Church fathers on contraception and abortion

I came across some quotes by church fathers on contraception and abortion. They were located on a site that is no longer active, and I had to retrieve them from the Google cache. The site was bibleandbirthcontrol.com. Here is a link to the cached page but I don’t know how long it will be valid. Below is copied and pasted from the cache. I did a tiny bit of editing, but only on the author names–I put the author names above the quotes rather than below them. The page also had quotes from Luther and Calvin, and I have included them as well for any of my Protestant readers who may be interested. This is not exhaustive. For more quotes, go here, here, and here.

St. Augustine:

“I am supposing, then, although you are not lying [with your wife] for the sake of procreating offspring, you are not for the sake of lust obstructing their procreation by an evil prayer or an evil deed. Those who do this, although they are called husband and wife, are not; nor do they retain any reality of marriage, but with a respectable name cover a shame. Sometimes this lustful cruelty, or cruel lust, comes to this, that they even procure poisons of sterility [oral contraceptives]” (Marriage and Concupiscence  1:15:17).

“You [Manicheans] make your auditors adulterers of their wives when they take care lest the women with whom they copulate conceive. They are unwilling to have children, on whose account alone marriages are made. How is it, then, that you are not those prohibiting marriage, as the apostle predicted of you so long ago [1 Tim. 4:1-4], when you try to take from marriage what marriage is? When this is taken away, husbands are shameful lovers, wives are harlots, bridal chambers are brothels, fathers-in-law are pimps.” (Against Faustus, 15:7)

John Chrysostom, Homilies on Romans 24:

“Why do you sow where the field is eager to destroy the fruit, where there are medicines of sterility [oral contraceptives], where there is murder before birth? What then?  Do you condemn the gift of God and fight with His laws?  Yet such turpitude.  The matter still seems indifferent to many men—even to many men having wives. In this indifference of the married men there is greater evil filth; for then poisons are prepared, not against the womb of a prostitute, but against your injured wife. Against her are these innumerable tricks.”

John Chrysostom, Homilies on Matthew 28:5:

“In truth, all men know that they who are under the power of this disease [the sin of covetousness] are wearied even of their father’s old age [wishing him to die so they can inherit]; and that which is sweet, and universally desirable, the having of children, they esteem grievous and unwelcome. Many at least with this view have even paid money to be childless, and have mutilated nature, not only killing the newborn, but even acting to prevent their beginning to live [sterilization].”

Martin Luther:

“Moses numbers fertility among the blessings. ‘There will not be a barren woman among you,’ he says (Ex.23:26).  We do not regard this so highly today.  Although we like and desire it in cattle, yet in the human race there are few who regard a woman’s fertility as a blessing.  Indeed there are many who have an aversion for it and regard sterility as a special blessing.  Surely this is also contrary to nature.  Much less pious and saintly.  For this affection has been implanted by God in man’s nature, so that it desires its increase and multiplication.  It is inhuman and godless to have a loathing for offspring.”

“Today you find many people who do not want to have children.  It is even more disgraceful that you find princes who allow themselves to be forced not to marry, for fear that the members of their house would increase beyond a definite limit.  Surely such men deserve that their memory be blotted out from the land of the living.  Who is there who would not detest these swinish monsters?”

John Calvin:

“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 race and to kill before he is born the hoped-for offspring.”

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Author: everybodysdaughter

I'm an adult child of divorce, having been raised in multiple divorce/remarriage situations. I'm writing in order to shed light on the problems of divorce from the perspective of the child. I will also discuss problems with other non-triad family structures, since there is a lot of overlap. People often think that better parenting skills will overcome problems in non-triad arrangements. While I agree that parenting skills are important, they cannot overcome the problems I discuss such as fractured ontology and perpetual liminality. I converted to the Catholic faith in 2012, and will discuss Catholic things from time to time as well.

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