Tuesday, May 6, 2014

I am a Catholic, Pt 1: Sex and other things (but mostly sex).

I grew up sitting in the pew of a small baptist church in Montrose, California, as my father led a small congregation of about a hundred.

I was thirteen when my dad left that small congregation for the Catholic faith. He, my mother and my little brother all received their sacraments but my parents allowed me to stay at our church and, over time, we continued a conversation about the faith. And why, and how.

That winter, I sat with my mom and my brother on Christmas Eve as my dad waited our table at a nearby restaurant. He was a brilliant theologian and he was suddenly qualified for.... not much. So he took a job waiting tables and this was our new life. All I had known of Catholicism before my parent's conversion was Mary, and praying to Mary, and them being wrong. But in these moments I watched two people who I knew intensely loved God, and truth, give it all up for that Catholic Church. And for that Mary. And their faith spoke volumes and volumes to me in those days.

Years went by and the conversation continued. It really didn't take much for me- a basic understanding of the logic of denominational differences and the Protestant stance and I was essentially sold. It took a few more years and a passionate man (aka Kirby) to rope me in fully but I'm grateful for all of it. I'm grateful that my parents let me journey on my own. Had I not had those years to search and think, I wouldn't have had the incredible experiences of faith at our old church where I grew to love and know God in a deep and meaningful way. I also probably wouldn't have met Kirby, and our journey would not be what it is. I'm so grateful.

When Kirby and I met we were both involved in ministry on some level. He was the leader of his campus ministry and I was a junior high and high school leader at a new and growing church in Simi Valley, CA. I held my affection for Catholicism close to my heart even though I was increasingly more involved in our church. I think I had probably believed in Catholicism for years at this point, and I always felt that pull on my soul. Truth is pesky like that. But I pushed it down mostly for fear of loosing so much in the community I had come to know and love. When I met Kirby, he was in the middle of his own search. He was raised a Lutheran, had a major conversion in a Presbyterian church, dabbled a bit in the charismatic church, and at 21, lead a campus ministry group at a Lutheran college, attended a non-denominational Christian church and was drawn to the emergent church movement. He read guys like Thomas Merton and Brian McClarren, he was from Washington State, he had a beard and a homemade Built to Spill t-shirt. He asked good questions and he thought hard about things and it wasn't long before we both knew that we were supposed to be together. I knew that he would be a soft pillow for all my thoughts on Catholicism to land. And so, one night in his apartment I said, "You should know that I'm probably going to wind up a Catholic someday." Kirby was quiet for a minute and then he said, "Can we meet your dad for drinks tonight?"

And over some margaritas and chips and salsa, my dad walked Kirby through his conversion story. I remember my heart was pounding. What would our future look like if Kirby thought it was all crazy? What would it look like if he didn't?

There was a time that I felt embarrassed that I didn't have the confidence to convert on my own. But now, when I look at our story, it's really such a beautiful narrative of the nature of God and his relationship to us. He really loves us, and he is going to give us what we need to get to him. For me, it was Kirby. He was the final stone in my path and I got to walk into the Church, hand in hand, with my husband. I love that little bit of our story.

He started pouring over the Early Church Fathers and Catholic apologetics and it was pretty obvious that he was convinced of the truth and beauty of Catholicism. Within a month or two, he asked me to be his wife, and three months later, we were married by one of our beloved pastors in the yard at my parent's house. Still learning, but utterly convinced, we went to Europe after our wedding. We knelt in pews in Assisi and Rome and longed for our full communion with the Catholic Church. That following Easter vigil, we received it.

I'm hoping that many of you reading this are wondering why we did such a obviously crazy thing. Why we left a vibrant, growing community of Christians for the cold stones of Catholicism.

I hope you're reading and I hope this answers some of those questions. I truly don't expect this to be the common experience of a Protestant's journey towards Catholicism. There is a lot I didn't read and maybe a lot I still don't understand. It's not very academic or scholarly, it's just my story. It's also not why you should become a Catholic. This is the story of what appealed to me, and what shaped my view of the faith. Please remember that it you happen to find yourself offended or appalled with what I'm about to write.

These are the basic issues that convinced me that the Catholic Church is the church established by Christ and shepherded by the apostles and their successors. I believe this Church has stayed intact throughout the centuries and I believe it's all true.

(Disclaimer*** This post is turning out to be quite the novelita so I'm going to part 1/part 2 it.)


Part 1. Sex.

My initial attraction to Catholicism was sex. For real! I had spent my post-pubescent years in a Protestant culture and, for me, the theology of sex as a Protestant looked almost no different than the totally secular worldview. In our evangelical community we joked about sex, we joked about who was next in line to do it, we had seminars where we were taught that good a Christian wifey gave it up all the time, no matter what. The only thing that seemed to separate us from the world was that we were supposed to wait until we were married to do it. And, honestly, I never thought that made much sex sense. (Du-dum-dum, wink)

In contrast, the Catholic view of sex was astoundingly complex. The church teaches us that our bodies are amazing, that sex should be good, and that it's more powerful than we can even understand. Sex is a mutual sharing of love, and selflessness and commitment. And I think on the surface, every Protestant you meet would agree that all those things are true. But Catholic theology is different in that it's rooted in the essential belief that sex is always connected to life. Ironically, not using contraception solves a hell of a lot of issues that the majority of couples are struggling with today, with the added "complication" of possibly becoming a parent (I highly recommended this complication). When you are open to the possibility of babies happening when you do it, it's easy to only have sex with your spouse, and it's hard to make it cheap, and it's hard to use your partner. Even if you're unable to conceive, the fundamental belief never changes- sex begets life. If you believe that about sex, even if a baby never comes, you are still entering fully into the mystery of the sexual union and our nature as complex, sexual beings. It's an endlessly deep truth- human life is invaluable, we are all divinely made, and the sexual experience allows us to co-create with the Creator, thus giving it utmost value. The Church protects her children by teaching against the use of artificial contraception. We are constantly reminded that sex is more. That it's powerful and it accomplishes powerful things. I was always turned off to the oversexed Christian culture I knew, whereas Catholic doctrine naturally imparts a deeply profound view of sex and it doesn't shame it, or us. I identified with that, and it drew me in further.

Another thing that had started to bother me as a Protestant was how much emphasis there was on the will of God. Does God want you to be a missionary in China? You gotta do it. Does he want you to sell all that you have and give it to the poor? You gotta do it. But kids? There seemed to be zero recognition for God's will in the family. Every woman I knew was contracepting without any hesitation. And I don't blame them. No one spoke of it from the pulpit, no leaders taught us, no strong women told us about the pill and how much damage it could do our bodies, and no one even asked the question of whether or not it was an immoral choice for the person who believed life began at conception (see: abortifacients). It was as if we were to embrace, with absolute abandon and holy courage, the will of God for our lives but fertility and family were almost completely out of the equation. I never understood it and I still don't.

And I think this inability to look back at our Christian heritage has really crippled most modern Protestants (nervous, nervous but I'm just gonna go right ahead and say it). The church as a whole- Protestants and Catholics alike, accepted the teaching that contraception was a sin up until the 1950's. A sin! Isn't that amazing? You would nevvvaaaaa find that language in a modern Protestant-Christian community. And yet, just a generation ago, it was a fundamental teaching that was universally embraced. I think most Protestant denominations have followed closely in the steps of the sexual revolution and sadly, the result is a generation of Christian couples whose divorce rates rival that of the secular world. Pornography, infidelity, abortion. It's all there right up in the mix with the modern Christian (Protestant and Catholic) and it's easy to say well, shame, shame, that's just sin for ya. And it is! But it was born from another thing, and maybe this is the part where I'm being too mean and you're not going to be coming for dinner (I'm not meaning to and I still want you to!!) but I believe it's because the modern Christian is contracepting. All these problems are rooted in our view and experience of sex. If we devalue sex at it's core by removing it's essential connection to life, then it's value is measured in pleasure alone. And pleasure alone can quickly and easily become pleasure however I can get it. With another person, with two people, with a screen, with myself.

The devaluing of women is only a natural reaction when you stop seeing her as someone who is capable of bringing your baby into the world. And vice versa. I'm not talking about fertility, I'm talking about capability. I'm talking about the power of the human person, male and female, and the power of the sex.

I started to believe that in order to contracept one must already choose his or her will over the will of God, and that was a direct contradiction to my faith. And the only church I saw still vehemtly proclaiming this truth was the Catholic Church. I began to view sex, in the world I knew, as fragmented and unappealing.

I wanted a whole experience, a full giving and a full receiving. Nothing held back, everything on the line.

Too much?? Here is a weird pic I found saved on our iPad to balance things out.


***** intermission *****

Let me take it down a notch by explaining the beauty of Natural Family Planning. When you shouldn't get pregnant (because we still believe that sometimes the baby-having needs come to an end) and you've come to a mutual understanding as to why, and it's serious. Then you both sacrifice the times that you could get pregnant by abstaining. See? It's not just your job to take that pill, lady girl. It's not just his job to bag it up (in the words of my fave late nighties r&b hit that I cannot believe those are actually the lyrics!).You can come together with your spouse and say- we can't sustain another baby right now, so we will work it out together. Sex deserves our respect, and NFP, like it or loathe it, accomplishes just that. It respects the belief that sex and life cannot and should not be divorced. Plus, no nasty chemicals, no pheromone interruption, NO THREE EYED FROGS, and being in touch with your body. What more could the modern, ovulating lady want??

Ok, that's it for now. (Babies and beds... Sexiness overload!)


Part 2, tomorrow.... I'm sure you are dying to read more and also ready to shoot me dead. Both/and.

If you're interested in a Protestant opinion on the contraception- see here. For more on Natural Family Planning go here and here .

For more on sex and Catholicism go here, here and here.


116 comments:

  1. As a SAHM to a 1,2 & 3yr old I enjoy your blog. Add to it that I am holistic minded & also a believer in Christ, I love it for your transparency and humility. It is so encouraging to see someone just a bit ahead of your season in life. I was super curious about your conversion ... In fact I was just about to email you when I saw this post. I just suffered a miscarriage and the thing that struck/saddened me the most (yes, even more so than never seeing my baby on this side of heaven) is many fellow Christians view of children. We even had a few tell us it was probably for the best. I think the Catholic church's view of sex and children, as you presented it, is beautiful and reflective of God's view. Looking forward to part II!

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  2. Thank you, Kristin. I'm so sorry for your loss. I think many more Christians of all kinds are thinking more in this direction and that is so beautiful. How beautiful for you to recognize the value of your little one awaiting you. Blessings and love to your family as you endure this time.

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  3. Well said. I thought your parallel about dropping everything in your life for God except in the bedroom was spot on.

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  4. I enjoyed reading this and greatly value your position -- how could I not when it's obvious that you practice what you preach? While every child brings immense joy and beauty to our lives, they also require more sacrifice, more dying to self. So you = hero in my books!

    I still find myself reading a lot of these arguments against contraception and agreeing with the general principles, but disagreeing that there is no way to practice contraception in a Godly manner.

    Personally, we have chosen to abstain from all forms of hormonal contraception, believing them to be unhealthy, possibly abortive, and too permanent for our liking. We use tracking of my cycle, combined with barrier methods *at times when prayer and discussion together see our conscience clear to do so*. There have been times in our marriage when we have prayed and felt that God would have us abstain from using contraception and we have strived to obey. We don't take it lightly. In 5 years of marriage, we've had 3 children, and continue to hold our fertility and family size loosely before the Lord.

    I hope we use contraception in unity together, believing in the beauty and value of life and children, knowing that every time we come together we might create new life. In fact, we run MORE risk in having sex during fertile times than couples who abstain.

    I gotta be honest - I find myself bristling at the phrase that Catholics are "more open to life". To me, it smacks of condescension. How does a couple looking at each other, wishing they could 'do it' but forcing themselves to abstain make them more open to life than a couple who come together, with full awareness that she is fertile and a child might result? I know that you and other couples would say that's not how you live out your convictions, but the vast majority of Catholic proponents of NFP I've read spend a great deal of time telling their audience how it's "totally effective" ..... at preventing pregnancy. So the 'open to life' argument seems a bit counter-intuitive there.

    I am not at all trying to be negative or argumentative. It's just something that seems to be missing to me in the various arguments that I hear. I wish there was more room for Christians (Protestant and Catholic alike) to have clear and honest debate about these issues, and perhaps to leave room for each person to make different decisions that are still right before God.

    Yes, let's keep talking about the underlying heart attitudes in this issue. Yes, let's talk about selfishness, listening to God's will, health, marital unity. But can we also talk about judgement, pride and disunity in the body of Christ? To me, these things matter too.

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  5. I remember around the time of my reversion to the Church I was very good friends with a lovely non-denominational (which actually is a denomination itself) Christian girl. She was going to be a missionary in Thailand. Although unmarried, she was going as a team with a couple of married folks. She would go on and on about they trusted God for X number of dollars or sponsors or resources to help them. "God is faithful, God always provides, God knows what's best and when...God provided an OB/GYN who would give the married ladies free birth control pills so they would not get pregnant...SCREECH" Even though I was very weak and wandering in my faith at that time, I could see the paradox.

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  6. Yes! Great blog post! I too was brought back to the Catholic Church, after years away, because of the glorious beauty of the Catholic teachings on sex. I am so enjoying your blog and look forward to part 2!

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  7. Thank you so much for this post! I'm someone who is searching when it comes to religion. I'm from a Methodist background and I'm currently non-denominational, but I feel like I'm really being pulled towards Catholicism. I find it to be really beautiful and fascinating, and I agree with so much of it. Of course, like you, I also feel like: woah, this is such a big deal... I don't know if I can do it. My husband is not religious, but maybe that's part of the plan! I don't know!

    I've always disliked birth control pills, because I feel like our bodies are meant to do what they do... and screwing that up can screw other things up. But I'm really excited to read a Catholic perspective on the issue, especially someone who converted to the faith. I'm going to check out the links you posted, but I would like to hear more barrier methods and abstaining. I guess I'm not clear about why barrier methods are seen as "bad" (for lack of a better word) and abstaining is not seen as "bad."

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    1. Hi Rachel! Barrier methods still mentally detach us from the life-giving aspect of sex. We can do it without the repercussions of getting pregnant. Whereas nfp

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    2. ... NFP says "you can't get pregnant, you don't have sex." Does that make sense? It doesn't separate the life giving aspect of the sexual experience, it preserves it through abstinence.

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  8. Great post! Looking forward to part two.

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  9. I just want to add to help clarify something that Lacey mentioned in her comment above about NFP being "totally effective" at preventing pregnancies and how that that seeming almost counter-intuitive to being open to life. Keep in mind that our culture is very secular,disassociates sex and procreation, and promotes artificial contraception as mandatory. When NFP is promoted as an effective alternative to birth control, we are usually at a starting point with our audience. Most of those who hear this message aren't at the point of understanding that NFP is yielding control to God. They still want that control and they are terrified that by losing it, they will have a posse of children. There is some debate among promoters that we shouldn't be promoting NFP in the "effective prevention" method.

    I'm a cradle Catholic but didn't embrace the Church's teachings on sexuality and my husband had a vasectomy at 30. We had three children at the time. After much study and soul-searching he had it reversed and we went on to have three more children, including our last child ten months ago at the age of 45. You know what yielding control is? I just found out I'm pregnant again and if I carry this child to term, I will be 47 at the time of delivery. Had I practiced birth control, there is no way that we would have conceived these last several children. Being open to God's will has given me the grace to accept this. NFP is "open to "life" not just because a couple doesn't use anything to prevent pregnancy, but also because it allows a couple to open to heart through communication, love, union, cooperation, and unselfishness. We become open to life because we change.

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    1. Joanne my husband and I have 3 reversal children as well! I will pray for you and your baby's health.

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  10. This is an amazing post, Blythe! Thank you so much for sharing this so openly and honestly. I'm not Catholic, but I am a committed Christian in the Presbyterian/Anglican tradition.

    My fiance (now husband) and I talked about birth control when we were engaged and it just seemed clear to both of us that hormonal birth control was a selfish and controlling way to run your life and faith. It seemed so disingenuous when everything else is supposedly "following God's will." Anyway, we've had our ups and downs using NFP, but I know that my husband and I have so much more respect for sex and each other (and God!) because of following our convictions about this. It's a daily laying down of our lives in many ways, but there is joy in it, and there have been great rewards. Mostly two amazing children. :)

    beccagarber.com

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  11. Blythe, this is an extremely well written and meaningful post. Wow. You are so right on. I can't even deny it, even though I'm Bsptist.

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  12. Lacey, read here:
    http://www.mamaneedscoffee.com/2014/03/lets-be-done.html

    For a Catholic, being open to life means acknowledging that God is in total & complete control.

    Great post. Blythe.

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  13. Lovely post Blythe! We are Baptist but as a non-contracepting, NFPing young family with two babies, I have found much solace and support in Catholic circles. I tried to write a post on the modern view of sex vs Gods view the other day but THIS. This was exactly what I was trying to say only a thousand times better.

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  14. Oh man, I'm so glad i know you Blythe! Just wanted to say hi!! Def, had to read some of those lines to my hubby... "What more could the modern, ovulating lady want?" so true... so hilarious. Keep writing!!

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  15. Wow Blythe, I connect so much to the amazing points you make all throughout this post. I grew up Protestant and joined the Catholic Church in 2012, and the Catholic teachings on sex played a HUGE part in my considering the Catholic faith.

    I wanted to piggy-back on your point about the will of God...I know that for me, once I started to submit to the authority of the Church, I felt a huge weight was lifted off of my shoulders because suddenly I didn't have to have it all figured out. Before that, I always felt like I had to figure out what was right and wrong in so many "gray areas" of life. But I find that now that I'm Catholic, that pressure is off because the teachings make everything so much clearer.

    You can read my conversion story here:
    http://chnetwork.org/2014/04/god-buried-his-seed-in-my-heart-conversion-story-of-elizabeth-giordano/

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  16. Blythe!

    I look forward to your blogs and am so happy they're regular again. This post hit home, and while I'm not making a family right now, the idea of contraceptives is on my mind a lot. And it totally does seem backwards when you throw the idea of "God's will" into it. Are some things His will and others your own? Very thought provoking. Explaining sex attached to life and the possibility of life happening EVERY SINGLE TIME you have sex would make things a lot easier when explaining why abstaining before marriage. Love your fam and seeing the happenings through insta and this blog : )

    I'm tweeting this post!

    Love, Taylor

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  17. Awesome awesome reflection! And happy homecoming anniversary (in other words, Happy Easter!)!

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  18. Great post. My dad was raised Catholic, but left the church at 18. My siblings and I were baptized Catholic, but raised in a Lutheran then Episcopal church. Despite the fact that my mom was not Catholic and my dad left the church this is how they taught about sex. Pregnancy is always an option. When I was 16 I joined a different nondenominational christian church. I became the most curious about sex during that short time. This is a great thing to teach your children it takes the mystery out of it.

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  19. Hi Blythe!
    I found your blog via Carrots for M. recommending your video. I'm so happy to have found you. I'm a new convert along with my husband as of this Easter 2014. We are older than you were when you converted and have 6 children, 2 of whom are teenagers. So it was wonderful to hear your story from the perspective of a daughter with your parents being the ones to convert first. Our 19 yr. old and 15 yr. old were pretty freaked out about our conversion, we were non-denominational Evangelicals for 13 years. I have always supported my older children's choices to continue in the Protestant faith. It has been a real dance though, as they are not always respectful of our choice. I hope one day they will come to see the beauty of the Catholic church like you did, time will only tell. Our 11, 9, 7 & 3 year old kids are in the Catholic church with us. It's funny because the church we left was very large family friendly and open to life and the Catholic church we are attending not so much. We are the largest family there with the average family being 2 children. Our reason for becoming Catholic definitely came from the authority of the church and wanting to go to the church that we believe Jesus founded. I look forward to reading part 2.
    Blessings.

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  20. Blythe: agree agree agree agree agree!!!!
    I just wrote a huge comment and then deleted it all because, well, you already wrote a post about it. :) But, I agree! (and I'm also a Protestant considering coming into full communion).

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  21. Blythe, this is SO well written and I'm really looking forward to the next post! Thank you for being so honest and gracious.

    Lacey, I really appreciate your perspective and I can see why you would bristle at that wording.

    In response to this part of your comment: How does a couple looking at each other, wishing they could 'do it' but forcing themselves to abstain make them more open to life than a couple who come together, with full awareness that she is fertile and a child might result?
    I would like to say this:
    I look at cake and wish I could have another piece. I look at beer and wish I could have another bottle. I look at shoes and wish I could have another pair. Sometimes I look at my husband and wish I could have him again. All of those things are good: cake, beer, shoes, my husband / our marriage. But sometimes we are called to grow in the virtue of self control. Sometimes growing in that virtue is part of a journey towards perfecting a different virtue or good. Like if foregoing cake (self control) will help me be healthier (respect my body, a temple) or will help my son (who cannot eat because of his allergies) feel not so left out.

    If you're giving in to the sexual urge / love of your spouse and using a condom even though God is calling you to not get pregnant then I think it's comparable (though NOT the same - this is just an analogy)to eating too much cake (gluttony) or drinking too much beer.

    You say you are open to life but the very fact you're putting a condom on shows you're not. By abstaining I am open to God's will - and the different paths He may e calling me down.

    I hope that makes sense. And I would love to hear your thoughts on this. I agree that we should dialogue and I think it can be fun!

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    1. Awesome perspective, thank you so much for sharing!

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    2. Bonnie, your explanation and analogy is perfect! I might use this when explaining NFP to someone. But now I want some cake.

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  22. Blythe, you are brave and beautiful! this is a wonderful post! I am living this open to life story like you and I will say that sometimes it is really hard. like hard in a purging my selfishness away kind of way! ;). I had my first 3 children in 4 years and I wrote this post in the throes of that intensity. http://thegreatestgiftsofgod.blogspot.com/2011/04/weight-of-glory.html
    So much is wrong with our society's general feeling that in order to have a good life it must be the way that WE see it as good. Then we are closing the door to the glorious things that God has planned for us that may look too scary and messy from our limited point of view.
    thank you again for your heart and for sharing!

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  23. Hi Blythe! I found your blog a few weeks ago and really appreciate your honesty and wit when it comes to telling about your family and faith life!

    This post made me want to give you a fist pump! I think that the Catholic Church's teaching on sex is one of the most beautiful parts of our faith! So refreshing in today's over-sexed world. But the amazing thing is... just because it is common practice, I've been finding more and more that people are searching for the truths you've written about here - Catholic and non-Catholic alike.

    When I was in university, I took a public speaking course and one of our assignments was to write a persuasive speech. I chose the issue of birth control pills and how harmful to our bodies and souls taking them is. Before I spoke, every single person in my class voted in a poll that they STRONGLY DISAGREED and by the end of the talk, when they took the poll again, only 3 people disagreed, while the rest of the class had shifted their views to agree with mine. A few people had even begun to STRONGLY AGREE. Surprisingly (to me), they were the guys in my class.

    Anyways, that was longer than I planned, but all this to say - thanks for this post! Can't wait for part 2!!

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  24. Absolutely 100% spot on!!! What's encouraging is that more and more protestant Christians are getting interested in the NFP movement for its "crunchiness" which is such a great blessing in disguise!

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  25. I'm a newbie to your blog and am LOVING it. My husband and I are about 1 week away from teaching out first NFP class and this blog reminds me why we are doing it. I'm definitely forwarding this to my husband, I know he'll love it. Thank you for writing this. I always love a good sex talk blog. Can't wait for part II.

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  26. Are you ready for a full combox?!

    First, thanks for writing this. I am a Catholic (just over two years, so I'm still fresh fresh fresh) and struggled with the Protestant --> Catholic perspective when I married my husband. It was a hard transition (and sometimes, still is) to switch that mindset that is so so prevalent in both secular and many Protestant circles. I also have a handful of Protestant friends who are in the childrearing years (as am I) and who question our family's reasons for our openness to life, etc.

    Anyhow looking forward to reading the rest of this.

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  27. I just started reading your blog after watching the video on Catholicism and I find myself wishing more and more that you were my next door neighbor.
    We've got two under two and you wouldn't believe the comments I get- from fellow Catholics! I just can't seem to figure out why people view new life in such a negative way.

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  28. I just started reading your blog and I just want you to know that this post was awesome! So well said and what a beautiful witness to love and truth! Thanks! God bless!

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  30. Love! Looking forward to reading part two.

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  31. Thanks Blythe for a lovely post. I feel that you tell others about the Catholic Church and your life beautifully. I agree with your views on sexuality and fertility but I have to admit that I have difficulty actually following Catholic sexuality. While I am open to more children, my husband is not. He gave up his career goals for 4 years to do the lion's share of the childminding and now wants to return to full time work. I cannot give up my fulltime work because my family depends on my work for very substantial benefits that my husband's field would not offer. My problem with NFP is that I know of quite a few women who became pregnant while practicing NFP so I don't have confidence in it. My cycle is often affected by stress, illness, etc so I find it particularly unsuitable for me personally. It's a lose-lose situation. Our practice of sex is sinful. One-sided NFP would not work. Refusing to have sex is not showing much respect for my husband. *sigh*

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    1. Dara- I cannot imagine how difficult this must be! I wonder if you could consult with a great priest (

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    2. On how best to navigate this hard situation? Maybe I can help if you're interested!

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  32. LOve this -- thank you for being brave enough to post this to the world!

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  33. LOve this -- thank you for being brave enough to post this to the world!

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  34. LOve this -- thank you for being brave enough to post this to the world!

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  35. So I grew up in, and left and then found on my own non-denomiantional Christianity, simple scripture nothing added nothing removed. I also am married and use natural family planning. I'm very happy with where I'm at, but really enjoyed your post. I do think we can be a dangerously oversexed world, and I think you showed alot of respect for something so sacred. Thanks for sharing, food for thought.

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  36. I'm hoping some people chime in to address Dara's situation. I have so many Protestant friends that have struggled with this exact situation, friends who can't reach a consensus with their husbands over contraception.

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  37. First I want to thank Blythe for this post. This is the best articulation of the Church's teaching on sexuality that I have seen on the web!

    Second, I would like to address Dara's comment that "refusing to have sex is not showing much respect for my husband." I would say that if her husband is being coercive about sex, it is HIM who is not respecting HER. In marriage without birth control, one partner cannot "use" the other partner solely for their own gratification because every marital embrace "may" result in a child. Abstinence is not a sin, it is the practice of self control. In addition, no contraceptive is 100% effective. I have one friend who got pregnant with her 3rd child while on the mini pill and another who got pregnant with her 4th child with an IUD in place. Both babies were born healthy. If someone can't have another child for whatever reason, the only 100% effective method for preventing that is abstinence.

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  38. As a Christian who is searching to make sense of the faith I grew up with, I find this incredibly confusing (Disclaimer- I was raised Protestant). I do not mean to contentious but I have a few questions, all coming from a heart of love... I am wrestling through a crisis of faith and the foundation of faith I had built up can't sustain the questions keeping me awake at night. What is the point of this life? Why are we here? Who is God? Really BIG picture stuff.

    What does the Bible teach on the topic?
    What about women living in third world countries whose babies are starving? I would assume you would suggest they use NFP but that again raises questions for me... What is the difference, big picture, between NFP and and using a condom- preventing a pregnancy. My husband and I have lived and worked in Africa and seen these mamas face to face. The last thing they need is another baby...
    What about all the orphans? How can we make space in our families for these children when we keep creating babies of our own? My husband and I are blessed with two amazing little girls who we love endlessly but I feel done having babies, mostly because I believe we are called to love one another, above all this is the big picture for me. We have room for more children and want a bigger family but we feel like we should be adopting sweet babes and kids who don't have a mama and daddy. What are your thoughts on this?

    Again, please understand these questions are not meant to be malicious. I so appreciate women of faith being able to have open dialogue about our beliefs and values.

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    1. Thank you for this thoughtful and important question!! I owe you a response soon. Xoxo

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    2. Hello again. :) I wrote this comment late one night when I was laying awake searching for God... I never came back to your site to see the reply because I was to scared. Scared of being judged for questioning a belief others hold as absolute truth. I am not scared anymore, of the questions or the answers. So today I am back poking around to see where you landed? So, how do you reconcile the orphans, starving babies, etc... With your beliefs? Thanks for even considering a response to this, I would love to know your thoughts!

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    3. Kylee, these are great questions. I cannot speak for Blythe *At ALL*, and don't mean to butt into this conversation, but since you came back I thought I would take a stab at this. (My parents would also be glad I'm using my Theology degree, even if my answer could be wrong! :) ) Anyway, they are very good questions, and very good points. First of all, I can't say whether or not your decision to stop having children is approved by God or not (not even the Pope could tell you, I think), but it *does* seem like a very valid/selfless plan of yours to stop having children to adopt, in my opinion. There are so many children out there that need your (our) love, and I think God would be magnified in your decision to adopt. But again it is between you and God and your husband and what your family can handle. Maybe he would think you can do both? Maybe not?

      The question about NFP/Condoms in third world countries is a tough one. It's tough because I think the answer may be hard to swallow, and because the issue is more complicated than I can even comprehend. But I think the short answer is that if condoms welcome the potential for women to be used, cheated on or with (which is what makes them different than NFP/abstinence), and also the malfunctioning of condoms and "the plan" they promise results in unplanned pregnancies (every day), I don't want any woman in the world to be used, cheated on or with, or have crisis pregnancies. So I would pour my money and energy into teaching women about their cycles, healthy relationships, and abstinence, and not give them what seems to be a band-aid to a larger problem. Unfortunately that may mean abstinence for a lot (a lot) of people. However, I think giving them condoms tells them that they don't have self control (and I'm aware that there may very well be abusive relationships, cultural expectations, etc. that I don't understand). Again...this is so complicated, and it is definitely not a perfect or complete answer or possibly even the right one. I keep going back to - if I personally believe that artificial contraception goes against God's plan for me as a human being because of how he made me, then this must be true for all human beings?? And He must have a solution for this problem other than artificial contraception?? I think?? (PS. I read someplace that Mother Teresa taught women how to follow their cycles and avoid pregnancy with what is rumored to be the same "pregnancy avoidance rate" as condoms. I don't have time to Google it but maybe look into it for an interesting story?) Lastly.....I worked for years in the crisis pregnancy field and felt like giving someone a condom (c/o the government especially) doesn't require a conversation or a relationship. You can merely hand it out, and hope for the best, and miss out on what is really going on and how can you help. But talking about signs of fertility, abstinence, necessitates a relationship. You can't do that with strangers. And I believe relationships are what change the world. Stepping off my soap box!!!!! All the best!! :)

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    4. I just remembered I didn't clarify the difference between condoms and nfp for avoiding pregnancy...I think the main difference is NFP works *with* your body, and condoms allow you to act *despite* your body / or against it. And since God made our bodies to work in a very specific way, in a way it goes against God...I think, unfortunately, even in really tough circumstances.

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  39. Oooh yes yes yes! Recent Catholic convert. Kinda hating the Catholic teaching on sex at times- married, two young kods- but I know it's right. Hard but right. Have to go on following. This is what will set us apart as the years go on from our Protestant contemporaries. But its hard to tell it, no? Thanks for doing it so well.

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  41. I just want to say I totally agree with what you said about sex, children, and teaching s happening and not happening in the protestant/catholic churches.

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  42. I love this post! Thank you for sharing your story and articulating the Catholic Church's teaching on sexuality so well. It is indeed a beautiful teaching!

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  43. I'll second the anonymous comment five comments above mine. She said it better than I can. I would love to hear you respond to some of the things she mentioned, Blythe. I can get that NFP is a lovely ideal, but it doesn't seem like the perfect solution to every situation.

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    1. I've been thinking about that question for days! I hope to respond soon. My comments keep freezing:/

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  44. I just wanted to offer an explanation to Lacey's question regarding the difference between a couple abstaining during a fertile time to avoid pregnancy vs. using contracepting to avoid pregnancy.
    If you consider this from the perspective of intentions, they seem the same. The difference lies not in the intention, but the behavior. Because clearly abstaining from sex (foregoing pleasure in order to prevent pregnancy) is different from enjoying sex and preventing pregnancy (in the case of a contracepting couple.)

    Simply put, not having sex is different from having sex.

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  45. Hi -- finally back to respond to some of the responses (huh?)

    Joanne: I liked and was intrigued by your idea that often speaking about NFP as "effective" is a cultural 'in' to an audience that just isn't on the same page (or maybe not even reading the same book!?). That makes sense to me and I can understand it being a great starting point.

    Bonnie: thanks for your kind words and engaging with my questions. Still, I can't find myself agreeing with your logic. The example you use is not an example of being "open to life" but rather of self-control. And that's well and good (I believe the Bible very clearly puts sex and self-control together, incontrovertibly). But call it what it is. That is not openness to life. On top of that, people who do use contraception are still called to practice their sexuality with self-control. It seems highly arrogant to suggest that anyone using contraception is just lacking in ability to control themselves. There are many, many circumstances in a Christian marriage where self-control comes into play. For example, I have a pregnancy related condition that means sex is almost impossible ..... for nine months. Post-partum, on my period, times of separation, pornography, masturbation, adulterous temptation, simple mismatch of libido, the list goes on. I hate that the Catholic position can come across as assuming that couples who use contraception are somehow weak(er).

    Your sentence, "You say you are open to life but the very fact you're putting a condom on shows you're not. By abstaining I am open to God's will ." Can I say .... that stung! Not in a response of conviction, but rather a response of rejection. I had to process this for a few days. And I guess this is a return to my original point.

    This position is one that so quickly, so easily, becomes one of supercilious arrogance and judgement. It is not up to any one person to determine how another person's heart is before the Lord. This is boiling down someone's intentions into a single action and throwing blame, shame and judgement. This is sinful. Perhaps more so than wearing a condom is.

    Some posters after me raised interesting questions about individual situations where people might be called to live differently, or where using contraception could actually be God-honouring. Yet, in pigeon-holing oneself and everyone else into a single position, one cannot make room for diversity in the body of Christ.

    Could it be possible that it's holy and right for one couple to use contraception and another not too? Based on the individual calling of the Holy Spirit?

    I suppose this is where we part ways, because as a Protestant, I do not believe in the ultimate spiritual authority of a pope, and so much of this teaching is based on the interpretation of Scripture via Humanae Vitae and subsequent teaching. I do not believe it just because a Pope taught it, and a practicing Catholic does. I believe in the power and creativity of the Holy Spirit. And that's a whole 'nother thang!

    Finally, Lauren, you make a valid point regarding abstinence. I suppose my question after that though, is, "So what?" Why is abstaining a holier approach? I am not sure I can find good Biblical evidence for the idea that married couples should count abstaining from their marital bed as a positive?

    Now, you can all throw your hands up and say, "I give up! This woman just doesn't get it and never will."

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  46. Ha! I was just going to respond to Lacey with a quick blurb on authority in the Church and why it makes sense, but then I clicked and Blythe already wrote it. And it is, of course, good. (http://thefikelife.blogspot.com/2014/05/i-am-catholic-pt-2-nothing-made-sense.html)

    Lacey, I understand your questions and your feelings that abstaining doesn't feel particularly "open to life". The difference is mainly this. We are never to separate the two parts of the gift of sexuality we have been given - it is always both unitive and procreative. Always. To remove one of those parts (via any artificial contraception) and enjoy sex for only its unitive (or pleasurable or whatever) aspects is not what God asks of us. We are called to be open to life and quite frankly for many of us that doesn't mean charting or abstaining... ever. NFP is called in for those rare circumstances in life (which are discerned by each couple prayerfully) when having another baby truly seems like it would not be feasible. Job loss, illness, depression, whatever the case is - that is when you have the option to learn your body's cycle and abstain to prevent pregnancy. It is a sacrifice within a marriage to do this, but the two aspects of sex are never separated.

    Does that make sense? I am not trying to come across argumentative or anything, but trying to make a clear distinction between NFP and artificial contraceptives.

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  47. Finally, Lauren, you make a valid point regarding abstinence. I suppose my question after that though, is, "So what?" Why is abstaining a holier approach? I am not sure I can find good Biblical evidence for the idea that married couples should count abstaining from their marital bed as a positive?

    Or any non-biblical evidence, for that matter.

    I'm sure some couples do have positive experiences with extended periods of abstinence, but generally, this can put a severe strain on a marriage. Psychologists generally see a sexually satisfying marriage as a sign of health and a sexless marriage as a sign of dysfunction.

    Furthermore, I'm not sure how one can reconcile the Catholic view that abstinence is a positive (if I understand it correctly) with the Biblical warning of 1 Corinthians 7:5: "Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control."

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  48. Anonymous, hello! You ask great questions and others have answered well, so I just wanted to make sure that the question about the African mothers is addressed. Here is an African woman who speaks to those very issues, and reiterates how profoundly pro-life and pro-children the African people are, even in their poverty:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2012/08/an-african-womans-open-letter-to.html

    Uju also has her own apostolate, Culture of Life Africa, which details how antithetical contraception is to the heart and minds of Africans (until the western influence comes in and attempts to overrun their culture. Here is the link to that discussion:

    http://www.cultureoflifeafrica.com/

    God bless you!

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  49. Lacey, I apologize for the sting!
    I am not judging your intentions - please know that! I'm sorry you see me as arrogant. Perhaps I am too black and white and maybe we will never agree.

    That said, I sincerely don't understand how you say, "God, I am open to life. And so I put on this condom with the hope and intention of not making a new life."

    Interestingly, there are probably times when your heart and body are saying opposite things, just as my heart and body are saying opposite things.

    But even if my heart doesn't want a new baby my head knows that a baby is always a gift and I should not stop God from trying to give me one. This is, I believe, what you were saying with the "self control isn't being open to life" statement. You're right: it's not. But sometimes I am not capable of the former and the best I can come is the latter. Physically I am obeying through self control when my heart cannot by being open to life.

    Also, I am sorry you thought I was implying that contraception using Christians are weaker. I was building off your words, "How does a couple looking at each other, wishing they could 'do it' but forcing themselves to abstain..."
    Speaking for myself, I know that having to practice NFP has made me stronger in the virtues of self control, etc.

    I think the bottom line is that sex is something. God made it to be something, to mean something: unitive and procreative. When we take part of that away we change sex.

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  50. You so beautifully convey the Truth of our faith. God bless you! Can't wait to read more!

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  51. I am the Anonymous who posted today (May 13). I am not the same as any Anonymous who posted earlier.

    It seems from Bonnie's comment and others that the Catholic Church doesn't see abstinence/NFP as "good" so much as "tolerated", while contraception is not. Being "open to life" (i.e. having lots and lots of children) seems to be what the Catholic Church wants from couples, is that right?

    If so, isn't this a very narrow view of marriage and life? That seems a bit much to say that every married couple should have lots and lots of children. Most of the commentators seem all for having lots and lots of children, but not everyone is.

    Second, if everyone has lots and lots of children, won't the world get crowded really, really fast? I am not saying there is anything wrong with anyone choosing to have a large family, just that I doubt very many couples are called to that.

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  52. Anon #2. Short answer: The Catholic Church does not expect or ask anyone to have lots and lots of children. The Church asks us to be generous AND responsible - and doing so will look different for every family.
    Sorry if that was misleading.

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  53. I started writing a comment to this post, but it became way too long so here is my comment turned into a long blog post: http://mylifeasafiremanswife.blogspot.com/2014/05/feeling-judged-lots-of-sins-big.html

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  54. Bonnie,

    So a couple who does not feel called to have a large family would have a lot of abstinence in their marriage, correct?

    Going back to my and Lacey's original question, does the Catholic Church see this abstinence, especially extended abstinence, as a positive in a marriage?

    If so, is there any evidence, Biblical or otherwise, that abstinence is actually good for couples?

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  55. Anon,
    I don't know how to answer that question because every woman's cycle is different, every couple's fertility is different... If a woman is not postpartum and is healthy but is trying to avoid pregnancy she would probably be able to have sex 5-10 a month. I don't know if you consider that a lot or a little. Also, pretty much every survey I've seen on the matter shows that couples who practice NFP have more sex and better sex than all other couples.

    Does the Church see abstinence as good? I think it sees it as neutral, but when it is something that has been prayerfully discerned and mutually agreed upon then it can be an opportunity for growth as a couple and individual. Abstinence can be a great good then. Abstinence that is really the result of one spouse denying the other, well that would probably be a negative, assuming there is no sexual abuse, etc.

    Regarding your desire for proof: To my knowledge the Bible does not specifically speak to this. NFP is not covered in the Bible exactly, and we are speaking of abstinence in terms of NFP. I guess I would site as my proof the couples who use it and see the good it's done in their marriage - even though it's hard. Me, Blythe, and pretty much every other Catholic I can think of.

    You may also be interested in this site: http://www.familyplanning.net/en/recent-studies
    Along with
    iusenfp.com
    1flesh.org
    Jennifer Fulwiler's book Something Other Than God
    Simcha Fisher's book The Sinner's Guide to Natural Family Planning
    You are also welcome to visit my blog where I speak openly and honestly about my love for and hate of NFP.:)

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  56. Every cycle is different and every woman is different, yet the same family planning is best for every couple?

    You say "pretty much every survey I've seen on the matter shows that couples who practice NFP have more sex and better sex than all other couples", but the very first post on your blog about NFP talks about seven months (!) of abstinence.

    That doesn't sound like more sex and better sex to me.

    Of course, other couples do have good experiences. As someone said upthread, NFP seems like a good ideal, but for some couples it can be a very heavy yoke.

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  57. So well said - I'm looking forward to the next installment! The more I read about Evangelical/Fundamentalist teachings on sex and marriage, the more I appreciate the complexity of the Church's teachings. As a cradle Catholic, I've got some TOB-fatigue and NFP has been really sucky sometimes - so it's good to be reminded that the alternatives are much worse!

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  58. Anon, yes, when it comes to family planning NFP is always the best because it works with every woman - no matter her cycle or fertility.

    Also, those 7 months were postpartum and I am on the super-fertile end of the spectrum so my husband and I had to be incredibly conservative. If you're talking about someone who doesn't want to have a lot of kids then maybe they'll have a 2 postpartum phases, maybe a total of 14 months in their whole married life where they will be abstaining. If they are otherwise having sex 10 times a month for the rest of their married lives, well I'd say that's still a lot of sex.

    I guess it's hard for me to give you a straight answer because I have no guidelines for what's "a lot" of sex or what's worth sacrificing for in your eyes.

    And let it be known I have really great sex every single time so please don't assume that because my husband and I had to abstain for seven months it's not better. :)

    Can it be a hard yoke, heck yes! That's why I said I have a love/hate relationship with it. I never meant to imply otherwise and I don't think I did. But I *do* believe that God calls us to practice NFP if we need to postpone pregnancy and that if it is a cross (for some women it's not and for a lot of the time, for me it's not) then it is a cross Christ has asked us to pick up.

    Peace.

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    1. Hi Laura!
      I'm happy you jumped back in the line-up but I've gotta defend Bonnie here. She was only mentioning her great sex life as a defense to another commenter alluding to a marriage where abstinence is commonly practiced as a suffering one. I think when you read back, it's pretty clear all Bonnie is saying is "hey! We have had to abstain for some seriously long periods of time and our sex life is amazing." I think it's super important to hear from other abstaining couples that sex can still be amazing and fulfilling in spite of the cross of abstinence. So, thank you, Bonnie! I am sure her intention was not to belittle anyone else's sex life. Let's try and assume the best of each other even in these heated discussions.
      In terms of PCOS and other difficulties that might compromise the accuracy of NFP, I will be the first to say that is haaaarrrrddd. So hard! I imagine we could all drum up a scenario where we really had to look at our situation and say- is this moment of abstinence really worth it?? I think maybe one of the most important points brought up here is that we believe the nature of sex is always BOTH unitive and procreative. If you lack one, the act itself is distorted. If I suffered from PCOS and couldn't rely on my symptoms to help with spacing, I think the best I could do would be to lift my eyes to heaven and beg God to go easy on me. And accept the family He gives to me despite all the obstacles it might bring my life. That does not mean you are judged, or inferior, or unworthy or any other horrible thing if you think my opinions is crazy. But we cannot strip the meaning from our belief in what sex is. The question is not really "what's so wrong with contraception" the question is "what did God intend sex to be, and how do I reconcile my will to it." None of us, with our varying struggles, our fertility and infertility, can know deeply the profound trials we all experience in marriage and baby-having. All we can do is to know God and try live a holy life, lovingly submitted to His will. Now, for Catholics- the belief about sex and it's dual nature (procreative and unitive) defines everything. It's like body and soul! They are one, impossible to physically separate. It provides an easy answer for us to even the hardest question. We cannot contracept. If we must abstain for a serious reason, we pray for the graces to do so. The many families I know that have had to step out in this faith have been rewarded with the grace to bit only survive it, but to grow from it, but it is not without saying it is a trial. Please know that none of this sharing is intended to be hurtful. It's not about what you (or me!) are or aren't doing. It's about discovering our sexuality in light of what God gave us (for us- the Church and Scripture) and figuring out what that means for our lives. I think the fact that these conversations are even happening are an amazing sign of our sisterly unity. Let's just assume the best, ok? It's hard to hear someone say they disagree with you without feeling immediately judged but I think it's safe to say that is absolutely not the case here.

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  60. Thanks for the really gracious reply.

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  61. Anon, yes, when it comes to family planning NFP is always the best because it works with every woman - no matter her cycle or fertility.

    And I guess that is what is bothering me. If NFP works well, it can be great, (BTW, 5-10 times per month is plenty of sex, Bonnie) but it's not hard to find couples who have tried NFP and had to deal with either long periods of abstinence or multiple unplanned pregnancies.

    While some couples may grow through these trials, other couples may be broken by them. The Protestant couple linked to in the OP has since repudiated their book and divorced. Saying that "NFP is always the best because it works with every woman - no matter her cycle or fertility" seems to be wishful thinking more than anything.

    What is your take on these negative experiences that some couples have?

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  62. Anon, now this made me smile because you're talking to someone who has had both long periods of abstinence and multiple surprise pregnancies.

    I myself have had some very negative feelings towards NFP, which I've blogged about before. I hesitate to talk about other couples - I don't know their hearts and the ins and outs of how and why their relationships crumbled. For couples who have much difficulty, I think it would be very wise for them to be in an ongoing conversation with their confessor about the matter.

    NFP is always the best because it works with every woman... I still hold that as true but I should add to it. There are a lot of women who have no issues with NFP. Let's ignore them, because who we're really interested in are the ones who struggle with it. There will be some women with underlying medical conditions that will make charting hard. However, often NFP will help them come to the root of the problem and fix (through diet or surgery and anything in between) that issue. I don't want to talk about them either. Let's talk about the women who chart and do everything right and STILL get pregnant despite all the odds. Let's talk about the women who then have to abstain for months or even years (Yes, I have heard from several women who have gone years without being intimate with their husband because they cannot take the chance of getting pregnant). Let's talk about the women who CANNOT get pregnant because... it means death, it means financial ruin - literally it means those things.

    The Church - God - still asks them to abstain. Will it be hard? Yes. Will it be incredibly hard? Probably, at least at times. Can they do it? Yes. We can do all things through Christ who gives us strength.

    Is it wishful thinking to say that chastity is best and will work for a gay man or a divorced woman? No. I don't think so. God says marriage is for a man and a woman and that it is forever. A gay man or a divorced woman can never have sex. They may fall in love with someone and want to (to marry, to have sex, to do all sorts of things) but they cannot. Will that be hard? Yes. Probably painfully hard. Just because it's hard doesn't mean we should change God's rules.
    "It was because of the hardness of your hearts that Moses allowed divorce but from the beginning it was not so." I would add to that gay marriage and contraception.

    Believe me, I have studied the Church's teachings on condoms, kids, sex - all of it. I have looked for loopholes. (Seven months is a long time - you're right) I am convinced that God made sex to mean something and to be something specific, and we are not to change that. Even if it is hard.

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  63. And I hope I don't sound glib in that comment above. Rereading it some of my words sound trite but I am sincere. I don't want to minimize anyone's struggles but I also don't want to minimize grace from God and redemptive suffering. "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and fill up on my part that which is lacking of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church" Col 1:24

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  64. Thank you for your reply, Bonnie.

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  65. Come to think about it, I know enough couples who have had contraception failure to understand why some couples might find it best to abstain if they have a very serious reason not to get pregnant. I know plenty of "pill babies". Condom failure isn't uncommon. Even "foolproof" methods of sterilization have surprisingly high failure rates. Abstinence is 100% effective and it seems there are some very conservative, very effective ways of using NFP if a couple needs to.

    Unlike many Protestant pastors discussed in the OP, the Catholic Church seems to say you don't HAVE to have sex in order to have a good marriage. While I am very skeptical about how this plays out for most couples, I can see where someone who has a very serious reason to avoid pregnancy would find the Catholic view of sex in marriage to be positive. OTOH, I've always equated the message "sex is not necessary" with the message "sex is bad/dirty/wrong", but that doesn't seem to be the case.

    And if a couple doesn't have such a very serious reason to avoid pregnancy, then couples can be open to what God wants in this area, whether that is achieving or avoiding or just letting things happen. (It seems like the Catholic view of "God's Will" is more cooperation with God than to just let God make things happen.)

    But what strikes me is that, unlike many Protestant pastors, as I understand it, the Catholic Church doesn't tell couples when they should or shouldn't have sex or how much they have or how "sexy" they need to be for their spouse. That is refreshing.

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  66. So I've had this open on my phone for a week now, but I just had the time to really focus on reading it. As an expat, I went to a Protestant high school (my brother and I were two of four Catholic students) and I was always puzzled by the way the school handled sex.

    Now, I think I understand a little bit more about where they were coming from. Also, I might just print this out, highlight the applicable passages and hand it to people who ask me about "the rhythm method."

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  68. Thank you. Just thank you. Excellent.

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  69. Abstaining is one of the crosses we must burden. By using contraception you do not give yourself fully to your spouse. Fertility is truly a gift from God and infertility is another cross people must unfortunately carry.

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  70. Using barrier methods while "fertile" is upping the odds of getting pregnant.. while putting on rubber gloves before embracing your beloved... either one is not what you want...right? www.NaProTechnology.org is a great site for the most advanced info on fertility/infertility issues and how to avoid or achieve a pregnancy. Because it is so good at pinpointing ovulation and the period when pregnancy can occur... to use a barrier method, which has a high failure rate... during this most fertile time...is playing the "baby game" Whereas seeing a husband restraining himself..and finding another means of loving his wife, endears her to him all the more..This can be.a great time for the "Honey Do List" or just playing with the kids etc.
    It will pay off post-fertility time...and in other areas requiring self-control for the well being of the other

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  71. Your line about devaluing sex is genius. My husband and I teach NFP and speak at pre-canas, mostly to contracepting Catholics. I will be stealing that line because it spoke right to my heart and mind, and I think it will to others as well. I might even write a whole post about it over at my blog :) Thank you for the beautiful post.

    ReplyDelete
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  76. I am Shannon by name. Greetings to every one that is reading this testimony. I have been rejected by my husband after three(3) years of marriage just because another woman had a spell on him and he left me and the kid to suffer. one day when i was reading through the web, i saw a post on how this spell caster on this address aisabulovespell@gmail.com, have help a woman to get back her husband and i gave him a reply to his address and he told me that a woman had a spell on my husband and he told me that he will help me and after 3 days that i will have my husband back. i believed him and today i am glad to let you all know that this spell caster have the power to bring lovers back. because i am now happy with my husband. Thanks for Dr.Aisabu. His email: aisabulovespell@gmail.com .....

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  98. It is a thing of joy to finally have my husband back after leaving me and our two kids for 3 years. My husband was the best thing that have ever happen to me, he was so caring and understanding till he met a girl called Sophia and ever since then his attitude change towards me and our kids and he became what i never imagined. He keeps late night with Sophia and most time he won't came home. One day he told me he needs a divorces, i weep and was heart broken, there was nothing i could do to stop him because his mind was made up and went on with Sophia. 2 days ago as i was on the internet seeking for help i came across so many testimonies of people on how Doctor Ororo has help them so i contacted him for help also and to my greatest surprise 12 hours later My husband came back to me begging me to accept him back. contact Doctor Ororo for help via email: (doctorororospelltemple@outlook.com) or website: (http://doctorazuaworldofpowerfulspell.webs.com) or via WhatsApp: (+2348068784784)...

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  99. I'm late to the party, but this blog post is perfect! The Church's view on sex brought me home, too, and you've summed it up superbly. Rock on! (From two years later :)).

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  100. HOW TO GET OVER MARRIAGE OR RELATIONSHIP PROBLEMS SOLVED WITH LOVE SPELL: CHECK ON DR. SAMBO WEBSITE: http://divinespellhome.wixsite.com/drsamb



    Hello to you all,i want to use this time to thank Dr. Sambo for what he has done for me last week here ,my names are marjorie mc cardle from Australia,
    I never believed in Love Spells or Magics until I met this special spell caster when i contact this man called divinespellhome@gmail.com Execute some business..He is really powerful..My Husband divorce me with no reason for almost 5 years and i tried all i could to have her back cos i really love him so much but all my effort did not work out.. we met at our early age at the college and we both have feelings for each other and we got married happily for 5 years with no kid and he woke up one morning and he told me hes going on a divorce..i thought it was a joke and when he came back from work he tender to me a divorce letter and he packed all his loads from my house..i ran mad and i tried all i could to have him back but all did not work out..i was lonely for almost 5 years So when i told the spell caster what happened he said he will help me and he asked for her full name and his picture..i gave him that..At first i was skeptical but i gave it a try cos have tried so many spell casters and there is no solutions when he finished with the readings,he got back to me that hes with a woman and that woman is the reason why he left me The spell caster said he will help me with a spell that will surely bring him back.but i never believe all this he told me i will see a positive result within 24 hours of the day..24hours later,he called me himself and came to me apologizing and he told me he will come back to me..I cant believe this,it was like a dream cos i never believe this will work out after trying many spell casters and there is no solution..The spell caster is so powerful and after that he helped me with a pregnancy spell and i got pregnant a month later and find a better job..we are now happy been together again and with lovely kid..This spell caster has really changed my life and i will forever thankful to him..he has helped many friends too with similar problem too and they are happy and thankful to him..This man is indeed the most powerful spell caster have ever experienced in life..Am Posting this to the Forum in case there is anyone who has similar problem and still looking for a way out..you can reach him


    divinespellhome@gmail.com CONTACT THIS GREAT AND POWERFUL SPELL CASTER CALLED DR SAMBO… HIS EMAIL ADDRESS IS divinespellhome@yahoo.com CONTACT HIM NOW AND BE FAST ABOUT IT SO HE CAN ALSO ATTEND TO YOU BECAUSE THE EARLIER YOU CONTACT HIM NOW THE BETTER FOR YOU TO GET QUICK SOLUTION TO ALL YOUR PROBLEMS,
    visit his website at http://divinespellhome.wixsite.com/drsamb
    Phone number:+2348039456308.


    ReplyDelete