Natural Family Planning: Objections and Difficulties Primer

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Xenon-135

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I would like to be an advocate of Natural Family Planning.
I want to be a pundant of artifical contraception.

And this forum makes me feel like I am at Cursillo all over again!! Its GREAT!! Theres staff involvement and highly trained encouragement as well as leadership. I wish my parish were more like this forum.

Anyway, I am wanting to create a primer so to speak, of the various objections that people give to why they either CAN’T, DON’T, or WON’T consider NFP a viable option in lieu of contraception or surgery.

I will post the most recent objection that I have received, which was this evening, and I hope to get imput from you all as to how I might answer this question in a fashion that promotes NFP.

Also, I hope that folks will post objections that they have either had or heard so that we all might better learn how to address the difficuties that arise when we promote NFP.

Ok,

SCENARIO: 1

Man and wife, married (to each other). They are both in their mid to late 30’s and have a couple of children. The doctor had examined the wife and determined that under no circumstances should she ever become pregnant again because it would pose a very serious risk to both mother and child, and probably result in the death of one or both.

The husband is considering a visectomy.

…I hope to hear from you all soon.
 
First, that woman should get a second opinion from a pro-life doctor, just to be sure that the urgency of her diagnosis is correct.

Second, there is no reason NFP can’t be used successfully to avoid pregnancy. It has to be done correctly, of course, but if they abstain from relations while she’s fertile, she’s not going to get pregnant. So, this is not a valid objection, really.

Third, Xenon, you’re trying to re-invent the wheel here!! There are TONS of great resources out there already. Find one that answers the questions you want!!

Personally, I give Kimberly Hahn’s book “Life Giving Love” as a wedding gift every time we are invited to a wedding. I know not all of them (sadly) are ready to embrace NFP just yet, but I want them to have a loving explanation of the TRUTH of NFP and artficial birth control right from the start of their marriage.

Good luck.
 
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kristalyn:
Third, Xenon, you’re trying to re-invent the wheel here!! There are TONS of great resources out there already. Find one that answers the questions you want!!
I guess I am too thin skinned, but statements like this strike me the wrong way, and unfortunately I hear them quite regularly from Catholics in my own diocese.

The answers that are most readily available and that don’t require a person to read a book, are those in favor of contraception.

With this being the circumstances, do we really think that people will take seriously our suggestion to read somebody’s book or to search for NFP related answers? Heck NO! Whether it be me trying to advocate NFP, or some young couple who has no intention of considering anything other than contraception, the credibility that we must present has to be unified and readily available.

I get so turned off when someone refers me to a text instead of quoting from the text and then inferring that I might want to examine that book. To me its like quoting the scripture chapter and verse without actually quoting the passage itself. The creditability is severely diminished when a tangeable reference is omitted.

Thus is the delimmea that I presently face with my NFP promotional struggle. I am trying to generate SPECIFIC objections and such that can be examined and commented upon by others here. This is in the hopes that through sharing this information, we all may become greater proponents of the program.
 
I would like to bring up a subject that I have always wondered about. What if the husband and wife don’t agree on birth control?

Case #1 The husband wants to follow the Church’s teaching. The wife says that she is going on the pill whether he likes it or not. What would his response be? Is he permitted to sleep with her?

Case #2 The situation in reverse. The husband insists upon using something and the wife wants to follow the Church’s teaching. Does she need to kick him out of the bedroom?

Case #3 The wife wants to practice NFP but the husband doesn’t want any part of it but doesn’t use artificial means either. He bugs her constantly, even though the doctor has told her that she needs to avoid pregnancy for a few months so she won’t have another miscarriage.

I know there are probably teenagers reading this, so I apologize if my question is too explicit. I always wondered about this.
 
listener, dont worry about your question being explicit, it is for educational purposes. And if the teenagers on here are like me, they’ve heard much worse.

I’d like to know more about NFP because i don’t want to go one the pill or anything like that. Where are some good resources?

Also, if my sister is on the pill because of severe cramps, is that sinning?
 
Magdelena~Paris, your sister is not sinning by being on the pill; but there is more to it: is she married? She ought to talk to a priest, and if married she ought to use NFP to be sure not to conceive while on the pill as it is an abortifacient. If not married, she ought not to be “using the pill” for anything other than her cycle/health. (now, that’s a whole other issue: whether or not the need is there… they ought to be looking into why she has the pain, and don’t mask it by the pill.)

Are you married? You can learn more about NFP from www.ccli.org
and other sites that other posters can point to. But it’s as much a sin to use for contraception, especially outside of marriage, as the pill. (though not an abortifacient, of course!)
 
No, i’m not married, I will be soon, but I would like to use NFP when i am married because the more i think about the pill, the more I disagree with it. Thanks for the link!!
 
Your questions were very good. I wish I had an answer for them.

They are weighing on my mind and I need to find a reasonable response to all three of your inquiries.

Personally, I think I would just leave and say to hell with the whole thing. Maybe I could be taken in at a monastery or something, but I would rather that than to have to battle with a spouse over such a matter. Maybe I’m just too head strong, but it seems that you can’t have a proper marriage if something is implemented to isolate the love of the couple from Gods love through the possiblilty of procreation.

I will search for the answers.

Anyone else is more than welcome to help with the answers.
 
Xenon, there are resources out there that do promote the value of NFP without endorsing ABC. There are some in pamphlet form, without asking people to read an entire text.

I don’t offhand know the names of them, but I know our diocese hands them out, and our Family Life office has them available.

Check on CCLI and check with priestsforlife.org too. Get some pamphlets from them and then see what you think is still necessary so that you spend your efforts wisely.

Start here: ccli.org/catalog/cclcatalog.phtml?f_cat=brochure&criteria=category&order_by=name There are one-two page pamphlets for 20 cents…there are 30 page small booklets for $2. Check with your diocesan Family Life (or equivalent) Office to see what they have too.

I think this is an important topic–a completely CRUCIAL topic for a succesful marriage!! I feel sad for couples who find themselves in ANY of the scenarios described in this thread. NO couple like these can enjoy the true sacramental depths of married love. One spouse or the other removes the love and procreative giving from the act and destroys the amazing gift God has given married love.
 
I would say that the central objection to NFP (and possibly the most difficult one) that you will encounter almost every time the subject comes up is that there is no moral difference between ABC and NFP. You will even find hypertraditional Catholics who raise this one, so if you bone up on answering it, most of the other objections are relatively easy.

Scott
 
Greetings!

I am a married Catholic who has been discussing this issue of NFP with my family members and friends over the past couple years.

In my parish marriage preparation program, NFP was taught through the Couple to Couple League. The moral distinctions between it and ABC were spelled out very well. It was hailed as more effective than ABC, and numerous marital relationship benefits were lauded as results of an NFP lifestyle.

Two of my sisters-in-law, and several friends who also took the program were very happy to hear of this Church-endorsed birth control method. One wanted to wait several years before starting a family, one wanted to make sure she was done after 3 kids, and another was glad she could space her children years apart. They spoke of how financial need, job requirements, etc., made family planning important. As conscientious Catholics, they did not want to use ABC and life outside of a state of grace. They thought NFP was perfect for their lifestyles and plans.

My criticism is thus: I know the moral distinction between ABC and NFP. ABC is always wrong, an intrinsic moral evil. NFP is not inherently evil, but can be used contrary to life and can support improper ‘family planning’ all the same.

I appreciate the zeal I have seen from truly concerned Catholics who feel they are fighting the culture of death by promoting NFP in the face of ABC. However, I feel this is having the opposite effect.

NFP, as stated in numerous Church documents, is to be used in grave circumstances only. The case this thread was begun with would be a grave circumstance. However, Couple to Couple League and most NFP resources promote NFP as a way of life that parallels entirely the culture of ABC couples. Consider the Couple to Couple League newsletter, which talks about ways to plan 2 children perfectly into your retirement plans!

In this age of Catholic parishes with 1-3 child families(at most) couples marrying and waiting to have kids, couples wanting to end before the ‘dangerous age of 35’ NFP culture is catering ot the same selfish, worldly family culture ABC helped create.

I would like a discussion on these moral criticism of NFP, and how it is used in exactly the same way as ABC, in practice. I have a ttached an article I encountered on the internet on the subject, as well.
 
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kellifickel:
My criticism is thus: I know the moral distinction between ABC and NFP. ABC is always wrong, an intrinsic moral evil. NFP is not inherently evil, but can be used contrary to life and can support improper ‘family planning’ all the same.

I appreciate the zeal I have seen from truly concerned Catholics who feel they are fighting the culture of death by promoting NFP in the face of ABC. However, I feel this is having the opposite effect.

NFP, as stated in numerous Church documents, is to be used in grave circumstances only. The case this thread was begun with would be a grave circumstance. However, Couple to Couple League and most NFP resources promote NFP as a way of life that parallels entirely the culture of ABC couples. Consider the Couple to Couple League newsletter, which talks about ways to plan 2 children perfectly into your retirement plans
Good points. But in the interest of helping people move up the continuum for obedience to God’s will, I think we have to start somewhere. I agree it is wrong to misrepresent the Church as teaching NFP is ok to follow your own whims. And I’d certainly include the “grave reason” teaching in an explanation of the subject. But, I realistically know that people’s mind’s are so murky from our relativistic world that they’ll completely close NFP off if they think they MUST end up with a huge family. I suspect that none of my husband’s 6 siblings is currently open to the idea of NFP instead of ABC. I know they’d never consider NFP if I couldn’t show them how NFP could meet their goals of having control over their fertility. They’d be too threatened to even listen.

Frankly, unwillingness to be open to children is only one (maybe the worst though) symptom of our culture’s turning away from God and turning to our own pride, lust, greed etc. If you had an electrical fire in your home, first you’d put out the fire. THEN you’d fix the electrical problem that caused it. In the same way, convincing someone to stop using ABC is the first step. We can’t stop there. Then, we keep working to promote openness to life. We pray that a couple’s use of NFP will teach them to appreciate the miracle of life and help transform their wills to God’s will.

We have to start somewhere don’t we?
 
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kellifickel:
NFP, as stated in numerous Church documents, is to be used in grave circumstances only. The case this thread was begun with would be a grave circumstance.
Would someone mind posting the reference that says NFP is to be uused for “grave” reasons? Thanks. —KCT
 
The church is not against hysterectomies if it is done for medical purposes(not for contraceptive). If her uterus is in bad shape and poses a threat to her she can do that. It does not help her for her husband to have the vasectomy if she has the health problems. SOMETHING SMELLS FISHY
 
The Vatican document referenced the three requirements for what I think is called “remote material cooperation” in a sinful act. The cooperation cannot be ilicit in itself, there must be grave reasons for the cooperation, and there must be remonstration or admonishing of the sinner. Making love to a spouse is not sinful in itself, there are usually grave reasons why your marriage may need this, and you will have to keep talking to your contracepting spouse–it is not an issue that will go away even though the Vatican points out that you do not need to remonstrate each and every time. These are some of the hardest issues a couple faces–ideally BEFORE marriage. So many of us are converts and reverts who face these issues alone because when we married we were ignorant of much of this.
 
That NFP could result in a, uh, certain medical condition that affects men who have been aroused. (I hope its okay to use this term here, I don’t know if there is a correct medical term.) But, she said it could cause Blue Balls and so it couldn’t possibly be the only moral means God gave us to space children.
 
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sweety:
The church is not against hysterectomies if it is done for medical purposes(not for contraceptive). If her uterus is in bad shape and poses a threat to her she can do that. It does not help her for her husband to have the vasectomy if she has the health problems. SOMETHING SMELLS FISHY
Sweety, it’s true that a woman can have a hysterectomy if the disease itself is causing a serious health problem (e.g. uterine cancer, or a dangerous hemorrhage), and if there’s no other treatment available. In this case, the hysterectomy is done to treat the disease, and sterilization is an unfortunate and unwilled side effect. This is known as the principle of “double effect.”

On the other hand, the moral law forbids a woman to have a hysterectomy with the direct intent of avoiding pregnancy. Deliberate sterilization is never permitted, even if a pregnancy might be life-threatening. In this situation, the couple could use NFP (e.g. the Creighton Method, which claims 99+% effectiveness). If they wanted to avoid even the most remote chance of pregnancy, though, they would have to choose total abstinence.

“This is a hard teaching; who can accept it?” But many couples do. They’re truly everyday heroes. 🙂
 
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