Sylvia, in your linked blog post, you write (with my emphasis):
Mr. Shea, I do value my comfort and my appetite over the claims children would make on me. That’s why I don’t have them. You wanted to have children (I assume you have them, and I assume that you wanted them), so you did. Each of us has chosen paths according to what we believed would please us. I am no more selfish for not having children than you are for having them.The sentence I have emphasized is, from the Catholic viewpoint, false. We are not here to choose what pleases us; we are here to choose to do what is right. There is more to life than a right to pursue pleasure: we have duties. We have duties to God and to our fellow human beings. Choosing to ignore our duties is selfish.
In one of the comment threads above, you write in response to a comment that those who wish not to have children should abstain from sex:
Why would I abstain from marriage and sex? I’m a romantic, we love each other, and my husband is sexy. He had a vasectomy so neither of us would have to worry about me getting pregnant.This displays the contraceptive mentality. You have divorced the unitive aspects of sex (romance and love) and its pleasures from its procreative aspect. By failing to reverse his vasectomy, your husband has deformed the sex act by rendering it no longer procreative in kind. This is a violation of the natural law: just as eaters must seek a mean between bulimia and gluttony, so a married person should neither be insensitive to the spouse's sexual needs and desires, nor engage in sex divorced from its proper procreative context. The natural law that each of life's pleasures should be indulged moderately, if at all, should be apparent to philosophical reason: no specifically Christian stance is required.
Of contraception, you write:
It prevents unwanted pregnancy. People will not be stopped from having sex, but we can help curb the number of unwanted children who are currently abused and neglected.Your concern for abused and neglected children is admirable. However, you are wrong on multiple issues here.
First, contraception does not always prevent unwanted pregnancy. Sometimes it merely encourages a culture of promiscuity which, combined with occasional lapses in contraceptive use, leads to both unwanted pregnancy and the transmission of viruses like HIV.
Second, people can stop themselves from having sex, with their own willpower, through God's grace. Previous eras of human history have had norms for chaste behavior that moderns would believe impossible to live by. Yet most people in those eras did.
Third, you seem to assume that only artificial contraception can allow couples to responsibly manage family size. This is false. Natural Family Planning (NFP) is far beyond the "rhythm method" stereotype you may have of it.
Marriage is a vocation, as are the callings of priests, monks, and nuns. For some, the "single life," lived in celibate service to others, can be a vocation of its own.
Within the vocation of marriage, we are called to live chastely. Not a life of celibacy (for most couples, anyway), but a life of chaste sexuality. If a couple has truly grave reasons to limit family size (such as deep poverty, perhaps) then the practice of NFP, which does not divorce the unitive and procreative aspects of the sexual act, can be appropriate. Other married couples, if they truly have a vocation to marriage at all, are called to welcome the gift of children.
If they cannot imagine welcoming children, then a prospective couple may be mistaking a mere desire for sex for a vocation to marriage. Children are indeed a gift that brings great joy. But openness to new life is also a duty: to God the author of our lives, and to our fellow humans, who will benefit from our children's good works.
TL;DR: If you want to have sex, you have a duty to be in a marriage that is not artificially closed to new life. If you refuse to abide by this duty, then you are shirking your responsibilities to God and neighbor--which is selfish.