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April 05, 2007

Comments

No Slant

Many people who are in monogamous lifelong commitments use contraceptives too.

SDG

Many people who are in monogamous lifelong commitments use contraceptives too.

No doubt -- but percentage-wise, divorce and infidelity occur much more frequently among users of contraception than among practitioners of NFP.

JoAnna

Many people who are in monogamous lifelong commitments use contraceptives too.

And I find that really sad and unfortunate.

IMO, using contraception in marriage is telling your spouse, "I want to withhold a vital part of myself from you. I give you all that I am except my fertility, because I don't trust you enough to work with me to plan our family."

I was on the Pill for the first two years of our (Lutheran) marriage. Once we started looking into Catholicism, I studied up on NFP and we decided to completely forgo contraceptives. Our sex life VASTLY improved and so did our marriage.

And now we have our daughter, who was conceived ten minutes after we decided to "try to whatever." :P If I'd been on the Pill, her conception wouldn't have been possible and we would have missed out on the biggest blessing of our lives.

No Slant

No doubt -- but percentage-wise, divorce and infidelity occur much more frequently among users of contraception than among practitioners of NFP.

It depends on which study you read.

SDG

It depends on which study you read.

I really don't think that's true. You can certainly debate correlation vs. causation -- does contraception itself have a noxious effect on marital success, or is it rather that highly motivated couples willing to make the commitment to use NFP are also the same couples who are more likely to stay faithful and committed in the first place? AFAIK, though, the correlation itself is pretty well established.

JoAnna

It depends on which study you read.

Really? Which ones have YOU read that say otherwise?

From here:

M. Peter McCusker, 1977, "NFP and the marital relationship: the Catholic University of America Study" in the International Review of Natural Family Planning, (1:4) 331-40. McCusker surveyed 98 couples with a 41-item questionnaire including nine open-ended questions to permit maximum freedom for the respondents. He wrote, "The investigator concluded that fertility-awareness methods of natural family planning were perceived as contributing positively to the marital relationship by 98 married couples who had used natural methods for an average of 1.76 years at the time of the study" (334).

Joseph Tortorici, 1979, "Conception Regulation, self-esteem, and marital satisfaction among Catholic couples: Michigan State University study," IRNFP, (III:3) 191-205. This researcher used standardized instruments to measure self-esteem and marital satisfaction among 45 Catholic couples using various methods of conceptionregulation. Tortorici concluded, "Catholic couples in this study who are at present using natural methods of conception regulation demonstrate higher levels of self- esteem than do couples, grouped as a whole, who are using other methods.... Catholic couples who use natural methods demonstrate higher levels of marital satisfaction than do couples who are using other methods of conception regulation" (197-198).

Thomasina Borkman, 1979, "A social-science perspective of research issues for natural family planning," IRNFP, (III: 4) 331-355 including almost five pages of notes and references. Author states a subjective thesis and a related hypothesis "that in order to increase the acceptability of NFP an explicitly positive, value-oriented model of NFP needs to be taught to potential users" (341).

If you'll follow the above link, you'll also read the results of surveys CCLI has conducted among their teaching couples.

As of December 11, 1995, the League has certified 1098 Teaching Couples since its origin in 1971. Of these, we are aware of 15 who have divorced. That yields a divorce rate of 1.4% among this select group.

No Slant

For example, Klann et al. 1988 found that couples with long NFP experience and NFP beginners have nearly the same degree of well-being between the partners, whereas couples who have just passed the learning phase show more ill-feeling between husband and wife.

And Bovens 2006 found "the rhythm method may well be responsible for a much higher number of embryonic deaths than some other contraceptive techniques."

Dr. Eric

It's worked so far for us since our 4th child was born in October of 2005 and no pregnancies since then.

paul f

No Slant,

Neither of those studies even comes close to backing up your implied claim that NFP does NOT lead to lower divorce rates.

Aside from not establishing what you promised it would, the first study you mentioned obviously suffers from a subjective measure of "well-being between husband and wife". (Also: more ill-feeling than what? or whom?)

And the second study is just completely off topic. Additionally, "may well be" is not "is". Lastly, how could NFP lead to more embryonic deaths in any other way than through just leading to more conceptions? Isn't that just plainly obvious?

JoAnna

For example, Klann et al. 1988 found that couples with long NFP experience and NFP beginners have nearly the same degree of well-being between the partners, whereas couples who have just passed the learning phase show more ill-feeling between husband and wife.

And Bovens 2006 found "the rhythm method may well be responsible for a much higher number of embryonic deaths than some other contraceptive techniques."

Please give full citations for your sources so I can view these claims in context.

With your first source, so what? We're talking divorce rates here, not "ill feelings" toward one another. (I love my husband dearly, but I often have ill feelings toward him! :P)

As to your second source, NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING IS NOT THE RHYTHM METHOD so it has no relevance to the subject whatsoever.

Blaine

Great Blog Entry!

The marriage act with NFP is a million times more exciting than with contraceptives -- because you practice self control. You also think about what your doing -- it isn't mindless/meaningless. You also communicate more -- what we hear most women complaining about is a lack of communication.

Chesterton said something like: practicing virtue these days has all the thrill that vice pretends to have.

SDG

No-Slant, I'm not sure I even understand the words that are coming out of your mouth.

For example, Klann et al. 1988 found that couples with long NFP experience and NFP beginners have nearly the same degree of well-being between the partners

As each other, or compared to some third group, such as contracepting partners?

whereas couples who have just passed the learning phase show more ill-feeling between husband and wife.

Again, compared to whom? Granting for the sake of argument that couples who have just completed a course on NFP may be more stressed than couples who are just beginning or couples who are long-time practitioners, what on earth does that have to do with the much higher rates of divorce among contracepting couples?

And Bovens 2006 found "the rhythm method may well be responsible for a much higher number of embryonic deaths than some other contraceptive techniques."

As nearly as I can determine, that is crap.

As quoted, it would lead you to think that NFP is actually killing babies who would live if the couple were practicing contraception. What it really means, apparently, is that NFP could theoretically be allowing embryos to be conceived on the edges of the fertility cycle, when they are least likely to implant and survive, whereas other methods might prevent those embryos from being conceived in the first place.

There are at least three problems with this.

First, it is just speculation; there is no way to measure embryos that are conceived but don't implant.

Second, I can't see that anyone involved -- mother, father, or embryo -- is worse off for an embryo being conceived and failing to implant than if the embryo were never conceived in the first place.

Third, it is hormonal methods contraception, such as the Pill, that actually kill babies who managed to be conceived while the method is being practiced, by altering the uterine environment and making it more difficult for the embryo to implant. NFP does not alter the uterine environment, and does not kill any babies at all.

No Slant

Neither of those studies even comes close to backing up your implied claim that NFP does NOT lead to lower divorce rates.

You confuse correlation with causation. The people who use NFP tend to be the ones who find it acceptable. It's a self-selecting group.

the first study you mentioned obviously suffers from a subjective measure of "well-being between husband and wife"

All studies which measure marital fidelity are subjective measures.

And the second study is just completely off topic.

Using a method that may well lead to increased deaths is not off topic in connection to a topic dealing with openness to life.

Please give full citations for your sources so I can view these claims in context.

Try Google. It works.

We're talking divorce rates here, not "ill feelings" toward one another.

We're talking more than just divorce rates. It's also about infidelity, matters of the heart and mind.

As to your second source, NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING IS NOT THE RHYTHM METHOD so it has no relevance to the subject whatsoever.

NFP is a set of methods which includes the rhythm method. The rhythm method is also mentioned in the linked article.

SDG

The people who use NFP tend to be the ones who find it acceptable. It's a self-selecting group.

True. So is the group of faithful lifelong partners. And a disproportionate percentage of the one self-selecting group overlaps with the other self-selecting group.

No Slant

what on earth does that have to do with the much higher rates of divorce among contracepting couples?

Your claim included issues of marital infidelity, and marital stress and unhappiness are oft cited factors in that regard.

First, it is just speculation; there is no way to measure embryos that are conceived but don't implant.

Does God say it's ok to disregard or downplay an avenue of investigation just because you don't know for sure?

I can't see that anyone involved -- mother, father, or embryo -- is worse off for an embryo being conceived and failing to implant than if the embryo were never conceived in the first place.

That's the "My way is ok because only a few are killed" argument. Maybe you think it's ok to kill babies.

Third, it is hormonal methods contraception, such as the Pill, that actually kill babies who managed to be conceived while the method is being practiced

I'm not advocating anyone do that either.

No Slant

And a disproportionate percentage of the one self-selecting group overlaps with the other self-selecting group.

Unless there's causation and not just correlation, your issue of no consequence.

Dr. Eric

No Slant,

Are you advocating no regulation of births whatsoever?

Or are you advocating artificial contraceptives such as barrier methods?

JimmyV

SDG,

I couldn't help but fisk this article on my blog. In doing so, I noticed a few accurate paragraphs and I am thankful that they made it to press.

Praying for they day when the Truth of the Body is embraced by all.

No Slant

Are you advocating no regulation of births whatsoever?

Some people do advocate that. But I'm not here to advocate one way or the other, or to say what's natural and what isn't. Some couples find abstaining from sex during the woman's periods of peak sexual desire to be deeply frustrating for both partners, with resulting feelings of isolation, while others call that "natural."

SDG

Your claim included issues of marital infidelity, and marital stress and unhappiness are oft cited factors in that regard.

Since AFAICT you haven't yet clarified who is being compared to whom, no meaningful conclusion can be drawn. All you've said so far, AFAICT, is that and new NFP students and longtime practitioners have less stress than those who've just completed training. I can't see that you are even pretending to provide apples-to-apples data on NFP practitioners vs. contracepters.

Does God say it's ok to disregard or downplay an avenue of investigation just because you don't know for sure?

I am trying to engage your POV; comments like this suggest you may not be trying to engage mine.

I'm not "downplaying" anything. I'm pointing out that there is no "avenue of investigation." If anyone proposes a method of actually investigating here, I'm all ears.

That's the "My way is ok because only a few are killed" argument. Maybe you think it's ok to kill babies.

Can you or can't you make your argument without smearing and distorting? Do you or do you not understand the difference between causing the death of a life that would otherwise survive (the Pill) and merely not preventing a life that might have a decreased chance of survival (as is argued in the case of NFP)? Is it your contention that the word "kill" applies equally in these two cases?

Unless there's causation and not just correlation, your issue of no consequence.

That depends on what you mean. If I were arguing "So therefore use NFP and save your marriage," you might be correct, but I haven't made that argument. I'm simply saying that NFP is disproporationately chosen by couples with healthy marriages.

That said, even correlation can be a cause of satisfaction and comfort to the one group, and discomfort and unease to the other. Couples who use NFP frequently take great satisfaction in not contracepting. Contracepting couples lack this benefit, and somehow I doubt contraception has corresponding benefits of its own.

John

No slant stated:

"Are you advocating no regulation of births whatsoever?

Some people do advocate that. But I'm not here to advocate one way or the other, or to say what's natural and what isn't. Some couples find abstaining from sex during the woman's periods of peak sexual desire to be deeply frustrating for both partners, with resulting feelings of isolation, while others call that "natural."

Well no slant, welcome (hopefully) to being a catholic, a faith where sacrifice today hopefully leads to salvation afterwards. If I read your post correct, for that matter, why not indulge oneself with all of the worlds goodies

Sexual relations between partners, married that is, if one took a good pre-cana class, is for the population of heaven and procreation, not pleasure, though we also get that as well

If you have any issues with that, blame Adam and Eve and with respect to birth control Sodom and Gommorah as the mans "seed" is not to be wasted, hence why pleasuring ones self is also a mortal sin, at least it was before the Catholic reformation of 1962-65.

Noah Nehm

"Modified Rhythm Method Shown to Be as Effective as the Pill—But Who Has That Kind of Self-Control?"

This is a frightenly similar argument to that of the Jihadist who insists that because men have little self-control a woman must be covered from head to toe.

bill912

"All studies which measure marital fidelity are subjective measures."

Nonsense. "I had sex with someone other than my spouse x-number of times" is a measurable statement of fact; "well-being between husband and wife" is subjective.

"Try google; it works."

Lazy cop-out. You made the claim. Back it up yourself or admit you can't.

paul f

Neither of those studies even comes close to backing up your implied claim that NFP does NOT lead to lower divorce rates.

You confuse correlation with causation. The people who use NFP tend to be the ones who find it acceptable. It's a self-selecting group.

Actually, if you look at what I said, you'll see that I did no such thing. You implicitly made the claim that NFP did not lead to fewer divorces and that there were studies to back up this assertion, but then presented arguments that did not support your claim. I never made a claim either way on the topic, I just stated the obvious, which is that your "sources" did not do what you claimed they did.

Furthermore, I agree that the issue of your second "source" is an important one, but again, it was out of the scope of the conversation at the time. You made a claim about available studies and then pointed to a study that, while interesting, did not back up your claim.

You must keep in mind that no one here is an idiot and everyone understands (and has heard repeatedly) the argument about selection bias. EVEN SO, most people familiar enough with NFP to support its use realize that the benefits that it reaps in terms of intimacy and communication strengthen probably-already-stronger marriages.

I have to admit that I'm a little confused about how anyone can argue against the use of the word "natural" in natural family planning. It involves observing and understanding natural phenomena that occur within our bodies. Nothing about it is artificial or man-made. How is it anything BUT natural?

Also, an embryo dying is remarkably different from an embryo being killed. If you don't understand that difference, and you don't understand logic well enough to know why those two "sources" you cited did not do what you claimed they did, then I'm afraid to say that you are not-well-enough-prepared to have this conversation.

Tim J.

No Slant, your continually shifting frames of reference suggest a kind of fevered effort at self justification.

Does natural mean "whatever FEELS natural to ME"?

If so, there is no sexual aberration that can't be justified.

SDG

Lazy cop-out. You made the claim. Back it up yourself or admit you can't.

FWIW, bill912, I Googled No-Slant's quotation and found the source. I also argued above that the article doesn't support the claim the quotation seems to make (and that No-Slant explicitly extrapolates from it).

Mike Petrik

John,

Vatican II was not a "Catholic reformation," and it did not change Catholic teaching re masturbation.

And pleasure is a natural part of the unitive nature of the sex act, which joins the procreative nature as co-equal purposes. This is Catholic teaching too. As noted in the Catechism, "The Creator himself . . . established that in the [generative] function, spouses should experience pleasure and enjoyment of body and spirit. Therefore, the spouses do nothing evil in seeking this pleasure and enjoyment. They accept what the Creator has intended for them." Pius XII, Discourse, October 29,1951.

No Slant,

Your original post quite plainly stated that at least one study contradicted SDG's statement that "percentage-wise, divorce and infidelity occur much more frequently among users of contraception than among practitioners of NFP." As SDG then promptly pointed out, his statement did not prove distill the particulars of causation versus correlation, but he did stand by the association as expressed in his statement. You have since dissembled into an argument about causation and correlation, but have still not cited one study contradicting SDG's statement.

Newt

"IMO, using contraception in marriage is telling your spouse, "I want to withhold a vital part of myself from you. I give you all that I am except my fertility, because I don't trust you enough to work with me to plan our family.""

That makes just about no sense because couples that use NFP are also withholding part of their fertility because they are waiting until the woman is in an infertile part of her cycle.

JoAnna

That makes just about no sense because couples that use NFP are also withholding part of their fertility because they are waiting until the woman is in an infertile part of her cycle.

I disagree. With NFP, a husband and wife prayerfully and mutually consent to abstain from intercourse for a short period of time. One is not witholding anything from the other.

As St. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7:5, "Do not deprive each other, except perhaps by mutual consent for a time, to be free for prayer, but then return to one another, so that Satan may not tempt you through your lack of self-control."

NFP works with God's design for one's body, not against it, as artificial birth control does.

No Slant - you quoted the studies. The burden of proof is on you to provide the source material. Try Google, I've heard it works.

John - you got it all right except for the last part of your post.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

By masturbation is to be understood the deliberate stimulation of the genital organs in order to derive sexual pleasure. "Both the Magisterium of the Church, in the course of a constant tradition, and the moral sense of the faithful have been in no doubt and have firmly maintained that masturbation is an intrinsically and gravely disordered action." "The deliberate use of the sexual faculty, for whatever reason, outside of marriage is essentially contrary to its purpose." For here sexual pleasure is sought outside of "the sexual relationship which is demanded by the moral order and in which the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love is achieved."

SDG

That makes just about no sense because couples that use NFP are also withholding part of their fertility because they are waiting until the woman is in an infertile part of her cycle.

What this misses is that every conjugal act is a renewal of the marital covenant, and as such must be complete and total, holding nothing back. It's one thing to decide to spend 10 evenings out of the month reading, watching television, gardening or whatever. It's quite another to say "I want to be fully united with you tonight, except not really," which is what contraception does.

No Slant

I'm pointing out that there is no "avenue of investigation." If anyone proposes a method of actually investigating here, I'm all ears.

If someone tells you your daughter "may well" be killed if you engage in a certain behavior, do you just flap your arms and say "Well, if someone else proposes a method of actually investigating that, I'm all ears, but otherwise I'm just going to do that behavior anyway" ?

Do you or do you not understand the difference between actively killing (the Pill) and allowing life that may not survive (as is argued in the case of NFP)?

The researcher's point was that some forms of NFP may increase the number of embryonic deaths. No, he doesn't know that for certain, but he thinks it's not something to dismiss. Your choice to dismiss it is not passive. It's active.

His point is also that forms of NFP will result in embryonic death if engaged in. You seem to suggest that some embryonic death is acceptable. It's like saying, "It's ok if my choice of birth control allows some of my children to die while I enjoy the carnival. After all, I'm not actively killing them face to face. Instead, I'm just allowing them to die as a result of my active choices."

I'm simply saying that NFP is disproporationately chosen by couples with healthy marriages.

And I'm saying what of it? Correlation is not evidence of causation or effect.

even correlation can be a cause of satisfaction and comfort to the one group, and discomfort and unease to the other

Why should it be of any comfort or discomfort without evidence of consequence?

Couples who use NFP frequently take great satisfaction in not contracepting. Contracepting couples lack this benefit, and somehow I doubt contraception has corresponding benefits of its own.

You're kidding yourself. Couples who don't use NFP frequently express great satisfaction as well. And couples who use other forms of contraception have benefits that NFP users do not.

somehow I doubt contraception has corresponding benefits of its own.

Contraception allows people to have sex every day of the year. It's not affected by cold medicines, irregular sleep, shift work, etc. It also can protect against certain diseases, whereas NFP is unprotected sex. That may not be important to you, but it is to millions of people.

Mike Petrik

John was wrong on his description of the purpose of the sex act, too.

Jeff Miller

The other day when John Billings who was the creator of the Billings Ovulation Method dies they ran the headline.

"Founder of contraceptive method dies"

And wouldn't you know it they referred to it as "Vatican Roulette."

Of course not mention is ever made that the method can be used to achieve pregnancy for those couples having a hard time conceiving.

Michelle

MSNBC had an article from Reuters on the same study a while back which I found interesting. The link is http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17282285/

Most interesting to me was the fact that the unplanned pregnancy rate was lower in women who abstained from intercourse during the fertile period versus those who used a barrier method during the fertile period.

I think there are many benefits to NFP, including assisting in building a great relationship between spouses, as JoAnna pointed out. My husband and I have also found it very helpful in diagnosing infertility problems.

Tim J.

"Contraception allows people to have sex every day of the year. It's not affected by cold medicines, irregular sleep, shift work, etc..."

Unless you count antibiotics.

"It also can protect against certain diseases, whereas NFP is unprotected sex."

Lifelong monogamy is the only safe sex.

JoAnna

Contraception allows people to have sex every day of the year. It's not affected by cold medicines, irregular sleep, shift work, etc. It also can protect against certain diseases, whereas NFP is unprotected sex. That may not be important to you, but it is to millions of people.

NFP certainly does help protect against diseases, because its very nature encourages serial monogomy, which cuts down on STDs.

Be that as it may, the other method of "birth control" that the Church approves is 100% effective against preventing STDs: abstinence. No other preventative STD method can claim that success rate!

Believe it or not, the Pill can be affected by certain medications, shift work, etc. When I took medication for a UTI back when I was on the Pill, I was warned that the meds I was taking would interefere with my BCPs and that we should use condoms for a while. That wouldn't have been an issue with NFP. As to shift work, it could be easy to get your days/nights mixed up, say on the weekend, and accidentally skip a pill. With NFP, if you skip a temp it's not necessarily a big deal; you just may need to wait an extra day or so to confirm ovulation.

And No Slant, why is it a good thing "to have sex every day of the year"? (I would be EXHAUSTED!) Doesn't that so-called "freedom" actually encourage infidelity? Doesn't that so-called "freedom" actually encourage a husband to look at his wife solely as a means for pleasure instead of a partner in life? If you can have sex 24/7/365, what happens when one partner wants sex ALL THE TIME and the other doesn't?

I highly recommend that you read Janet Smith's ""Contraception:">http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/sexuality/se0002.html">"Contraception: Why Not?" Here's an excerpt:

The second reason that couples are afraid is the abstinence that is required. They think the abstinence will just be too hard. It's mostly the women who are afraid of it and they're afraid of it because of the males. They think, “My husband will get too irritable, he'll get too grumpy. He'll be removed and distant and won't be affectionate and will stay away from me during that time. And, how will we make up our fights? And, how will we talk? And I'm nervous about what's going to happen.” Men think they will feel greatly deprived. “Who can go that long; who can go seven to twelve days. It's not right. That's not what I got married for.” These fears are most common among those who have contracepted before marriage. Those who have used contraception before marriage and used contraception within marriage are very frightened of the abstinence because sex has become key to their relationship. They think that when you take the sex out of a relationship, where's the love going to be? Where's the intimacy going to be?

Couples who've abstained before marriage, have little or no problem with Natural Family Planning. Little or no problem. In fact, they think that abstinence is a way of expressing love. It's not this huge deprivation. The reason that they abstained before marriage was not because they weren't attracted to each other, not because the hormones weren't raging, but because they loved each other. They said, “I'm not going to have sex with you before marriage because I love you. I don't want to hurt you. I don't want to have a stronger commitment than I've made here. I don't want to put us in danger of having a baby when we haven't really prepared for that baby. Marriage is preparation for those bonds and marriage is preparation for that baby. And I love you and I can wait. That's how much I love you.” Within marriage, abstinence has that same aspect. “It's not a good idea for us to have a child right now. We can abstain. We did it before. We know how to show our affection at this time. We know how to be loving to each other at this time because we've done it before.” And they can do it.

No Slant

The burden of proof is on you to provide the source material.

Author and year have already been provided, probably links too.

have still not cited one study contradicting SDG's statement.

I said it depends on which study you read. SDG has shown no study that shows "infidelity occurs much more frequently among users of contraception than among practitioners of NFP." And no study can legitimately demonstrate that. Infidelity is an affair, often completely private, that no study can genuinely measure.

NFP works with God's design for one's body, not against it, as artificial birth control does.

NFP can be misused like anything else.

Lifelong monogamy is the only safe sex.

You can practice lifelong monogamy all you want. But that doesn't mean your partner can or does.

David B. {Mithrandir}

"You can practice lifelong monogamy all you want. But that doesn't mean your partner can or does."

What? So you're saying what's good for the goose isn't good/possible for the gander?

M.Z. Forrest

What a twisted world we live in when checking the woman's temperature is an integral part of the sex act. Maybe tonight I'll do an unnatural thing and not involve a thermometer in foreplay.

JohnH

If someone tells you your daughter "may well" be killed if you engage in a certain behavior, do you just flap your arms and say "Well, if someone else proposes a method of actually investigating that, I'm all ears, but otherwise I'm just going to do that behavior anyway" ?

My daughter 'may well' be killed by me driving her to the store. Does that mean that I need to never let her leave the house?

JohnH

MZ - nobody has ever claimed that checking a woman's temperature is "an intergral part of the sex act."

Patrick

Well Catholics use "artificial" birth control as much as anyone else. So who cares anyway?

SDG

If someone tells you your daughter "may well" be killed if you engage in a certain behavior, do you just flap your arms and say "Well, if someone else proposes a method of actually investigating that, I'm all ears, but otherwise I'm just going to do that behavior anyway" ?

"No Slant," you've just officially lost the benefit of the doubt. I can talk to you, but I can't stop you talking past me if that's what you're determined to do. You aren't discursing, you're trolling. If you can't critique your own sentence above and ascertain why it's irrelevant to what I said, after I and others have taken the trouble to point it out, you aren't worth talking to.

You're kidding yourself. Couples who don't use NFP frequently express great satisfaction as well.

That is not what I said. Does anyone feel closer or more intimate with his or her spouse because they use a condom? Because couples who practice NFP do find that it brings them closer together.

No Slant

NFP certainly does help protect against diseases, because its very nature encourages serial monogomy, which cuts down on STDs.

Just because the wife (and/or husband) is practicing NFP doesn't mean the husband isn't having an affair. It might even drive some to have an affair.

the other method of "birth control" that the Church approves is 100% effective against preventing STDs: abstinence.

You can still get STDs even if you're abstinent. It is though much less likely. Except when you read some of the studies of teens who pledge abstinence only to end up having all the more risky sex.

Believe it or not, the Pill can be affected by certain medications, shift work, etc.

That's correct, but it doesn't mean one would have to rely on the Pill alone. There are other forms of contraception which don't care what medication you're taking or what shift you work.

With NFP, if you skip a temp it's not necessarily a big deal; you just may need to wait an extra day or so to confirm ovulation.

Or you just play Vatican roulette ;) and take your chances.

why is it a good thing "to have sex every day of the year"?

It's not that you have to, but that you could. Every day. Any day.

Doesn't that so-called "freedom" actually encourage a husband to look at his wife solely as a means for pleasure instead of a partner in life?

I think "solely as a means for pleasure" is an extreme. It may be more apt to say "potentially as a co-participant for a variety of reasons," of which pleasure is one.

Couples who've abstained before marriage, have little or no problem with Natural Family Planning.

Then the reality is most couples would have problems with NFP because most have not abstained before marriage. You might as well be talking a foreign language to them.

The reason that they abstained before marriage was not because they weren't attracted to each other, not because the hormones weren't raging, but because they loved each other.

That's but one reason why some have abstained before marriage. Others may simply have been confused, afraid, mistreated, or it may not have been socially opportune, or whatever. People are alike and not alike. Trying to play up the former while ignoring the latter may be well intended but is not genuine.

What? So you're saying what's good for the goose isn't good/possible for the gander?

STDs aren't good for goose or gander. Whether monogamy is possible for the gander isn't up to the goose.

My daughter 'may well' be killed by me driving her to the store. Does that mean that I need to never let her leave the house?

Is it necessary that you expose her to that risk? Is it just for pleasure? Did God command you to do it? Is there a less risky alternative?

No Slant

If you can't critique your own sentence above and ascertain why it's irrelevant to what I said, after I and others have taken the trouble to point it out, you aren't worth talking to.

It's your opinion that it's irrelevant. Opinions differ according to the nature of the individual and according to the surroundings.

Does anyone feel closer or more intimate with his or her spouse because they use a condom? Because couples who practice NFP do find that it brings them closer together.

They might feel closer having sex with a condom than watching TV, eating junk food or many other things. Or they might not.

bill912

"You can still get STDs even if you're abstinent."

LOL! You can get a *sexually* transmitted disease without having sex!

Atleast No Slant is amusing!

EileenR

bill, he probably goes to my campus health centre which says the same thing. Of course, then I discovered that what they meant by abstinence was not engaging in complete sexual intercourse. They counted coitus interuptus, oral sex, anal sex, and mutual masturbation as abstinence.

That's enough of the nasty stuff for me today. Now to have a family dinner to celebrate Holy Thursday and then to Mass.

bill912

Isn't that like dieting by giving up cake and pigging out on ice cream?

Tim J.

"Just because the wife (and/or husband) is practicing NFP doesn't mean the husband isn't having an affair. It might even drive some to have an affair."

Oooh, nothing like trust in a relationship, eh? Is that how users of artificial birth control relate to one another? No wonder they have a higher divorce rate!

"You can still get STDs even if you're abstinent. It is though much less likely."

Like astronomically less likely, and in the strict sense, it is impossible to get a "sexually transmitted" disease if you don't have sex.

"Except when you read some of the studies of teens who pledge abstinence only to end up having all the more risky sex."

Well, that depends on which study you read. ;-) And OF COURSE, the abstinence pledge must be CAUSING these kids to have sex. Lame.

"Or you just play Vatican roulette ;) and take your chances."

Or you could use NFP and have even odds with any artificial method.

"... but that you could (have sex) Every day. Any day."

ALSO, I just discovered that I can EAT whatever I want, any time I want, as MUCH as I want and not gain weight! I just stick my finger down my throat and throw up. So much more natural than the periodic abstinence from food that these restrictive religions insist on!

"...most couples would have problems with NFP because most have not abstained before marriage. You might as well be talking a foreign language to them."

Yeah. Might as well forget monogamous marriage, too... (whines)...it's just too HARD! I'm not USED to it!

"Others may simply have been confused, afraid, mistreated, or it may not have been socially opportune, or whatever."

Translation; If you don't have sex before marriage, you are likely a weirdo and a misfit.

"STDs aren't good for goose or gander. Whether monogamy is possible for the gander isn't up to the goose."

Translation; You can't trust your spouse.

"Is it necessary that you expose her to that risk? Is it just for pleasure? Did God command you to do it? Is there a less risky alternative?"

Right, because everyone knows a trip to the store is as risky as a demolition derby. I mean, they both involve cars.

"NFP can be misused like anything else."

You're missing the point. I's not that NFP can be used illegitimately, it's that Artifical Birth Control can never be used legitimately.

SDG

It's your opinion that it's irrelevant.

No. It's inexorable logic. The question you are asking is "What if action X might kill your actual daughter?" The real question is "What if action X might not prevent the conception of a daughter who wouldn't survive beyond a few cells, whereas action Y might prevent her ever existing?" That those are two different questions is not a matter of opinion, and that you can't or won't see the difference is why you are failing to engage the subject at hand.

SchuBob

I wonder???

No Slant = Realist


SchuBob

Eileen R

bill:
Isn't that like dieting by giving up cake and pigging out on ice cream?

A bit more like dieting by eating cake and then vomiting up, to be honest. :-(

No, I don't really think it's Realist. Realist is too attached to this odd quasi-established relationship he has with all of us, plus he never comments without bringing the subject back to the historical Jesus.

Jami

My husband and I wrote an article a couple of years ago when we were engaged detailing our experience of learning the natural methods of family planning. We found that learning them was very beneficial for our relationship, and putting NFP into practice in our marriage has been even more so. If one uses NFP, it's easy to understand why couples who use it have a much lower divorce rate. It's pro-woman, pro-child, pro-husband and pro-family. Anyway, here's the link to the article if you're interested. http://spokanecatholic.com/article.asp?nArticleID=2

John

Mike Petrik posted:

John,

Vatican II was not a "Catholic reformation," and it did not change Catholic teaching re masturbation."

No you are correct, but the sacrament of marriage, along with all other sacraments were changed after Vatican II

The second Vatican council changed the theology of Marriage as it pertains to the two ends of Marriage.

The church before Vatican II (traditional Church) taught de fide that: 'The primary end of Marriage is the procreation and education of offspring, while its secondary purposes are mutual help and the allaying (also translated 'as a remedy for') concupiscence. The latter are entirely subordinate to the former.'

When the church teaches something is de fide, then all Catholics must believe this to be true. Vatican II however then taught that the two ends of Marriage are equal, and further states the secondary end before the primary one.

With the traditional teaching married couples whose love for any reason had grown cold, still stayed together for the sake of the children. Now, should the first listed reason for Marriage no longer persist, divorce or separation is justified. No longer does the procreation and education of children come first. Additionaly, to add to this, the possibility of divorce, one of the new and post-Conciliar indications allowed by the Rota (Marriage court) is psychological immaturity. This is now actually a grounds for divorce and annulment!!

So with divorce and annulment so readily available to the Vatican II Catholic, why even worry about using birth control!

No Slant

LOL! You can get a *sexually* transmitted disease without having sex!

But many people have. From blood exposure, for example. Even newborns. "STD" is simply the name of a class of diseases. It doesn't necessitate that it must be transmitted sexually when there are other vectors.

And OF COURSE, the abstinence pledge must be CAUSING these kids to have sex. Lame.

Some people find it to be a factor. Or it could be whatever caused them to make the pledge to begin with is also involved. Many people box themselves in, or feel boxed in, and then act contrarily in response to that condition.

ALSO, I just discovered that I can EAT whatever I want, any time I want, as MUCH as I want and not gain weight! I just stick my finger down my throat and throw up. So much more natural than the periodic abstinence from food that these restrictive religions insist on!

Many people do fail on diets because in part they end up feeling deprived. Deprivation often leads to the reverse.

Yeah. Might as well forget monogamous marriage, too... (whines)...it's just too HARD! I'm not USED to it!

Some people quit smoking just like that. Others taper off. Some use patches and gums. Some sign up for classes. Some have friends to help them. Some don't. Some just can't seem to quit no matter what they try.

Translation; If you don't have sex before marriage, you are likely a weirdo and a misfit.

Many people are not conditioned to handle that.

Translation; You can't trust your spouse.

Do you trust a spouse who lacks control?

Right, because everyone knows a trip to the store is as risky as a demolition derby. I mean, they both involve cars.

No, it's because risk varies and in most cases, it's not someone else who is going to decide for you. Some people think nothing of taking a drive. And then there are people who minimize driving to minimize risk.

I's not that NFP can be used illegitimately, it's that Artifical Birth Control can never be used legitimately.

Someone who is married to a spouse with AIDS might think otherwise. Many Christians also think otherwise. It won't be you deciding what they'll do.

The question you are asking is "What if action X might kill your actual daughter?" The real question is "What if action X might not prevent the conception of a daughter who wouldn't survive beyond a few cells, whereas action Y might prevent her ever existing?"

If I'm asking a question, why don't you answer it instead of trying to tell me what my question should be?

If you don't like that question, how about telling me what is your rationale for thinking it's ok to have sex while a distinct possibility exists, and with NFP, a greater than otherwise possibility exists that you may conceive a child who would likely die soon thereafter (because you chose to have sex at a time you know would likely be deadly for the child)? In the case of NFP, is it because you value your own pleasure more than the life of a potential child?

We found that learning them was very beneficial for our relationship, and putting NFP into practice in our marriage has been even more so.

Do you think God's grace has anything to do with you finding what you found compared to what most other people find?

Dean Steinlage

NFP encourages the couple to actually talk to each other.

Jim

NFP encourages the couple to actually talk to each other.

Deciding who's turn it is to take out the trash also encourages people to talk to one another.

Dr. Eric

I wonder what the divorce rate for contracepting Orthodox Christians is.

That might settle things.

Gary

I wonder what the divorce rate for contracepting Orthodox Christians is.

Well, atheists reportedly have a lower divorce rate than Christians at large. So your question would be interesting.

skeeton

We're all deep in the weeds here. Let's pull back to 30,000 feet for a second for a big picture reality check. No Slant, are you Catholic? If so, why? You don't seem to have any respect for the Church's teaching here. If you disagree with a particular Church teaching, on sex or any other issue, it's your responsibility as a Catholic to educate yourself, pray, and try to think with the Church. This responsibility would also entail you approaching the Church's teaching with some sort of maturity, reverence and good will, none of which you seem to be exhibiting.

No Slant

It's called reverence for life. If you want to ignore the dead babies that come with choosing NFP, go ahead.

Dr. Eric

No Slant,

There are dead babies if you choose no contraception/family planning; most likely the same percentage. Your dead baby argument is a red herring.

Are you Catholic, yes or no?

SDG

Real "reverence for life" means being open even to life that may not last.

When you say "the dead babies that come with choosing NFP," you might as well say "the dead babies that come with fertility and openness to life," because the fact of reproductive life is that the reproductive process does not bring to term every zygote conceived.

To be open to life in any way, shape or form means that sometimes you will procreate life that will last only a few days. How often that happens no one knows, because there is no way to measure it. NFP does not increase the odds against any particular zygote, so there is no causality of periodic abstinence to dead babies. Your argument could not be more bogus.

The only way to prevent the "dead babies" you're speculating about would be to close the door to life by waging war against fertility in some way. In order to absolutely prevent all possibility of embryonic death, it would be necessary to sterilize everyone.

Short of sterilizing everyone, there is going to be at least some openness to life, and therefore some openness to the possibility of embryonic death that is part of reproductive life.

So, what you call "reverence for life" leads to sterility, and what you call "ignoring dead babies" is simply opennness to life. I choose life. I will not be deterred by the possibility that it may not last.

No Sainr

I'm not advocating either one.

Are you Catholic, yes or no?
Is the Pope Catholic?

Tim J.

Well, No Slant, any sex act could result in a miscarriage, so better for all of us to be celibate, eh? How could we risk ONE CHILD???

Yes. Celibacy is the only sane lifestyle. After all, you can't trust a spouse to be faithful, and you can't trust God to come up with a sensible method of procreation that doesn't result in millions of spontaneous miscarriages every year.

WHY IS IT that I have such a hard time believing that this line of reasoning (in support of introducing latex and chemicals into the sex act) does not genuinely spring from a burning concern for the unborn?

If you're not a Catholic and don't believe any of this, why does it irritate you so mightily for others to practice it?

If (as I think more likely) you are a nominal Catholic seeking to salve your conscience, you really need to stop being a hypocrite. If you think that Church authority is a load of hooey, have the stones to stop pretending to be a Catholic.

OR, open your mind a bit and leave a little room for the possibility that you're wrong, and that the Truth does not revolve around your felt needs at the moment. Discipline and self-denial are GOOD for you.

But as G.K. Chesterton said, "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting, it has been found difficult and left untried.".

No Slant

the fact of reproductive life is that the reproductive process does not bring to term every zygote conceived.

People who practice NFP to limit births are not seeking reproduction.

NFP does not increase the odds against any particular zygote, so there is no causality of periodic abstinence to dead babies.

NFP increases the risk with respect to zygotes on multiple grounds. One, there is zero risk to a zygote with abstinence, but the risk is not zero with NFP. And two, when NFP is practiced to limit births, sexual activity which is deliberately placed to reduce births may, according to some, increase the risk due to reduced zygote viability.

The only way to prevent the "dead babies" you're speculating about would be to close the door to life by waging war against fertility in some way

You've now begun building your strawman.

In order to absolutely prevent all possibility of embryonic death, it would be necessary to sterilize everyone.

Who is calling for extremism? You are the only one who's mentioned that. It's your strawman.

what you call "reverence for life" leads to sterility, and what you call "ignoring dead babies" is simply opennness to life.

There you go wailing against your strawman. You present me as the extremist when that is what you are doing. I haven't called for mass sterilization. I haven't advocated anyone give up NFP. Those are your bogus claims that you try to pretend like I'm making. I already told you before, I'm not advocating and I'm not buying your bull.

I will not be deterred by the possibility that it may not last.

Nope, just the unborn will be deterred.

No Slant

so better for all of us to be celibate, eh?

Paul did say it's better not to marry. But I don't say it's better for you or anyone.

WHY IS IT that I have such a hard time believing that this line of reasoning

Because it's your nature to be as you are.

why does it irritate you so mightily for others to practice it?

I'm not the least, itty bitty bit irritated. Perhaps you are expressing how YOU feel, like the other poster who builds strawmen.

I think more likely) you are a nominal Catholic seeking to salve your conscience, you really need to stop being a hypocrite.

See, you're just guessing. It's quite cute.

Discipline and self-denial are GOOD for you.

"I will not be deterred by the possibility that it may not last." LOL.

bill912

"Because it's your nature to be as you are."

I expect his next response to be: "I am rubber, you are glue; what bounces off me sticks to you."

I leave him the last word(and he won't be able to resist it).

No Slant

I expect his next response to be: "I am rubber, you are glue; what bounces off me sticks to you."

I enjoy that! Along with "I know you are, But what am I?"

I leave him the last word(and he won't be able to resist it).

Why resist? "I will not be deterred by the possibility that it may not last."

Have a Blessedly Good Friday!

Newt

"NFP works with God's design for one's body, not against it, as artificial birth control does."

It may depend on the couple. For many women, sexual interest is lower during the infertile periods, so restricting intercourse to those periods is working against God's design for the body in a similiar way to artificial birth control.

Newt

"I disagree. With NFP, a husband and wife prayerfully and mutually consent to abstain from intercourse for a short period of time. One is not witholding anything from the other."

It depends on what is meant by "witholding". Abstaining is withholding intercourse and it may be witholding fertility as well, depending on whether any form of birth control, natural or unnatural is used.


"What this misses is that every conjugal act is a renewal of the marital covenant, and as such must be complete and total, holding nothing back. It's one thing to decide to spend 10 evenings out of the month reading, watching television, gardening or whatever. It's quite another to say "I want to be fully united with you tonight, except not really," which is what contraception does."

It depends on what is meant by "fully united". If fully united means the possibility of becoming pregnant, then NFP is no better than artificial birth control because they both make the marriage act infertile.

momof6

Sorry, gotta jump back to this amazing statement:

"It also can protect against certain diseases, whereas NFP is unprotected sex."

The Pill (in all of its forms, the Shot, etc.) is technically "unprotected sex", so it does open someone to STDs, and also breast cancer, stroke, heart attack...read the literature if there is any doubt. More risk than I'm willing to take on so that I can have sex "every day, any day". And boo on my husband if this is what he would expect of me so that I can be "available". What a utilitarian relationship we would have. Yuk.

momof6

And, no slant, what happens when these folk who rely on condoms, for example, experience a "failure"? Abortion? It seems that some (most?) would abort, rather than go through the self-denial that would be required from an "unplanned pregnancy". ("but we have a trip for the Bahamas planned!") The same self-denial that the NFP folks have been practicing, and are prepared to engage should God bless them unexpectedly.

bill bannon

There are THREE groups of Catholics on this issue....not TWO....comments on divorce never ackowledge that at all and would have to follow that third group to be valid inter alia.

There are those who follow NFP.

Those who rashly disobey.

Those who dissent after study, prayer and counsel to which Lumen Gentium 25's "religious submission of mind and will" is susceptible as to the ordinary not ordinary universal magisterium (HV was introduced twice at its press conference as non infallible..the Monseignor was later reproved apparently for saying it in public but not for his content).

______________________________________________________
Indeed, had there been far more sincere dissent in the past of the ordinary magisterium, Calvin would not have had our 19th century answer on usury in 1545 A.D.(three hundred years ahead of us) and the Quakers would not have led us on the slavery issue (wherein we were against native slavery not that of Africans which our religious orders had into the 19th century).

Ergo any studies on divorce amongst Catholics around this issue is invalid if it treats only two groups...not three....and gives sample amounts that are minuscule...and does not follow the group until death when the children have long left the home.

NFP is wonderful but the original sincere dissenters were the thousands from the Family Life Movement who wrote the Birth Control Commission because they were fed up with the rythmn method which NFP people do not have to deal with. Suddenly after 1970 years we have an accurate NFP and its practioners talk as though all previous Catholics had the same reality. Until modern times, the role of the sperm and ovum were unknown and natural methods were such guesswork that Augustine became a father following the prevailing method at his time (he was later to denounce the natural methods because he and Jerome accepted the Stoic belief that pure goodness only obtained during intercourse when children were the explicit not simply allowed goal...a position rejected by the modern Popes when they accepted the natural methods in answers to dubia throughout the 19th century and in the several encyclicals of our time). Hundreds of Popes said not a thing about the issue but simply carried out the decretals of Raymond of Pennafort and others which cited fragments from the past not whole treatises. In some centuries, the Biblical word "seed" implied that the whole future person was within the male (which would make coitus interruptus graver than normal) until the Septuagint version of Exodus 21:22-27 made both Jerome and Augustine retract on the contraception as murder theme which now recurs as to the pill but not in Papal documents of highest level like section 62 of Evangelium Vitae on abortion. Those clergy and Bishops who read Theological Studies periodical know that Bernard Haring cited studies in the mid 70's allegeding that imprecise timing during the natural method's ovulation window could result in non implantation just like the pill could...a point repeated by Luc Bovens in 2006 in the Journal of Medical Ethics and disputed by some not by all....( in short, that aspect is still influx...as is the natural and high embryonic loss rates prior to implantation....Is Limbo bigger than Heaven and Hell combined?...or does the 14 days til identical twinning raise delayed ensoulement problems that discount such problems). Haring's concern was perhaps the new zeal in judging that was beginning then and had not come from the rhythm people a decade earlier.

As to constant tradition, where were the constant tradition defenders when the last Pope tried his best to undo capital punishment and husband headship...each with clearer lineages (see on husband headship...Dignitatem Mulieris, sect.24, par.3&4 and and the Theology of the Body section 89.3-4) (absent in the Catechism now, though 6 times in the NT unlike birth control). Not a well placed person seems to have said boo.

Onan? Onan was about something much more important than a sexual sin or Judah and Tamar would also have been killed (fornication and incest respectively..both condemned in the "Law" later unlike coitus interruptus which is unmentioned at all in the Law). Even if Onan had used NFP, he would have been killed: he risked the non appearance of the Messiah who had to come through one of 4 men in that family. Were he left alive by God, Tamar could have reached barrenness while he ruled out all children since some present translations follow the Septuagint " whenever Onan went in to Tamar" he wasted his seed...not once...."whenever". He intended never to have any children which invalidates a marriage in present Church law. Obviously Jewish commentators would never notice the deeper problem to Onan's sin and they would go back ond forth between levirate and coitus interruptus.... but our genealogy of Christ has Pharez as the product of Judah's and Tamar's sin and as Christ's ancestor.... given that Er, Onan and Shelah would not provide one.
People in Scripture are killed by God for sacrilege not sex....Uzzah (inadvertent sacrilege in that he tried to save the ark from damage and in touching it was killed by God); the sons of Aaron; the sons of Eli for eating the choice sacrifices; the children who taunted Elisha are killed by bears; the 70 descendants of Jechoniah; Herod in Acts 12; Ananias in Acts 5 and wife.

Sparki

Momof6 makes a good point -- with hormonal birth control, the WOMAN assumes all the physical risk of heart disease, stroke, thrombosis, cancer, liver disease, generally lower libido, etc. How does a loving husband justify putting his wife's life on the line just so he can have sex any time he wants to without fathering a child? A Real Man would get to know his wife's body, see the risks of hormonal birth control, and reasonably choose to abstain from sex for a few days each month over risking his wife's health, well-being and sexual pleasure.

When I was looking up Janet Smith's work (previously mentioned), I was completely shocked at how the first studies on hormonal birth control were done on men and women. Some of the men had testicals that shrunk while on hormonal birth control, so that part of the study was immediately ended. Can't risk a man's virility, now can we? On the female side of the study, six women actually DIED, but all they did was tweak the amount of hormones they were giving the women and carry on.

That shows you how anti-female the creators of modern birth control are. Even with FDA warnings that the birth control patch increases the risk of death, the mnfctr is still making that product and, apparently, giggling all the way to the bank. Never mind the beautiful 18-year-old girl who now lies in a coffin...Never mind the young mother who never will see her kids grow up...

I thank God that my husband cares enough about my long-term health that he doesn't want me on any form of hormonal birth control. And NFP is so easy, convenient, cheap and inspiring, there simply isn't a need for barriers between us. Why would I want to be seperated from my husband during an act that is supposed to be the ultimate unity?

M.Z. Forrest

Why be seperated period? The peoples of the world were able to progogate and even have "happy marriages" before NFP was "95%+ effective against children", so why bother with it? At one time I had a far more permissive view of NFP. The more I hear people discuss it, the more I'm convinced its spiritual poison.

A.Williams

Bill,
Thanks for the detailed post, above. It's loaded with excellent topics for further study!

Dr. Eric

Bill Bannon raises many good points. I will address one.

The Fathers were UNANIMOUS in their condemnation of any sexual act that did not result in pregnancy. This means that even sex during pregnancy, after menopause, or NFP. These practices were condemned by them all.

It wasn't until St. John Chrysostom that sex during pregnancy and after menopause were allowed.

How do we reconcile this? How do the Orthodox?

Development of Doctrine..... even the Orthodox admit DoD on this one.

The peoples of the world were able to progogate and even have "happy marriages" before NFP was "95%+ effective against children", so why bother with it?

Back in the good old days, people had more disease and more infant death. A modern couple could wind up with twenty children where they would only have had four or five living past infancy had they lived six hundred years ago given the same number of randomly-spaced sexual acts.

Dr. Eric

Sorry, bold off!

Dr. Eric

Dr. Eric

The above comment was not mine at 7:03:05 am.

JoAnna

Bill Bannon --

Regardless of your personal views on contraception, the Catholic Church has authortatively stated that contraception is intrinsically evil, and that Catholics who have just reasons may use NFP to space their families.

If you disagree, then you need to engage in research, prayer, study, and reflection about the matter while still submitting to the Church's authority.

christopher

Since I wrote the article, I'd like to address the charge that the article was slanted: as a journalist, it's my job to report the opinions of qualified experts on contraversial issues.

The headline was written to reflect the doubts about NFP that were expressed by some of the experts I consulted, which included a well known and well respected Ob/Gyn and a representative of a well known and well respectid NGO that deals with birth control in the developing world.

It was pretty clear to me that just about everyone I talked to (besides the Ob/Gyn) had an agenda, and so I tried to balance their claims in both the headline and the article. Hence the positive opening of the headline - "NFP as effective as the pill" and the caveat that was brought up by folks who weren't already advocates for NFP "--but who has that kind of self control?"

I tried to make the second half of the headline a little cheeky so as to blunt the criticism. And, frankly, I think I did a pretty good job of letting the experts speak for themselves--those are their opinions, not mine.

If you'd like some completely uncritical coverage of this finding, there was plenty of it--and in my opinion, none of the authors of these rather superficial, often single-source stories did a very thorough job of covering the phenomenon:

http://news.scotsman.com/topics.cfm?tid=1418&id=277082007
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/6375261.stm
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medicalnews.php?newsid=63567

bill bannon

JoAnna
What you are trying to say is that one must follow sincere conscience (ccc #1790) but one's studying and prayerful conscience must conform to Rome or be non Catholic. That is only true of the abortion issue which alone is infallibly defined clearly in Evangelium Vitae sect.62..so as to pass muster under Canon Laws 751 and 749-3:

Can. 751 Heresy is the obstinate denial or obstinate doubt after the reception of baptism of some truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith.

Canon 749-3. "No doctrine is understood as defined infallibly unless this is manifestly evident."

Birth control does not pass muster under canon 749-3 and abortion passes both canons...birth control doesn't since hundreds of theologians dissented from Humanae Vitae and went unprosecuted for same; Humanae Vitae's own press conference twice stated it's non infallibility; few well known theologians supported Humanae Vitae...Germain Grisez seems to have been the most famous one and he debated the issue in Theological Studies against others and Rome knew it and Rome said nothing regarding the debate. Further one must watch Rome. It is said that 95% is the dissent rate against Rome's position. If the Pope thought that 95% of Catholics were sinning mortally every week and then he still went about attending concerts, having dinners for guests, traveling 17% of his time, never skipping vacations.....and all that time, he did not call a special synod in Rome of the world's Bishops to fight a 95% mortal sin rate, then he would not only not be a saint....but he would be grossly negligent.
You should be able to follow NFP without the add on of needing to know or ponder what others are doing.
NFP is wonderful, accurate and may undo the logic of Humanae Vitae as one gets to know with increasing precision which days are not open to the transmission of life. The male is always open to the transmission of life...the act and woman are not.
A person sins mortally if they dissent from Rome without prayer, study and counsel. I suspect that the group who sincerely dissents has similar divorce rates to the NFP group but no one has ever studied that...or even thought to....because judging others seems to be a bonus given to the NFP people by some of their group like a priest using "Hannitization" as a sarcastic description of a mindset. What if the priest's name was deformed for humors sake....would that be a virtuous moment also?

bill912

"A person sins mortally if they(sic) dissent from Rome without prayer, study and counsel."

Incorrect. Mortal sin has 3 requirements:
1) Serious matter
2) Knowledge of same
3) Full consent of the will

Remove any of the 3, and there is no mortal sin.

Tim J.

First off, this idea that NFP results in as many miscarriages as the Pill is a mirage. There is absolutely ZERO data to back it up. It is pure, ungrounded specualtion.

And, MZ, REALLY... spiritual poison? The Church obviously disagrees. OF COURSE, being completely open to pregnancy and taking no thought to fertile or infertile times would be the ideal, but don't let the perfect become the enemy of the good.

Mark

Sparki,

Thank you for your beautiful post. Sadly too, many young women who have been indulging in a "hook-up" culture, thanks to contraceptives, are discovering they are now infertile as a consequence. Sadly, the public school health teachers who eagerly demonstrate the "condom on a banana" trick are not quite so informative when the converstation turns to STDs and their consequences ...

Tim J.

bill bannon-

Non-infallible does not mean non-authoritative.

JPII's Theology of the Body along with other subsequent Catholic thought has only solidified the teaching of Humanae Vitae.

David B. {Mithrandir}

I think recognize No Slant's style of writing... I just can't remember who he/she is. But I seem to recall that he/she expressed dissenting opinions before.

DJ

Sadly too, many young women who have been indulging in a "hook-up" culture, thanks to contraceptives

In high school, the people that slept around just slept around. No problems. STD by and large had not entered the general demographic at that point.

Now that I'm older, I don't know a single person who's college age or better that had more than a small handful of partners (3-4 or more) who didn't get an STD of some sort.

I'm sure there are a few out there without an STD. But out of everybody who I know whether they have an STD or not and are active, NONE are lacking in some disease (many of them have some pretty bad ones.) I'm not talking about only 2 or 3 people either. Every relative, close and distant, every friend that I confide with and that my wife confides with, lots of people..

Until someone can prove to me otherwise, not debate but prove, I treat it as a fact that a sexually active person with more than 3-4 parters out of high school most likely has several STDs.

BW

Wow, talk about affirming the consequent. Who cares if a million studies say "married people who practice NFP get divorced less than those who don't?" You have no evidence that shows NFP is the reason these people get divorced less. Maybe they're just better at time management, and thus have better relationships, or maybe they're just stubborn about *everything* and don't get divorced even in cases where they really should be.

And the study you cite is an apples-and-oranges comparison. The intercourse on NFP is scheduled and thus effective only in very narrow time periods, while horomonal birth control is effective at any time during the month. Try comparing them both using a realistic schedule where intercourse occurs throughout the month and NFP's effectiveness is far lower.

bill bannon

Tim J

You stated "non infallible does not mean non authoritative"...a tautology....read my post again and it implicitly declares that very same thing. Vatican II's Lumen Gentium's 25 declared that too which I cite.
That it permits of exceptions to the sincere, studying and counseled conscience is even within Germain Grisez's tomes though he does his best to hide it as he almost hid epikeia totally ( a separate issue not applicable here...but one that also implies that man is more than a robot in the face of the non infallible or in epikeia's case...in the face of a law which could not foresee every situation ie Christ's disciples and the picking of grain).


As cited by me in my first post, Theology of the Body (see cites above) did tremendous damage to marriage on an entirely different issue: husband headship which is unmentioned in the Catechism as a result (partially...it was unmentioned in Vatican II also due to the same modern biblical scholarship problems...the tendency to deduct what one does not veer toward by nature) despite Pius XI's 1930 Casti Cannubii's section 74 condemning any lessening of same jurisdictional headship as the work of false prophets (which see...all cites are online). That a saint can do such damage is known to anyone who reads the anti semitical sermons of Chrysostom or the letters of Jerome in which he talks casually of a torture incident, or any of the late 15th century Popes who moved imperialism with slavery forward in such bulls as Inter Caetera. As Vatican II said: "conscience frequently errs without losing its dignity".
That TOB should be similar to HV is natural. John Paul as Karol Wotyla was made a cardinal by Paul VI and appointed to the judging committee of the birth control commission and did not show up due to applying for his visa late (according to Weigel....I think it's because he may not have wanted to debate John Noonan :))....Be that as it may, John Paul stayed in Poland and conducted his own study and sent his ideas privately to Paul VI. John Paul's assistant at that time maintains that many of John Paul's ideas were put in Humanae Vitae....so some of us never saw it as being so separate from John Paul from the get go. I have never seen anything in print that notes that then Karol Wotyla took the trouble to read the many letters from Family Life Couples to the commission and who were obeying rythmn...and yet seeking a change. Yet I read John Paul once speaking about dialogue as though it was wonderful. James' epistle: "in many things we all offend."...including Popes and saints since it was said by a saint.

bill912

"Maybe they're just better at time management, and thus have better relationships,or maybe they're just stubborn about *everything* and don't get divorced even in cases where they really should be."

Or maybe they realize that God is the third partner in their marriage and are faithful and obedient.

Tim J.

No, BW, you are comparing NFP used improperly with the Pill used properly. I could just as easily say "Well, if a woman forgets to take her pill, then that method is not very effective AT ALL!"

You can hardly complain that "periodic abstinence" requires abstaining periodically, any more validly than I can complain that The Pill requires a woman to remember to take a pill.

NFP works, and I know from experience. It also totally ROCKS if you are TRYING to get pregnant.

In addition, I wonder about the pervasive use of hormone therapy in otherwise healthy women and things like the disturbing rise in the incidence of autism, for instance. Is there a connection? I don't know. But we have a bunch of healthy women altering their body chemistry with hormones, who are in fact treating fertility as a disease, and I wonder about the consequences to public health. Heck, people get all upset about hormones in our meat!

bill912

Amen, Tim. The purpose of medicine is supposed to be to correct an imbalance in the body, not to cause one.

Sparki

Bw:

The intercourse on NFP is scheduled and thus effective only in very narrow time periods, while horomonal birth control is effective at any time during the month.

Wow, you show a drastic ignorance about NFP! NFP is reading the signs of ovulation that a woman's body naturally produces. This information allows the couple to choose to proceed with intercourse or abstain on any given day. If they are TRYING to have a baby, they can use NFP data to abstain a day or two before ovulation and the proceed with intercourse on the day of ovulation in order to give them the best chance of pregnancy. If they are in a situation where they must delay pregnancy (i.e., health problems, financial constraints, etc.), then they can use NFP data to abstain from sex when the woman is most fertile.

So you see, NFP is ALWAY effective. Every day. Whether you are using it to conceive or using it to delay pregnancy, it's always providing the data a couple needs to make their choices. There is no "very narrow time periods."

Also, BW, in case you didn't know it, women are only fertile for a handful of days each month. There isn't a woman on this planet who is fertile 24/7 all month long. So the idea that any form of contraception NEEDS to be in effect all month long is just looney. Hormonal birth control works by making women infertile all the time. Infertility is not a state of health. Artificially induced infertility is worse because it can cause long-term health problems including DEADLY conditions like embolism, stroke, heart attacks, liver disease and cancer. This is a medically proven FACT and if you read the insert on any hormonal birth control package, they'll spell it all out for you.

Try comparing them both using a realistic schedule where intercourse occurs throughout the month and NFP's effectiveness is far lower.

This doesn't make any sense. NFP is a system of collecting data, and that is ALL it is. Data doesn't prevent pregnancy. NFP data is used by couples to either ACHIEVE or DELAY pregnancy. Couples can use NFP and have sex all month long, and it's going to be completely effective, because all NFP does is say when ovulation is occurring. If the couple has sex on the fertile days, they can expect a baby to be conceived. If they abstain on those days, they probably won't conceive a baby. Either way, the NFP data is not reduced in "effectiveness."

Tim J.

"...it permits of exceptions to the sincere, studying and counseled conscience"

But not for disobedience. You are permitted to have reservations of conscience, as are we all, but you are not permitted to countermand the teaching of the Church in response to those reservations.

Does it give you pause at all to note that your conscience is telling you to go ahead and do what you want, rather than convicting you against your natural desires?

In other words, I find that when my conscience tells me to avoid something I desire, or to do something hard that I want to avoid, that I can follow it with great confidence. On the other hand, if my conscience is quiet or falls into line with something I already strongly desire, it is often suspect and needs forming.

Our consciences do not come to us fully grown and healthy, but must be formed by means of Church teaching, along with prayer, study, discipline, self-sacrifice and other things.

Catholics may not dissent from this teaching on the basis of "following their conscience". Doubts and difficulties are natural, but they are not a license to do as you please in the face of clear Church teaching to the contrary.

Mark

"I wonder???

No Slant = Realist"

and,

"I think recognize No Slant's style of writing... I just can't remember who he/she is. But I seem to recall that he/she expressed dissenting opinions before."

I really find this sort of conjecture about people who express dissenting opinions distasteful. First, are we such a mob that we can't gracefully deal with a dissenter or two? It seems to me that debate is a healthy thing (the Angelic Doctor, St. Thomas Acquinas often used his opponents arguments as a starting point and usually stated their positions more effecively than they themseves did). It's true that No Slant is trolling and in many cases arguing disingenuously; also, John has not had an original thought since he began spamming us whenever but hey, if you only want to hear the great Amen sung in unison then go join the Church choir ...

bill bannon

Tim J
No actually human beings do have a right to conscience after they have read the non infallible and still think it is incorrect and seek strenously on the issue. At Vatican II several Bishops objected to Lumen Gentium 25's brevity on the matter of "religious submission of mind and will" to the Pope's position even when he is speaking non infallibly. They submitted a query and request for an emendation to the text to that effect to the Theological Commission at the Council stating that how otherwise would mistakes like the one against freedom of religion (in three encyclicals at least) be overturned ever if no one dissented at all...which Theological Commission answered that they did not want to lengthen LG 25 but referred the Bishops to the "manuals" by which they meant the moral theology manuals which speak of dissent and its requirements.
That means that even the Theological Commission agreed in principle with what the Bishops were asking but did not want it in the Council which was unforetunate but the too brief paragraph in the Council of Florence on the non salvation of non Catholics was also another moment of too little effort in a lasting document....and that one was all but reversed deliberately by language in Vatican II except for its core truth that anyone who is saved...is saved through the Catholic Church whether they know it or not.
Yves Congar had noted that Councils are not inspired by the Holy Spirit but are guided by Him and thus could have said more....and could have said things better.

You'll note in the catechism that 1791 gives the example of the person who has no right to dissent:

"This ignorance can often be imputed to personal responsibility. This is the case when a man "takes little trouble to find out what is true and good, or when conscience is by degrees almost blinded through the habit of committing sin."

The catechism never deals with the person who takes a lot of trouble and still disagrees because like Germain Grisez...it's hoping that everyone will agree.
This approach has not gotten more obedience but less as soon as someone sees the History station on cable and sees that Saint Bernadino in his time held virtually all Catholics in Siena to be in mortal sin because they were either taking interest or were indirectly part of the interest situation in that very commercial city. Or they see another night that Jacques Bossuet, Bishop of Meaux defended slavery against a Calvinist theologian by referring to that which "...has been believed everywhere and always and by everyone" (most of the Fathers believed in slavery's non sinfulness).

The Church no where takes a position against dissenters on non infallible matters who take pains to arrive at their position. She doesn't speak about it except in small venues like the periodicals or hidden in tomes like Grisez' that few choose to afford.
If one sincerely dissents on infallibly defined matters like euthanasia... Evangelium Vitae...sect.65, then one must still follow conscience and follow the logic of CCC. 1790 which in their case leads outside the visible Catholic Church ( euthanasia seems exotic but it is very tempting to medical people who can access drugs and whose relatives like mine has been turning into a statue for 10 years with end stage Parkinson's...it...the illness.... has overthrown a relative on mine spiritually...no question but we're here for her til the end....life can present fierce demons in the last third of life).

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