It bears repeating yet again, because the mainstream media consistently get it wrong: the Catholic Church does not teach an ideology of fertility-at-all-costs. To the contrary: the Catholic Church teaches that every couple has a moral responsibility to welcome new life as a gift from God, to consider the number of children they can rear and educate, and to order marital life in concert with those two responsibilities.
Where the Church is boldly countercultural is in teaching that the morally appropriate means to regulate fertility is through biology rather than technology. Natural family planning according to the rhythms of biology, the Church proposes, honors the integrity of women and the special nature of the marital bond; natural family planning honors, if you will, the iconography of marital sexual love and its dual nature as both love-sharing and life-giving. Technological means of family planning impede that.
No one imagines that this is easy. But then no one should imagine that marriage is easy, either. The testimony of Catholics who faithfully live the truth about marital love and responsibility is that the rhythms of sexual love and sexual abstinence involved in natural family planning enhance relationships, deepen conversations and enrich marriages humanly and spiritually.
The contempt in which Humanae Vitae and natural family planning are held in some quarters may have less to do with a serious moral appraisal of different methods of family planning than it does with different appraisals of the sexual revolution itself. “Natural,” after all, is one of the sacred words of the secular world. So why the tsunami of vitriol thrown at Paul VI and his proposal that natural family planning is the more humane and humanistic approach? (Source)
This is sometimes forgotten. The Church is not for “fertility-at-all-costs”. She is, rather, for “fertility respecting the natural law”. That little maxim rules out not only contraception, but immoral means of conception like invitro-fertilization.
Marriage is not a rose garden, although many people today enter it thinking it is. The West’s 40-50% divorce rate brings our culture down to the brutal reality that having access to the Pill would not solve all our marriage burdens. In fact, it did the exact opposite. The difference between those couples who engage in contraception and those who do not is that the latter learn to practice sexual discipline which has an enormous effect in their marital lives – not only for sex but all other areas of social interaction. That explains why NFP couples don’t divorce while the “Rubbers-R-Us” gang does.