Tuesday, January 30, 2007

“Use NFP: It Doesn’t Work!”

Tim Bayly links to a funny Catholic take on Natural Family Planning: The best thing about it, says H. W. Crocker III, is that it doesn't work, and you wind up with a big family, just as God intended.

Crocker makes the case for his marketing method:

As a slogan, "Use NFP: It Doesn’t Work!" has many strong arguments in its favor. First, it is true. NFP proponents tout its 99 percent effectiveness rate, but they neglect to mention that this is true only if the husband is in the Navy and assigned to extended, uninterrupted sea duty of three-year tours or longer. Otherwise, for most Catholics I know, NFP means a baby every two years or so, though the rate can slow with age, as the couples learn a proper respect—that is, fear—for each other and are too tired in any event for what Catholics call "the conjugal act."

Then he comments on an enthusiastic NFP advocate:

As a slogan, "Use NFP: It Doesn’t Work!" puts the focus where it belongs—on babies—and away from a technique, a technique that wrongly strikes most lay Catholics as medieval. If only it were medieval, then it would be effective: a sturdy, padlocked, handsomely designed, pewter chastity belt.

Instead, NFP is shiny, modern, and scientific, as its advocates are always quick to emphasize. In his book The Truth of Catholicism, George Weigel approvingly quotes several paragraphs from a woman in love with NFP. She reminds us that:

Natural Family Planning is not the justly ridiculed rhythm method, which involves vaguely guessing when the woman expects to ovulate and abstaining for a few days around day fourteen of her cycle. The full method involves charting a woman’s waking temperatures, changes in cervical fluid, and the position of the cervix.

Nothing unnatural or artificial about that, is there? Her raptures climax with NFP apparently transformed into "Narcissism For Pleasure":

But the turning point came for me as I watched, month after month, as my temperature rose and fell and my hormones marched in perfect harmony. I had no idea I was so beautiful. I found myself near tears one day looking at my chart and thinking, "Truly, I am fearfully and wonderfully made." My fertility is not a disease to be treated. It is a wonderful gift. I am a wonderful gift.

Er, if you say so, missy. If my wife talked like this, I’d have her committed. Happily, my wife, bless her heart, takes a more robust line: "Barefoot and pregnant is better than high-heeled and professional!" That’s the spirit!

Crocker's plain-spoken humor is a refreshing contrast to the types who will go on and on in the vein of the NFP advocate he quotes, the kind who sell NFP as a cure for every marital, spiritual, and physical ill, including dandruff and toenail fungus.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

actually NFP does work. My husband and I use it and have been successful in doing so, either achieving pregnancy or avoiding it for various reasons and we have only two children and it has made our marriage better. NFP also teaches you self denial, self sacrifice and teaches you other ways of intamcy. When you contracept you are in essencse taking away from the very reason what God intended marriage to be to "be fruitful and multiply." Putting that barrier between you and your spouse creates a lie in the marriage. Being open to the gift of life is a great thing and trusting in God is a great thing, you are in essence giving God more souls to worship him in heaven for eternity..birth control pills do not always stop ovulation and therefore you concieve a new life, but the pill will stop that new life from implanting in you womb therefore aborting the baby. Birth control pills are linked to depression, head aches, strokes, heart attacks and the list goes on, what respecting, loving husband would put their wife at this kind of risk. In fact in Genisis God struck down a man for spilling his life giving seed. So even in the OT contraception is being addressed. The fact is that when you put the artificial barrier between you and your spouse you are putting a barrier between your marriage and between the gifts that God wants to bless you with...in essence you are saying to your spouse I love you and I am yours and you can have everything that I am except my fertility. Christians are supposed to have God be head over their entire life, family, money, time but what about fertility? A great book by Kimberly Hahn called Life Giving Love explains it very well. This book was a great book when my husband and I were considereing other healthier options. Fertility is not a disease that one should take a pill for. More people should be open to NFP and the health benefits that it offers. One more thing to consider is that before 1930 all protestant religions were in line with the Catholic Church and saw that contraception was against the will of God and the protestant religions also forbade the use of birth control but now it is hardly talked about among the protestant circles. May God Bless you and give you the grace to seek the fullnes of truth so that you can always glorify Him in all that you do in your life and marriage.
God Bless :)