Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Hardcore NFP view "seems like a real contradiction"

Rod Dreher writes on his Crunchy Con blog about the cult-like attitude toward NFP he and his wife encountered on a support mailing list:

Any idea that NFP is anything other than the perfect, most easily implemented way of life seemed forbidden in that online circle. It was as if you couldn't admit to having problems with it, even within the context of fidelity to NFP. For an online support group, that was discouraging....

But we really did encounter a kind of political correctness within observant Catholic circles (that is, among people who were committed to NFP) about this stuff.

A comment posted by a mother of three, "Quinault," is interesting:

My husband and I have been married almost 12 years now. We used hormonal birth control for about 9 months, up until I had horrible reactions to it (i.e I gained a ton of weight and became a basketcase).

After some trial and error with non-hormonal methods we tried NFP. It worked quite well for us. That said, it doesn't work for everyone. There are exceptions to the rules of EBF/NFP. Women can ovulate multiple times in a cycle! And you can have "fertile" signs for nearly your entire cycle. Which if you are trying to avoid conception can mean no sex for years. Many hardcore EBF/NFP people that are Catholic will say that you have to either use NFP or live a sexless marriage. That isn't a good option on any level. Sex is supposed to be "unitive and open to life" they will say. And they are quick to say that a marriage isn't valid unless consumated. It seems like a real contradiction to me.

I like the Orthodox view that there is no difference between barrier methods and NFP. One prevents the sperm from getting to the egg, one prevents the egg from getting to the sperm.

But I have seen marriages absolutely destroyed or men addicted to porn because of these hardcore NFP ideals.

The contradiction she points out is similar to the dilemma I've written about here.

Here's another interesting couple of comments, from Kirk:

Therefore, among non-abortifacient methods, contraception is contraception, whether NFP or otherwise. That is to say, the attitude of the heart of a married couple is the same whether they are using NFP, the rhythym method or a barrier method. Each are an attempt by the couple to control their reproductive capacities, and each may miss blessings that would otherwise be bestowed upon them by God's Will....

Would we consider Onan a righteous man if he had engaged in NFP rather than withdrawal?