Tuesday, May 02, 2006


One problem I have seen in the promotion of NFP within Catholic circles is the attitude that it is approved "Catholic" birth control and should be used anytime and even often. I read one popular Catholic marriage counselor push the notion that Catholic (married) couples should prayerfully evaluate or re-evaluate their decision not to use NFP as often as every week . (I think he has it backwards. The decision to use NFP should be considered and reconsidered carefully-buy only when serious reasons are present which indicate a need for this consideration; the decision to not use NFP is the norm and would usually not need such careful consideration and prayer.)

While the Church has never made a specific list of reasons to practice NFP, certainly guidance has been given. Serious reasons (which include a number of areas) must be the basis of practicing NFP. (John Paul II notes somewhere in his "Theology of the Body" Angelus series that responsible parenthood includes first and foremost the openness to children and a large family.) Yet with all this, the rush to NFP seems unabated. And except for a few rare instances, the Catholic media has seemed to cooperate with this NFP anytime/anywhere view.

However, this article on CatholicExchange this morning takes another view:

Early in marriage preparation or in the early years of marriage, many, if not most, Catholic couples learn about Natural Family Planning. They learn that NFP can be a real blessing in helping to understand better how a woman’s body works. They learn that it is a valuable tool when trying to conceive. And they learn that it is also very effective when trying to prevent conception. Unfortunately, what they often don’t learn is that abstinence in Natural Family Planning is to be regarded as a privation. Too often, they come away with the belief that using NFP to space babies or prevent them is the default mode for a holy marriage and not the exception.

What many parents of large families have discovered is that NFP has its place, but that it’s a very limited place and not the usual day-to-day mode of operating.

Read the rest of the article. I am sure the CE discussion boards will be full on this topic in the next few days.

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