Skip to comments.IS NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING A 'HERESY'? (Trads, please take note)
Posted on 07/04/2004 9:29:46 AM PDT by Polycarp IV
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One may commit heresy in a matter of morals--but the NFP is a relatively new debate within the Church. It is not so clearly established as the other issues you mention. We are talking about the deposit of faith, after all, which derives from what we've been bequeathed from the apostles. All of which would suggest a certain antiquity of opinion at least.
Where does that put you in the Caste system?
(Not baiting, just curious)
The continual use of NFP by so many Catholic couples has made what could be viewed as emergency measures to become the Catholic form of Birth Control.
I for one, find it offensive to walk in to so many Church vestibules and find NFP pamphlets glaring at you in the face, as though that was the whole purpose and end of marriage, birth control. As though that is what I want my children to think that Marriage is all about. "Saying NO to God's Blessings."
It prostitutes the marriage act. It's contrary to God's admonishment to us to be fruitful and multiply, and it is contrary to the Holy Popes who encouraged families to have many children.
One more Neo Catholic dogma.
So what you are saying there is that NFP is not always sinful, but is mostly sinful.
Spoken like a true deceiver. At the same time that you are luring people into using NFP, you subtly slip in to the conversation that it is mostly sinful. Let's see, who else does that? Hmmm?
Interesting question. Deserves a more complete answer than your're going to get right now! But a short answer is that the caste system is a degradation of the system described in the Bhagavad Gita, which is society being ordered according to character and qualities, not birth. Originally, there were 4 orders of life (student, householder, retired, and renunciant) and 4 castes or divisions (servant or laborer, farmer and merchant, warrior or administrator, and teacher). Everyone went through the first four, and personal qualities and character placed one in the second.
Then there is the deeper understanding of the self as eternal soul, with the body and its social standing as a temporary vehicle only. Some "cradle Hindus" would accept me as a bona vide Hindu or Vaishnava, some who have more of a superficial or deviated understanding would see me as an outcaste due to my birth in a non-Hindu family. But most I have met were the former, not the latter.
I'm still waiting for the list of Popes, and what they said.
It seems 'grave circumstances' has become the crucial phrase in this discussion, which means you are now hiding behind it, as it covers only very limited circumstances.
I personally am willing to concede 'grave circumstances'. I always did.
But I put to you that the majority of Catholics using NFP do not qualify for 'grave circumstances'. It has become a way of life in order to stop having babies.
Now it's certainly not up to me to decide who qualifies, and it is cetainly not up to you to lure people into using it with a clear consience. Your actions could be a cause of sin in others. But apparently that is your goal.
So, please give us that list of 'quite a few' Popes you falsely claim supported "ex cathedra" that Catholics could limit the size of their family.
And if you could, maybe a list of grave circumstances that would be acceptable. Maybe if the husband or wife were on life support, in a coma, the other spouse should wait for a non fertile moment to demand their marital rights. I guess that would be grave enough.
List of 'quite a few' Popes and what they said please.
>>>An interesting article with some relevant sources that useful for future reference. However, the article is undermined by the fact that Fr. Harrison is so clearly trying to prove one side of the argument. His polemical approach causes the reader to assume that he is not presenting the arguments fairly and objectively.
How is that different from your writing?
LOL. How appropriate that we should take a lesson from our Puritan forebears as we celebrate Independence Day.
Thanks for sharing your insights into the Hindu religion and culture. Several years ago I had access to several issues of "Hinduism Today", a monthly publication, and was struck by the news of that the cultural battles Hindu's face are identical or similar to what conservative Christians and Muslims face.
I beg your pardon! 2000 years of Catholic teaching says I am right. I'm not even sure where Humanae Vitae says I am wrong. Please show me. I know Paul VI spoke against contraception - but I am pretty sure (not positive) that he did not speak in favor of NFP. He conducted an extensive research into it, but did not endorse it
As far as a long list of Popes in favor of NFP - there is no such animal - Polycarp was lying, and broadsword is mistaken - badly.
I spent the morning surfing NFP sites, and not once did I find the phrase "use only inmatters of grave importance" or whatever the phrase is.
NFP is a lifestyle promoted to navigate around Catholic teaching, and falls far short to the discerning, but fills the needs of the gullible. I would be willing to bet that it is promoted by those wanting to tear down the Church brick by brick.
I know there is a problem with having too many babies, I'm a father of four myself. And I am not saying the are not legitimate problems. But strictly speaking, one is not trusting in the Lord if they seek to limit their offspring. Leave that to the pagans.
On the practical side, let your conscience be your guide, but don't be guided by those, even Priests, who counsel different than what the Church teaches. NFP is just another form of contraception, and the organization is no different than planned parenthood.
Jesus will watch over His Catholic babies.
Yes good points you understand the natural law which God has written in your heart. It is my prayer that you will consider the Word of the Lord God Jesus Christ when he said, I AM the WAY the TRUTH and the LIFE, no one can come to the father except through ME. and He established on St.Peter the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church which he has established to lead people into His Kingdom.
Were you raised as a Christian and then converted to Hinduism?. I had friends who were Catholic Indians from Puna and Goah (sp?) one whose ancestor was of the Brahman cast. The Catholic religion is truly universal and cross cultural because of course God loves all people whom He has created and He wishes that they not perish but come to eternal life through His son Jesus the Christ of the World. For God so loved the World that he sent his ONLY begotten son..
Maximilian, maybe your trad credentials are good enough that a word of explanation from you would help Arguss realize his folly in the above characterization of me?
You obviously know NOTHING about my position on NFP.
Maybe this will help you realize just how very wrong you are in your attacks on me:
My wife and I used to teach NFP. We resigned from it because I thought the NFP industry was failing to teach that there must be grave reasons for having recourse to NFP, and instead too often the NFP cult made it seem like as long as one used NFP, they were a "good" Catholic.
When we taught I gave an in depth class just on the moral theology of NFP. We taught that there are 4 main reasons for having recourse to NFP.
1--Physical/ mental health---a pregnancy could kill you or so physically impair you as to prevent your fulfillment of your duties in your state in life---NOT because of a widening wasteline or drooping skin! Or psychological health, i.e., mom would literally have a nervous breakdown if she became pregnant---not because she "just couldn't stand being home with the little kids all day without the personal fulfillment of her professional job..."
2--Financial constraints---your child will starve if you have another. Wanting a bigger house or designer SUV just does not cut it!
3--work on the mission fields by one or both spouses that would proclude having children temporarily
4--active persecution or war---i.e., you or your child likely to die by coercive abortion, in concentration camp, in acts of war, etc.
Clearly we say these reasons must be SERIOUS, not trivial. Only the couple and their confessor can truly decide what truly constitutes grave reason.
We've had couples sit through my talk on this subject and literally say, "Gee, we thought we were being good Catholics just for deciding to use NFP. Now we realize we don't even have grounds for recourse to NFP," then tell us a month or two later they're pregnant.
NFP vs Contraception
Spacing children may be a desirable goal that does not violate God's laws in certain serious situations such as those outlined above. But the means of achieving the goal differ.
One is intrinsically evil (abortion, abortifacient contraception, barrier methods, sterilization) while one is morally neutral (Natural Family Planning.
In one, an act is performed (sex) but its natural outcome is artificially foiled.
In the other, no act is performed (simple abstinence during fertile times) so there IS no act, therefore the practice is morally neutral.
It is then the intention of using NFP that constitutes its relative moral licitness or illicitness.
If NFP is used in a selfish manner, it too can be sinful.
If it is used only in grave circumstances, it is not sinful.
The difference is real.
Dieting (decreasing caloric intake, the "act" of NOT eating) is a moral and responsible means of losing weight to maintain the body's health.
Bulimia (the ACT of eating, them vomiting) is rightly called an eating DISORDER.
An ACT is performed (eating in this case) and its natural outcome (nutrition) is foiled by expelling the food from the body.
Likewise contraception is a disorder. An ACT is performed (sex) and its natural outcome (procreation) is foiled by expelling the sperm or egg or both (abortifacient contraceptives) from the body.
Contraception is to NFP what Bulimia is to dieting.
But just as dieting can be misused (anorexia) so too can NFP be misused in a (gravely) sinful manner.
I try to ignore all personal attacks on myself and generally just speed up the scroll button when I come across personal invective against anyone. It's such a waste of time. But as far as this issue goes, it is certainly true that you support the same position that Arguss does: NFP is only justified in "grave circumstances." You also agree that too often NFP has been promoted as a lifestyle choice. So both of you are in agreement with the teachings of the Catholic Church. One might wish to debate some of the fine points, but there is certainly no call for insults. Oh, and you have even ceased being an NFP counselor because of your moral qualms as to whether it was really being taught properly. One would hope that we could debate civilly even with people we think are wrong, but at the very least we should be able to be civil with people with whom we agree.
You don't even read the relevant documents, yet you have the unmitigated gall to insult and criticize us?
Get back to us when you've actually learned the Church's teachings on these subjects. Until then, I'll pray for you.
I don't think your metaphor works for the following reason: What if our bodies were designed in such a way that we only digested our food on some occassions but there were other times when our digestive systems simply ignored any food we ate. In order to stay skinny, what if you deliberately ate only during the times when your body did not digest the food, but refused to eat whenever your body would digest the food? This would not really be equivalent to "dieting"; it would be a lot more equivalent to "bulimia." In both cases you are frustrating the natural purpose of the act.
I also disagree with the moral theology textbook that was posted earlier when it said that the moral issue revolved around abstinence with regard to issues of justice towards society. Clearly a couple can abstain entirely from marital relations if they wish to do so and are in agreement. If a grave reason existed which motivated a couple to avoid conception, they could abstain from marital relations for as long as they wished to avoid conception, and there would be no moral issue whatsoever.
It becomes morally tricky when the couple abstain only part of the time, while continuing to engage in marital relations at other times, but without any intention of fulfilling the primary purpose of those acts. The problem is not abstaining; the problem is having sex while at the same time deliberately frustrating the purpose for which the sex act was designed by God.
At the same time, one can clearly see that there is a significant difference between artificial contraception and NFP. In the former case the act itself as well as the intention are both inherently wrong. In the latter case, the acts themselves either of having marital relations or abstaining from marital relations are not inherently immoral, but the intention can make them immoral.
As a comparison, when one tells a deliberate lie, then that is a sin which could be a mortal sin depending on the gravity of the situation. The words themselves are false, and the intention is to deceive the listener. One can also tell words that are true, but which are equally intended to deceive the listener. One would still be guilty of a sin of deception.
Another comparison might be to the priest offering the consecration. If he uses bran muffins, then the matter is invalid and the entire consecration is invalid, no matter what his intention might be, although one would have to question the intentions of any priest who would commit such a sacrilege. Another priest might use perfectly valid bread as matter, but he has an intention directly contrary to the presumed intention of consecrating the host. His consecration would also be invalid.
Encyclical Letter Of His Holiness promulgated on 25 July 1968.
"... it is also true that only in the former case are they able to renounce the use of marriage in the fecund periods when, for just motives, procreation is not desirable, while making use of it during infecund periods to manifest their affection and to safeguard their mutual fidelity. By so doing, they give proof of a truly and integrally honest love.
"... In relation to physical, economic, psychological and social conditions, responsible parenthood is exercised, either by the deliberate and generous decision to raise a numerous family, or by the decision, made for grave motives and with due respect for the moral law, to avoid for the time being, or even for an indeterminate period, a new birth.
"... If, then, there are serious motives to space out births, which derive from the physical or psychological conditions of husband and wife, or from external conditions, the Church teaches that it is then licit to take into account the natural rhythms immanent in the generative functions, for the use of marriage in the infecund periods only, and in this way to regulate birth without offending the moral principles which have been recalled earlier .
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