Fathers on Contraception

Author: Fr. William Most

Rev. William G. Most

Fathers on Contraception

[NOTE: Fr. Most intends to enlarge this file sometime in the future.]

1. Athenagoras of Athens. Supplication for the Christians. 33. From 177 AD: "Having the hope of eternal life, we despise the things of this life, even the pleasures of the soul, each of us reckoning her his wife whom he has married according to the laws laid down by us, and that only for the purpose of having children. For as the husbandman throwing seed into the ground awaits the harvest, not sowing more upon it, so to us the procreation of children is the measure of our indulgence in appetite."

2. Clement of Alexandria. Paedagogos 2. 10:(before 202. AD)"Marriage in itself merits esteem and the highest approval, for the Lord wished men to 'be fruitful and multiply. ' He did not tell them, however, to act like libertines, nor did He intend them to surrender themselves to pleasure as though born only to indulge in sexual relations... . . Why, even unreasoning beasts know enough not to mate at certain times. To indulge in intercourse without intending children is to outrage nature, whom we should take as our instructor."

3. St. Cyril of Jerusalem. Catecheses 4. 25 (probably 350 AD): "Let those also be of good cheer who are married and use their marriage properly; who enter marriage lawfully, and not out of wantonness and unbounded license; who recognize periods of continence so that they may give themselves to prayer [alludes to 1 Cor 7. 5]... who have embarked upon the matrimonial estate for the procreation of children and not for the sake of indulgence."