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By Dr. Jeff Mirus, Catholic Culture, April 05, 2023

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and CatholicCulture.org.

In response to my post last Friday (Politics vs. Salvation: Catholic priorities?), one reader responded that when it comes to contraception, the only moral requirement is that a couple’s marital relationship should be generally open to life, not that each and every exercise of the marital act should be open to life. In support of this assertion, the writer argued that this can be plainly seen in the use of natural methods to space children (such as breast-feeding, cyclical rhythm, symptom-thermal and related approaches), which temporarily render the marital act infertile, without doing anything sinful.

Unfortunately, this is a grave misunderstanding, and it was addressed very precisely in Pope St. Paul VI’s Encyclical on the Regulation of Birth (Humanae Vitae) in 1968. …

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