Wisdom about using NFP


April 29, 2012 1:20 pm

As usual Simcha gets it right and makes you laugh at the same time.

You’d think a couple using NFP are all about saying no, to each other and to God.  That’s how the then-me imagined the now-me, fifteen years ago, when I thought about learning to use NFP.

But in fact, the opposite has happened:  as we learn self-control, we are both a thousandfold more at peace with the idea of giving up control to God — accepting the unexpected, adapting, being grateful.  This is what self-control has taught us.  That was unexpected!  You never know.

Parody can be a great educator: Cohabitor Vows


April 28, 2012 8:17 pm

How true to life is this?????


The Moral Vision of the Catechism


 12:00 pm

There is little question that promulgation of the Universal Catechism is one of the greatest events of this century — and perhaps for several centuries. It is a great privilege and honor to be here to comment on the moral vision of the catechism and to be in such distinguished company. I hardly feel myself worthy of the great honor of sharing the podium with such distinguished Churchmen and scholars, but as a philosopher I am accustomed to being the handmaiden of theology and am pleased to render what humble service I can.

An important feature of the moral vision of the catechism is revealed initially by its title: it is titled “Life in Christ.” Indeed, all of Christian morality can be summed up in those words for the moral life for the Christian is quite simply to “imitate Christ.” So what more needs to be said? Why did the authors of the Catechism create so much work for themselves — and so much reading for us — by devoting the longest portion of the Catechism or nearly 300 pages in the English edition to the subject of morality?

Reality is complicated and rich and although Christ Himself is the fullness of revelation, we, not being angels, need to work our way step by step through the many layers of meaning in life. No truth is revealed whole and simple to the human mind. Morality is a very complicated portion of reality because it is involves not only eternal truths but also the individual particular; it involves human character and choice and the daily mess of life. Thus it is appropriate that the human person have more help in the living of the good life than the true statement “imitate Christ.” The human person needs many aids, needs many sources of moral truth. The Catechism identifies the major sources of moral truth; it speaks of the guidance of the Holy Spirit, of grace, of the beatitudes, of natural law, of human and Christian virtues, and of the Church itself. It teaches extensively about the commandments. These are all traditional themes in the Church’s moral vision. The presentation of them in the Catechism, however, reflects not only the role of these themes in the tradition but also reflects developments in the Catholic moral vision.


An Honest Assessment of NFP


April 18, 2012 8:15 am

Emily Stimpson is unmarried but she understands human nature.  And so do many of her commentators. This is a fine blog on the challenges, and joys, of NFP.


Regardless, temperance, prudence, and chastity aren’t virtues most people possess in spades anymore. Our culture, where instant gratification and over-indulgence are the norm, has seen to that.

At the same time, rejecting contraception in general requires trust—trust in God’s will and God’s provision. It requires generosity—a willingness to put others needs before our own. It requires a spirit of poverty—detachment from the extras our culture says are essentials. And it requires a heart that delights in pictures of fat smiling babies, that believes babies are precious gifts from God, not a reason to run for the hills.

Basically, it requires that we be everything our culture has programmed us not to be. That’s why NFP is a challenge for the most faithful couples I know, let alone those decidedly less faithful. Few are able to use it to space births with the same precision the manuals promise. Not because the methods don’t work. But rather because wills are weak and temptation is tempting. If a tiny tasty brownie can almost fell us, what can love and desire do?


John Paul II and the Family:


April 16, 2012 6:32 pm

The Family: A Communion of Persons

Among the thematic concerns of Pope John Paul II’s pontificate have been the restoration of Christian Unity and the fall of Communism, and increasingly a plea to the West to abandon its materialistic ways. He has been working actively to advance these goals. Indeed, he played a major role in the fall of Communism, progress has been made in various ecumenical endeavors and arguably World Youth Days have begun to direct the youth of the world away from consumerism to supernatural realities.

A concern of seemingly equal importance for John Paul II has been the promotion of the Christian understanding of the family. He has expressed repeatedly that “at [this] moment in history, …the family is the object of numerous forces that seek to destroy it or in some way to deform it” (Familiaris Consortio 3). Thus, he seeks to fortify the family to withstand these attacks so that it can perform its vital role for the good of the individual, society, and the Church. John Paul II’s numerous and profound writings on sexuality, marriage, and the family are shaped by theological, philosophical, and political perspectives. From his pre-pontifical years, we have the philosophical, incomparable Love and Responsibility, and from the early years of his pontificate we have his elaborate theology of the body set out in a series of Wednesday audiences. The family is comprehensively treated in Familiaris Consortio and his Letter to Families; these are complemented by lengthy passages in his writings on women and also his writings on the laity and social justice. There are few portions of his thought that are not touched by concern for the family.


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