Those opposed to NFP/manual stimulation

I have read some Traditionalist blogs where various ‘voices’ of varying degrees of theological maturity and/or orthodoxy express concerns about both Natural Family Planning and the use of certain practices as stimulation within the marital act.

For example, the work of Ronald Conte at or this from Rorate Caeli

Honestly, I would like to know the answer to two questions:

Firstly, how far would you say these views are reflective of the Traditional Catholic community? Are they views you agree with? It is really none of my business what other families in my parish get up to in their private lives, but I would honestly be very surprised if anyone I know holds such views.

Secondly, do the people who write and opine in this way have families themselves? I am amazed at some of Conte’s views, and cannot see how it would be possible for any woman to have a fulfilling and healthy marriage with such a man, but perhaps I am mistaken. Are there any women who agree with such views? If your husband examined his conscience and came to the conclusion that NFP or stimulation other than the marital act itself were sinful, how would you respond?

To reiterate:
a) does anyone think this way?
b) does any woman, or anyone in a healthy relationship with a woman, think this way?

Please do not take this as a facetious or spiteful comment. I am genuinely interested, because these views suggest an outlook on Catholic life which is so divergent from anything I have encountered in my own experience as a Catholic (in a Novus Ordo parish) that I find it hard to relate to. Am I being narrow-minded toward other expressions of the faith?

Please also note that I am not in any way advocating the views of Conte or his ilk.

Perhaps one best get one’s teachings from official Catholic sources, including one’s own pastor.

Neither Ron Conte nor those on Rorate Caeli speak magisterially on these topics. These are no more than personal opinions.

Enough said.

I’ve been on that site before. That theologian in my opinion is being very deceptive. He set up a site to make it appear as if it is an online catechism. Truth never uses deception to teach. His opinions are not in line with church teaching. “Foreplay” is permitted as long as the martial act is completed by regular intercourse. Foreplay should be kept at modest degree and comfortable for both the male and female but it is undoubtedly permitted. So; I just keep my opinions in line with actual Church teaching. There’s no reason to worry about what this theologian says especially since his credibility is tainted by the deception of his website name. This is where you can find the authentic catechism online.

What about a couple where the male partner has ID either because of age or other problems. What about an elderly couple that are not married?


Regardless of the situation full intercourse must take place. If that is not possible sexual acts are to be abstained.

I am not sure what you mean by stimulation.

My wife and I do not use NFP because we do not have serious or grave reasons to do so. A lot of priests have problems with the immodest way it is taught to couples (who are not yet married). It almost seems like NFP is being forced as the only responsible way to live your life. To me it seems Catholics use this as a way to say, “Sure you can’t use contraception, but if you don’t want a big family, you can use NFP.” NFP can be used freely to achieve pregnancy, but only in grave circumstances is it to be used to prevent birth. I think that last caveat is often ignored.

I would say since our pastor has preached on this most in our parish are of the same mind, That being said their are families of all different sizes. Nobody judges the smaller families, as is sometimes said about traditional parishes. God is the best and most natural family planner.
We currently have 5 children, God knows if we’ll have more, and we’ll let him be the decider.

almost seems like NFP is being forced as the only responsible way to live your life.

I have run across this idea and it seems seriously odd to me that anyone would think that God would leave out instructions or that we wouldn’t discover it for almost 2000 years if it was as essential as some of them imply.

I think the issue one has to be careful of here, is that “grave circumstances” must take into account differences between couples. Someone’s grave circumstance may seem trivial to others. We all have different strengths, abilities, circumstances, etc. The Rule of St. Benedict is clear on this and makes allowances for different strengths and weaknesses among monks. The important thing is not to judge another family by the same standard we judge ourselves.

Since we don’t know another family’s health or financial circumstances, or that perhaps one spouse had surgery that rendered him or her incidentally infertile, or whether they simply have a lower coping ability than we do,

is very important.

This is the aspect that discredits the whole anti NFP movement for me. Most of it comes from people who are younger and fired up with for breeding for God, but you never really hear much from those who’ve lived their whole fertile married life in this way. When people come to the point of not wanting anymore children, they aren’t equipped for the life of periodic abstinence that is the feature of NFP that StJPII praises as a spiritual virtue. Some have only marginally indicated hysterectomies or go quiet about what they actually do themselves.

What does that mean? There was nothing immodest about the way I was taught. And it isn’t a good idea to wait until you are married to learn it because you have to abstain for at least a month while you are learning the method.

I can say from personal experience that raising kids is harder as you get older. We had three, our youngest when we were 37, and our first when we were 30. There was a marked difference in 7 years. In addition to having less physical energy we had two other young children to tend to.

I can understand anyone electing to limit their family size to what they feel they can handle financially, physically or emotionally. That’s a “grave” enough reason for me, and anything regarding these sorts of decision is up to the couple and their conscience alone.

We don’t have a problem with either of those things and the Church doesn’t teach against them. Honestly, depending on how far the husband was willing to go with his opposition to NFP, I think such views might be an impediment to marriage. Choosing your vocation as parent over keeping up with the Jones’ is one thing, but if a man expects his wife to continue producing children that he can’t afford to support or at the risk of her health or mental sanity, that’s not love.

I absolutely agree. We have 3 (living) children and very quickly in the piece I was struggling. It wasn’t until they all got to school where 2 of them were promptly diagnosed autistic spectrum that I realised that I wasn’t just a rubbish mother… there was something else going on here. The decision to have children is very much a gut feeling thing because sometimes you just don’t have all the facts to make an intellectual decision. That decision should never be forced on couples. It’s meant to be the most personal of decisions.

A common thread I see in this is that couples know more than God. Lets not forget the the primary purpose for marriage is the procreation and education of children. If waiting till after marriage for NFP means you would have to abstain for a month, I believe you are not ready to be married since you’re already planning on frustrating that primary means. I think emotional reasons are far more likely in our state as we are extremely prosperous. Barring not being able to feed your children material goods are just that, children have an immortal soul. Sometimes we may not feel ready for another, but trust in God and that he will provide you with the grace and material needs of your family. I cannot believe how blessed we’ve been, but family life comes with a fair share of crosses.

So now not enough acceptance of NFP invalidates marriage as opposed to willfully not having children?

I think it’s presumption to assume that couples haven’t prayerfully considered their options before deciding to limit their family size.

There are many health and financial reasons that may come into play; for some a pregnancy may even be dangerous because of their health. These are all things that are not obvious to anyone other than the couple themselves and God, which is fully within their right to keep private or within the confessional.

EXACTLY! Judging another couple because they do not have the amount of Children that indicate they are not using ABC is beyond the pale. I attend a huge parish with a prep school and an elementary school attached and, right now, I think the biggest family with kids who are not teenagers is 5. Yes, we are considered a relatively wealthy parish with highly educated members so the ability to provide an education from preschool to grad school is quite important. I can’t even imagine anyone mentioning to another family the use of ABC. it is what it is, and, at least here in Northern California, Catholics view contraception as normal and part of being responsible parents. If you can afford ten kids, then awesome! The sad fact is though, that, most of us are not millionaires. We all want our kids to have better lives than we did and grow up to be happy and productive members of society. If one holds that the use of contraception is evil, then that is their right, but seriously, most priests that are counselors as well as pastors do not condemn 90% of their parishes. Yes, I’m well cathechized and have read the CCC and use it frequently when trying to educate myself on specific issues. A well formed conscience cannot just mean that we blindly follow dogma that we, in our heart and soul, do not believe in - God does not want sheep. For those who repeat the mantra that NFP is not contraception, please try and listen to how that sounds to the majority of people - like word games to justify actions.:shrug:

No, insisting on having children regardless of the circumstances could invalidate a marriage in addition to refusing to be open to life. Total abstinence is also an option.

It could, if you never told your wife before the marriage that your reject a fundamental teaching of the church and she assumed you accepted all teachings, there could be a failure of necessary condition for consent.

The Church has taught two things very clearly:

  1. The use of NFP is licit and delaying or even avoiding children by its use is acceptable if done for “just” reasons; and
  2. The determination of what reasons are “just” under #1 above are a prudential decision of the couple.

I don’t think you have thought this through much, or you simply don’t know anything about learning NFP. There is no “if”. In order for a woman to learn to read her symptoms, she has to abstain from sex for at least a month. Obviously, it is preferable to do this prior to the first month of marriage, even if the couple is prepared to have a baby right away. One of the most majorly grave reasons for a couple to avoid pregnancy is for the woman’s health. Every OBGYN I’ve ever heard of has strongly recommended waiting several months post partum for a woman to become pregnant again, in order for the woman’s body to return to normal. A woman can’t learn to chart immediately post-partum because the changes in her hormones and the effects of breast-feeding, her signs won’t be accurate to read. And yet, that’s the time when a couple could need to avoid pregnancy most urgently. In short, it’s a bad idea to wait until you desperately need NFP to learn it.

Furthermore, I wouldn’t discount emotional issues as not being grave enough. Not every marriage starts off perfectly. There is a lot to get used to when you are learning a vocation where you must give of yourself like you do in marriage. I daresay, most couple are ready to have their first baby 9 months after leaving the altar. In addition, there are any number of crisis that can occur on the way. Pregnancy and post-partum periods are difficult emotionally for women, so avoiding pregnancy when there are other family situations going on is certainly a grave enough reason.

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