Strive to be like Mary the mother of God; the woman who did it first. That’s what’s up.
Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards.
Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.
- Pope Paul VI – Humanae Vitae 1968
(#17 Consequences of Artificial Methods)
Woman is not, by nature of grace, the mere echo of man. She is truly free only when she is free to be herself, to develop in herself those qualities that make her more womanly. She is not emancipated when she is granted the dubious privilege of being less womanly. Whether she is destined for marriage or not, se is always a mother at heart; she is always a fountain of life, not only in the physical sense but in a moral and spiritual sense. That is why she cannot renounce her motherhood, even in this larger comprehension, without denying to God and man her unique contribution to the glory of the One and the good of the other.
And that is why we pray that Mary, the woman who comforts, the Mother who gives strength to troubled minds and weak wills and timid hearts and tired hands, Mary, the Seat of Wisdom, may intercede for all women that they may know their own worth, their place in God’s plan, the glory of their vocation; that they may take the wounded world into their arms, even as Mary clasped the lifeless body of her Son; that they may hasten with the holy women to the empty tomb and lead us out of darkness and death into the newborn life of the risen Christ.
The moral and spiritual strength of a woman is joined to her awareness that God entrusts the human being to her in a special way. Of course, God entrusts every human being to each and every other human being. But this entrusting concerns women in a special way - precisely by reason of their femininity - and this in a particular way determines their vocation.
The moral force of women, which draws strength from this awareness and this entrusting, expresses itself in a great number of figures of the Old Testament, of the time of Christ, and of later ages right up to our own day.
A woman is strong because of her awareness of this entrusting, strong because of the fact that God “entrusts the human being to her”, always and in every way, even in the situations of social discrimination in which she may find herself. This awareness and this fundamental vocation speak to women of the dignity which they receive from God himself, and this makes them “strong” and strengthens their vocation.
Thus the “perfect woman” (cf. Prov 31:10) becomes an irreplaceable support and source of spiritual strength for other people, who perceive the great energies of her spirit. These “perfect women” are owed much by their families, and sometimes by whole nations.
(From Mulieres Dignitatem, 30)