Is There a Solution to the
Catholic Debate on Contraception? - Online Edition

By James Arraj. 128pp, paper, $.99. Printed copies are available. Copyright 1989 James Arraj.  ISBN: 0-914073-19-2


More than twenty years after Pope Paul VI's encyclical Humanae Vitae, contraception remains a deeply divisive problem in the Catholic Church. It absorbs energy that could be applied to other pressing issues, and it alienates Catholics from the life of their Church.

Is there a solution to the question of contraception? Is a reconciliation possible between the two sides of the debate? This book proposes such a solution. This would be a presumptuous undertaking except for the fact that many of the elements for a solution already exist, and what is needed is a way to bring them all together.


"Twenty years after Pope Paul VI's encyclical Humanae Vitae, Arraj takes up the question of contraception. While sociologists like Andrew Greeley would suggest that, at least in the U.S., this debate basically is finished, and that now Humanae Vitae has very little effect on American Catholics, Arraj still believes this issue deserves careful attention." He "aims to demonstrate that the approval of the rhythm method is based upon an existentialist understanding of marriage, while the prohibition of other contraceptive methods is based upon an essentialist understanding of marriage... An interesting review of what remains, at least in spirit, a Catholic controversy." Booklist

"...the originality here is to make a moral position depend on a dogmatic affirmation..." Revue Theologique de Louvain

"This philosophical reflection, as deep as it is sincere, offers moments of a special quality like when he presents the conjugal act as a symbol and microcosm of the whole history of salvation." Salmanticensis

Table of Contents

Introduction to the online edition


1: Why Contraception Is Still a Critical Problem in the Church

2: Why the Church Condemns Contraception

3: The Meaning of the Traditional Position

4: Can the Church Change Its Position?

5: The Two Dimensions of the Church's Tradition on the Use of the Conjugal Act

6: Does Rhythm Belong to the Essential or Existential Aspect of the Church's Tradition
     on the Use of the Conjugal Act? 

7: Summary and First Conclusions 


8: The Meaning of Existential Morality 

9: Marriage and Sex Before the Fall 

10: Sexual Morality in Old Testament Times 

11: Marriage and Virginity and the Coming of Jesus  

12: Existential Morality and Contraception 

13: Bringing the Two Aspects of the Tradition Together

14: Moral Goals and Objective Morality 

15: Reconciliation in the Church Over Contraception

16: Reflections on a Theology of Marriage 

17: Summary and Intermediate Conclusions 


18: The Viability of This Solution 

19: Theological Attempts to Differentiate Rhythm From Contraception 

20: Would the Approval of This Solution Destroy Catholic Sexual Morality? 

21: On Interpreting Humanae Vitae

22: Summary and Final Conclusions 











































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