Abstinence to Control Births

I can totally understand the church’s view with abstinence as part of NFP. So my question is:

What exactly is a morally valid reason to “space out children” in the course of your marriage?

Compendium …issued by Pope Benedict XVI

  1. When is it moral to regulate births?

2368-2369
2399

The regulation of births, which is an aspect of responsible fatherhood and motherhood, is objectively morally acceptable when it is pursued by the spouses without external pressure; when it is practiced not out of selfishness but for serious reasons; and with methods that conform to the objective criteria of morality, that is, periodic continence and use of the infertile periods.

  1. What are immoral means of birth control?

2370-2372

Every action - for example, direct sterilization or contraception - is intrinsically immoral which (either in anticipation of the conjugal act, in its accomplishment or in the development of its natural consequences) proposes, as an end or as a means, to hinder procreation.

“With regard to physical, economic, psychological and social conditions, responsible parenthood is exercised by those who prudently and generously decide to have more children, and by those who, for serious reasons and with due respect to moral precepts, decide not to have additional children for either a certain or an indefinite period of time.”

Humanae Vitae Pope Paul VI

Compendium of Social Doctrine (other compendium…)

“232. The family contributes to the social good in an eminent fashion through responsible motherhood and fatherhood, the spouses’ special participation in God’s work of creation[519]. The weight of this responsibility must not be used as a justification for being selfishly closed but must guide the decisions of the spouses in a generous acceptance of life. “In relation to physical, economic, psychological and social conditions, responsible parenthood is exercised both in the duly pondered and generous decision to have a large family, and in the decision, made for serious reasons and in respect of the moral law, to avoid for a time or even indeterminately a new birth”[520]. The motivations that should guide the couple in exercising responsible motherhood and fatherhood originate in the full recognition of their duties towards God, towards themselves, towards the family and towards society in a proper hierarchy of values.”

“234. The judgment concerning the interval of time between births, and that regarding the number of children, belongs to the spouses alone. This is one of their inalienable rights, to be exercised before God with due consideration of their obligations towards themselves, their children already born, the family and society[528]. The intervention of public authorities within the limits of their competence to provide information and enact suitable measures in the area of demographics must be made in a way that fully respects the persons and the freedom of the couple. Such intervention may never become a substitute for their decisions[529]. All the more must various organizations active in this area refrain from doing the same.” (vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/justpeace/documents/rc_pc_justpeace_doc_20060526_compendio-dott-soc_en.html)

The serious reason does not = only life or death reasons.

There can be all sorts of things that come up in life…that fit such.

The couple must make the judgment before God (perhaps seek advice)

Please correct me if I am wrong. I’m seriously trying to understand this logic.

If you lose your job and house and can barely afford to feed your family of six, you should not be having sexual relations with your spouse because bringing another child into the world would be viewed as irresponsible :confused:

WOW in this economy it could be several years before they have sex again :shrug:

No. I think perhaps your misreading the terms used in the above quotes. They do not say that one is to never have marital relations…but rather that if one has serious reasons one may use “periodic” (during fertile times) abstinence.

Such could be likely serious reason to use NFP …which is a form of Periodic Continence …to avoid a new conception for the time being at least…

Hence one abstains during fertile times …

(one could of course avoiding new conceptions are not the only reason one could practice …periodic abstinence… also abstain for other reasons …such as prayer (see Paul)…in which case one is not doing it in regards to fertile times…but just for some particular period that one chooses…)

If used in that sense, then NFP would be used as a contraceptive. You would purposely have sex on the infertile days knowing you are not open to more children.

With all of this confusion its no wonder good catholic people are using ABC :shrug:

Its really not that confusing. You can still have relations…just not whenever you want. :shrug:

My original question is what are the valid morally acceptable reasons to practice NFP as a contraception?

Financial? Health? etc… :confused:

After being told yesterday that every act of sexual relations between married couples must be open to having children; you can see why NFP is so confusing to the average person.

One can NEVER use NFP as “contraception”.

It is not to be “contraception”…but rather it can be used to avoid conception for serious reasons…(this is an important distinction).

If you read the above quotes…it answers the question as to what is serious reasons…there is not “exhaustive list” …but yes financial and health can be serious reasons…one must judge if such is serious of course…

NFP is STILL open to life…

Periodic abstinence is not contraception. It’s abstinence.

You would purposely have sex on the infertile days knowing you are not open to more children.

Yes, but you are still showing God that you are willing to cooperate with His will of creation. There are many notable cases where a perceived infertile couple still conceived a child. So, even have sexual intercourse on perceived infertile days still keeps the marriage open to new life.

With all of this confusion its no wonder good catholic people are using ABC :shrug:

I agree that there is a bit of confusion, but there tends to be more crassly ignorant people out there afraid to seek out the understanding because they know it will mean they have to accept the teaching and change their behavior.

How many of these threads need to be open at the exact same time? One can find the exact same discussion going on in at least five threads on these boards.

It seems like nothing is every accomplished either. The OP never claims to “get it” and everyone else keeps explaining away.

As you say, financial and health reasons may be part of that. The best determining factor is left to God. The couple should continue to pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance and grace in this matter. Then, they should have the confidence that their decisions are okay with God.

Please, however, do not continue to use the term contraception as you have been associating it with NFP. It is not the same.

Talk to your priest. I did. He explained it perfectly and gave me a sense of peace…:slight_smile:

It is important to reason and pray and perhaps seek advice.
*
Life brings all sorts of events and circumstances into our lives*…

One can not give an exhaustive list of possible reasons…

but read the above quotes from the Church.

Contraception is the deliberate prevention of procreation by the use of various drugs, techniques, or devices. Basically birth control.

If you are avoiding sex on fertile days and only having sex on infertile days, by this technique you are deliberately avoiding procreation.

According to the church, that birth control technique is all good :thumbsup:

Anyway, thanks to all for the comments. I appreciate your responses. I have learned so much about NFP and thanks for clarifying the morally valid reasons to avoid procreation. :slight_smile:

Nope. NFP is not Contraception. Perhaps one can say it is “birth control” in a sense…it is …but it is not contraception. There is no sexual relations…no potential conception to “contra-cept”. No intercourse…thus not contraception.

Periodic Abstinence is not contraception.

Compendium …issued by Pope Benedict XVI

  1. When is it moral to regulate births?

2368-2369
2399

The regulation of births, which is an aspect of responsible fatherhood and motherhood, is objectively morally acceptable when it is pursued by the spouses without external pressure; when it is practiced not out of selfishness but for serious reasons; and with methods that conform to the objective criteria of morality, that is, periodic continence and use of the infertile periods.

  1. What are immoral means of birth control?

2370-2372

Every action - for example, direct sterilization or contraception - is intrinsically immoral which (either in anticipation of the conjugal act, in its accomplishment or in the development of its natural consequences) proposes, as an end or as a means, to hinder procreation.

No. Even though the intent may still be the same (prevention of conception), there is nothing in the marital act, when practicing NFP, that prohibits conception. It is the difference between euthanasia and removing someone from life support in a moral way, or, more recently, an abortion versus a procedure designed to save the mother, during which the baby dies. The matter is intent, and procreation without ABC is not open to receiving life.

I know there are threads where people question the difference between NFP and ABC - lots of good information there!

Also search the main CA site at Catholic.com…put NFP in the search box…

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