Theology of NFP


#1

I have several questions about Natural Family Planning. First, this is my understanding of the Church’s teaching on NFP:

Basically, NFP is the moral use of information regarding a woman’s natural periods of fertility and infertility to aid in becoming pregnant, or to space the conception of children or prevent pregnancy indefinitely for grave reasons.

These are my questions:

  1. Is my understanding of the Church’s teaching correct?
  2. Is it moral for a couple to use NFP to limit the number of children conceived?
  3. What qualifies as a grave reason?

#2

[quote=MamaGeek]I have several questions about Natural Family Planning. First, this is my understanding of the Church’s teaching on NFP:

Basically, NFP is the moral use of information regarding a woman’s natural periods of fertility and infertility to aid in becoming pregnant, or to space the conception of children or prevent pregnancy indefinitely for grave reasons.

These are my questions:

  1. Is my understanding of the Church’s teaching correct?
  2. Is it moral for a couple to use NFP to limit the number of children conceived?
  3. What qualifies as a grave reason?
    [/quote]

That’s the pithiest summation of the Church’s teaching that I have ever seen.

“Grave reason” includes health, serious financial hardship, or psychological problems (read Humanae Vitae; it’s in there):

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.


#3

[quote=mercygate]That’s the pithiest summation of the Church’s teaching that I have ever seen.
[/quote]

Thanks. :o

Any insight on question 2?


#4

Also the grave reasons can only be determined by you, and your spouse in conjuction with a good spiritual adviser.

What may be a grave reason for one person may not be a grave reason for another person.

The reason a spiritual adviser is needed because a lot of people use economic hardship or similar reasons as a reason but they are not always being honest. A typical example is a couple says they can’t afford any more children but take a yearly vacation to an expensive location, have expensive cars, etc.

True economic hardship is a grave reason, but being selfish isn’t a grave reason.


#5

Yes it is moral to limit the number of children conceived as long it is for non-selfish reasons. As explained above. But just limiting the number because for some strange reason you think say 2 is a good number is being selfish.

If through prayer, talking things over with your spouse and a spritiual adviser and other things that a certain number is appropriate for grave reasons, then the certain number is appropriate. Reasons can include things like physical health, mental heath, economic reasons, etc.


#6

That would explain the ABC/NFP comparison problem. If you use it just like ABC, to prevent pregnancy for any old reason, then NFP is just as immoral. So NFP is not really an alternative to ABC, but an alternative to abstainance (for valid reasons, of course). Thanks!


#7

[quote=MamaGeek]If you use it just like ABC, to prevent pregnancy for any old reason, then NFP is just as immoral.
[/quote]

I would not say “just as immoral.” ABC allows one to, over time, entirely dissociate the unitive and procreative because it involves no sacrifice and contains no mechanism to encourage reconsideration for having children. NFP requires a sacrifice to engage in which constitutes a MONTHLY reevaluation of the reason for avoiding pregnancy. While I believe that NFP can be abused, it is never as disordered as ABC.


closed #8

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