12 Myths Every Catholic Should Be Able To Answer
by Deal Hudson
#10. ďNatural Family Planning is just the Catholic version of birth control.Ē
Natural Family Planning (NFP) has enemies on all sides. Some believe that itís an unrealistic alternative to birth control (which they donít think is sinful anyway) while others think that itís just as bad as birth control. NFP has had to walk a fine line between both extremes.
First of all, the main problem with birth control is that it works against the nature of our bodies ó and nature in general. It aims to sever the act (sex) from its consequence (pregnancy), basically reducing the sacredness of sex to the mere pursuit of pleasure.
NFP, when used for the right reason, is more of a tool used for discerning whether a couple has the means (whether financially, physically, or emotionally) to accept a child into their lives. It involves understanding your own body, taking careful stock of your situation in life, discussing the issue with your spouse, and, above all, prayer. Rather than cutting yourself off from the full reality of sex, you are entering into it with a better understanding of all aspects involved.
People who favor birth control point to those people who canít afford more children, or whose health might be at risk from further pregnancies. But these are perfectly legitimate reasons to use NFP ó situations where it would be perfectly effective ó and the Church allows its use.
Other people think that taking any sort of control over the size of your family is like playing God, rather than letting Him provide for us as He sees fit. Itís true that we must trust God and always accept the lives He sends us, but we donít need to be completely hands-off in that regard.
For example, rather than throwing money around and saying that ďGod will provide,Ē families carefully budget their finances and try not to overextend their means. NFP is like that budget, helping us prayerfully consider our situation in life and act accordingly. Itís part of our nature as humans to understand ourselves and use our intellect and free will, rather than passively expecting God to take care of everything. Weíre called to be good stewards of the gifts weíre given; we must be careful never to treat those gifts carelessly.
Next: Myth 11
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