Though many see big families a blessing, there are those who are called to limit family size for just reasons. So, what is a good Catholic to do in order to practice responsible parenthood? Does NFP really work?
The Church has taken a stand against artificial methods of birth control because they degrade the value and purpose of sexual intimacy in marriage. In 1968, Pope Paul VI published Humanae Vitae. In this short but momentous encyclical, he stated that through the use of contraception there would be an increase in infidelity, a moral decline in the culture, a loss of respect for women, and an attitude that man has unlimited dominion over the body. Nearly 50 years later, we can now see these words from Paul VI were prophetic.
Our faith does not leave us on our own to figure out how to plan our families. In the Catechism it states, 2368:
Natural Family Planning (NFP) is more about self-control than birth control. We must ultimately trust in God’s plan for our families and be open to life as we prayerfully consider the options for family planning. Saint Pope John Paul II reminds us, “it is only in the logic of the reciprocal gift between man and woman that the natural regulation of fertility can be correctly understood and authentically lived as the proper expression of a real and mutual communion of love and life. It is worth repeating here that “the person can never be considered as a means to an end, above all never a means of ‘pleasure.’ The person is and must be nothing other than the end of every act. Only then does the action correspond to the true dignity of the person.” (cf. Letter to Families)
There is a method of NFP that suits the needs of your family. NFP has been scientifically proven to be effective in both preventing pregnancy when desired and achieving pregnancy. You will find a link at the end of your quiz to help you find out more information and register for a class to learn more about NFP and how to practice it in your marriage. To find a doctor who can help you, visit Priests for Life to find an excellent resource available here. If you get a result from the quiz that you don’t think is the best fit for your needs, you can find out more about all forms of Natural Family Planning through this link .
*Note – This quiz is for married couples or engaged couples looking to decided what type of family planning they will use in their marriage. It is a teaching of the Catholic Church that the only acceptable form of “birth control” for those who are not yet married is abstinence.
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