I read the article, and that is fine. Very reasonable and understanding of the realities of life in many modern cultures.
I have also read some of the theology (though not necessarily official Church documents) concerning NFP, and have read countless threads on these forums about NFP and how it is different from ABC, and how it is good for marriage etc.
That is where I get confused. People write that they feel cheated by their spouse when ABC is used because they feel their spouse is witholding their gift of fertility from them, but if NFP is so effective…how does it not similarly withold the gift of fertility? If a spouse will only have intercourse with you when they know there is no chance of pregnancy occuring (aside from the small failure rate of any birth control/spacing method) how is that different no matter the method?
I fail to see how the use of ABC always automatically defaults to “objectifying” the partner for selfish sexual reasons, but NFP, does not when it is used for exactly the same reason.
In fact…because sexuality is a way that spouses show love, share comfort, and tend to one anothers needs, when using NFP a spouse might say…“yeah, I know you feel really lonely and unloved, but hey, I can’t take the chance that we might get pregnant…sorry”, can be less a loving act and be WAY more objectifying than a spouse putting on a condom and saying, “I love, adore, and desire you, I’m here for you, I will always be here for you”.
I guess what I am saying is this, I think NFP is great. I used it for years. But I also think that alot of the arguments used by people to explain how it is better than ABC are lip service. There are ways in which it differs from certain forms of ABC, and are meritorious. It is not ever an abortifacient, that is good and important. It does not mess with delicate hormonal balances, a huge plus. It is cheap, effective, available and with few side effects. All terrific reasons to support it. It involves both partners, kudos there.
But honestly, the “main” reasons I often hear about why it is right and ABC is wrong are “theological” and many of them don’t amount to the worth of the paper and ink they are printed on.
NFP, is no more open to life than ABC. If you are using it rigidly to avoid pregnancy at all costs, there is no difference other than the method. Basically it is still saying, I want to be sexually active…without having a child. Have the cake and eat it too. But I think a lot of people are not being honest with themselves about that and cockadoodle do about how much more loving, giving, holy etc it is.
I’ve practiced both types of “child spacing”, and have not experienced NFP as being more loving, etc. Indeed, in some ways it put further stress on the marriage relationship.
In the article you gave the link to, it suggested that perhaps God provided the understanding of fertility cycles at exactly the right point in history, when supporting a large number of children was no longer reasonable, that NFP might be used for just such an end. Why not likewise reason that perhaps God provided other methods of child spacing at just the right time in history? Why is this particular area of medicine considered to be in it’s seperate catagory?
Using rubber gloves during surgery to prevent infection is considered good, but rubber condoms to prevent pregnancy…evil.
Again, I don’t have issues with NFP. I don’t even have issues with the Church dictating which forms of child spacing it approves of by its members. But I do think that the theology used to support it is questionable. I think it would be better for the Church to simply state what the regulations are and be done with it than for people to use poor arguements to justify it, areguments that don’t hold water and that many people know don’t hold water. I think it damages the credibility of the Church.
I have two children who were conceived during “child spacing”, one due to an NFP failure, the other due to a condom which broke. I was attempting to space my children,but I love both of those kids just the same. I was open to life, reguarless of my method of child spacing.I love them the same as I love the child who was conceived intentionally. When we had as many children as we feel we were called to have and could support we chose sterilization, because it was the most honest thing. We did not want more children. But honestly, if a surprise occured, we would love that child and give it our best just as we do with the others.
In the end…is it the heart or the method that matters most?