NFP in Marriage
#1
In a marriage, is it wrong to use NFP to avoid pregnancy?  If a couple has multiple children and is not sure about more?

I heard one person say that NFP is not right, it's just more birth control, and using it to avoid pregnancy means you are pursuing pleasure alone, and that's wrong.

I thought using NFP allowed marital relations, and is still being open to life?
Reply
#2
(08-08-2018, 11:48 PM)Markie Boy Wrote: In a marriage, is it wrong to use NFP to avoid pregnancy?  If a couple has multiple children and is not sure about more?

I heard one person say that NFP is not right, it's just more birth control, and using it to avoid pregnancy means you are pursuing pleasure alone, and that's wrong.

I thought using NFP allowed marital relations, and is still being open to life?
The Church is very clear on the use of NFP, and the guidelines are pretty simple to understand and apply. Basically, it's only acceptable with grave cause, and normally is used temporarily even then. Take it from Father Ripperger, he outlines it really well in this short video.

Reply
#3
What if the strain of more children would ruin the marriage? We have four children, and our marriage almost did not make it through the last pregnancy. And the issue was really on one side of the relationship, with the other person not being able to bring peace no matter how much they submitted.
Reply
#4
Not to sound flippant, but that sounds like a question for a priest or counselor. 

If I'm reading the Church's teaching on NFP correctly (I'm not a theologian), it can be used for grave reasons, but there isn't a list of reasons as situations vary.  It seems that if a couple is at their wits end and stressed with the number of children, NFP could be used for now to delay pregnancy, as long as the couple is to open to the possibility of new life during marital relations.

Hopefully someone a bit more knowledgeable than I can weigh in.  Paging Magister Musicae... Sticking tongue out at you
-sent by howitzer via the breech.

God's love is manifest in the landscape as in a face.  - John Muir

I want creation to penetrate you with so much admiration that wherever you go, the least plant may bring you clear remembrance of the Creator.  A single plant, a blade of grass, or one speck of dust is sufficient to occupy all your intelligence in beholding the art with which it has been made  - Saint Basil

Heaven is under our feet, as well as over our heads. - Thoreau, Walden
Reply
#5
(08-09-2018, 07:40 AM)Jeeter Wrote: Not to sound flippant, but that sounds like a question for a priest or counselor. 

If I'm reading the Church's teaching on NFP correctly (I'm not a theologian), it can be used for grave reasons, but there isn't a list of reasons as situations vary.  It seems that if a couple is at their wits end and stressed with the number of children, NFP could be used for now to delay pregnancy, as long as the couple is to open to the possibility of new life during marital relations.

Hopefully someone a bit more knowledgeable than I can weigh in.  Paging Magister Musicae... Sticking tongue out at you

That sounds like what I understood.  I have seen where a couple had way more kids than they could handle.  It made life harder for all involved and the marriage degraded to just co-existing.   I'm not sure that's God's plan either.
Reply
#6
Markie, this sounds like a tough situation, and while I don't have any answers, I will keep you in my prayers.


St. Mary of Egypt, Ora Pro Nobis!







Reply
#7
There is, in fact, a general categories list from Pope Pius XII, but it reads like it is not comprehensive:
 
 
Serious motives, such as those which not rarely arise from medical, eugenic, economic and social so-called "indications," may exempt husband and wife from the obligatory, positive debt for a long period or even for the entire period of matrimonial life. From this it follows that the observance of the natural sterile periods may be lawful, from the moral viewpoint: and it is lawful in the conditions mentioned. If, however, according to a reasonable and equitable judgment, there are no such grave reasons either personal or deriving from exterior circumstances, the will to avoid the fecundity of their union, while continuing to satisfy to tile full their sensuality, can only be the result of a false appreciation of life and of motives foreign to sound ethical principles.
 
 
https://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/P511029.HTM


Let me just say, as with everyone else, a good counselor is needed. However, if the issue is due to a phycological reason (depression, anxiety, etc.) then it may perhaps be grave. But seeking help is best.
Reply
#8
Ultimately this is a decision that a couple must make, weighing their particular situation, and understanding that they are accepting the moral consequences of such a decision. If they are lightly making the decision or doing so for selfish reason there will be at least some sin involved.

Thus it is good to speak to a reliable priest and good Catholic medical professionals (both mental and physical health professionals). The doctors can help determine if they could be a medical reason, and the priest can address the other concerns including the spiritual ones. He can then give his advice in the matter, and whether he thinks a purposeful and long-term "periodic continence" (a far better term than NFP, which makes this seem like "Catholic Contraception") is justified.

To be clear, however, this is not the priest's job to "approve" or "permit" such a practice. It is the couple's decision to make based on their own conscience, which should be made with the advice of their priest to help ensure the proper motives.

Obviously for any spiritual or higher motive periodic continence for short periods is fine. To forego sexual intercourse on Good Friday, during Holy Week or Passiontide or Lent by a mutual decision as a means of doing some mutual penance and devoting oneself to more prayer (so long as there is no increased risk of incontinence), is a laudable and good thing. To decide that we are going to intentionally try to avoid having children for the next X months, or years, or for the remainder of our marriage is a far different thing.

The latter being much more of a risk of being decided on bad motives, and more likely to undermine the primary end of marriage, it requires a far more clear and grave motive.

Those reasons may not be rare, but still must be proportional to that risk of abuse, so fairly serious.

Like any serious decision that creates a long-term effect, it is necessary to occasionally review the situation and re-evaluate the decision, changing it if the circumstances have changed or the cause is gone.
[-] The following 3 users Like MagisterMusicae's post:
  • jovan66102, Markie Boy, mpk1987
Reply
#9
We are in our 40's and have four children. Our last was the result of us starting to use NFP - and what a blessing that child is!

However the pregnancy caused so much emotional distress it nearly ended our marriage. This combined with the fact that we have just enough income to make ends meet, and I already feel I don't have enough time for our kids, has me pause.

I feel using nothing artificial and just avoiding fertile windows we still could conceive. My wife feels it's like birth control and we should treat all times as equal.

Our local priest is not our favorite council as he's pretty accommodating of the world, and we both prefer more traditional and higher calling type advice.
Reply
#10
(08-11-2018, 07:49 AM)Markie Boy Wrote: Our local priest is not our favorite council as he's pretty accommodating of the world, and we both prefer more traditional and higher calling type advice.

Then find a non-local priest whom you think you could ask to help you properly evaluate this.

I would say, however, that if your wife is not in favor of periodic continence, and you are, should give you pause. Perhaps she misunderstands things, but she seems willing to make the sacrifice to continue normal relations. That should make you, perhaps, evaluate whether your concerns are objectively correct.

While the reasons are not per se bad, at least some seem a bit subjective and possibly open to abuse. The idea of "just enough income" is often not a matter of having a certain amount of money, but of maintaining a particular level of lifestyle. Perhaps not for you, but often by turning toward more reusable things, or buying more high-quality and less frequently versus low-quality items more frequently, using hand-me-downs with the children, looking for low-expense activities, and making the children take part in saving and working towards their future, you can actually afford far more than you would initially think.

As regards time with the children, the focus often is not time but using that time well. Coming home and having a good family dinner, checking in on their homework and studies, coming for the most important of their activities, and at least some play with them is more than sufficient. Often again, "not enough time" happens when we do not use the time we have well, rather than in fact not having the actual time.

The emotional stress is to be expected, but actually the more important in this situation, in my view. That is something a good priest could assist you with as well. Perhaps this and the ill effect it would have on the marriage and children is justification, but perhaps it's a matter of a more supernatural view and a plan for a better spiritual life in marriage would help reduce this problem.

That is not to say that the use of periodic continence would not be justified, but those are the deeper question you need to study. If you study them and take the advice of a good priest, then you could make a decision with a clear conscience. If you, instead, just bring up these "issues" but never evaluate them properly, you risk justifying the use to yourself without every really seeing whether these reasons are serious or not.
[-] The following 3 users Like MagisterMusicae's post:
  • jovan66102, mpk1987, SacraCor714
Reply




Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)