Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Is the Church behind the times on contraception? Or are we just missing the boat?

If we told you there was a method for planning your family that is 100% natural, is 99% effective at postponing a pregnancy, can be as effective as in-vitro fertilization in achieving a pregnancy when used under the guidance of a certified medical consultant, has a divorce rate of less than 5%, and could save you over $200 a year, would you want to learn more about it?  The method we are speaking about is called Natural Family Planning.  For some of you this may be a new term, for others a misunderstood practice, and for others still it may be the beautiful form of family planning that you use in your own home. Wherever you fall on that spectrum, we pray that you would listen with open hearts and minds to the message we have for you.

Natural Family Planning is a natural way of reading the body’s signs of fertility that is used to either achieve or postpone pregnancy. To clarify, Natural Family Planning is not a natural form of contraception or birth control.  The Church teaches that the use of contraception to prevent new life from being conceived is in contradiction to God’s natural law in that it separates the unitive part of the marital embrace from the procreative part of the marital embrace.  The Catholic Church has consistently taught that the use of contraception or sterilization is in opposition to natural law, and is therefore intrinsically wrong and constitutes a mortal sin when done with full knowledge of Church teaching and with full consent of the will.  The belief that contraception is intrinsically wrong is not a new belief, nor is it one that has been held only by the Catholic Church.  In fact, up until 1930 all Protestant denominations, even Martin Luther himself, followed this same belief.  It was only after social pressures to conform that Protestants changed their stance on contraception. 

Natural Family Planning is very different from contraception in many ways.  God has made all of our bodies in beautiful and magnificent ways. He has also blessed us with brilliant scientific minds who have been able to find natural signs that the body produces to guide us in whether the female body is in a state of fertility or infertility. These natural signs are then used by a husband and a wife as they discern whether or not God is calling them to have more children. Husbands and wives are taught how to read these signs through a series of courses or one on one meetings with a practitioner. The added bonuses to practicing Natural Family Planning are that there is little to no cost to practicing Natural Family Planning, it is completely natural, it requires no trips to the pharmacy every month for costly supplies, it does not have the abortive effects or other negative side effects of contraception, and it is morally accepted and promoted by the Catholic Church.

Now, for those who may have heard of the term Natural Family Planning, many associate this method of family planning with the ineffective calendar rhythm method. First, this is not the calendar rhythm method. That is a method of the past that is highly ineffective and Natural Family Planning has come a long way since the calendar rhythm method was introduced. The Natural Family Planning methods of today are scientifically based and have research to back up their effectiveness. While Natural Family Planning has come to be associated with having a large family, this is not always the case. Neither scripture nor Church teachings convey the message that you must bear as many children as you are physically capable of bearing in order to follow God’s commands. Scripture and Church teaching do, however, ask us to be fruitful and to be open to life. Only a husband, a wife, and God can know what their physical, spiritual, financial, and emotional situation is. The Church asks us to prayerfully discern our physical, spiritual, financial, and emotional state in life and our ability to welcome another child into our family. The beautiful part of practicing Natural Family Planning is that it involves prayerful discernment every month as to whether or not God is calling your family to welcome another child.

While some couples enter into the use of Natural Family Planning with a set family size in their head, through their discernment of God’s call and the openness to life that comes with practicing Natural Family Planning, they may end up welcoming more children into their family than they had first planned. But, this is not the calling for all families. For those families wishing to postpone a pregnancy, Natural Family Planning is over 99% effective.
Now to those who are already embracing Natural Family Planning within their own homes. We ask that you would prayerfully discern becoming a spokesperson for Natural Family Planning. Whatever the method is that you practice, we can always use more families to share their story and their testament to Natural Family Planning. Even if it is just taking a more active role in your own parish and giving a name and face to the beauty of Natural Family Planning, we would love to have you on board. Jesus calls us all to be fishers of men and to seek to draw others to the faith. What better way to do that than by bringing other families in your parish your testament and the truth and beauty of Natural Family Planning?

No comments:

Post a Comment