DISCLAIMER: Before you read this post, I’m going to go ahead and clarify a few things for you. This blog post is about what my wife and I believe and the way we choose to live our lives. You don’t have to agree with us. Your beliefs are your beliefs. This post is not to condemn or persecute anyone. It is about our beliefs and the way we choose to live our lives. If you feel conflicted about this post, I would love to have a healthy discussion with you about it. When I mention “The Church” I am referencing to The One True Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. The one Jesus started with Peter. I am not a theologian, nor am I an official spokesperson for the Catholic Church. (You’re thinking of this guy.) If you read anything on this blog that is contrary to Church teaching, please consider it my error (and let me know!). I’m not a doctor or an expert on anything in particular. I’m just one person with a desire to share my joy in marriage and my faith. (Thank you Kendra for additions to my disclaimer)
After my last post regarding birth control, I received both positive and negative comments, but mostly positive. I even received positive comments from dissenters about how well it was written and how the Facebook commenting was all handled. So even though some may have disagreed with our view on birth control, they still had positive things to say.
Well, after speaking with a friend of mine, I have decided to clarify a few things by mentioning the Church’s stance on this issue and clarify that when I was referring to “birth control” that I am talking about artificial/unnatural methods. I also have decided to clarify my comments regarding the non-denominational minister.
Topics that won’t be discussed here are as follows: In Vitro Fertilization, same-sex relations, barrenness, abortion, non-married chaste individuals (nuns & priests), welfare, the stance or lack thereof that some denominations take on this issue, etc. I do not like getting off topic and the topic is what form of child planning The Church does approve. For the same reasons, I also remove comments on Facebook and this blog for confusion of the issues. I do not like to have issues that are not originally discussed in my post interjected into the conversation.
BIRTH CONTROL (CONTRACEPTIVES) METHODS:
In my last post I mentioned “birth control.” I should’ve clarified what I meant each time I mentioned it instead of just once by writing birth control/contraceptives that I meant artificial forms of birth control. Artificial birth control encompasses many types. Here is the list…
- Abstinence Birth Control Implant (Implanon and Nexplanon)
- Birth Control Patch (Ortho Evra)
- Birth Control Pills
- Birth Control Shot (Depo-Provera) (CHECK OUT THESE WARNINGS)
- Birth Control Sponge (Today Sponge)
- Birth Control Vaginal Ring (NuvaRing)
- Cervical Cap (FemCap)
- Female Condom
- Fertility Awareness-Based Methods (FAMs)
- IUD (BECAUSE THIS LOOKS NORMAL)
- Morning-After Pill (Emergency Contraception)
- Sterilization for Women (Tubal Sterilization)
- Withdrawal (Pull Out Method)
THE CHURCH’S STANCE ON BIRTH CONTROL/NFP:
The Church’s stance is that using artificial means to space out childbirths is wrong. Period. That’s as simple as it can be put. The list above contains all of the artificial methods that prevent childbirth. That being said, there were many questions regarding not having children because of financial or medical (life threatening) reasons that stemmed from my original post. I intend to touch on those topics below.
First, I would like to point out that The Church does not condemn spacing out births or the number of births you have, but it does take a stance as to how you should do it and when. Let us to take a look at what The Church has said on your motives for spacing out births:
If, then, there are serious motives (WHEN) to space out births, which derive from the physical or psychological conditions of husband and wife, or from external conditions, the Church teaches that it is then licit to take into account the natural rhythms (HOW) immanent in the generative functions… [Pope Paul VI, Humanae Vitae 16]
THE WHEN: In our opinion, “serious motives” do not entail some people’s motives not to have children such as not being able to travel, choosing to live life for a while without the responsibility of children, or being able to afford having materialistic things of this world instead of using our funds to raise and provide for children. If those seem “serious” to you then you may want to pray about your priorities in life and what you value most. I know we did before we came to this resolution. Those motives are out of selfishness, not responsibility, which will be discussed below.
THE HOW: Please take note that the terminology used is “natural” rhythms. As I stated earlier, the methods for birth control listed above are of artificial means. Well, what’s the definition of “artificial?”
Artificial: 1. not of natural or real : made, produced, or done to seem like something natural. 2. not happening or existing naturally created or caused by people 3. not sincere
Using deductive reasoning, hopefully this point can be made clear. The Church only approves of natural methods to space out childbirths. Artificial is not natural by its very definition. Therefore, The Church does not approve of artificial methods to space out childbirths.
We’ve covered “serious motives.” Here’s some more terminology from The Church… “just reasons” and “selfishness.”
For just reasons, spouses may wish to space the births of their children. It is their duty to make certain that their desire is not motivated by selfishness but is in conformity with the generosity appropriate to responsible parenthood. Moreover, they should conform their behavior to the objective criteria of morality. [Catechism of the Catholic Church 2368]
THE WHEN: Here again we are discussing the “motives” and as stated above in our opinion, the term selfishness is included. Not only can you not have selfish motives, but they must also be fueled by motives of “responsible parenthood.” You must have just reasons and you have to do some serious prayer as to what fuels your motives. If it’s selfishness, then your motives are wrong. Again, we share the views of The Church. If they are not your views then we love you all the same. We just disagree with your motives and decisions.
The devil wants us to be selfish. He’s put it in our minds and we have become institutionalized to believe that using contraceptives is natural. He’s a plagiarist and has taken something that God created for our pleasure and purpose and has made it his own: unnatural, selfish and not giving fully of oneself to your spouse, and creating barriers to life and love.
Now, let’s look to the heart of NFP’s (Natural Family Planning) methods…
However, profoundly different from any contraceptive practice is the behavior of married couples, who, always remaining fundamentally open to the gift of life, live their intimacy only in the unfruitful periods, when they are led to this course by serious motives of responsible parenthood. This is true both from the anthropological and moral points of view, because it is rooted in a different conception of the person and of sexuality. The witness of couples who for years have lived in harmony with the plan of the Creator, and who, for proportionately serious reasons, licitly use the methods rightly called “natural,” confirms that it is possible for spouses to live the demands of chastity and of married life with common accord and full self-giving. [Pontifical Council for the Family, Vademecum for Confessors Concerning Some Aspects of the Morality of Conjugal Life, 2.6]
The Church goes on:
Serious motives, just reasons, proportionately serious reasons. The Church teaches the necessity of just or serious motives or reasons for couples to use the infertile periods of a woman’s cycle for the purpose of spacing births. In doing so she is trying to insure that the natural methods of spacing children are used in a virtuous and loving way, i.e., unselfishly. Serious reasons mean important, or non-trivial, reasons, deriving “from the physical or psychological conditions of husband and wife, or from external conditions” (HV 16). Just reasons are, likewise, reasons which correspond to the truth of marriage and the situation of the couple. It is the nature of justice to correspond to the truth. Both terms, serious and just, presumes there can be selfish, trivial or unjust reasons for using NFP, reasons not in keeping with the nature of marriage as a community of life and love.
The Church does approve NFP ONLY after serious prayer has been made and the motives are not out of selfishness, but are out of responsible parenthood and for serious reasons. Please note that still, The Church and Mariah and I hold that you should ONLY use NATURAL methods.
“Unfruitful Periods”: As summed up as much as I possibly can, I will explain what they mean by “unfruitful periods.” NFP involves having sex with your spouse (a husband and a wife – a male and a female) only during the “unfruitful periods” (when she’s not ovulating) and abstaining from sex when she is ovulating. That way, when you’re having sex, it is natural and not artificial. We hold strong in our belief that changing the natural chemical makeup of a woman, the way God intended her to be, by using artificial methods to make it to where she is never ovulating is wrong.
“Selfishness” and “Responsible Parenthood”: Here’s something else you should realize when discussing responsible parenthood and being able to financially provide for your children: YOU DO NOT HAVE TO GET THEM THE LATEST GREATEST MOST TOYS IN THE WORLD! So many parents today think that they aren’t doing enough for their children if they don’t have the best and newest means of entertainment for their children or materialistic methods for their growth process. I had video games when I was young, but the majority of my childhood was spent outside in the woods literally swinging from trees, building pine straw forts, and making up games to play outside such as obstacle courses which involved running and jumping. Guess how much that cost my parents… NOTHING. You are not an irresponsible parent if you can’t provide more than the necessities for your child.
HOW WE LOVE:
Pope John Paul II’s Theology of The Body holds some very good points on how we should love:
The human body is the expression or manifestation of the human person. John Paul II speaks of the body as revealing the person and when we express God-like acts through the body, the body is actually a physical image of God. Pope John Paul II goes so far as to say that the human body speaks a language. (Theology of the Body series, as well as Familiaris Consortio.) Since we are created to act as God acts, and He LOVES, we are created to love as He does. Since we have bodies, and we express our acts in and through our bodies, God gave us a means of expressing love physically. Since true, authentic love is THE most God-like act possible for human beings (because it is the most God-like act), and since the body has the possibility of expressing this love, the study of those powers of the body through which we can express an intimate self-giving love will reveal more about the person and even about God than the study of other aspects of the human body.
THE INCEPTION OF ARTIFICIAL BIRTH CONTROL:
Some of you don’t even know how artificial means of birth control really became popular and I thank a friend of mine for reminding me about it by commenting on my last post. Birth control became popularized because of a woman by the name of Margaret Sanger who was also a huge proponent of negative eugenics. What is negative eugenics? It’s the study of or belief in the possibility of improving the qualities of the human species or a human population, especially by such means as discouraging reproduction by persons having genetic defects or presumed to have inheritable undesirable traits. As part of Sanger’s efforts to promote birth control, she found common cause with proponents of eugenics, believing that they both sought to “assist the race toward the elimination of the unfit.” (Wiki) She is quoted here in April 1932 Birth Control Review, pg. 108 as saying, “Birth control must lead ultimately to a cleaner race.” And when referring to “blacks, immigrants, and poor people” she is quoted referring to them as “human weeds,’ ‘reckless breeders,’ ‘spawning… human beings who never should have been born.” Margaret Sanger, Pivot of Civilization. In essence, she believed wholeheartedly in the effect and purpose of negative eugenics used by the Nazi regime. She just used different methods. How’s that pill taste now? We were blown away when we learned of this.
CLARIFICATION ON THE MINISTER CONVERSATION:
For clarification purposes, I will revisit my conversation with the minister. He is only one of hundreds of thousands of people that use what we and The Church believe are improper methods of birth control. He stated that he and his wife use an artificial use of birth control (a kind that stops fertilization before it can occur). It could be the pill, condoms, the shot, etc. To be honest, the artificial form does not matter to me. Our view? All artificial forms are wrong. For all of the reasons stated above, they’re wrong. It strips the very nature of giving one’s self to the other and the natural way God intended for us to show love to our spouse. I have no clue what financial struggles a third child would bring to their family and if by “struggle” he meant not being able to provide as a responsible parent or even if that’s something they prayed about. So I won’t pretend that I do. All I am saying is that his method is incorrect. I’m not taking anything away from how great of a father, husband, or man that he may be. I’m not saying that I dislike him or that he’s stupid, irrational or an idiot for believing what he believes or anything of the sort. I am simply saying that we believe he is wrong in his choice for artificial birth control.
For those of you that previously asked questions stemming from my original post such as “what about people that can’t have children because if they do they may die, have serious health issues with the mother or child, etc.?” The above post should have answered those for you. You use NFP. That’s the answer. It’s still intimately natural and there’s no risk of death or a serious health issue. You may also want to read this blog post in response to a very similar question: Catholic All Year: Mailbag: Do I Still Have to do NFP if My Life is at Risk?
I hope this helped to clear up anything that may have been cloudy or misconstrued in my last post. If you have comments, please feel free to post them by clicking “leave a comment.” You can also follow my blog to see later posts by clicking the “Follow” button on the right. Have a blessed day.