The following is simply a 70-year-old lifetime Catholic's opinion, except for the historical information at the end.
God has generously given to human beings great insight into human sexuality, specifically fertility. All God gives us is good but could be used for bad purposes as promiscuity.
This insight is called contraception. In the Catholic Church, contraception has become the Galileo of our time. Catholics believe that they are the children of God, but it is time they see themselves as adult children who have responsibilities. In this context, those married couples who use contraception and in vitro fertilization (a special gift from God to those who cannot conceive naturally) to manage their fertility should be commended for not accepting the condemnation of the institutional church.
Could it be that instead of being “intrinsically evil,” as the institutional church claims this is, it might be instead God's sharing of wisdom to help married couples be responsible for their children?
Ninety-nine percent of Catholic married couples of childbearing age use some kind of contraception to help them space their children and determine how many they will have.
This is particularly significant for those couples who have been advised by doctors that their genetic match will produce only severely debilitated children or that bearing more children will cause severe physical, mental or emotional damage to the mother. Financial difficulties such as loss of job can be another significant reason to use contraception as this could cause extreme distress trying to provide for the current family needs.
Therefore, these faithful Catholic couples who have well-formed consciences and are knowledgeable about the gift from God of contraception pray about it and make the best decision for their families, children and marriages. They recognize that God gave them free will and responsibility to do the best they can given their individual circumstances. Using currently available means of contraception to be responsible for the family should not be considered “intrinsically evil” as stated by law of the Catholic institutional church.
It is interesting where this law began. Below is a brief explanation of its origins. Suffice to say, celibate males who made this law without the input of Catholic married couples or women who have a lived experience with fertility should not have the right to dictate to those who live the experience.
A pontifical commission on birth control was set up by Pope John XXIII to get an independent source of information to be used at Vatican II council. When Pope Paul VI became pope, the commission became a papal secret and all of its findings were handed over to Paul VI, who could use or suppress it at his discretion. Sessions were held from 1963 to 1965. The vote of the theologians on the commission was 15-4 against the claim that contraception is intrinsically evil. The vote of the larger group was 30-5 against accepting that contraception is evil. After having presented 16 bishops with their findings, the climactic vote was 9-3 for changing the church's position on contraception. Pope Paul VI ignored all this, wrote Humanae Vitae and condemned contraception. Polls of Catholics registered an instant noncompliance with the encyclical. (Paraphrased from Papal Sin by Gary Wills.)
Vatican II encouraged Catholics to see the church (faithful people) as a body with a “supernatural sense of faith.” The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church teaches that the body of the faithful cannot err in matters of belief. The people of God exercise the sense of faith or sensumfidei, when they manifest a universal consent in matters of faith and morals. If this sense of faith as an instinctive sensitivity and discrimination is valid for reception of doctrines and practices into the body of the church then that same sense of faith is also valid for nonreception. (Paraphrased from Lay Ministry by William J Rademacher.)
Could the 99 percent of those who are Catholic today and refuse to accept the hierarchical stand against contraception be validly expressing this nonreception as the sense of the faithful?