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From Fr. Joseph Previtali, Assistant Chaplain to the Traditional Latin Mass Society:

G.K. Chesterton famously insisted that anything worth doing is worth doing badly. Not only is Chesterton’s quip wonderfully anti-perfectionistic, it’s also a profound insight into the structure of human moral psychology: we acquire the virtues by practicing virtuous behavior before we are virtuous. This wisdom certainly applies to Natural Family Planning and the integral sexuality accompanying it.

The whole article:
http://sanctatrinitasunusdeus.blogspot.c...-week.html
The NFP methods can be used to help struggling couples have children. It is often used, however, to prevent pregnancy. When it comes to NFP, the N and the F are wonderful, it's the P that's the problem.
(07-25-2013, 04:59 PM)deprofundis Wrote: [ -> ]The NFP methods can be used to help struggling couples have children. It is often used, however, to prevent pregnancy. When it comes to NFP, the N and the F are wonderful, it's the P that's the problem.

What do traditional Catholics think of this?  How do they respond to criticisms that this is just another form of contraception?  Did couples practice this pre-Vatican II?
(07-25-2013, 04:59 PM)deprofundis Wrote: [ -> ]The NFP methods can be used to help struggling couples have children. It is often used, however, to prevent pregnancy. When it comes to NFP, the N and the F are wonderful, it's the P that's the problem.

There is nothing wrong with having a plan.  You can practice NFP and still be aware that God might laugh at your plan and decide to give you a child anyway.   My wife and I had some legitimate reasons to use it with the approval of our traditional priest, and my wife got pregnant with our son.  After one child who died a few hours after birth, 5 miscarriages and a lot of medical issues on my part, it was not a great circumstance for another pregnancy but for whatever reason, God thought we should have a child and he gave us a child despite the fact that we planned not to have one.

I remember when my wife was pregnant she received a lot of judgement from family members because I was not in good health and we have debt.  We just had to cling to our faith that God really must have wanted this child to be born because we did everything correctly with the NFP.
(07-25-2013, 06:13 PM)2Vermont Wrote: [ -> ]
(07-25-2013, 04:59 PM)deprofundis Wrote: [ -> ]The NFP methods can be used to help struggling couples have children. It is often used, however, to prevent pregnancy. When it comes to NFP, the N and the F are wonderful, it's the P that's the problem.

What do traditional Catholics think of this?  How do they respond to criticisms that this is just another form of contraception?  Did couples practice this pre-Vatican II?

Couples practiced more rudimentary forms of NFP, mostly the rhythm method, which follows similar principles (i.e. abstaining during fertile days) but isn't as effective because it doesn't take into account the fact that most womens' bodies don't function like a calendar.
(07-25-2013, 06:20 PM)Chestertonian Wrote: [ -> ]
(07-25-2013, 04:59 PM)deprofundis Wrote: [ -> ]The NFP methods can be used to help struggling couples have children. It is often used, however, to prevent pregnancy. When it comes to NFP, the N and the F are wonderful, it's the P that's the problem.

There is nothing wrong with having a plan.  You can practice NFP and still be aware that God might laugh at your plan and decide to give you a child anyway.   My wife and I had some legitimate reasons to use it with the approval of our traditional priest, and my wife got pregnant with our son.  After one child who died a few hours after birth, 5 miscarriages and a lot of medical issues on my part, it was not a great circumstance for another pregnancy but for whatever reason, God thought we should have a child and he gave us a child despite the fact that we planned not to have one.

I remember when my wife was pregnant she received a lot of judgement from family members because I was not in good health and we have debt.  We just had to cling to our faith that God really must have wanted this child to be born because we did everything correctly with the NFP.

Oh Chester.  My heart goes out to the two of you.   
One thing I have noticed is that NFP can serve as a bridge for those who have been against having Children in the past but legitimately wish to become more open to life and have their marriage be in conformity with Church teaching.  I know couples who started out using contraception and had no plans for children before they came into the Church.  After a while, they started using NFP instead of the pill or an IUD, and over time became open to life and ended up having kids.  In addition, I know couples who have used NFP to help them have a child when they were having difficulty.  One of my colleagues is in a similar situation right now, and she and her husband have taken NFP classes in an effort to achieve pregnancy. 

Since the Church has never defined what "delaying pregnancy for serious reasons" means, or even what qualifies as a "serious reason", it is up to the couple, hopefully in consultation with their priest, to decide how to interpret this. 

Overall, I thought the priest's article linked by the OP was pretty good. 
I know this won't be a popular comment, but I don't believe in the use of NFP for any reason. I came to this conclusion before I was a "trad" so it's not a trad-thing for me. I used to be a HUGE NFP cheerleader, and arriving at this conclusion was a journey, to say the least.

The Church allows NFP, so the best I can say for it is that it is a licit practice. Couples who use NFP for just reasons do so licitly, though it is the imperfect and less-holy road to take. Trusting in God and forgoing any family planning is the holier route.

Granted, these are my opinions and I know many people disagree. The last time I voiced my opinion in a public forum, I royally p-ed off some people (and lost some friends/aquaintances). Turns out, some Catholics get very angry when you start messing with their "approved" method of family planning.
(07-25-2013, 07:17 PM)Aggie3 Wrote: [ -> ]I know this won't be a popular comment, but I don't believe in the use of NFP for any reason. I came to this conclusion before I was a "trad" so it's not a trad-thing for me. I used to be a HUGE NFP cheerleader, and arriving at this conclusion was a journey, to say the least.

The Church allows NFP, so the best I can say for it is that it is a licit practice. Couples who use NFP for just reasons do so licitly, though it is the imperfect and less-holy road to take. Trusting in God and forgoing any family planning is the holier route.

Granted, these are my opinions and I know many people disagree. The last time I voiced my opinion in a public forum, I royally p-ed off some people (and lost some friends/aquaintances). Turns out, some Catholics get very angry when you start messing with their "approved" method of family planning.


I wouldn't classify myself as a huge NFP cheerleader, as I do recognize that its intent can be abused in some instances.  However, I also recognize that, as noted by the priest in the OP's link, there is a massive difference between even those who use NFP poorly and contraception.  At least NFP works with the manner in which God designed the woman's body and her normal monthly cycle.  It also teaches even those who may not be using it for just reasons to sacrifice in the times when they would be fertile.  This act of personal sacrifice can play a big role in moving them towards using NFP more justly going forward. 

I will be the first to admit that formation could probably be better in this area so that priests can give proper pastoral guidance.  In addition, at some point some clarification as to what does and does not satisfy the standard of "serious or just reasons" should probably be provided.  At the end of the day however, NFP seems a large step in the right direction, and I am thankful that we have the Church to tell us what is, and is not, the holy road to take.   
NFP itself is morally neutral as a technique.  The Church permits it in certain grave circumstances.  I do think it should be more defined as to what "Grave reasons" means.  Is it only when you cannot afford to feed another mouth?  Is it only when the father cannot provide?  Or if the mother has to be on a medication that causes horrible birth defects (although perhaps it would be better to completely abstain in that case).  Or can a mother use it to give herself a break between children to avoid Irish twins? 

I know people that justify using NFP because their wife really wants to finish grad school (more debt, yay), or because they think it would be better for their children to get more "personal attention" from their parents.  Some have pretty loose definitions of "financial reasons." I think the best thing to do is to talk to a priest, but even with that, your mileage may vary.  I know in my case, we tried to consult the most traditional priest we could.  A lot of Catholics probably aren't that discriminating when they talk to a priest... 
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