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Humanae Vitae: Still Right After All These Years

— Posted by John (July 25, 2006 at 5:48 pm)

PPVI

On this day in 1968, Pope Paul VI, of happy memory, issued his landmark encyclical, Humanae Vitae (a phrase meaning “Of Human Life”, the official Latin version’s opening words) which reiterated the Catholic Church’s nearly 2,000 year old teaching that artificial contraception is sinful.

At the time, and even more so thirty-eight years later, many people — Catholic and otherwise — are shocked that at precisely a time when the winds of change were gale force, the Bride of Jesus Christ vowed that she would cling to such an “outmoded” view of sexual morality.

That Paul VI would reiterate the Christian condemnation against contraception is hardly a surprise, considering that no pope has the authority to change Church doctrine, much less natural law, which condemned contraception long before the Church was even around.

I first read Humanae Vitae during my sophomore year in college. I was prompted to do so because at the time, I had issues with the Church’s teaching against contraception. I had always been strongly against abortion, but I also believed that birth control could be helpful to the pro-life movement’s goal of eradicating abortion.

(That, and I gullibly believed that “overpopulation” was a problem. Thanks be to God, I soon thereafter discovered that this hand-wringing, gloom-and-doom nonsense was just that. I also had yet to discover G. K. Chesterton, who, in characteristic wit, managed in one sentence to expose the insanity of the Chicken Littles who seriously believe that “overpopulation” is somehow causing the sky to fall: “The answer to anyone who talks about the surplus population is to ask him whether he is the surplus population, or if he is not, how he knows he is not.”)

When I first HV, I was blown away. First, at how succinct Paul VI was (the version I linked to above from the Vatican’s website is fewer than 20 pages).

Second, at how right he was. And is. And continues to be. Pandora's Box

In section 17, Pope Paul made several predictions about the grave consequences that would inevitably result from an increasing reliance on contraception:

Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity…

All other things being equal, it doesn’t take much grey matter to realize that convenient, widespread access to contraception has made it easier to commit adultery.

…and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law.

As for coming up with examples testifying to the general lowering of moral standards in the last two generations, it’s hard to know where to start — all the more reason why Paul VI was right when he made this prediction.

Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.

Interesting, isn’t it, that just as our culture is now awash in contraception, we are also awash in pornography — and increasingly hard-core pornography, at that.

Finally, careful consideration should be given to the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone…

And, indeed, many have. China is probably the most notorious, but it’s hardly alone. Indeed, forced contraception, sterilization, and abortion are the norm in many parts of the world.

Limits to Man’s Power

Consequently, unless we are willing that the responsibility of procreating life should be left to the arbitrary decision of men, we must accept that there are certain limits, beyond which it is wrong to go, to the power of man over his own body and its natural functions—limits, let it be said, which no one, whether as a private individual or as a public authority, can lawfully exceed. These limits are expressly imposed because of the reverence due to the whole human organism and its natural functions…

Paul VI rightly recognized that contraception would pave the way for public acceptance of such evils as in-vitro fertilization and, more recently, somatic cell nuclear transfer (a fancy name for human cloning).

And as we’ve seen, that’s not the only thing he rightly recognized about the harms of contraception.

Without a doubt, nearly two generations later, Humanae Vitae has proven to be prophetic.

This entry is filed under Contraception, Culture Wars, Overpopulation Myth, Sexuality. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

66 Comments on “Humanae Vitae: Still Right After All These Years”

Please Note: Visitor comments do not necessarily reflect the views of Generations for Life or our parent organization, the Pro-Life Action League.

  1. lauren says:

    Good for you.. now stop imposing your religious beliefs on others. :)

    Comment posted July 25th, 2006 at 10:48 pm
  2. Michael-2 says:

    So does Lauren and others like her think “Humanae Vitae” imposes religious beliefs on themselves?

    If they do then a strange absurdity gives “Humanae Vitae” and its author an equally strange authority.

    Comment posted July 25th, 2006 at 11:00 pm
  3. Michael-2 says:

    Is contraception something of a living root of various seemingly unrelated problems such as divorce, abortion, homosexuality, etc?

    If it is perhaps it is a hidden root; acting below consciousness for many people. Carl Jung wrote “contraceptives, people do not know the damage they do”. This implies that Jung thought that much of the implication is hidden.

    Well, the separation of sex from procreation is perhaps one of the most important developments of the 20th century, if not the most important development.

    Well, NFP is something of an effort to keep sex and procreation on a leash, whereas before in ancient and medievl times they were more of less piggybacked or co-joined.

    Comment posted July 25th, 2006 at 11:09 pm
  4. John says:

    Lauren said: “Good for you.. now stop imposing your religious beliefs on others.”

    There was a book written a long time ago containing the words, “Thou shalt not steal”…

    Why is it that when Jews and Christians advocate laws against theft, no one says, “Stop imposing your religious beliefs on others”?

    Comment posted July 26th, 2006 at 9:15 am
  5. lauren says:

    Because the idea that you shouldn’t steal isn’t a Christian one?

    Um, duh.

    Comment posted July 26th, 2006 at 10:16 am
  6. lauren says:

    No contraception has nothing to do with homosexuality. I dont know if you’re aware of this or not, but homosexuality did not originate in the 20th century to scare away your traditional 20th century marriage.

    Just thought i’d give you a heads up on that

    Comment posted July 26th, 2006 at 10:18 am
  7. lauren says:

    btw, where can i get that poster… I want to hang it up in my study in which I’m about to cohabitate with my boyfriend.

    Comment posted July 26th, 2006 at 10:19 am
  8. John says:

    Lauren said: “Because the idea that you shouldn’t steal isn’t a Christian one?

    Um, duh.”

    Neither is the idea that you shouldn’t use contraception.

    Incidentally, I said as much in this post.

    Comment posted July 26th, 2006 at 10:33 am
  9. John says:

    Lauren said: “No contraception has nothing to do with homosexuality. I dont know if you’re aware of this or not, but homosexuality did not originate in the 20th century to scare away your traditional 20th century marriage.

    Just thought i’d give you a heads up on that”

    Lauren,

    I’ll address your second point first.

    At the risk of sounding as if I have a chip on my shoulders, I apologize, but I can’t help but ask:

    How stupid do you think we are?

    Surely you are aware that we are aware of the biblical — both Old and New Testament — condemnations of homosexual acts.

    You might also be aware that we are aware that ancient historical accounts — Greece and Rome are the most well-known — are replete with accounts of homosexuality.

    And yet you somehow believe you’re enlightening us by informing us that “homosexuality did not originate in the 20th century”?

    Please.

    It may surprise you to learn that we are actually well aware that premarital sex, adultery, prostitution, homosexuality, contraception, and abortion — to name a few — have been practiced for thousands of years.

    As for your point that “contraception has nothing to do with homosexuality”, I’m not exactly sure in what context you’re speaking.

    Suffice it to say, however, homosexual acts and contraceptive heterosexual acts are quite closely related, as both are deliberately closed to the possibility of procreation.

    This point is crucial to understand, as there is a radical inconsistency between, on the one hand, individuals who recognize that homosexual acts are wrong, yet see nothing wrong with a married couple using contraception.

    Both homosexual acts and contraceptive sex contradict the nuptial meaning of the body; neither is mutually self-giving.

    Also, Lauren, the U. S. Supreme Court would disagree with your claim that “contraception has nothing to do with homosexuality.”

    Griswold v. Connecticut (1965) was the first case in which the Supreme Court cited a putative “right to privacy” that, in the Court’s opinion, afforded married persons a constitutional right to have access to contraception.

    Eisenstadt v. Baird (1972) extended this “right” to unmarried persons.

    (It goes without saying that without Griwold and Eisenstadt, there would have been no Roe v. Wade or Doe v. Bolton the following year.

    Fast forward 30 years to Lawrence v. Texas, where the Supreme Court extended the “right to privacy” to same-sex couples, effectively affording them a constitutional right to have homosexual sex.

    Comment posted July 26th, 2006 at 11:01 am
  10. Michael-2 says:

    Suppose we make the remark “artificial contraception is sinful”, we then have to consider what are the consequences and what are the options.

    If the wages of sin is death, then obviously contraception is paid off on an extended time period; and it has indeed been characterized as “creeping death” and “slow poision”.

    Now we also need to be honest that for many NFP is a very significant discipline, especially for the young (remember the Terodes!). So perhaps we need to say that contraception is sinful, but there may be a difference in committing a few sins now and then and “living in sin”. “Living in sin” would be a description of a married couple being on the pill, IUD, patch, etc regardless of whether these methods are abortificiant and interfere with inplantation of zygote or not. A little sinfulness would be a couple learning or doing NFP but using barrier methods or kinky stuff every now and then; hopefully with the wheat separating from the chaff in time and going to higher purity NFP as they mature. We all know that there are likely practical concessions to youth in sexual matters, so we should expect the same in this contraception thing, as long as it is contained and in a system that can be cleaned up in time. Father Zimmerman of Catholic Mind writes that it is not unusual for a solid Catholic couple in their 30′s to resort to a condom or withdrawl once a year or so while doing NFP, so we should certainly expect younger couples to do this more often if they are determined not to conceive. Of course people in their 20′s are in prime time to have their children, but that is another part of the discussion on contraception and procreation.

    So let us not frighten young people onto the pill or IUD with too much talk about perfection in such matters. Sometimes these things have to be done in process; kinda like growing out of diapers, passifiers, bicycle training wheels and water wings.

    The New Testiment is full on texts on firm making decisions, and entering the narrow door, but there are other texts about growth and process.

    Comment posted July 26th, 2006 at 11:56 am
  11. lauren says:

    Shouldn’t it be someone’s personal decision whether or not to use use contraception? Address my question.

    Comment posted July 26th, 2006 at 2:13 pm
  12. lauren says:

    A little sinfulness would be a couple learning or doing NFP but using barrier methods or kinky stuff every now and then; hopefully with the wheat separating from the chaff in time and going to higher purity NFP as they mature.

    HAHAHA omg! i love this.. weee for kinky stuff.. Holla at you Michael.. Can you tell me what the kinky stuff is exactly?

    Comment posted July 26th, 2006 at 2:15 pm
  13. lauren says:

    “This point is crucial to understand, as there is a radical inconsistency between, on the one hand, individuals who recognize that homosexual acts are wrong, yet see nothing wrong with a married couple using contraception. ”

    What if you see nothing wrong with either a homosexual act or a married couple having sex with contraception? What then?

    Comment posted July 26th, 2006 at 3:21 pm
  14. John says:

    Lauren said: “What if you see nothing wrong with either a homosexual act or a married couple having sex with contraception? What then?”

    Lauren,

    Then you’re doubly wrong. (Did you expect that I would say anything else?)

    My main reason for making this point was to note that, regrettably, the pro-life, pro-family movement — broadly speaking — is divided on the question of contraception (hence the need for our upcoming “Contraception Is Not the Answer” conference), and to observe that those who see nothing wrong with a married couple’s using birth control are at a logical disadvantage to argue against the morality of homosexual acts.

    Comment posted July 26th, 2006 at 3:45 pm
  15. mary kay says:

    #
    Lauren says:

    Shouldn’t it be someone’s personal decision whether or not to use use contraception? Address my question.

    As I have said before, we are not trying to change the law in regards to contraception (unless said contraceptive also causes abortions), but only to outlaw abortion. If you want to contracept, have at it…We only want to enlighten and inform people, who like you, have no idea what they are doing to themselves. Believe it or not, we are not God’s Gestapo…

    I reiterate…God gave you free will, and I (nor John, nor Mike II, nor anyone else) can take that away. The only time we interfere is when an innocent party is being harmed. So contracept all you want…whoop it up…just know, that we warned you. And when your’e “live-in” gets bored and moves on, or when your relationship fails to grow, remember that that was your “choice”.

    MK

    Comment posted July 26th, 2006 at 5:21 pm
  16. Lauren says:

    “Then you’re doubly wrong. (Did you expect that I would say anything else?)”

    Don’t you see why you don’t win anyone over? WHen you tell someone that they’re wrong, rather than holding a different perspective you lose me and you lose a lot of other listeners. This may strike you as a surprise, but I love that you have your own personally held convictions and follow them. Good for you. Most people have no convictions at all. I’m not wrong, I just think about things different than you. You are not wrong either, you just approach things differently than me.

    Comment posted July 26th, 2006 at 6:09 pm
  17. Lauren says:

    “Believe it or not, we are not God’s Gestapo…”

    Believe it or not, there are many of us, including myself, who thin kthat what you preach has nothing to do with God. My God would condemn what you do to women. As yours would condemn me, I’m sure.

    Comment posted July 26th, 2006 at 6:10 pm
  18. Lauren says:

    Do you understand I’d rather find out now that me and my boyfriend weren’t going to work out rather than get married and find out then? I dont really care what you think, honestly, because it isn’t going to stop me. I love my boyfriend with all of my heart and I want it to work out, but if it doesnt, then should we really be getting married anyways? Hell no. I was raised in a horrible household, I wouldn’t want to do that to my future children.

    Comment posted July 26th, 2006 at 6:12 pm
  19. mary kay says:

    Lauren,

    Sweetie, don’t you understand that when we show you the statistics of failed relationshipsof people that have simply lived together, without the benefit of marriage,
    when we tell you that 90% of the time these situations don’t work out…do you really believe that we are putting you down? We aren’t…we are concerned. Concerned that you’ll end up just being another statistic. Concerned that you’ll get your heart broken. Concerned that you’ll have to learn these lessons the hard way.
    If you and your boyfriend love each other with “all your heart” then why wouldn’t you want to begin to live the rest of your lives together by binding that love with a covenant? When you sleep with this boy (man?) but aren’t married to him, then a lot of your focus is on the sexual relationship. This clouds things. This makes it harder to discern if you really love each other, (or more importantly are WILLING to love each other – because love is an action word and something you do, not something you feel) or if you are just pleasuring each other. While there is nothing wrong with pleasure (I’ve been married for 25 years and my husband has given me a lot of pleasure), it’s just that when that’s all that a relationship is based on, the relationship is doomed.

    Try this. Date him for another year, no sex, and see if you still want to move in with him…guaranteed, you’ll know one way or the other. Because he’ll either bore you to tears, or you’ll both realize that you actually enjoy spending time with each other even when there is no sex…It’s a win/win situation.

    It’s kind of like my son’s friend (and my son too, for that matter). It was so hard to convince them that you CAN have fun without alcohol. (They are both addicts)…You just have to think differently. Same with sex. Can you and your boyfriend have fun (on a long term basis) without sex? You see where I’m coming from. We’re not just prudes. There are good, strong, logical reasons for believing what we believe. Saavy?

    MK

    What about my hotdogs and beer? Sheesh!

    Comment posted July 26th, 2006 at 6:59 pm
  20. Lauren says:

    ” When you sleep with this boy (man?) but aren’t married to him, then a lot of your focus is on the sexual relationship. ”

    Not at all. You really dont know me at all Mary Kay. I’m not part of the Catholic Church anymore, I have officially decided. Im leaning toward unitarian universalist because it really inspires me.. I dont want to get married. I dont want to make that committment yet, sheesh im only 21.

    “Date him for another year, no sex, and see if you still want to move in with him…”

    Can I ask why? I know him fine with or without sex.. Really I dont think too much about sex.. We have it and it expresses our love for one another bit it is by no means, BY NO means the focus of our relationship.

    We’ve been dating for 3 1/2 years, I think i know my boyfriend lol..

    Anyways I’ll be on NPR tomorrow so tune in lol

    Comment posted July 26th, 2006 at 8:21 pm
  21. Mike says:

    I think a simple way to sum up the Pro-Life position on Human Sexuality is this…

    “The lovemaking & lifemaking act can NEVER be separated.”

    This is how Jeannie Hanneman (from Elizabeth Ministries International) describes it on Relevant Radio.

    If you think about it this definition covers not only contraception but also in-vitro fertilization.

    Mike

    Comment posted July 26th, 2006 at 10:04 pm
  22. Lucy says:

    Okay,
    Why is this hard. If you don’t want to have sex because you believe you will go to hell, then please, don’t have sex. Don’t use birth control. Don’t have an abortion, don’t…..the rest of the list of thou shall nots that come from authority that I don’t accept.

    Please, until we begin to strip you of your rights to follow your beliefs, stop trying to impose your ideas on the rest of us.

    Comment posted July 26th, 2006 at 10:18 pm
  23. Mike says:

    Lucy said …

    “Why is this hard. If you don’t want to have sex because you believe you will go to hell, then please, don’t have sex. Don’t use birth control. Don’t have an abortion, don’t…..the rest of the list of thou shall nots that come from authority that I don’t accept.”

    The only issue we have a big problem with is Abortion. The reason is abortion kills another human being (the baby). Therefore abortion is really the only issue which should be illegal because no one has a right to kill someone else.

    As far as the rest of the topics I think most of us have been telling you we do not really care if contraception is legal. We will debate you on the topic because we believe God has told us not to use contraception & history has shown contraception is an attack on the family.

    Mike

    Comment posted July 26th, 2006 at 10:53 pm
  24. Lauren says:

    relevant radio cracks me up i try to listen whenever im in need of comedy. hey hey liberals hate it.. no no we liberals love it keep the idiocy head in the sand mentality coming!

    holla AT YOUR LAST POINT LUCY..
    AHHHH a condom is going to be chasing me and my family through my dreams… What is that a giant sponge!?!?!??! oh my! oh no it couldn’t be… ahhhhh but it is!! It’s the bloodthirsty PILL, here to attack the American family watch out Lucy!!!

    Comment posted July 27th, 2006 at 1:53 am
  25. Mike says:

    Lauren,

    We have listed the negative effects of contraception. You can chose whether or not you want to acknowledge them. I feel my job posting here is just to bring all the facts to the table.

    Why do you think contraception is better than NFP? Please state your reasons and let’s debate the facts.

    Mike

    Comment posted July 27th, 2006 at 4:59 am
  26. Pansy Moss says:

    Believe it or not, there are many of us, including myself, who thin kthat what you preach has nothing to do with God.

    I don’t either actually. I think it is common sense. You should not use people just for sexual gratification. That goes along with the generally held concept that you should not mistreat other people. Does one have to be religious to understand that concept? Don’t steal, don’t cheat on your wife, don’t take hack saws to other people, eat your veggies and drink your milk, get some exercise, and try not to use foul language out of respect for the company you keep. Again, I know some atheists who really don’t have a problem grasping these notions. If you don’t believe in God, where is it that people are forcing you to go to their Church to adhere to a simple set of social mores.

    The Church just happens to be an institution that promotes good morals and common sense as part of the rules if you wish to remain Catholic.

    Comment posted July 27th, 2006 at 5:59 am
  27. John says:

    Lauren said: “Don’t you see why you don’t win anyone over? WHen you tell someone that they’re wrong, rather than holding a different perspective you lose me and you lose a lot of other listeners. This may strike you as a surprise, but I love that you have your own personally held convictions and follow them. Good for you. Most people have no convictions at all. I’m not wrong, I just think about things different than you. You are not wrong either, you just approach things differently than me.”

    Lauren,

    Let me see if I understand you correctly:

    You honestly believe that it is not wrong of me to believe in the sinfulness of, say, homosexual acts, or contraceptive sex by a married couple?

    If I’m correct, you believe that when two individuals have passionately held, directly opposing views on crucial issues of morality, it is not possible for one of them to be wrong?

    In all honesty, I would much rather someone I passionately disagree with on a particular moral issue come right out and tell me, “You’re wrong”. When I was at Loyola, my friends and I spent many a night at Lake Shore Dining Room (over a dinner of really bad food — perhaps you can relate? Or perhaps the food is better now? Or perhaps you never eat at LSD?) telling each other just that, and often that bluntly.

    When we disagreed, none of us was under any illusion that we somehow didn’t believe that those holding contrary positions weren’t wrong. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have tried to bring each other around to whatever position it was that we happened to be defending.

    Comment posted July 27th, 2006 at 2:56 pm
  28. John says:

    Lauren said: “My God would condemn what you do to women. As yours would condemn me, I’m sure.”

    Lauren,

    There’s only one God.

    And He wants everyone to be saved.

    He gives us the chance, and it’s up to each of us whether we are or not.

    Comment posted July 27th, 2006 at 3:01 pm
  29. Young Christian Woman says:

    NFP denies a woman sex when she is most likely to enjoy it the most and to naturally desire it.

    Check out the old-testament sex regulations sometimes; it’s like the anti-NFP. Abstain during menstration and seven days later, and sex can resume right when a woman is most fertile.

    I’m not saying that contraception is the answer. The pill messes with your hormones so that you might not get the peak time at all. Other methods, apparently, can be irritating, cause infections, or simply act as a barrier where there should be no barriers.

    Paul says that Christians may abstain from sex for prayer, but not that they can abstain to avoid having children. What did God tell his prophets when he did not want them to have kids? Don’t get married.

    Isn’t a couple that contracepts with NFP their entire fertile life just as anti-life as one that uses contraceptives? Why do all the advertisements for NFP claim it’s just as effective as the pill if its purpose is not to prevent life?

    Why do Catholics lump all forms of contraceptives together and deny the huge moral difference between abortifacients and non-abortifacients? Why is it that actions (not contracepting) are valued above attitudes (lack of openness to life)? Some people probably practice NFP for various reasons, but I bet most just see it as “Catholic birth control.”

    Comment posted July 28th, 2006 at 10:08 am
  30. rosie says:

    If it’s “catholic birth control” why do Catholics have more children than those who are non catholic, doesn’t sound like we’re not open to life to me. Is it ok if we breast-feed? You know, because breast feeding can alter ovulation and you may not get pregnant 3 months after you have the child. The way you said it came across in a way that seems you have a bigger issue with the church than with NFP. NFP is not only practiced by catholics if you haven’t noticed. My husband and I just used NFP to get pregnat so i’m really tired of people crabing about it. We will probably use it not to get pregnant again too soon. I don’t have kids so I think it’s really easy for me to say “yeah who needs to use NFP” but i’ll tell you that if I end up having 3 kids under 5 I might be saying “thank goodness for NFP”.

    Comment posted July 28th, 2006 at 4:37 pm
  31. John says:

    Rosie said: “If it’s “catholic birth control” why do Catholics have more children than those who are non catholic, doesn’t sound like we’re not open to life to me.”

    Rosie,

    While I certainly disagree with YCW’s analysis of NFP (although I do agree with her that there is a popular perception of NFP as simply “Catholic birth control”), you’re missing a key distinction.

    It’s been well documented that, regrettably, Catholics use contraception at the same rate as the rest of the population.

    Now, Rosie, if you limit your sample size to Catholics who agree with the Church’s teaching that contraception is sinful, you’re right, of course — a statistical analysis would surely show that such families have more children than an “average” family.

    However, if you compare that sample size of Catholic couples who believe birth control is sinful to Protestant couples (or Orthodox Jewish couples, or whomever) who believe birth control is sinful, I strongly suspect that the comparative family sizes would be similar — if not, for all intents and purposes, equivalent.

    Comment posted July 28th, 2006 at 5:05 pm
  32. rosie says:

    “However, if you compare that sample size of Catholic couples who believe birth control is sinful to Protestant couples (or Orthodox Jewish couples, or whomever) who believe birth control is sinful, I strongly suspect that the comparative family sizes would be similar — if not, for all intents and purposes, equivalent”

    Agreed. However i’m pretty convinced the comments were in reference to catholics. “Why do catholics….” Now, if she had sain “Why do people…..” I would have had no problem.

    Comment posted July 28th, 2006 at 5:43 pm
  33. Pansy Moss says:

    Making Babies: A Very Different Look at NFP.

    This article made me chuckle. I think important part though, it sort of illustrates a bit of the Catholic opinion that if you end “messing up”, the result, another baby, is not a tragedy.

    For example:

    …But another reason for NFP’s allegedly high success rate is that couples who use it are prepared to welcome children and so don’t blame NFP for unexpected pregnancies. Four of my own five children came the NFP way—that is, totally unexpectedly—and that’s a good thing, because without them bouncing in as surprises, excuses to delay (the sort of excuses one might hear from a recruit in parachute training) might have gone on for a very long time…

    Comment posted July 28th, 2006 at 6:19 pm
  34. Mike says:

    Young Christian Woman,

    Does God require a couple to have sex on a few specific days of the month (the three days when both the wife and husband are fertile)?

    If so, what if one of the spouses is sick on that required day and would rather abstain from sex and focus on recovering from illness?

    Mike

    Comment posted July 28th, 2006 at 9:40 pm
  35. joe says:

    John,

    You wrote, “Protestant couples (or Orthodox Jewish couples, or whomever) who believe birth control is sinful, I strongly suspect that the comparative family sizes would be similar”

    I don’t think the math plays well on this. Serious Catholics have two things going for making large families. First they would never use birth control, second it is a mortal sin to refuse sex to a spouse. These two items put together are the reasons serious Catholics will eventually take over the planet.

    Comment posted July 28th, 2006 at 10:59 pm
  36. lauren says:

    John,

    Do your thoughts make me want to throw up a little? Yes. Do they sorta hurt me? Sure. But you’re not wrong, because being wrong is absolute. Who’s to say I’m right. In my heart of hearts, I believe I’m right, but what is right anyways? Beofer you say, ah but the Bible is, no the Bible is right for you, but not for me it seems.

    “If I’m correct, you believe that when two individuals have passionately held, directly opposing views on crucial issues of morality, it is not possible for one of them to be wrong?”

    Exactly! Especially when it comes to religion! Look over oh I dont know, the Middle East. What happens when you hold a view that the other side doesnt just think differently than you, but is wrong?

    What’s the point in telling someone that they’re wrong? Other than to get mad. I mean that’s usually what it’s like when I get to that point. When I’m much more guarded in person it usually begins like this, I believe or I think not, I know. That’s where I really disagree with people the most who are religious. I have complete respect for people who say I believe or I am inspired by and this is why I choose to live my life this way. But people who condemn others or say I know the TRUE Jesus and you do not and then condescend, make me think wow you are a real jerk. It completely takes the legitimacy out of the debate.

    I’m a real emotional person, not that that shows or anything, but I appreciate people who want to take care of others, even those that come from different perspectives or backgrounds. When I come on this site and see information that is totally slanted or outlandishly ridiculous (abortion causes breast cancer, planned parenthood promotes bestiality, or women who are pro-choice are nazis and love abortion and want genocide)it polarizes me even further. It makes me feel a great deal of sadness and makes me hate you guys. Seriously. That’s bad too because honestly i’m a pretty loving person. What have you done as a Christian to take care of me or Lucy? What have you done other than to misrepresent our position?

    Yuck, please dont remind me of Loyola food, i have to go back in 3 weeks. Luckily I lived in Coffey for my first year and then moved off campus because I’m business (i’m only at wtc). I’ve been seeing good ol lakeshore on tv a lot since the Cardinal is in the hospital (he and maggie daley are in my prayers)

    Comment posted July 29th, 2006 at 12:15 am
  37. Mike says:

    When I come on this site and see information that is totally slanted or outlandishly ridiculous (abortion causes breast cancer

    Lauren, there are like 25 of 32 medical studies which show a relationship between abortion and breast cancer. Are you saying you don’t believe in medical studies? or do you just chose the studies you want to believe in?

    Mike

    Comment posted July 29th, 2006 at 5:32 pm
  38. Michael-2 says:

    Young Christian woman says “NFP denies a woman sex when she is most likely to enjoy it the most and to naturally desire it.
    ..Paul says that Christians may abstain from sex for prayer, but not that they can abstain to avoid having children.
    ..Why do Catholics lump all forms of contraceptives together and deny the huge moral difference between abortifacients and non-abortifacients? ”

    Oddly enough Young Christian woman there is nothing in Catholic teaching that says a wife can not use aphrodesiacs, including any of the modern creams or other concoctions that are supposed to act as a female Viagra; to extend peak desire from Phase II to Phase III.

    Concerning Paul’s advise, remember it is advise and people who abstain during Phase II should pray. When Protestant couples take time off for periods of conjugal abstinance to pray (but not to avoid pregnancy,) how long do you think is too long before you both will run out and start affairs? Sorry for the bit of sarcasm, but Paul’s advise is a consideration, not a carte blanche liberty for contraception as many Christians seem to think.

    Concerning the huge moral difference between abortifacients and non-abortifacients, yes that is a point, but it is ironic that the difference between abortifacient and non-abortifacient methods for preventing pregancy are also the difference between systemic methods (like living in sin) and singular methods (isolated sins). So even if there is a Pill that is only a true contraceptive, it will not be good because to use it is to declare a long term use of contraception.

    I know some very good Protestant Christian teachers, such as Dr. Albert Mohler are talking about this whole contraception mentality when they did not do so 15 or so years ago. However, they are trying to play Goldilocks triagulation: Supposedly the abortifacient methods (pill IDU, etc) are too easy and too cavilier; NFP is too hard, but barriers (the almighty condom, diaphragm, spermicide, 50′s stype methods, etc) are just right. Well, I doubt if that is going to be enough to make a difference, so I suppose what will condense out of all this amongst the mass of Christian people in the 21st century will be a hybrid system of Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) that has both NFP and barriers, with a steady decrease of barrier use as the couple matures.

    Comment posted July 30th, 2006 at 12:50 pm
  39. Lucy says:

    Mike,
    I don’t want to debate you on the topic of contraceptives. I don’t want you to use contraceptives if you don’t believe it is right. I don’t want you to use contraceptives if you don’t like them. I don’t really care what your reason behind using or not using them is. I don’t even count it as my business. That would be between you and whatever woman is involved.

    From your position, I’m guessing your wife. I am also not concerned with who you do or not have sex with, if you ever have sex, or when or where or how. These things are also not my business. I don’t think they should be my business. I don’t want them to be my business.

    I also don’t care whether or not you approve of gay marriage. I don’t care if you approve of people being gay. You can think what you want. If you wish to decline to associate with anyone who is gay that would be your business…I don’t care. It’s not my concern. I don’t have to agree with you on these things, but it is no my place to tell you what to think, and I do not want to tell you what to think. The world only flourishes when there is room for conflicting ideas to stretch their legs and discover if they are even plausible. Within bad ideas there can be good ideas, and within good bad.

    Once again, I will be told that this is nothing but rhetoric. I will be told that telling you that I do care about when you try to oppress my ability to think my way, and the rights of others to think as they think is somehow me oppressing you. The slaves were counted as endangering the lives of the masters when they wanted their freedom to live thier lives, independantly, good or bad, but to have the pride and joy that comes with living ones own life.

    However, employees have rights to have the jobs that are provided by employers as long as the employer has a need to employee them. A need that will be decided at the discretion of the employer and not the employee. The employer lays down the description of the job. The employee has every right to refuse to follow the job description, the employer has every right to cease to employee them. When employees take go to the law to seek legislative intervention that will allow them to dictate job descriptions to employers, rights are violated. The rights of the employers. Property owners rights are violated. The rights of the employee are to do the job or not, at risk of termination, or opting for voluntary termination. When you seek legislative interference, in the proper operation of a business, there is a problem.

    The anti abortion side is busily legislating against pharmacies rights to determine job descriptions. Therefore, permitting employees to secure pay checks for defying job descriptions, and costing their employer, if nothing else the dignity of running a business they rightfully own in the manner that fulfills their beliefs.

    When laws are being passed against gay marriage to suit the interests of the religious fanatics, who hold beliefs that a certain group of human beings, due to sexual preferences, are worthy of being legally denied certain rights there is a problem. This sanctity of marriage, which is wholly a religious idea, should never be held above individual rights. Not here. When legislative measures are passed to legitimize discrimination individual rights are violated. Peoples rights to think differently than you are violated. This is a problem. This is my concern.

    That you wish to legislate against women who seek abortions because of your beliefs as to when a life starts is a violation of the rights of others to think differently. Your belief that at conception a soul is implanted into the blastocyst is not provable. It is not scientific, and considering the very reasoning behind the set up of this country, it is un american.

    My life started when I decided it would start. When I decided that they would not withhold it from me a second longer, and came up fighting. It did not start in the womb, because I have decided to be what I am. I have decided to work hard, and to what end. None of this is innately apart of me. I have needed to focus and compare and analyze, and discover. They left my body alive because they follow your religion and believe that to have been my life. They tried everything in their power to take my life. I had to fight to get it back, I’m still fighting to take it back, to keep it.

    You have no idea what it is you are sacrificing to the body. I don’t follow any doctrine, that changes things. It’s easier to understand what I’m talking about if you have to figure out what is going on for yourself. I don’t have your god telling me what to do. I don’t beleive in your god. If you have a god and he tells you what to do then what is to stop him from telling me? I don’t have to take it off of you, I don’t know you, I don’t trust you, and I can forsee no reason to believe you to have the character to tell me the truth. You have defined yourself in terms of nothing more than a callous cad. Why should I believe you to be an honest one?

    Comment posted July 30th, 2006 at 12:58 pm
  40. Michael-2 says:

    Pansy writes “Four of my own five children came the NFP way—that is, totally unexpectedly—and that’s a good thing, because without them bouncing in as surprises, excuses to delay (the sort of excuses one might hear from a recruit in parachute training) might have gone on for a very long tim”

    Pansy, that is great! What a wonderful attitude you have!

    However, you may want to consider another school of NFP. If you are trying Sympto-Thermal go to Billings Ovulation or Creighton. Or vice-versa.

    Within another decade or so, this who thing will probably be no more difficult than crossing a city street by watching traffic and traffic lights; then you walk. In the meanwhile you got hit by a bus 4 times but looks like you rather enjoyed it.

    Comment posted July 30th, 2006 at 1:19 pm
  41. Pansy Moss says:

    Michael 2-

    I didn’t write that, it was from the Crisis article I linked to. I just thought tha passage illustrated very well about how many NFP users I know feel about “NFP failures”. People who contracept, well, more accurately when you here about conception occuring during artificial birth control use, it is referred to as “failure rates”. Then these people look at NFP users and say “NFP does not work” or in a joking format “What do you call people who use NFP? Parents! Ha ha!” And we are like “um, yeah so?”

    Anyway, I though that passage illustrated at least my feelings on the subject, and many of my friends who use NFP. While I personally see the need to perhaps have to postpone another child, I really mourn the fact that there are circumstances that would make me have to postpone. Or sometimes there are times when we do think “not another baby now” and God will send one, and you just cannot simply fathom what you were thinking had it been left up to you to decide not to have this wonderful little person in your life. You realise that your narrow-minded view is just that: narrow-minded.

    I started out using CCL, and I never get up at the sametime, so is witched to CrM.

    Comment posted July 30th, 2006 at 1:50 pm
  42. Lucy says:

    http://www.palmyra.demon.co.uk/humour/ipu.htm

    I thought this might be of interest John.

    Comment posted July 31st, 2006 at 12:12 pm
  43. John says:

    Lauren said: “Do your thoughts make me want to throw up a little? Yes. Do they sorta hurt me? Sure. But you’re not wrong, because being wrong is absolute. Who’s to say I’m right. In my heart of hearts, I believe I’m right, but what is right anyways? Beofer you say, ah but the Bible is, no the Bible is right for you, but not for me it seems.

    [I had said:] ‘If I’m correct, you believe that when two individuals have passionately held, directly opposing views on crucial issues of morality, it is not possible for one of them to be wrong?’

    Exactly! Especially when it comes to religion! Look over oh I dont know, the Middle East. What happens when you hold a view that the other side doesnt just think differently than you, but is wrong?”

    Lauren,

    Unless we’re misunderstanding each other, I am deeply troubled that you will not even admit that when two individuals have passionately held, directly opposing views on crucial issues of morality, it is not even possible that one of them might be wrong.

    Bear in mind that I limited the scope of my question to morality; for purposes of my question, I wasn’t concerned with theological belief systems.

    (Although this opens up a whole new can of worms: e. g., Is female genital mutilation wrong? My answer is an unhesitating, “Absolutely.”)

    Are you honestly prepared to say that someone who would attempt to argue that rape is morally acceptable is not wrong to do so?

    Comment posted July 31st, 2006 at 2:48 pm
  44. Young Christian Woman says:

    Lucy said:

    “That you wish to legislate against women who seek abortions because of your beliefs as to when a life starts is a violation of the rights of others to think differently.”

    At least legislators are elected, unlike the courts, which pro-killing-babies people have used to impose their views on their own children.

    Comment posted August 1st, 2006 at 7:33 am
  45. Young Christian Woman says:

    Rosie says:

    “Is it ok if we breast-feed?”

    Well, that would be the obvious way God designed for us to feed our children.

    “The way you said it came across in a way that seems you have a bigger issue with the church than with NFP. NFP is not only practiced by catholics if you haven’t noticed.”

    That’s correct, but the acceptance of NFP is one of the major issues I have with the Catholic church. However, I also acknowledge that it’s better than the positions of most Protestants. I know that NFP is practiced by some Protestants as well, and perhaps even some people who are not religious.

    “My husband and I just used NFP to get pregnat so i’m really tired of people crabing about it. We will probably use it not to get pregnant again too soon. I don’t have kids so I think it’s really easy for me to say “yeah who needs to use NFP” but i’ll tell you that if I end up having 3 kids under 5 I might be saying “thank goodness for NFP”.”

    I’m hoping to use fertility awareness to get pregnant too. Nevertheless, nothing I can do can make me pregnant. Only God can create life. If I had three kids under five, I think what I would say is “Praise be to God!” not “Praise be to God for NFP!” I recognize that I would not be so concerned about the issue if I had not been through what I have been through. But God guided me to the conclusion I have made; he authored the events of my life so that I would learn about the dangers of birth control and that I would see children as unmitigated blessings.

    Rosie also said:
    “However i’m pretty convinced the comments were in reference to catholics. “Why do catholics [lump all forms of contraceptives together and deny the huge moral difference between abortifacients and non-abortifacients? Why is it that actions (not contracepting) are valued above attitudes (lack of openness to life)?]” Now, if she had sain “Why do people…..” I would have had no problem.”

    As for the first part, I would agree that it’s not just Catholics who do this. Pro-choicers and some Protestants do as well. (In my experience, some are knowledgeable about the distinctions, some aren’t, and some know about the IUD but not hormonal BC.) The second question, at least with the specific issue I mentioned, is mostly a Catholic phenomenon. The reason I mentioned Catholics is that I wanted to know why Catholics do this. I’m aware of why pro-choicers do it (although they’ll often throw in abortion as morally equivalent to birth control too) and I know that many people do it out of ignorance. The second question is one that honestly bothers me about the Catholic teaching on birth control.

    Comment posted August 1st, 2006 at 8:46 am
  46. Young Christian Woman says:

    Pansy Moss said:

    “Making Babies: A Very Different Look at NFP.

    This article made me chuckle. I think important part though, it sort of illustrates a bit of the Catholic opinion that if you end “messing up”, the result, another baby, is not a tragedy.”

    The priest says “Thank God I’m celibate.” The wife says “Here’s another fine mess you’ve gotten me into.” The potential husband says, “I’m screwed. Is it too late to enter seminary?”

    It sure sounds like having a child is treated as less-than-desirable. Having children is a sacrifice, not a privilege. You have children so that you grow up and get pushed into adulthood, not because you want them. That doesn’t seem much like being a light to the world.

    Comment posted August 1st, 2006 at 8:46 am
  47. Young Christian Woman says:

    Mike asked:
    “Young Christian Woman,

    Does God require a couple to have sex on a few specific days of the month (the three days when both the wife and husband are fertile)?

    If so, what if one of the spouses is sick on that required day and would rather abstain from sex and focus on recovering from illness?”

    I don’t believe God requires it, no. But I think that there is a problem when you specifically, purposefully avoid those days. I do not think that there is no circumstance where avoiding pregnancy is appropriate. But I don’t think anyone will have a good reason for avoiding kids if they start from, “Gosh, I really don’t want kids, let me think of a reason not to have any.” If they start from a position of, “I love kids, and I want to let them come to me and not hinder them, and I want to grow the kingdom of God, but I have this really severe issue—such as some sort of genetic disease that makes extreme disability or early death of the children likely, or that makes the wife’s death or permanent illness from pregnancy likely (although I haven’t heard of this being the case), or extreme poverty where the children are likely to starve—then one might be justified in using NFP to prevent pregnancy, although if it works as poorly as Pansy’s article suggests, one may wonder why they are risking it. Alternately, such a couple might pray together and think about the issue and decide that they are still called to have children, and I think that would never be sinful. I think that would be what I would decide.

    As to whether sex is ever required, it is not. But I think that one has to question one’s motives if you are always abstaining at the most fertile time. I pointed out old-testament regulations because that was at one point what God required of his people, and therefore is at least more relevant than what is commonly thought in our culture or what we might ourselves think about children.

    Comment posted August 1st, 2006 at 8:47 am
  48. Young Christian Woman says:

    Joe mentioned:
    “Serious Catholics have two things going for making large families. First they would never use birth control, second it is a mortal sin to refuse sex to a spouse. These two items put together are the reasons serious Catholics will eventually take over the planet.”

    I had not known that it was considered sinful by Catholics to refuse sex. Presumably it is also sinful, of course, to force it? What is the difference between a regular sin and a mortal sin?

    As for taking over the planet, I certainly hope that they do. I think that’s a big part of the reason that Christians shouldn’t be limiting their families. Twelve people would have more impact on the world than two.

    Comment posted August 1st, 2006 at 8:47 am
  49. Young Christian Woman says:

    Michael-2 says:

    Young Christian woman says “NFP denies a woman sex when she is most likely to enjoy it the most and to naturally desire it.
    ..Paul says that Christians may abstain from sex for prayer, but not that they can abstain to avoid having children.
    ..Why do Catholics lump all forms of contraceptives together and deny the huge moral difference between abortifacients and non-abortifacients? ”

    “Oddly enough Young Christian woman there is nothing in Catholic teaching that says a wife can not use aphrodesiacs, including any of the modern creams or other concoctions that are supposed to act as a female Viagra; to extend peak desire from Phase II to Phase III.

    Concerning Paul’s advise, remember it is advise and people who abstain during Phase II should pray. When Protestant couples take time off for periods of conjugal abstinance to pray (but not to avoid pregnancy,) how long do you think is too long before you both will run out and start affairs? Sorry for the bit of sarcasm, but Paul’s advise is a consideration, not a carte blanche liberty for contraception as many Christians seem to think.”

    I do not believe that abstention for prayer is very common, and I would hope that the couple would end the prayer time rather than have affairs—that seems rather silly. Long enough that you would start affairs would be too long. I certainly don’t take the verse to mean anything about contraception. If you think I am arguing in favor of contraception, you have misread me. I do not think that it is acceptable for Christians to use contraceptives or abstention for the purpose of avoiding children in any but the most extreme circumstances.

    “Concerning the huge moral difference between abortifacients and non-abortifacients, yes that is a point, but it is ironic that the difference between abortifacient and non-abortifacient methods for preventing pregancy are also the difference between systemic methods (like living in sin) and singular methods (isolated sins). So even if there is a Pill that is only a true contraceptive, it will not be good because to use it is to declare a long term use of contraception.

    I know some very good Protestant Christian teachers, such as Dr. Albert Mohler are talking about this whole contraception mentality when they did not do so 15 or so years ago. However, they are trying to play Goldilocks triagulation: Supposedly the abortifacient methods (pill IDU, etc) are too easy and too cavilier; NFP is too hard, but barriers (the almighty condom, diaphragm, spermicide, 50’s stype methods, etc) are just right. Well, I doubt if that is going to be enough to make a difference, so I suppose what will condense out of all this amongst the mass of Christian people in the 21st century will be a hybrid system of Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) that has both NFP and barriers, with a steady decrease of barrier use as the couple matures.”

    You may well be correct that a combination of FAM and barrier methods would be the result of this thinking. Certainly it is better than the pill.

    Another interesting point is that the barrier methods affect the sex act itself, but a pill would not. See, if you were really against contraception you would not have any in your place of residence. If you went out and bought condoms and then used them at the appropriate time—well, there’s a certain amount of premeditation there, is there not? Certainly it is difficult to imagine a couple at the height of passion stopping, running to the convenience store, then coming home and completing the act. They’d either stop and control themselves if they did not want the results of sex—that is, if they are not open to life—or they’d do what they were going to do.

    I’m not really sure that barrier methods are any more sinful in extreme circumstances than NFP. If having children were really, truly going to be devastating to a couple, I’d think that any risk would be too much risk; if not, why are they preventing kids? If money is a problem, and they live in a country as rich as the US, the church should be able to help them.

    Comment posted August 1st, 2006 at 8:47 am
  50. Pansy Moss says:

    I had not known that it was considered sinful by Catholics to refuse sex. Presumably it is also sinful, of course, to force it? What is the difference between a regular sin and a mortal sin?

    Mortal sin robs your soul of grace, and makes you an enemy of God. If you die with a mortal sin on your soul, you go straight to hell. Venial sin is a lesser offense.

    Yes, forcing sex is sinful as well as denying sex. Both are different forms of the same sin, using sex as a tool for manipulation, but not as a gift to get unite a marriage.

    The priest says “Thank God I’m celibate.” The wife says “Here’s another fine mess you’ve gotten me into.” The potential husband says, “I’m screwed. Is it too late to enter seminary?”

    They were not being serious. In the end, it is about whether you are truly open to life with your actions. If you are, then there is a good chance more children will be produced. The sin isn’t having a chuckle over it.

    My husband and I joke all the time:
    “Why do we have 5 people in our bed? I hate 5 people in the bed!” It is much better to joke about the discomfort of having two boys and a cat lying in between you and your spouse lengthwise then it is to be grumpy and ultimately contracept because you lack tools such as humor, and even the ability to talk to others to deal with it. Neither one of us would want the alternative: no one in the bed even if it meant a better night’s sleep. We wouldn’t trade those munchkins for the world.

    Comment posted August 1st, 2006 at 10:10 am
  51. rosie says:

    Young Christian Woman,
    “I’m hoping to use fertility awareness to get pregnant too. Nevertheless, nothing I can do can make me pregnant. Only God can create life”
    I’ve written to you about this but I don’t think you saw it,it was a while ago. 3 months ago I started taking chaste-tree berry(vitex) because my cycles were so screwed up that I couldn’t even guess when I was ovulating. The research on this herb was very interesting. It has been known to regulate hormones, and it did, it got me down to a 29 day cycle. It said most women who have taken it have gotten pregnant within 3 months of taking it(me!) And another interesting thing about this herb is that when taken throughout the first tri-mester it has been known to prevent miscarriages. After giving birth it has been known to help women with lactation. There are no side effects either.

    ” I had not known that it was considered sinful by Catholics to refuse sex. Presumably it is also sinful, of course, to force it?”

    Of course. Couples have to be in cooperation with each other.

    Comment posted August 1st, 2006 at 10:29 am
  52. Young Christian Woman says:

    Rosie– thank you for the advice about the chaste-tree berry; I may look into it, although I will probably try charting and see a medical doctor first.

    Comment posted August 1st, 2006 at 3:03 pm
  53. Mike says:

    YCW,

    As to whether sex is ever required, it is not. But I think that one has to question one’s motives if you are always abstaining at the most fertile time.

    I agree with your statement. NFP should not be used as contraception and this is what the Catholic Church teaches. NFP should be used only in certain circumstances — one of those is spacing children and offhand I do not remember the others.

    Mike

    Comment posted August 1st, 2006 at 10:30 pm
  54. Mike says:

    YCW said…

    I had not known that it was considered sinful by Catholics to refuse sex

    I’m Catholic and this statement is news to me. I do not think it is exactly correct.

    Mike

    Comment posted August 1st, 2006 at 10:33 pm
  55. Pansy Moss says:

    I’m Catholic and this statement is news to me. I do not think it is exactly correct.

    Yes it is sinful to deny your spouse. But I think motive comes into a play a lot in this. I doubt it is sinful to deny your spouse when you are laid up with 102 fever and the flu. But chances are if your spouse loves you, they won’t ask then anyway.

    It all has to do with using sex as a manipulation tool which is really not allowed. “Punishing” your spouse by withholding sex when you are annoyed with them would be an example.

    Like I said, it really is not much of an issue in a non-abusive, loving relationship.

    Comment posted August 2nd, 2006 at 4:24 am
  56. Young Christian Woman says:

    Mike:

    I believe the other circumstance mentioned in Catholic teaching is “grave circumstances,” or somesuch unspecific thing.

    Tell me, how is spacing children not contraception? I think that spacing is already built into the system through breastfeeding and a nine-month gestation. Why is man’s wisdom about how close in age children should be better than God’s? How much space is too much? 3 years? 5? 15?

    Comment posted August 2nd, 2006 at 12:25 pm
  57. Mike says:

    Patsy,

    Post #55. Thanks for the information. It makes more sense to me now.

    YCW,

    Post #56. Without researching the reasons as of yet I cannot argue with you. I do feel compelled to agree with your points in this post. I will have to research later on this.

    I think we both can agree though NFP though it might not be the ultimate goal, would be much better option than contraception/birth control.

    Sometimes its hard to get to the final destination without taking gradual steps toward that goal.

    Mike

    Comment posted August 2nd, 2006 at 8:40 pm
  58. joe says:

    Pansy,

    “It all has to do with using sex as a manipulation tool which is really not allowed.”

    In talking to my friends I think using sex as a manipulation tool is normal in their relationships. After all that is what their wives learn on TV. The woman has to be in complete control and have all things done to her specifications or no sex for the husband.

    I have heard that guys use sex as a manipulation tool as well, but I have yet to meet one. They are probably too ashamed to admit it.

    Manipulation or not, the reality is that a spouse has a right to have intercourse. In Catholicism we are taught that sex in marriage is the total giving of oneself to the other. It is a God given right acquired through the sacrament of marriage. Outside of marriage sex devalues the human person, inside of marriage it makes each person completely valuable to the other. In that light, why wouldn’t it be a sin to refuse it?

    I think sex between married couples is like a sacramental. It is so important; it is actually a holy thing. After all in a marriage it is the total giving of oneself to the other which in turn allows us to be co-creators with God. It’s got holiness written all over it.

    In that light it makes me see two things clearly. The first is that our sex driven culture believes that sex must abound before marriage, and then dissipate once marriage happens. Second, the culture wants to remove the holiness of sex from the marriage through contraception. Basically they take a holy thing, use it for something precisely the opposite of what God intended, and then tell us we are evil for not seeing it their way.

    I think it is ironic that the very people I know that use contraceptives to avoid having children actually have sex less because of how devalued it is in their marriage. You would think they would use contraceptives to have sex more, but it just isn’t the case with them.

    Joe

    Comment posted August 2nd, 2006 at 8:51 pm
  59. Michael-2 says:

    Joe writes “I think it is ironic that the very people I know that use contraceptives to avoid having children actually have sex less because of how devalued it is in their marriage. You would think they would use contraceptives to have sex more, but it just isn’t the case with them.”

    Bravo Joe! Good observation. And this is an example of the “creeping death” of contraception. Of course, with NFP many people tend to howl about a little abstinance (or maybe a lot of abstinance for them). (Try telling a child they can not have something and that becomes the only thing they think about, until they mature a bit; same with some NFP people.) But their marriage sex life does not die. It remains fresh, perhaps due to a bit of retained romance; who knows. Romance or the need for it is a modern heresy and almost a capital sin. Nonetheless, they tend to have as much sex or even more than the average consistantly contracepting couple. Very ironic and counter-intuitive, but true.

    Comment posted August 2nd, 2006 at 11:14 pm
  60. Michael-2 says:

    Joe writes “I think it is ironic that the very people I know that use contraceptives to avoid having children actually have sex less because of how devalued it is in their marriage. You would think they would use contraceptives to have sex more, but it just isn’t the case with them.”

    Bravo Joe! Good observation. And this is an example of the “creeping death” of contraception. Of course, with NFP many people tend to howl about a little abstinance (or maybe a lot of abstinance for them). (Try telling a child they can not have something and that becomes the only thing they think about, until they mature a bit; same with some NFP people.) But their marriage sex life does not die. It remains fresh, perhaps due to a bit of retained romance; who knows. Romance or the need for it is a modern heresy and almost a capital sin. Nonetheless, they tend to have as much sex or even more than the average consistantly contracepting couple. Very ironic and counter-intuitive, but true.

    Comment posted August 2nd, 2006 at 11:14 pm
  61. Pansy Moss says:

    Joe,

    In talking to my friends I think using sex as a manipulation tool is normal in their relationships. After all that is what their wives learn on TV. The woman has to be in complete control and have all things done to her specifications or no sex for the husband.

    Well, I wasn’t really speaking about specifics as much as principle.

    Manipulation or not, the reality is that a spouse has a right to have intercourse.

    I was not arguing that it is OK to deny your spouse if not so great scenarios. Not at all. My point was in a relationship built on love and respect, you do not see a lot of forcing and withholding to get ones way with sex. Many of the questions that arose were “well, is forcing your spouse ok then?” And the answer is no. But you are right, marriages are relationships with people. People are not perfect, and when you live with someone for many years, problems arise here and there. The problems do not give someone the right to mistreat the gifts God has given them.

    I gotta tell you that when my husband and I came back to the Church, I stopped talking to my friends about sex, and mainly because of this reason. I got tired of hearing husband bashing complaints, and about their sex lives which was not only personal, but was always conversations about “how he wanted to, but I wasn’t going to” kinds of things. Actually, when I first learned about this in my newborn revert time, my friend said she went to confession and told the priest about her marital problems, and the priest told her outright to stop denying her husband.

    In my naivety I actually really don’t understand the use of sex as a weapon thing. Do not get me wrong, I come from a family of human beings. My MIL is an alcoholic (recovering), and there has been at least one on my side who has sort of shaped the way we learned to deal with people. I am no stranger to seeing manipulation tools being used (it is a major pet peeve of mine as a matter of fact). But sex is just way too powerful to use simply to just get your way. And once you start using it as such, you are taking something God gave you to strengthen a marriage especially in hard times and using it to create more difficulty.

    Outside of marriage sex devalues the human person, inside of marriage it makes each person completely valuable to the other.

    In Kimeberly Hahn’s book, Life Giving Love she talks about when her husband first became Catholic, that caused friction between them, so to help their marriage, they made love more often. I cannot imagine being like “nope, you’re Catholic. I’m not having sex again with you until you become protestant again.”

    Interestingly enough when I was young, I used to read a lot of women’s magazines. On one hand, for single women, there is tons of advice about birth control options, sexy lingerie, “how to please your man”…But when it comes to relationship advice, they stress “communication” (which is of course very, very important-no argument there), but to stay away from sex until your issues are resolved because you don’t want the relationship to be about sex. I guess this is good advice if you are not married, but very bad if you are.

    I think it is ironic that the very people I know that use contraceptives to avoid having children actually have sex less because of how devalued it is in their marriage. You would think they would use contraceptives to have sex more, but it just isn’t the case with them.

    Religious women in commited relationships also have better sex:

    When University of Chicago researchers set out to discover which religious denominations have the best sex, they learned that the faithful don’t do all their shouting in church. Conservative Protestant women, their 1994 survey found, report by far the most orgasms: Thirty-two percent say they achieve orgasm every time they make love. Mainline Protestants and Catholics lagged five points behind. Those with no religious affiliation were at 22 percent. (Unitarians may not wish to read any further.)

    Comment posted August 3rd, 2006 at 5:48 am
  62. joe says:

    Pansy,

    “In my naivety I actually really don’t understand the use of sex as a weapon thing.”

    I don’t understand it either. Aside from it being flat out wrong, I can imagine this “weapon” could very easily backfire.

    The rest of your post was excellent, I totally agree with your avoidance of sexual conversations with your friends and am very amused at the University of Chicago research. Those poor Unitarians.

    Joe

    Comment posted August 3rd, 2006 at 12:36 pm
  63. Lauren, lauren, lauren says:

    I’d rather have a comprehensive worldview and not have my head in the sand than have a million orgasms..

    Comment posted August 3rd, 2006 at 5:11 pm
  64. Pansy Moss says:

    I’d rather have a comprehensive worldview and not have my head in the sand

    What does working to have a stable and happy marriage have anything to do with anyone’s worldview, “comprehensive” or not?

    than have a million orgasms..

    Now I am really confused.

    You do not believe sex is for procreation as you believe in abortion and birth control.

    You do not believe sex is for love, or for strengthening and unifying marriage as you believe in pre-marital sex.

    Now you say you do not even believe sex is for the fun of orgasms.

    So if sex is not for procreation, love, or even for fun, what is sex for, and why is it so important to have sex? If there is not point in having sex, there is no point in having abortions.

    Comment posted August 3rd, 2006 at 6:26 pm
  65. lauren says:

    Why does sex have to have an overarching purpose? Why can’t you have it be what you want it to be?

    Comment posted August 14th, 2006 at 3:38 pm
  66. Generations for Life » Blog Archive » Talking about Overpopulation says:

    [...] As a very wise man said in 1968: Finally, careful consideration should be given to the danger of [contraception] passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone… [...]

    Comment posted October 27th, 2006 at 5:09 pm

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