Originally Posted by Smokering
What is the basis for this definition? It certainly seems to run counter to the common definition of lust to say that having sex without physical desire is lust! Biblically, I'd say lust is wrongful, deliberate sexual desire.
Nevertheless, if sex for the purpose of pleasure alone is lust, then how is all non-fertile-period NFP sex not lustful? The couple aren't trying to create a pregnancy; they're doing it for pleasure (and possibly spiritual reasons, if you like, but that still leaves one of the three out of the picture).
Well, by those semantics, NFP doesn't postpone pregnancy either, an individual does. And thus disallows the consequences of a natural sexual relationship - ie, couples having sex when they want to, with a high chance that pregnancy will eventually result - by the medical technology of fertility charting. (And it is medical technology, at least for those who don't rely on CF alone. I use a software program and a thermometer, which is at least as artificial and technological as latex condoms!)
Who says the sex act "has" to be completed with sperm entering the vagina (or cervix, if you prefer)? Perhaps more to the point, why?
That is absolutely NOT what I said. What I said is that Catholics fudge the issue by saying that each individual deliberately non-fertile sex act is OK because it's "completed", while ignoring the bigger picture, of a pattern of sex acts that will never result in conception because they are deliberately timed to be infertile. Which is fine, if it's necessary: but it's absolutely birth control.
Yes... as in NFP, where 100% of the sex acts are closed to the possibility of procreation by being deliberately timed so sperm and egg will never meet. (Unless they do it wrong, of course, but sloppy charting isn't being open to life, any more than using w/d incorrectly is.)
It can be. Wives and husbands are told in the Bible not to deprive each other except for a time, for the purposes of prayer, that they might not be tempted to sin. There are ways by which wives and husbands can sexually satisfy each other in cases when pregnancy is not advisable, but the Catholic Church does not allow them. Therefore, it encourages couples to routinely deprive each other sexually for purposes other than prayer.
Also, they are both postponing and preventing pregnancy. The words mean the same thing in this context. Prevention by abstinence is an accepted concept - look at the ABC AIDS prevention campaign.
So? Why is it wrong to create infertile periods of time? And God's natural plan involves a woman becoming more desirous of sex during her fertile period; so a couple certainly subverts that by depriving her of sex every month. I disagree strongly that it's "natural" for a married couple to abstain from sex when they want to have it, however admirable it may or may not be.
Again, so? Hardship doesn't equal holiness. And from my own experience, being able to have sex "on tap" theologically speaking doesn't equate to being able to indulge in passion whenever one wants to. We have a cosleeping two year old. We have plenty of opportunities to practice patience and sacrificing our carnal desires, believe me!
Plenty of BC-using Christians are open to the remote possibility of procreation when they use condoms, too. No BC method is perfect, other than hysterectomy, but NFP doesn't gain spiritual points because it might fail - if it's done right, it's no more likely to fail than most popular forms of BC.
The fundamental disagreement here comes down, as always, to Scripture vs Tradition. I do not see any indication in the Bible that sex must be, exclusively or even normatively, procreative as well as unifying as well as spiritually meaningful. It is good if it can be all those things, certainly; but from what logic does the Church derive the tenet that it must? And further, if it must, how can the Church say that NFP is not being anti-procreative when its whole purpose (when used for CTA purposes) is to prevent pregnancy?
You're right, I probably should specify "artificial" birth control for the sake of clarity, but since we're talking about the Catholic Church and NFP, I kind of figured that it was implicit. The thing is that when you say "birth control" 99 people out of 100 interpret that to mean "the pill" or some other contraceptive device or medicine
. NFP is neither of those things. Its true purpose is not to divorce sex from procreation.
The Bible explicitly condemns homosexuality, sodomy, and the withdrawal method, which the Church calls Onanism. God condemned Onan to death because he had sex with his brothers' widow, and instead of finishing inside her, he deliberately pulled out and "spilled his seed upon the ground". So it's pretty clear, to me, at least, and to the Catholic Church, that anything that deliberately interrupts sex to prevent conception is a great big biblical no-no.
The reason it's wrong to create
extended infertile periods of time is that the bible says, "What God has put together, let no one take apart". God created sex with multiple purposes in mind. "Making love" and "making babies" is the same act. Contraceptive devices, artificial birth control, etc, are man pulling apart
the many purposes of sex. Specifically, the statement is often interpreted to mean that divorce is always immoral, and marriage is permanent, but it also can be read that the purpose of marriage cannot be separated apart. We are to become one with our spouse, spiritually, and as physically as possible. We are to be fruitful and multiply, and raise our children in the way that God has commanded us.
NFP, periodic abstinence, does nothing to pull apart anything. God put infertile times into our cycles, sometimes extended infertile times, as in when ecological breastfeeding naturally suppresses ovulation. Those times are a gift to us so that we might give ourselves to each other fully, without reservation, without getting pregnant each and every time we have sex. God knows we need a break-- so he built one in. It isn't a sin to use that break temporarily.
For extended periods of time without sufficient reason? Yeah, that's a sin.
Now, as to your assertion that it's unnatural to abstain from sex when a woman wants it: Why is it any more unnatural than to abstain from sex when a man wants it? Self-control and moderation are extolled everywhere in the bible. If a couple has sufficiently serious reasons that they really shouldn't get pregnant, it's really NOT that hard to have the self-control necessary to abstain. If the couple's reasons are not serious enough that they have the self control? Then they are not serious enough to prevent a pregnancy.
Again, this whole conversation is predicated on the fact that using NFP to avoid pregnancy is only morally permissible if they have serious justification for not getting pregnant
. There's four criteria that must be met for this to be the case, it's called the double-effect principle:
1. The action to be done must be good in itself or at least be morally indifferent.
2. The good effect must not be obtained by means of the evil effect. That is, the bad effect must be only an incidental by-product and not an actual factor in the accomplishment of the good effect.
3. The evil effect must not be intended for itself but only permitted. All bad will must be excluded from the act.
4. There must be a proportionately grave reason for permitting the evil effect. At least the good and evil effects should be nearly equivalent.
So, in the case of CTA using NFP, for a sufficiently serious reason, let's say, the wife/mother in the equation is currently mentally unstable and requires Lithium to be mentally stable enough take care of her children
1) abstinence is good in most circumstances;
2) the "bad effect" of avoiding conception is not accomplished through an evil means (abstinence). It's actually a side effect of the need to avoid causing harm to a developing fetus, since Lithium is extremely dangerous for the unborn child.
3) The "evil effect" of preventing a pregnancy is not because the couple is not open to new life, but because they do not want to cause harm to a child.
4) the mother needs to be able to function, be mentally stable, and able to care for her children. The good effect of being able to care for her children, at least equals the effect of delaying the entrance of new life into the family.
Using artificial birth control for the same reason, however, these same criteria cannot be met because the first condition cannot be met: "birth control pills or condoms are not good or morally neutral" and this stops the analysis cold.
The bible is clear that onanism is condemned (therefore, logically, condoms would also be condemned). Birth control pills always have the potential to cause the termination of a pregnancy-- and that is not morally neutral. Then you add in the whole "let no man take apart" principle, and you arrive at the conclusion that, morally, using birth control and NFP are worlds apart from this perspective.
If a couple can genuinely not be open at all to the possibility of new life from sex, they really ought to be abstaining completely rather than using only the infertile periods in the cycle, because then they do run the risk of fulfilling lust rather than the whole threefold purpose of sex. There are many couples that can remain open to the possibility
while trusting in God's plan that it will not be very likely
And at this point, I need to go to bed. I'll try checking in tomorrow.