One needs a grave reason to use NFP. It is not meant for not having children, and commencing using it is not a decision to be taken lightly. One of the purposes of sex is procreation. God Bless you in this situation.
NFP is allowable if you have a good reason. Avoiding children because you simply don’t want children is not a good reason. Extreme financial or medical difficulty are two examples of cases where NFP is allowable. For example, if having another child at a certain point in time would cause the family to lose their house or something because of finances, or if a woman would die or be injured if she got pregnant due to injuries or disorders affecting her reproductive system, it’s okay to temporarily postpone having children by NFP until a solution is found.
I don’t suggest going into a marriage with a certain number of children in mind. Just be open to having as many children as God gives you. If you really need to avoid children because of a serious issue, complete abstinence (avoiding sex altogether) would usually be better than partial abstinence (avoiding sex on the woman’s most fertile days), because of the fact that even on a woman’s less fertile days, there’s still a chance of pregnancy. If you are not open to the idea of potentially having lots of children, maybe you’re not ready for marriage, since one of the purposes of marriage is procreation and raising children. (I mean “you” as in the royal “you”, not you specifically.)
If you need personal advice about this (like if it’s actually something you’re going through), I suggest talking to your priest.
Reply to Agatha_Sicily:
(It seems that the forum’s built-in reply function doesn’t work.)
Thank you for your reply!
Do you mean that NFP needs a good reason to be allowable? Where can I find that? Generally, where can I find the Catholic Church’s teachings on NFP?
You said that with NFP there is still some chance of getting pregnant. This is not contrary to my questions. What I mainly consider is this intention that two spouses may have: we hope that we will not have any child (or only have one child, etc), but if we have any child (or any more child), we will accept him or her, and raise him or her well. Is using NFP with such intention allowable?
Pope Pius XII, Allocution to midwives, October 29, 1951:
Serious motives, such as those which not rarely arise from medical, eugenic, economic and social so-called “indications,” may exempt husband and wife from the obligatory, positive debt for a long period or even for the entire period of matrimonial life. From this it follows that the observance of the natural sterile periods may be lawful, from the moral viewpoint: and it is lawful in the conditions mentioned. If, however, according to a reasonable and equitable judgment, there are no such grave reasons either personal or deriving from exterior circumstances, the will to avoid the fecundity of their union, while continuing to satisfy to tile full their sensuality, can only be the result of a false appreciation of life and of motives foreign to sound ethical principles.
Is there a reason that you cannot do this ^ yourself? Have you have tried to find the answer in the CCC but failed to understand it?
In my words…the married couple need to have good reason to avoid having children. Good reason would be different to people. It’s left up to the couple to decide what a good reason is for them. It should not be something frivolous, or something outside of God’s will - that would require some thought and prayer, or discernment as Christians say, to figure out the best course for each couple.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states “Periodic continence, that is, the methods of birth regulation based on self-observation and the use of infertile periods, is in conformity with the objective criteria of morality” (2370). There is no requirement of a good reason mentioned here. If a good reason is required, why is not such a requirement mentioned here?
I haven’t found any requirement of a good reason for using NFP mentioned in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Could you please tell me where I can find such a requirement in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (if there is)?
Well for one, Pope Paul VI said it in his groundbreaking Encyclical Humanae Vitae:
“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, forserious 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, 10]
Do you mean using NFP to avoid children for the simple fact that you don’t want children? If so, that would not be morally acceptable. It would be evil.
If two people do not want kids, regardless of whether or not they would accept kids if they accidentally had them, they are just not ready for marriage. Maybe they don’t understand the Catholic teaching about marriage.
Basically, unless you have serious reasons (finances, physical health, mental health, etc.) that would make having (more) children very difficult, you don’t really have a good reason for NFP. If you and your spouse are fully capable of having children without serious risk, it would be immoral to avoid having children. According to Catholic teaching, married couples basically say “yes” to potentially having lots of children upon getting married.