[quote="sanctamaria17, post:1, topic:189835"]
I attend a liberal, Protestant university. In addition, my major is International Studies (minor in Economics), with a focus on International Development and an interest in both the environment and women's rights.
On top of that, I am a practicing Catholic, striving to holiness and extremely pro-life (for ALL human life, from womb to tomb). I also am against artificial contraception. People often look at these two paragraphs and think, "So, how do all of these things mesh together?"
From what I've studied about NFP, it all makes more sense than the contraceptive mentality of our culture. From an environmental standpoint, it means less toxic chemicals entering our water supply (all the estrogens, synthetic materials of condoms, not to mention biological waste). From the standpoint of population, serious scholars do not even count it as a factor and realize that other factors, such as women's education, malnutrition, women's standing within society, and a survival instinct (knowing children die young, thus having more) are more important. Even from larger families I've known and had experience with, they tend to live a simpler lifestyle, with less material things that other families tend to throw away. Finally, there's the point of discernment-knowing that NFP does not guarantee a larger family, but that families themselves have to ask, "Is it God's will for me to have a child or another child?" Sometimes, God calls families to be smaller, sometimes not. The environmental impact comes from how we use the earth and its resources, more than how many children we have.
As for women's rights.....the saddest answer I've heard from self-proclaimed feminists, in response to the assertion that NFP is effective in pregnancy prevention, is that, "My husband wouldn't want me to abstain." How is that equality? What kind of man, if he claims to respect his wife, would DEMAND sex at all costs? Another assertion I've heard is that, "If a husband rapes his wife, NFP won't help." Then, why aren't we (and I'm speaking of people working in the field, in these places) promoting programs that encourage respect between spouses and aiding women who are pushing for harsher punishments toward rape, both marital and non-marital? Finally, NFP teaches women basic literacy, counting skills, and finally, knowledge of her own body. How is that disempowering?
I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but I wanted to share my thoughts. Preparing for Kenya (where I will most likely be working in a women's organization) and the viewpoints expressed by both my professors and priests, as well as a friend preparing for marriage, a theology program, and a move to Africa herself, have made me think.
At Holy Cross parish in Rockville, there is a priest from Cameroon that says that Africa is starting to go through the same problems that Western nations have in the family. Africa is a fragile place since we tell them that to rise from poverty they need to adopt the Western materialist philosophy. I think as Western civilization we will be judged by how we have exploited many in the Third World through colonization and then through population control efforts that act as if we are using Africa as a sort of social experiment in how population control can eliminate poverty. It does no such thing. Uganda has seen a huge drop in AIDS rates and many attribute it to the campaign in the country towards abstinence and respect for the sanctity of sex and marriage.
One way to help the environment though is the family. Not just in terms of birth control but in terms of divorce. Remember, when you have divorce it almost always results in the splitting of the family. This leads to more houses, appliances, and land as well as trees and resources being used to accommodate the need to house more people that need a house following a divorce or separation. 1 large house is more efficient from an environmental perspective than many small to medium houses like we have now. The environment is just one aspect. I think a lot of the rise in mental illness in this country is due to divorce and the hooking up culture. When the family is shaken so is the foundation of the country and the environment. People cannot respect things when they have little concept of being part of a family.
The radical feminists are not pro-women. They are anti-men. Those comments show that they do not think men have the self-control to say no to sex. They see the power over the sexual gratification of man as being the ultimate sign of power. It is a false power since as St. Paul tells us that the man has ownership of the woman and the woman has ownership of the man. I also find it insulting as a man that feminists throw out the rape card as if it is something men do often to their wives and as if men are animals. I think rape is an extreme example. Rape and NFP have NOTHING in common. ABC will not prevent rape. Only respect for women and love will prevent rape. You dont teach a man to love by telling him he can have guilt free sex. You only teach him to do it more since you are giving him the green light to do if you accept lower standards. Both sides need higher standards. I find it unacceptable when a man messes up a girl with sexual games and vice versa. I have seen it happen from both sides. It does not end up good for either side in the end. As Catholics, we need to set an example and also be vocal about what is right and wrong. For too long we have sat on the side lines and let the forces of evil have their way in society. It is our duty as Christians to create a culture of dignity and respect for all life. It is only then that we can have respect for the environment and respect for the dignity of the worker.
I went to a school where my family of my brother and I was very small. My best friend was an only child. Compared to the people from large families, we were both spoiled more by our parents since our parents had more to spend on us and in a way both of us had to look outside of the family to overcome loneliness since the home is very quiet when there are so few people. The people from big families had to share many things from a young age and their parents did not spoil or baby them as if they were a project child since they had 7-8 other kids to manage. That is not to say that small families are a bad thing but the tendency in a smaller family of 1-2 kids is to have more money and time to spend on fewer kids leading to more self-centered behavior. The greatest benefit of small family is the economic benefit of being able to be more mobile and to have both a family and economic life. My grandmother was a teacher for 50 years and my grandfather worked full time through most of those years. They found a way to raise 4 kids and to live a Catholic life with the benefits of modern amenities. It is definitely possible to do well with a smaller family though there are different risks to it that larger families do not have. I think restraint is a big virtue in small families since the desire to do so much for your children can lead to unintended consequences.