Organic Family Planning

NFP is 100% natural, has no artificial preservatives, is completely organic and is the only green option!

Organic CertifiedIn my working with couples preparing to be married I have discovered that while many of them know that the Church is “against” birth control, pre-maritial sex, and cohabitation, they have no idea why. They hear the Church saying, “No, no, no” but are not taught what the Church is for and what the Church is saying, “Yes, yes, yes” to. The couples seem to believe the Church is out of touch and out to lunch on these issues. And they certainly have never heard that within marriage there is an alternative that embraces the openness to life, and allows the couple to be a discerning, co-creator with God.  This alternative is called Natural Family Planning (NFP).

However, one of the many reasons I give, as a male working with couples, is that Natural Family Planning is pro-women.  It respects the femininity of the female and does not ask her to be something she is not.  In articulating my point, I have changed the name from “Natural Family Planning” to “Organic Family Planning.”  I even joke that my wife and I are “Organic Certified” and I have thoughts of producing t-shirts to wear to that effect.

My main point is that while people are becoming more and more health conscious of the chemicals that are being put into their body through food consumption, they don’t seem to give the same consideration to their family planning choices. Most of the couples I work with, especially the soon-to-be brides, are shopping for organic foods, and yet are still using birth control. As a husband, I like OFP because it is not pumping my wife with harmful chemicals so that we can have sex whenever we want. If we as a couple have discerned that for whatever reason having a child is not in the cards for us right now, then I certainly can go seven days without sex for the health and benefit of my wife. As a male we are ingrained with wanting to “protect” our wives and family and this protection should extend to the health and well being of our wives. Is it really that much of a sacrifice?

It seems that the Church not only has these teachings for our spiritual well being, but also for our physical and emotional well being. Organic Family Planning (OFP) respects the cycles of the women, how she was created to be, and it keeps her healthy, free from the risks that birth control can provide (i.e. links to breast cancer, etc.). Further, it allows the husband to experience sacrificial love that is Christ-life and leads to greater virtue.

Now, in reading this post you might say that we could not use birth control and use barrier methods such as condoms or just withdrawal and still be considered organic. Wouldn’t this prevent the harmful chemicals as well? You would be right. My use of the term organic and my emphasise on this element within Natural Family Planning is but one of the many reasons I give for NFP and in defense of the Church’s position. It should not be construed from this post that this is the end all and be all of arguments for the Church’s teaching on the matter. This is but one, and I think effective, arguments for NFP. In my experience most couples are using birth control as their preferred method and discussing it in terms of organic helps get the couple thinking. It can be a door into larger and more important reasons such as:

The Church teaches that sex should be between a man and women in the context of marriage.  As such, sex should lead to both life and love.  Life (procreative) and love (unitive) both need to be there and when one is excluded, conjugal sex is distorted and doesn’t live up to what it was  intended to be–a sign of God’s love for us, a sign of the Triune God. Moreover, like the Eucharist that is a re-presentation of the sacrifice of the cross, 2000 years ago, the conjugal act is a re-presentation, a renewal, of the “yes” of the wedding vows. It is the words (vows) of the wedding becoming enfleshed.

Any method such as contraceptives, barrier methods, or withdrawal would not include one of the two elements namely an openness to life and because of this would lead to a distortion of the unitive (love). As such, all methods would not lead to a renewal of the wedding vows, to an increase in grace within the couple, and would not be a total gift of self.

 

2 thoughts on “Organic Family Planning”

  1. Jason,

    Nice post. I have a question. You mentioned the importance of the unitive and procreative components of sex. Is one of greater importance than the other? For-instance, suppose a couple, before getting married, realize that they are unable to procreate. Should they ought to not get married?

    Other readers, please feel free to input!

  2. Great question. I should first comment by saying that the first and overall purpose of marriage is to bring and lead, the other towards holiness and to heaven. This is the purpose of the marriage vocation. Within that calling, there has traditionally been thought to be a primary and secondary purpose to marriage and to sex. 1) Procreative–for the procreation and education of children and 2) for the mutual aid of the couple. The article below discusses this in some detail and also lists a third purpose of marriage namely the remedy for concupiscence. Check out this website: http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?id=5822&CFID=23445543&CFTOKEN=6185746

    Also, please review the Cathechism of the Catholic Church paragraphs 1652-1654. To your question, the Catholic Church does marry couples who are unable to have children, perhaps as one example, due to advanced age. They are still able to be open to life and can “radiate a fruitfulness of charity, of hospitality, and of sacrifice (CCC 1654).” They can be open to life although naturally are incapable of conceiving children. This would be of no fault of their doing.

    I hope this helps. Feel free to reply with further thoughts, comments, or questions.

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