"NFP = God can make His plan happen"

The title of this thread was a statement in another. I did not want to derail that thread by asking this question there; also I do not want to ‘call out’ the person who wrote that statement as this is nothing personal, merely a curiosity of mine.

I am well catechized regarding the teaching of the Church on contraception; I understand the moral distinction made between electing not to have sex vs altering the sex act itself.

What mystifies me, however, is the notion that NFP “lets God have His say”. This is our omnipotent God, who allowed a virgin to conceive! It seems to weaken Him to suppose He can not overcome a contraceptive device. In fact, many couples that contracept conceive anyway; even with perfect use of their chosen method. It is medically accepted that NFP, if used to avoid pregnancy, is actually MORE effective than some commercial contraceptive methods!


I’m interested in hearing others’ thoughts on this specific aspect of this type of discussion, rather than a broader discourse on contraception in general, as we already have plenty of those. :slight_smile:

I agree.

Surely God can create a life even when someone uses contraception, if it’s his will.

The crux, in my mind, is that NFP allows us to work within the design of our bodies. There is intention in the way we are created. There is intention in the way our sexuality is designed.

We can work within the way we are designed without “breaking” it to communicate our “yes” or “no” to God.

I wonder if the design of our sexuality is, in some manner, supposed to help those married to keep a healthy prayer life, to continue to communicate with God, and married life can get so hectic, it can be hard to maintain one at all.

I don’t know. Those were my initial thoughts!

Correct, it is a spurious argument.

Unless one considers it in the most narrow sense of the couple positively cooperating with God versus actively attempting to thwart God.

It’s all the biology.

Unless God intervenes in the biology He created, sometimes the science of hormonal birth control (or forgetting to take pills daily) allows a conception to occur. Likewise, with NFP, there are some method failures where we do not understand fully how to predict ovulation.

The question I always have is whether God actually has a plan for each of us,and whether He routinely acts outside of the biological framework he created. Remember, we have free will.

I beleive your question is more about what “we allow” God to do rather then about NFP or contraception?

Certainly you are correct, the wording “lets God have His say” may be worded better to say that you are open to life and cooperating with God! Really we don’t “let” God do anything except when we “let” him into our hearts that is the free will he has given us!

Yes, God is omnipotent and can do anything! Therefore I could jump off a bridge and he could save me! However I shouldn’t jump off a bridge because, well I would probably die. Even though God is omnipotent he also put us in a created world with limitations and realities (like gravity!). When couples use NFP carefully they are very unlikey to conceive a child statistically. This is the world and the reality of our bodies and our sexuality that God created. I think the thought process is (or at least it should be) not that God is weak in that he cannot overcome our methods…but that we respect and honor the created world and the biology he has given us and that we work with it and trust him. Not sure if that is what you were getting at or not. God bless.

I have such profound frustration with people on this matter. They really want to have their cake and eat it too, don’t they?

It’s not that tough to grasp that A cannot be ~A. This is, in my view, the danger of faith taken too far, allowing you to believe “six impossible things before breakfast.”

You are wrong it does not weaken God’s power. God gives us free will, that is why NFP is 75% effective, NFP should be a serious sin, one should let God’s will reign without restrictions*.

(*God’s will is restricted not because one is forcing it, but yet because He allows us to restrict parts of it, instead of the fullness of His plan being carried out which NFP clearly forbids.) Proof for this lies in Scripture, “Before I formed thee in the bowels of thy mother, I knew thee: and before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee, and made thee a prophet unto the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5 DR) Further proof comes in the fact our NFP families are not having the 10+ children past generations had which proved God meant it when He said for the sake of the Kingdom “Be fruitful and multiply” Not “skip your fertility day out of selfishness for yourselves,” (the reason of most NFP’ers) and only have 5 or 6 kids, otherwise he would not have given these families so many children, but society always wins.

I’d be more than honored for a girl or boy to be consecrated for me to care for rather than the body in which it is carried be thrown in a dumpster in some part of the world for being born a baby girl to in a moments time from entering the world to become nothing but a corpse and to know that could of been mine.

I disagree…God wouldn’t have given women infertility days to begin with if He wanted us to procreate with as many children as possible. He would have designed our bodies in a different way.
He also wouldn’t have given us free will to choose to use just those infertility days either.
There is no sin that indicates a married couple should limit what they believe is physically more then they can handle.
There is no sin that would obligate a trip to confession because you “only have 5 or 6 children.”
I don’t think it’s selfish to space my children a year or two apart for my own sanity and well-being.

Some women literally cannot handle another pregnancy because they would be putting themselves in serious risk of endangering their own lives.

Do you believe that, since the marital act is an obligation within a marriage and not exactly a choice, a married couple should risk the women’s life?
There would be a great many more unhappy marriages if that were the case.
Once again, God gave us free will and the choice to discern whether a married couple should practice total abstinence for the rest of their lives or to take advantage of those infertile days.

God only asked married couples to “be fruitful and multiply” and just one child is correctly following these orders.
God would have given human’s a number if he thought that five or six children is considered selfish.
Infertility wouldn’t even exist within humans if God was that specific on how many children he wanted us to have.

I am shocked by your lack of faith.

When I heard the title, I took it to refer to people’s intentions. Taking contraception, basically, means that the couple intends for God to not have a say.
NFP, practiced correctly, should not have this intention…


Pope Pius XII
Allocution to midwives, October 29, 1951.

**The mere fact that husband and wife do not offend the nature of the act and are even ready to accept and bring up the child, who, notwithstanding their precautions, might be born, would not be itself sufficient to guarantee the rectitude of their intention and the unobjectionable morality of their motives.
The reason is that marriage obliges the partners to a state of life, which even as it confers certain rights so it also imposes the accomplishment of a positive work concerning the state itself. In such a case, the general principle may be applied that a positive action may be omitted if grave motives, independent of the good will of those who are obliged to perform it, show that its performance is inopportune, or prove that it may not be claimed with equal right by the petitioner—in this case, mankind.

The matrimonial contract, which confers on the married couple the right to satisfy the inclination of nature, constitutes them in a state of life, namely, the matrimonial state. Now, on married couples, who make use of the specific act of their state, nature and the Creator impose the function of providing for the preservation of mankind. This is the characteristic service which gives rise to the peculiar value of their state, the . The individual and society, the people and the State, the Church itself, depend for their existence, in the order established by God, on fruitful marriages. Therefore, to embrace the matrimonial state, to use continually the faculty proper to such a state and lawful only therein, and, at the same time, to avoid its primary duty without a grave reason, would be a sin against the very nature of married life.

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.

Wait…how am I demonstrating a lack of faith?

God Himself only had one Son…:shrug:

BTW, everything I said is not my own personal opinion but what I’ve learned from my priest, RCIA, my NFP classes and everyone here on CAF.

Why do you assume that most who use NFP are doing so for selfish reasons? The Church itself allows couples to discern for themselves if they have serious reason to try to avoid conception, why do you make the assumption that most of the time their reasons aren’t valid?

Yes, God gives us free will, and that is why we cannot assume that in using NFP to avoid that the choice we made with our free will, that God respects, will automatically be in line with His will if we have not tried to discern His will… but although the Catechism specifies that just reasons are required, and that it has to be with generosity etc, the Church states very clearly that:

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

I am not sure how anyone could state that NFP in general should be a serious sin. Say a woman’s health is so precarious that a new pregnancy would surely lead to her death and the death of her child, and a couple has definitely discerned they need to avoid pregnancy. Should this couple never have sex again? If a couple has diligently learned about the her fertility cycle and know it well, why would you suggest it would be a serious sin for them to very conservatively practice NFP to naturally avoid pregnancy without using ABC (which is intrinsically evil)? It isn’t lack of trusting in God to not go and get pregnant in a situation like this, nor is it sinful to participate in the marital embrace during infertile periods because the couple is unfortunately in a situation where they have prayerfully discerned they have to avoid having children for the moment. Sex is so important in marriage that a couple cannot get married without the ability to have sex. Sex is sacramental, there are benefits for the couple even if they are having sex during an infertile period. A couple cannot avoid without having good reasons, but this does not mean they cannot have sex during infertile periods.

God can do anything.

I believe, it’s our duty to TRUST him and only NFP is pure trust.

Even if they are not using NFP for dire reasons (which the majority are not) NFP should still be a serious sin without bishop’s dispensation. NFP shows no faith in God’s plan for you. Put you faith completely in God’s hands, He knows what is perfect for you, you do not.

"“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5)

Your words as your faith would sink as a rock on top of water, just as Peter sank walking towards Christ on water, because he did not believe in the true power of God.

NFP is not pure trust in the Lord. Having relations with your spouse on your day of fertility and asking God for no child is pure trust.

Otherwise, your pure trust in the Lord has become pure trust in science with just a little bit more trust than contraception. contraceptivetechnology.org/table.html

The Church does not consider NFP to be a serious sin and does not require any dispensation. Do you know better than the Church? The Church allows couples to discern for themselves if they have serious reason to avoid. God made our bodies work in a certain way and he allows us to use our knowledge of that. By your reasoning, should we not wear seat belts in the car, take medicine when we are sick, etc.? Trusting in God often means using the tools and abilities He gave us.

That’s like saying that someone with a severe, life-threatening wheat allergy should go ahead and receive the Host, and simply ask God for no reaction.


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