- Friday, 08 August 2008 18:53
Danielle Bean has an excellent article over at Inside Catholic that I so needed today.
I read this and I started to cry:
When a battle-weary mother stands alone in her bathroom looking with disbelief at two tiny pink lines on a pregnancy test, it’s too late for family-planning discussions of clinical effectiveness. We’ve got a baby to take care of. And his mother…
“Soon after I announced that we were (unexpectedly) pregnant with our eighth child,” an older mom once wrote me, “I came out of Mass one day and found an NFP flyer tucked under the windshield wiper of my van. I even wondered if it was our pastor who put it there.”
Shame on us.
Whether we love NFP or hate it, whether we choose to use it in our marriages or not, whether we have one child or 16 children, we Catholics have no business receiving new life with anything but charity and joy. We have no business labeling our fellow Catholics, in their time of need and vulnerability, as crazy or irresponsible.
It takes courage for many Catholic couples to continue to refuse contraception, to remain open to life in their marriages, even when their circumstances are already difficult and they are hoping to avoid another pregnancy. The “99 percent effective” number people like to throw around about NFP becomes a much smaller one when translated into “user effectiveness.”
Thank you and God bless you.
- Saturday, 07 June 2008 11:45
While I do know many providentalists and many NFPers, Deo Gratias, neither have been the extreme ilk described in the post below. Well not at least within the circle of people I consider my friends and confidantes, just opinions I read on the Internet here and there. I think my main gripe with NFP, both sides will agree is one of the tragedies of NFP in philosophy.
As I mentioned before, I suffered from Post Partum Depression after Berylla. My OB/Gyn (not Catholic, but a kind doctor) asked me the usual questions:
“do you have help?”
“how many small children do you have at home?”
Then he asked if I could get dispensation from the Bishop to use birth control. I actually considered this option, knowing darn well my very liberal Bishop would grant it with no problem without even truly weighing the issue with true Catholic teaching. (Perhaps I shouldn’t have such doubts and trust God’s shepherds more.) There are the other factors though:
~Contraceptives are abortifacient.
~Contraceptives are carcinogenic.
~Contraceptives aren’t good for you.
~It is bad for marriages.
~The pill was funded by Margaret Sanger for eugenic purposes.
So here I am, working out, eating organic brown rice, refraining from drinking and smoking and I would give up all that work for an drug that is not necessary to sustain me or keep me healthy. The Church in all her wisdom simply understand what Truth is, and trying to find a back door is just denying the Truth.
I went home that day and spoke to my mother, the wife of a deacon. I figured with all my parents’ religious training and as a mother of four, she would have a better grip on the intricacies of this delicate situation. Her reply was that since I have tried NFP with earnest many times, that is God giving me the thumbs up to use birth control. That was the spoken part. The non-spoken part has been made obvious numerous times when I was a week or two post partum, and I was struggling to juggle cooking dinner, lessons, mastitis. After I had number four and I was in this situation, I called her and begged for a bit of help to which she replied “it was your choice to have more children; I did my time.” I never asked again. Of course she never volunteered.
You see NFP, even among Catholics who understand the moral and health contraindications of artificial birth control now have NFP to fall back on to allow large families to be labeled “irresponsible”. That means if they have lots of kids that is their responsibility and no one has a Christian duty any longer to help families in need, even their own families, who may be struggling financially or practically. “You got yourself into this mess, and don’t use that ‘being Catholic thing’ as an excuse, it’s your job to get yourself out.” There are no more of those stories from the 50’s about how the Murphy’s had 10 kids and they were dirt poor, so the girls couldn’t afford dancing lessons, but the kids enjoyed each others company, had tons of chores, looked out for one another and grew up to be good Catholics. Remember those stories? Today: “how can you neglect those kids by not giving them dancing lessons?”