Why do we need NFP if we trust in God?

I have heard on more than one Catholic Answers program that it is okay for Catholics to use NFP to avoid pregnancy if there is a serious reason to do so. I have also heard that God will never give us more children than we can handle. These two statements seem a little contradictory. Shouldn’t we let God decide if the matter is serious enough for us to avoid pregnancy? Surely He knows better than us if we can handle another child.
By using NFP in these cases are we attempted to take the decision out of God’s hands and put in ours?

Dear Simon,

I have heard that God will not allow us to be tempted more than we can endure. I have not heard that He will never give us more children than we can handle. There is a difference here. We often don’t have a choice with regard to whether we are tempted or not. A couple CAN have a choice regarding not getting pregnant. The good Lord has given us intelligence and He expects us to use it. He will do what we CANNOT do. But He will not do what we CAN do.

There are some people who will not go to a physician, but trust solely in God to keep them healthy. They believe that to make use of medicine would be a violation of their trust in God. But God has given human beings the ability to help themselves in this regard. To the degree that they can, He expects them to.

So too with procreation: human beings are intelligent enough to know when they cannot afford to feed and cloth another child. Certainly, such decisions can be the result of selfishness, but they can also be the result a plane good sense, so long as they do not sin by means of contraception. The same goes for avoiding pregnancy due to illness.

You might want to read: “Good News About Sex and Marriage” by Christopher West. You may order it through this website or through our order line: 888 291 8000.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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