For all the bluster about celibates in Rome having no right to dictate what couples do in the bedroom and the pleas for an alleged “primacy of conscience,” most people have no clear idea why the Catholic Church is opposed to contraception. Do you? Archbishop Fulton Sheen famously said that millions hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church. Millions also wrongly hate what they believe to be her teaching on contraception. . . .
If you agree with the teaching of Humanae Vitae, that “each and every marital act ought to be open to new life” (no. 11), then, in the grand tradition of preaching to the choir, this book will hopefully provide ammunition for those “friendly discussions” with family members or friends who thing the teaching is nonsense (or worse). If you’re not sure where you stand, what follows will hopefully help you see this distinctive Christian teaching with a new set of eyes.
Patrick Coffin’s Sex au Naturel is a friendly and accessible introduction to the Church’s teachings on sexuality, especially contraception, and how living those teachings improves marriage. It is funny, down-to-earth, easy to read, comprehensive.
I highly recommend it for anyone who has questions or doubts about the Church’s teaching, or for anyone who has a friend or family member with questions or doubts. I thought I was well-versed in this material; but even I was able to gain from Patrick’s perspective and learned a few new facts as well as some new ways of presenting the information.
The book begins by reviewing “the historical context that paved the way for the widespread rejection of Humanae Vitae” then Coffin explains his own history of hatred and skepticism toward the Church’s difficult teaching of Humanae Vitae and how he came to eventually embrace them. He delves into the question of authority, explores the Biblical antecedents for the Church’s teaching, and the relationship of natural law and contraception and looks at contraception in the light of the Blessed Trinity. He discusses the so-called population explosion and the myth of overpopulation and then looks at sterilization, in vitro fertilization, and address the common perception that NFP is inconsistent with a rejection of artificial contraception.
Above all Coffin presents all of these teachings with love and mercy and not with an attitude of bashing the infidels. The book is an invitation to a cordial discussion, one that says: Hey, even if you disagree you might at least hear me out and understand why I hold the position I do.
Disclaimer: My husband went to school with Patrick at Franciscan University of Steubenville and he does get a credit in the Acknowledgments. He read a chapter in the early stages of the writing. Actually, I also read it over his shoulder, as we were dating at the time.