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Some more great points on NFP from Dr. J May 16, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, contraception, Dallas Diocese, Domestic Church, error, General Catholic, Interior Life, sadness, scandals, Virtue.

As a side note, Dr. J was my 2nd favorite 70s NBA star, after “Iceman” George Irvin Gervin (apparently, I wasn’t much of a fan, if I can’t remember his name) of the Spurs.  And, yes, I have spent time in a mental institution.

Seriously, Dr. Jay Boyd has another good post on NFP.  Before anyone cries foul, both Dr. Boyd and I recognize that we are incapable of judging any couples’ individual circumstances.  Having said that, we can comment on the general practice of NFP and the degree to which it is marketed in the Church. I will pull a couple excerpts and add emphasis and comments:

[Within our parishes and dioceses…] There is virtually no teaching about the sin of birth control as such – whether it’s birth control by artificial or “natural” means. If a couple gets married and plans to postpone having children for an unspecified number of years while they finish school, establish their careers, pay off student debts, build their house or whatever, then they are not prepared to get married, and they should not. No one leading today’s marriage prep classes is going to say that, but, really, to marry at such a time is elevating the secondary end of marriage to primary status. Children have become a “commodity” that is “purchased” when a couple is “ready.” [Witness  the sicko photo on Time magazine this week, with a mother proudly displaying her latest accessory child along with her immodest dress and activity.] 
Oh…wait…Certain documents in recent times have begun to allude to the two inseparably intertwined ends of marriage – procreative and unitive – without giving primacy to the procreative end. But, as John Galvin points out, Humanae Vitae introduced the concept of that inseparability with virtually no support from the tradition of the Church on the meaning of marriage. It is a new and novel concept with little support. [Thank you.  The procreative end of marriage was always primary.  But “modern” man loves him some uninhibited, “consequence-free” sex, (just like the pagan Romans!), and so now we have the novel notion of the unitive aspect of sexual relations being declared equal]

The fact is, the teachings of the Church on marriage, going back to the Fathers of the Church, properly order the ends of marriage, with “procreation” as primary. In actuality, there is no point to marriage as a social institution without an explicit reference to procreation: we marry in order to have children, not to find “soul mates” with whom we can plan how many or even whether to have children. Sex with the explicit intention to avoid pregnancy is wrong in itself, rendering discussion of contraceptive methods quite secondary. [A related issue is the degree to which couples engage in sex for pleasure]
The natural flow of married life and love will inevitably overlap with times of fertility and infertility, but it’s not up to us to “chart” this so that we can deliberately frustrate the Will of God. Why would it make sense to think that God would want us to have this kind of “control” over fertility such that God is left out of the procreative process except when we want Him to be part of it?

That’s the key issue. I have an evangelical friend who defended his use of contraception by stating that “if God really wants us to get pregnant, He’ll make it happen.”  That’s really an error. God looks for our cooperation. If we do something that radically shuts Him out of our life, He leaves us to our own devices to suffer the consequences in this life and the next. Certainly, God can cause a pregnancy any time He wills (and He has), and contraception also fails (alot), but this notion that God will burst through your non-cooperation to “force” a miraculous conception is ridiculous – if a child occurs, it will be due to failed contraception, not Divine intervention.  Once one commits the objectively mortal sin of using contraception there is no Grace for God to act through to cause the pregnancy, anyway.

I hope Dr. Boyd keeps this series of posts up.  They are vitally necessary.


1. Jay Boyd - May 16, 2012

LOL! Funny you should mention Dr. J – yes, I remember him well. Used to be a big pro-basketball fan, and I was once upon a time a decent player myself – mostly “pick-up” games, street rules. As a not-very-tall female, I surprised many a taller,skeptical male player back in the day!

2. Dismas - May 17, 2012

It’s just one of those things, like regarding EWTN as a bastion of “Catholicism-as-It-has-Always-Been-Passed-On,” that clues one that discussion with the devotee is going to be delicate.

tantamergo - May 17, 2012

You are very correct. I can hardly listen to EWTN anymore (we don’t have TV), except for Mother Angelica reruns. In charity, I pray it serves a purpose in drawing some to a deeper understanding and practice of the Faith, but it’s definitely limited in that regard. It did help me, for a time, but my perception is that the quality and orthodoxy are falling off rapidly. But perhaps that’s just me and where I’ve gone in the Faith.

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