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Q&A

Did the Church ever say that sex is for procreation alone?

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Question:

Did the Church ever say that sex is for procreation alone?

Answer:

The Catholic Church doesn’t teach that conjugal love was for procreation only. If it did, each parish would have had all kinds of reproductive tests and mandates. But this has never been a teaching in the Catholic Church. 

What the Church teaches is that conjugal love is for a unitive purpose as shown in Genesis 2:23-24:

“The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh;

she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.’ That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”

And also for procreation as shown in Genesis 1:26-28:

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

“Conjugal love involves a totality, in which all the elements of the person enter – appeal of the body and instinct, power of feeling and affectivity, aspiration of the spirit and of will. It aims at a deeply personal unity, a unity that, beyond union in one flesh, leads to forming one heart and soul; it demands indissolubility and faithfulness in definitive mutual giving; and it is open to fertility. In a word it is a question of the normal characteristics of all natural conjugal love, but with a new significance which not only purifies and strengthens them, but raises them to the extent of making them the expression of specifically Christian values.”

CCC 1643 

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