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#121 of 220 Old 02-08-2010, 09:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jeannineb View Post
The topic has gone from the OP's struggle with KNOWING the CC's position on birth control and struggling with making it work in her marriage where her partner is not Catholic and not willing to live by the teaching of the CC; to discussing if NFP is actually contraception in disguise... Again, this thread was about a (soon to be) Catholic woman's personal struggle regarding contraception. She understands the church's views on the topic, or else she would't be conflicted.
Not only do the OP and her DH have very different views on the subject, but the OP herself admits to being overwhelmed by her work load and the children she is already responsible for (see post #24). It seems clear to me that she is not merely asking for confirmation of the official papal teaching on this matter.
Besides, on Religious Studies, we are permitted to compare and contrast viewpoints.

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I am sorry if this sounds extremely basic. Abstinence and contraception are two very different things in and of themselves, are they not? It is my understanding that you have to ACTUALLY BE HAVING THE SEX in order to be contracepting.
Smokering answered that already; but let me add that the RCC does not permit NFP (selective abstinence) except where really necessary for strong, valid reasons. There is no such restriction on abstinence for its own sake. Why would they place such requirements on something which is not birth control? Because, I have to assume, it is done for the express purpose of avoiding conception.

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I am offended that people accuse the CC of "demonizing" and "putting a nasty spin" on people who use contraception. The church's teachings are what they are. They are very clear and unambiguous. There is nothing demonizing about it.
I am not sure the "spin" is deliberate, but the choice of language sometimes makes sex between a couple practicing NFP sound very elevated, and sex involving contraceptives sound slightly sleazy. The PP who referred to couples who did not practice NFP as "ignoring their fertile period, just snapping on a condom and having fun anyway" was not being mean on purpose, but there is an underlying bias in place.

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If you aren't Catholic, it's not really an issue for you.
That might be true, if it were not for the fact that these specifically RC concepts are often promoted to non-Catholics. Saying contraception is forbidden to RC's or that the Pope has made X statement about NFP really is not an issue for non-Catholics. However, recommending NFP as a generic good, because it is more "natural" or "respectful" or "spiritual" or "mindful" or whatever, takes it outside the RC circle, and that makes it fair game.
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#122 of 220 Old 02-08-2010, 10:11 PM
 
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So what is the ethical justification for polluting municipal water supplies with synthetic hormones or toxic spermicides? On this count NFP *is* objectively more natural, ethical etc than any other method, even FAM. Children drink municipal water. Then there is the abortafacient aspect. So I am really at a loss to find an actual method of ABC that does not have consequences for those outside of the desired 'anytime' sexual relationship. And as far as Condoms go, NFP has a considerably lower method failure rate.
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#123 of 220 Old 02-09-2010, 01:46 AM
 
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I quite agree, and I'm a fan of NFP/FAM for those reasons. That's why I just wrote an article for a parenting magazine, singing its praises. But how wonderful it is is not terribly relevant to whether or not it's mandated/necessary/logical. The Catholic Church doesn't officially promote it because it's eco-friendly; and it has not issued any infallible decrees on fluoride or using paper plates. I think it's a little selective to start lambasting people for clogging up landfills with condoms as opposed to every other form of waste that goes on in the average household.

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#124 of 220 Old 02-09-2010, 02:47 AM
 
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I am not sure, does latex Biodegrade? I do think the CC is generally in support of environmental stewardship, however my chief issue with marital condoms is that over time they aren't THAT much more effective than Withdrawl, and can cause considerable discomfort for the wife. Obviously they have a use in non-monogamous relationships, but those are not relevant here. Using condoms to turn NFP into FAM is problematic because they turn a 2% method failure rate to a 15% method failure rate.

In any case, no church body on Earth is going to be perfect, or have the right position for everyone. I have learned a lot from the Church's teachings on Marriage, Fertility, & Sexuality, and continue to be inspired by them, however, I am not an active member right now because I strongly disagree with their current stance on Vaccination.
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#125 of 220 Old 02-09-2010, 02:54 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Smokering;15045073 Whether or not the CC's views are [I
right[/I]
So, is this what the "Religious Studies" forum is about? Who's "right"? I guess I am not seeing where the desire for a deeper understanding comes in if the objective is hashing out who's right and who's wrong. I will fully admit to being a newbie here, but this is not the attitude I expected to find. Perhaps I am in the wrong place. Maybe it's the tone, maybe I am just sensitive.

As for the OP, she was gently advised to pray about her decision, continue with RCIA, or perhaps look for a church where she felt more at ease with the doctrine. I agree that she seemed overwhelmed and whoever suggested a different church for her was a totally valid. I can appreciate different views, faiths, beliefs etc. She needs to go where she finds comfort, and in her situation, she might not see the CC as being that place for her right now. I believe she got some good advice, and it wasn't all Catholic slanted.

Obviously, I can see a difference between abstinence and ABC. Some can't. I made a promise when I recieved the sacrament of marriage that I would be open to children. I also believe that my husband and I have some say in, and the responsiblity to choose, the appropriate spacing of those children, which the CC allows. I would not want to, for instance, risk my milk supply to a nursing child with a pregnancy. Is that a selfish reason or not a serious enough reason? If I were to become pregnant at an inconvenient time, I don't know how well we would handle it, but I know we would. Sorry if this is rambly, I am tired, pregnant and a little stressed out.

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#126 of 220 Old 02-09-2010, 03:26 AM
 
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Using condoms to turn NFP into FAM is problematic because they turn a 2% method failure rate to a 15% method failure rate.
I have been following this thread with interest. I just had to say that you were comparing apples to oranges there.

NFP has a 2% method failure rate
Condoms have a 2% method failure rate.

NFP has a (roughly) 13% user failure rate.
Condoms have a (roughly) 14% user failure rate.

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#127 of 220 Old 02-09-2010, 05:38 AM
 
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So, is this what the "Religious Studies" forum is about? Who's "right"? I guess I am not seeing where the desire for a deeper understanding comes in if the objective is hashing out who's right and who's wrong. I will fully admit to being a newbie here, but this is not the attitude I expected to find. Perhaps I am in the wrong place. Maybe it's the tone, maybe I am just sensitive.
Whether or not a doctrine is right or wrong is necessary for the deepest understanding of it, is it not?

The OP sounds like she finds the Catholic Church's teachings on birth control troubling, a hazard to her marriage and distressing to her mental health. If the teaching is right, she needs to obey the teaching anyway; if it is wrong, she can use ABC with a clear conscience (and rethink her decision to join the Catholic Church). So it is important to figure out whether the teachings are coherent and Biblical - in short, if they are right. I'm sorry if that offends you: but if the Church's teachings are correct, they ought to be demonstrably correct, in which case you need not feel threatened: you need to simply show me how. Refute my arguments. If the Church's teachings are infallible, they will be logical: if they are logical, they are provable.

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Obviously, I can see a difference between abstinence and ABC. Some can't.
I'm willing to, if you present me with evidence that shows it to be so.

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#128 of 220 Old 02-09-2010, 10:30 AM
 
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Orthopraxy vs orthodoxy?

Abstinance within marriage has a long and hallowed history in the Church, so I don't think that's much of an issue. I also think (and this may be based on my own early education from a pre-Vatican II mindset - family and parish) that the admonition against BC is not (just) so that we can fully experience all this amazing sex with our spouses, but rather as another reminder that we are not in charge - we are not in control, as it were. If you cannot afford another child - in whatever manner - then you must abstain, you must feel the pain of loss. It is the human condition.

The early Church thought even marital sex was filthy, but it is better to marry than to burn, right?

Personally, I have less of a problem with that mindset, than with what Smokering referred to - NFP as the only righteous way to have sex, everything else being sleazy.

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#129 of 220 Old 02-09-2010, 10:58 AM
 
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The early Church thought even marital sex was filthy, but it is better to marry than to burn, right?
I do not want to divert the discussion any further, but I think that is incorrect. The early post-schism Roman Catholic church (mid eleventh century) seems to have thought so, based partly on their interpretation of Augustine, and one of its first official actions was to require a celibate clergy. Their views on marriage and sex were at odds, even then, with the eastern church.
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#130 of 220 Old 02-09-2010, 11:25 AM
 
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Two men lose their jobs, and need to support their families. One goes out and finds another job, earns money, and supports his family. One robs a bank. Both men have the same intention:to support their families. One does it in a licit way, one does not.

It is similar to the NFP/ABC discussion. The means by which we do something matter. NFP is NOT contraception, because there is no sex. There is no intercourse to pollute. We are not purposefully frustrating the sex act, because there is no sex. Mutually choosing to abstain for a just reason is not sinful.

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#131 of 220 Old 02-09-2010, 11:59 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
If the Church's teachings are infallible, they will be logical: if they are logical, they are provable.

I guess this is simply where we differ. I see the Church's stance as perfectly logical. You don't. There have been several good explanations here, I feel, on this issue of why Catholics believe what they believe. I can't change your opinion, that's fine with me. It was not my intent. I feel anything beyond this is simply argumentative.

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#132 of 220 Old 02-09-2010, 12:12 PM
 
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I do not want to divert the discussion any further, but I think that is incorrect. The early post-schism Roman Catholic church (mid eleventh century) seems to have thought so, based partly on their interpretation of Augustine, and one of its first official actions was to require a celibate clergy. Their views on marriage and sex were at odds, even then, with the eastern church.
That quote - better to marry than to burn - comes from Corinthians, so pretty early Church. When it was thought that the Second Coming was imminent, celibacy was considered the holiest path, by far. As it became more apparent that the Second Coming was not imminent, then marriage became more acceptable.

I'm not familiar enough with the Eastern Church to make any pronouncements about their views on sexuality, although a married clergy makes it seem as though they may have viewed it in a more positive light than the RC has through history.

A celibate clergy also deals nicely with the question of inheritence.

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#133 of 220 Old 02-09-2010, 05:24 PM
 
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Two men lose their jobs, and need to support their families. One goes out and finds another job, earns money, and supports his family. One robs a bank. Both men have the same intention:to support their families. One does it in a licit way, one does not.

It is similar to the NFP/ABC discussion. The means by which we do something matter. NFP is NOT contraception, because there is no sex. There is no intercourse to pollute. We are not purposefully frustrating the sex act, because there is no sex. Mutually choosing to abstain for a just reason is not sinful.
This position has been stated before, but it has yet to actually be argued. Why is having contraceptive sex "polluting" intercourse? Because sex has to be both unitive and procreative? Refuted upthread. Why is mutually choosing to abstain for a just reason not sinful, when the Bible clearly states that couples are not to abstain except in order to devote themselves to prayer? Simply stating that something is licit or illicit does not make it so.
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I see the Church's stance as perfectly logical. You don't.
Fortunately, logic is not subjective. The Church's stance either is or is not perfectly logical. If you have arguments which demonstrate it to be so, it would be to the benefit of the OP and others reading this thread, including my heretical Protestant self; but so far your arguments have done the reverse of demonstrating this. You have not engaged with my refutations. You don't have to, of course; but presenting a position and then backing down into "Well, we disagree" when it is addressed does not really help anyone understand the issue on the "deepest level", as you put it.

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#134 of 220 Old 02-09-2010, 06:46 PM
 
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All logical arguments are hinged on the definitions of the words used. I personally take the word contraception rather literally. contraception = against conception

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NFP is NOT contraception, because there is no sex. There is no intercourse to pollute.
But there IS sex. Most "normal" couples, whether they're TTC, using NFP to avoid, using ABC, whatever, don't have sex every day. NFP makes a pattern out of sexual acts for a purpose where there otherwise wouldn't be one.


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This position has been stated before, but it has yet to actually be argued. Why is having contraceptive sex "polluting" intercourse?
I don't really agree with the word "polluting", but still speaking to this, it is hard to make the points without separating the types of ABC. Types in which you pop a pill, insert a device, take a shot & turn off the woman's fertility do, imo, stand as a rejection. You are habitually, medically, creating a denial of an essential part of humanity and life. I don't really know how you get around that. The other kinds, barrier (and even withdrawl to some extent) have a different problem of inserting something into the sex act that shouldn't be there, for a purpose in direct opposition to the most good of a marriage.

Without formulating a full argument (because I'm pregnant and nauseous and chasing a toddler), from a Catholic perspective, all "medical" (using loosely) interventions into human life are supposed to be for Good purpose. If having children is the primary good of a marriage (and we believe it is), then interventions that would deny that are subject to far harsher scrutiny.

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#135 of 220 Old 02-09-2010, 07:02 PM
 
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I don't really agree with the word "polluting", but still speaking to this, it is hard to make the points without separating the types of ABC. Types in which you pop a pill, insert a device, take a shot & turn off the woman's fertility do, imo, stand as a rejection. You are habitually, medically, creating a denial of an essential part of humanity and life
An "essential" part of humanity and life? So childless women are, what? Not human? Having babies is essential for the survival of the species (and that could theoretically be achieved without anyone having sex at all), but having babies is not essential on the individual level, to achieve life or humanity. Think how that would sound to an infertile woman.

Also, "creating a denial" seems a strange phrase to use. Birth control doesn't deny fertility; it acknowledges fertility by definition, in order to control it. I think this is another weasel word.
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I don't really know how you get around that. The other kinds, barrier (and even withdrawl to some extent) have a different problem of inserting something into the sex act that shouldn't be there, for a purpose in direct opposition to the most good of a marriage.
"That shouldn't be there" has to be argued, not asserted. Why shouldn't it be there? Because it's a modern invention? Is using lube also forbidden because it's not natural or shouldn't be part of the sex act?

Plus, I'd argue that NFP, despite the name, is itself unnatural. It's unnatural for couples not to have sex for large chunks of time; it's unnatural for a woma to abstain every time her libido is at its peak. That's why a lot of couples aren't keen on the idea! One could equally argue that NFP/FAM add "unnatural" things into the marriage bed like charts and thermometers - habitually, medically creating a denial of life - could one not?

Also, I do not believe having children is the highest good of a marriage. I believe glorifying God is the highest good of a marriage.
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from a Catholic perspective, all "medical" (using loosely) interventions into human life are supposed to be for Good purpose. If having children is the primary good of a marriage (and we believe it is), then interventions that would deny that are subject to far harsher scrutiny.
NFP is a medical intervention, though. It isn't high-tech (nor are condoms), but it uses knowledge of anatomy and biology in order to take control of a physiological process. How is that not medical?

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#136 of 220 Old 02-09-2010, 09:34 PM
 
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Smokering- this needs to stay respectful, a lot of us really believe in the philosophy of NFP, if you don't accept certain premises, ie that periodic abstinence will always occur in a marriage, that NFP is a marriage building art, etc., it won't seem logical TO YOU. Logic isn't absolute, really. It can be on the eye of the beholder.

I personally find the whole 'don't deny each other' bit to be often used in Protestant circles to adopt a sexual schedule that is entirely based upon a man's libido. And IMO, NFP puts mama back in the drivers seat. Plus gives a LOT of info on your sexual health.

At least NFP awknowledges that a woman's sexual desire is cycle based. Most ABC methods eliminate the cycle. Thus suppressing desire for a lot of women. And the recent research indicates that condoms have a much higher method failure rate than previously thought, because they break? A lot?
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#137 of 220 Old 02-09-2010, 09:50 PM
 
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And the chunks of time are not large! Esp. for a mama with a 3 year old! It is a priveledge to have full unprotected sex without fertility coming into play not a right, and we get that priveledge plenty in marriage, during pregnancy, during lactational amennorea, and during periods of non fertility.

I just don't even really get what method you are advocating? FAM with non spermicidal condoms? Withdrawl? Those both just have higher conception rates during your properly established fertile time than straight abstinence during that same time. So for a couple that truly has a serious (to them) reason to avid pregnancy, it would be undesirable to take that risk.
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#138 of 220 Old 02-09-2010, 10:05 PM
 
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Smokering- this needs to stay respectful, a lot of us really believe in the philosophy of NFP, if you don't accept certain premises, ie that periodic abstinence will always occur in a marriage, that NFP is a marriage building art, etc., it won't seem logical TO YOU. Logic isn't absolute, really. It can be on the eye of the beholder.
Logic - formal logic - is indeed absolute. Or is it your position that "A cannot be both A and not-A at the same time and in the same sense" is only true for some people?

I think what you mean is that what seems reasonable varies from person to person. That's obviously true, and relates - as you said - to the person's presuppositions, how well the arguers lay out their positions, and how cleverly they use language to elicit an emotional response in their hearers.

My position is that the Catholic position on birth control is logically (syllogistically, if you like) incoherent: that it relies on the clever use of weasel words, some dubious premises and drawing invalid distinctions to dissociate NFP from other forms of birth control. Now, I'm willing to be proven wrong on that: but that requires someone to argue the Catholic position (not just state it, not even just illustrate it with analogies) to demonstrate a truly valid distinction between NFP and other forms of birth control: one that makes it clear that one is permissible and the other evil. So far, nobody has offered such evidence.

I'm sorry if you find questioning someone else's religious position offensive. I don't, and I actually find it a puzzling attitude. People question my religious position (Calvinism) all the time, and I don't take it personally or view it as a sign of disrespect - in fact, I think it shows they take my beliefs seriously if they expect them to hold up to formal logic, rather than just dismissing them with "Oh well, it's religion, it's not supposed to make sense". Defending my position always helps me to understand it more deeply. And should it happen that my position is demonstrably illogical (and therefore untrue), of course I'd want to know about it! As fond as I am of Calvinism, I have no desire to believe it for the sake of it: I believe it because I think it's true, and if it is not, it is worthless. I know Christians of other theological persuasions who feel the same way.

Now, if you don't believe theology is subject to formal logic we have nothing to say to each other; and if you find my style too confrontational you are welcome not to engage me. That's fine.

I think I've made it clear in this thread that my objections to the Catholic BC teachings have nothing to do with the premises you mentioned. I have no problem accepting that most marriages go through periods of abstinence (I wouldn't say "all"); and I have no problem believing that NFP can strengthen a marriage. My objections are based around the logic of the Catholic insistence that NFP is morally superior to any other form of birth control.

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#139 of 220 Old 02-09-2010, 10:09 PM
 
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And the chunks of time are not large!
They can be. Women who have long follicular phases with semi-fertile-quality BIP and short luteal phases can have most of the month out of action; exacerbated if they or their partners prefer not to have sex while menstruating.

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I just don't even really get what method you are advocating? FAM with non spermicidal condoms? Withdrawl? Those both just have higher conception rates during your properly established fertile time than straight abstinence during that same time. So for a couple that truly has a serious (to them) reason to avid pregnancy, it would be undesirable to take that risk.
I'm not advocating a particular method in this thread. I am questioning the logic of the Catholic position on birth control. Issues like the failure rate of condoms (or, per your previous post, the propensity of hormonal BC to suppress a woman's libido) are irrelevant to this point.

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#140 of 220 Old 02-09-2010, 10:35 PM
 
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Well a BC method has to WORK to be not misusing the word 'control'. So I would say failure rates are relevant.

I have already stated that NFP is superior to IUDs because it cannot result in the rejection of a fertilized egg, superior to hormonal methods because it isn't forcing non-involved parties to be exposed to synthetic hormones, suprior to condoms because no chafing is involved and it is far more effective, superior to diaphrams and cervical cap because toxic spermicides aren't involved, and superior to sterilization because of so many things, the documented negative health effects, the many people with regrets, the nasty population control history, etc.

I know all about formal logic, my brother gets paid big to teach it all day, they don't deal with issues like Birth Control routinely, and this isn't college, it is real life. You aren't the professor here.
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#141 of 220 Old 02-09-2010, 10:45 PM
 
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Failure rates are not relevant to whether or not NFP is morally distinguishable from ABC. All forms of birth control (with the exception of hysterectomy, I guess) have some failure rates: it doesn't mean they're misusing the word "control", because we all know what the word means in context.

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I have already stated that NFP is superior to IUDs because it cannot result in the rejection of a fertilized egg, superior to hormonal methods because it isn't forcing non-involved parties to be exposed to synthetic hormones, suprior to condoms because no chafing is involved and it is far more effective, superior to diaphrams and cervical cap because toxic spermicides aren't involved, and superior to sterilization because of so many things, the documented negative health effects, the many people with regrets, the nasty population control history, etc.
But this is not, to my knowledge, the Catholic position. The Pope didn't base Humanae Vitae around the principle that condoms chafe or that hormonal birth control leaches into the water supply. Those things may be true (in fact, I agree with most of the points you make), but they are irrelevant. The official Catholic line is that NFP is right and other forms of birth control are wrong because... well, the various reasons have been mentioned (and I think, refuted) in this thread. "Sex is unitive and procreative"; "ABC defiles the marriage bed"; etc.

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I know all about formal logic, my brother gets paid big to teach it all day, they don't deal with issues like Birth Control routinely, and this isn't college, it is real life. You aren't the professor here.
Wow. I don't even know what you're trying to say here. Surely you agree formal logic is applicable in real life?

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#142 of 220 Old 02-09-2010, 11:14 PM
 
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But central to the CC position is that 'control' is a false bill of goods we are sold that changes 'pregnancies' into 'birth control failures', which, since one could reasonably have expectEd 'control' one is completely entitled to deal with by any means necessary. But that is essentially a pro life issue, which we are not allowed to get into here. I'm sire you are familar with that being the CC position, tho.
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#143 of 220 Old 02-09-2010, 11:25 PM
 
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I thought we were allowed to discuss abortion in RS if we trod carefully?

Anyway: again, your argument seems pyschologicaly dubious. Intelligent people, Catholic or otherwise, know that no form of birth control is 100% effective (except hysterectomy). It's generally written on the packet. Yes, "birth probability reduction" might be a more accurate term, but it is generally accepted that birth control is not an absolute guarantee.

Furthermore, it seems odd to suggest that the mere fact the words "control" or "failure" are used will cause people to have abortions. And if the mentality of control and failure are the issue, then that applies just as much to NFP. Catholics try to control their fertility with NFP, and it is doesn't work it's either a user or method failure. My Catholic SIL, who accidentally conceived her son with the Billings method, freely admits the method failed for her - it didn't mean she ran out to get an abortion. And there are many, MANY Christian and non-Christian couples who accept the failure of BC (NFP or another method) with good grace. And yes, they do use the word "pregnancy"...

So I think this is weasel wording again. Do some people have a cavalier attitude to the unborn, expressed by the use of abortifacient HBC and abortions should it fail? Yes. But that is not a necessary consequence of using birth control other than NFP; and using NFP does not, in and of itself, prevent that attitude (although obviously other Catholic teachings would prohibit having an abortion). It's a false dichotomy.

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#144 of 220 Old 02-10-2010, 12:38 AM
 
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My position is that the Catholic position on birth control is logically (syllogistically, if you like) incoherent: that it relies on the clever use of weasel words, some dubious premises and drawing invalid distinctions to dissociate NFP from other forms of birth control. Now, I'm willing to be proven wrong on that: but that requires someone to argue the Catholic position (not just state it, not even just illustrate it with analogies) to demonstrate a truly valid distinction between NFP and other forms of birth control: one that makes it clear that one is permissible and the other evil. So far, nobody has offered such evidence.
I have to agree. I have yet to see an explanation of why NFP is permissable and all other forms of BC are not (with the exception of abortifacients).

In addition, if you are looking at a strictly biblical view NFP is the opposite of Old testament teachings (family purity, specifically abstaining from sexual encounters during a woman's monthly cycles and the 7 days following). Which if you count, puts the resuming of sexual encounters during a woman's ovulation.

The point I would like to address is why it is acceptable to abstain from sex (thus not being open to conception and choosing not to "be fruitful and multiply"). Also, since no form of abc is 100% effective, why it would not be permitted. For example, if a husband and wife would like to lengthen the time between children so choose to use condoms. Both of them are happy with condoms (no chafing, etc), and understand that they are not fool-proof. They have also agreed that if they were to conceive, they would be accept it as G-d's will and continue with the pregnancy. Are they not "open to conception"? I would argue that they are more open to procreation than those using NFP since they are more likely to conceive.

I would also like to point out that while all marriage relationships have "cycles." ALL forms of BC, including NFP, alter those cycles. In most relationships, those cycles center around a woman's libido, both hormanol BC and NFP alter those cycles without regard to the libido of the woman.

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#145 of 220 Old 02-10-2010, 01:15 AM
 
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It is a super stretch to say that NFP is capable of altering a woman's cycle, it's not.

Also it is a super stretch to assert that because some tiny subset of the population recognizes that 'Birth Control' is a misnomer, that it doesn't matter and doesn't advance the sales of said 'control' methods. What is that if not 'weasel wording'??? I regularly converse with fairly intelligent women, and the reaction is universally shock & awe when Depo, the Nuva Ring, or even Vasectomy fail to deliver on their promises or gasp, cause negative health effects.

Then there is the question of where you are putting your faith, I personally feel more in control putting my faith in God's design than putting my faith in any pill or device.

Just also pointing out that the Billing's method is not NFP, NFP is always Symptothermal. You don't have to agree with the pregnancy vs BC Failure argument, but you aren't going to demolish the CC's teachings on sexuality using logic on a mommyboard, so at this point, I don't see what the point is, unless perhaps one has a significant investment in Trojan or something.
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#146 of 220 Old 02-10-2010, 01:52 AM
 
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It is a super stretch to say that NFP is capable of altering a woman's cycle, it's not.
She wasn't referring to a woman's menstrual cycle, but to the cycles in a relationship - at least, that's how I read it.
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Also it is a super stretch to assert that because some tiny subset of the population recognizes that 'Birth Control' is a misnomer, that it doesn't matter and doesn't advance the sales of said 'control' methods. What is that if not 'weasel wording'??? I regularly converse with fairly intelligent women, and the reaction is universally shock & awe when Depo, the Nuva Ring, or even Vasectomy fail to deliver on their promises or gasp, cause negative health effects.
OK, first: a "tiny subset" of the population? I think a sizeable majority know that BC has failure rates - most people know someone who's conceived a baby on one or more forms of BC. (I know of dozens, and it's not a subject I discuss frequently!)

And it's not hidden by the manufacturers - they are legally required to disclose on the packets that BC isn't 100% effective (I think the brand of condoms we use says, rather conservatively, that they "reduce the instances of pregnancy and transmission of STDs", or something).

As I have said before on this thread, "birth control" isn't the most accurate term, technically. "Birth probability reduction" (or actually, "conception probability reduction" or "implantation probability reduction", depending on the type of BC) would be more accurate. Then again, one could take the larger view and say that by and large, BC does control birth - just not eradicate it completely. "Control" is used in plenty of instances which don't imply complete, 100% success rates.

Does the sale of birth control promote the mentality that one can control birth? Well yes, obviously. To some extent, you can. Just as you can with NFP/FAM, which are also "marketed" on that basis. (NZ's Natural Fertility site's slogan is "Conception or Contraception - You Choose".) I don't see how, say, The Billings Method (the book), which spends chapters and chapters detailing how to time sex so as not to get pregnant, isn't marketing the idea of control. That's the point. People don't use NFP just for kicks: they use it to avoid getting pregnant (and sometimes to conceive, which is another form of controlling the reproductive process - and interestingly, one that some QFers find immoral).

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Then there is the question of where you are putting your faith, I personally feel more in control putting my faith in God's design than putting my faith in any pill or device.
In... control? That's an interesting word to choose, given your argument.

I agree to some extent - the physiological and psychological effects of hormonal birth control can be horrible. Fertility is a complex system to mess around with. Barrier methods, on the other hand, have far fewer issues. And one can simultaneously put one's faith in God and birth control, for the record...
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Just also pointing out that the Billing's method is not NFP, NFP is always Symptothermal.
Are you sure? My SIL uses the Billings method and calls it NFP; and the head of Natural Fertility NZ specified that FAM was sympto-thermal and NFP was typically Billings.

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you aren't going to demolish the CC's teachings on sexuality using logic on a mommyboard, so at this point, I don't see what the point is
The point is to investigate the truth-claims the CC makes about birth control and to determine whether or not they are logical, Biblical and right. It probably won't cause the Pope any sleepless nights, no; but it might make someone on this board who has been guilted into not using BC rethink the arguments she has heard. Or it might not. Maybe someone will spot a flaw in my logic, convince me with argumentation that the Catholic position is correct and turn me into a member of Holy Mother Church. I don't know. I enjoy debating theology. You're free to walk away at any time if you don't.

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I would argue that they are more open to procreation than those using NFP since they are more likely to conceive.
I'd say they are definitely more biologically open to procreation, but whether or not they are more mentally/spiritually open to it would depend on the individual couple.

I think, though, that the term "open to life" is also somewhat weaselly. It implies a binary - "closed to life" - which sounds like something nobody would want to be. But I don't think a couple who are really hoping not to get pregnant (say, a wife on chemotherapy, with the couple using FAM as well as condoms and spermicide in order to lessen their chances of conceiving) are necessarily in a spiritually worse place than a couple whose attitude is "Meh, we'd rather not get pregnant for another month, but whatever". You know? There are valid reasons for a woman to really, really not want to conceive and even to be devastated should she test positive. That's OK. What she does about the accidental pregnancy becomes a moral issue, but feeling "closed to life", as it were, before conception - really not wanting to be pregnant - isn't unholy or a sin. It's just how life is sometimes.

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#147 of 220 Old 02-10-2010, 02:51 AM
 
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The whole point is, the very idea that really really not wanting to get pregnant is somehow to be made comptible with night after night of unihibited sexual revelry is somewhat contradictory. Unless you somehow divorce sex from procreation, if your situation is really that serious, you may find yourself drawn to other pursuits during that time.

And yes I am totally sure regarding Billings vs. NFP. NFP as endorsed by the CC is and only is the Symptothermal method as described in the book 'The Art of Natural Family Planning'. Not being aware of that may account for some of the earlier confusion regarding the length of abstinence required. Relying only on CM is far more nebulous and subjective than using temperature and cervical position also.

And the package inserts on vaccinations clearly and explictly state their only partial effectiveness, but how many people operationally believe in 100% effectiveness there??? Plenty. What the package insert states and how people treat these technologies in real life is very different. I would venture to say a truly small percentage of people read those inserts, and an even smaller percentage regard the facts therein as anyting other than CYA lawyerese.
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#148 of 220 Old 02-10-2010, 03:37 AM
 
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In our marriage prep, we were we taught that any of the methods of natural family planning (including Billings and Sympto-thermal) were acceptable (although we were definitely taught sympto-thermal was most accurate.) And this wasn't just the opinion of one couple or priest, it was the class that all engaged couples in the entire Houston-Galveston diocese are required to attend to marry in the church. Plus, a quick google finds Billings promoted by many, many Catholic sites, including many diocese websites. I do find it hard to believe that all of these sources are wrong.

And for the above post regarding NFP vs. FAM, NFP is any of the "natural methods (rhythm, sympto-thermal, billings, creighton) in which you abstain during your fertile period, while FAM utilizes a barrier method during your fertile period.

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#149 of 220 Old 02-10-2010, 04:59 AM
 
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The whole point is, the very idea that really really not wanting to get pregnant is somehow to be made comptible with night after night of unihibited sexual revelry is somewhat contradictory. Unless you somehow divorce sex from procreation, if your situation is really that serious, you may find yourself drawn to other pursuits during that time.
Once again, there is the assumption that a couple using methods other than NFP are unrestrained lechers. A couple with terribly serious reasons for wanting to avoid pregnancy might, instead of enjoying this "uninhibited sexual revelry" every night, avoid sex during the fertile period and use a barrier method at other times, just to be cautious.

Really, I wonder if this subject can be argued in a purely logical way. I think this is more a clash of sexual mores or world views. The RCC takes a particular view of sex, marriage, and the human body, and these views are, IMO, the real basis for the attitude to contraception - as they probably are for other religions.
A faith can see sex within marriage as
  • justified by childbearing
  • not in need of justification, although childbearing is an added blessing
  • valuable also for reasons other than childbearing
  • valuable and good in and of itself
  • sacred in and of itself
  • profane but tolerated
and that view will certainly inform its stand on contraception.
That may be why so much of this discussion involves accusations, or at least insinuations, of sexual impropriety.
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#150 of 220 Old 02-10-2010, 06:02 AM
 
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unihibited sexual revelry
Again with the weasel words. How about a couple (a loving couple, if you like) who decide that, despite wanting to delay pregnancy for some serious reason, but (mutually!) find that the stress of that very reason leads them to seek the closeness and intimacy of sex; so occasionally, during the woman's fertile time, they (mindfully!) use condoms and spermicide. Is that such a difficult picture to envisage? Does that make them carnal bunnies?

I think the term NFP might be used in two ways: one to refer specifically to the Art of Natural Planning method, and the other as umbrella term for any form of FAM in which barrier methods or "alternative sexual expression" are not permitted during the fertile period. I can't imagine the CC would have any moral objection to the Billings method, just a practical one (and the method failure rate is only 1% "worse" than the Sympto-Thermal method). The book The Billings Method (lent to me by my Catholic SIL for reference when I wrote the FAM article) insinuated that temping was actually unreliable and caused more problems than it solved. I'm not convinced that's true, but SIL was (and, er, has a baby boy. Maybe she'll temp next time!). So even if the CC officially endorses one method, maybe the Billings is more regionally popular in NZ? That would explain the statement of the Natural Fertility lady (who was actually keen to distance their organisation from NFP, because they taught sympto-thermal only).

As for the percentage of people who don't know BC a) causes side effects and b) isn't 100% effective: well, I doubt either of us can produce hard data on it, but I think the number is higher than you do. The vaccine comparison isn't fair: known vaccine reactions are far more rare than known BC side effects, and there is far less stigma to a person saying "BC caused my weight gain/headaches/mood swings" than there is to saying "Vaccines caused my arthritis". I really find it hard to believe that a grown woman with female friends wouldn't have heard AT LEAST one story - and probably far more - of "I conceived Denny on the Pill", "I had to stop Depo-Provera because I gained so much weight" or "Did you hear about Ross and Rachel? The condom broke!" Plus, in the USA at least, there are powerful lobby groups disseminating the information that non-abstinence birth control isn't 100% effective. And isn't it taught in sex ed?

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