Catholic Contraception?

(A Response to RealCatholicism)

Recently a friend sent me a lengthy article attacking the current teaching of the Catholic Church regarding birth control. The article had an unusual perspective. It considers Natural Family Planning to be Catholic Contraception and thus immoral. Here is my response:

Thank you for sending the article Natural Family Planning: "Catholic Contraception"? It was interesting to see an article taking the church to task for being too lenient in its teaching on fecundity in marriage. A lot could be said about Mr. Carey J. Winters' position, but I will limit myself to these observations.

It was contained a publication called RealCatholicism but it hardly represents Catholic faith because it explicitly rejects the living magisterium of the Church. The attack on Pope John Paul II is unfortunate and unfair.

Secondly Mr. Winters does not grasp the great difference between contraception and natural family planning. The former blocks, even destroys the self-giving between husband and wife. The latter involves the understanding and appreciation of the gift of fertility. As Pope John Paul II makes clear what is at stake are "two irreconcilable concepts of the human person and human sexuality." (Familiaris Consortio 32, cited in Catechism 2370)

Finally, it should be admitted there is nothing against a Catholic couple doing what Mr. Winters suggests: simply being open to whatever children God should send them. In that case their method would be to use no method. I know some beautiful couples that have done just that and their quite large families are doing fine. However, I do feel they are missing out on something by not taking advantage what the Catechism calls "self observation." That both husband and wife be aware of the changes in the wife's cycle has tremendous advantages for communication, understanding emotional variations related to bodily changes and of course to achieve pregnancy. One of the beauties of NFP as opposed to contraception is that it can be used positively to conceive a child as well as postpone or space children when there are legitimate motives for doing so.

I'm sure none of these observations are new to you. Please keep us in your prayers. We are currently in the midst of the Billing Ovulation Method Teacher Training which is co-sponsored by the Archdiocese and Providence Hospital. Some nineteen people are attending and it hold great promise for helping our young couples truly live the Catholic teaching in this crucial area.

Sincerely in Christ,

Fr. Phil Bloom
May 24, 1999


More on the difference between birth control and natural family planning

Interview on Birth Control

Human Cloning: A Catholic Perspective (How the Unthinkable Became Inevitable)

Mary Bloom Center for Natural Family Planning

Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Birth Control (by Protestants Against Birth Control)

The Preacher and the Pill (How the Church and feminism gave a woman control of her body)

Artificial birth control as a major root cause of poverty: Keynote Address to St. Vincent de Paul Regional Gathering, May 16, 1997.

What Every Catholic Couple Should Know

For more on the struggle between dissent and orthodoxy see my review of Flawed Expectations.

Why Humanae Vitae Was Right An excellent book on the Birth Control Debate edited by Dr. Janet Smith

Review of Why Humanae Vitae Was Right

A clear and concise Summary of Church Teaching on Contraception

Chemical Abortions (Interview with Dr. Thomas Hilgers, M.D.)

To plan or postpone pregnancy: Billings Method

Cukierski Family Apostolate
"Not Your Mother's Birth Control"

Infertile and Catholic: Help for Catholic couples who have been unable to have children.

The Moral Difference between NFP and Birth Control. (Response to letter from Ken Stuart.)

He Approached the Victim: "It's much more likely one of your relatives will lose his life by surgical abortion than by heart attack."

Surviving as a Catholic Family (Archbishop Charles Chaput reflects on the difference between Birth Control and Natural Family Planning)

Stem Cell Research: Teaching of Bible & Catholic Church

Germaine Greer on Birth Control