How would you respond to someone who says they can't practice NFP due to a medical condition which makes determining fertility impossible?


In a recent discussion with a non-Catholic regarding Theology of the Body, the person mentioned that they had expressed interest in practicing NFP when they got married, but came to find out that, due to a genetic condition, it’s not possible to determine the time of fertility.

How would you explain Catholic teaching on sexual morality in this situation?


I would say that I didn’t know that and research their condition to see why.


I would express sorrow for their condition, because it’s a very difficult cross to bear.

The only morally permissible means of spacing pregnancy is abstinence - either partial (NFP) or total. Whether or not you tell that to this person would depend on the relationship you have and if you could express it with sensitivity.

(The hope would also be that they would receive medical help for their condition that would make it a non-issue. Some women’s health issues receive very little research and funding or are dismissed by doctors, though in some regions and with some conditions attitudes are changing, which is wonderful.)


As the person is not a Catholic I would offer my sincere condolences without going overboard an keep quiet about it.


To be clear, this person made the claim that JP2 must not know what he’s talking about and that the church’s teachings must be false. I’m trying to come up with a response that explains the truth and dignity of the Catholic teachings on contraception/sexuality.


There are resources out there dealing with issues like this. Off the top of my head I can’t remember which call in catholic radio show I heard it on. Maybe somebody else can think of it.


You probably shouldn’t do this if you want to remain friends, but you could always point out the utter stupidity of that conclusion.

“It doesn’t work for me, so obviously it’s wrong.”…


Will she tell you what the condition is? NFP has come a long way and is now effective for women with irregular cycles.

If she is unwilling to tell you what the condition is you can’t really have a good faith discussion about it.


I wonder if they tried the Creighton model. It takes so many things into consideration and has an answer for many many difficult cases.


Priority would be to get them to consider joining the Church first of all, then once they are in it would be easier to explain the Theology.

If they are called to marriage, then God will provide, but perhaps they aren’t called to marriage if they have that condition.


I would express sympathy for her situation. It certainly isn’t easy.

I would also try to offer hope. “NFP” isn’t just one thing. There are multiple approaches to it, some of which are more successful than others for those with unique medical issues. I would encourage her to continue to investigate other paths. I have someone in my parish that I’d refer her to as she knows a lot about the various different methods and is licensed in one of them. Of course, that doesn’t help you, but that’s how I would respond. :blush:


Yes, I’d appeal to an expert or a reference, and not try to explain it myself, because chances are very good I’d mess it up. I’ve heard way too many “well, my priest said this” or “my Catholic friend said this” followed by things that…well, to put it mildly, are probably not what was meant.

If your friend’s interest is genuine, you could offer to find some resources and get back to her. If she’s just looking for a “gotcha,” then nothing is going to be good enough.

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