Whys and wherefors of contraception/NFP

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Tim_Hayes

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Birth control. NFP people claim that it is at least as effective as any other artificial method in preventing pregnancy (fact)

Lets disregard those methods that cause abortion for the purpose of this question

The Church states as one of the reasons for allowing NFP is that it allows the possibility for life to occur. (true), but no more true than artificial methods if we are to believe the first statement above.

One of the figures in the old testament who was supposed to get his deceased brothers wife pregnant failed to get her pregnant by spilling his seed on the ground. What is the crime here for which he is punished. It is not the spilling of the seed on the ground, it was the deliberate avoidance of getting the woman pregnant. His intention was to not get the woman pregnant, ultimately it did not matter which way he did not get her pregnant as non pregnanacy was the intention. Deliberate Contraception or shall we say deliberate non pregnancy whilst engaging in the marital act is the actual offence.

Another reason given, is that some methods at the very least cause damage to the body. Whilst this may be true, many of the practices of catholics such as smoking, drinking, etc also cause damage to the body and in the case of smoking is more damaging to the body than artificial birth control methods. When was the last time people were rebuked by the “Church “ for smoking etc. When was the last time someone was told that there smoking will cost them their salvation.

Ultimately the whole argument about birth control is that people are able to engage in physical marital acts without, or at the very least, decreased risks of pregnancy. Ultimately it then comes down to a state of mind or intention

Now it is statistically more likely to get pregnant if a condom is used as distinct from NFP.

Therefore if a person using a condom has the same state of mind, intention as the person using NFP ( and here we are talking about the reasons the Church says are acceptable for the pupose of practicing NFP) then what is the difference.

Please provide a response to those who think or know they can.
 
Tim Hayes:
Now it is statistically more likely to get pregnant if a condom is used as distinct from NFP.

Therefore if a person using a condom has the same state of mind, intention as the person using NFP ( and here we are talking about the reasons the Church says are acceptable for the pupose of practicing NFP) then what is the difference.
I have wondered the same thing but you said it much more eloquently than I could have.

I want to know the answer to because if the stats are to be believed, we are more likely to get pregnant having sex with a condom in the fertile time of the cycle than just abstaining and having sex in the infertile time!
 
Tim Hayes:
The Church states as one of the reasons for allowing NFP is that it allows the possibility for life to occur.
I know some people claim this, but I wasn’t aware it was an official Church teaching. Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae says this about why NFP is moral while contraception is immoral:
Neither the Church nor her doctrine is inconsistent when she considers it lawful for married people to take advantage of the infertile period but condemns as always unlawful the use of means which directly prevent conception, even when the reasons given for the later practice may appear to be upright and serious. In reality, these two cases are completely different. In the former the married couple rightly use a faculty provided them by nature. In the latter they obstruct the natural development of the generative process. It cannot be denied that in each case the married couple, for acceptable reasons, are both perfectly clear in their intention to avoid children and wish to make sure that none will result. But it is equally true that it is exclusively in the former case that husband and wife are ready to abstain from intercourse during the fertile period as often as for reasonable motives the birth of another child is not desirable. And when the infertile period recurs, they use their married intimacy to express their mutual love and safeguard their fidelity toward one another. In doing this they certainly give proof of a true and authentic love.
 
Great points!!

Another question I’ve always pondered…(and I speak from my own personal experience here)

During the time of the month when a woman is fertile, it is also the time of the month when she is the most “horny” (sorry, I can’t seem to come up with a better term – hey it’s early, give me a break). So, if a woman is to obstain from intercourse during her most fertile (i.e. horny) time of the month, then isn’t this cheating her out of the full gift of her sexual experience? Granted, contraception such as birth control pills alter hormones and can affect a woman’s desire to have sex during the month.

To practice NFP means that I can never fully take advantage of the time of the month that I find sex most desirable (unless of course, I want to get pregnant). What’s so natural about that???
 
The point is that, when artificial means of birth control are used, God is taken out of the equation. NFP provides a means by which pregnancy can be achieved or avoided, allowing the wisdom of God, not man, to make that decision. When condoms are used, even when there is a chance that one could become pregnant, man is attempting to control the outcome artificially. With NFP, the couple is attempting to control the outcome, but God still has the final say in what will happen. Other artificial means of birth control, such as the pill, patches, injections, morning after pills, etc, are simply EVIL. They prevent pregnancy, but many times, they CAUSE abortion by preventing implantation. NFP is the way for Catholics to go.
 
With NFP, the couple is attempting to control the outcome, but God still has the final say in what will happen
How so? If the woman is absolutely not fertile then how can there be a pregnancy, thus giving God the “final say.”
 
Hi,

Total abstinance, living like brother and sister, was the only way that was allowed by the Church to prevent pregnancy. It was always allowed. I suppose that NFP is allowed because it is something like partial abstinance and doesn’t involve any other tricks.

I can sympathize with DVN_CKS (hope I spelled that right). The same is true with my wife. As the husband, my greatest pleasure is to give her the greatest pleasure, so we are both limited in that regard. But with six kids and my one income stretched pretty thin, it seems necessary.

I guess nothing about work or childbearing has been perfect since the fall of Adam. 😦
 
Tim Hayes:
Therefore if a person using a condom has the same state of mind, intention as the person using NFP ( and here we are talking about the reasons the Church says are acceptable for the pupose of practicing NFP) then what is the difference.
The difference is that two different things are being intended. Using NFP, the intent is to avoid pregnancy. Using condoms, the intent is to enjoy sexual relations while avoiding pregnancy. Condoms thwart God’s plan, not His plan for whether a particular couple will have a child (as so many people seem to claim), but His design for how our sexual organs should properly be used.

The following quotes from Humanae Vitae show that intention is very important:
The sexual activity, in which husband and wife are intimately and chastely united with one another, through which human life is transmitted, is, as the recent Council recalled, "noble and worthy.’’ It does not, moreover, cease to be legitimate even when, for reasons independent of their will, it is foreseen to be infertile.

Similarly excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means.
So there is a big difference between foreseeing a sexual act to be infertile and deliberately taking an action to make a sexual act infertile.
 
How does NFP not remove the procreative from the unitive aspect of the marital act?
 
We have to stay open to the will of God at all times, however there are times when it is just according to the Church teaching to use NFP to avoid the Likely hood of Children, not the possibility. We have as a society come to a point and are going further down the road to where me and I means more than they or us. That is scary because we are not open to life, and to close the door on life is to invite death to dinner.

God Bless and Be Safe

Think of this each child gets cheaper, but the eternal blessing grows eternally
 
_Christopher_:
How does NFP not remove the procreative from the unitive aspect of the marital act?
If God had wanted couples to get pregnant every time they engaged in marital relations, then he would have designed us that way. But He didn’t. So having sex without an ensuing pregnancy is by no means a sin. However, this is completely different than taking a direct action to reduce or remove the fertility of a specific marital act, which is a sin.
 
_Christopher_:
How so? If the woman is absolutely not fertile then how can there be a pregnancy, thus giving God the “final say.”
There’s still possibility of pregnancy. Sometimes women have irregular cycle.
 
_Christopher_:
How does NFP not remove the procreative from the unitive aspect of the marital act?
If God had wanted couples to get pregnant every time they engaged in marital relations, then he would have designed us that way. But He didn’t. So having sex without an ensuing pregnancy is by no means a sin. However, this is completely different than taking a direct action to reduce or remove the fertility of a specific marital act, which is a sin.
 
_Christopher_:
How so? If the woman is absolutely not fertile then how can there be a pregnancy, thus giving God the “final say.”
Remember all those women in the Bible who were infertile until they prayed and trusted God? He gave them incredible children!! John the Baptist, Samuel, etc. If God can create life in an otherwise barren womb, he can certainly create life in the womb of a woman who thinks she is in her "infertile time". Therefore, you are not closing the door to God's will. The whole point is in trusting God and accepting his will for your life and your marriage. Also, those who use NFP have much different ideals than those who contracept. It is a whole lifestyle, not just another form of birth control. At least, that's the way I see it.
 
Are you saying a condom can stop God from creating a child? Since using a condom is not 100% guarenteed, and you realize that, aren’t you still open to life? Just like NFP is not 100% guarenteed.
 
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patrickscott:
Are you saying a condom can stop God from creating a child? Since using a condom is not 100% guarenteed, and you realize that, aren’t you still open to life? Just like NFP is not 100% guarenteed.
Let’s look at this a different way (and I believe I am stealing from Christopher West here, he is a great speaker and is much more knoledgeable than I). When you get married and say your vows, you promise (in a nutshell) to be faithful, to give yourself freely, fully and fruitfully. The use of a condom is like breaking your wedding vow, you are not giving yourself fully, you are saying “I will give you everything BUT this”. You are not giving yourself fruitfully. Yes, God can work miricles, but we should not be going against his will just to make him do so.

There is another thing that needs clarification. I do not believe that we should be using NFP as just another contraceptive, that is defeating the purpose. There are reasons to not have children and to use NFP as contraception, but they should be GOOD reasons, not just, “I want to have lots of vacations” or “Kids are messy”. We are asked to evaluate our reasons and they should NOT be just conveniance. Each couple is given the responsibility of this.

Another issue with condoms is you are potentially shutting down communication, which could result in the desire for children. When properly using NFP, each month both husband and wife are aware of the fertile time (assuming the husband is doing his duty and helping with temps and writing down things on the monthly sheet). This allows couples to make a concious decision each month about kids. It keeps it in the fore-front, it doesn’t just push it to the side, where it can end if you just regularly use condoms.

Hope this helps,

John
 
Hey Tim,

I haven’t read through all the posts so excuse me if this has already been mentioned. But not all NFP use is moral either. It can be, but it can also be abused.

Also, about the words “natural” vs “artificial.” What makes “Artificial” contraception immoral is not the “Artificial” part of it. Its immoral because it cuts off the possibility of procreation during the Marital Act. Abstaining does not do that because you’re not engaging in the Marital Act at all .

Thanks,
Stephanie
 
To borrow a few more quotes from Christopher West (who I think is one of the clearest voices explaining John Paul’s beautiful theology of the body) “the difference between contraception and NFP is like the difference between suicide and natural death, or the difference between an abortion and a miscarriage”. One is the work of humans trying to be God, the other is the work of God. .

As many have already stated in this thread, the key difference is working with or against God’s plan for our marital unification and procreative abilities by the way he created us. The ulitmate effectiveness of the method is completely beside the point.
 
What if peopel were to abstein during the supposedly fertile time but still use artificial means during the other times.
 
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