Skip to comments.Essays for Lent: Natural Family Planning
Posted on 04/03/2012 8:56:34 PM PDT by Salvation
Natural Family Planning
by Sebastian R. Fama
Natural Family Planning (NFP) seems to be the Catholic Churchs best-kept secret. Its not that the Church wants it to be a secret. The message just doesnt seem to get out. NFP is the licit alternative to contraception, or birth control as it is usually referred to. NFP is just as effective as any method of contraception and it has the advantage of causing no harm to the womans body with side effects and complications.
Rather than tamper with a womans body, NFP works with it. It is important to note that NFP is not the Rhythm Method as some tend to think. The Rhythm Method is dependant on the regularity of a womans cycle. Many women dont have a regular cycle and so this method may not be very reliable by itself. NFP does utilize the Rhythm Method but it goes two steps further. NFP measures and senses the approach of ovulation. This is accomplished by monitoring three conditions in a womans body. These are basal body temperature, cervical mucus and the timing of a womans cycle (the Rhythm Method). By charting a womans fertile times a couple can know on what days of the month she can get pregnant. If their goal is to limit their family size they would abstain from intercourse on these days.
The Church has always taught that every act of sexual intercourse must be open to life. However, since times of infertility are a part of Gods design, it is perfectly acceptable to have intercourse during these times. But some ask, whats the difference? Why would God care if we practiced NFP or used contraception? The end result is the same. But it's not about the end result. You wouldn't say that going out and stealing money is the same as earning it just because the end result is the same.
Sexual intercourse is a gift from God. Consequently, it needs to be respected and used in accord with its design and purpose. Let me illustrate my point with an example. Suppose you were having dinner at a friends house. After the main course your friend brings out some cheesecake. You really love the taste of cheesecake but you dont want the calories. The proper thing to do is to pass on the cheesecake. There is nothing wrong with not eating cheesecake. However, it would be wrong to take some cheesecake, chew it, enjoy the taste, and then spit it on the table to avoid the calories.
If you abstain from sex during the fertile times its like not eating the cheesecake. If you contracept during fertile times its like chewing the cheesecake and spitting it out. Thats because in both cases you have performed the first part of what is by nature a two part process. The purpose of food is to taste good and to nourish. The purpose of sex is to communicate love and to produce offspring.
Contraception is wrong because it separates sexual intercourse from its procreative function. Thus, sex can become an end unto itself. The result is mutual selfishness. Making love should never be reduced to a means of relieving oneself. NFP, on the other hand, respects the procreative function. Couples become aware of and develop a respect for the womans fertility. A number of surveys have shown that the divorce rate for NFP couples is between .2% and 4%.Thats a big difference from the 50% rate of the general population.
Its true that some couples may struggle with periodic abstinence. But as with most things perseverance produces results. Professor Janet Smith notes that NFP data suggests that periodic abstinence increases passion and revitalizes romance. According to a study commissioned by the "Family of the Americas Foundation," NFP couples have more frequent marital relations than those in the general public. Also, because mutual cooperation is needed, NFP enhances communication. A comparison of both methods illustrates the superiority of NFP.
Natural Family Planning
1. 97% effective
1. 99% effective
2. Sex is primary focus
2. Relationship is primary focus
3. Dangerous side effects
3. No side effects
4. Promotes selfishness
4. Promotes mutual responsibility
5. Can result in abortion
5. Never results in abortion
6. Can weaken a marriage (Higher divorce rate)
6. Strengthens marriages (Lower divorce rate)
7. Inconsistent with Scripture
7. Consistent with Scripture
8. Costs thousands of dollars over a lifetime
8. Costs nothing once learned
9. Less frequent sex (on average)
9. More frequent sex (on average)
Couples interested in learning more about NFP should contact the Couple to Couple League of Cincinnati (www.ccli.org) or the NFP office in their diocese.
Copyright © 2005 StayCatholic.com
For Further Study
The Early Church Fathers on Contraception (Free)
Books - Sex au Naturel by Patrick Coffin and Why Humanae Vitae Was Right by Janet Smith and The Bible and Birth Control by Charles D. Provan.
DVD - Contraception: Why Not? by Janet Smith
'Amazing Grace for Those Who Suffer'
Natural and Unnatural (father of 5 shocks mother of 1)
NFP It Aint Your Mommas Rhythm
Responsible Parenthood in a Birth Control Culture, Part Two [Open]
Responsible Parenthood in a Birth Control Culture, Part One [Open]
Contraception v. Natural Family Planning Part 5 of 6 [Open]
Journey to the Truth (Natural Family Planning) [Open]
Enslaving Women One Pill at a Time (Birth Control Pills and Natural Family Planning)
New Study Shows Natural Family Planning Technique More Effective Than Contraception
Fargo) Diocese set to require pre-marriage course in natural family planning
Making Babies: A Very Different Look at Natural Family Planning
Clerical Contraception (Important Read! By Fr. Thomas J. Euteneuer)
(Fargo) Diocese set to require pre-marriage course in natural family planning
Natural Family Planning Awareness Week, July 25, 2004
IS NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING A 'HERESY'? (Trads, please take note)
Thanks Doc: More (and Younger) Doctors Support Natural Family Planning
Couple say Natural Family Planning strengthens marriage
Reflections: Natural family planning vs sexism
British Medical Journal: Natural Family Planning= Effective Birth Control Supported by Catholic Chrch
Natural Family Planning
A great comparison chart with this thread.
Essays for Lent: The Assumption
Essays for Lent: The Immaculate Conception
Essays for Lent: Mary Ever-Virgin
Essays for Lent: Praying to Saints
Essays for Lent: Indulgences
Essays for Lent: Purgatory
Essays for Lent: Confession
Essays for Lent: The Eucharist
Essays for Lent: The Mass
Essays for Lent: Baptism
Essays for Lent: Justification
Essays for Lent: Tradition
Essays for Lent: Scripture Alone
Essays for Lent: The Canon of Scripture
Essays for Lent: Papal Infallibility
Essays for Lent: The Pope
Essays for Lent: The Church
Essays for Lent: The Bible
Essays for Lent: The Trinity
Essays for Lent: Creationism or Evolution?
[i]”NFP is just as effective as any method of contraception”[/i][br][br]
Actually that’s true - it is just as effective.
Perhaps the poster with the impossible name is observing that if a normally healthy couple engages in intercourse during a period of fertility, they are likely to conceive a child. Identifying periods of fertility takes a certain amount of knowledge and effort.
Abstaining from intercourse during those periods can be difficult, especially if the couple does not have grave reasons for not conceiving. “Having more than two children is scary and people look at you funny,” is not a grave reason. Contrary to the kultursmog impression, fertility is good. Children are good. Life is good. Sterility is a disorder; hatred of life is a psychological and spiritual pathology.
That’s the best, concise defense of NFP that I’ve read.
BTW, breast cancer rates have increased dramatically since the introduction of the (hormone) pill in the sixties.
I looked up the stats myself, and found a 250% increase in the US. In Japan, the rate of increase is 65%.
It’s a well-kept secret. The stats are hard to find, which is suspicious, considering the disproportionate publicity regarding breast cancer, in comparison to other forms of cancer.
-—Contraception is wrong because it separates sexual intercourse from its procreative function. Thus, sex can become an end unto itself. The result is mutual selfishness. Making love should never be reduced to a means of relieving oneself-—
I reread the article and realized that the author neglected to mention that the same mentality can be adopted by couples who practice NFP.
Pope John Paul II called this “the contraceptive mentality.” NFP must only be used for grave reasons.
This is where the rubber meets the road.
Yes, but it's much, much harder to put into effect without artificial contraception or sterilization.
And even if they do, the couple has not engaged in an objectively sinful act. Not having sex is not a sin against chastity, although it may be a sin against charity (to one's spouse).
The author addresses that issue very well in the article. Did you read the article?
Yhis is not about the old “rhythm method.)
**breast cancer rates have increased dramatically since the introduction of the (hormone) pill in the sixties.
I looked up the stats myself, and found a 250% increase in the US.**
I wish the nation would realize this!
BTTT for your answer....good one.
People often say that it doesn’t matter what actions one takes, or doesn’t take, if the intention is to avoid having a child. However, if it were truly all the same, then everyone would use NFP, which is free, healthy, environmentally-sound, and respectful of natural humanity. Obviously it’s not the same, and the necessity of exercising self-restraint is more burdensome than all the costs, inconvenience, and health risks of artificial contraception.
St. Claude was one of the promoters of the Sacred Heart devotion, and St. Margaret Mary Alacoque’s confessor, right?
Organizations like the Couple to Couple League, which promote NFP, depend on voluntary donations for their operating costs.
It is just a crying shame that the Church doesn't make more effort to promote NFP and inform people about it.
I didn’t know that - but so says the old Catholic Encyclopedia article on St. Claude.