Open to Life mean


Being Open to Life mean…being open to the possibility, however remote, that God will used any martital act to create a child. Is this statement correct?

If so, then NFP should not be used if one has seriously grave reasons for not having a child, but perhaps only if having a child would be an inconvenience but you are willing to live with the possible consequences. I suppose this would also be called a grave reason, but it seems as though there is a different levels of gravity.

This is really hard to wrap my mind around. It seems so easy to separate the unitive from the procreative, but you really can’t ever do that. Even with contraceptives, you always have some degree of chance. Check out this chart from Wikipedia that describes the typical pregnancy rate for contraceptives.

What bugs me is that contraceptives should be required to post the typical contraceptive birth rate as opposed to the perfect use scores. That would be must more honest.

I don’t know, but it seems clear to me that unless you intentionally sterilize yourself by tieing your tubes, or having a vasectomy, there is always a possibility that God will step in and decide to give you this precious gift of life. What a lie contraceptives are…

God bless,


Even tubal ligations, vasectomies, and IUDs have failure rates. The only method that is 100% is perfect abstinence. We were taught in NFP class that even hand-to-genital contact can lead to an unintended pregnancy.


I think another dangerous aspect of artificial contraceptive vs. NFP is that artificial contraceptive accompanies an abortive mindset, while NFP does not. I think that artificial contraceptive is intertwined with abortion. With contraceptive, people rarely think of the failure rate, even though pregnancy is the natural conclusion to a union. The contraceptive mind is somehow trained to see life as an unnatural and annoying consequence of sex. The baby is the enemy, so rude to sneak up and run everyone’s fun! For NFP users, the failure rate is known and accepted, so the idea of life resulting in the union is par for the course - even when we are trying to avoid we still knowingly accept the natural aspect of life. So, when artificial contraceptive fails, we feel like something “went wrong.” That something is a baby, and because it “wasn’t supposed to happen” our mind can ease towards an abortion. Suddenly, when you see a baby as an unintended intruder, we can justify taking it out of the equation. When we use NFP and understand that a pregnancy is not always expected, but it is the natural consequence and certainly not something that has to be remedied.
What do you think the abortion rate of a Christian couple that uses NFP is? Now, what do you think the abortion rate of a Christian couple that uses artificial contraception is? I am willing to bet the fist is pretty much non-existent. If anyone has numbers on this I would love to see it. This is why I do not understand why or protestant brothers and sisters embrace artificial contraception when it so cheapens the value of marriage and the value of life. You are correct, contraception is a lie! Plus, think of the gains abortion has made since contraception became legal and widely used. It is a shared mindset.


I just HAVE to mention that I actually LOL’ed when I saw where NFP sits on that chart. I confirms my suspicions and pretty much blows all the Pro-NFP’ers much beloved statistics out the water :D:D:D

I couldn’t resist


Totally agree… so well stated…


I think “being open to life” is a bit more than just “a pregnancy can happen”. It means not interfering with the marital embrace–that each act is objectively open to procreation, even if, subjectively (natural infertility for whatever reason) procreation can’t happen. When you ACT to stop procreation, that breaks the unitive and procreative meaning of the act.

NFP is simply information about a woman’s cycle and it is not sinful to have that info, neither is it sinful to abstain from sex inorder to space or avoid babies. When a couple engages in sex while using the info about her cycle, there is no interfering with that act of sex–it is either fertile or not, depending on where she is in her cycle.


No. This is not what it means.

The Church teaching on marital relations is that each act of intercourse must be both unitive and procreative, not that the couple must be “open to life” in some general way.



What bugs me is that contraceptives should be required to post the typical contraceptive birth rate as opposed to the perfect use scores. That would be must more honest.

I agree. But do you also agree that those who promote NFP should use typical use pregnancy rate as well? I don’t recall ever seeing a post advocating NFP tout the 20%+ typical use pregnancy rate. I haven’t read any literature on NFP in awhile, but I am gonna guess that if they publish these figures (and I am pretty sure they do), they will be perfect use stats.

Being Open to Life mean…being open to the possibility, however remote, that God will used any martital act to create a child. Is this statement correct?

If this is your definition then the couple practicing NFP to avoid conception is not necessarily any more open to life than the couple practicing abc to avoid conception.
Trying to avoid conception via abc does not mean that the couple is less willing to accept a baby if it is given to them.


Actually it does no such thing.

The chart used at “” includes calendar methods in as “NFP” (which you can clearly see because they list it on the chart). Calendar rhythm does have a failure rate of 25%. Temperature and mucus based methods do not. By putting the calendar method into one category with other more precise methods, they skew the numbers very badly.

However, the Church teaching about marital sexuality has nothing to do with the “effectiveness” of any method of pregnancy avoidance. It has to do with how one engages in the marital embrace.


I think abortion is a travesty. For someone to end the growing life inside of them is incomprehensible to me. It is sad that we are likley to lose much ground in the pro-life movement with this new administration. But I gotta say I think your trying to tie contraception to the abortion train is…welll…wrong, if not ourtrageous.


Yes. This is what I was trying to get at in this thread.

I was reading another thread by Bruce on this forum where he debates with someone who believed God intentially separated the unitive and procreative aspects of intercourse, but just one look at the statistics I provided on the website shows that there is no method (except for sterilization) that 100% protects. So the end result is that there is always the possibility that a life will be conceived, resulting in the the need for abortion.

I guess my general comment is that one should never use NFP and expect 100% protection from “Life” and those who believe that their chosen contraception provides 100%effectiveness are mistaken.

All of this leads me back to my initial thoughts on “grave reasons”. If you truly do have grave reasons for not having a child, it would be more responsible to abstain. The only other option is sterilization (not an option for practicing catholics).

God bless,


I’m not sure why you believe they do not. All the major method publish both method effectiveness and typical use effectiveness.

That is because no NFP method has such a rate. As I pointed out above, the chart you linked to puts calendar rhythm (25% failure rate) in with the other, more effective, methods in one category. This skews the information. Go to each of the major methods’ websites and they have the published studies and effectiveness rates.

Creighton, for example, has a 99-100% method effectiveness rate in the various studies and a 94-99% use effectiveness rate in the various studies.

Nope. They publish both.

However, that is NOT the definition.

That has no bearing on the morality of contraception, as it is not based on “openness to life” or “willingness to accept” or “effectiveness” of the method involved.


Yes. I agree. This would safeguard attitudes towards sex that are not open to life, because the fact is that sex was created for the purpose of procreation. We take this risk every time we are open to the marital embrace.

If this is your definition then the couple practicing NFP to avoid conception is not necessarily any more open to life than the couple practicing abc to avoid conception.
Trying to avoid conception via abc does not mean that the couple is less willing to accept a baby if it is given to them.

True. But, in my opinion, the end result of such an unwanted pregnancy is usually sterilization of some sort. I can’t back this up with real stats though, just lots of personal experience from the people I know.

God bless,


Well, yes and no. The overall method/use effectiveness includes the preovulatory phase. Those who use the most conservative rules (post ovulatory phase) have a much higher confidence level. Once you have ovulated, you cannot conceive. You still have the entire luteal phase for intimacy.

Rayne89 has used NFP for 12 years to avoid due to her medical condition (congestive heart failure). I know she uses conservative rules and postovulatory intimacy.

But, again, that does not have anything to do with the morality of NFP.

And, you are correct that the way to be 100% certain is to abstain totally.


The purpose of this thread is to get at the meaning of the words “being open to life”. I know the teachings of the magisterium.

God bless,


Thank you. :slight_smile:

I am not trying to make moral judgements on those who use NFP, but the fact is Rayne is risking her life. My wife and I are trying to use NFP at the moment.

GOd bless,


Rico, how is it outrageous? you are aware that hormonal ABC can act as an abortifacient aren’t you? Have you read Humanae Vitae?

Pope Paul 6 didn’t think it outrageous at all:shrug:

Four Prophecies

Pope Paul VI made four rather general “prophecies” about what would happen if the Church’s teaching on contraception were ignored.

The Pope first noted that the widespread use of contraception would “lead to conjugal infidelity and the general lowering of morality.” That there has been a widespread decline in morality, especially sexual morality, in the last 25 years, is very difficult to deny. The increase in the number of divorces, abortion, out-of-wedlock pregnancies, and venereal diseases should convince any skeptic that sexual morality is not the strong suit of our age.

  1. Irresponsibility Rewarded

There is no question that contraception is behind much of this trouble. Contraception has made sexual activity a much more popular option that it was when the fear of pregnancy deterred a great number of young men and women from engaging in premarital sexual intercourse. The availability of contraception has led them to believe that they can engage in premarital sexual activity “responsibly.” But teenagers are about as responsible in their use of contraception as they are in all other phases of their lives—such as making their beds, cleaning their rooms and getting their homework done on time.

  1. Loss of Respect for Women

Paul VI also argued that “the man” will lose respect for “the woman” and “no longer (care) for her physical and psychological equilibrium” and will come to “the point of considering her as a mere instrument of selfish enjoyment and no longer as his respected and beloved companion.” This concern reflects what has come to be known as a “personalist” understanding of morality. The personalist understanding of wrongdoing is based upon respect for the dignity of the human person. The Pope realized that the Church’s teaching on contraception is designed to protect the good of conjugal love. When spouses violate this good, they do not act in accord with their innate dignity and thus they endanger their own happiness. Treating their bodies as mechanical instruments to be manipulated for their own purposes, they risk treating each other as objects of pleasure.

  1. Abuse of Power

Paul VI also observed that the widespread acceptance of contraception would place a “dangerous weapon . . . in the hands of those public authorities who take no heed of moral exigencies.” The history of the family-planning programs in the Third World is a sobering testimony to this reality. In Third World countries many people undergo sterilization unaware of what they are doing. The forced abortion program in China shows the stark extreme toward which governments will take population programs. Moreover, few people are willing to recognize the growing evidence that many parts of the world face not overpopulation, but underpopulation. It will take years to reverse the “anti-child” mentality now entrenched in many societies.

  1. Misuse of the Body

Pope Paul’s final warning was that contraception would lead man to think that he had unlimited dominion over his own body. Sterilization is now the most widely used form of contraception in the U.S.; individuals are so convinced of their rights to control their own bodies that they do not hesitate to alter even their own physical make-up.

The desire for unlimited dominion over one’s own body extends beyond contraception. The production of “test-tube babies” is another indication of the refusal to accept the body’s limitations; so too are euthanasia and the use of organs transplanted from those who are “nearly” dead. We seek to adjust the body to our desires and timetables, rather than adjusting ourselves to its needs.

Ut in a nutshell it means being open to God, who is Life and the source of all life, and being willing and humble to accept your role as procreators in God’s plan for life and creation.


The teaching of the magesterium is the only thing that actually matters on the topic of “being open to life.” What individual people mean is not relevant-- they can have *erroneous *ideas of what it means.

What the Church actually teaches is the starting point of any conversation on the morality of family planning.

So, what’s your point in posting if not to discuss the Church’s teaching?


So, after reading this list, and showing that NFP has serious problems, what shoud I, a 29 year single and looking, trying to be a good catholic (I think we all try to be good catholics, but all of us fall short) think about my the NFP? What if my wife doesn’t want to use it because of this? What about vice versa?

I mean no disresect to anyone, just asking some questions.


Really? Outrageous? Even when you consider that some forms of contraception are abortifacient in and of themselves? Even when you consider that people are having sex with people they would NEVER want a child with under the false sense of being “protected.” So what happens when artifical birth control fails and that life was unwanted: in too many case, abortion. Culture and a selfish mindset are a powerful thing. Legalized abortion rode the coat tails of contraception in this country. I think you underestimate the level to which people will tolerate abortion once they are trained view children as an unintended consequence that messes up their plans.

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