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St. Gabriel parish in McKinney hosting Dr. Pia de Solenni February 11, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Dallas Diocese, North Deanery.

Noted Catholic speaker and author Dr. Pia de Solenni is coming to St. Gabriel parish in McKinney, TX on Monday, March 1 from 7-9p.  Details here

Dr. de Solenni is on Teresa Tomeo’s radio show on EWTN essentially every week.  I think she’s pretty good in most areas, although I think both she and Mrs. Tomeo may have fallen into the natural family planning (NFP) trap, believing that NFP is perfectly suitable as a long term contraception replacement.  If so, that is not Church doctrine.  The Church believes that NFP is a suitable and appropriate means of trying to avoid becoming pregnant, but only for limited periods of time and for reasons of true need, not because a family wants to limit itself to the perfect WASPy notion of 1 or 2 kids.  Dr. de Solenni has mentioned on Tomeo’s program many times instances of families using NFP to avoid pregnancy for periods of many, many years (5-15), and has not questioned this practice at all, insofar as I have heard.  This is unfortunate, as NFP is only to be used in times when a married couple is unable to be open to the creation of new life due to grave reasons, such as serious illness, severe financial distress, etc. 

I understand the mentality that presenting NFP as a long term contraception replacement program may be meritorious in trying to “ween” people off the contraception mentality, but I am afraid that some make it an end in itself.  Married couples are called by Christ to be open to God’s life giving, creative miracle throughout their marriage, unless there is a truly serious reason why they cannot be.  Using NFP for many years on end to wind up with a predetermined, acceptable number of children is not in union with the will of the Church.  In such instances, using NFP is little different than using oral or other contraception.

But, other than that, Dr. de Solenni is a pretty good speaker.   She is in general pretty orthodox and has drawn the ire of homosexual marriage advocates for her staunch defense of the Church’s infallible teaching that marriage exists between one man and one woman.  I have not been able to find anything the definitively states de Solenni’s views on NFP, other than what I’ve heard her discuss on the radio.  So, I think as long as one realizes that she may be somewhat fuzzy on the Church’s teaching on the appropriate use of natural family planning, the conference will have alot to recommend it.


1. Andy Alderson - February 12, 2010


I appreciate your strong commitment to NFP and the church’s teaching on marriage and sexuality. However, I think some of your terms and understanding of NFP, and more importantly responsible parenthood, need to be clarified.

While it is true that NFP can possibly be used with a “contraceptive mentality,” you are incorrectly using the term “grave” with regard to reasons to resort to NFP. That is an incorrect translation of Humanae Vitae (HV). The correct term(s) from HV and/or the Catechism are “just,” “serious,” or “well-grounded.” The problem with using the term “grave” is that it is actually associated with the type of sin committed when using contraception, NOT for reasons to resort to NFP. (This is a common misunderstanding.)


HV paragraph 10 states “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.” So those are the accepted broad reasons to postpone or avoid pregnancy. But there is no specific list like you wrote in your blog: “serious illness, severe financial stress, etc.” What constitutes “serious” or “severe”? Who decides?

What I’m getting at is that it’s not up to us to decide whether or not someone else is using NFP appropriately. What’s important is that a couple, in addition to using NFP, is prayerfully discerning God’s will for their marriage and family. So for some families that might be 6 children, for others it might be 3, and so on. And the serious/just reasons each of those families encounters is going to be different. But we cannot, from the outside looking in, decide that these couples are not exercising responsible parenthood just because of the number of children they have…not even the Church does that.

Hope that helps.


2. tantamergo - February 15, 2010

Sorry I haven’t responded yet, I’ve been away from the ‘puter for 3 days. I’ll respond in a post, this discussion needs its own post, it’s too big for the comments section.

God bless,

3. My thoughts on NFP « A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics - February 16, 2010

[…] 16, 2010 Posted by tantamergo in General Catholic, Society. trackback I made a comment recently regarding Dr. Pia de Solenni speaking at St. Gabriel parish in McKinney.   In it, I expressed my opinion that by extolling the […]

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