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Catholic Church and Birth Control - Page 3

post #41 of 220
Thread Starter 
Yes, I have been thinking an awful lot about what we are going to do about bc. Ironically last week my RCIA class discussed this topic but I wasn't there for that class!

Dh and I are going to continue with our method of using FAM, condoms and withdrawal. I know that it is against everything that the church teaches but using only NFP to avoid pregnancy is just something that will not work for my marriage. Maybe my mindset would be different if I was married to a devout orthodox catholic but I'm not, and I can't help my own feelings on the issue. Having more kids is not an option for us (if we had a surprise we would lovingly welcome it of course. I am pro-life and dh and I are against any bc that can act as an abortificent.)

Right now I just don't know if I should drop out of RCIA and return to the Episcopal Church or not. I love all that the Catholic Church has to offer and the bc issue is the only hang up I have at this time.

I would love it if we could discuss this some more. I posted earlier in this thread our exact reasons for why NFP isn't going to work for us so if you have been following along I would love to hear your input. Thanks!
post #42 of 220
I think you should continue through RCIA and continuing praying about this! You are still learning, and until you actually are accepted into the Church, you don't actually have to "commit" to anything, if I understand correctly. (I remember my first confession prior to coming into the Church. It was a doozie!)

I have my own opinions about the Episcopal Church which I will leave off, but suffice it to say that I tried for several years to be "at home" there, and it didn't work. If you are being called to "come home to Rome," you need to work through as much as you can instead of just throwing up your hands and saying "This isn't going to work; I give up!" Otherwise, I fear you will always be restless.

As to your specific circumstances, I feel your pain! I know it seems like a burden to try to use NFP, especially when DH isn't on board. I would just say that you don't know that it's NOT going to work until you try! You are not using hormonal birth control, so you are already used to working with your body's rhythms and modifying your sexual activity according to those rhythms! That's a HUGE step towards accepting NFP, in my mind.

I would love to continue discussing this but I don't know that I have the credentials. I'm still a baby Catholic and a baby NFP-er, and I cannot say that I am perfect. DH & I struggle with this every month, although right now with the baby we are so tired, it's not really an issue.
post #43 of 220
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the encouragement! Please keep the comments coming. I need all the help I can get right now. I am nervous to go talk to a preist about this - it just feels weird to talk to an older man about this subject. And I know that they have heard it all but it still makes me uncomfortable!
post #44 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by springmama View Post
Yes, I have been thinking an awful lot about what we are going to do about bc. Ironically last week my RCIA class discussed this topic but I wasn't there for that class!

Dh and I are going to continue with our method of using FAM, condoms and withdrawal. I know that it is against everything that the church teaches but using only NFP to avoid pregnancy is just something that will not work for my marriage. Maybe my mindset would be different if I was married to a devout orthodox catholic but I'm not, and I can't help my own feelings on the issue. Having more kids is not an option for us (if we had a surprise we would lovingly welcome it of course. I am pro-life and dh and I are against any bc that can act as an abortificent.)

Right now I just don't know if I should drop out of RCIA and return to the Episcopal Church or not. I love all that the Catholic Church has to offer and the bc issue is the only hang up I have at this time.

I would love it if we could discuss this some more. I posted earlier in this thread our exact reasons for why NFP isn't going to work for us so if you have been following along I would love to hear your input. Thanks!
You know, I think too it would be better to continue in RCIA. While it is important to recognize and understand what the religious group you belong to teaches, for most of us it is a process to get there, and I think it is never really completed. We just can't let that become an excuse for not even struggling with whatever the issue is.

I'm an Anglican, but I could not belong to TEC - I even have trouble with the ACC here. But if you see a real problem with abortion and even birth control that could potentially affect a fertilized ovum, I can see why you find TEC not quite the place for you.

To me, you need to say - fundamentally, which group has the attitude/worldview/understanding that makes the most sense? The CCs views about ABC are closely related to its views about life, so it seems to me you are more likely to come to some kind of real understanding/accommodation about that than the TEC position.

The question of your spouse does complicate things, but I think it is still workable.
post #45 of 220
One important thing to realize is that NFP is profoundly respectful of women's bodies and woman centric. It is also more successful than condoms, P&P and FAM by anyone's estimation.

Our society says that it is the man's choice when we will engage in marital relations, and being a good wife involves making ourselves available. But that is not the case! NFP is definitely a marriage building art, and IMO teaches a husband respect for his wife's body, fertility, and cyclical sexuality.
post #46 of 220

nm


Edited by April Dawn - 7/5/11 at 8:23pm
post #47 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chamomile Girl View Post
You know there are many who will cry foul to this, but being Catholic does not mean that you need agree with all church doctrine. It simply does not. Follow your heart.

It is unfortunately doctrines like this one that cause many to say "I was raised Catholic but..." I wonder how long it will take the church to care?
okay,I cry foul!

It is absolutely not possible to be Catholic and disagree with the fundamental beliefs and practices of the Church. We as Catholics know the absolute holiness of human life, of the perfectness of God's plan for us, and the sinful error of believing we should attempt to thwart His plan for our own needs.

Now, that is not to say that no Catholic can or should ever use birth control. Clearly there are reasons that one might have to. This MUST however, be determined with the spiritual counseling of one's priest.

I would highly suggest reading The Theology of the Body to gain a better understanding of the Church's teaching regarding sex, birth control, and the sacredness of human life and the vocation of men and women in holy families. It is a beautiful work that could truly change every Catholic's life.

To the OP, please consult with your priest regarding your struggle. It is in times like this that we really need spiritual direction. I will pray for you as you discern God's will for you in this regard.
post #48 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by April Dawn View Post
I have to really disagree with this. Actually, this is one of the main reasons I don't agree with the church on this issue. NFP is very effective - IF you have regular cycles and/or clear signs of fertility. If you have a hormonal imbalance such as PCOS and things don't work "normally" for you, it's can be very ineffective - I have no predictable pattern to watch for, sometimes I will go 8-10 months without ovulating and then I will have two cycles close together. I show absolutely zero signs of ovulation when I do ovulate, so watching for signs doesn't work. So I have seen NFP billed as succesful and effective, but that's not necessarily true for every woman. It's not clear to me how effective the OP thinks NFP would be for her, and that may be a factor for her.
Again, I would say this is a situation in which the couple should be in communication with their priest and (if they have one) their spiritual director. Even those couples using NFP should be doing so with the blessing of their priest. Being a Catholic means completely subjecting oneself to God's will, and to do His work in all things, not just when it is convenient. Priests do not sit in judgement of us, and of course there are some we will click with and others we won't, but they are a wonderful resource to help us navigate the maze so to speak and help direct us in our relationship with God.
post #49 of 220
Thread Starter 
I have no issue with the effectiveness of NFP per se. I'm sure it works well but personally I don't trust it as much as I do using FAM, condoms and withdrawal. The big thing here is that anstaining during fertile times doesn't work for me or my dh.

I totally get the Church's teachings, but I cannot accept them for myself or my marriage. Right or wrong the bottom line is that I don't want to be restricted in my marriage as to when we can and cannot have sex and I don't want to have anymore children. I understand that children are a gift from God and I do treasure my fertility but I also feel that the reality is that having babies is a biological function of our bodies and with my fertility I would end up having one about every two years if I didn't choose to use bc.

With my cycles if I was using NFP to really avoid ttc we would be abstaining from the start of AF until a couple of days after O because CM starts right after AF. That would be close to three weeks with the recommended couple day wait after O. I know that some people are ok with cutting things close but we are not in the position to have another child as I explained earlier.

The other thing that is bothering me is that I read that about 96% of Catholics use ABC. So where are these women and are they confessing it every week before receiving - how are they dealing with this?

Thanks for all the support - I really appreciate it!
post #50 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by springmama View Post
The other thing that is bothering me is that I read that about 96% of Catholics use ABC. So where are these women and are they confessing it every week before receiving - how are they dealing with this?
Well, I can only tell you how it's worked in my family, but I think we're pretty similar to a lot of modern Catholic families. In my family, many of the women are on the birth control pill. And no, they don't confess it every week - in fact, the folks in my family, as well as many other Catholics I know, don't go to confession at all anyways. I have heard people like this described as "cafeteria Catholics" because they pick and choose the parts they want and leave the parts they don't. That's part of why I left the church as a teenager. It seemed pointless to be part of an organization where I did not agree with a lot of what they thought. Now I'm at a point where I feel really drawn back... but I still disagree with a lot of what the church says, and I'm trying to figure out what to do about that. I'm not so comfortable calling myself a member of a faith where I disagree with important rules of the faith, but I also don't want a few issues to keep me from being a member if it's right for me. Really it sounds like you and I are in a similar place, the only difference being that I was raised Catholic. I can definitely see where you're coming from - it sounds like you would be abstaining more often than not with NFP and that can't be healthy for your marriage. And I respect and understand wanting to abide by the rules of a faith you belong to. I don't really have answers for you, just support, and I hope you come to a decision you're comfortable with.
post #51 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by springmama View Post
I have no issue with the effectiveness of NFP per se. I'm sure it works well but personally I don't trust it as much as I do using FAM, condoms and withdrawal. The big thing here is that anstaining during fertile times doesn't work for me or my dh.

I totally get the Church's teachings, but I cannot accept them for myself or my marriage.
I highlighted the above just to make a point. To be a Catholic is to trust God in all things. Fear shows a lack of trust in God. Please talk to the priest at your RCIA parish.

It is possible you may want to check out another church more in line with your values, if you can't accept the Church's teachings on birth control, why be Catholic? (This is not meant snarkily, it is meant as support - in other words, maybe you will never be comfortable in the Church because you don't accept its teachings. YOu may fit somewhere else perfectly.)

And as far as American women on birth control, many are, that's a fact. It doesn't mean the Church's teaching is wrong. It means they are willfully sinning. And as far as not using the Sacrament of Reconciliation, it is such a gift I can't imagine why they aren't using it. It is such an important part of our walk with God. It is so not about rules and regulations and everything about being in communion with Jesus.
post #52 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by moonshoes View Post
"I have no issue with the effectiveness of NFP per se. I'm sure it works well but personally I don't trust it as much as I do using FAM, condoms and withdrawal. The big thing here is that anstaining during fertile times doesn't work for me or my dh.
I totally get the Church's teachings, but I cannot accept them for myself or my marriage."

To be a Catholic is to trust God in all things. Fear shows a lack of trust in God.
Not that I completely disagree, but it seems to me the first question a non-Catholic would have is, why not "trust in God" by avoiding other interventions in your bodily condition, like antibiotics? Why is it alright to use medicine to prevent other consequences of our physical nature, but not use medicine to keep from having twenty children in twenty years?
post #53 of 220
First of all, if you practice the complementary and recommended Ecological Breastfeeding, even if you totally ignored your temperature and mucus signs, you would never have 20 children in 20 years, it is physically completely impossible. Yes, some women get their cycles back early despite faithfully practicing this method, but there is considerable evidence that they do not conceive until later due to factors like shortened luteal phase. Many Catholics only use interventions like antibiotics under very strict circumstances and bacteria is a little different than human life, in any case.

Also, no situation where NFP would not work would allow FAM to work, and the P&P and condoms are equally effective during the fertile period over time, which is to say, not effective (no more than 80%). Periodic abstinence CAN be super healthly for a marriage. I think there is a notion on this thread that the ONLY healthy way to be married is to engage in marital relations constantly/all the time, and that is patently untrue. Plus none of us will truly be able to avoid times of periodic abstinence in our marriages, they are inevitable.

And we need to have the discussion in light of the FACT that Synthetic Estrogen Pills pollute the water supply of unwitting and unconsenting Men, Women, and Children (& Infants!), as well as raise the Breast Cancer risk, etc. The church isn't just making some arbitrary pronouncement to generate more Catholics, there are serious moral and ethical issues at stake, even if you leave Population Control out of it. Making the whole world drink estrogen byproducts so that our sexuality doesn't have to be one iota restricted, is IMO a serious moral issue that most people are not dealing with.
post #54 of 220
ETA: OP I know you don't believe in Estrogen pills, I am just addressing the issue in the larger context of 96% of Catholics using ABC.
post #55 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamabadger View Post
Not that I completely disagree, but it seems to me the first question a non-Catholic would have is, why not "trust in God" by avoiding other interventions in your bodily condition, like antibiotics? Why is it alright to use medicine to prevent other consequences of our physical nature, but not use medicine to keep from having twenty children in twenty years?
AN excellent question, and unfortunately I only have a second but will come back and post some links.

Basically, antibiotics do not interfere with God's plan for life, birth control does. I would definitely like to expand on this so I will come back.
post #56 of 220
Thread Starter 
I really appreciate all of your replies! Thank you so much.

I guess that I can't put it off any longer and I will need to talk to the parish priest about this. Although talking about sex with a 65 year old man just puts a knot in my stomach! I'm guessing that I will be moving on from the CC but who knows. I'll keep you posted about what happens. With juggling working and trying to find child care for my two kids I probably won't be able to get in until next week.
post #57 of 220
I wanted to add again that reading The Good News About Sex and Marriage was very eye opening for me and my husband. It puts Catholic teaching about sex and birth control and love in layman's terms. I never understood WHY the church had what I viewed as all these rules and restrictions about sex so I largely ignored the stuff I didn't understand or couldn't relate to. I read it several times over the course of a few months and it took me some time to absorb it's powerful message, but I am so glad I did.

I have gone from being a "cafeteria" Catholic to one who has made peace with church teachings and I have been very blessed because of it. I work to understand and accept all of it, and I keep in mind that much of our societal conditioning is hard to walk away from. It's been really hard for me to ignore the message that happiness can be bought, happens to the attractive, and that I should get everything I want right now. We are all a work in progress. A lot of the ifo you are getting is new, I'm assuming, and I would think you need some time to process it, learn more about the why of the teachings, get more info. You don't have to become Catholic at the end of the RCIA classes, you don't have to be Catholic to attend Mass, you can take all the time you need.

Can you find a Catholic NFP teacher to talk to as well? The ones I have worked with in the past have been women, and even if you aren't interested in using NFP you could probably get questions answered.
post #58 of 220
Thread Starter 
I don't really know how much more info I need on the Church's teachings and NFP - I understand them. I don't feel that the Church needs to change her stance on the issues either, I just know that they aren't going to work for my marriage. Like I have said before right or wrong the problem is that I cannot conform to these teachings. I could just turn my head to the issue and take the advice I got upon my initial RCIA inquiry, (which was that using bc aside from NFP was ok as long as it was done consciously) or continue with our current method of contracepting which physically does fall on dh to use a condom or withdrawal when I tell him that I am fertile and use him as the sole excuse even though I agree with him and just move forward but I feel that would be wrong.

I don't mean any of this in a rude way but I am just looking for some direction on what to do here. Since the majority of the women in the Church use ABC I know that I can't be alone. I need to get in to see my priest.

Thank you!
post #59 of 220
I understand but I totally agree with the advice about seeking out a NFP teaching couple associated with your church and talking to them. I don't see any need for a woman to have to talk to a 65 year old celibate priest about this, a NFP teacher would be fine. I think there are some additional things to understand about NFP, like how it can be marriage building, etc.

It isn't just an issue of 'won't work for your particular marriage' though, because clearly the desire for it to work is not there, there is not desire to put off gratification, engage in periodic abstinence, maintain the connection between sexulity and life, etc.. Since abstaining during fertile times is more effective than using condoms or pulling out during fertile times, it can't be an effectiveness argument either. And I understand totally about not being able to accomodate another pregnancy, but in reality, one actually would be running a way higher risk of unintended pregnancy with FAM/Condoms/P&P during fertility than you would by following NFP (with temping) (about 20% vs. about 1%). And ovulating earlier in your cycle actually leads to MORE opportunities for intercourse, becauser your safest time is always after ovulation.
post #60 of 220
For me, there was a difference between knowing what the teaching was and understanding it fully and the reasons behind it. I wasn't sure which category you were in, and I figured finding out more about the theology wouldn't be a bad thing no matter what you decided.
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