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#121 of 146 Old 10-14-2010, 11:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by scottishmommy View Post
I know it seems very complicated, but in my marriage at least not using bc has been incredibly liberating.
I really don't see have a large family as liberating. Quite the opposite. Once a couple has all the children they feel are appropriate for them and breastfeeding is no longer happening, then what?

The reality is that the couples I know who "trust god to give the number of children he wants them to have" end up with more than 10 children. That's far from liberating. Having been around these families, the kids are raising each other and the moms are exhausted.

No one I knew who grew up in a large family wants that for their kids. My DH is from Ireland (he's the youngest of 7), so we knows lots of people our age from large families. They ALL use contraceptives, mostly for the purpose of being able to be better parents to their kids than their parents could be to them.

I think that having only the number of children that you can actually be a good parent to is an EXCELLENT reason to use birth control, and that making love is an important part of marriage, quiet aside from making babies.

(We are past the baby making stage and have teens. We deserve good sex with no worries!)

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#122 of 146 Old 10-15-2010, 12:33 AM
 
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[QUOTE=Linda on the move;15948117]I really don't see have a large family as liberating. Quite the opposite. Once a couple has all the children they feel are appropriate for them and breastfeeding is no longer happening, then what?"

Um, did you read what I said about NFP?

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#123 of 146 Old 10-15-2010, 12:55 AM
 
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She does seem to have a point. This (the above) is miles away from the idea that a couple having sex just because they feel inclined to is deeply wrong. Certainly celibacy is valued by traditional Christianity, and abstinence for a specific purpose (prayer, fasting) is a good thing, but otherwise sex between a married couple for its own sake is positively recommended - and by St. Paul, hardly somebody you would think of as soft on sexual indulgence. He does not tell us, "Some of you have to marry in order to have children, and keep the human race going." He does not bring up children at all. The purposes of marital sex he mentions relate only to sexual desire.
St. Paul lived in an era where they expected Jesus to return any day now. The original Apostles could not imagine that 2000 years would go by without Christ's return to earth. Who needs children when the world will end in 5 years or less?

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Sorry, I meant 9 out of 10. And yes you are right, most Catholic couples regularly practice contraception. Of course we don't know what the motivations of all these women are, and it's none of our business anyway. I do think, however that the use of contraception has become incredibly ingrained in our culture, to the point where sex is very far from it's original purpose (from a Catholic perspective). Of course I believe that all women should have access to contraception. I'm not saying that we should force people to practice nfp or anything. Not using contraception is a teaching that I have accepted for my own spiritual reasons.
I didn't say most Catholic couples regularly practice artificial contraception. I was actually guessing that a lot don't.

My point was, I know a lot of women who have problems with their systems. Endometriosis and PCOS, to name a couple of the conditions. The treatment for these conditions depends on whether the affected family is wanting children or not. If not, one of the main treatments for these issues is the Pill.

If 10-20% of women have endometriosis, and 5-10% have PCOS, then that could be as many as 3 in 10 women with one of the conditions. I am not a gynecologist. I don't know all the *medical* reasons why someone might be prescribed birth control. But with just two reasons, we already have explained up to 3 of the "9 in 10" women.

And that doesn't include the "recovering from surgery / other trauma" temporary situations, where a spouse's comfort can help with the healing, but pregnancy would be risky.

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#124 of 146 Old 10-15-2010, 08:53 AM
 
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The RC allows NFP to avoid or delay a pregnancy, it only says that the couple needs a serious reason to do so. The Church views NFP differently because it is clearly part of God's design. Everything in nature has a season including us ladies! There are some very serious Catholics who believe that even NFP is wrong, but Rome does not support that view. I know it seems very complicated, but in my marriage at least not using bc has been incredibly liberating. Even my dh who isn't Catholic agrees. That being said, breastfeeding has had a big effect on my fertility, so I'm not having kids every year. If I did become fertile right away I would use nfp to space my pregnancy.
And your "serious reason" would be ... ?
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#125 of 146 Old 10-15-2010, 10:49 AM
 
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And your "serious reason" would be ... ?
Fully recovering childbirth and breastfeeding. I want my children to be able to nurse for at least a year, and I wouldn't want my milk to decrease with a pregnancy. I also have other physical concerns from childbirth.
I don't think that women have to justify using birth control. They can do what they like. I do think that widespread contraception has had some negative effects on our culture, but mostly because these methods seem to fail pretty regularly (50 percent of abortions are because of contraception failure). I think that there is a false sense of security in artificial bc, so women and men are more likely to have sex with people they don't really care about (one night stands, etc). This view isn't a Catholic one, just my personal opinion, and possibly completely nonsensical.
All that aside, I don't think that everyone needs to be Catholic and I certainly don't think that all women have to stop using birth control. I simply want to defend myself and the Church on this matter. This is my decision and my religion. I'm feeling very attacked right now, which I find odd since I usually feel really welcomed and supported here on mdc I'm going to bow out from this thread. I'm sorry these beliefs are so offensive.

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#126 of 146 Old 10-15-2010, 11:14 AM
 
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No need to feel attacked, I was just wondering since one focus of this thread seems to be "legitimate" reason/s to use NFP - and who gets to determine what's legit/serious.

I'd also like to see some objective links for that abortion stat.

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#127 of 146 Old 10-15-2010, 01:48 PM
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According to the Guttmacher Institute, 54% of women who get abortions used contraception in the month they became pregnant.
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#128 of 146 Old 10-15-2010, 02:07 PM
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The couple should prayerfully determine what is a serious enough reason to use NFP, with the help of a spiritual director if needed. There are certainly some black and white cases, (mother and child would likely die, etc) where nobody in their right mind would wish for pregnancy, but a lot of it is grey area that really needs to be prayerfully discerned. How much recovery time can parents legitimately allow between pregnancies? How long should children be allowed to breastfeed before a drop in milk supply? How serious financial difficulties give a couple good enough reason to try to avoid pregnancy? How serious health problems are a good enough reason? Is the couple called to do something else first, either service or spiritual growth? These are all potentially serious enough reasons to postpone pregnancy, but more discernment is needed. The couple themselves is responsible to God for their actions, and nobody else really has a right to judge.
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#129 of 146 Old 10-15-2010, 02:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by scottishmommy View Post
All that aside, I don't think that everyone needs to be Catholic and I certainly don't think that all women have to stop using birth control. I simply want to defend myself and the Church on this matter. This is my decision and my religion. I'm feeling very attacked right now, which I find odd since I usually feel really welcomed and supported here on mdc I'm going to bow out from this thread. I'm sorry these beliefs are so offensive.
I'm sorry you feel attacked.

I'd like to say that I do not find those beliefs offensive. I have two aunts and a sister with endometriosis, and I have PCOS. All of us cradle Catholics.

I have to wonder if using the pill might have been a factor in my aunts leaving Catholicism. I think one of them was married in the Church, at the same church where my husband and I later married.

I know that, even being UU, I felt strange about going on the pill to control my PCOS. I used the ~year or so that I was on it to learn more about the condition and find other ways (diet, exercise, etc) to manage my condition.

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#130 of 146 Old 10-15-2010, 02:26 PM
 
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According to the Guttmacher Institute, 54% of women who get abortions used contraception in the month they became pregnant.
This shouldn't be surprising, since the vast majority of women with an unwanted pregnancy would be people who are sexually active and not wanting to become pregnant.

Presumably those in sch a situation who choose to have sex with contraception consider that the disadvantages of abstaining are greater than the disadvantages/moral issues of a small possibility of requiring an abortion. (Or more likely, they don't really think it through at all.)

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#131 of 146 Old 10-15-2010, 03:28 PM
 
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I'm sorry you feel attacked.

I'd like to say that I do not find those beliefs offensive. I have two aunts and a sister with endometriosis, and I have PCOS. All of us cradle Catholics.

I have to wonder if using the pill might have been a factor in my aunts leaving Catholicism. I think one of them was married in the Church, at the same church where my husband and I later married.

I know that, even being UU, I felt strange about going on the pill to control my PCOS. I used the ~year or so that I was on it to learn more about the condition and find other ways (diet, exercise, etc) to manage my condition.
The Church has never taught that using birth control pills for regulation of hormones based on a doctor's advice to treat a condition like PCOS is illicit. If the intent of the use of the birth control pill is to regulate a health situation within a woman's body there is absolutely nothing wrong with doing so. If the pill is being taken with the intention of avoiding pregnancy, well that is a problem.

Just like if a woman has an ectopic pregnancy and her tube is surgically removed to treat her for her overall health that is not an illicit procedure even though it unfortunately ends the life of the fetus in her tube. It is the intent of the use of medical procedures and medications that make them illicit or not.

http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=17307

http://forums.catholic.com/showthrea...highlight=PCOS

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#132 of 146 Old 10-17-2010, 01:12 AM
 
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The Church has never taught that using birth control pills for regulation of hormones based on a doctor's advice to treat a condition like PCOS is illicit. If the intent of the use of the birth control pill is to regulate a health situation within a woman's body there is absolutely nothing wrong with doing so. If the pill is being taken with the intention of avoiding pregnancy, well that is a problem.

Just like if a woman has an ectopic pregnancy and her tube is surgically removed to treat her for her overall health that is not an illicit procedure even though it unfortunately ends the life of the fetus in her tube. It is the intent of the use of medical procedures and medications that make them illicit or not.

http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=17307

http://forums.catholic.com/showthrea...highlight=PCOS
I know, the salpingectomy that I had was perfectly "legal" from the Church perspective. And using condoms to avoid while I recovered from that procedure, and other situations on my journey to a healthy pregnancy? I do not consider that a sin. Feel free to disagree.

The question then becomes... what if an ectopic pregnancy happens again, to my only remaining tube?

The Church's answer is, the section of the tube must be removed.

But since we have been medically alerted to the risk, if another ectopic pregnancy happens and is caught early enough (more likely now that I have the history), a non-surgical pharmaceutical abortion is possible. This is considered immoral by the Church. But I would not hesitate in the slightest to take that action and preserve what fertility I have. Even a salpingotomy (vs the salpingectomy) still creates scar tissue and increases risks for future problems.

What I was hearing (and perhaps I'm hearing wrongly) sounded like judgement: That 9 in 10 women using birth control is too high a number.

I need to know more information on those statistics.
-- Is that 9 in 10 women at any given moment? (I would expect more than 1 in 10 women trying to conceive, or already pregnant, at a given time)
-- Or 9 in 10 women will use artificial birth control in their lifetime?
(Medical reasons? Experimenting a few times before giving it up?)
-- or another method of calculation.

[edited to add]
Furthermore, since we are not holding non-Catholics to the Catholic standards, I'm also curious to know what the numbers are for *Catholic* women using artificial birth control. Because the statistic originally cited suggested to me that 7 to 8 of those 10 women are not Catholic.

Which then suggested, to me, that perhaps the number of Catholic women using ABC is in the 66-75% range.

And since the numbers cited earlier for endometriosis and PCOS (2 of an as yet unknown number of medical situations) could explain up to 30% of ABC uses, I would guess that 50% of women using birth control use it for medical reasons. A guess, which may be high, or may be low.

Which, to me, suggests that it's that (66-50=16%) to (75-50=25%) of Catholic women that are being judged.

I also see a WORLD of difference between a person who tries condoms a handful of times, or the Pill for a year or so, and then gives it up, vs. the person who deliberately, habitually, non-medically uses ABC for the majority of their life.
[/edit]

I hear similar, or worse, accusations/judgements about the abortion statistics. (Which, to the best of my knowledge, are *estimates* not based on hard data.) I'm really trying hard to avoid that off-topic discussion in this thread, so I will stop here.

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#133 of 146 Old 11-04-2010, 01:40 AM
 
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What do you think about NFP? I think it is a very useful peace of knowledge about a woman's reproductive system. I think it places the responsibly of reproduction on both partners not just the woman.


What do you think is good about it? It is very clear about the purpose of sex.


Do you think there are limits to it? Not clear about what you are getting at.


How do you think it differs from birth control use? There is nothing artificial about it ie no chemicals, not barriers. It brings to mind the purpose of sex. It also educates women.

(Another question)
Why do you use it? As someone trying to follow the Catholic teachings and still have a career there are not many other options that work within a marriage.
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#134 of 146 Old 11-05-2010, 01:29 AM
 
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Can someone tell me why the topic of post-menopausal sex is so rarely addressed by these discussions? It seems like the minutiae of marital sex/reproductive intent/pleasure/lust during prime fertile years can be dissected, judged, condemned, etc. but it's almost like no one cares about these issues after a couple is no longer fertile. I mean, you can say that a post-menopausal couple is still "open to life" but I assume these couples realize that there is basically 0% chance of conceiving. Do these couples feel extra pressure to discern when their desire for sex is simply lust? Or are they enjoying being freed from the reproductive aspects of sex? And is that attitude considered a sin?

I feel like this thread (and others similar) are very judgmental about fertile couples and their intents and their sex lives, while infertile couples get a free pass. Or am I wrong?

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#135 of 146 Old 11-05-2010, 10:42 AM
 
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Can someone tell me why the topic of post-menopausal sex is so rarely addressed by these discussions? It seems like the minutiae of marital sex/reproductive intent/pleasure/lust during prime fertile years can be dissected, judged, condemned, etc. but it's almost like no one cares about these issues after a couple is no longer fertile. I mean, you can say that a post-menopausal couple is still "open to life" but I assume these couples realize that there is basically 0% chance of conceiving. Do these couples feel extra pressure to discern when their desire for sex is simply lust? Or are they enjoying being freed from the reproductive aspects of sex? And is that attitude considered a sin?

I feel like this thread (and others similar) are very judgmental about fertile couples and their intents and their sex lives, while infertile couples get a free pass. Or am I wrong?
This is exactly what I was hesitating to ask.
These discussions always involve a certain amount of disdain for married couples who "go around having sex any old time" just to "indulge their lust." This is presented as one of the problems with ABC. It is understood that a couple who are coincidentally infertile (pregnancy, menopause, hysterectomy) are permitted to have sex, but why? There is no longer any reason for them to have sex except for pleasure, which is understood to be an insufficient or even immoral reason. (Personally I question even NicaG's distinction between desire for sex and lust. There is no difference, unless a person desires sex for revenge or something.) That is no problem for me, because I/my church considers the satisfaction of lust an excellent and sufficient reason for marital relations, and even, as per St. Paul, possibly the primary purpose of marriage. From the RC viewpoint, though, especially considering Augustine's admonition about marital sex (doing it for any reason other than to conceive children is adultery), how can any couple who know they have no chance of conceiving justify ever having sex again?
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#136 of 146 Old 11-05-2010, 12:16 PM
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A couple who is infertile for whatever reason should also be respectful of the procreative aspect of sex and be willing to accept that if God wills to perform a miracle and create a life with their sexual union, they would welcome that life with joy. Just as in NFP, they are respecting their body's natural infertility and not trying to artificially create an infertile time. Fertile couples have more to discern than infertile couples and people who are celibate, but as Catholics, we are asked to respect the naturally fertile and infertile times. This goes for both fertile and infertile couples.

The natural infertilities created by pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menopause are part of God's beautiful design. Women were created to bring children into the world during part of their life and then cease to have children. Our ever loving Father knows that our bodies can only handle so much at once and gave us a natural infertility when we are pregnant and early in breastfeeding. We are absolutely respecting God's natural design for our fertility when we have sex during infertile times.

I don't think that there is anything wrong with any couple, fertile or infertile, to have sex at any time. If there is a reason that it would be unloving to do so, that would be wrong, but in general, having sex frequently with one's spouse a very good thing. Their desire should be for one another, and the Bible is clear that it is not a good thing to deprive one another.

The point of NFP is not to keep couples from having sex any time they desire. It is to respect God's design for fertility. Abstinence is not something to be desired, but it is considered wrong by the Catholic Church to partake in the sexual act while trying to limit fertility. A couple who has sex during any infertile time accepts the probability of pregnancy at the time they have sex, even if that is effectively 0%. Trying to reduce the probability further than what God has already designed is what is considered to be immoral. This is the whole basis for NFP.

Since abstinence in marriage is not something to be desired and is required to avoid pregnancy, it should only be used when there is a serious reason to avoid pregnancy. In general, fertile and infertile couples alike should be having sex frequently while respecting whatever probability they have of getting pregnant.
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#137 of 146 Old 11-05-2010, 11:36 PM
 
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That really helped, JMJ! I get it now, even if I don't agree with the RCC teaching. Your last two paragraphs were especially clear and helpful. Thx.

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#138 of 146 Old 11-06-2010, 04:36 PM
 
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I just don't really buy into this thing about couples ought to be having sex frequently (which isn't to say that it is necessarily inappropriate either.) I am actually rather surprised to hear that as a Catholic position.

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#139 of 146 Old 11-06-2010, 05:57 PM
 
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I just don't really buy into this thing about couples ought to be having sex frequently (which isn't to say that it is necessarily inappropriate either.) I am actually rather surprised to hear that as a Catholic position.
Me too. I mean, wouldn't it depend on the couple? What if both partners have low sex drives?
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#140 of 146 Old 11-06-2010, 06:16 PM
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Frequently is a relative term, and certainly, it depends on the individual couple, but marital sex is how a couple celebrates the sacrament of Matrimony, and having sex is an important part of being married. Certainly, circumstances (such as sex drive, deployment, medical issues, childbirth, NFP, etc) may give good cause for abstinence, but the Catholic Church is pretty clear that sex in marriage is a good thing, and long periods of abstinence are not usually what is best for the relationship.
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#141 of 146 Old 11-06-2010, 06:34 PM
 
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Yet the Catholic Church's premier married couple never had sex at all.

I think what you are saying is a departure from the historical Catholic teaching myself, which allowed for long term celibacy within marriage as long as both members agreed, and this was considered a good thing, allowing them to devote themselves to other things. Some even entered monastic life.

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#142 of 146 Old 11-07-2010, 01:18 AM
 
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Yet the Catholic Church's premier married couple never had sex at all.

I think what you are saying is a departure from the historical Catholic teaching myself, which allowed for long term celibacy within marriage as long as both members agreed, and this was considered a good thing, allowing them to devote themselves to other things. Some even entered monastic life.
Are you referring to Joseph and Mary? Sorry if that is a completely ignorant question.

If you are referring to Joseph and Mary, what about the siblings that are referred to in the NT, can't remember where?

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#143 of 146 Old 11-07-2010, 09:19 AM
 
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Are you referring to Joseph and Mary? Sorry if that is a completely ignorant question.

If you are referring to Joseph and Mary, what about the siblings that are referred to in the NT, can't remember where?
Yes. According to tradition, Jesus' brothers were actually his half-brothers. Joseph was a widower when he was betrothed to Mary, and so there were older children.

There are a few other well-known examples of this kind of celibate marriage - Saint Elzear and Blessed Delphinia come to mind. She had made a vow of celibacy prior to marriage, and told her husband after they were married, and so he took a vow too. They joined the secular Franciscan's together. They lived together and had a large household of needy people that they cared for together.

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#144 of 146 Old 11-07-2010, 09:28 AM
 
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Are you referring to Joseph and Mary? Sorry if that is a completely ignorant question.

If you are referring to Joseph and Mary, what about the siblings that are referred to in the NT, can't remember where?
From what I remember from CCD classes growing up, we were taught that they were likely Joseph's children from a previous marriage (considering that he was likely quite a bit older than Mary it would have been quite plausible for him to have been married before). I'm not sure that this is official Catholic teaching, but I remember hearing it several times. I believe that it was also mentioned that the words used for "brothers and sisters" was actually a more general words that could have also been used to refer to cousins or other relatives. Not having access to the original manuscripts (and not being able to translate Greek to English either) I have no way to back this up, but knowing what I do about languages and translation it certainly seems probable. I do remember a priest saying that "brothers and sisters" could refer to step siblings OR cousins, etc. based on the word used and lack of concrete knowledge about Jesus' extended family, but that we didn't really have any way to know for sure.
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#145 of 146 Old 11-07-2010, 08:57 PM
 
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She had made a vow of celibacy prior to marriage, and told her husband after they were married, and so he took a vow too.
I can just imagine how that conversation must have gone down!

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Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
I can just imagine how that conversation must have gone down!
No kidding! I guess that is part of why he is a saint!

 I like the mind to be a dustbin of scraps of brilliant fabric, odd gems, worthless but fascinating curiosities, tinsel, quaint bits of carving, and a reasonable amount of healthy dirt.
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