Friday, January 23, 2015

Rabbits and NFP

My wife and and I taught NFP for ten years. We heard all the jokes (i.e., half truths and outright lies) about NFP, typified by this perennial favorite: "What do you call couples who use NPF? 'Parents.'" We heard the continual disparagement about "breeding like rabbits." We had couples who walked out of our class after my presentation on the necessity of having "grave reason" for recourse to NFP. We also had couples who, after hearing the Church's teaching on the necessity of having "grave reason" for having recourse NFP, realized they had none, and happily reported within a month or two that they were expecting. 

We also always wanted a big family, and I even bought a 12 passenger van when the children were young in hopes of having 6 or 8 children or more. After our third came along, God never sent us any more.We love our children, and we would have loved to have more, but He knew best for us.

We gave up teaching NFP partly because the mentality was not that Catholics could have recourse to NFP "for grave reasons," but one that had morphed into the idea that NFP was "responsible parenthood" and "Catholic birth control" and that "grave reasons" weren't really necessary any more. It was just too difficult to teach young couples how to be "responsible parents," avoiding pregnancy for often less than grave reasons, when we still were asking God for more children.

The Pope's recent comments were grossly imprudent in my opinion, even hurtful to many good faithful Christians. They contribute to the values-free mentality of the modern NFP movement and the idea that "responsible parents" must limit childbearing. They are not in any way helpful; I find them to be indefensible, despite the spin of the usual suspects who want to interpret them in a hermeneutic of continuity with former Magisterial statements on the subject. I find them to be a rupture with the perennial teachings of the Church on this subject, based on firm reliance on Divine Providence, appeals to the "responsible parenthood" proof texts in Guadium et Spes and Humanae Vitae notwithstanding.

If Pope Francis were not preparing an encyclical on "global warming" and "human ecology" I would just shrug off this latest embarrassment as just another in a long line of off-the-cuff gaffes.
But he is using the language of the environmentalists and population controllers who blame climate change on Christians, Islamists and Third World citizens who "breed like rabbits." If he has bought into the climate change propaganda then he has likely also bought into the idea that fighting climate change requires "responsible parenthood."

In his mind, maybe population control to combat global warming is fine, as long as it employs NFP?

1 comment:


    A failure rate of 0.2 pregnancies per 100 women was found in a study of 19,843 women in India.