Why is NFP acceptable?


#1

I know contraception is a sin because it eliminates the procreative aspect of sex and changes our natural fertility.

However, while Natural Family Planning doesn’t use external agents (like pills), wouldn’t it be sinful also? After all, if you use it you are intending to use it as a pseudo-contraceptive method (save medical cases), otherwise you would have normal sex frequency.

In other words, your will is still in reducing the chance that God makes you a parent.

If I have to use an analogy, it would be like saying that euthanasia (artificial contraception) is sinful but assisted suicide (NFP) is not for the person assisting.


#2

Because sex has two intrinsic values: reproduction and pleasure. Contraception violates the reproductive nature of sex and thus makes it a disordered act. NFP does not as the act is still completed. Thus it is ordered


#3

But you are willfully distorting the (EDIT) timing of the act to make it less likely to be reproductive, regardless if at the end you end up being a parent.

That logic seems like applying a legal vacuum in Natural Law.


#4

From the USCCB

http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/natural-family-planning/

NFP reflects the dignity of the human person within the context of marriage and family life, promotes openness to life, and recognizes the value of the child. By respecting the love-giving and life-giving natures of marriage, NFP can enrich the bond between husband and wife.


#5

NFP should only be used by those who have serious reason to postpone pregnancy.

Every sexual act Hass to be all 3:
Marital
Procreative
Unitive

Contraception destroys the procreative aspect of the act, this making it sinful. In every marital act we are always, even if one is not child bearing age, always, to be open to life. We are always open to God bringing new life, otherwise the act is a sin. NFP allows for a married couple to be open to life.


#6

The act is not distorted at all.


#7

Because it is NOT using something artificial to block the creation of life it is using the body’s own natural systems and observing those to avoid sexual intimacy at the most fertile times. BUT VERY IMPORTANT even though the couple may be trying to avoid a pregnancy because they are NOT using anything artificial to do so, they are open to accepting and welcoming any new life that comes from those intimate marital relations. It is the BEING ALWAYS open to life that is the IMPORTANT part in NFP.


#8

I think you’re conflating two issues–the desire to avoid children and the means of doing so. It is not necessarily a sin to want to avoid children (it can be). The sin with regard to contraception has nothing to do with your motives, but with deliberately impeding the natural end of the act itself.

While it is the general mission and duty of married couples to bring forth children, there can be good reasons to regulate or limit births. If a couple chose to avoid having children for selfish reasons, say, so they could instead focus on cultivating their Lamborghini collection, it would be a sin even if they practiced complete abstinence.

But when there is a justifiable reason to avoid having a child, then we have to evaluate the means of doing so. Total or periodic abstinence (NFP) is a morally licit means of doing so.

What is a sin, no matter the motive, is “any use whatsoever of matrimony exercised in such a way that the act is deliberately frustrated in its natural power to generate life.” Abstinence–total or periodic–does not involve this.

From the CCC:

2367 Called to give life, spouses share in the creative power and fatherhood of God.154 "Married couples should regard it as their proper mission to transmit human life and to educate their children; they should realize that they are thereby cooperating with the love of God the Creator and are, in a certain sense, its interpreters. They will fulfill this duty with a sense of human and Christian responsibility."155

2368 A particular aspect of this responsibility concerns the regulation of procreation. For just reasons, spouses may wish to space the births of their children. It is their duty to make certain that their desire is not motivated by selfishness but is in conformity with the generosity appropriate to responsible parenthood. Moreover, they should conform their behavior to the objective criteria of morality:

When it is a question of harmonizing married love with the responsible transmission of life, the morality of the behavior does not depend on sincere intention and evaluation of motives alone; but it must be determined by objective criteria, criteria drawn from the nature of the person and his acts criteria that respect the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love; this is possible only if the virtue of married chastity is practiced with sincerity of heart.156


#9

The fact that you can use NFP in order to conceive, while this is literally impossible while using any contraceptive method, should give you your answer here.

NFP does not alter the fundamental nature of the marital act. It is still ordered toward procreation. This means that when you look to the act and ask “what kind of act is it?” the answer is “a procreative and unitive one,” even if procreation does not result.

We’re not consequentialists. The results aren’t what matter, it’s the nature of the act.

-Fr ACEGC

Edited to add: I know conception sometimes occurs while using contraceptive methods. What I’m saying is that no one takes the pill or uses a condom to increase their chances of conception.


#10

“Every sexual act Hass to be all 3:
Marital
Procreative
Unitive”

Very well written


#11

Very important that you pointed this out Father. Many people do NOT know that the chemical artificial birth control methods don’t always prevent conception they prevent a life from completing its formation in the womb many times.


#12

But doesn’t people sometimes (and that are the times that I am discussing) use NFP to decrease their chance of conception?


#13

Sure, but it’s about making use of information so as to avoid the marital act. If that’s sinful, then most people are sinning most of the time, since the vast majority of people aren’t having sex the vast majority of the time.


#14

Yes. Parents are not called to maximize how many children they produce. A mother is not a factory. They are supposed to be responsible in creating new life, and part of this responsibility is remaining open to life in the marital act. Using a woman’s natural fertility is a licit means for family planning.


#15

People can still use NFP with bad intentions making it a sin, but properly used is a great blessing to the married couple.

Every sexual act doesn’t have to result in a child. it’s what Fr.said above “The results aren’t what matter, it’s the nature of the act.”


#16

Sure, not all people are married though.

I undestand what Canvas and others says, it just seems to me a little insidious to be open to life only when it is less likely to happen, it’s like “throw a spanner in the works” to God while publicly stating otherwise…


#17

So, if you carry your logic further, any couple where the woman is past her child-bearing years or who has had a hysterectomy should no longer have sex with their husbands. It isn’t pro-creative, so it would be a sin, right?


#18

That’s just it, it doesn’t “throw a spanner in the works.” The act is not changed, it’s just done at certain times while avoiding others. Contraceptive behavior by definition “throws a spanner in the works” via physical or medical barriers.


#19

I never said that I didn’t believe in the unitive aspect of sexual relations. The difference is that a woman in menopause didn’t reduce her fertility willfully by herself (in NFP you are deliberately choosing a time in which the woman is less fertile); and in the case of the hysterectomy there is a greater danger in not doing it.


#20

You do realize that when a woman ovulates, the egg is able to be fertilized for 6-24 hours per month? That means only marital relations done in the few days before ovulation, or on the day of ovulation, have any chance of producing a pregnancy.

All NFP does is recognize this reality.


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