NFP Debate


#1

I 've been having this ongoing debate with this dissident catholic considers NFP as being inconsistant. Would be interested to know of any feedback on this and suggestions on what would be the best rebuttals to his arguments. His words are in italics.

How can NFP prevent or delay conception if it is open to the transmission of life?

BK >>** Well the spouses and the act itself are still left wide open to procreation. How are they taking any action that is directly contraceptive? <<**

*This is a non-answer. If The spouses and the act itself are still left wide open to procreation, How does NFP prevent or delay conception. *

BK >> NFP does not manipulate the human reproductive cycle; <<

This is false. NFP rejects conjugal intercourse whe the female is most desirous of conjugal intercourse, thus manipulating the natrual fertility cycle.
BK >>** The cycle was “designed” that way for a reason. If it were not, all marital acts during non-menstral periods would be fertile and all marital acts would be procreative, physiologically speaking. <<**

*Very true BK. God separated the two ends of conjugal intercourse in his act of creation. If he had not, all marital acts during non-menstral periods (no pun intended) would be fertile and all marital acts would be procreative, physiologically speaking. God created virtually all other animal species so that the sex act and reproduction are “inseparably connected” - the sex act has no purpose other than reproduction. (If you want to know why, Hondo, read Casti Connubii) Hence the “inseparable connection” is false and is in fact a rejection of God’s will and not “God’s will” as HV claims. *
Again, I looking for some good counterarguments to his claims.:confused:


#2

Artificial contraception allows people to indulge and use other people for personal gratification.

NFP is a form of self-discipline that respects persons.

Calling NFP the same as artificial contraception is like calling fasting the same as bulimia (an eating disorder where people binge on food then induce vomiting).


#3

The purpose of sexual relations is twofold within marriage… unitive and procreative…

Being “open to life” means accepting sexual relations in their natural form… not taking any steps before, during, or after the conjugal act to render procreation impossible.

Not being “open to life”, for example, would be a couple that WANTS to engage in sexual relations WITHOUT the possible consequence of conception… ie, using artificial birth control of any means…

Natural Family Planning allows the couple to engage in sexual relations without compromising both the unitive and procreative aspects…
“Procreative” does not mean the same thing as “fertile”…
If that couple decides to NOT engage in sexual relations, based on periodic fertility signs… that is within the natural moral design.

So… given the situation where we have a married couple wanting to avoid conception… we have two options…

  1. To continue to engage in sexual relations while using artificial contraception…
  2. To decide to abstain… in which case neither aspect (unitive or procreative) has been ignored because the sexual act was never done.

Here are the relative sections in the Catechism

2367
Called to give life, spouses share in the creative power and fatherhood of God.154 "Married couples should regard it as their proper mission to transmit human life and to educate their children; they should realize that they are thereby cooperating with the love of God the Creator and are, in a certain sense, its interpreters. They will fulfill this duty with a sense of human and Christian responsibility."155

2368
A particular aspect of this responsibility concerns the regulation of procreation. For just reasons, spouses may wish to space the births of their children. It is their duty to make certain that their desire is not motivated by selfishness but is in conformity with the generosity appropriate to responsible parenthood. Moreover, they should conform their behavior to the objective criteria of morality:

    When it is a question of harmonizing married love with the responsible transmission of life, the morality of the behavior does not depend on sincere intention and evaluation of motives alone; but it must be determined by objective criteria, criteria drawn from the nature of the person and his acts, criteria that respect the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love; this is possible only if the virtue of married chastity is practiced with sincerity of heart.156

2369
"By safeguarding both these essential aspects, the unitive and the procreative, the conjugal act preserves in its fullness the sense of true mutual love and its orientation toward man’s exalted vocation to parenthood."157

2370
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.158 These methods respect the bodies of the spouses, encourage tenderness between them, and favor the education of an authentic freedom. In contrast, “every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible” is intrinsically evil:159

    Thus the innate LANGUAGE that expresses the total reciprocal self-giving of husband and wife is overlaid, through contraception, by an objectively contradictory LANGUAGE, namely, that of not giving oneself totally to the other. This leads not only to a positive refusal to be open to life but also to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality. . . . The difference, both anthropological and moral, between contraception and recourse to the rhythm of the cycle . . . involves in the final analysis two irreconcilable concepts of the human person and of human sexuality.

#4

Your answer there wasn’t a non-answer at all, it was simply an answer the person you are debating with doesn’t like. So how does he respond? By asking you the same question again. And I notice that he doesn’t answer YOUR question when you ask how the couple is doing anything contraceptive. His silence is a non-answer.

This is false. NFP rejects conjugal intercourse when the female is most desirous of conjugal intercourse, thus manipulating the natrual fertility cycle.

This is absurd, in my opinion. The “natural fertility cycle” is a biological cycle, it’s in the body. I’m no doctor, but how does abstaining from intercourse for a period of time manipulate that biological cycle? He says NFP “rejects” intercouse when the female is most desirous for it. (As for how much of an expert this man is on when females most desire sexual intercourse is unknown to me.) My rebuttal to that would be, “And your point is?” Is he saying that no human being should be denied sexual intercourse when they really, really, want it? Plus, no one is saying the married couple HAS to abstain. They are more than welcome to have sex during that period. They should just be prepared to accept the life God may create. It appears to me that he isn’t looking at this from a spiritual perspective at all. Point him to 1 Corinthians 7:5-7. The key in that scripture: prayer.

*Very true BK. God separated the two ends of conjugal intercourse in his act of creation. If he had not, all marital acts during non-menstral periods (no pun intended) would be fertile and all marital acts would be procreative, physiologically speaking. *

And how exactly does he know that God separated the unitive and procreative aspects of conjugal intercourse in His act of creation? His theory is not even remotely proven by the fact that a woman isn’t fertile all the time.

[quote]God created virtually all other animal species so that the sex act and reproduction are “inseparably connected” - the sex act has no purpose other than reproduction.

To this I would reply, “Exactly. God created us differently. Unlike animals, our brains do not reside between our legs.” I would also point out here that he says the “sex act” and the “reproduction” are inseparably connected in animals. When we, as humans, speak of the inseparability we speak of the unitive aspect (which is NOT simply the act) and the procreative. BruceK, I think you have given this person some very good answers. Once you have told him what you believe and what the Church teaches, you have to leave it at that. He can either pray about what you’ve said and agree or reject it. With this issue there is only so much you can do.

The one argument that I’ve always found makes people stop and think (at least for a bit) is to ask what they think about getting rid of the unitive (loving) aspect of conjugal intercourse. If God separated the unitive and procreative aspect of sex, why should we be able to put a “condom” on one but not the other? He believes the aspects are separated, and because of that he believes it’s okay to block the procreative aspect. Shouldn’t we be able to take the love out of it as well? And if not, why one and not the other?

Anyways, I think you’re doing a fine job by speaking the truth. At some point you’ll just have to walk away knowing you’ve done what you can.

Peace!
[/quote]


#5

Excellent reply! One of the best I’ve seen so far, I could kick myself for not thinking of some of these myself. :thumbsup:


#6

Here is a bit more of the debate I’ve been having with this catholic disident as mentioned before. My word are in words, his are in italics:
Me:According to Janet Smith, there is a mistranslation in HV11 about always being open to life. She claims that the statement open is translated in both Italian and Latin as “remain ordered in itself to the procreating of human life.” In fact the Catholic Truth society translated that section as it must “retain its natural potential” to create human life. If that is indeed the case the Haring objection falls.

My Antagonist:This translation does not change the fundamental reality. The purpose and intent of NFP is to prevent the procreation of human life; and the Church and HV have called on medical science to perfect this means of of preventing procreation as a result of a conjjugal act. One must recognize therefore, that NFP is ordained to the perfect prevention of the procreation of human life. An, if NFP were not ordained to the prevention of the procreation of human life, it would not work as a means of regulating births. It is also important to note that if each conjugal act is “ordained in itself to the procreation of human life”, then the natural end of each conjugal act is procreation. Since the intent and purpose of NFP is to prevent procreation, its intent and purpose is to frustrate the natural end of conjugal intercourse, which is condemned by Casti Connubii para 54 as “shameful and intrinsically vicious.”

But, look again: “remain ordered in itself to the procreating of human life.” In fact the Catholic Truth society translated that section as it must “retain its natural potential” to create human life. This edict rejects God’s will as expressed in his act of creation. God created humans so that every conjugal act is not ordered in itself to the procreating of human life, nor does every conjugal act have a “natural potential to create human life”. In fact NFP prevents procreation by scheduling conjugal acts during that part of the fertility cycle when conjugal acts do not have a natural potential to create human life.

Me**But as Janet Smith wrote:
It does not mean the spouses must be actively desiring a baby. It means the spouse may do nothing to deprive the act of its ordination or destination to procreation. They may do nothing to “close off” the possibility of the acts achieving its natural ordination. **
**Sex between spouses during the infertile time and abstinence during the fertile period as practiced in NFP does not deprive the act of its proper ordination. **<<

My Antagonist: If the proper orientation of the conjugal act is procreation, then since NFP’s intent and purpose if to prevent procreation, it deprives the conjugal act of its proper ordination. No amount of sophmoric sophistry or pom-pom girl nonsense can change that.
**So what’s the best answer or rebuttal to this arguments? :shrug: **


#7

The same as someone who couches an argument against firearm in the presumption that firearms are only designed to kill people - you point out the presumption is obviously false, and that it speaks volumes about someone’s integrity and sense of honesty to try to smokescreen a false statement by accusing the other side of “sophmoric sophistry or pom-pom girl nonsense” in a preemptive attempt to avoid having their stretch of an argument inspected critically…


#8

#9

In a lot of ways, NFP really has become “Catholic birth-control” and if you use it with a contraceptive mentality, then it’s not much better than artificial birth control. So many people in the Church are practicing NFP to avoid pregnancy without questioning whether they have “grave reason” or not. NFP is always supposed to keep the couple “open to life” but to so many couples that means “open to properly spaced, when we’re ready for it life.” and then NFP is just a natural alternative to other birth control methods.


#10

This one got my attention. I had long been a Catholic who felt that once I was married, the church ought to stay out of my bedroom. As my three children were all c-sections, I knew there would come a time that for my own health I would have to stop having kids. So we had basically decided that after our next child, that would be the time to go ahead and have my tubes tied.

Well, wouldn’t you know it? The Lord chose this moment to beat me over the head with all kinds of information about NFP. I looked for loopholes in the church’s teaching…trying to find a way to justify our decision. No dice. And now, yes, we will be using NFP.

But there’s more to it that “birth control”. I really believe that this is going to strengthen our marriage, because it’s a sacrifce that we’re both making for the good of our family. And what a relief to know that we can still invite God to be a part of our love for one another, knowing that if in His plan our family should grow, then He will find a way to provide for us. And should it turn out that my fertile time is when I am “most desirous” of congugal relations, I know that my husband and I can pray through the temptation, or give in to it, trusting that God knows what’s right for us.

Hey look at me, I’m growing in my faith!! :smiley:


#11

WOO HOO! And helping others along the way! Great post!

It doesn’t take much nosing around on this site to find the horror stories about switching from NFP to ABC and how that strained the relationships of some couples.

NFP is WAY more than “Catholic Birth Control” and I feel sorry for those that practice it that way.


#12

I think the problem here is that those arguing against NFP tend to take the position that sex is for procreation ONLY. Hence, under this assumption, NFP is sinful (according to them), along with condoms and others forms of ABC.

However, NFP does aim to avoid conception, but the couple do not corrupt the marital embrace to achieve that aim, and this is the key point.

The reason this person is arguing against you is that he is taking the position that avoiding conception while having sex is sinful.

The teaching of the Church, from what I understand, is that it is not sinful if done in the correct manner (NFP). What is sinful, is any form of artificial birth control that corrupts the marital embrace.

The Church has also said that NFP is only to be used for a just and grave cause. So, NFP is not an option for all to use if they just no longer want any more children.

From my understanding, if you are practicing NFP, then it is an indication (albeit indirect) that you are undergoing some hardship. It is not a magic wand for all Catholics who no longer want children.

Peace and God Bless!


#13

Masha, say that you are right. Some people practice NRP for the wrong reasons, or without full understanding. Great! We have them halfway there. At least they aren’t using something that is objectively, always wrong.

We just need to work on intent, now, and they are complete in this area. Instead of bashing them, continue to catechize them.


#14

So, you are saying that a couple could be sinning by not having sex on a fertile day? That they are obligated to have sex during the fertile time?


#15

AFAIK, avoiding conception without a just and grave reason is not allowed.

Therefore, if the couple do not have sex during a time of ‘fertility’ on purpose then yes, it is wrong.

If it is accidental, of course not.

I do not believe there is a ‘positive’ obligation, i.e that one must embrace during fertility, only that the couple deliberately not abstain on days of fertility.


#16

I think I must have explained myself poorly. I do not think that sex is only for procreation, nor do I think that NFP itself is sinful. NFP is morally acceptable for couples undergoing servere hardship.
I agree with you in that a couple needing to use NFP is an indication that something is not right in their relationship, it may be completely out of the couple’s control, there may be serious health issues making another pregnancy a serious risk, they may be emotially or financially destitute, and in those grave situations, NFP is morally sound.

But so many Catholics laud natural family planning as the Catholic family planning option, with the view that some family planning option is necessary. When they come at NFP with that mindset, which is a contraceptive mindset, these couples are corrupting the marital relationship because they now see fertility and pregnancy as a problem, something to be avoided or at the very least controlled.

Avoiding conception is not sinful if there is a grave reason requiring the couple to avoid conception, but it is far from ideal. Artifical birth control does not just corrupt the marital embrace because it is artificial, but because it reduces the people participating to objects, and that mentality, that tendancy to use the other, is as much a part of the improper use of NFP as it is a part of articficial contraception.

I hope this clears up any confusion.


#17

I disagree with your characterization of the only acceptable times to use NFP.

I have looked, and I can’t find a timetable anywhere. Nothing that has the suggested spacing between children.

There is nothing published by the church about optimal family size, is there?

There isn’t anything that explicitly says that we have to keep popping out kids from nine months after the wedding to menopause, is there?

No, there isn’t. So, there must be something more to the teaching, right?

There must be other just reasons. Such as I have as many children as I can feed. I have as many children as I can watch and take care of.

Doesn’t that come into play?


#18

There isn’t anything that explicitly says that we have to keep popping out kids from nine months after the wedding to menopause, is there?

Women do not, actually, “pop out kids” every nine months until menopause, our bodies are designed to be a little more responsible than that. Generally, a woman’s body will take a few months (at least) after birth, to recover before it is even possible for her to get pregnant again.
But it’s the attitude that worries me…how has our culture gone from praising the blessing of children to allowing one or two, but really seeing them as such a burden?
The Bible constantly refers to children as blessings, a gifts from God for us to cherish:

“Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;” Ps 127

There must be other just reasons. Such as I have as many children as I can feed. I have as many children as I can watch and take care of.

Exactly, if your financial issues are bad enough that you think you would not be able to provide for another child; or if you are emotionally or mentally unstable in some way, which would prevent you from properly caring for another child, then you are certainly permited, and encouraged, to use NFP to prevent conception. But again, those are grave issues, and they are issues you might want to work to improve, they are not the ideal.


#19

Masha,

I will state again that I disagree with your premise that a couple must pop out babies from wedding to menopause (I didn’t say every nine months, I said starting at nine months after the wedding) unless there is a reason not to such as you stated.

You turned “watch and take care of” into “or if you are emotionally or mentally unstable in some way”. You turned financially able into “financial issues are bad enough that you think you would not be able to provide for another child”. Then, you said those “defects” should be attended to so the couple can keep poppin’ out those kids.

Please, Please, Please. Provide an encyclical or catechism reference to support your position.


#20

I will be 36 years old this year, and I have three beautiful daughters. I stay at home with my children and I know my limitations as far as how much I can handle in a day. And my husband is in a steady job that pays him well enough to meet our current needs. Our decision to not actively pursue more children does not make us unstable, it makes us good parents. As my children were all delivered surgically, I have some medical issues to consider as well.

I have yet to see anything that the church has said about NFP that defines or qualifies “grave issues”. We can remain open to children without deliberately trying to conceive. I feel that your post cast a tremendous amount of judgement on familes like mine. Are you able to back it up, or is this simply your opinion?


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