I wasn’t going to comment on the Pope’s rabbit talk until I saw Dr. Greg Popcak’s summary of what the Church actually teaches about responsible parenthood. The picture reminded me of how much I love rabbits, which is directly related to the other side of the same coin, the Church’s teaching about openness to life:
1652 “By its very nature the institution of marriage and married love is ordered to the procreation and education of the offspring and it is in them that it finds its crowning glory.”160
When we talk about Christians and sex, we need to remember there’s a historic tendency to think Holiness = No Sex. And the Church corrects this misunderstanding by saying, “Nooooo! For goodness sake you’ve gone through the trouble of getting married, and now you’re going to NOT HAVE SEX??! What is wrong with you?!! And anyway, you’re supposed to have kids, because if you married people don’t do it, who will?”
Sex is the way that we get new humans, and humans are a good thing. Therefore it’s a mistake for married couples to think they should be sitting around late at night playing Scrabble when they could be having sex instead, unless they have some good reason for not having sex. (Example: The dinner guests haven’t gone home yet. Or one of those reasons Dr. Greg mentions.)
If you have a reason to abstain, abstain. Otherwise, seize the day.
And if you do, you might end up with a little person in your family who opens up whole worlds to you. Who teaches you to love things you’d never even thought about before. Like rabbits. If it weren’t for our dogged adherence to Church teaching, I should never have learned to love rabbits. And now I do.
Related: For a rousing sermon on responsible parenthood, being kind to your spouse, and minding your own business, you’ll want Simcha Fisher’s definitive work on the topic, The Sinner’s Guide to Natural Family Planning.