TheCrockery

A Catholic perspective on the world and all the good things therein, especially books and food. Literature cum chocolate is the order of the day at The Crockery.

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Location: A Collegetown, Undisclosed Location, United States

No longer a graduate student, Teresa is now a professional know-it-all.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Attack of the Grave Reasons!

There's an ongoing discussion of Natural Family Planning over at Ales Rarus. The discussion is interesting, though at times confusing, I think because the author of the series sees several questions bound together in ways other people don't. To him, the question of whether NFP is a form of contraception is related to the question of what constitutes grave/serious/just reasons to avoid conception. To many of his readers (including myself), these seem like distinct questions which deserve individual treatment. The combox discussions reflect that confusion, but they also bring up a lot of interesting subpoints and concerns. It's definitely a series worth reading.

I'll be honest, though: there's part of me that feels that the arguments which conservative Catholics get into over the "how common are just reasons?" question are a waste of time. I think we ought to be more concerned about the huge percentage of Catholics who don't follow their Church's teaching on this matter. Once we get everyone to agree to use only NFP rather than artificial methods of birth control, then we can talk more about when it should be used. As it is, I worry that acrimonious debates about whether X constitutes a serious reason to avoid may actually be scandalous: they may scare away those who aren't already committed to Catholic sexual ethics, because they make those ethics seems more severe than they really are.

But, having said that, I understand that there is small group of people who are faithful to Catholic teaching on marital sexuality but have legitimate concerns about the use and abuse of Natural Family Planning. As always, I recommend that those people start by reading some of Christopher West's work, of course (Christopher West being one of my gurus). One of these days I may do my own entry on NFP, but in the meantime, I've left more than enough comments over at the NFP Investigation series, so you can read my perspective there
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