Natural Family Planning Question
#1
So I came to understand why contraception is wrong, and my wife and I left that long behind.  And we had our fourth child thanks so much to that!

But I have heard mixed thoughts on using NFP - some saying it's OK, some that it should not be used to limit the number of children except for extreme cases.  We have not gone overboard with NFP details, we just watch the calendar.

Any thoughts or insight?  Especially as we get older?

And you know at one time I was really attracted to Orthodoxy, and still like to see what the East says on things - but wow do they have a blizzard of different ideas on this one.
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#2
(04-28-2019, 07:19 AM)Markie Boy Wrote: And you know at one time I was really attracted to Orthodoxy, and still like to see what the East says on things - but wow do they have a blizzard of different ideas on this one.

And that is why we need the Pope and the Magisterium.

As for NFP, first of all, I believe you can't use it unless you have a valid reason for doing so, and that reason can't be something like, "I can't afford that Mercedes if I have another kid." It has to be something like:

- "If my wife gets pregnant, she might die due to complications because of her health condition."

- "We simply don't have the room or the finances for a lot of children, but we'll still gladly accept children."

- "Because we live in China and already have a child/two children [whatever the policy is now], my wife will be forced into an abortion if they find out she has another child."

etc.

You can't use it with a contraceptive mentality, which essentially means you can't be like, "I'm going to beat the system with this NFP stuff and not have any kids [to paraphrase GabiAfterHours on YouTube]." You need to be open to life. There's nothing wrong with using this and talking things out with your spouse each month to see where you both are at with regard to more children. NFP is also used to help achieve pregnancy, so it's not at all the "Catholic contraception" people think it is. You learn a lot about your body this way.

To paraphrase the book I got at Pre-Cana yesterday, couples who use NFP have less than a 5% divorce rate. 

As for watching the calendar, I only recently found out myself that this is not NFP, but the rhythm method. I've been learning the symptothermal method for my future marriage, but I also watch the calendar to get more in touch with the signs of fertility.

I hope this helps!
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#3
Up until our third child, we were of the belief that we would gladly take all children God saw fit to give us and went off in faith that it would be as He would want it. Then, after our third child, a daughter, was born, we found out that Pat had a severe case of complication ( formerly called toxemia, now referred to as preeclampsia). There was some indication, after the second child, that she had these tendencies, but she nearly became critically ill with the last delivery, so we opted for a tubal ligation to prevent her future pregnancies and dangerous, likely risks associated with subsequent pregnancies.

We felt bad about it, but it seemed to be the most logical thing to do, back in the days when the condition wasn't all that well known, at least, how to treat mothers with the condition.

I confessed this a couple of times, since my conscious sorta bothered me, but I always was told that it was not a sinful act due to the severity of the effects she could suffer from, should she get pregnant again.


:comp:
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I don't need a good memory, because I always tell the truth.
Jessie Ventura

Its no wonder truth is stranger than fiction.
Fiction has to make sense
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#4
We don't go so far as watching temperature or extra measures - we feel more open to what God wants for us that way. So we are not even full blown NFP I guess.

Life is full, we live a pretty basic life and small income for a family of six - we do well but not a lot of extras, especially in comparison to most others we know.

Not sure where that all falls, but it feels very right.
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#5
Periodic continence is a far better term to use than NFP (which sounds much more like some marketing term). The reason for this is "family planning" is already a term borrowed from the eugenics movement, and suggests that contraception (even if not by some method which is illicit in itself) is perfectly fine.

This already goes against the primary end of marriage which is procreation and the raising of children in ideology, even if the natural methods do not through illicit means prevent this end.

This does not mean that Catholic couples have to try to achieve this primary end as much as possible. They can choose to engage in marital relations whenever they went, or forego them when they choose, but they are not permitted to have the intention of preventing children by this unless there is a serious reason for doing so.

An analogy is a priest, whose primary purpose is to offer the Sacrifice of the Mass. He is not obliged to do this every day, and in fact only is obliged by law if he has a pastoral office on certain days. A priest who is not a pastor of a place could forego Mass most days of the year without sin. Certainly we would see this as a disordered way of living the priestly life. And while he could leave off Mass, if he did so for bad reasons or without serious reason, certainly this would be sinful.

"Periodic continence" is a much better term because it already expresses the idea that occasionally for some reason a couple would practice continence. The term itself shows it is not a normal or to be a regular thing, and emphasizes the practice of continence, not the contraceptive notion of "family planning." 

This is why when the idea of such period continence as a Catholic answer to birth control came up, Pius XII addressed it and said such was permissible for "serious reasons" saying such could be medical, genetic, economic, or social. Clearly this would include relatively serious physical harm to the children or mother (beyond what is normal) mental or physically, the likelihood of serious birth defects, severe poverty or debt (most in the third world could not use this excuse), serious inability to care for additional children, relatively prolific frequency of recent births (e.g. five children in five years), social conditions around which make it seriously dangerous to raise a family (think Venezuela).

The ultimate decision depends on the well-formed conscience of the couple. They ought to take advice, and if a priest says that their reasons are not sufficient, certainly must not use periodic continence.

The way many approach NFP suggests it is Catholic birth control and is always perfectly permissible. Such is a gravely sinful attitude. Others think it can only be used in the rarest of occasions. That is also wrong. The balance is in the middle with Virtue. However, in my experience, I hear far too much about NFP, and I think there are far too many couples that think four children is too many, or that they cannot afford six children because dad only makes $100,000 and mom needs to stay at home.
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#6
*snipped; MM already addressed what I was going to ask*
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#7
Where we are at age (mid 40's) and income, we barely get by with our family size. No new cars, smaller house than most would have even if they had only two kids. We are blessed and always have enough, and feel we are staying open to if God were to bless us with more children, but at the same time not actively pursuing more.

Does this make sense?
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#8
It sounds completely reasonable to me.  I don't see anything in your stance that is alarming or unreasonable.  Then again, I know only what you are posting here.  

Every situation is different and finding the right answer for your family requires a fair bit of discernment.  It seems to me that if you are very concerned about whether or not this is appropriate, you should talk to your priest.  It will, at the very least, set your mind at ease.
Adoption, Home School, and Catholic Family Life:  StolenPears.com
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#9
(04-28-2019, 09:30 PM)Markie Boy Wrote: Where we are at age (mid 40's) and income, we barely get by with our family size.  No new cars, smaller house than most would have even if they had only two kids.  We are blessed and always have enough, and feel we are staying open to if God were to bless us with more children, but at the same time not actively pursuing more.

Does this make sense?

Not actively pursing children is much different than the typical NFP attitude which is an "I'm open to life if it happens, but don't really want it to."

The former attitude is normal. The latter is not much different that a couple that usually uses contraceptives.

The former is just using the marriage normally and perhaps less frequently and not actively trying to ensure that the marital act occurs frequently during fertile periods rather than actively trying to avoid children which is to intentionally avoid the fertile period even if there were some serious risk to incontinence.
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