Distinction between serious/grave/just in NFP


#1

I have been reading various Church documents and Papal statements on NFP and I’m trying to understand the difference between the terms Grave, Serious, and just in relation to reasons to practice NFP.

Some popes have stated their must be “serious” reasons for NFP, the catechism and the teaching of JPII mentions “just” reasons. I know that some people say there must be “grave” reasons, but I can’t find the word “grave” in any church document on the matter.

Does serious and grave have the same meaning in this context. If so, what is the exact definition of this in relation to this topic?


#2

Remember, the language of the Church is Latin. Therefore, what you are dealing with is, primarily, a translation issue.

I recommend Dr. Janet Smith’s article on the subject:

lifeissues.net/writers/smith/smith_24moralusenfp.html

She lists and explains the actual phrases used in Humanae Vitae:

justae causae
argumenta honesta et gravia
probabiles rationes
iustae rationes

I also recommend reading this article:
hprweb.com/2008/03/humanae-vitae-grave-motives-to-use-a-good-translation/


#3

One finds in the more recent documents the use of the term in the English usage of “serious reasons” to refer to the reasons needed.

Compendium issued by Pope Benedict XVI

497. 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.
**
498. 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.

vatican.va/archive/compendium_ccc/documents/archive_2005_compendium-ccc_en.html


#4

Various terms have often been used in the Church to refer to the same thing.

Mortal sin
Grave sin
Serious sin

All refer to the same sin.


#5

One finds in the more recent documents the use of the term in the English usage of “serious reasons” to refer to the reasons needed.

Compendium issued by Pope Benedict XVI

497. 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.
**
498. 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.

vatican.va/archive/compendium_ccc/documents/archive_2005_compendium-ccc_en.html


#6

I don’t see a conflict between serious and just reasons. I’d imagine any good reason a couple might have to practice periodic abstinence could be considered just and serious.

My problem is with the grave. I have never seen this used in this context. And it does seem to be mostly used by people who would frown on any couple using NFP except for life and death circumstances.


#7

The terms are Canonical

Just Reasons are those reasons that are not contrary to Justice, basically, the reasons are not contrary to Reason. One could miss Mass because you are ill is a Just reason.

Serious Reasons are those which are more stringent. That reasonable alternatives have been explored and that those alternatives are insufficient. Serious reasons are those which are not decided upon lightly.

Grave Reasons are the highest and any alternatives are non existent or morally impermissible. The use of Capital Punishment by the State would require grave reasons.


#8

That is what I would have thought alright.


#9

I think this just confuses things…and shows too where confusion sets in here.

The Church uses various terms to refer to the* same *thing.

Grave sin
Mortal sin
Serious sin

All refer to the same sin.

One could also simply argue that in order for Y to be a just reason (that is not contrary to morality) to use means Z then it must be a serious reason for Z requires a serious reason in order to be just.

See my above quote from the Compendium issued by Pope Benedict XVI - intended to give the normal person a summary of the Faith …it too uses the term serious reason.


#10

See my other posts.

And yes you are correct that the Church does not say that the serious reason must be “life and death” circumstances. Serious reasons can be of various sorts…life varies and all sorts of things happen to a married couple and family.

And that yes your correct that some persons who try to argue that such life or death reasons only can justify periodic continence (wrongly as we see from Church Teaching etc) tend to use that term grave reasons. They are simply not correct.

forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?p=14319452&postcount=4


#11

#12

Where are you drawing this from?


#13

#14

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