Sunday, July 29, 2012

Natural Family Planning and Future Generations

This is the third day of the 17-day 2012 Olympics. This post isn't about those events. I figure other folks are doing a fine job of covering the world's big sports fest:
Instead, I'm going to write about NFP.

Those three letters, "NFP," stand for for National Financial Partners Corporation, and Nurse Family Partnership, but "National NFP Awareness Week" is about Natural Family Planning. The 'awareness week' ends today, so I'm getting involved at the last minute: and that's another topic.

Natural Family Planning, or NFP, is sort of like 'Vatican Roulette;' except that NFP:
  • Is being used
  • Works

"Vatican Roulette?"

The idea that Catholics have babies because we're too stupid to know any better has been a cherished part of American culture for a long time. You may have run into someone who is American, a Catholic, and apparently clueless about where babies come from. But that individual doesn't represent the Catholic Church.

Neither do I, for that matter. I'm "some guy with a blog," and one of more than a billion of the world's living Catholics. We're a diverse lot:
Getting back to sex, Catholic style, and where babies come from.

Humans: Two Basic Models

I'm a practicing Catholic, so I believe that human beings come in two basic models: male and female. The physical union of male and female is how we get new human beings: and this is a good thing. (Genesis 1:26-27)

Don't get the wrong idea from that reference to Genesis. I'm Catholic, so I take God's creation 'as is.' I think that "...the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God..."
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 159) I've been over this sort of thing before:

"Rational and Therefore like God"

Maybe acknowledging that human beings are sexual creatures, and that babies get started when the parents physically unite, doesn't seem very 'spiritual.' I've been over that before, too. (March 5, 2012)

The Catholic Church says that human beings are:
  • Animals
    • A special sort of animal
      • Endowed with reason
      • Capable of
        • Understanding
        • Discernment
      (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1951)
  • People
    • Rational and therefore like God
      • Made in the image and likeness of God
      (Catechism, 1700-1706)
    • Created with free will
    • Master over our actions
      (Catechism, 1730)
    (August 31, 2011)
I think that human sexuality is okay: and that human beings are rational creatures, capable of deciding what we do. More the point, that's what the Church says. (Catechism, 369, 1700-1706, 1730, 1951)

Working With Our Bodies

Here's a pretty good overview of Natural Family Planning:
  • NFP is a way of following God’s plan for achieving and/or avoiding pregnancy. It consists of ways to achieve or to avoid pregnancy using the physical means that God has built into human nature.
  • NFP consists of two distinct forms:
    1. Ecological breastfeeding. This is a form of child care that normally spaces babies about two years apart on the average.
    2. Systematic NFP. This is a system that uses a woman's signs of fertility to determine the fertile and infertile times of her cycle.
      (NFP: Natural Family Planning)
  • Couples seeking to avoid pregnancy practice chaste abstinence during the fertile time of her cycle.
I think NFP/Natural Family Planning is a good idea. I also think it works: and it's the method my wife and I use to regulate the size of our family.

Decisions, Children, and Motives

"Regulating" doesn't necessarily mean "limiting." It's possible to use NFP to keep from having children: or make the most of a couple's fertility.

For some folks, depriving themselves of children might be a dire necessity. Others might believe they must limit their family to one or none 'for the environment.'

I don't know if 'saving the environment' by having one or no kids is still popular. That fashion doesn't make sense to me, and that's yet another topic.

My wife and I have four surviving children. That's not a 'mistake.' We like having children. I also think that having children is a blessing: not a 'burden:' on parents, or on the world.

Population Crisis 2012

I still run into warnings about overpopulation, overcrowding, and how awful it is that so many folk live in poverty.

I agree: about poverty. The rest, not so much. Particularly since pictures intended to stir emotions about overpopulation generally show folks with distinctly more melanin in their skins that I have.

My ancestors came from northwestern Europe, and I have no problem with that. But I also do not think that the world would be a better place if folks who don't look quite like me stopped having 'too many' babies.

That's because I take what the Church says seriously: Love God; love your neighbor; everybody's your neighbor. (Matthew 22:36-40; Matthew 5:43-44Mark 12:28-31; Luke 10:25-30; Catechism, 1825)

Besides, now that we're into the second decade of the 21st century, a remarkable number of folks have noticed a 'downside' to not having kids: one that should have been obvious. And that is yet again another topic.

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What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.