Faith Check 19 – Contraception vs. Natural Family Planning (NFP)

Contraception vs. Natural Family Planning (NFP)

The question is often asked why the Church is against birth control if it allows natural family planning to avoid pregnancy?

The Catholic teaching that it is a sin to use contraception is nothing new but is the perennial teaching of Judeo-Christian morality.  Only in the 1930s did any Christians begin teaching that contraception could be morally acceptable.1

The sexual union between husband and wife is a renewal of the wedding vows, which say that “I love you, freely, totally, faithfully, and fruitfully.”  To come together sexually while deliberately sterilizing the act goes against the intrinsic meaning of intercourse.  It says, “I love you, but not your fertility.”

When a couple has discerned that there are serious reasons to avoid a pregnancy, there is nothing sinful about periodic abstinence during the fertile times of the month.  Intercourse remains a renewal of the marriage vows, a total gift of self that is open to the authentic, life-giving meaning of sex.

Divorce rates among couples using natural family planning are almost non-existent because they grow in self-control and respect for one another’s bodies, which leads to healthier relationships and even more passionate intimacy.

1 – Protestant acceptance of contraception first began at the Church of England’s Lambeth Conference  in 1930.

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