Still having trouble with just causes for nfp

I know, i’m not married and shouldn’t be worrying about it. but honestly, the whole thing makes me just want to run from marriage completely

as catholics, we’re supposed to want large families, right? well, problem is, what if you don’t?

yes, I understand that just causes for avoiding should be consistenw tih objective morality. I also don’t really understand exactly what that entails

yes, I’ve talked to a priest, he said that I just need to decide or to not worry. to a scrupulous person, this really doesn’t help. that’s what scruples does, it makes you question every decision, it makes discernment extremely difficult and it makes you always feel like you’re doing something wrong

this may be a prudential judgment and I understand that the church obviously cannot dictate everything, but this involves potential sin, so how are you sure you’re not sinning?

can you guys give me some examples of just causes, preferably not those which are extreme in nature, such as dire poverty or life and death medical conditions, those are fairly straightforward

or bad reasons about wanting cars every year or keeping up with your friends in the corporate world.

most articles that I’ve read only mentions those types of scenarios

there is a whole lot of grey between those. and how do you know if you should stop at 1 or 5 or 10? when do you get to a point where you are certain?

Angel, Angel, angel, please…you’re worrying and agonizing about stuff way, way too much.

You are not required to want a large family. You just…aren’t.

The example that jumps to mind as a reason for wanting to delay children is mom & dad are going to be physically apart, such as dad is in the military and will be away for an extended or even indefinite period.

No, family size is a personal matter.

can you guys give me some examples of just causes, preferably not those which are extreme in nature, such as dire poverty or life and death medical conditions, those are fairly straightforward

“I am frazzled coping with the kids I have right now. So, for now, we want to avoid”.

when do you get to a point where you are certain?

Certain about what? Whether I have cause to avoid? There’s not much certainty available on matters which entail a personal judgement.

There are more important thoughts for you to ponder. Like “how can I help the poor?” Or “can I visit the sick or elderly?” Ponder on prayer and spirituality or what you can do to help others or the Church: all kinds and many other things to be concerned about and actions for the good of all. I have often felt that scrupulosity is a kind of vanity and ego driven, but I am not an expert on such matters, It does seem that most of your questions do revolve around you. Don’t you trust that God will aid you and help you find your way? Your young yet and are often asking about things that would concern a married person. You have so many talents and intelligence; use them wisely. Peace.

No this is not necessarily true. We are called to be “open to life”. This can manifest in zero kids or 20 kids.

yes, I understand that just causes for avoiding should be consistenw tih objective morality. I also don’t really understand exactly what that entails

yes, I’ve talked to a priest, he said that I just need to decide or to not worry. to a scrupulous person, this really doesn’t help. that’s what scruples does, it makes you question every decision, it makes discernment extremely difficult and it makes you always feel like you’re doing something wrong

Place faith in God and his mercy…scrupulosity is really about not trusting God. Keep that in mind as you continue to work with a priest through this issue of being scrupulous.

this may be a prudential judgment and I understand that the church obviously cannot dictate everything, but this involves potential sin, so how are you sure you’re not sinning?

Whatever the church binds on earth is bound in heaven. Whatever they loose on earth is loosed in heaven. Jesus said that. He meant it. It is impossible to be held responsible personally for sin if one is following the teaching of the church. If there was sin hypothetically it falls on the catechists, priest, theologians. The Bibke says they are held to a higher standard because if this.

That said, the church can make these prudential judgements. Christ commissioned the church to do it. Do you have faith in Christ?

can you guys give me some examples of just causes, preferably not those which are extreme in nature, such as dire poverty or life and death medical conditions, those are fairly straightforward

Any non sinful reason. Your not mature enough, your in school, your worn out, etc… Remember with NFP you are always open to life. Every time. There is nothing wrong with choosing when to have sex and when not to.

or bad reasons about wanting cars every year or keeping up with your friends in the corporate world.

most articles that I’ve read only mentions those types of scenarios

there is a whole lot of grey between those. and how do you know if you should stop at 1 or 5 or 10? when do you get to a point where you are certain?

you have no kids. When you do. You will know.

At age 46, I can still have children. Just because I can, doesn’t mean I should! :blush:

Sorry to post again. BUT, with NFP there are two options: to conceive or to avoid conception. Don’t listen to people that try to tell you you’re going to have 10 kids if you use NFP! :confused:
As the older gal, I do the: To Avoid. This happens one of two ways: Abstinence during Fertile days (“NO Days”) and only having intercourse during Non-Fertile days (GO Days).
If you are open to conceiving and are trying to start a family it’s pretty straight forward. The avoidance is more difficult, but you just have to chart carefully and pay close attention. Don’t stress over it! :slight_smile:

When faced with this question, my pastor suggested starting out with a question for yourself of “is this a selfish reason?”

Some examples - already have kids close in age and want to give your body and budget a break before increasing your family size - that’s a just reason.

Having a superstitious idea that 2 kids is the “perfect” number - that’s probably not a just reason.

Having some financial uncertainty in the near future such as high risk of lay-off or the need to move to a new area and wanting not to be pregnant at that time - a just reason

Wanting to buy a fancy house/car/boat/etc. and seeing a child as a deterrent - probably not a just reason.

Not having your spouse on board with the idea that it’s time to stop avoiding - a just reason.

there is a whole lot of grey between those. and how do you know if you should stop at 1 or 5 or 10? when do you get to a point where you are certain?

First of all, focusing on a number is usually not a good idea. One of the things that is frequently mentioned in Church documents about the family is the concept of “the next child”. Is this a good time to add another child to our family or should we wait? NFP is a month-by-month decision in that regard and it’s a decision that should not be taken lightly. If you have a magic number in mind, whether it be 1 or 5 or 10, you risk skipping over the actual thoughtful consideration of “Is this a good time to add another child to our family?”

Second, unless it’s one of those dire situations, it’s not something you want to decide way ahead of time. Every child changes the dynamic and at every stage of your marriage, there are different needs and priorities. What may sound like a selfish reason today could be a just reason 10 years and a few kids into your marriage. And vice versa.

I know it’s hard to let go of such thoughts but can you try to at least set them aside until you are preparing for marriage? These are actually very good questions to discuss with your intended spouse and your priest when you are getting ready for marriage.

Re: openness to life, it means wanting what God wants. Which could be a lot of things.

For example, nuns and monks are called by God not to marry or have sex or have kids. Obviously they have a serious reason not to have sex!

God gives us the ability to work without rest if we have to, but normally does not want us to do that. A day of rest and prayer is part of God’s plan for every week.So why would God call on spouses to have pregnancies without rest?

Historically, the Church called on all couples to refrain from sex entirely on most fast days, including all of Lent and Advent. (Which was one of the reasons weddings in Lent and Advent were forbidden.) I don’t think Friday was the only sex fast day in the week, either. Now, breaking the fast was usually considered not too serious, depending, but the Church was giving couples a serious reason to abstain from sex during something like a fourth of the year. (And of course St. Paul also talks about couples abstaining whenever they wanted to pray more, and that was a Jewish custom before it was ChrIstian.)

There were a fair number of other conditions when married couples were not supposed to have sex, either. I can’t even remember them all, and medieval Catholics often complained about it. So clearly the medieval Church did not prioritize women making all possible use of every fertile moment. God sent kids, or He didn’t.

Today the Church (in the Roman Rite) gives couples more freedom to have sex at their own discretion throughout the year. This does not mean that spouses are obliged to have sex every day of the year!

hmm, that’s interesting, I didn’t know the church had things like that in the past

Knowing/learning about it prior to Marriage is a GREAT idea. There’s no harm in learning the topic before having to employ it.

You have some great answers so far. I’ll add a bit from the Church’s actual language, regarding something you specifically asked:

…yes, I understand that just causes for avoiding should be consistenw tih objective morality. I also don’t really understand exactly what that entails…

…can you guys give me some examples of just causes, preferably not those which are extreme in nature, such as dire poverty or life and death medical conditions, those are fairly straightforward…

"Periodic continence, that is, the method of birth regulation based on self-observation and the use of infertile periods, is in conformity with the objective criteria of morality.” (CCC 2370). It further summarizes: “The regulation of births represents one of the aspects of responsible fatherhood and motherhood.” (CCC 2399).

The regulation of births, which is an aspect of responsible fatherhood and motherhood, is objectively morally acceptable when it is pursued by the spouses without external pressure; when it is practiced not out of selfishness but for serious reasons; and with methods that conform to the objective criteria of morality, that is, periodic continence and use of the infertile periods.” (Compendium to CCC, Question 497)

Mastery over drives by one’s reason and free will undoubtedly requires ascesis so that the affective manifestations of conjugal love may be in accord with the right order, in particular with regard to observing periodic continence. Yet this discipline, which is proper to the purity of married couples, far from harming conjugal love, rather confers on it a higher human value. It demands continual effort yet, thanks to its beneficent influence, husband and wife develop their personalities integrally, enriching each other with spiritual values…It favors attention to one’s partner, helps both parties to drive out egoism, the enemy of true love, and deepens their sense of responsibility.” (Paul VI, HV 21 via JP II’s Theology of the Body 59:6)

…all pressures brought to bear in limiting "the freedom of couples in deciding about children constitute a grave offence against human dignity and justice" (Pope JPII, Homily In Perth (Australia) Apostolic Pilgrimage to Bangladesh, et. al., November 30, 1996.)

"The judgment concerning the interval of time between births, and that regarding the number of children, belongs to the spouses alone. This is one of their inalienable rights, to be exercised before God with due consideration of their obligations towards themselves, their children already born, the family and society…” (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 234).

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.” (Pius XII, Allocution to Midwives)

Hope that helps! :slight_smile:

Are you being serious, or were you joking? I’ve never heard of such a thing. I would like to see some source/citation for this, if you have it.

This is still practiced among the Orthodox during the Great Lent.

So it wouldn’t surprise me if there was a Roman tradition to do the same at some point.

Probably why my Orthodox husband was happy to marry a Roman. :rotfl:

Open to life should mean hosting and visiting the lonely, going out with them and mentoring our peers. “Children” aren’t necessarily blood relatives, younger than us or sleep in our house!

LOL! Wow…I had no idea!

Well, in this context, “open to life” means that a couple is willing to accept children and not thwart the procreative aspect of the Marital embrace. But, yes, “children” can come in more than one way to couples.
As for visiting the infirm and lonely, etc., the Church has teachings on this as well…such as ministering to the poor and needy, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, instructing the ignorant, etc. :slight_smile:

Remember, in a marriage there are TWO. So your dicerning of number of kids you want right now is premature and illogical. Not to mention your misunderstanding of church teaching.

are you able to give me an explanation then? you usually have wise words. I am trying to understand church teaching

well, how do you know that you have reacy arehed your limit? I guess that’s more of my question

one family has 5, the other has 8, one may only have one.

how did they know that the last was the last for sure?

and generally speaking, if someone is being selfish, they don’t usually think they are

more like certain that you have reached the family size that God wants you to have. how do you know where the limit is

There is no certainty. You make earthly judgements here on earth, together with your husband. God will be happy if you exercised the best judgement you can.

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