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Pre-Christian through the Second Century  >>

The Early Church Fathers on Contraception.


  • Early Church Fathers
  • From the Scriptures



  1. St. Clement of Alexandria, (A.D. 150-220)
    St. Hippolytus of Rome, (A.D. 170-236)
St. Clement of Alexandria, (A.D. 150-220), Greek; theologian, a scholar of Pantaenus, to whom he succeeded as head of the Catechetical School at Alexandria, Egypt. His writings display great acquaintance with the Gentile philosophy. He wrote with the express design of hiding the mysteries of the Christian religion from the Pagans, and the uninitiated, while at the same time, laboring to show the immense practical superiority of the Christian code of morals over that of every Pagan sect and system of philosophy.

Because of its divine institution for the propagation of man, the seed is not to be vainly ejaculated, nor is it to be damaged, nor is it to be wasted.

The Instructor of Children 2:10:91:2 [A.D. 191]

To have coitus other than to procreate children is to do injury to nature.

The Instructor of Children 2:10:95:3

St. Hippolytus of Rome, (A.D. 170-236), Roman; bishop and martyr, probably a scholar of St. Irenæus of Lyons.

[Christian women with male concubines], on account of their prominent ancestry and great property, the so-called faithful want no children from slaves or lowborn commoners, they use drugs of sterility [oral contraceptives] or bind themselves tightly in order to expel a fetus which has already been engendered [abortion].

Refutation of All Heresies 9:7 [A.D. 225]



The Early Church Fathers were all against artificial birth control. In fact, all Christian churches were in agreement on this until 1930. Then, one by one, churches began bowing to societal pressures by abandoning this ancient teaching of the Church and the Early Church Fathers.


They understood what the Church understands: That to contracept (meaning to create an impediment to conception during the marital embrace) means not to give oneself totally within the bonding marital embrace of a husband with his wife.


The Church's Scriptures that implicitly prohibit Contraception:


God created man and woman as complimentary companions in his own image

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said to them,
"Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth."

Genesis 1:27-28

Man recognizes that a woman, and only a woman, was created by God for him and was intended to complement his life.

23 Then the man said, "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." 24 Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.


Genesis 2:23-24

Our Lord catechizes on the permanence of marriage

4 He [Jesus] answered, "Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, `For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder."

Matthew 19:4-6

Jesus teaches that from the beginning a man was meant for a woman to become one flesh

5 But Jesus said to them: . . . 6 "But from the beginning of creation, "God made them male and female. 7 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, 8 and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh. 9 What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder."


Mark 10:5-9

Paul encourages husbands to keep their wives spotless and love them as they love themselves

25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church,


Ephesians 5:25-29


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