in my sidebar)–I know the priest who writes it. He posted this column, and there have indeed been fireworks in the combox…….I loved this article. There is so much animosity toward Mother Church for her teaching on chastity, purity, modesty, and everything else which is contraindicatory to the culture of death. And really, that's what it all comes down to–they do not understand what it is to die to self, and the whole culture seeks to bring about the death of the soul. Know of our prayers. Pray for priests! +JMJ+

  • Bob R

    Mr. Longenecker: Your case that contraception has reduced the number of priests would be laughable were it you not serious. That family sizes have plummeted has more to do with economics, sexual & gender liberation, and education than "contraception" per se. The real decline of vocations mirrors the decline in the church, particularly in the industrialized world. Probably no less significant is the rise in gay rights. Gays and lesbians no longer have to obfuscate their same sex attraction by hiding in unisex religious orders. They are free to persue all interests and careers without the social backlack, and occasional throat slashing typical of the bydone era about which you reminisce.

  • Carolyn

    I'm sort of late in commenting, but I just read your article about Contraception and the Vocations Crisis and I have to say that it really hit home with me – thanks for writing. I have been trying to discern to what vocation I am called. Your explanation of how, while once being seen more clearly as different means of self-giving and self-sacrifice in service of God, the Church, and those around us, our culture nowadays views marriage and religious life in stark contrast to each other, one seeming to offer everything, the other calling us to give up everything… Wow- that totally hit home with me and how I have been feeling while I try to consider both options.Anyway, I appreciated reading what you had to say, it gives me some food for thought.