Where Are the Catholics That Actually Practice NFP? (And why are they so hard to find?)


#1

I started this thread under the Moral Theology section, but apparently not many people look in there so I’m starting it again here.

I’m Catholic and my wife is not. We have five children and number six is on the way. We have practiced NFP for some time now, but let me tell you, the support we get from other Catholics in this area is virtually non-existent. In fact it’s worse. Every time my wife talks to a Catholic woman about what we do, they call her crazy. The common response is “Why don’t you get your tubes tied?” or “You’re nuts for not using the pill.” These are Catholic women telling my wife, a non-Catholic, that sterilization and artificial contraception are totally fine. It was hard enough to get my wife on board with NFP, and now “Catholic” women are totally undermining this. If these other women, and their husbands, want to blatently violate Church teaching in their own lives, that’s their business, but STOP ADVISING MY WIFE TO DO THE SAME!! Shame on them.

I think the Church gives us very mixed messages on this issue. On the one hand artificial contraception is labeled as mortally sinful, but on the other hand, I never hear a priest or a bishop talk about it and NFP programs seem to mostly come from private organizations outside the Church. If the Church is really serious about the evils of contraception, why is there almost no emphasis on it, how come I never hear about it, and why isn’t an NFP program a mandatory requirement at every parish?


#2

Amen brother!

I’m sorry that you can’t find support, but I would check with your Diocese and I’m sure they have a resource for you (and your wife).

Check the USCCB for reference materials and maybe YOU can lead the effort in your parrish and teach all of those people what the Church really teaches:

usccb.org/prolife/issues/nfp/nfpweek/

Peace be with you…
Scott


#3

Let me tell you that you’re not alone in this. I have yet to find a Catholic couple who practices NFP. All the Catholics I tell I’m using NFP, they look at me like I’m crazy. Even though I already got a bunch of girls at school (they’re about 20 -30 some) interested in NFP instead of the pill!!! 3 are Catholic, one isn’t!!!

This culture has made it hard for Catholics. We aren’t informed of what is right when it comes to having babies. This culture is so selfish and so baby unfriendly, that they have to impose their thoughts onto the rest of us. Believe me, I didn’t even know that b/c (birth control) was wrong! :eek: When I heard the CCD teacher in my confirmation class say she did NFP and only had 3 children, we all thought she was crazy! :blush: 1 yr later though, I began to get more serious about my faith and discovered what b/c does so I stopped and have been using NFP since. I try to be an unofficial advocate, sometimes I get ugly looks.

There are some of us NFP users left, but I do think our Church has to talk about it more. Isn’t it a requirement before marriage? I didn’t do pre-cana, so I don’t know… I convalidated my marriage, so I don’t know what the Church requires before getting married.


#4

In my work we are investigating a substbnace called amyloid. WE think it causes diseases such as Alzheimer’s, though we haven’t yet proved that beyond all doubt.
One unanawered question is whether the amyloid poses any dangers to ourselves. Since we don’t know, obviously it is treated as a dangerous substance. There are set rules for handling substnaces of specified hazard levels. However if we classified everything that could pose the slightest risk as the very highest level, we’d actually have less rather than more safety, and it would cost too much money.

So there is legitimate dispute as to what amyloid should be classified as. However if someone treats it as a level 4 substance when it has been classified as level 3, then that person is, rightly, striaght out of the lab. Even if health and safety reclassify it as level 4 the next week.

It is a similar situation with contraception. We know that the secular line that contraceptives are an unproblematic technical fix to unwnated pregnancy is wrong. There’s far more to the psychology of contraception than that. However we don’t really know whether they can be safely used at all, so current Church teaching is that they may not be used.

However the fact that there has been a rebellion in the West over this cannot be ignored. I’d guess there will have to be some sort of revision. However until then, we are morally bound to obey.


#5

To be completely honest, I have always gotten the feeling that (at least here in the west) although church leaders will SAY they are against contraception, they don’t really mean it. I think most of the hierarchy wants Catholics to keep using ABC and just keep their mouths shut about it. Priests, bishops, etc, don’t want to deal with posssible financial consequences of couples having 8,9,10 kids (I know a lot of people will say that couples properly using NFP won’t necessarily have really large families, but it’s been my personal experience having lived among faithful Catholics for most of my life that these couples DO tend to have large families, NFP or not) and the fallout. Our local Catholic school has been most generous to us and has given us HUGE breaks in sending our children there, but by far most of the people who support the school and actually are able to pay full tuition have two or maybe three children----or happen to have very high-paying jobs. I hate to say it, but like so many other things in this world, it’s all about the almighty buck. The Church doesn’t want to be bothered with a bunch of indigent large families (not that all large families are, by any means, but it takes A LOT of hard work to keep from being that way in this society when you have a lot of kids) looking for help from them. They’d rather people quietly use ABC, be able to pay full tution for their kids at the school, and keep giving $$ to the church.

Before I get flamed, please don’t think I AGREE with this line of thought. Anything but! I have a large family myself. But it’s been a pet peeve of mine for a long time that I think most of what little talk there is about contraception in the church is just a lot of lip service that the clergy is actually hoping people won’t really listen to. If this isn’t the case, how come there isn’t more support for NFP? When we moved to our current area, I was very discouraged to find that the nearest NFP classes were over an hour away. I mean, GET REAL. What priest truly believes anybody is actually going to do that? Surely they have to know that for families that already have 4,5,6 kids, driving over an hour away as a couple without your children is nearly impossible. So I’ve come to the conclusion that much of the little bit of talk we hear about contraception is lip service.

I’m sorry your wife is finding so litte support, and I don’t blame you for being angry. But I’m not surprised at all to hear about it.


#6

Support is hard to find just about anywhere.

I thank God every day for my loving, supportive husband and my siblings…all 5 of us are married and all 5 of us use NFP or don’t use anything to achieve/avoid (leave it to God). All 5 of us (and our spouses) are 100% convicted with the truth about contraception ad the way it destroys marriages. And check this out…we all learned about it as adults AFTER we got married…so we didn’t grow up learning about it. OH yeah and our parents got divorced and we heard all the time from my dad’s siblings how “with all those children that just kept coming…” their marriage was doomed.:rolleyes:

We know a few families here and there who also line up with our values on the subject, but by far we (siblings) are the biggest support we have…within the family and without.

We’ve been blessed with 3 priests (all of them) over the last 6 years who are very vocal advocates for JPII’s teaching on Theology of the Body and being willing to preach about it and the evil of contraception and its undeniable link to abortion.

I hope you find you will have support somewhere, but I hope that you and your wife are able to avoid those fallen Catholics who will not support you in your journey.


#7

Our kids were raised around a large Catholic homeschooling community with mostly large families who practice NFP. While I haven’t heard many pastors discuss NFP, many local families are totally supportive.

I hope you can find support and encouragement from other Catholics. —KCT


#8

Well I know there are a lot of us on here!

I think it depends on your diocese a lot too. Our old diocese, before we moved, was very very pro-NFP. They talked about it a lot, it was mandatory in Engaged Encounter (at least the short course), and we had a well-supported Diocesan NFP office, staffed with Pope Paul VI Center trained medical professionals.
Here, not so much. I don’t think there IS a diocesan office on NFP, I can’t find anyone nearby to ask questions or anything. I think I’ll try to make an appt with our old office when we go back home for Christmas.


#9

Put me down as a convert to NFP.

My wife has studied the Billings Ovulation Method, and it does work, folks.

billings-centre.ab.ca/
billings-ovulation-method.org.au/

Hope this helps. :tiphat:


#10

I am getting married SOON, and our priest recommended we attend Pre-Cana, Engaged Encounter, and also sessions with another couple.

The Pre-Cana and Engaged Encounter did talk briefly about sexuality, and briefly about how natural family planning was the way to go, but it was passed through very quickly. The bulk of the discussion had to do with other (albeit important!) topics.

The couple we were assigned to have sessions with was actually a mixed faith couple, so they didn’t feel that natural family planning was that big of a deal, sadly.

What troubles me most is that my fiancee and I had to go through several, several hoops to get this Catholic wedding. And even though I use the word “hoops”, I love that they’re being careful and trying to prepare us. I just wish that one of those hoops had given us more SPECIFIC information about natural family planning, since it seems like a very pragmatic topic for engaged couples.


#11

First let me start that my wife and I use NFP (we are using it to get pregnant :smiley: )

It is not the “CHURCH” that is sending mixed messages, it is “people” who are sending mixed messages, poeple NOT following “church” teachings.

I would take these concerns to a priest and the women that tell you this, I would point out that they are NOT in line with church teaching.

Our priest required us to go through NFP classes before he married us.

Hang in there and stay true to the faith.


#12

Interesting post, but I think the Church’s opposition to artificial contraception has very little to do with possible negative health effects, with the exception that the pill can be an abortificient. The Church’s main reason for rejecting artificial birth control is based on natural law. The Church sees the marital act as having two purposes–one being the expression of love between husband and wife and the other being procreation. To destroy one in favor of the other desecrates this sacred act, makes it unnatural, and basically says to God that one is not open to new life.


#13

Sadly I think you are correct here. I would say that the Popes, especially JPII, really mean it, but I’m not so sure the bishops or the priests do because I never hear it from any of them, save a few brave ones like Father Corapi. I think many of them are too afraid of upsetting the masses of contracepting Catholics, which is a very sad commentary. I wish they would all just tell us like it is instead of dancing around it or ignoring it altogether. If our salvation is really in jeopardy because of ABC, then our bishops and priests should be a lot more vocal about it when the vast majority of Catholic couples are using it.

I think most of the hierarchy wants Catholics to keep using ABC and just keep their mouths shut about it. Priests, bishops, etc, don’t want to deal with posssible financial consequences of couples having 8,9,10 kids (I know a lot of people will say that couples properly using NFP won’t necessarily have really large families, but it’s been my personal experience having lived among faithful Catholics for most of my life that these couples DO tend to have large families, NFP or not) and the fallout.

I disagree with you here. I don’t think the heiarchy wants us to have small families. I think they would like us to have large families, but at the same time I think they are too afraid to preach the truth on this matter for fear of losing Catholics in droves. They know this particular Church teaching is very unpopular, and so they are afraid to breach the subject.

I hate to say it, but like so many other things in this world, it’s all about the almighty buck. The Church doesn’t want to be bothered with a bunch of indigent large families (not that all large families are, by any means, but it takes A LOT of hard work to keep from being that way in this society when you have a lot of kids) looking for help from them. They’d rather people quietly use ABC, be able to pay full tution for their kids at the school, and keep giving $$ to the church.

Again, I really don’t think this is the reason. I don’t think the Church has any fear of being bothered by poor people. It’s usually in the poorer areas of the world where Catholics are the most faithful and holy, and therefore where most of our new priests come from.

Before I get flamed, please don’t think I AGREE with this line of thought. Anything but! I have a large family myself. But it’s been a pet peeve of mine for a long time that I think most of what little talk there is about contraception in the church is just a lot of lip service that the clergy is actually hoping people won’t really listen to. If this isn’t the case, how come there isn’t more support for NFP? When we moved to our current area, I was very discouraged to find that the nearest NFP classes were over an hour away.

My own theory as to why there is so little support for NFP is this: it is my opinion that most parishes are run not by the pastor, but by the laity staff heads. And many of those “pastoral administrators,” are women who grew up in the 60’s and 70’s and bought into all that sexual revolution nonsense. Look at pretty much any Catholic parish in the U.S. today and you will find that the pastoral administrator or pastoral assistant is a woman in her 50’s or 60’s who tends to have a liberal agenda. The men of her age have largely abandoned church ministries altogether, and the pastor is too afraid to step in and take charge to make sure the parish stays on track with Church teaching and law. I am anxiously awaiting the retirement of these types of people from Church laity positions, because I think many of us in the younger generation have a strong desire for our parishes to return to more traditional and thoroughly Catholic practices in every aspect of church life. Perhaps then things like adult faith formation and NFP will have a real chance of being supported on a large scale. Really every Catholic parish should have a vibrant NFP program in place because otherwise we are hypocrites. We are often our own worst enemies. Ultimately, though, it is mainly through courageous leadership by our bishops and priests that things like this will be corrected and improved. They need our prayers and support to stand up for what’s right regardless of the consequences. Our priest actually mentioned confession last week during his homily. I couldn’t remember the last time I heard anything about that. I pray, and I know I need, to hear it more.


#14

To show you how bad the west is when it comes to ABC, when my grandmother had had about 4 children, my grandpa didn’t want any more for the time being. She went to a priest and he told he he would give he a dispensation fr one year to take the pill. After the yr was done, he told her he could continue using it for another 2.

I can’t believe a priest would deliberately tell a parishoner to do this. My grandma to this day thinks it’s ok to use the pill if a priest allows it. I told her it is completely against the CC’s teachings but she doesn’t buy it, and she’s the most devout Catholic in my family. This priest messed her mind and toyed around w/her soul. At least she only used it that one yr and didn’t like what it was doing to her body, so she stopped it and had 1 more child and 2 other pregnancies that ended in miscarriage.


#15

Where are we? We are such a small minority, but you tell the families with more than 3 kids (because we want to), never miss Sunday or Holy day mass, and are faith centered. NFP has worked great for my wife and I, but in my parish of 300 families, we are likely the only NFP couple.


#16

The five families in our parish who used NFP were declared “trouble-makers” by our priest and he made it to uncomfortable for us to attend that chuch. I don’t get it.:confused:


#17

I hope I don’t sound like a broken record, because I’ve mentioned this statistic many times…but I have heard that the # of Catholics who actually follow Church teaching on marriage/sexuality is about 5%. So it makes perfect sense to me that you’re not finding the support out there that you need. And I agree, our church’s leadership (aside from the actual Holy Father) has been at best inconsistent, and at worst dissenting. Terrible shame it is. I tend to be pretty open about my using NFP, partly in the hopes that my example might help turn the tide a bit. Yeah, I think if you want to find other NFP’ers, you’ll just have to go find the most conservative/orthodox circles you can find in your diocese. That or the internet!


#18

“I disagree with you here. I don’t think the heiarchy wants us to have small families. I think they would like us to have large families, but at the same time I think they are too afraid to preach the truth on this matter for fear of losing Catholics in droves. They know this particular Church teaching is very unpopular, and so they are afraid to breach the subject”

You know, I’ve just never gotten the feeling that most of the diocesan priests I know REALLY want the majority of their flock to have 6,7,8 kids a piece. I could be wrong, but I certainly haven’t been under the impression that big families are something most priests out there are hoping for. I’m not trying to quibble, just wondering what in your experience leads you to feel this way? I’m always interested in hearing what others out there have experienced.

“My own theory as to why there is so little support for NFP is this: it is my opinion that most parishes are run not by the pastor, but by the laity staff heads. And many of those “pastoral administrators,” are women who grew up in the 60’s and 70’s and bought into all that sexual revolution nonsense. Look at pretty much any Catholic parish in the U.S. today and you will find that the pastoral administrator or pastoral assistant is a woman in her 50’s or 60’s who tends to have a liberal agenda. The men of her age have largely abandoned church ministries altogether, and the pastor is too afraid to step in and take charge to make sure the parish stays on track with Church teaching and law”

I agree that priests may be afraid of some of the lay leaders in their parish, but I’m convinced they are MORE afraid that preaching against contraception is going to lead to less people showing up at mass, and consequently less money in the coffers.

“Really every Catholic parish should have a vibrant NFP program in place because otherwise we are hypocrites. We are often our own worst enemies.”

Amen, brother! I send my prayers that you and your wife will come across NFPers in your area who can give you support. It’s really tough to feel like you are doing it alone!


#19

Yessisan, you know this reminds me of my own very devout and traditional grandmother, who told me that back in her day the church taught that once you had 4 children, you had done your duty and were not expected to have any more. I never had the guts to ask her what she and my grandfather had done about it :eek: But they only had four! Most of her sisters (she came from a family of four, too) had 4 as well. How this differs from the modern idea of having two and being done is beyond me!


#20

This is an interesting theory and it makes perfect sense to me. Canadian parishes are somewhat different, at least in my diocese. We have no pastoral administrators, pastors directly oversee almost everything that goes on in a parish, resulting in many overworked pastors. An overworked pastor doesn’t even have NFP on his radar.

Maybe we, as laypeople, need to let our priests and bishops know how desperately their flock needs both education and support (ie. resources) to help us obey the Church’s teaching on married sexuality.

In the meantime, I’m greatful for the support at CAF.


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