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Catholic Birth Control

12/24/2012 new
One of the two functions of Natural Family Planning (NFP) is to act as a TEMPORARY means to delay births. Whether or not it is meant to be temporary, it still seems to mimic birth control. My inner sense tells me that THROUGH THEIR USE OF NFP if a couple wants 2 children only in their lifetime and feel like they cant handle any more, then somehow they may fall into the realm of PERMANENT birth control (which is grave matter/a mortal sin). Correct? We all know that BIRTH CONTROL is forbidden by the Church, but temporary birth delaying vis--vis NFP is not. Please enlighten me as to why there is a difference at all. Church teaching on this matter appears to present a grey area on this matter. What do I mean by this? Well, in both cases, you are using NFP and thus allowing God to decide whether or not you will conceive. The very act of using NFP includes God into the equation. This is why I find it hard to accept a theory of it being used for the wrong purposes.
12/24/2012 new

Mmmm... you're kinda blurring the lines a bit.


NFP is a natural form of birth control - one without artificial barriers - that commits a couple to complete openness to the will of God every time they engage in the marital embrace. That part you seem to understand.


The other part of NFP is to help the couple exercise chastity in their marriage. Through natural means, chastity is a sacrifice that brings many graces.


In either case the couple engages as God intended while also remaining uncompromisingly open to His will. The only "permanent" birth control is either complete celibacy, or the time God decides that the wife shall no longer be able to conceive children (menopause).

Hope that have provided a little clarity.


theheart

12/24/2012 new

(Quote) Victor-544727 said: Mmmm... you're kinda blurring the lines a bit. NFP is a natural form of birth con...
(Quote) Victor-544727 said:

Mmmm... you're kinda blurring the lines a bit.


NFP is a natural form of birth control - one without artificial barriers - that commits a couple to complete openness to the will of God every time they engage in the marital embrace. That part you seem to understand.


The other part of NFP is to help the couple exercise chastity in their marriage. Through natural means, chastity is a sacrifice that brings many graces.


In either case the couple engages as God intended while also remaining uncompromisingly open to His will. The only "permanent" birth control is either complete celibacy, or the time God decides that the wife shall no longer be able to conceive children (menopause).

Hope that have provided a little clarity.

--hide--




Cool. So you are saying that the couple that wants to limit to a few children are not acting against God's will as long as they practice NFP. I have heard many people state that it can be used "the wrong way" and know many people who are Catholics who only have a few children. Maybe they used NFP.... who knows.

12/24/2012 new

(Quote) Joe-660568 said: Cool. So you are saying that the couple that wants to limit to a few children are not acting agains...
(Quote) Joe-660568 said:

Cool. So you are saying that the couple that wants to limit to a few children are not acting against God's will as long as they practice NFP. I have heard many people state that it can be used "the wrong way" and know many people who are Catholics who only have a few children. Maybe they used NFP.... who knows.

--hide--

The following article will provide a good starting point. Note that there were a number of responses published as letters to the editor in the same publication, and, I believe, at least one additional article was published in response. To gain a fuller understanding you will need to read those as well.

www.hprweb.com

The brief synopsis is that the longer a couple uses NFP to avoid conception and the fewer children they have, the more serious the reason required to do so. Deciding a priori that you want only two children is not likely to be sufficient cause, whereas it may be legitimate to decide after you have two children that is all you can support at that time.

12/24/2012 new

Joe, another part of using NFP is that it is supposed to be used for "grave reasons." This may be that the family has fallen on hard times and cannot afford to have another child, or the mother was gravely ill during the last pregnancy (think Melanie from "Gone With the Wind"). Although the Church hasn't told us what other "grave reasons" are, simply not wanting to have more than two children doesn't cut it as far as I understand.

12/24/2012 new

(Quote) Bernadette-874299 said: Joe, another part of using NFP is that it is supposed to be used for "grave rea...
(Quote) Bernadette-874299 said:

Joe, another part of using NFP is that it is supposed to be used for "grave reasons." This may be that the family has fallen on hard times and cannot afford to have another child, or the mother was gravely ill during the last pregnancy (think Melanie from "Gone With the Wind"). Although the Church hasn't told us what other "grave reasons" are, simply not wanting to have more than two children doesn't cut it as far as I understand.

--hide--

The "grave" reasons requirement is apparently a mistranslation. The article I lonked to in my previous response indicates this should be "just" reasons - a much lower bar. There was a lot of back-and-forth on just this point after the article was published, so I encourage anyone interested to locate and read the follow-up letters and article(s). It has been three years since I read the originals, so I don't recall the details.

12/24/2012 new

Friends,

Let's also not forget the defining difference between NFP and artificial birth control... every conjugal act, when using NFP as the method, is open to life, even when trying to avoid pregnancy. This is because people are not perfect and mess things up. The charting may be off. A woman may have missed seeing the signs that were there and she actually is fertile when she believes she is not. There are any number of possible scenarios, but the reason why couples choose NFP instead of artificial birth control is because they understand that if they are imperfect in their practice of it, they will still accept God's will, even if it means they will conceive a child when they are not trying to. NFP always leaves the unknown up to God and His holy Will. Artificial birth control places a definitive barrier between the couple and God that completely shuts God out of the equation.

I'd also like to reinforce what Victor mentioned about couples practicing chastity - an important point so many couples have never considered. During a time of abstinence, the couple lives chastely and it is a time when romance and non-sexual affection takes front stage. It really is a wonderful time, if the couple uses the period of abstinence in that way.

Sincerely - Lisa Duffy

12/24/2012 new

(Quote) Lisa-727959 said: Friends, Let's also not forget the defining difference between NFP and artificial birth...
(Quote) Lisa-727959 said:

Friends,

Let's also not forget the defining difference between NFP and artificial birth control... every conjugal act, when using NFP as the method, is open to life, even when trying to avoid pregnancy. This is because people are not perfect and mess things up. The charting may be off. A woman may have missed seeing the signs that were there and she actually is fertile when she believes she is not. There are any number of possible scenarios, but the reason why couples choose NFP instead of artificial birth control is because they understand that if they are imperfect in their practice of it, they will still accept God's will, even if it means they will conceive a child when they are not trying to. NFP always leaves the unknown up to God and His holy Will. Artificial birth control places a definitive barrier between the couple and God that completely shuts God out of the equation.

I'd also like to reinforce what Victor mentioned about couples practicing chastity - an important point so many couples have never considered. During a time of abstinence, the couple lives chastely and it is a time when romance and non-sexual affection takes front stage. It really is a wonderful time, if the couple uses the period of abstinence in that way.

Sincerely - Lisa Duffy

--hide--


Let me interject a tiny bit about chastity in marriage and using nfp -- in the kissing thread some said if you couldn't handle kissing w/o getting arroused, you were immature. In the thread about living w/o sex after a 20 year marriage ended when one spouse died, it was said that finding innocent forms of getting touch (massage, hugs from kids or friends, etc) w/o giving in to sexual temptation was wrong as 'we must master our passions'. Well, in many marriages, using nfp to avoid pregnancy soon after a baby, or other just or grave reasons for using nfp, the couples know that certain activities definitely need to be curtailed during the fertile time -- for some that means no kissing other than quickie pecks, for others no dressing or undressing in sight of the other, for others it's different things. But for the couple to use nfp to avoid, they must find ways to not arrouse each other. And that is right and good. So I don't see why what is right in marriage for avoiding arrousal is so wrong in dating or just living. Jerry -- your thoughts on this are desired, since your comments are some that I'm having trouble with.

12/27/2012 new

Well Joe, go ahead and have a kid every 10 or 11 months just to prove what a good Catholic you are. You have our blessing. Heaven help you, because you're gonna need it.

12/30/2012 new

(Quote) Rachel-731570 said: Let me interject a tiny bit about chastity in marriage and using nfp --
(Quote) Rachel-731570 said:


Let me interject a tiny bit about chastity in marriage and using nfp --

--hide--

I'd like to add my two cents here if you don't mind, only because I've been on both sides of the fence.

You wrote: "in the kissing thread some said if you couldn't handle kissing w/o getting arroused, you were immature."

Personally, I disagree with this statement. Human nature is human nature and God designed our bodies, hearts and intellect to work together. Arousal happens as a result of natural, physical interaction. How people react to arousal is what becomes mature or immature; virtuous or a lack thereof.

You wrote: "In the thread about living w/o sex after a 20 year marriage ended when one spouse died, it was said that finding innocent forms of getting touch (massage, hugs from kids or friends, etc) w/o giving in to sexual temptation was wrong as 'we must master our passions'... etc."

Living a chaste life outside of marriage has very different implications than living chastity within a marriage. Please allow me to explain:

- First, chastity outside of marriage requires absolute celibacy along with chastity of mind and heart. A single person is obliged to avoid anything that would entice impure thoughts or actions if he or she wishes to remain chaste.

- Second, chastity within marriage is different. Celibacy is not required, although for a period of time, it may be appropriate. Married couples are obliged to avoid anything impure, just as single people are, but arousal between a husband and wife is not bad, sinful, or inappropriate even if they are using NFP to avoid pregnancy for valid reasons. A husband and wife should only abstain from physical arousal if they agree that they cannot avoid intercourse on fertile days while trying to avoid pregnancy. Otherwise, kissing and other forms of affection are completely appropriate during this time for a married couple. Physical affection is a necessary part of marriage and limiting it is a personal decision that should be agreed upon between the spouses.

You also wrote: "So I don't see why what is right in marriage for avoiding arrousal is so wrong in dating or just living. Jerry -- your thoughts on this are desired, since your comments are some that I'm having trouble with."

So, arousal between a man and woman who are dating and between a married man and woman does not have the same consequences. That being said, we are all called to be chaste and eliminate impure thoughts and actions from our lives.

I hope this helps!

- Lisa Duffy

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