Nfp & God

Hey all here’a more food for thought for all you married couples. Can we be 100% open to the Perfect Will of God when practicing Nfp? Think about it. It seems to me that absolute, pure and complete surrender to His Will has no room for Nfp. The Cathechism states Nfp is to be practiced only under special circumstances not to make a way of life. If one was 100% open to God’s Will why practice Nfp or why abstain in marriage at all?

God bless

****Thank you for asking your question! It is good that you are concerned about faith matters they are very important!

NFP use is approved by Holy Mother Church, plain and simple this needs to be established or else discussion may be difficult.

May couples abstain for reasons such as the mother may be on medication that would not be safe for the baby, or that she is healing from surgery and a pregnancy might be dangerous and other circumstances. Praise God for NFP! Of course there are people who use this method sinfully, that will always be the case no matter what the church teaches; people will sin unfortunately.

God calls us to be true to our state in life and also we are to be respectful of the physical world that we live in and be attuned to reality.

I could say “God can do anything!” and claim that God could save me if I jumped off a cliff or jumped in front of a speeding train thinking I am totally surrendering to God’s will! True…God could spare my life but it would not be a prudent thing to do using my mind and the reality of the physical world that I live in and also my state in life.

You said that you beleive that surrender to God’s will has no room for NFP. Because of this you have a serious disconnect with the church.

Surrendering to God’s will does not mean we abandon all decision making and acts of reason.

There are couples that are experiencing life-threatening illness, financial burden of bankruptcy and people that are living in war-torn countries and have no income. NFP is a wonderful gift from God for these families and they are still open to life if God chooses to send one. Praise God!

It kinda reminds me of an anecdote about the man who died in a flood because he failed to see God’s hand in the bus, boat, and helicopter that came to rescue him. He refused them all saying “God will save me”. When he finally met God face to face he asked why He didn’t come and save him. God replied saying he tried three times to save him. “I sent you a bus, a boat, and a helicopter. What more did you want?”

If we had our way we would have continued to use NFP to postpone children until next year (we had our reasons). As you can see in my signature, God obviously has other plans for us and we will follow His will even though it’s going to be a little difficult (“convenient” or not, I still can’t wait to meet and loooove this baby). We are open to life after all. :wink:

Sorry, but I cannot agree. The catechism does not *state *that; it is your own interpretation/phrasing.

The catechism states: “For just reasons, spouses may wish to space the births of their children.” (2368).

To elaborate, we can look to Humanae Vitae (section 10): “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, for serious reasons and with due respect to moral precepts, decide not to have additional children for either a certain or an indefinite period of time.”

You may think that “special circumstances” are the same as “just reasons” or “serious reasons”, but I’d prefer we just stick with the correct phrasing to avoid confusion. And you claim that we should not make NFP a way of life, but HV allows for its use for an “indefinite period of time”.

Who is to say that the will of God is for women to keep having babies, as many as their reproductive success will allow? Perhaps the will of God is seen in the fact that He has allowed us to determine the likelihood of conception at each stage of the woman’s cycle so that we can participate with Him in the process of responsibly creating our families.

The Church does **not **teach providentialism. The Church teaches that **we **cooperate with God, and that we are to use our intellect and will to discern and participate in God’s will. The Church also states we are called to responsible parenthood through the use of our intellect and the practice of virtue.

You are attempting to place requirements on people that the Church does not. There is no difference between using our intellect and discernment in this area of our lives and others. All areas of our lives require our cooperation to know and do God’s will.

It hink this is a terrible comparison. Not even close. Comparing the use of our bodies in the way they were designed to have intercourse with our mates and produce the offspring to such actions, as jumping off a cliff or in front of a speeding train, is ridiculous and the exact same example many Protestants give to use condoms or some other birth control that doesn’t cause abortion. Well God gave us a brain, we should use it?

I’m not going to say that there is not reason to use NFP,but I think using ridiculous arguments is not going to help the OP understand the position of the Church.

I think this is a great explanation:-) We must cooperate with God’s will and when we do, we will be blessed abundantly. If a couple chooses to use NFP for selfish/wrong reasons, well they may or may not be sinning, but they will also suffer the consequences of not being able to have relations at certain times, and of course they also miss out on the blessing that may have been given to them.

It’s an honest question and goo theoretical point that you raise Doxa.

In my experience so far, most people who raise it, though, have never practiced NFP, have you? (just curious for my own impressions. If so, which method?).

Unlike contraception, NFP doesn’t inherently tend towards self-perpetuation. Every month requires a grueling period of days in which you are placed face to face with your allegedly “serious reason” and required to give up what you really want if you affirm your original contention of its seriousness.

Practiced prayerfully, couples practising NFP using phony serious reasons tend to discover them as such after a while. Speaking for myself, we might have quit at two kids if we were contraceptors (#2 was HARD!). #3 wasn’t an ‘oops’ by any means, more like a 'oh what the heck!" ’ :wink:

I read your comments here, please know I was doing the best that I could to be helpful. I don’t know that calling my thoughts “terrible” or “ridiculous” is necessarily useful but I understand what you are trying to say. I don’t claim to have all the answers, only tried that’s all.

You are right and I apologize. I could have worded my opinion more charitably. Please accept my sincere apology. :flowers:

Thank you for your answers.

@ Monicad

I know couples abstain for good reasons such medical reasons. Abstinence is one thing, NFP is another. When you have to abstain for medical reasons, you don’t need NFP, you simply abstain and then when the medical issues are gone - God willing - why would you need NFP?

About jumping off a cliff, I think the difference between that and procreating is that one act is intrinsically sinful while the other intrinsically loving. And more than that, if the first happens, God allows it, He does not directly will it. But with procreation, it’s not a matter of God allowing the will of humans (like in bridge jumping) but it’s actually a direct and real act of God’s Will since we can have as much sex as we want and we would never be able to create a new life unless God - not allows it - but wills it. That means that if God wills for a couple to have a child even if they just had a baby 6 weeks ago, then it is His Divine Will who wills that act. And when does God ever will anything harmful?

@ 1ke

I think the difference here is that in other areas of our life God is actually giving us complete and total freedom. If we want to eat as much as we want and get fat, hey it’s our will and He allows it. Etc. But when it comes to creating a new life, it isn’t our will that creates that life. It’s His Will. That’s where the difference comes in. The cooperation is not as in other areas of our life where we invite God in our life to partake of our activities such as when we pray before a meal. Here, God invites us to become co-creators of a new life. The invitation is from Him to us to be life-bearers and life-givers. He is inviting us to partake of the mystery of creating. What a mystery! So in this case, we’re looking at a very particular and special case where it’s really God leading and us following and no matter what we chose here, is overridden by God’s Will, whereas in other areas of life, He actually lets us have our way even if to our detriment. In this case though, if He is the one willing the act (a new baby being conceived) then how can that ever be to our detriment?


We practice Billings and we’re trying an new system now. We have 3 kids. I know what you’re describing there btw, totally get it. The thing is that I still am trying to wrap my head around the whole NFP thing. I think I stated my case pretty clearly so far. Still waiting for some concrete answers though… :slight_smile:

God bless you all and may God bless our marriages continuously especially in this blessed year of the family.

Saint Joseph please pray for us.

The previous Pope explained exactly why we use NFP while being 100% open to God’s Will, as stated previously by underacloud, because it is part of ‘responsible parenthood’ to descern whether or not a family can have another addition:

The catechism states: “For just reasons, spouses may wish to space the births of their children.” (2368).

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, for serious reasons and with due respect to moral precepts, decide not to have additional children for either a certain or an indefinite period of time.”

If you feel very strongly that using NFP is a detriment to having 100% comlete trust in God, then maybe you are being called to not use it?

Complete abstinence is very difficult and some couples do not have the luxury of having an illness come to an end or the absence of a sex drive to make the itch go away. NFP is a tool so that a couple can still come together now and then. But it’s not a sexual free-for-all anytime anywhere. You still have to use your brain and communicate.

Sex does have a DUEL purpose after all. Procreation *and *the unity of the spouses. We do not tell the infertile or the elderly that they cannot have sex with their spouses just because they cannot have children. Nor does the Church take all of this fertility knowledge from NFP and tell us that we can only have sex during the 1-week fertile period.

If you are practicing NFP then at certain points in the cycle you are not having sex. You can’t satisfy either of those conditions when you’re not doing the act at all. But when you ARE doing the act then both those conditions need to be met. You don’t need to be actively trying for a baby every time. But you do need to be accepting of what God throws at you.

I say it again. We were not TTC when God sent us a child. We had no intention of having a child for another year. I honestly thought I was infertile that morning. But we admit that we had become very lax in our charting because I don’t ovulate very often and God threw us a curve ball. I have no regreats. I do think our reasons for waiting were just. But it appears that God now wants us to be parents so we’re going with it.

Also, as a woman, I found NFP methods very useful long before I ever got married and became sexually active. I’ve been able to talk about my body with my doctors more accurately and we’ve been able to finally diagnose things that had haunted me for years that no doctor was ever able to help me with before.

I think you might be drawing an arbitrary distinction between fertility and the rest of human experience. The amazing mystery of human existence is that God is BOTH sovereign AND gives us free will. That SEEMS incompatible to us because we are so feeble minded in comparison to Him. The way you write about it makes me wonder how you reconcile people becoming pregnant in fornication or adultery or in vitro? Sometimes people do things in CLEAR violation of God’s will and yet a child comes forth from that. Perhaps the gift he gives us and the will He has for us has more facets than you suspect? While I tend to agree with you that our culture is actively hostile to more than 2 children, it doesn’t necessarily follow that we are called to have however many we can and do conceive without the engagement of our own reason and judgement. It seems to me that this might just be why humans have a built-in interest in sexual intimacy even during non-fertile times in the first place!

Dang! I was going to reply to the OP until I saw this. You took the words right out of my mouth! Excellent post, as always!:thumbsup:

We have seven children, and when #7 was only a few weeks old, a doctor discovered that I had a huge blood clot in my thigh and was hospitalized for nine days. If I had had another baby, I’d be at increased risk to develop another clot. They would want to put me on blood thinners, which can cause some sort of syndrome in the baby. (I think it is called warfarin syndrome.)

It was serious, even potentially life-threatening. People do die from blood clots. I breast fed our son for a long time and did not have any cycles for 15 months post partum. I watched closely for signs of returning fertility, and we were VERY diligent in using NFP to avoid a pregnancy. I was 38 when all this happened, and we were SO thankful to have our seven children! If we had had another, we’d have dealt with it the best we could, probably going to specialists during the pregnancy.

We could have chosen to abstain completely, I suppose, until I was all the way through menopause (which I’m not, though the shop is in the process of closing up:):slight_smile: ). I’m now 49. This would have meant over a decade of complete abstinence. I could see us doing that if the situation were extremely dire, but we prayed and talked and prayed some more, and chose what we thought was the best path.

The Church does not give a definitive list of “just reasons”, circumstances in which you may use NFP, because each couple’s situation is unique. God gave us minds and hearts with which to search for His will and apply it to our lives as best we can.

Pray every day and receive the sacraments often! God will show you the best path for you.

" This would have meant over a decade of complete abstinence."

That was something I was thinking about when reading this. How long is too long to ask a couple to abstain? For me personally, I think six months is too long but a decade is incomprehensible.

Then there is the question of what exactly are just and serious reasons to abstain from having children? No matter how often I ponder this I always flip flop on where you cross the line.

I just don’t like discernment. I want a rulebook. I’d prefer NFP to work like this:

If you have cause a, b, c or d then it’s ok to use NFP to abstain from having kids for this amount of time. If it’s cause e, f, g or h then you can use NFP to abstain for twice as long as a, b, c or d. And if you have cause i, j, k or l then you are using NFP for selfish reasons. If it’s cause m, n, o or p then you can use NFP to abstain indefinatly or permenantly.

I’ll make the wrong decision and 10 years down the line I’ll have wondered about it only to discover I really was being selfish because I deviated from God’s plan for me. I’ve seen people mention working with God to discern but how in the world do you actually do that if you have a situation that even Catholics disagree on? I am still pondering an issue brought up in a thread here months ago:

Where does the Catholic Church teach that the regulation of births is not a good thing? Thus, where does the Church teach what you state, that NFP can only be used in “extreme cases”. This is not so, the Church very clearly teachings (in the CCC) the regulation of births is a good, and something all families should consider. Monitoring the cycle, i.e. NFP or more primitivly the rythem method would be how one achieves this.

I believe that this is one prolife issue on which most Christians, and Catholics in particular are most confused. Regulation of births is not an evil, how you go about that might be though.

if you don’t happen to have a grave issue that makes a pregnancy a threat, or are in conscience opposed to it don’t use it. But do not bind others who choose to use it for good reasons, as approved by the Church. Did it ever occur to you that it is also a good an meritorious thing to cooperate with God’s grace in protecting the health of the mother or in any other challenge God has allowed the couple to face?

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