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Discussion related to living as a Catholic in the single state of life. As long as a topic is being discussed from the perspective of a single Catholic then it will be on-topic.

Tobias and Sarah's story is from the Book of Tobit, and his journey is guided by Saint Raphael.
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Apr 18th 2013 new

(Quote) Emmanuel-940296 said: It's a bit of an old forum post from another site but I think this might help answ...
(Quote) Emmanuel-940296 said:



It's a bit of an old forum post from another site but I think this might help answer Patrick's question as well forums.catholic.com

It basically says something similar to what Lauren brought up in that it's considered acceptable to practice a period of abstinence within marriage from what I can gather, though it doesn't seem to be encouraged to do so for long periods of time. What most of the posters on the website generally said was that the NFP method is extremely reliable when used correctly, and that people shouldn't be too concerned about the chances of conceiving a child with it's usage, as the probability is considered minimal. I can't quote numbers, but have heard great results of it from sources close to me, and it's often compared to being as effective as contraceptives.

I can't speak from experience but get the impression that when a couple gets married, and has sex using this method, they are using sex for it's intended purpose as an ultimate show of love for a spouse, and lust is something considered to be something that is involved with couples who aren't married. Is lust possible between a married couple? That's something I'm not sure of and am curious, but imagine most acts committed between a married couple would be out of love.

I think the main take away point from this is that a married couple as long as they have the intention of having some children during marriage, having sex with your spouse isn't really considered a sinful act when used in conjunction with the NFP method.

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Also, the link seems to be a case where NFP would be out convienence, kinda like contraception, rather than grave reasons. If were their priest, I would just said delay the wedding a year.

Apr 18th 2013 new

(Quote) Carrie-529869 said: I do not believe anywhere has the church laid out what and to what extent constitutes a JUST rea...
(Quote) Carrie-529869 said:

I do not believe anywhere has the church laid out what and to what extent constitutes a JUST reason (the correct term) to avoid pregnancy.

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Carrie, you are correct, the Church states that couples must be responsible. What defines responsible, well that's left for the couple to decide on their own through prayer.

Apr 18th 2013 new

(Quote) Patrick-341178 said: Thanks for the link. I wonder what happened with them. Why didn't they just del...
(Quote) Patrick-341178 said:




Thanks for the link. I wonder what happened with them. Why didn't they just delay their marriage another year? Problem solved.

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No problem and I don't know why they didn't just delay the marriage like the other posters mentioned as well.

Apr 18th 2013 new

(Quote) Peter-793888 said: (Quote) Emmanuel-940296 said: Is lust possible between a married couple? Yes lu...
(Quote) Peter-793888 said:
Quote:
Emmanuel-940296 said: Is lust possible between a married couple?

Yes lust is very possible between a married couple. Lust is when you use sex for your own pleasure instead of the mutual pleasure of the couple (regardless of timing and probability of children). So if a husband (or wife) is looking for sex even though the other has said "not tonight honey I have a headache" it's lust. In a General Audience JPII spoke about the dangers this can have on a marriage. While his comments were not well received at the time, it is very possible in marriage, and the spouses need to be vigilant to protect against it.
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Yeah that makes sense Peter, and I appreciate the input.

Apr 18th 2013 new

Great post Carrie - I was wondering about that prioritization of the procreative and unitive purposes of the marriage act...my gut said that didn't sound right, and I'm glad you clarified. Thanks!

Apr 18th 2013 new

(Quote) Peter-793888 said: 1) Yes complete virginity within marriage would be contrary to the promise the couples make at th...
(Quote) Peter-793888 said:

1) Yes complete virginity within marriage would be contrary to the promise the couples make at the alter to accept lovingly the children that God may give them. If they are not open to children, they can not answer that question (validly) with a Yes, and thus can not be married.

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Josephite (non-sexual) marriages are perfectly valid as long as both spouses freely consent. Obviously, such arrangements are extremely difficult for most people to maintain for an extended period, and thus will usually be approved only after serious discernment. As an aside, valid but unconsummated marriages may be dissolved (a different process than an annulment).

The marriage vows are intended to express the sacramental theology and law, not to impose their own requirements. I suspect that the vows would be modified as appropriate for a couple entering into a Josephite marriage.

Apr 18th 2013 new

(Quote) Carrie-529869 said: I do not believe anywhere has the church laid out what and to what extent constitutes a JUST rea...
(Quote) Carrie-529869 said:

I do not believe anywhere has the church laid out what and to what extent constitutes a JUST reason (the correct term) to avoid pregnancy.

I find this post a bit presumptious. While based on truth-- yes, one does need a just reason. I find a bit arrogant to actually come up and lay out opinion as facts of church teaching.

The reasons are not for us to judge on, but are between the couple and God, and hopefully a good spiritual director.

Also, you are incorrect that there is primary and secondary reasons for marriage. They are of equal importance.

The fact is, is that the sacrifices, communication, and self-discipline required to practice NFP make it a VERY good filter and prevention against mortal sin. Not to say that its impossible to use NFP with selfish reasons, but even then for it to be a sin meeting the conditions to be mortal would be very unlikely.

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I will respond to each objection as you have raised it, Carrie. Thank you, however, for taking me to task to prove my assertions.


The Church has indeed laid out just reasons to avoid pregnancy. Three of the most modern popes (Pius XII, Paul VI and John Paul II) have all commented on this issue. For the most in-depth analysis of this issue, I used Pius XII's "Address to Midwives on the Nature of Their Profession", dated October 29, 1951. In fact, most of my responses to you will be taken from his letter.

Please forgive the bit of reading citation that I'm including to show you my source. Any bold lettering in the quotes is my emphasis.

The Vicar of Christ says, concerning those serious reasons (and the sin attached to abusing them):

"The individual and society, the people and the State, the Church itself, depend for their existence, in the order established by God, on fruitful marriages. Therefore, to embrace the matrimonial state, to use continually the faculty proper to such a state and lawful only therein, and, at the same time, to avoid its primary duty without a grave reason, would be a sin against the very nature of married life."

"Serious motives, such as those which not rarely arise from medical, eugenic, economic and social so-called "indications," may exempt husband and wife from the obligatory, positive debt for a long period or even for the entire period of matrimonial life. From this it follows that the observance of the natural sterile periods may be lawful, from the moral viewpoint: and it is lawful in the conditions mentioned. If, however, according to a reasonable and equitable judgment, there are no such grave reasons either personal or deriving from exterior circumstances, the will to avoid the fecundity of their union, while continuing to satisfy to the full their sensuality, can only be the result of a false appreciation of life and of motives foreign to sound ethical principles."

As to your assertion that procreation is not the primary end of marriage...

"We showed what has been handed down by Christian tradition, what the Supreme Pontiffs have repeatedly taught, and what was then in due measure promulgated by the Code of Canon Law. Not long afterwards, to correct opposing opinions, the Holy See, by a public decree, proclaimed that it could not admit the opinion of some recent authors who denied that the primary end of marriage is the procreation and education of the offspring, or teach that the secondary ends are not essentially subordinated to the primary end, but are on an equal footing and independent of it."

The full letter may be found in full here:
www.papalencyclicals.net

These are not just my opinions, nor are they just the Pope's. The Pope does not make the rules. God does. The Pope simply gives voice to what has been laid down in the deposit of Faith. You are right, the reasons are not for us to judge on. But if you think that God doesn't judge on them by the rules that He has revealed to us, you are mistaken.

Apr 18th 2013 new

Hello, All!

It's so nice to see this discussion started and gaining a lot of traction. It's an important conversation and why I wrote the blog article to begin with. Jim, you'll have to forgive me with not covering all the points on this issue. I'm limited to 750 words and it's difficult to pack every point in. This issue could probably be discussed for months on end! I have a second part coming on Monday, but it covers a different point than what's discussed in this thread, basically because I want to make a statement to the critics of NFP.

I've only been able to skim this thread tonight, so I will read it in more depth tomorrow, but I did want to say something about the "grave reason" for abstaining from intimacy. This is not a choice that is easily or quickly determined. It should be discussed between the couple, doctor, and a priest or spiritual director. It's on a case-by-case basis, and not a for outsiders to determine. And although people everywhere have free will and can use NFP simply as natural contraception, I'm willing to bet that the majority of people who practice NFP do so for moral reasons. I've rarely come in contact with a couple who believe it's a loophole in the moral code for avoiding pregnancy.

In the end, the point is to do what's right and help others to do the same. I'm so grateful that all of you have contributed to this discussion. Thanks!

Sincerely,

Lisa Duffy

Apr 18th 2013 new

(Quote) Jim-873983 said: This is in response to the recent blog post from Lisa about Natural Family Planning.Lisa wa...
(Quote) Jim-873983 said:

This is in response to the recent blog post from Lisa about Natural Family Planning.

Lisa was right when she listed Natural Family Planning (NFP) as a viable, Church-approved route to reduce the chances of a pregnancy, but she didn't give the whole picture. This is sady a topic that many Catholics of good faith do not understand correctly.

There are certain serious conditions that can make NFP lawful under Church law:

1. Medical- serious real and objective dangers to the physical or mental health of one or both partners.

2. Eugenic- real possibility of serious and incurable hereditary defects in the child. This can last for the duration of the marriage, or just for a period of time (like when the mother is taking perscription drugs that might cause birth defects)

3. Social- covering socal disturbances like famine, war, unjust laws limiting the number of children a family can have, etc.

4. Economic- In the case of TRUE SERIOUS financial hardship for supporting another child. This is perhaps the most common reason cited for NFP-practicing couples. But this reason requires brutal honesty before God. "The reason must be serious. Trifles are not enough. That the birth of other children might mean buying a less expensive car or sending the children to a less fashionable school would not justify the decision to have no more, for that would be making the ornaments of life more valuable than life itself. And not only could no Christian see things so, but only the devitalized could. Indeed, for one who has grasped what a human being is- made in God's image, immortal, redeemed by Christ- only the most serious reason would be strong enough to support such a decision." -Frank Sheehy

There are two purposes of marriage:

1. Allowing for the procreation and education of children.

2. The mutual comfort and support of the spouses and allowing a lawful outlet of concupisence (carnal desires) in the marital act between spouses.

#1 is the primary purpose, #2 is the secondary.

Natural Family Planning, if practiced simply because another child would be inconvenient, is essentially flipping the two purposes of marriage, making #2 the primary and #1 the secondary- the same spirit of those who practice artificial contraception. Regardless of whether the spouses are "open to life" despite their precautionary timing of the marital act, if Natural Family Planning is habitually practiced to take precautions against the likelihood of pregnancy, simply for its own sake, IT IS A MORTAL SIN. Please be aware of that.

Please don't think me a moral busybody. I've just recently learned about all the strings attached to NFP and want to clear the air. NFP is not instrinsically evil like artificial birth control. But it can be abused.

NFP can result in the loss of souls, and not just to Hell. Think of all the souls that could have been created if their parents were more generous in allowing God to bless them with as many children as He desires.

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THANK YOU Jim!! God bless you, you are so right. For these reasons, I am always hesitant when people talk about using NFP because, like you said, it can be abused. It is the same thing as using birth control, only NFP is natural not artificial.

Apr 18th 2013 new

Yes, even though both the unitive and procreative aspects are critical to marriage, there is most definitely primacy attached to the procreative part. That again is our main beef in the gay "marriage" debate. When the Pharisees and Saducees question Jesus about the wife who married seven times, he mentioned to them that there is no marriage in heaven. The reason? After the end of the world there will be no more people created, and thus the primary purpose of marriage gone. Therefore it follows that marriage would have no place either. Otherwise there would seem to be no good reason why the bond would cease at death, or why no new ones couldn't be created.


Of course this is all the reasoning behind why marriage as an institution is around, and not necessarily what each instance of a marriage has to fulfill (Josephite, elderly, and the unknowinly infertile). Yet the josephite marriage still strikes me as really odd, and best left as a rarity. For what then is the reason for contracting one?

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