NFP: Not Just Natural Birth Control

Wednesday, April 18, AD 2012

If you think you’ve found the key to a better life, the most natural thing in the world is to want to rush out and convince everyone else to do likewise. We want to shout from the rooftops, “Hey! Better life to be found here! You can too!” As someone who finds significant meaning and happiness in the Catholic understanding of sexuality and prohibition of contraception, this view (and the approach to natural family planning that springs from it) is indeed something that I think other need to hear — but as a result it’s doubly frustrating when it seems like it’s being “sold” wrong.

This is why my teeth went a little on edge when I ran into what ought to have been a very encouraging article to see in the Washington Post detailing the efforts of young and faithful Catholic women to re-explain the Church’s teachings on contraception to the modern world. Here’s the section that threw me off:

Yet the images the church uses to promote its own method of birth control freaked her out. Pamphlets for what the church calls natural family planning feature photos of babies galore. A church-sponsored class on the method uses a book with a woman on the cover, smiling as she balances a grocery bag on one hip, a baby on the other.

“My guess is 99 out of 100 21st-century women trying to navigate the decision about contraception would see that cover and run for the hills,” McGuire wrote in a post on her blog, Altcatholicah, which is aimed at Catholic women.

McGuire, 26, of Alexandria is part of a movement of younger, religiously conservative Catholic women who are trying to rebrand an often-ignored church teaching: its ban on birth control methods such as the Pill. Arguing that church theology has been poorly explained and encouraged, they want to shift the image of a traditional Catholic woman from one at home with children to one with a great, communicative sex life, a chemical-free body and babies only when the parents think the time is right.

Now, before I go any further, let me say that my limited experience of dealing with interviews is that what you say and the way you come off in the article are often very, very different. So I don’t want to suggest that McGuire was misrepresenting NFP. It may well be that the WaPo writer talked to her for a long time, wrote up the article in good faith, yet ended up infusing it with an attitude that’s just — off.  (And indeed, I see that Jennifer Fulwiler of Conversion Diary (quoted elsewhere in the article) feels like what came across in the article is not exactly what she was trying to convey.)

That said, I think the message that the article conveys is problematic in that it simply doesn’t reflect all that accurately what it’s like using NFP, and when your advertising message doesn’t fit the reality of your “product”, user dissatisfaction is sure to follow. Emily Stimpson covers this well in a post titled Truth in Adverstising:

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100 Responses to NFP: Not Just Natural Birth Control

  • So… how does this differ from birth control?

    Every line of that excerpt from Emily Stimpson makes it sound like NFP is primarily a “birth control” method, sans the chemicals.

    How many NFP practicioners understand that they need grave reasons to utilize NFP? 1%? Does that make them better people than condom users? Seriously?

  • So… how does this differ from birth control?

    There’s no form of artificial birth control that I’m aware of that people use in order to get pregnant.

  • Paul, how many Catholics do you know using NFP to get pregnant rather than specifically avoid pregnancy?

    I would put the under 30 crowd at about 90/10 avoiding pregnancy rather than getting pregnant.

  • how many Catholics do you know using NFP to get pregnant rather than specifically avoid pregnancy?

    Um, well, we did. Moreover, what’s your point?

  • I think that what JVC is trying to say is that NFP is often used with a selfish mentality and that using it for the wrong reason is potentially sinful. Note please, that that is what HE means and I am not agreeing or disagreeing with him.

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  • JVC,

    So… how does this differ from birth control?

    Every line of that excerpt from Emily Stimpson makes it sound like NFP is primarily a “birth control” method, sans the chemicals.

    The difference between using NFP to avoid pregnancy and using artificial birth control to avoid pregnancy is that NFP involves not having sex because you don’t want to get pregnant at the moment, while artificial birth control involves using artificial means to strip the sexual act of its procreative character (allowing you to have sex anyway without worrying about the act’s procreative implications.)

    How many NFP practicioners understand that they need grave reasons to utilize NFP? 1%? Does that make them better people than condom users? Seriously?

    Using NFP to avoid pregnancy is fundamentally different from using a form of artificial birth control such as a condom, because it involves not having sex — something which is always licit even between married couples. (Thus, for instance, if I rushed home right now and had sex with my wife, we’d almost certainly get pregnant. That does not, however, mean that I am morally required to do so, or that I need “grave reasons” to remain at work for the rest of the day.)

    I addressed this in detail a while back in a series of posts dealing with the question of the “contraceptive mentality” and whether one can accurately characterize the use of NFP as participating in the contraceptive mentality.

    http://darwincatholic.blogspot.com/2010/07/real-sex-vs-contraceptive-mentality.html

    Certainly, it is possible for people to use NFP in a manner that is selfish, but that remains fundamentally different from using artificial birth control which is an inherently sinful act. Not having sex is not an inherently sinful act (or sin of omission.)

  • Ive heard a lot of comments about NFP being de facto birth control. Probably, in the attempt to then make the next step to ‘just take a pill’. But wht I have only heard from my wife and never in comments sections, is the result of NFP. Which aside from not taking the well established health risks, but the fact that (my wife) has learned so much about observing her body, that go beyond just ovulation. She has shaped my opinion as a scientist who studies cancer, yet is a male who will never know what it’s like to give birth or deal with women’s issues. Does one suppress their bodies with drugs or does one listen to their body and make adjustments if,when needed to maintain health. If drugs are medically necessary for ones health, then we should consider the benefits, and not assume there are no costs.

  • how many Catholics do you know using NFP to get pregnant rather than specifically avoid pregnancy?

    Um, well, we did.

    Ditto.

    I would put the under 30 crowd at about 90/10 avoiding pregnancy rather than getting pregnant.

    “42.7% of all statistics are made up on the spot.” — Steven Wright

  • Does one suppress their bodies with drugs or does one listen to their body and make adjustments if, when needed to maintain health.

    Mark, my wife and I share a similar experience here. And really, it has shaped our approach to medicine and nutrition. The human body is amazing.

  • Using NFP deliberately to avoid pregnancy without a grave reason is in fact tautologically
    birth control. Call it natural birth control, if you want. Does it carry the same moral sanction as someone who has sex but uses contraception? Obviously not. But let’s not pretend like the intent is not identical: acting in a certain way as to strip sexuality of its procreative nature.

    I can’t tell if you quoted Emily approvingly or disapprovingly, but that is the exact vibe I get from that excerpt. She cheers on the notion that there is a way to control a person’s fertility in the same way as contraception but without the moral consequences of chemicals or a condom. Totally absent from her comments is any context discussing the Church’s position that NFP must only be used for grave reasons.

    The fact that NFP cultists refuse to entertain the possibility that the Church proscribes that NFP must only be used for certain circumstances is exactly what causes NFP to be little more than “natural” birth control for most of its users.

  • Paul, you have a difference experience among young Catholics? Pray tell. What portion of the under 30 crowd that you know is using NFP to get pregnant rather than avoid pregnancy, on end, for years?

  • An “in truth very wide” latitude to use NFP to space births is Magisterial, FYI: http://zippycatholic.blogspot.com/2008/04/broadband-nfp.html

  • 63.576% Jvc.

    I don’t know, I don’t run polls among my friends to determine these figures, nor am I that much of a busybody. All I know is that my parish is nicknamed St. Baby’s for a reason, and it’s not because the parishioners there are making an all out effort to delay pregnancy.

    Although if I had to guess, if a married couple is Catholic, using NFP, and under the age of 30 – the proportion using it as a means of avoiding pregnancy is far, far less than nine in ten. Of course I’m just guessing – as you are. I’m just not pretending my guess is authoritative fact.

  • JVC,

    Using NFP deliberately to avoid pregnancy without a grave reason is in fact tautologically birth control. Call it natural birth control, if you want. Does it carry the same moral sanction as someone who has sex but uses contraception? Obviously not. But let’s not pretend like the intent is not identical: acting in a certain way as to strip sexuality of its procreative nature.

    But this is precisely the thing: NFP specifically does not strip sexuality of its proceative nature. That’s why using it to avoid pregnancy involves not having sex through a good portion (quite often the majority) of the cycle.

    What the Church teaches is not that one must get pregnant with some given frequency, but rather that sex is intimately tied to reproduction, and that if one is trying not to get pregnant this means a huge disruption (and diminution) of one’s “sex life” (to use that most modern of terms.)

    That one can use periodic abstinence to avoid pregnancy for a period of time and can also use artificial birth control to avoid pregnancy for a period of time is a red herring. It’s like arguing that because eating a healthy diet in the first place and gorging and purging can both result in being a healthy weight, that they are therefore functionally the same thing. (After all, either way you’re not obese!)

    I can’t tell if you quoted Emily approvingly or disapprovingly, but that is the exact vibe I get from that excerpt. She cheers on the notion that there is a way to control a person’s fertility in the same way as contraception but without the moral consequences of chemicals or a condom.

    I am quoting her approvingly, and precisely because I think she provides a good corrective to the WaPo piece (which does suggest that NFP is just natural birth control.) For instance, Emily points out:

    At the same time, rejecting contraception in general requires trust—trust in God’s will and God’s provision. It requires generosity—a willingness to put others needs before our own. It requires a spirit of poverty—detachment from the extras our culture says are essentials. And it requires a heart that delights in pictures of fat smiling babies, that believes babies are precious gifts from God, not a reason to run for the hills.

    Basically, it requires that we be everything our culture has programmed us not to be.

    And also

    NFP is not Catholic birth control. It’s the Catholic world view…lived out in the bedroom.

    Now, you’re correct, she does not specifically state that couples should only avoid pregnancy for “grave reasons”, but frankly I think that this is a term which people at times go a bit overboard on. As Bob notes, it’s not as if the popes have suggested that one must be in a “all our children will starve to death if we have one more” or a “my wife will die if she gets pregnant” situation in order to space pregnancies using NFP.

    “Therefore, in our late allocution on conjugal morality, We affirmed the legitimacy, and at the same time, the limits — in truth very wide — of a regulation of offspring, which, unlike so-called ‘birth control,’ is compatible with the law of God.” – Pius XII, Morality in Marriage (emphasis mine), from Papal Pronouncements on Marriage and the Family, Werth and Mihanovich, 1955

    Paul, you have a difference experience among young Catholics? Pray tell. What portion of the under 30 crowd that you know is using NFP to get pregnant rather than avoid pregnancy, on end, for years?

    Like Paul, I don’t take polls, by my observation among other young married Catholic couples (though we have now crossed over into our early 30s) is that most couples use NFP to lengthen the natural spacing they would normally experience between children out from 12-18 months to something more like 2 or maybe 3 years. Other than those struggling with infertility (or who did not find a spouse until late in life) I know very few NFP using couples you don’t have significantly more than the average number of children. (And that’s probably fairly natural, since having to abstain from the marital act most of the time — and often the times when the wife is most interested — is a very good incentive to give having more children another thought.)

  • It looks like there’s actually a pretty good article on the USCCB website dealing with the question of “When can we use NFP?”

    http://old.usccb.org/prolife/issues/nfp/seriousq.shtml

  • NFP specifically does not strip sexuality of its proceative nature.

    By definition, excluding the possibility of procreation stripes sexuality of its procreative nature. This is what regular practitioners of birth control do, whether it is artificial or “natural.” Are they both morally evil? No. But the intent is the same. Your food example fails. The method is obviously very different, but the intent is identical.

    I am amused at how NFP enthusiasts cheer one quote from Pius while ignoring another. Have at it. What are those wide limits? It is amazing how the term “wide” for NFP enthusiasts somehow means “literally anything you can come up with.” Are there ANY restraints that you can think of? How about for most NFP users? Have the vast majority of NFP users ever restrained from using NFP due to the reasons Pius gives?

    Darwin, I don’t get the sense that you aren’t a level headed person. Including on this issue. I don’t know how old you are. But the sense I get from the majority of practicing Catholics in my age group (under 30) is that NFP is a perfectly acceptible form of natural birth control. I don’t think older Catholics have a clue to what extent this is the case.

    Paul, nice smarmy response. Have a nice day.

  • Darwin, thanks for the link. I will take a look — I have appreciated Mary Shivanandan’s writings in the past.

  • jvc,
    Frankly, I think you are wrong. If you care read through the article Darwin linked regarding our bishops’ input on this, you might scroll down and see the section on Grave and Serious:
    Paul VI in his encyclical, Humanae vitae (1968), while condemning the use of all contraceptive methods for even grave (gravia) reasons declared licit the recourse to the infertile periods if the spouses have good (just and seria) reasons to postpone even indefinitely another pregnancy.
    I think you are conflating two concepts here: Contraceptives are not permitted for even grave reasons. Also, recourse to infertile periods (periodic abstinence, NFP, etc…) is permitted for just and serious reasons. Just/serious has a different connotation than grave.

  • JVC,

    By definition, excluding the possibility of procreation stripes sexuality of its procreative nature. This is what regular practitioners of birth control do, whether it is artificial or “natural.” Are they both morally evil? No. But the intent is the same. Your food example fails. The method is obviously very different, but the intent is identical.

    The distinction I would make here is that I don’t think it’s the intent that is the actual problem from a moral point of view. (For instance, if a woman is unmarried, I’m sure she wants to avoid getting pregnant. That is good! So long as she achieves this by not having sex.)

    Similarly, I think we’d probably agree that if a couple were to decide to avoid pregnancy for a year by not having sex for that entire year, this would also be morally acceptable, even though their intent would clearly be the same (not get pregnant) as that of a couple using contraception and having sex frequently.

    Using NFP is simply a means of engaging in selective abstinence. The fact that its selective rather than total gives the couple a means to express their unitive love for one another via the marital act — which is a good of marriage — though obviously less frequently and less freely than if they were not selectively abstaining. And since they are not attempting to actually strip the fertility from the act itself, they of course realize that if they’re wrong about this being an infertile time in the cycle, they may very well get pregnant.

    What are those wide limits? It is amazing how the term “wide” for NFP enthusiasts somehow means “literally anything you can come up with.” Are there ANY restraints that you can think of? How about for most NFP users? Have the vast majority of NFP users ever restrained from using NFP due to the reasons Pius gives?

    Well, obviously the Church states that the bearing and raising of children is an end of marriage, to clearly it would be unacceptable for a couple to marry while intending to never have children by using NFP.

    I guess I don’t see that I’m competent to sit down and make our a list of what would or would not be a just and serious reason not to have another child at the moment. I imagine it would vary a lot from person to person. My own experience (my wife and I are both 33, we got married at 22, and we have 5 kids) is that practicing NFP strictly enough to actually avoid pregnancy is sufficiently frustrating that it’s a pretty good way of causing us to reexamine on a very frequent basis whether we are ready to stop using NFP and see when the next child will come.

  • From my perspective, there aren’t enough Catholics using NFP for me to get my boxers in a wad about the motivations of the tiny minority of the faithful who do. Honestly, I don’t get the need to get up in the face of those who practice it (“cultists”–nice) This discussion–which recurs with great regularity on the internet (if almost nowhere else) is a prime example of the circular firing squad in action.

    See also, “Gnats, Straining at.”

    My experience is the same as Darwin’s. Speaking from my own experience, our six-month old is the result of a re-assessment of our reasons for using NFP.

  • I read the piece by Mary. She seems to have a nice summation of the issue without providing a lot of answers. Here, as anywhere, it would be nice if the Church provided more leadership and more answers so we don’t have to argue over language from documents 50 years old.

    Darwin,

    The distinction I would make here is that I don’t think it’s the intent that is the actual problem from a moral point of view.

    You don’t think that there is a moral problem with having the same intent as the people practicing artificial birth control? I must be misreading you. Perhaps what you mean is, the primary moral problem is the method, which I would agree. But I don’t think that, given that the intent is identical, the moral position of those practicing “natural” birth control is oh-so-holier than those practicing artificial birth control.

    Similarly, I think we’d probably agree that if a couple were to decide to avoid pregnancy for a year by not having sex for that entire year, this would also be morally acceptable, even though their intent would clearly be the same (not get pregnant) as that of a couple using contraception and having sex frequently.

    I guess I can’t follow the rest of your analogy because I am not sure it would be morally acceptable for a married couple to avoid having sex for a year. That would seem fairly contrary to the intent of the marriage sacrament.

    And since they are not attempting to actually strip the fertility from the act itself

    I understand what you mean by this, that they are not stripping each occasion of the act of fertility. The problem that I have is that, when done over a sustained period of time without the reflection of serious or just reasons, they are stripping the overall purpose of that act within marriage of its fertile purposes.

    Can you see how this would run the risk of devolving into the same utilitarian errors of the culture on this issue?

    guess I don’t see that I’m competent to sit down and make our a list of what would or would not be a just and serious reason

    I would hope you are competent! You are or have practiced NFP, yes? The Church calls for you to consider whether there are serious/just/grave/whatever reasons to practice NFP. Surely you and your spouse at least discussed the reasons for this before launching into it?

    Most often today, a problem I see with my peers is that they dive into NFP as if it is the norm, precisely because they avoid or are ignorant of the fact that the Church requires cause to practice NFP. I think it is the failure to consider this that causes the practice to devolve into natural birth control and the utilitarian view of sexuality from our culture.

  • Darwin:

    What some are trying to say on this point is that the method is a secondary (though hardly unimportant) consideration in the matter. It’s the individual motivation we are talking about. If one is preventing pregnancy the motivation must be suspect, unless it is a genuine, unmistakably grave reason.

    What are those grave reasons? I’m not enough of a moral theologian to answer that question, but I do know that merely, wanting more money in the bank, a vacation every year, a second car, a 50″ tv set, the finest schools for my children, more free time between the spouses, a bigger and better house, my wife’s desire to work outside the home and many other reasons like that certainly do not qualify as “grave”. And that’s the rub. I will wager that the vast majority of Catholics who use NFP use it for a similar unimportant reason and that is why many call NFP merely “Catholic contraception”, in the same way the horrendous annulment process has become “Catholic divorce”.

    Sadly, most priests and Bishops are useless (worse than useless, really) when discussing NFP because many of them are so gutless and afraid to offend that they allow Catholic couples to practice NFP willy-nilly. This is certainly one of the causes of the extreme problems the Church is now facing, and will be facing as the years go on. The sooner we face up to the fact that NFP has been a disaster for the Church, despite some Papal encouraging words, the better off the whole world will be.

    Young, poor and foolish, my wife and I started using NFP after the birth of our first child. I cannot imagine how many little souls we didn’t bring into the world at that time that could now be a joy in our lives. It was a stupid thing to do.

  • Dale, you might not like my term cultists, but they are out there. I don’t think anyone blogging on this website qualifies, but you don’t have to look very hard to find blog after blog devoted exclusively to this issue, with many promoting it as another Solution To Everything.

  • I guess I don’t see that I’m competent to sit down and make our a list of what would or would not be a just and serious reason not to have another child at the moment. I imagine it would vary a lot from person to person.

    Bingo. The Church does not even provide such a list. This decision is between each couple and God, for every situation is unique.

  • I think DC is right; we can all agree that having sex during an infertile period is morally okay. Look at sterile people; their whole lives are infertile periods. Abstaining from sex during a fertile period seems okay too; every time we do something other than copulate we are abstaining. Doing both knowingly shouldn’t be a problem then.

  • Actually, the Solution to Everything is the Big Green Egg, which really does have a cult.

  • The Church does not even provide such a list? Did you actually read the article that Darwin linked to?

    PS- Darwin, please feel free to correct my HTML error above with the italics…

  • but definitely, NFP is not supposed to be the norm. It’s supposed to be the exception.

  • This decision is between each couple and God, for every situation is unique.

    This is the constant refrain of NFP promoters who dismiss any idea that there must be just/serious/grave/whatever reasons for using NFP. I would like Big Tex to provide a circumstance or a situation where NFP would not be proper.

    Or, rather, should NFP be the norm in Catholic marriages? Would it be ideal if every couple marrying in the Church use NFP? In other words, is NFP the ideal within every marriage? If not, why not?

  • . I will wager that the vast majority of Catholics who use NFP use it for a similar unimportant reason and that is why many call NFP merely “Catholic contraception”, in the same way the horrendous annulment process has become “Catholic divorce”.

    At the risk of being accused of being smarmy again, the plural of anecdote is not data. While I’m sure that there are people out there who do engage in the behavior you decry, but why are you so certain that this pertains to a majority of people practicing NFP? I keep hearing these rather generalized statements being thrown out there by you and jvc, but neither of you is backing these assertions with proof.

    Again, consider the population of people who use NFP. This is a subset within a subset of Catholics. As Dale said, the percentage of Catholics even using NFP is small (although the percentage among practicing Catholics would be much higher). Are these the type of people obsessed with acquiring 50 inch televisions? Perhaps your experience is different than mine, but where I am I do not see this type of behavior. Then again, maybe my experience is outside the norm.

  • Paul, it’s the majority of people I know who talk about it. You have your experience, I and others have ours.

  • Paul, it’s the majority of people I know who talk about it.

    Could you please clarify? Do you mean the majority of people you talk to about NFP, or the people you talk to and employ NFP?

  • And by the way, just so I am clear, I’m not suggesting that most people who have used NFP haven’t used it at some point to space pregnancies. I just doubt that a majority have done it for frivolous reasons.

  • The majority of people I know who a) talk about it and use it or b)talk about it with the intent of using it when they get married. In other words, the majority of people who talk about it and have an opinion about it. Hope this clarifies.

    Yes, I fully concede that this group of people may not be representative of the larger population. Nor necessarily would your social circle. It is my experience, though.

  • The Church does not even provide such a list?

    Meant to say exhaustive list. And no, the Church provides no list that details the situations in which it is and is not licit to have recourse to periodic abstinence to space children. Good luck trying to find one.

    This is the constant refrain of NFP promoters who dismiss any idea that there must be just/serious/grave/whatever reasons for using NFP. I would like Big Tex to provide a circumstance or a situation where NFP would not be proper.

    Or, rather, should NFP be the norm in Catholic marriages? Would it be ideal if every couple marrying in the Church use NFP? In other words, is NFP the ideal within every marriage? If not, why not?

    From whence did you ever get such an idea that I would dismiss the notion that there must be just/serious/grave/whatever reasons for using NFP? To your request, NFP would be inappropriate in saving up for a Porche or 747 or because mommy doesn’t look good in maternity clothes. On the flip side, NFP would appropriate in other situations. For one, a doctor may indicate to a woman that pregnancy is ill-advised based on her health. Or, an up-coming trip to visit relatives 2000 miles from home. Each family’s situation here is unique.

    I do think NFP should be the ideal within marriage. It works rather well to space the little monkeys out, as well as when the doctor says no babies for a little while. Additionally, it’s a fantastic tool to aid in co-creating another one of those little monkeys we all find so precious (dirty diapers aside). The discussions that occur with each new cycle really develop the ability for a couple to pray together as well as communicate openly, honestly, and intimately. And as phase two approaches, and the attraction between spouses intensifies (as Darwin mentioned), said attraction really helps one cut through the B.S. on a couple’s reasons for postponing a pregnancy (i.e. Is this really a just/serious/grave/whatever reason?).

    So, jvc, I think you have taken the pendulum and gone far, too far to the right on this issue. For one, I think you are too easily dismissive of the intensified phase two attraction between spouses and how it can influence a couple.

    I also think you are doing yourself a disservice in equating grave reasons and serious/just reasons. Grave reasons insinuates finances/health issues. Just/serious reasons, which is the language used by our bishops, are broader and generally address (as does HV) situations such as the time in which we live.

    Lastly, I think you (and Ike) have an incomplete understanding of NFP and the Church’s teaching here. It sounds as if you believe we are supposed to be providentialists (think Duggars) when it comes to our family sizes and situations. Rather, NFP when taught with the mind and heart of the Church emphasizes prayerful discernment. The language used in the CCL course is specific: postpone/achieve pregnancy, as opposed to (what seems to be your main thrust in this discussion) prevent pregnancy.

  • I do think NFP should be the ideal within marriage.

    Source?

  • Maybe the blog should stick to less controversial subjects like the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki? 🙂 I see 150 comments at least on this thread by midnight! Now I will scamper away from this particular minefield!

  • I got nothing.

    At my age, it is not an issue.

    It was once between my conscience, Father Confessor, and me. And, none of us spoke of it outside of our unique, little group: the Confessional.

    I attended pre-Cana so long ago they still had the wine.

  • I do think NFP should be the ideal within marriage.

    Source?

    Do you understand what “I do think” means? Now, do you have a source that says it should not? Moreover, you and I have a different understanding what NFP is apparently:

    jvc: NFP = way to not get pregnant
    Big Tex: NFP = way to postpone kids if need be, AND way to aid/pinpoint conception

  • Don,

    Maybe the blog should stick to less controversial subjects like the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

    No kidding…

    JVC,

    In not particular order:

    I do think NFP should be the ideal within marriage.

    Source?

    It seems to me that Paul VI’s section on “Responsible Parenthood” in Humanae Vitae does basically endorse the idea that couples should understand the fertility implications of the wife’s cycle and make prudent decisions about when to conceive accordingly (i.e. use NFP).

    With regard to the biological processes, responsible parenthood means an awareness of, and respect for, their proper functions. In the procreative faculty the human mind discerns biological laws that apply to the human person. (9)

    With regard to man’s innate drives and emotions, responsible parenthood means that man’s reason and will must exert control over them.

    With regard to physical, economic, psychological and social conditions, responsible parenthood is exercised by those who prudently and generously decide to have more children, and by those who, for serious reasons and with due respect to moral precepts, decide not to have additional children for either a certain or an indefinite period of time.

    Responsible parenthood, as we use the term here, has one further essential aspect of paramount importance. It concerns the objective moral order which was established by God, and of which a right conscience is the true interpreter. In a word, the exercise of responsible parenthood requires that husband and wife, keeping a right order of priorities, recognize their own duties toward God, themselves, their families and human society.

    You don’t think that there is a moral problem with having the same intent as the people practicing artificial birth control? I must be misreading you. Perhaps what you mean is, the primary moral problem is the method, which I would agree. But I don’t think that, given that the intent is identical, the moral position of those practicing “natural” birth control is oh-so-holier than those practicing artificial birth control.

    I don’t think that the intent of “not get pregnant” is in and of itself morally good or bad. A nun does not intend to get pregnant. That’s fine, because her action is being celibate.

    The thing that a contracepting couple does which is sinful is “have sex while removing the procreative element of the sexual act”. This is wrong. The thing which a couple using NFP to avoid pregnancy for a time does is “not have sex during fertile time”. This is not wrong (so long as they are mutually agreed upon it.)

    I guess I can’t follow the rest of your analogy because I am not sure it would be morally acceptable for a married couple to avoid having sex for a year. That would seem fairly contrary to the intent of the marriage sacrament.

    I’m not sure how one could get to the idea that spouses not having sex for a period of time would be immoral. I’d have to go look up citations, but there are several instances of saints (other than Mary and Joseph, who were clearly a special case) who mutually made vows of celibacy with their spouses from a certain point on in their marriage.

    The problem that I have is that, when done over a sustained period of time without the reflection of serious or just reasons, they are stripping the overall purpose of that act within marriage of its fertile purposes.

    I don’t think you’re correct on why the Church would see a couple that avoided pregnancy for a long time without just and serious reasons would be behaving wrongly. It’s not that it would be removing the sexual act of its meaning, but rather that it would be a failure of generosity and openness.

    I would hope you are competent! You are or have practiced NFP, yes? The Church calls for you to consider whether there are serious/just/grave/whatever reasons to practice NFP. Surely you and your spouse at least discussed the reasons for this before launching into it?

    There are a lot of situations in which I think it is next to impossible to lay out specific and universally applicable rules on questions like “when is it okay to delay pregnancy” or “what is modest dress” or “what sort of art will elicit lustful thoughts”. I think I am pretty capable (with God’s help — and also with the help of very much enjoying sex and not wanting to give it up half the month) of figuring out whether my wife and I have, in a given set of circumstances, serious reasons to put off having another child. I don’t think that I’m capable of saying, “In all circumstances, X is not a good reason to postpone pregnancy” unless I pick something downright silly like “because the wife wants to pursue a hobby of skydiving” or “because they want to go on a cruise every year” or “because the husband wants his wife to stay thin all the time”.

    Similarly, I feel quite comfortable telling my daughters “you may not wear that outfit” even while I am not comfortable laying down some universal law of what is and what is not modest for all people in all places and times.

    Dan,

    Young, poor and foolish, my wife and I started using NFP after the birth of our first child. I cannot imagine how many little souls we didn’t bring into the world at that time that could now be a joy in our lives. It was a stupid thing to do.

    While I can certainly see why one would regret not having been more open to fertility at a certain point in one’s life, I think it’s worth pointing out that it’s not accurate to think of there being specific little souls who get denied a chance at life because we don’t happen to have sex on the given night on which they would have been conceived. Souls are created by God at the moment that a human being actually comes into existence (at conception) and so while we might be guilty of a lack of generosity or openness at a certain point in our lives in regard to bringing new lives into the world, it’s not as if we have some sort of chute or quota waiting for us that we do or do not fulfill.

    Similarly, if a couple finds that they are afflicted with infertility, it is not as if God is denying them the little souls they so desperately want. As bodies, we just are what we are. Sometimes we conceive, sometimes we don’t.

    I will wager that the vast majority of Catholics who use NFP use it for a similar unimportant reason and that is why many call NFP merely “Catholic contraception”, in the same way the horrendous annulment process has become “Catholic divorce”.

    This appears to be a fairly wide chasm of experience. In my experience, Catholic couples using NFP are mostly just using NFP to have children every 24 to 36 months rather than every 14 to 20 months. They also have far more than the average number of kids. (Some NFP instructors we knew had 10.)

    Now, some people might see the desire to have children “only” ever 2-3 years instead of one ever year to be a failure to be open to God’s will. Maybe for a few people it would be. I think for the vast majority of families, however, that is simply a matter of prudence. Especially as one gets older and the number of kids mount, it helps for the wife to be not-pregnant for a year or two at a time. And that’s not even taking into account the people who have serious medical or financial reasons not to have more children at the moment.

  • Darwin,

    How do you make the connection between that quote from HV and the idea that NFP should be the norm? Of course couples should be familiar with the concept of fertility. How do you go from there to the idea that the Church mandates that couples practice something that regularly prevents pregnancy? Are couples that leave their family size up to God bad Catholics? Is it preferential for parents to determine the exact number of their children?

    NFP enthusiasts seem to be of the assumption that human marriage was somehow deficient before the advent of NFP. Something tells me that families got along just well before either artificial or natural birth control came along. When did we become so distrustful of the natural processes that God created?

    The thing that a contracepting couple does which is sinful is “have sex while removing the procreative element of the sexual act”.

    And they do this if they choose to practice NFP for the purpose of not getting pregnant when they have no serious or just reason to not become pregnant. Can you see that this is a possibility?

    I don’t think you’re correct on why the Church would see a couple that avoided pregnancy for a long time without just and serious reasons would be behaving wrongly. It’s not that it would be removing the sexual act of its meaning, but rather that it would be a failure of generosity and openness.

    So the Church would not have a problem with a couple engaging in sexual intercourse for utilitarian purposes, with the cover of NFP to eliminate the possibility of pregnancy?

    Do you think that it *could* remove the sexual act of its meaning, to use NFP just because a couple has no interest in having children?

  • I guess I can’t follow the rest of your analogy because I am not sure it would be morally acceptable for a married couple to avoid having sex for a year.

    Young people bug me.

  • Art, I could be wrong. I know there are plenty of saints who stopped having sex. But I thought there had to be some kind of reason, like you had to be beyond your childbearing years and you had to have the intent of permanently not having sex. Dunno.

  • But I thought there had to be some kind of reason

    Fifty years and fifty extra pounds. That’s two reasons.

  • Art,

    Young people bug me.

    The kids are looking at me funny and demanding to know why I’m laughing so loudly.

  • The kids are looking at me funny and demanding to know why I’m laughing so loudly.

    So it isn’t the scotch talking?

  • This is just my very humble opinion, but I personally believe that any couple with the commitment and motivation to practice NFP at all, for any reason, is already way ahead of the game as far as being open to life and conquering selfishness.

    To complain that a couple who is faithfully practicing NFP is not doing so for serious enough reasons is, to me, like complaining about someone finishing 10th in the Boston Marathon or “only” coming home with a bronze medal in the Olympics. Yes, perhaps they didn’t perform perfectly, but the mere fact they were in the competition AT ALL is a huge accomplishment!

    If a couple were really concerned only about making lots of money, having a nice home, preserving mom’s figure, etc. chances are they are not even interested in NFP in the first place. If they are really as selfish as the “typical” contracepting couple, they won’t even bother with NFP, or they will give it up and revert to contraception after a short trial period.

    There may be other cases in which ONE spouse is interested or willing to try NFP but the other won’t hear of it, or agrees only grudgingly to try it and eventually pressures the other spouse to give it up. In those cases, it may not matter how unselfish and open to life the faithful spouse is, if the wife or husband won’t go along, there isn’t a whole lot they can do about it other than threaten permanent abstinence, separation or divorce — none of which will facilitate being open to life!

  • Wow, a lot of riled up people her today. Some excellent thoughts. Here’s mine: (1.) When the first protestor to NFP called it “Catholic B.C.” and were not refuted loudly and strongly from the pulpit by our teachers – bishops and priests – that arguement belonged to the protestors and they only got louder as the years rolled by. In college debate I learned those many, many years ago – frame the debate, define the terms, win the debate. We did that and one season went 147-0. (2.) Jesus said, “without me you can do nothing.” For the first 4 years of our marriage we used NFP, then accepted the Lord’s gift of three beautiful baby girls born within 20 months of each other. Then, sadly, we gave into the “power of the pill” and had no other children. A couple years ago, at a couples retreat, we admitted to each other that that decision has afflicted out marriage for at least the last 20 years. Alas, we cannot recover those lost years and lost children. The Lord has forgiven us and renewed our love and marriage in Himself. So, my advice to anyone contemplating using NFP bring it to the Lord in prayer and as someone above said recognize that it is the Catholic lifestyle. And also remember it is called, after all, narural family planning not natural family avoidance. IMy wife and I wish we had had the fortitude to live as real faithful Catholics back then. If only we had bothered to really read Pope Paul VI’s encyclical, “On Human Life.”

  • “how many Catholics do you know using NFP to get pregnant rather than specifically avoid pregnancy?”

    Again, we did as well–twice–both when we were under 30.

    Also, don’t discount what NFP does to your heart–starting out using it to avoid pregnancy might be opening the door to God for Him to work on your heart and your attitude about children and family size. I know I had “plans” for a much smaller family before I accepted the Church’s teaching on contraception but I’ve become open to having more children. I probably would not have even entertained the idea of having a larger family if I had used contraception, but I would not have even started using NFP if my instructor had not emphasized its efficacy for avoiding postponing pregnancy bc I wouldn’t have “trusted” it enough to get us through the end of school.

  • JVC,

    How do you make the connection between that quote from HV and the idea that NFP should be the norm? Of course couples should be familiar with the concept of fertility. How do you go from there to the idea that the Church mandates that couples practice something that regularly prevents pregnancy?

    Well, it seems to me that “responsible parenthood means an awareness of, and respect for, their proper functions.” suggests that understanding how to tell when the wife is and is not fertile is okay (thus, understanding the workings of NFP.)

    When he says “With regard to physical, economic, psychological and social conditions, responsible parenthood is exercised by those who prudently and generously decide to have more children, and by those who, for serious reasons and with due respect to moral precepts, decide not to have additional children for either a certain or an indefinite period of time,” it seems to me that he’s saying that “responsible parenthood” can mean either using that knowledge to have more children (should that be the prudent course) or to avoid having children for a time or indefinitely (should that be the prudent course.)

    Are couples that leave their family size up to God bad Catholics?

    No.

    Is it preferential for parents to determine the exact number of their children?

    I don’t think it’s necessarily preferable (nor necessarily bad) but more to the point it’s usually not possible. I don’t think I know any couples who have never conceived “by accident” while using NFP. (In that sense, I suppose it is a bit like birth control. A lot of my secular friends at work had at least one “accidental” child while using contraception.)

    NFP enthusiasts seem to be of the assumption that human marriage was somehow deficient before the advent of NFP. Something tells me that families got along just well before either artificial or natural birth control came along. When did we become so distrustful of the natural processes that God created?

    I think there were simply different pressures on couples at that point. Just because there wasn’t NFP and artificial birth control doesn’t mean that fertility didn’t cause strife between couples.

    So the Church would not have a problem with a couple engaging in sexual intercourse for utilitarian purposes, with the cover of NFP to eliminate the possibility of pregnancy?

    Do you think that it *could* remove the sexual act of its meaning, to use NFP just because a couple has no interest in having children?

    I’m not clear what you mean by “engaging in sexual intercourse for utilitarian purposes” — or at least, all the ideas I’m coming up with at the moment sound more like dirty jokes than serious possibilities.

    Let me see if I can sum up:

    – I do not think that periodic abstinence can ever remove the reproductive meaning from the marital act.
    – I do think that a couple might in some circumstances be guilty of a degree of selfishness in using periodic abstinence to avoid pregnancy without good reasons — and given that selfishness is sinful, I do thus think that it is possible to use NFP sinfully.
    – I think that for the majority if couples, using NFP will in and of itself prove a very good safety mechanism to prevent them from behaving selfishly, because at the age you’re most likely have cause to actively avoid pregnancy, abstaining during the fertile parts of the cycle is seriously un-fun.

    (And now I see that Elaine has summed it all up more concisely and better than me anyway, so I’ll just post.)

  • Very few individuals have sex using contraceptives because they are loving, cherishing and appreciating the other, or being delighted in each other and each other’s company, or being in love with the other person to whom they are promised. It is an abuse of another person to whom they may be married to work off uncontrolled sexual urges, frustration or need for exercise which is what most sexual activity is about with contraception. “Saint Teresa (Martin), the Little Flower’s parents Louis and Zélie met in 1858, and married on July 13, 1858. Both of great piety they were part of the petit-bourgeoisie, comfortable Alençon. At first they decided to live as brother and sister in a perpetual continence, but when a confessor discouraged them in this, they changed their lifestyle and had 9 children. (from Wikipedia)They intended to devote themselves to prayer and did so for one year. Devoting oneself to prayer is the intent of and reason of Natural Family Planning. To grow spiritually and come to realize in one another, each person as a gift from God, who may become another child or remain in a secret place in our hearts. My girlfriend told me she used to lie in bed and listen to her mother and father giggling affectionately most of the night, two friends who happened to be married. The expression of God’s love for mankind expressed in the conjugal act is a gift that remains ever present, ever fulfilling, never needs reworking unless one chooses to bring another person into creation through procreation. The two concepts of prayer and procreation that are the substance of NFP, whereas the use of contraception is an insult to God, to the other person and to oneself.

  • “families got along just well before either artificial or natural birth control came along. When did we become so distrustful of the natural processes that God created?”

    Well, people were able to prepare nutritious meals before vitamins, carbohydrates, calories and proteins were discovered. Does that mean that someone who reads the nutritional information on their food labels and counts the calories and carbs in their food because they want to lose weight, control diabetes, achieve maximum fitness ahead of a marathon, etc. is being “distrustful of the natural processes that God created”? Or does it simply mean they are exercising their KNOWLEDGE of those natural processes in a way that is best for their health?

    There are secular promoters of NFP, or as they prefer to call it, “fertility awareness” who practice it not for religious or moral reasons but simply because it allows women to work with their nature rather than against it — not only for purposes of avoiding or achieving pregnancy, but also as a means of knowing what their “normal” cycles are like and knowing when something is “off” or wrong. God created women to be fertile in cycles and NOT all the time, so how can it be wrong to know about it, and exercise that knowledge prudently? I think this knowledge would be valuable for no other reason than knowing exactly when you could expect “Aunt Flo” to arrive every month… but I digress.

    I’d like to run with the food analogy a little farther because I think it might help us understand how NFP differs from artificial contraception. To me, NFP can be compared to losing or managing one’s weight by proper diet and exercise. You still eat real food with real nutrients, and digest it normally, so you are still fulfilling the natural purpose of eating; but you are doing so in moderation. (Total abstinence would be like going on a permanent fast, with the difference that while YOU won’t die of starvation if you “fast” from sex permanently, your marriage might!) Contraception, on the other hand, is like resorting to bulimia or diet pills to lose weight. You are attempting to go on enjoying food as much as you want and whenever you want, but in a way that actively interferes with the digestive process and ultimately will be very bad for your health. See the difference?

  • Well, I’m a total noob about NFP, and we used the little I know to get pregnant…. Family friend asked for help, I made some simple suggestions to her; their firstborn is adorable and nearly two.
    So non-observant non-Catholics use it to get pregnant, too!

  • I hate these NFP arguments because it usually goes nowhere. Anyway, as I intend to write a book or article series on this issue someday, I guess this is the price I will have to pay …

    No one answered the thrust of jvc’s original objection.
    Basically, these NFP promoters are appealing to women who desire to practice contraception in an attempt to get them off ABC. Despite the fact that their goal is an openness to life, it is marketed in such a way as to convince these women that NFP is a better approach while running the risk that the women they are appealing to will be convinced to go natural, but simply as an alternate means to ABC. So they still do not have the openness to children that really is at the heart of what is wrong with contraception. Almost all the popes and saints who spoke of contraception said it was wrong because it is unnatural, but said that the consequence of that unnatural act was wrong too – it limits the number of children without “just” reason(s).

    It isn’t either/or. It’s both/and. It is not enough simply to practice NFP. You have to do it for “just” reasons, which Dr. Taylor Marshall demonstrates by quoting past Magisterial teaching – most Catholics only reference Humanae Vitae and interpret discontinuously from the broader Tradition (i.e. see Bob’s comment). He also says, drawing on that same Tradition, that the “just reasons” are not as many as we would like to believe (because most couples unwittingly use NFP selfishly too – something Dr. Marshall stated as well), and that there are some objective standards – it isn’t all left to the couple.
    cantuar.blogspot.com/2012/02/you-can-only-use-nfp-for-grave.html

    Btw, if it is true that the “just reasons” are very few, then that would make them also “grave reasons” – which would take the substance out of the semantic argument that NFP promoters often use.

  • @ Big Tex and Paul Zunno
    1. Most people use NFP more to avoid (or “space” or “delay”, if you prefer) pregnancy than to achieve pregnancy. No statistics necessary – just have to talk to enough people, read enough articles, and use common sense.
    2. Most of the NFP couples do have a lot of children – at least relatively speaking, but those families are still half the size of families 50-75 years ago, and half the size of some couples I know who I am guessing have used NFP seldom or at all. In other words, sure, most NFP couples are “open to life” – at least in the sense of not practicing ABC, but that does not mean they are not using NFP for “unjust” or mainly selfish reasons.

    @ Big Tex
    “The Church does not even provide such a list. This decision is between each couple and God, for every situation is unique.”

    An unfortunate necessity because, yes, every situation is different.
    The downside to this is it’s a lot easier to practice NFP without “just reasons”. And many do.

    @ Big Tex
    jvc: “I do think [not using] NFP should be the ideal within marriage”
    Big Tex: “Source?”
    Dr. Taylor Marshall, citing the Magisterium, with ensuing comments:
    cantuar.blogspot.com/2012/02/you-can-only-use-nfp-for-grave.html

    @Darwin Catholic:
    You say: “Not having sex is not an inherently sinful act (or sin of omission)”.
    Yes and no.
    Perpetual continence has always been highly praised.
    However, sexual union with the intention of avoiding children has always been condemned.
    The Church, being the common sense mother She is, says if you have “just reasons” for doing so, it’s okay, but if not, it is a sin – not of “omission” (abstaining during fertile periods) but of “commission” (consummating during infertile periods).

  • The four statements that pretty much hit the nail on the head on this issue:

    1. Dan: “I will wager that the vast majority of Catholics who use NFP use it for a similar unimportant reason [I would qualify this by prefacing it with “sometimes”] and that is why many call NFP merely ‘Catholic contraception’, in the same way the horrendous annulment process has become ‘Catholic divorce’”.

    2. “Sadly, most priests and Bishops are useless (worse than useless, really) when discussing NFP because many of them are so gutless and afraid to offend that they allow Catholic couples to practice NFP willy-nilly”. [Or because they don’t really understand the Church’s teaching themselves – or dissent from it]

    However:

    3. Darwin: “Practicing NFP strictly enough to actually avoid pregnancy is sufficiently frustrating that it’s a pretty good way of causing us to reexamine on a very frequent basis whether we are ready to stop using NFP and see when the next child will come”. [However, I would say that the more we talk about the spiritual benefits to NFP – and NFP promoters do that in spades – the more likely these will override the desire for sexual union]

    4. Dale Price: “There aren’t enough Catholics using NFP for me to get my boxers in a wad about the motivations of the tiny minority of the faithful who do”.

    Out of all these points, I think the one that is most pertinent is Comment #4.

  • Wade St. Onge,

    I’ve run into the Dr. Marshall piece before, but it strikes me as a flawed piece of guidance for the following reason. He (rightly) quotes Pius XII in his address to midwives in which the pontiff says:

    Serious motives, such as those which not rarely arise from medical, eugenic, economic and social so-called “indications,” may exempt husband and wife from the obligatory, positive debt for a long period or even for the entire period of matrimonial life. From this it follows that the observance of the natural sterile periods may be lawful, from the moral viewpoint: and it is lawful in the conditions mentioned. If, however, according to a reasonable and equitable judgment, there are no such grave reasons either personal or deriving from exterior circumstances, the will to avoid the fecundity of their union, while continuing to satisfy to tile full their sensuality, can only be the result of a false appreciation of life and of motives foreign to sound ethical principles. [emphasis added]

    But what Dr. Marshall proceeds to do is to take the list of indications “medical, eugenic, economic and social” and define them so as to make them things that arise only very rarely.

    So, for example, on medical reasons, Dr. Marshall says:

    The women’s life is in jeopardy or a circumstance would endanger the newly conceived child’s life (eg, the mother is going through chemotherapy or other treatment that would damage or kill a newly conceived baby). In regard to serious medical reasons, Pope Paul VI, in Humanae Vitae n. 16, also spoke of “reasonable grounds for spacing births, arising from the physical or psychological condition of husband or wife.” So then, psychological problems could also be considered serious. If mommy is clinically schizophrenic, or clinically depressed, then I imagine a spiritual director is going to give the green light on NFP.

    The thing is, Pius XII and Paul VI don’t say things like “only if the mother or baby will actually die” or “only if the mother has severe, clinical psychological issues”. The popes say something fairly broad (Pius XII even specifies that the circumstances he’s speaking of are not rare) and Dr. Marshall seems to be at pains primarily to narrow things down a great deal. I don’t necessarily see him as performing a helpful service in implicitly telling people who may be suffering from scrupulosity, “Look, it may be that your wife is having a really hard time dealing with the two kids currently under two (not to mention the other four) and that her body is taking longer to recover from the last pregnancy than it did back in her 20s, but by golly if you don’t think she’d die if she got pregnant you just don’t have just cause to wait an extra year to get pregnant!” Dr. Marshall’s discussion of the other criteria starts to border on the silly. (For instance, when he specifies that “social” reasons would mean “Viking Invasions. Concentration Camps. Black Plague. Hiroshima.” but then backs down and suggests that “perhaps” if a couple were living under the brutally enforced one-child policy of China it might be okay for them to use NFP to avoid pregnancy.)

    If people actively feel called to be providentialist in their approach to fertility, more power to them. I just think it’s a really bad idea to “bind up heavy burdens for others to carry” when the Church doesn’t actually tell us that we have to.

  • What the hell is a “providentialist”? Is that the new NFP cult word for people who let God determine how large their family size should be rather than programmatically deciding for themselves the same way the ABC people do?

  • Oh, I see. Protestants. Nice slur. Yeah, the people not practicing artificial or natural birth control are Protestants. Right.

  • I just think it’s a really bad idea to “bind up heavy burdens for others to carry” when the Church doesn’t actually tell us that we have to.

    You mean like the NFP cultists who insist that a Catholic marriage is incomplete unless the couple is practicing NFP?

  • Oh, I see. Protestants. Nice slur.

    Aside from the fact that it’s not a slur nor the intention of the use of the word, would you have preferred Darwin use a term like, say, cultist?

  • Paul, do you actually deny that there is a cult following among many NFP-ers?

  • If by “cult” you mean “tiny number of adherents, routinely subjected to suspicion and ridicule,” then yep.

  • jvc, a providentialist is one who uses no means of fertility regulation whatsoever. There are Catholics and Protestants who take this avenue. The Duggar (you know, the one from the TV show) family is one such extreme example.

  • Serious motives, such as those which not rarely arise from medical, eugenic, economic and social so-called “indications,” may exempt husband and wife from the obligatory, positive debt for a long period or even for the entire period of matrimonial life.

    That’s a pretty important catch from the allocution–“such as those which not rarely arise.”

    Unless, of course, I was being a frivolous cultist for wanting to delay bringing a sixth child into a two bedroom, 880 square foot house with no basement, garage or even driveway.

    As they say, mileage varies.

  • And Darwin beat me to the punch on Dr. Marshall’s commentary. Good show, old boy!

  • “Psychological reasons” – sounds like the same clause upon which most of the annulments are granted today (apart from lack of form).
    Dr. Marshall gives examples because most NFP bloggers shoehorn every conceivable reason in to these four in order to use NFP – just as canon lawyers shoehorn every possible human defect into the “psychological disorders” clause in order to get an annulment. I don’t think his examples are too far off from the thinking of Pius XII – considering the examples orthodox moral theologians of the time gave.
    ….
    Perhaps Dr. Marshall is too strict – but then again, NFP bloggers are too lax – but they (you?) don’t acknowledge that as a possibility.
    ….
    If you’re scrupulous, it’s best to err on the side of the NFP bloggers. If you’re too lax, it’s better to err on the side of “providentialism”. That’s a good rule of thumb – coming from a scrupulant whose seminary run ended because of it.
    ….
    “I just think it’s a really bad idea to ‘bind up heavy burdens for others to carry’ when the Church doesn’t actually tell us that we have to”.
    So should I feel content to go to confession and Holy Communion only once a year during the Easter season?
    And should my priests quit urging me and my fellow parishioners to go to confession every two to four weeks?

  • Whoa there…

    Most providentialists I have known have been Protestants, but I have also known Catholic ones.

    I had certainly not been aware that the term was pejorative (other than to people who think having lots of children is in and of itself bad — and those people already think I’m bad). It’s not my intention to use it as such. I just needed a term to specifically designate people who make an active decision to simply have as many children as God gives them. Another term I’ve heard is “quiver full”, but to my knowledge that’s more an approach of actively trying to have the maximum number of children rather than doing nothing to space them out further and just waiting to see what God provides.

    You mean like the NFP cultists who insist that a Catholic marriage is incomplete unless the couple is practicing NFP?

    I’ve never heard anyone claim that — though I have heard people at least claim (reasonably I think) that Catholic couples getting married should at least know the rudiments of how NFP works so that they’ll be able to turn to it in more depth should they ever need it later. And yes, there are some (perhaps slightly odd) people who more or less make talking about NFP online a hobby. I think that’s a bit odd, but then I spend time online arguing about politics and talking about brewing beer and shooting antique military rifles, so what do I know?

    At the risk of being seen as playing the age trump card: I think you said you were in your mid 20s, which means I’m roughly ten years older and have been married a good bit longer. (At least, I’ve been assuming you’re married.) If I can speak from that vantage point for a minute: Because it’s so counter-cultural to be a young married Catholic these days (whether using NFP or just trusting in God in relation to family size) there’s a tendency of people to get very, very absolutist about their marriage choices. NFP, theology of the body, providentialism, whatever it is that they’re into becomes The Most Import Key To A Good Marriage. While the enthusiasm is well motivated and good, it often gets worn down quite a bit by the realities of 10-15 years of married life. Not that marriage isn’t good: it’s a constant source of joy to me. But there is something to the old saw of “I used to have five theories and no children. Now I have five children and no theories.”

    In the process, a lot of people who can be annoying because they were talking about NFP all the freakin’ time realize that there’s more to life than charts and mucus (and that NFP is not as fun to use as they thought.) And other people who really felt like NFP was all a bunch of trying to ignore God’s will realize that when you have three kids under four and are out of seats in your car and have a mountain of consumer debt from a couple of family emergencies over the last year or two — you’re too tired to have sex most nights anyway. And that abstaining off and on in order to actually have two or more years between the next few children is not that big a deal.

    It’s from that perspective that I think it’s important to stick to the bottom line: The Church says that you may NEVER using contraception, but that spacing pregnancies using periodic abstinence is not a problem so long as you have a good reason.

  • One last thought: It seems to me (and I think this follows pretty naturally from Pius XII’s quoted statement) that the degree of seriousness one needs as a just reason is pretty directly proportional to the length of time one is seeking to delay pregnancy.

    Thus, for instance, “We have to make a major family trip in three months and I don’t want to be in the middle of morning sickness while we’re traveling” might be a perfectly good reason to abstain during the fertile parts of the cycle for a couple months, but “We like to go on a trip every year and that’s hard with a baby” is a bad reason to simply never get pregnant again.

    If I seem like I’m being fairly lax here, one of the contexts I’m working in that all the NFP users I know really just use it to get a 2-3 year spacing between children — a spacing which is totally natural for some couples, but those who are very, very fertile would otherwise find ourselves having children less than a year and a half apart. As the number of children mounts, that kind of spacing can become very hard, not only on one’s ability to raise one’s existing children well, but also on the wife’s body.

    If I thought most NFP users were using it to put off pregnancy indefinitely, I might be more interested in looking at when it’s acceptable to use. But the only people I know who are doing that are people who do have medical problems such that any pregnancy would end up being a major danger to both child and mother.

  • Wade St. Onge [However, I would say that the more we talk about the spiritual benefits to NFP – and NFP promoters do that in spades – the more likely these will override the desire for sexual union] Notice that a spiritual director instructed Louis and Zelie Martin to abandon their perpetual continence and bring forth children. A relief because there is one more capable and willing to assume responsibility for the decision in procreation.

  • Mary: “Notice that a spiritual director instructed Louis and Zelie Martin to abandon their perpetual continence and bring forth children. A relief because there is one more capable and willing to assume responsibility for the decision in procreation”.

    A relief – and yet a burden. They desired religious life but were not accepted, so sexual intercourse was a bitter-sweet thing – a good that brought forth children, but also a reminder of the greater good they were missing out on.

  • Mary: ““Notice that a spiritual director instructed Louis and Zelie Martin to abandon their perpetual continence and bring forth children. A relief because there is one more capable and willing to assume responsibility for the decision in procreation”.

    So then you would disagree with Dr. Taylor Marshall that decisions about whether or not to practice NFP should be done with a trusted spiritual director – and should not be practiced without his agreement?

  • Pingback: NFP: Not Just Natural Birth Control | St Anne Center for Reproductive Health
  • I used NFP to get pregnant with my second child. It took us 3 months to get pregnant with our first and 1 weekend to get pregnant with our second. My best friend tried unsuccessfully for 10 months to get pregnant and once I taught her how to chart, she took her charts into her doc who could tell her why it was taking a while to get pregnant (late ovulation in her cycle due to coming off of Norplant 10 months prior). She had scheduled a doc appointment to help with her fertilization and got pregnant the week before, thanks to using NFP and understanding her body.

  • Hey everyone. This is my first post here. I wanted to say DarwinCatholic and Elaine’s first post I agree with. My situation is a little different. So before I go on with my 2 cents I’ll tel lyou what it is. I’m single, 23 , in college, I read about NFP from many places so I know what I am getting myself into when I get married. I’m preparing for it now so when the “hardness” of it hit’s the pill may be less bittersweet. I trust in God and I’m doing what I can to be a good example of a young Catholic. When I get married I will probably still be in debt, live with my folks and just getting started out on a job if there are any left. My wife will be paying off her debts and be starting to work. I will also have a $500 truck payment.

    Are there people in worst cases than me I’m sure it is, but am I going to use NFP? YES! First any method is not 100% effective, I leave the other 2 percent up to God so he wants that 2% to kick in than so be it. BUT ABC is different it’s telling God to take a hike I don’t want any chance of being open to life. SO JVC that is the difference. It’s not about wanting to have a 60″ tv, a beach house, or a Porsche I don’t want any of those things. I want to be able to give a life, a life from God a good life, and in order to be established as such I would need and we would need as a married couple to postpone pregnancy. The cost of ABC and what it has down to society is way more important and worse than bickering about just/grave/ this that upside down and sideways.

    I know it’s going to be hard, Katie at NFPandME has said so. But I am not shutting out the potential for a life.

    Honestly JVC I think when people read your post who want to know more about NFP. They see that if they don’t have those grave reasons then say “well so I shouldn’t use NFP, than what are the options”? ABC is the option they’ll see and go for. I don’t like the bickering, and I’m not saying this in anger, and I’m not saying this like I’m an expert on the matter. Nor am I a Saint, I’m a hopeless sinner who found hope in Christ, and I want people to see the joy had in NFP. I know so many couples who don’t talk with each other or who when board have sex. We put a grand canyon between sex and procreation. NFP closes the gap. I think about it almost daily and make sure that I’m not doing it for me, I’d be doing it for my future wife. I’m the last of my family so Jesus knows that kids are on the docket for me, ideally 3-4 would be nice. So clearly postponing YES, plus if she wold decide hey Nate I can work part time and so I’d like to be a mom, then I’m all open to have kids, will it happen like that it could it could not, that’s why I’m not just thinking of me or something vain. Just wanted to give my two cents, not trying to start a fight. God Bless you all.

  • Wade St. Onge:
    The word I ought to have used is “counseled” instead of “Instructed”. “Instructed” carries the weight of obedience without consent, or cooperation. Persons willing to use NFP are usually more self-directed. God is missing from much of what is written. Thomas More wanted to be a priest, but was sent home, too. It is God’s will pointing the way. Accepting God’s will in all things, not only NFP, makes life joyful. Marriage, children are all gifts from God to help us to mature into the human beings we are supposed to be. The greatest good is doing God’s will in whatever He tells us. “Do whatever He tells you.” Our Lady.

  • Wade St. Onge:
    You are dealing with a person who believes that sexual surrender to a spouse is valid for the other only when there is a possiblity of another person being conceived and it is no more different putting off intercourse than waiting for heaven.

  • Your analogy does not work.
    Waiting for heaven is not a choice. Abstaining from intercourse is.
    Furthermore, it is not the abstaining that is a problem – it is the sexual intercourse deliberately only during infertile periods without just reason that’s a problem.

  • Wade St. Onge: Haven’t you answered your own question? “it is the sexual intercourse deliberately only during infertile periods without just reason that’s a problem.” 1) natural intercourse is ALWAYS open to children. St. Elizabeth, St. Ann, St. Camillis de Lellis whose mother was 68 years old when he was conceived. This is a fact, as doctor said once about popping an egg, or two after menopause. To those who expect to practice NFP, let it be known that the possibility of procreation is ever present. Although there may be less likelyhood, then when it is probable. Increased intercourse brings forth more likelihood. Not trusting in Divine Providence completely imposes the fear and anxiety. But what you are saying is that there are times when a couple is forbidden to have intercourse and that is not right, that the couple is not free to have intercourse during low fertility because the couple did not have intercourse during high fertility. A married couple is always free to have intercourse. A man’s conscience tells him when he has avoided doing God’s will.

  • Mary, you are contradicting Church teaching.
    If a couple practices NFP without just reason, it is a sin. That’s what the Church says, not just what Wade St. Onge says.

  • Actually Wade, I think Mary is closer to Church teaching on this one that you are.

    You appear to be claiming that if a couple didn’t have a just reason for abstaining from intercourse during the less fertile parts of the cycle, then it is immoral for them to have intercourse during the more fertile parts. As Mary points out, this is not true. It is not, immoral for a married couple to engage in the marital act, whether it is at a time likely for them to conceive or not.

    It is true that a couple may be guilty of selfishness and failing to fulfill the purposes of marriage if they tried to avoid pregnancy for reasons that were not just — but neither the act of abstaining from sex (during periods when conception was more likely) nor the act of having intercourse (during the periods when conception was less likely) would be the sin in such a circumstance. The sin would be a sin of the will — the resolution to try to avoid the gift of children for bad reasons.

  • What frustrates me here is the reduction of NFP to a mere method of birth control. Sheesh… NFP involves more than avoiding pregnancy. The thrust of the original article here is that NFP is NOT just natural birth control, but those here who seem to be down on it are indeed reducing NFP to natural birth control.

  • “What frustrates me here is the reduction of NFP to a mere method of birth control. Sheesh… NFP involves more than avoiding pregnancy. ”

    This is why I hate the term “NFP”. “Natural Family Planning” is not Natural (really, is it natural to temp every morning, stretch your cervical mucus, and chart?) and it’s not “Family Planning”, because let’s face it, a high percentage of the children conceived from NFP are marginally planned at best, frequently after a couple of glasses of wine on a night when the older children went to bed early.

    But seriously, I vastly prefer the term “Fertility Awareness” because that is what the couple is doing: Charting the woman’s symptoms to become aware of the couple’s combined fertility. The couple can use this awareness to achieve or avoid a pregnancy, or they can just not care. Whatever they do, this awareness is an excellent barometer of the woman’s help.

    While some people are worried about people using Fertility Awareness to improperly not become pregnant, this isn’t much of a worry. Although the “perfect use” rates for all methods of FA are quite high, couples have to be very highly motivated to actually avoid pregnancy using FA.

    You see, it is no longer socially acceptable to want more than 2.3 children, and we assume that this is the norm, but people have been having larger families for years. A couple who relies on merely FA and self-control to prevent pregnancy will have their motives tested every month. On one side is the rational mind of man and woman. On the other side is millions of years of evolutionary biology urging reproduction. Unless there truly are “serious reasons”, the rational mind has no chance.

  • There is one aspect of Natural Family Planning that ought to be heard but is dissociated from the whole. This is nursing an infant into childhood. A nursing mother does not ovulate and the chances of a nursing mother becoming pregnant while she is nursing a baby is not in nature’s plan. Pharaoh’s sister called for a wet nurse for the found child Moses and Moses’ sister brought the child to his mother. There is a note of a child being weened at four years of age and a celebration that the infant survived into childhood, and the mother is now ready to bear more children, spacing her children at five years apart, in the bible, but I do not remember who the child is. It may have been Isaac. But of course, in Israel, the men had many wives who would give them many children. In modern America, there are many voices who discourage nursing an infant and outright deny a woman’s right to freely practice her motherhood. I know several women who did indeed nurse their children as well as speaking of experience. After one year I was sidelined as a weirdo, and after a while I thought that the government was going to be called.

  • Paul, how many Catholics do you know using NFP to get pregnant rather than specifically avoid pregnancy?

    I would put the under 30 crowd at about 90/10 avoiding pregnancy rather than getting pregnant.

    In response to jvc….I didn’t read all of the comments but I just wanted to say that I am under 30 and not only am I using NFP to achieve pregnancy but I live in a Catholic community with my husband (he is studying for his PhD) and every woman I know on the street (most under 30 or in their early 30’s) are also using NFP to achieve pregnancy. It’s only common sense that a woman would use NFP to also achieve pregnancy.

  • Mary,

    In the main, yes. The one thing I would point out,though, (from experience!) is that some women simply do not have much infertility after birth no matter how conscientiously they nurse. (The which I bring up only because for a while CCL tended to rather coy about this fact, but we’ve known a lot of other people who found themselves quite surprised by it.)

  • I’ve been thoroughly pooped out by this thread, so I stopped responding awhile ago, but I have to ask a follow-up to Katie’s comment.

    Out of curiosity, what do you mean by you live in a “Catholic community”? Like a Catholic university? A particularly Catholic town?

  • DarwinCatholic says:
    Thursday, April 19, 2012 A.D. at 11:40am

    Darwin, thank you for the clarification. Perhaps it would just be easier to describe them as non-NFP, non-ABC practicing Catholics? Seems like the most accurate description, especially if the term “providentialist” is an explicitly Protestant term.

  • What frustrates me here is the reduction of NFP to a mere method of birth control.

    Perhaps the problem is that this is exactly what every promoter of NFP that I have ever heard has sounded like. And it is always discussed in the context of how ABC is wrong. It wasn’t even until years after I heard about NFP that I found out that some people were using it to get pregnant.

  • Jim says:
    Saturday, April 21, 2012 A.D. at 9:22pm

    I agree with the jist of Jim’s comments. Making oneself aware of the nature of fertility is prudent. Making it out to be another solution to everything, which the term NFP and marketing of NFP fall into, is the reach.

  • Nathan, thanks for your kind words, and welcome to this blog! I’m encouraged to see a young Catholic man like you taking an interest in this topic. I think you are a good example of exactly what I was talking about… you wouldn’t even be interested in NFP if you were totally selfish and unconcerned about doing God’s will.

    As for all the “bickering” you see taking place about what reasons justify NFP, for what it’s worth… I seem to remember that the most accurate translation of the actual term used in Humanae Vitae is simply “serious” reasons — meaning, not frivolous or selfish, but it doesn’t have to be a life or death reason either.

  • Darwin: “It is not, immoral for a married couple to engage in the marital act, whether it is at a time likely for them to conceive or not … Neither the act of abstaining from sex (during periods when conception was more likely) nor the act of having intercourse (during the periods when conception was less likely) would be the sin in such a circumstance. The sin would be a sin of the will — the resolution to try to avoid the gift of children for bad reasons”.

    That makes no sense. This “sin of the will” is carried out in concrete action. How else do you “avoid the gift of children” than by limiting sexual intercourse to the infertile periods?

    You could say what you said above about any sin. You could say stealing is not a sin; rather, theft is “a sin of the will – the desire to possess an object that is not yours”. That is true, and that is what motivated the sin, but the actual sin that was committed was taking the object, just as with using NFP for unjust reasons the sin is committed when the couple limits sex to the fertile period. So the act of sex itself is sinful …

    Pius XII: “If, however, according to a reasonable and equitable judgment, there are no such grave reasons either personal or deriving from exterior circumstances, the will to avoid the fecundity of their union, ***while continuing to satisfy to the full their sensuality*** [i.e. having sexual intercourse only during the infertile periods], can only be the result of a false appreciation of life and of motives foreign to sound ethical principles.”

  • Wade St. Onge,

    Pius XII is saying exactly the same thing that I am: “the will to avoid the fecundity of their union, while continuing to satisfy to the full their sensuality, can only be the result of a false appreciation of life and of motives foreign to sound ethical principles.”

    Now, while it’s true that all sins involve an act of the will, and that it is that act which is actually the sin, I don’t think your stealing analogy holds. The difference is that stealing something actually is wrong. Thus, while it is the act of taking something which is not yours that is the act of the will in relation to the sin, the taking of something not ones own is itself wrong. (The act of the will remains key in that if you stole something, believing you had not right to it, but in fact it was something you were free to take, your sin would be just as great even though your action, from an objective point of view, would not actually be wrong.)

    A man having sex with his wife is not wrong. Neither is a man not having sex with his wife at a given time — even if the purpose of not having sex at that time is to avoid the possibility of getting pregnant during his wife’s current cycle.

    I think your error here is in seeing that mis-use of NFP in order to treat sex as a strictly non-procreative form of sensuality is sinful, you’re trying to zero in on some specific act on which to locate the sin. Given that periodic abstinence consists of having sex during less fertile times and not having sex during more fertile times — the obvious options are 1) labeling abstaining from sex during more fertile times as sinful or 2) labeling having sex during the less fertile times as sinful.

    What the Church actually teaches is that neither 1) nor 2) is sinful. It is not wrong for a couple to perform the marital act or not to perform the marital act. Nor is the marital act made wrong because one believes it to be highly likely that conception will not occur (as is the case not only with certain parts of the normal monthly cycle, but also with couples who are afflicted by infertility or who have passed the age at which the wife is likely to be able to conceive.)

    What can be sinful is the desire/attempt to experience a “full sensuality” completely unconnected with procreation.

    Now, that said, I think, frankly, that one of the best ways to defeat this “false appreciation of life” that Pius condemns is the practice of NFP, which you seem so suspicious of, specifically because using NFP to try to avoid conception very much does not allow for a “full sensuality”. Trying to avoid conception via NFP means abstaining about half the time, and typically the time when the desire of the spouses (particular the wife) are much, much greater. As such, for the couple which starts out just wanting to space their children farther apart or put off having more children for a while, using NFP creates the awareness that it is impossible to have a “full sensuality” that is not procreative.

  • “I think, frankly, that one of the best ways to defeat this ‘false appreciation of life’ that Pius condemns is the practice of NFP, which you seem so suspicious of, specifically because using NFP to try to avoid conception very much does not allow for a ‘full sensuality’.”

    1. I am as suspicious of NFP as Pius XII was.

    2. NFP is just a subset of “temporary continence” – something that the Church has always encouraged and something that the Catechism of Trent suggested Catholics practice during Lent. Most Catholics who practice NFP today seem largely ignorant of the rich Catholic Tradition of temporary continence within marriage, which was encouraged as a fast from sex the way that we are also to fast from food and meat during specific days and seasons. Most people who practice NFP today do not realize that the benefits of NFP are simply benefits that come out of temporary continence or “fasting from sex”. Due to this ignorance, most Catholics think the only reason to practice temporary continence is to space children. But even if you are trying to conceive, temporary continence is still a good and beneficial practice that the Church recommends. How many NFP practitioners today know that and practice that? I would say the number is close to zero.

    3. You obviously did not read Pius XII in context, because he was specifically referring to an abuse of NFP in that quotation. How can the practice of NFP be the best remedy to an abuse of NFP? If it was, there would be no need for Pius XII to warn against it, because its practitioners, by the very practice of NFP, would defeat this “false appreciation of life”.

  • “A man having sex with his wife is not wrong.”

    Even if he wears a condom?

  • I have a feeling that we’re going in circles, so I’m going to give this one more response and then I’ll leave it to you to have the last word should you so wish.

    Most Catholics who practice NFP today seem largely ignorant of the rich Catholic Tradition of temporary continence within marriage, which was encouraged as a fast from sex the way that we are also to fast from food and meat during specific days and seasons…. I would say the number is close to zero.

    Well, FWIW:

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2010/10/26/nfp-and-fasting/

    You obviously did not read Pius XII in context, because he was specifically referring to an abuse of NFP in that quotation.

    Pius XII talks about the danger of people seeking to “avoid the fecundity of their union, while continuing to satisfy to the full their sensuality”. My contention, based on experience and that of all other NFP users that I’ve had occasion to talk to, is that abstaining half the time (and because of the way in which women’s hormones work — the half during which their desire is much higher) is very much not “satisfying their full sensuality”. Yes, it’s a step up from the long periods of total abstinence which a prudent husband and wife might need to have were they not able to track the wife’s fertility, and were there serious reasons for them to not conceive at the moment, but it is very much not a satisfying “sex life” (to use the modern term). It feels incomplete.

    Indeed, the times that do tend to feel complete are when they are not engaging in periodic abstinence — either because they are hoping to conceive or in the few months right after having a baby. Thus:

    How can the practice of NFP be the best remedy to an abuse of NFP? If it was, there would be no need for Pius XII to warn against it, because its practitioners, by the very practice of NFP, would defeat this “false appreciation of life”.

    That is, in fact, exactly my point. And I would argue that it is because of the increasing realization of this over the last 50 years that the Church has come to promote NFP fairly actively: because it is to a great extent a self correcting system which, through experience, teaching Catholic couples the Church’s understanding of the nature of sexuality.

    This doesn’t mean that those who don’t use it (or any other way of spacing children) have a less perfect understanding. Rather, it is the best practical counter to the contraceptive mentality. Those who wish to space their children and commit to doing so through NFP (rather than succumbing to some immoral means of avoiding conception) learn at a very deep and experiential level the inextricable connection between sexual intimacy and procreation, and that the “fullness” of marital intimacy can only be achieved when the couple is ready to get pregnant.

    “A man having sex with his wife is not wrong.”

    Even if he wears a condom?

    Now you’re knowingly taking me out of context. You and I both know that to the Church’s mind there is no similarity between a couple having fully natural intercourse while knowing they are unlikely to conceive, and using artificial means to strip the marital act of its fecundity.

  • Darwin Catholic: While nursing a child may not have an impact on ovulation, nursing a child does make an impression on the husband who surrenders his wife to be the mother of his child. Perhaps that is what makes his wife so desireable. “To have and to hold” to remember that moment of procreation in each other’s arms….

  • Having sex while married is licit.
    A married couple agreeing to not having sex is licit.
    Becoming aware of your fertility so that the couple knows when sex is unlikely to lead to conception is licit.
    Using this information to make a decision about whether or not to have sex is licit.

    Therefore, using fertility awareness to avoid pregnancy is, in itself, ALWAYS morally licit.

    Like anything else, of course, it may be done for selfish or improper reasons. But the sin is the selfishness, not the means of how pregnancy is avoided. Still, the abstinence is difficult enough that this problem is often self-correcting in most couples. For those for whom it is not, there is usually some other relational, sexual, or emotional problem or the couple is sub-fertile and the abstinence is shorter and not that much of a burden.

    I think the idea that fertility can be pinpointed with 99% accuracy is “too good to be true” for some people and they are trying to find sin where there is none.

    As for re-marketing, Billings LIFE (Australia) http://www.thebillingsovulationmethod.org/ seems to have done a good job in marketing NFP (which they call “fertility education”) to a secular audience. They put medical information first, which is what fertility awareness is. Fertility education and Catholic theology are two different things and combining them weakens both. Often this leads to the absurdity of promoting something that is “99% effective at preventing pregnancies” as a way of being “open to life”.

Randians on the Right

Monday, February 13, AD 2012

Speaking as a former Rick Perry supporter, I promise you that not all of us are petulant brats.  I cannot speak for others, unfortunately.

Red State’s all-out assault on Santorum comes as no surprise.  This is a blog that perceives all who fail short of achieving purity as a conservative (whatever that’s supposed to mean) as heretics.  So they have taken a few incidents where Santoum fell short – and in some cases, he did cast a wrong vote or endorsed the wrong candidate – and have now transformed Santorum into some kind of statist.

The shrill attacks on Red State are to be expected.  What’s disappointing is seeing an otherwise insightful blogger like Ace of Spades hyperventilate ignorantly about Santorum.  What set Ace off was this comment by Santorum from much earlier in the campaign:

One of the things I will talk about that no president has talked about before is I think the dangers of contraception in this country, the whole sexual libertine idea … Many in the Christian faith have said, “Well, that’s okay … contraception’s okay.”

It’s not okay because it’s a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be. They’re supposed to be within marriage, for purposes that are, yes, conjugal … but also procreative. That’s the perfect way that a sexual union should happen. We take any part of that out, we diminish the act. And if you can take one part out that’s not for purposes of procreation, that’s not one of the reasons, then you diminish this very special bond between men and women, so why can’t you take other parts of that out? And all of a sudden, it becomes deconstructed to the point where it’s simply pleasure. And that’s certainly a part of it—and it’s an important part of it, don’t get me wrong—but there’s a lot of things we do for pleasure, and this is special, and it needs to be seen as special.

Ace is displeased:

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33 Responses to Randians on the Right

  • I don’t want to over-generalize here as there are obviously exceptions, but it’s hard to miss the deep resentment towards traditional morality expressed in certain quarters on the right, often by young, single individuals who are perhaps not as sympathetic to traditional conservatism as those who have moved on from that lifestyle.

    THIS.

    I’ve mentioned before– maybe not here, I’m not sure– but hard-line libertarianism seems to be ideology of choice for those who would be anarchists, but they like getting paid for their work.

    More sympathetically, it’s a lot easier to “win” with libertarianism– there are a few core beliefs, you don’t compromise on anything, and there’s not a lot of history to hold against it. It’s like “conservatism redesigned to use the liberal playbook.”

    Amusingly, I recently had a conversation with my husband that boiled down to him pointing out that people our age aren’t usually going to accept an obligation of the sort moral conservatism involves.

  • (You would not BELIEVE how much re-writing I put into those three paragraphs, and I’m still not quite satisfied. Five bucks says that someone shows up and decides to take offense, rather than trying to understand the point. I don’t think anyone would take the bet on your post, that’s a sucker’s bet.)

  • Paul:

    One major problem from a purely political perspective:

    One wants the GOP nominee to be able to rally the relevant camps within the GOP “big tent.”

    One of those is the libertarian-leaning portion, which at last look was about 15% of those who typically vote Republican.

    Now, the GOP-leaning libertarians are pro-life libertarians, largely. The Bill Mahr (or however that clod’s name is spelled) kind of “libertarians” define libertarianism so as to make it identical to libertinism, and all all going to vote for Obama in the end because they care only for sexual libertinism and not a whit for the liberty of the unborn or the infirm or for free markets.

    So it isn’t Santorum’s pro-life credentials that will turn off the libertarian-leaning portion of the GOP. Indeed, being pro-life is a requirement of libertarianism, if one is well-informed enough to know that a fetal human is a human.

    But Santorum has twice now stated his opposition to libertarians and libertarianism by saying they (and I quote) “believe in having no government.”

    This is a problem. It is basic ignorance of libertarianism.

    Libertarians don’t believe in no government. Libertarians believe in government’s use of violence or the threat thereof — which is to say, all government’s activity — to be limited to those areas of policy in which violence or the threat thereof is morally justified. And Libertarians believe that the only areas of policy in which violence or the threat thereof is morally justified are those involved in deterring, halting, or punishing the violation of one innocent person’s life, liberty, or property rights by another person or persons. Libertarians believe that policies directly involved with such violations offer clear and sufficient justification for violence or the threat thereof; policies indirectly or tenuously involved with such violations offer only tenuous justification for government action; and policies not even tenuously involved with such violations offer no justification for violence at all and therefore no justification for government activity.

    That’s it, in a nutshell.

    And it’s a view which resonates well with Catholic teaching in at least some ways. It recognizes that violence (whether done by an individual, or the armies of a nation-state, or by the police) is always something requiring extraordinary justification — like the requirements of a Just War. (It is morally nonsensical to have a very high threshold of justification for holding prisoner another nation’s soldiers captured at war, but a very low threshold of justification for arresting a man captured in peacetime activity.)

    I don’t think Santorum knows that this is the libertarian view. At least, his public pronouncements show no recognition of the existence of pro-life libertarians (not a majority, but a large minority). He shows no recognition of the distinction between libertarian and libertine. He shows no understanding of what libertarians think.

    And he shows no recognition of the notion that maybe something being a morally wrong thing is not, by itself, sufficient justification for outlawing it. Since outlawing it requires empowering government to use violence (to lock up those who do the morally wrong thing, and to shoot them if they try to escape), it must not merely be morally wrong, it must be morally wrong and of a character for which forcible opposition is fitting.

    Generally, that means a moral wrong which is, itself, forcible. Rape may be opposed by force; it is forcible. Theft may be opposed by force; it is forcible. Fraud may be opposed by force; it is forcible (for to make someone, through trickery, do what they otherwise would not have done is to wield intellectual force over them). Violation of legitimate contract is fraud and is therefore forcible.

    Libertarians support strong government to oppose all these kinds of evils. Santorum’s comments suggest he’s unaware of this.

    So I fear that 15% of the GOP electorate, if Santorum is the nominee, will be turned off and possibly turned away for no better reason than that Santorum is ignorant about them, and consequently believes statists’ popular libel against them.

    And libertarians (and libertarian-leaning conservatives) consequently begin to believe Santorum is a statist, who hopes not only to outlaw abortion (which he should) and Federal funding for Planned Parenthood (which he should) but also sales of condoms…all while caring not a whit about crony capitalism and corporate welfare. They begin to suspect that Santorum is fine with government using its compulsory power to pick winners, as long as they’re supporters of conservative causes.

    I don’t think a GOP nominee can win the general election, if he shows utter disregard for that whole arm of the Reagan coalition. (An increasingly larger and more youthful segment, please note.)

    So that’s a political problem. A very solvable one, I think, if the man would just show himself aware of libertarian concerns and sensitive to the moral limits of government activity, instead of just repeating ignorant misunderstandings about libertarians.

  • They need to understand that Obama must be stopped.

    That probably means nominating a GOP candidate that constantly emphasizes jobs, jobs; is not 100% of the time pounding for legalizing weed, ending all “entangling alliances”, and abolishing the Fed. Not that that is bad. But, those are not the main threats to our liberty and our way of life.

    The ones I know are really nice people. And, the Fed certainly needs to be pushed back to being the clearing house and lender of last resort for banks.

    If he gets another term, Obama pack the supreme court and repeal the Second Amendment, etc. Health care will permanently retard economic growth: you will look back on full-employment as a dream of your youth.

    If the libertarians are turned off by the GOP, Obama will get four more years to finish us off.

  • If the media can paint Santorum as a guy who wants to take away everyone’s pills and condoms, not only libertarians but many, many Protestant social conservatives (who make up the majority of socons in this country) will stay at home or vote against him. Do you think a married Baptist in Alabama who uses the Pill and sees nothing wrong with that is going to read Human Vitae or the Theology of the Body and come around to the Church’s position on BC? Heck, while I don’t believe the Guttmacher figures stating 97% of Catholics use artifical BC, let’s be honest – many, many of them do. Outside of the Tridentine Masses, I don’t see a lot of families with more than 3 kids.

    I agree that Ace willfully ignored evidence which shows Santorum is not going to ban BC; however, remember that just last week he wrote a great critique of the HHS directive. And I believe the man is pro-life as well. He’s way overreacting here, but I wouldn’t call him a heartless Randian.

    We are falling right into the trap being set for us by leftists, who want to turn the discussion away from the violation of religious freedom and make it into a debate about “ooooh, my, scary, weird Santorum wants to take your birth control pills away! The Catholics want to impose a theocracy!” That keeps the focus off of Obama’s dismal economic record.

  • Libertarians believe that the only areas of policy in which violence or the threat thereof is morally justified are those involved in deterring, halting, or punishing the violation of one innocent person’s life, liberty, or property rights by another person or persons.

    And yet the arch-typical figurehead, Ron Paul, disagrees with this when he wants to push actually killing the most innocent people possible down to a state level. About the only libertarians I know who have a sizable minority of pro-lifers are the Catholic ones; even my husband went from being a Republican leaning Libertarian to a libertarian leaning Republican before he was pro-life for non-tactical reasons.

    I’ll gladly admit some cynical amusement– as long as I’ve been politically aware, fiscal conservatives have been haranguing the “SoCons” about how they need to accept candidates who don’t agree with them on social issues to fight the liberals. Time for some Gander Sauce.

    Donna V-
    so we fight the lies the media puts out. What else would we do? We know they’re going to lie like a rug, and it looks like there are libertarian conservatives who will gladly help them spread the false claim that Santorum is coming for your Pill.

    The Catholics want to impose a theocracy!

    *lightbulb* Hey, isn’t that an angle they used against JFK?
    Can someone who actually remembers back then maybe cook up some sort of a response based on that?

  • “I’ll gladly admit some cynical amusement– as long as I’ve been politically aware, fiscal conservatives have been haranguing the “SoCons” about how they need to accept candidates who don’t agree with them on social issues to fight the liberals. Time for some Gander Sauce.”

    Yep. What you said, Foxfier.

  • Ron Paul is a fair-weather libertarian apparently. When asked about the imaginary “right to privacy” created in the Griswold case and brought to fruition in Roe v. Wade, all Paul could weakly say is that there IS a right to privacy, referring to the Fourth Amendment, which of course, specifically refers to the right against illegal search and seizure.

    Now, for such a staunch “constitutionalist” I find this very ironic.

  • I agree with Donna. The American people aren’t going to elect a guy President if he runs as an anti-contraception candidate. Saying that he only wishes to use the bully pulpit to speak out about the dangers of contraception is not, repeat not, going to reassure voters on this score. That’s not to say that Santorum is wrong on the issue. He’s not. But it’s still a view held by only a small minority of Americans. My hope is that Santorum understands this and that the comment Ace quoted was/will be an isolated lapse. Otherwise we could be in real trouble.

  • What Blackadder said. The administration is rocked back on its heels with the HHS mandate–focus on that as the social issue. Otherwise, stick with fighting on the economy and this administration’s cluelessness on it.

  • Santorum merely responds when asked about it that he supports Catholic teaching against contraception. He then notes that he has voted for government funding of contraception under TItle 10 and would not favor legislation seeking to ban contraception. The video below is from 2006:

  • Once again I will let noted Christian so-con Jeff Goldstein dismantle Ace’s arguments (language warning).

    Oh, and I see that Ace and his co-bloggers are doubling down today. Hell hath no fury like a blogger whose favorite candidate was scorned.

  • Let’s see., he says he stands by the Church teaching on contraception, but supported government funding of contraception. Sorry, Rick can’t have it both ways.

  • Of course you can Greg. I accept the teachings of the Church on divorce. That doesn’t mean if I were a legislator that I must lead a futile effort to ban divorce or strip funding from courts that hear divorce cases. I do appreciate the bleak humor of Santorum taking fire for being too hard and too soft on contraceptives. The simple truth is that there is no way on God’s green earth that contraceptives could be banned in this country at the present time, and that any candidate suggesting such would be committing political seppuku.

  • Mac, that would be a good politician.

    Santorum doesn’t have a chance.

    Obama can point to $1.81 gasoline prices the day before he took over and tout today’s $3.50 (earliest date gas hit that level)! It’ll probably be $5 a gallon by Summer. Yeah, that ought to him re-elected.

    Santorum doesn’t have a prayer.

    Obama can sing about improving unemployment rates when tent cities are rapidly expanding. That’ll get Obama re-elected.

    Hey, if they live in tents they don’t count.

    Walter Russell Mead: WH flubs BC compromise: “First the Obama administration managed to alienate both its liberal supporters and its religious critics by pushing and then pulling back its HHS contraception mandate. Now the White House has succeeded in hitting the political sour spot yet again by producing a compromise designed to placate the Catholic bishops…without consulting the Catholic bishops.”

    Briliant!

  • Let’s see., he says he stands by the Church teaching on contraception, but supported government funding of contraception. Sorry, Rick can’t have it both ways.

    If the line item is in an appropriations bill that funds the entire foreign aid apparat, it does create rather a dilemma for the legislator (unless he favors dismantling the foreign aid apparat).

    We had a similar controversy here in New York many years ago when the question arose as to whether the Right-to-Life Party (now defunct) should refuse to endorse legislators who had voted in favor of passing the state budget. New York was the odd state that had retained Medicaid funding of abortions.

  • The American people aren’t going to elect a guy President if he runs as an anti-contraception candidate.

    Depends on who he is running against, and what the ambient circumstances are.

  • tom: The right to privacy extends to the womb. Nature’s God does not allow invasion of privacy of the unborn in the womb. Any attempt to abort the unborn is a violation of privacy in its truest sense. A murdered victim, whose body is concealed in a closet, warrants search to be rescued from the crime/crimnal without the proscribed legal warrant, because the person is dead but not annihilated. Any evidence collected from such a search without a legal warrant, revealing a murdered victim to be set free, rescued, is evidence admissible in a court of law through the sovereign personhood of the victim. Searches to find jewelry, art or anything that is not a person is illegal.

  • Oh, Don, you may accpet the teaching on divorce, but you certainly don’t understand it if you gonna go with that ridiculous line of reasoning. You see, the Church allows civil divorce. Look it up in Catechism if you don’t believe me. Not the same with contraception. I was not talking about leading an effort to criminalize contraception, but voting IN FAVOR of forcing taxpayers (many of whom are Catholics) to pick up the tab for people’s contraceptive use. This is really not much difference in substance with what the Obama administration’s HHS mandate.

  • P.S. In fact, diocesan tribunals require that petioners present a civil divorce decree before they will even begin to process requests for decree of nullity.

  • wE ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT CONTRACEPTION BAN. We are talking about the funding of contraception. On some level people using “the pill” know that it is wrong. It seems to me that they want to blame Santorum for their addiction to the pill. If they are honest, and Santorum removes funding for BC, they need to feel relief. It would not hurt if they realized that Obama’s math is different from their arithmetic. Funding for BC involves ten for Obama and one for the taxpayer. In this way, they could buy eleven times the BC for the cost of one from Obama. SANTORUM DOES NOT WANT TO BE AN ACCOMPLICE TO THEIR EMBOLISM.

  • Yeah, Ace has gone nuts on Santorum again today. I think I’ll be avoiding the HQ for a while. He did a lot of needlessly destroying of non-Perry candidates before he dropped out (I supported Perry to the bitter end. Sigh.) and now that he’s on the Romney bandwagon it’s death to the “unelectable” non-Romney’s. These threads are getting pretty vicious, too. And I’m seeing a lot of anti-Catholic and anti-general Christianity sentiment being expressed over there right now. Very disturbing.

  • “Oh, Don, you may accpet the teaching on divorce, but you certainly don’t understand it if you gonna go with that ridiculous line of reasoning.”

    Complete and total rubbish Greg, and betokens a fundamental lack of understanding of the Church on your part in regard to divorce. The catechism provisions demonstrate that:

    2382 The Lord Jesus insisted on the original intention of the Creator who willed that marriage be indissoluble. He abrogates the accommodations that had slipped into the old Law. Between the baptized, “a ratified and consummated marriage cannot be dissolved by any human power or for any reason other than death.”

    2383 The separation of spouses while maintaining the marriage bond can be legitimate in certain cases provided for by canon law. If civil divorce remains the only possible way of ensuring certain legal rights, the care of the children, or the protection of inheritance, it can be tolerated and does not constitute a moral offense.

    2384 Divorce is a grave offense against the natural law. It claims to break the contract, to which the spouses freely consented, to live with each other till death. Divorce does injury to the covenant of salvation, of which sacramental marriage is the sign. Contracting a new union, even if it is recognized by civil law, adds to the gravity of the rupture: the remarried spouse is then in a situation of public and permanent adultery:

    If a husband, separated from his wife, approaches another woman, he is an adulterer because he makes that woman commit adultery; and the woman who lives with him is an adulteress, because she has drawn another’s husband to herself.

    2385 Divorce is immoral also because it introduces disorder into the family and into society. This disorder brings grave harm to the deserted spouse, to children traumatized by the separation of their parents and often torn between them, and because of its contagious effect which makes it truly a plague on society.

    As recently as 2002 Pope John Paul II was stating that attorneys should refuse to undertake divorce cases:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2002/01/29/world/john-paul-says-catholic-bar-must-refuse-divorce-cases.html

    http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/pope0264xh.htm

    Your criticisms of Santorum would be equally applicable to all Catholic legislators who refuse to strip funding from courts handling divorces.

  • Mandy, I agree, Ace has come a little unglued. What’s striking is that on top of the ideological differences he is motivated by this fear that Santorum can’t win (funny, since not that long ago he was arguing against Romney’s inevitability). The thing about that: Santorum’s social conservatism is in line with the majority on most things. His personal feelings about contraception are another thing, and that’s why the Dems are pivoting hard on contraception.

    I don’t normally agree much with Dick Morris, but he’s right about the Dems ceding the ground on an issue like abortion where they are increasingly out of touch with where most people are headed, and are focusing on an issue where the public would seem to be in line with their beliefs. That’s what is disappointing about what Ace is doing. He is actually conceding leftist talking points and giving them more ammo. Because if this is a debate about religious liberty, Santorum is with a majority of the people.

  • Don, because civil divorce does not invalidate sacramental marriage, a civil dorce is morally permissible under certain circumstances.

    “2383 The separation of spouses while maintaining the marriage bond can be legitimate in certain cases provided for by canon law. If civil divorce remains the only possible way of ensuring certain legal rights, the care of the children, or the protection of inheritance, it can be tolerated and does not constitute a moral offense.”

    Sacramental marriage is indissoulable whereas non-sacramental marriages can be dissolved, hence the Pauline privilege. Strictly civil marriages do not carry sacramental weight.

    This citation you provide proves my point. Now, iunless you can provide something that says the same for contraception, I’ll save you trouble because you can’t, then your shilling for Santorum on this has absolutely no basis. Whereas my calling him out does.

    As to JPII’s urging attorneys to refuse to take divroce cases, notice the qualifer “should’ as opposed to “must”. THat’s the operative word there.

    Really Don, if you are gonaa accuse me of misunderstanding Church teaching on anything, please at least take the time to learn the difference between prudential judgments and doctrinal imperatives.

  • You still miss the point Greg. The Church is against adamantly against divorce. It reluctantly allows participation in it where it is the only way to protect other rights as listed in 2383.

    John Paul’s Discourse to the Roman Rota of January 28, 2002 which I linked to indicates that clearly in this passage:

    “Among the initiatives should be those that aim at obtaining the public recognition of indissoluble marriage in the civil juridical order (cf. ibid., n. 17). Resolute opposition to any legal or administrative measures that introduce divorce or that equate de facto unions — including those between homosexuals — with marriage must be accompanied by a pro-active attitude, acting through juridical provisions that tend to improve the social recognition of true marriage in the framework of legal orders that unfortunately admit divorce.”

    In regard to contraceptives actually the Church has allowed their use in very limited circumstances in regard to disease.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/22/world/europe/22pope.html

    As in the case of divorce, use is permitted where it is not undertaken to reach a forbidden end: divorce or contraception, but for other purposes, custody of children or to stop the spread of disease.

  • Paul Z.,

    What kills me is that he’s doing the same purity nonsense he’s accused others of. If you don’t agree with his brand of conservatism you’re a dirty statist. His comments to you were pretty out there and he went off on the poster Y-not as well; he gave her both barrels for supposedly trying to force him to convert to Catholicism. It was bizarre.

    The thing is, even though he wrote a really good piece about the contraceptive mandate the other day, I think his disdain for whoever is not currently his candidate- in this case the target is Santorum- is so palpable right now that he’s going way over the top in his attacks implying things that were never actually said. And in the comments section- and apparently on twitter- today he even went down the Karen-Santorum-is-creepy route, using her personal past to bash the both of them, which has been off limits as far as Mrs. Obama goes over there. Because, racism. So yeah, I think it’s got a lot to do with him being angry that Perry never took and now his next candidate of choice is faltering as well. It’s a gigantic temper tantrum. On a blog.

  • No, contraception is NOT allowed even for the purposes of stopping the spread of disease. This is something both Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI made clear. In fact, when B16 made the statement regarding condoms in an interview with Peter Seewald that got spun as him giving his approval under those circumstances, he prefaces those remarks with saying that it is not morally permissible. Only that it might signal something positive regarding the INTENTIONS of those who take such a position. Don, you really need to do your homework on these issues.

  • Here is what Benedict XVI actually says. From page 119 of Light of the World:

    Question from Peter Seewald:

    “Are you saying, then, that the Catholic Church is actually not opposed to in principle to the use of condoms?”

    Answer from Pope Benedict XVI:

    “She of course does not regard it as a real or moral solution, but, in this or thast case, there can be nonetheless, in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality.”

    And since condoms are the only form of contraception that even have the prospect of preventing disease, the idea that contraceptives, the idea that contraceptives are a morally permissible means of preventing sexually transmitted diseases even as deadly as AIDS, is not consistent with Church teaching.

    Now, Don please find a more reliable source than the NY Slimes if you are going to try and argue with me on matters of Catholic morality. Okay?

  • Actually Greg the story quoted the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Here is a link to the note in which the Congregation explained the Pope’s remark:

    “This norm belongs to the tradition of the Church and was summarized succinctly by Pope Paul VI in paragraph 14 of his Encyclical Letter Humanae vitae, when he wrote that “also to be excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means.” The idea that anyone could deduce from the words of Benedict XVI that it is somehow legitimate, in certain situations, to use condoms to avoid an unwanted pregnancy is completely arbitrary and is in no way justified either by his words or in his thought. On this issue the Pope proposes instead – and also calls the pastors of the Church to propose more often and more effectively (cf. Light of the World, p. 147) – humanly and ethically acceptable ways of behaving which respect the inseparable connection between the unitive and procreative meaning of every conjugal act, through the possible use of natural family planning in view of responsible procreation.

    On the pages in question, the Holy Father refers to the completely different case of prostitution, a type of behaviour which Christian morality has always considered gravely immoral (cf. Vatican II, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, n. 27; Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2355). The response of the entire Christian tradition – and indeed not only of the Christian tradition – to the practice of prostitution can be summed up in the words of St. Paul: “Flee from fornication” (1 Cor 6:18). The practice of prostitution should be shunned, and it is the duty of the agencies of the Church, of civil society and of the State to do all they can to liberate those involved from this practice.

    In this regard, it must be noted that the situation created by the spread of AIDS in many areas of the world has made the problem of prostitution even more serious. Those who know themselves to be infected with HIV and who therefore run the risk of infecting others, apart from committing a sin against the sixth commandment are also committing a sin against the fifth commandment – because they are consciously putting the lives of others at risk through behaviour which has repercussions on public health. In this situation, the Holy Father clearly affirms that the provision of condoms does not constitute “the real or moral solution” to the problem of AIDS and also that “the sheer fixation on the condom implies a banalization of sexuality” in that it refuses to address the mistaken human behaviour which is the root cause of the spread of the virus. In this context, however, it cannot be denied that anyone who uses a condom in order to diminish the risk posed to another person is intending to reduce the evil connected with his or her immoral activity. In this sense the Holy Father points out that the use of a condom “with the intention of reducing the risk of infection, can be a first step in a movement towards a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality.” This affirmation is clearly compatible with the Holy Father’s previous statement that this is “not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection.”

    Some commentators have interpreted the words of Benedict XVI according to the so-called theory of the “lesser evil”. This theory is, however, susceptible to proportionalistic misinterpretation (cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Veritatis splendor, n. 75-77). An action which is objectively evil, even if a lesser evil, can never be licitly willed. The Holy Father did not say – as some people have claimed – that prostitution with the use of a condom can be chosen as a lesser evil. The Church teaches that prostitution is immoral and should be shunned. However, those involved in prostitution who are HIV positive and who seek to diminish the risk of contagion by the use of a condom may be taking the first step in respecting the life of another – even if the evil of prostitution remains in all its gravity. This understanding is in full conformity with the moral theological tradition of the Church.”

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/resources/note-of-the-congregation-for-the-doctrine-of-the-faith-on-the-popes-condom

  • Don,

    None this argues for the justification of the use of contraceptives even to prevent disease. Contraception is an intrinsic evil, whereas civil divorce is not. To equate the two as you have done is flat out intellectually dishonest.

  • This is the week to save ‘intellectually dishonest’ for the proclamations of the Executive Branch.

  • “None this argues for the justification of the use of contraceptives even to prevent disease. Contraception is an intrinsic evil, whereas civil divorce is not. To equate the two as you have done is flat out intellectually dishonest.”

    Reading comprehension Greg is obviously not your strong point in this debate. The prostitute in the Pope’s example clearly was not engaging in an intrinsically evil act by using the condom to prevent disease. That much is clear from this passage in the note:

    “Some commentators have interpreted the words of Benedict XVI according to the so-called theory of the “lesser evil”. This theory is, however, susceptible to proportionalistic misinterpretation (cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Veritatis splendor, n. 75-77). An action which is objectively evil, even if a lesser evil, can never be licitly willed. The Holy Father did not say – as some people have claimed – that prostitution with the use of a condom can be chosen as a lesser evil. The Church teaches that prostitution is immoral and should be shunned. However, those involved in prostitution who are HIV positive and who seek to diminish the risk of contagion by the use of a condom may be taking the first step in respecting the life of another – even if the evil of prostitution remains in all its gravity. This understanding is in full conformity with the moral theological tradition of the Church.”

    None of that would have made any sense at all if the prostitute’s use of the condom to prevent disease was intrinsically evil.

Is The USCCB Responsible for ObamaCare?

Friday, July 16, AD 2010

The American Life League (ALL) is making a strong case of placing most of the blame for passage of ObamaCare squarely on the shoulders of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

What the ALL is alleging is that the USCCB was very desperate to push for universal health coverage that they compromised on some key principles.  One of which was that of abortion where instead of fighting against abortion they decided to stick their heads in the ground and use “abortion neutral” language.

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10 Responses to Is The USCCB Responsible for ObamaCare?

  • It was imprudent for the USCCB to advocate for universal health care. While it is important and appropriate for the USCCB to explain the moral rules of engagement regarding access to health care, how a society can best satisfy those moral imperatives is outside its competency. Its opinions are no more or less instructive or insightful than mine, yours, etc. One of the most important moral rules of engagement regarding health care is that abortion is unacceptable.

  • I agree with Mike, but this is BS. The bishops (who certainly favor HC reform of some sort and in many or most cases prefer a government based system) were one of the loudest and most influential voices against abortion and the lack of conscience provisions. If it weren’t for them and other pro-life orgs like NRTL Obamacare would have steamrolled through with generous abortion provisions. In large part it was their influence with “pro-life” Dems that resulted in making the matter an obstacle to be overcome by Dem leadership and gaining what little protections there are.

  • There = their. Illiterate or something.

  • RL,

    Got it fixed for you buddy.

    Cardinal George personally telephoned pro-life GOPers to push for the pro-life amendment when it was in the House.

    He didn’t do any such thing when Bart Stupak and his Benedict Arnold’s reversed course and put the death sentence on innocent unborn children.

  • I’m with RL. The USCCB was one of the loudest opponents of ObamaCare. To say that they are somehow responsible for it passing is bizarre.

  • Thanks Tito.

    The bishops spoke to anyone and everyone who would listen. They made it clear to Stupak too. The bishops were rightfully disappointed in the “pro-life” Dems that changed their vote, and outraged at the shenanigans and betrayal of the CHA. I use the owrd outraged because that is pretty much what it would take for them to speak so disapprovingly publicly.

  • Why is it that anyone continues to think that our bishops are men of honor? Which of them would accept martyrdom in support of Church? Why was it necessary for the Vatican to issue rules about the protection of children?

    Blind mouths, as Milton called them.

    Blind mouths! that scarce themselves know how to hold
    A sheep-hook, or have learn’d aught else the least That to the faithful herdman’s art belongs!
    What recks it them? What need they? They are sped;
    And when they list, their lean and flashy songs
    Grate on their scrannel pipes of wretched straw:
    The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed,
    But swoln with wind and the rank mist they draw
    Rot inwardly, and foul contagion spread:
    Besides what the grim wolf with privy paw
    Daily devours apace, and nothing said:

  • Gabriel,
    I think you paint with an exceedingly broad and uncharitable brush. And to answer your insulting rhetorical question, I bet quite a few would accept martyrdom if it came to that — but like STM have no interest in initiating or accelerating the process.

  • Politics are a problem for the USCCB. There are many so called “Catholics” who continue their support of todays culture and relativisms in Congress. The only fault of these Bishops , for most of them , is their inability in their teaching of the Church’s tenets to really enforced these teachings on those politicians after meetings and consultations with these so called “catholics” who continue to support the culture of death. A good example is the record of Nancy Pelosi and yet the extreme measure of excomunication is not used. These leaves many of the laity to wonder why they also can not pick and choose what tenets they may or may not follow, or disagree with, or why if these politicians are are able to cotinue their ” standing ” in the Church why then can’t they.

  • Mike Petrik said Friday, July 16, 2010 A.D.
    “Gabriel,
    I think you paint with an exceedingly broad and uncharitable brush. And to answer your insulting rhetorical question, I bet quite a few would accept martyrdom if it came to that — but like STM have no interest in initiating or accelerating the process”.

    My point is quite simple: our bishops are failing in their duty. Compare ours with the bishops in China, Vietnam, Africa.
    A.N.Whitehead described religion in our time as “decoration for comfortable lives”. Our bishops are afraid; they congregate behind the chancery walls and the bureaucratic pomposities of the USCCB.

    Consider but the inanities of Fr. McBrien, published in so many diocesan papers. Uncharitable is permitting his misleading notions to be published under episcopal authority. {One among many examples: Fr. McBrien believes that ensoulment of the fetus happens three months after conception – which is to say that an abortion before the 3rd month is not murder].

    Bishops like hanging around politicians. They are not unlike the Arian bishops who delighted in being received at the court in Constantinople. Plus ca change…

Real Sex vs. the Contraceptive Mentality (Part 2)

Tuesday, June 22, AD 2010

[Continued from Part 1]

Restraint, Relationships and Planning Parenthood

When I say that we “naturally want to avoid having children” at certain times, I would imagine that the image that comes immediately to mind is of birth control, abortion or infanticide, and most traditional societies have seen these in some form or other. However, I’d like to turn our attention to something so basic and so prevalent that we don’t think about it much.

From an anthropological point of view, the entire structure of our romantic and family relationships serves as a way to control childbearing, limiting it to situations in which offspring can be supported. Consider: Requiring that young women remain virgins until marriage ensured that children will not be born without a provider. Nor was the decision to marry, when it came, a strictly individual affair. Marriage was negotiated and approved by the wider families, because the families were in effect committing to help support the new family unit being created. Many cultures also required the husband’s family to pay a “bride price”, not simply as compensation for the lost contribution of the daughter to her own family, but as proof that the husband was of sufficient means to start a family.

Once in place, this set of cultural mores and laws provided an easy way to adjust to want or plenty:

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12 Responses to Real Sex vs. the Contraceptive Mentality (Part 2)

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  • Chastity is very important both in and outside of marriage.

    “And the set of moral and societal norms surrounding marriage provide us with a way to manage that fact responsibly in order to have children only when we believe we can support them.”

    I agree. But, unfortunately our society’s norms and sense of morality has changed over time leading to a deterioration of family values, which has also in turn led to a break up of the traditional family unit.

    Plus, the Catholic Church has been quite remiss in promoting and teaching proper fertility treatment alternatives to IVF that are in line with Catholic teachings.

    But, Fr. Benedict Groeshel did recently host a show on Catholic fertility for couples with fertility issues.

    http://teresamerica.blogspot.com/2010/05/faithful-couple-reflects-on-issues-of.html

  • I wondered if you’d mention Ireland. People think of the Irish as baby-crazy, but that has not always been the case as you say.

  • As a cradle Catholic I agree with your assessment. The only thing I don’t agree with is the use of birth control (aka condom) when your married and don’t want children. My spouse is a Medical Doctor and also disagree with the method the church authorized since it is not as full-proof as birth-control or condom. Let me correct myself hormone birth-control we are also against. My question I guess is why is the church against condoms even in marriage?

  • Marriage requires an openness to procreating and condoms inhibit that openness or are a barrier to that openness.

    Here is chart analyzing all forms of contraception and it shows reasons why the Church is against each form of contraception.

    http://www.usccb.org/prolife/issues/nfp/action.shtml

  • Alex,

    As Teresa says, the Church’s opposition to barrier forms of birth control are based on the understanding that they falsify the procreative nature of the sex act. From a Catholic point of view, there is not a moral difference between the use of hormonal and barrier methods of birth control.

  • Alex,
    While it’s hard to see at a glance because the columns are out of alignment, the chart to which Teresa links gives typical use effectiveness ratings (it’s not specified on the page but it looks to be measured in terms of pregnancies per hundred users) for all methods. Pregnancy rates for the fertility-acceptance methods allowed by the Church are actually lower than they are for barrier contraceptives–quite a bit lower if you exclude the now disused calendar rhythm method.

    These methods do demand a high degree of self-discipline, which many couples are unwilling to impose on themselves.

  • Alex..again…abstaining when the wife is fertile teaches sexual control, which is essential and the reason why couples who utilize NFP don’t divorce or stray.

  • The problem I see with NFP is not the theoretical admissibility of the practice, but with the widespread disregard of the Church’s requirement that such mean be used only for grave reasons.

    Now customarily one does not simply judge his own case– he submits the matter to an independent person. Hence, those having recourse to these methods should be doing so only after consultation with an orthodox spiritual advisor, who can judge the facts of a couple’s situation and determine if there truly is a grave cause for avoiding cooperation in the creation of new life.

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  • Sorry, for my delay in responding back. Thank all of you for the comments. We have looked into this method further and also reading Gregory K. Popcak’s “Holy Sex!” is the ultimate guide to a fulfilling, happy, yet virtuous sexual life.” I have to recommend this book because it does lay out what NFP is in detail and makes it sound so.. much more loving … read the book if anyone was like me… Thanks

Raquel Welch and CS Lewis

Sunday, May 9, AD 2010

When I was growing up in the late Sixties and early Seventies the number one sex symbol going away was the actress Raquel Welch.  What little I had heard of her opinions seemed to be those of a conventional Hollywood liberal.  Therefore I was shocked by this column she wrote for CNN on the anniversary of the invention of the birth control pill:

Margaret Sanger opened the first American family-planning clinic in 1916, and nothing would be the same again. Since then the growing proliferation of birth control methods has had an awesome effect on both sexes and led to a sea change in moral values.

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6 Responses to Raquel Welch and CS Lewis

  • Putting these two quotations next to each other was a stroke of genius. Many thanks!

  • Amazing how these two different kind of people’s opinions could be brought together in agreement.

  • Divine Wisdom as it’s best…Thank You…GOD!!!

  • “‘I know one thing you don’t. I know the difference between right and wrong. They didn’t teach you THAT at school.’

    Rose didn’t answer; the woman was quite right: the two words meant nothing to her. Their taste was extinguished by stronger foods – Good and Evil. the woman could tell her nothing she didn’t know about these – she knew by tests as clear as mathematics that Pinkie was evil – what did it matter in that case whether he was right or wrong?

    ‘You’re crazy,’ the woman said. ‘I don’t believe you’d lift a finger if he was killing you.’

    Rose came slowly back to the outer world. She said, ‘Maybe I wouldn’t.’

    ‘If I wasn’t a kind woman I’d give you up. But I’ve got a sense of responsibility.’ Her smiles hung very insecurely when she paused at the door. ‘You can warn that young husband of yours,’ she said, ‘I’m getting warm to him. I got my plans.’ She went out and closed the door, then flung it open again for a last attack. ‘You be careful, dear,’ she said. ‘You don’t want a murderer’s baby,’ and grinned mercilessly across the bare bedroom floor. ‘You better take precautions.’

    Precautions. . . . Rose stood at the bed-end and pressed a hand against her body, as if under that pressure she could discover. . . . THAT had never entered her mind; and the thought of what she might have let herself in for came like a sense of glory. A child . . . and that child would have a child . . . it was like raising an army of friends for Pinkie. If They damned him and her, They’d have to deal with them, too. There was no end to what the two of them had done last night upon the bed: it was an eternal act.”

    (The inimicable Graham Greene, Brighton Rock)

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Sanger: "We Want To Exterminate The Negro Population"

Tuesday, February 9, AD 2010

“We Want To Exterminate The Negro Population”

— Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood. [1]

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24 Responses to Sanger: "We Want To Exterminate The Negro Population"

  • The fruit of liberalism, leftism and “Demokracy” which is but the other side of the coin whose head is “Socialism.”

  • I hate to complain, but if we’re going to win the argument on abortion, we need to be fastidious. The quote that you use as a title for this article is badly taken out of context. If you use that particular quote, you’re inviting an embarrassing refutation. Sanger said a lot of things that would offend modern people. Don’t use this one.

  • Yeah, not sure it’s a good idea to have a headline like on a blogpost. It could appear that American Catholic is saying that.

  • Interesting that EMILY’s List has an ad on this vid–are they hoping to cash in on backlash?

  • I have a different complaint. These sorts of arguments aren’t very convincing. Should we boycott Volkswagen because it began as a Nazi program? Convincing pro-choicers of their error requires addressing their concerns, not the concerns of their ancestors.

  • Gee, Volkswagen branched out from trying to kill Undesirables to trying to kill everyone?

    Dang, how did I miss that story?

  • As an American Catholic, the basis of my ‘anger’ with Planned Parenthood is that they receive Federal funding under false pretenses. They are the main US organization to procure and facilitate abortions, the US abortion-brokers, though stated reason for their existence is to provide family planning education.

    From a superficial viewpoint, founding of Planned Parenthood is not unlike the founding of Nazi party in Austria and Germany during the 1930s by a charismatic crackpot supported by those with nefarious and inhumane intent and purpose, that incidentally was detrimental to human society as a whole, and individually by outright killing of fellow humans in an effort to eliminate opposition to their supremacy.(

    The Planned Parenthood gang stoops to lies and distortions to gain political leverage and provide a political platform for one stated purpose while setting the stage for another purpose altogether, in part funded by our tax dollars. This ‘fact’ may be disputed, but I did receive 5-8 expensive colorful fliers in a State political election 3-4 years ago asking for support of their candidate because of unfair authority of ‘pharmacists making decisions about woman’s reproductive rights’ in filling certain type of prescriptions, which was indisputably wrong information.

    According to 2001 estimates, 76% Americans are Christian adherents (with 25% of US population Catholics). This ‘fact’ is barely disputable, with data showing a wide majority of Americans as Christian, and a major denomination the original Christians.

    There is a consistency between Constitutional rights and Christian beliefs that women have a basic right to bear a child, a healthy child as a gift from God, especially if provided necessary attention to fetal growth and development. So is Planned Parenthood promoting support of delivery of healthy babies, even similar to March of Dimes efforts in minimizing congenital birth defects? I think NOT. I don’t this is a debatable fact.

  • Yeah, using that as a headline was a terrible idea, it DOES make it sound like the the blog authors are the ones advocating genocide. The next conclusion one is led to by the picture of Barack Obama under the title is that Obama is the one who said it. It is not explained why a picture of Obama is even included.

  • ….because he’s standing in front of a huge wall covered with “PLANNED PARENTHOOD” in huge, red letters?

    Even if one didn’t know he’d spoken for PP in the past, it does kind of offer a large chunk of dark humor, kind of like having a chicken for the “spokesman” of KFC or something.

  • PP is no different than the KKK.

  • I think that’s a very serious concern as regards the title of this post — and given that know Tito is not able to be at the computer for long stretches at the moment, I’ve gone ahead and edited it.

  • restrainedradical’s Volkswagon comparison would be more convincing if PP no longer lauded its founder.

    Sanger’s portrait hangs in the board room of PP’s Atlanta office. Good luck finding Hitler’s portrait in any VW office.

  • The creation of an affordable People’s Car was actually one of the better and legitimate initiatives of the Third Reich (legitimate from a fascist perspective). A better comparison might be with buying Zyklon B if it were being marketed as a chemical to rid your yard of all pests from Ants to Zionists. I just don’t see that happening.

  • About the first comment… I don’t understand why all Americans seem to just misunderstand the whole of socialism? Would someone please answer?

  • Like the portraits of slaveowners in the White House?

    If the point of this post was to argue that Sanger should not be celebrated, then I join the author and I think even many PP supporters would approve Many would probably support a campaign to remove Sanger’s portrait from the boardroom. Other PP supporters might say that her racism is but a small stain on an otherwise great woman.

    But if the point is to paint PP as racist, you’ll have to provide modern-day evidence. And if the point is to discredit the larger pro-choice movement, you’ll have to tackle the issue of abortion itself, not these tangential stories of Depression-era activists.

    I only point this out because I see this sort of tactic often and I just don’t think it’s effective. To use another analogy, it’d be like someone using the priest sex scandal to imply that the Church is on a mission to molest children.

  • “But if the point is to paint PP as racist, you’ll have to provide modern-day evidence.”

    Perhaps the fact that reps of PP are on tape having no problem accepting a donation from someone who explicitly wishes to have his donation used to abort black kids.

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,338529,00.html

    Then we have the charming habit of Planned Parenthood locating their abortion clinics in or adjacent to minority neighborhoods.

  • Hey Foxfier,
    Meebbe we better get rid of the Interstate Highway system while we’re at it–that was another idea that owes some inspiration to the Nazis.;-)

  • Thanks Darwin!

    The quote is attributable 100% to Margaret Sanger.

    tour86Rocker,

    If you can come to those conclusions then let me introduce you to some truthers and birthers.

  • I agree w/ restrained radical. I’m seeing this line of attack cropping up more and more and it disturbs me b/c I think a) it’s not fully accurate and b) it’s ineffective and possibly harmful to our cause.

    The racist roots of planned parenthood and it’s founder don’t necessarily mean that’s what planned parenthood stands for today. Planned parenthood stands for unrestrained sexual freedom and abortion as their cash cow backup plan. Simple. Evil. They think they’re providing a good – that women need these “services” in order to fully realize their freedom. Sex is good. Sex without consequences is better and is the ultimate goal. So yes, they provide their evil twisted services in poor neighborhoods (which tend to be disproportionately minority populated) because that’s where their clients are. That results in a disproportionate impact on black children, but in their eyes that’s disproportionate for the good – minority women are getting what they (and all women) need. I see no evidence of a Sanger-like intent to reduce the number of black children b/c they are undesirable. Abortion and sexual freedom are the only desired ends here. As for the undercover tapes, I never found them as damning as everyone else did. Certainly it showed me that PP people have no principles (though, what do you expect from people who literally make their living on blood money). However, I don’t think it evidenced a racist motivation on their part. They think they’re providing a good and I’m SURE that look at minority specific donations as a benefit to a poor minority (like a minority specific college scholarship). That they didn’t care that the person giving the money was a racist doesn’t mean they were acting in a racially motivated way. Even the one employee who said she “was excited b/c she’d never done this before” seemed to me to be stalling for time and trying not to piss off the caller so she could still get the money. Again – no principles at all, but none of them seemed to be REALLY agreeing w/ the caller so much as yessing him just to get the money.

    We don’t need this line of argument b/c I think it is open to valid dispute. The pro-life movement has everything it needs in the scientific fact that a human life is being taken. Point out the disparate effects, sure (just like it’s good to point out that 1/3 of this generation is missing). However, it’s counterproductive to attribute that impact to a racial motivation that I see very little evidence for.

  • CT,

    I respectfully beg to differ.

    I am on the board of a pro-life organization and am quite familiar with the many practices that PP does.

    The racist beginnings of PP are carried on through their policies and actions.

    http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=57526

    I can see your point to a certain degree, but if we are playing by the liberal playing book, then PP is inheritantly racist and they should be called out for it.

    Especially when a the first president of African heritage has spoken at a PP event, it’s amazing how Margaret Sangers plan to use “social activists” within the “negro community” has panned out.

  • Perhaps the confusion is between the word ‘racist’ and ‘eugenicist’. PP is formerly named the Birth Control League and it was designed to exterminate the ‘inferiors’ so that we can be the masters of our own evolutionary process and become gods. Yeah, in its simplest form PP is the modern manifestation of the first lie.

    As for the modern agenda of PP, it is no different than it ever was. The only difference is the masterful deceit of masking the true intentions with socially acceptable images and politically correct terms.

    Anyone, especially a professed Catholic, that thinks PP is simply trying to help women make choices is sorely misguided. The are designed to kill as many babies as possible because lower-forms of humanity are a cancer on the planet and for our master race to thrive we need to reduce the population of undesirables including effete fag**ts, nig**rs, kik*s and the lowest of the low: Orthodox CATHOLICS.

    Ugly words. Face the truth. This is what PP is all about. Be honest. There is nothing defensible about this anti-human conspiracy.

    Not to mention their desire to engineer humans with embryonic stem cell and cloning technology. The massive dollar supporters of PP want to engineer eternal life for themselves to reign as gods over their homo-simian slaves. It is insanity.

  • American Knight, I’m not sure if something in my post lead you to believe PP is “simply trying to help women make choices.” I know PP has an evil agenda. But I just haven’t seen any evidence that this agenda is currently racist at an organizational level. Yes they are designed to kill as many babies as possible, but I don’t know that they care which babies they kill (ie I see no design to kill black babies b/c they’re black). They’ll kill anyone’s baby as long as they pay and I don’t think they care at all how that falls on the racial spectrum.

    Tito, I still don’t see how those investigations show racism on the part of the employees rather than an indifference to the racism of the caller so long as money is coming their way. Now, maybe that indifference IS a sort of racism and I’ll give you that. But the accusation is that PP in it’s current form carries forth the same overt/race-elimination kind of racism that it’s founder had. I would like to see more than quotes from their founders and videos showing that employees don’t care where their money comes from.

    Just for the record – I absolutely abhor PP and in NO way do I think they provide anything good for anyone. In my above post, I was referring to PP supporters’ subjective perspectives that abortion is a good thing to provide for women.

  • CT, I hope I did not make you feel as though I thought you support Planned Parenthood. I was just emphasizing that their agenda is a general reduction in population with a specific emphasis on the ‘undesirables”. The largest percentage of killing centers are in ‘minority’ neighborhoods. A third of the babies killed are black. Poor whites and South American Indians are considered as undesirable as Negros.

    Planned Parenthood is ultimately a tool of the Devil; however, it has a human face and the humans that perpetrate it are in favor of having a small white Super Race rule the world and a ‘manageable’ amount (500,000,000 or so) of sub-human, engineered homo-simian slaves. This only sounds like science fiction until the science catches up with the fiction. The fiction is not a fantasy it is an evil delusion that is shared by a sick cadre of rich trans-national eugenicists.

    To think otherwise is to disregard a large part of the New Testament. Don’t give the Devil and his minions the benefit of the doubt. The Evil One is real and he presents destruction as a pleasurable goal.

  • Here’s the thing. If a neutral person were to read that quote, “we want to exterminate the Negro population”, they’d assume that Sanger was a monster. But they might also find the whole quote on any number of internet sites:

    “The minister’s work is also important, and also he should be trained, perhaps by the Federation, as to our ideals and the goal that we hope to reach. We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs.”

    Sanger wasn’t calling for the extermination of black people in that quote, she was seeking to prevent that false impression from getting out. The truth is, she didn’t want to exterminate them, she just wanted to thin out their numbers because she believed them to be inferior. Given that truth, we shouldn’t use selective editing to make it sound worse than it is. There are plenty of words and actions of Sanger’s that can make the argument fairly.

As Our Modern, Western Culture Begins To Implode, The Catholic Church Is Our Last, Best Hope

Sunday, January 31, AD 2010

Channel surfing the other night, I came across a slew of 1980s “coming of age” movies on cable television. With all of their flaws (too much sexual innuendo, which is mild by today’s comparisons,) one can easily see a positive theme of a bright future and endless possibilities running through this genre of films. I had almost forgotten that in the 1983 film Valley Girl, Julie played by Deborah Foreman actually chastises her hippy parents for their suggestion that if she and her new boyfriend Randy, played by Nicholas Cage, want to explore their sexuality it would be alright by them.  Julie rebukes her parents for having such beliefs as well as the nostalgia surrounding their involvement in the 1960s anti war movement; after all it was the era of Ronald Reagan. Everything seemed possible; it was Morning in America again. Many of these movies were set in California which at the time exuded excitement for those of us growing up in colder, Midwest climates. Economically, California was booming and it was also the heart of a growing and diverse music scene.

Fast forward some 25+ years later and many of today’s films have a dark undercurrent with more than a little subtle leftwing political and cultural propaganda running through them. While there are certainly hopeful signs in Hollywood, especially with the advent of stars like Eduardo Verastegi and his movie Bella and associated Metanoia Films, (Click here for my interview with Eduardo Verastegui,) the secular film industry has fallen even farther into the cesspool. Sadly the Golden State’s economic boom seems but a distant memory, which was bound to occur when California’s Big Government mentality rivaled that of Sweden or the Canadian province of Quebec. The bigger question remains; is California setting the trend once again for the nation and the western world, and if it is what hope is there? The hope remains as it always has not in mortal man and the latest left wing hypothesis about the world’s failings, but in the teachings of the Catholic Church.

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4 Responses to As Our Modern, Western Culture Begins To Implode, The Catholic Church Is Our Last, Best Hope

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  • Fulton Sheen said that the time of evil would come upon mankind. Pope John Paul said a great darkness has descended on the earth. And we are living in this age of darkness and evil made transparent . The light of Christ is shining so brightly now that all of mens hearts and actions are coming into the light and being exposed for who and what they are. This is a great time of purification and God is getting ready to move mankind into a very important direction. You are either with Christ or against Him, There will be no middle ground. That is why it seems that it is all imploding but what is really happening is a time of great grace before the time of great judgement!

  • Man, where have I been for not finding your web site earlier – loved every word spoken.

    will be e-mailing you later brother. Praise Christ for you taking a stand and speaking His truth. We are so hungry for JUST the truth. Fr. John Corpie tells it like it is – and there is standing room only when he speaks somewhere. Holy Mother Church needs to feed her sheep – I am so tired of shim milk. Where is the beef that I may feed on the deep things of God.

    God bless brother – Later.

    In Christ,
    Don

If You Want The Political Left To Run Governments, Look At What The Religious Left Has Done To Religion (Left It In Tatters)

Monday, January 25, AD 2010

There is a undercurrent in American society that somehow believes that if the mafia ran things, the country would be better off. There was one city (Newark, New Jersey) where the mafia once controlled much of the city. When their grip on power was done, the city was in tatters. The same could be said for liberals running religion.

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Coakley: Faithful Catholics Shouldn't Work In Emergency Rooms

Friday, January 15, AD 2010

“Ken Pittman: Right, if you are a Catholic, and believe what the Pope teaches that any form of birth control is a sin. ah you don’t want to do that.

Martha Coakley: No we have a separation of church and state Ken, lets be clear.

Ken Pittman: In the emergency room you still have your religious freedom.

Martha Coakley: (…stammering) The law says that people are allowed to have that. You can have religious freedom but you probably shouldn’t work in the emergency room.”

A charming sentiment from Martha Coakley running for the Senate seat in Massachusetts.  For this gem, I award Ms. Coakley the second American Catholic Know-Nothing Award.  If I were living in Massachusetts, I would be out next Tuesday to cast my vote against this bigot.

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7 Responses to Coakley: Faithful Catholics Shouldn't Work In Emergency Rooms

  • If I were living in Massachusetts, I would be out next Tuesday to cast my vote against this bigot.

    I wouldn’t be so sure, Don. Massachusetts is like some inverted parallel universe where right is wrong and wrong is right – stupid is wise and wise is stupid. There’s no other way you can explain the electoral history. Ted Kennedy was a living saint in MA while in the real world he was a scoundrel. And lets not mention the legacy of Barney Frank too!

  • I assume Ms. Coakley was referring to situations in which devout, pro-life Catholics would be working in emergency rooms where they might be called upon to administer emergency contraception to rape victims.

    For her to say who should or should not be permitted to work under those conditions is, of course, the height of arrogance. This combined with her other recent statements and actions also makes me wish I could vote against her on Tuesday. (We Illinois residents, however, will have to settle for voting against Mark Kirk, the pro-abort RINO running for Obama’s old Senate seat, in the Feb. 2 primary… but I digress) I am definitely rooting for her opponent!

    However, allow me to play devil’s advocate here and suggest there MAY be a grain of truth in what Ms. Coakley said — what devout Catholic today would WANT to accept a job where they KNOW they are likely to be asked to do things that are against their conscience?

    If I were interested in pharmacy or medicine I would have to think very, very long and hard about taking a job in a retail pharmacy, an acute care hospital, a student health center on a secular college campus, or any environment where I knew contraceptives or abortafacients would be distributed. That would make about as much sense as, say, a Jew signing up to work in a meat packing plant that processes pork, or a Muslim applying for a job in a restaurant that also requires them to tend bar occasionally or regularly.

    It’s one thing if a pro-life Catholic who went into the pharmacy or medical field years ago and was never confronted with this issue before is suddenly confronted with it and forced to choose between his/her job and his conscience when the employer could easily have found someone else to do the objectionable task. And I presume there are still plenty of other doctors, nurses, pharmacists, etc. available in just about any hospital to take over morally objectionable tasks like administering emergency contraception so it’s not as if the entire operation of the hospital, etc. will come to a screeching halt.

    However, it seems to me to be a bit disengenuous to apply for and accept a job and then say “Oh, by the way, I’m not going to perform this part of my job.” If the employer does find a way to excuse you from performing the objectionable part of your job, that’s good and they should be allowed to do so; but ultimately, should they (employers) be FORCED to do so?

    I realize that what I’m suggesting means that pro-life Catholics may find their employment prospects in pharmacy or medical fields pretty limited and perhaps eventually nonexistent, which is regrettable. It would be much better, of course, if medical employers didn’t make these kind of demands, but as long as they do so, maybe faithful Catholics really should think twice about working in emergency rooms.

  • Elaine, I couldn’t disagree more, the First Amendment doesn’t say “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; except for Catholics”.

    I understand what you are saying as a matter of prudence, but exceptions for religious reasons are made every day for a myriad of beliefs (i.e. wearing head scarfs etc). If Catholics capitulate on conscience issues then the secular society will see that as a sign of weakness and run roughshod over them.

    What Catholics DO need however is a truly Catholic Health care system that practices what it preaches – something that has and remains harder and harder to find as Catholic hospitals sell their souls to secular society in mergers & acquisitions. Fortunately God is raising up leaders in this area like:

    The Tepeyac Family Center
    http://www.tepeyacfamilycenter.com/

    Divine Mercy Pharmacy
    http://www.dmcpharm.com/

    Maybe such efforts like this should be the focus of the USCCB instead of funding groups like ACORN and issuing “Catholic Climate Covenants”

  • JB: The establishment clause has nothing to do with any issue related to abortion, since the evil of abortion falls not under the category of revealed precept but natural law. According even to Catholic teaching, a Catholic wouldn’t have to bring religion into the equation to refuse distributing the morning after pill.

  • Rick,

    I wouldn’t be so sure, Don. Massachusetts is like some inverted parallel universe where right is wrong and wrong is right – stupid is wise and wise is stupid

    Very succinct!

  • Meet the new junior senator from Massachusetts!

  • I don’t know about that one, Zach. Every article and op-ed I’ve read today sounds like “doom-and-gloom” for Coakley, including among the liberal Left. They sound as if their daggers are out for her and that they’ve all but given up on her potential to win–there isn’t a bus big enough for her to be thrown under, from the way they are reading the tea leaves. We can only hope Brown pulls the upset and puts the nail in the coffin of the atrocious HCR bills now being constructed behind closed doors!

The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism Because The Pope of Christian Unity (Pope Benedict XVI) Is Gathering the Scattered Flocks Left Behind by Those Who Thought They Knew Better Than The Church

Sunday, November 22, AD 2009

The Catholic Church has always had a bull’s-eye attached to it, and in truth many of us wouldn’t want it any other way, for when we are almost universally loved, as has happened a few times in the last 40 years we have become “of the world,” instead of suffering for the world.”  Lately, during the pontificates of Pope John Paul II and now Pope Benedict XVI dark forces have gathered at the gates of truth attacking the Church for a variety of long held beliefs.  These beliefs can range from the theological to the social. However, following the US Election of 2008 a tidal wave seems to have inundated the Church from the mainstream media, the political realm and even the entertainment world. The Church’s 2,000 year old teachings and beliefs have been attacked in the United States and Western Europe from elected officials, the mainstream media and well known entertainment celebrities. Some of the faithful have become discouraged and questioned me as to how the thesis of my book, The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism, could possibly be true in light of this news.

The truth of the matter is that against this troubling backdrop the Church continues to grow around the world, especially in African and Asia but even in North America, where much of the onslaught against the Church has emanated. Seminaries and Mother Houses often have no room for those pursuing a vocation and those young African and Asian men and women are often sent to the US or Europe to explore their vocation. Even in the US and pockets of Europe seminaries are experiencing a mini boom. One seminary rector told me that in the 40+ plus years of being affiliated with the Church, he has never seen a longer sustained period of top notch orthodox minded young men coming in and being ordained as he has seen in the last 10 years. Perhaps this is why the powers that be are so angry.

It seemed the US midterm Election of 2006 emboldened the cause of those militant liberals and secularists who have contempt for much of what orthodox minded Catholicism holds dear. Following the results of the Election of 2008, many pundits proclaimed the results as a sea change for America. Agnostics and atheists gleefully announced that a world where religion and especially conservative or orthodox minded Catholicism held sway was being replaced by a humanist brand of religion where age old teachings were replaced by the ideas of “enlightened” religious leaders, agnostic thinkers, and pop culture celebrities. It seemed this new brand of liberal thinker was less idealistic than their 1960s peers and displayed an anger and hostility that was a far cry from the utopian idealism displayed some 40 years ago. Yet, beneath the surface and below the radar screens of many news organizations, lies the hope of the Catholic faithful who hold on to the ideas  imparted by Christ, His Apostles, Popes, Bishops, Priests, Women Religious, Saints and holy laymen and laywomen throughout the centuries.

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6 Responses to The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism Because The Pope of Christian Unity (Pope Benedict XVI) Is Gathering the Scattered Flocks Left Behind by Those Who Thought They Knew Better Than The Church

  • I appreciate your message of hope.

    Your title is way, way too long!

  • The Church, the holy bishops and priests, the laiety, and the Holy Father certainly have Satan running scared!

  • I have been told by some evangelicals that there belief that eventually all orthodox christians will be under the care and protection of the Catholic Church. Even though there is disagreement among them. I tend to agree with there reasoning and from the signs we are seeing. I pray that the holy spirit comes to all those that need the help to come home.

  • As usual Dave, you tell like it is. Although some did not like Bishop Tobin’s public response to Patrick Kennedy, who found out quickly that his ilk will no longer be tolerated in his actions against the tenets of the Church, I belive more and more Bishops have come to the realization, that speaking out after conferring with these so called “catholics” has strenghtened the laity. Take care and God Bless.

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  • Splendid column as usual, Dave. No doubt the damage wrought by Luther will be repaired and unity restored, thanks to the secularists whose relentless assault have recently spurred the Christians to draw a line in the sand with the Manhattan Declaration to show that they will not render to Caesar what is God’s.

Where Your CCHD Donations Go To

Sunday, November 22, AD 2009

Today most of your parishes will be collecting for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD).  Donald, Christopher, and I have written over and over again of where the money actually goes to, funding for abortions being the most grevious of the lot.

So think twice before donating anything.

(Biretta Tip: Paul Nichols)

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Thanks to the Young, the Tide is Still Turning Toward Catholicism

Thursday, October 8, AD 2009

All too often I hear the familiar refrain; “how can the tide be turning if the world seems to be increasingly at odds with the Church?”  The skeptics of my book, The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism refer to many newsworthy stories in their query of my thesis. They point to elected officials and government czars seemingly supportive of ideas that not only challenge the core of Catholic beliefs, but conventional societal beliefs about the family as well. The skeptics of my thesis point to the latest Hollywood Cause Célèbre which involves rallying around a man (famed Film Director Roman Polanski) who has admitted to raping a child of 13 when he was 45 years old. They also point to the outright mockery of the Catholic Church at the hands of the entertainment industry by those who believe the tide is turning in their direction. In addition, the skeptics of my thesis also point to stories that barely get any media attention such as an abortion clinic who prominently displayed a crucifix in their window with Jesus replaced on the cross by a chicken. Another sign in the window of the same abortion clinic read “no job too big or too small.” How could the tide be turning if this is what we see and don’t see on television news, the morning paper or on the internet they asked? Thankfully, there are many reasons that tide is turning, and we need to look no further than the young to understand why.

Keep in mind that while the tide is turning for the Church, it is turning in the wrong direction for for the world. The Church is the only one who can save the world and it is something which has already been done many times in history, which is why the enemies of the Church are so upset. If the enemies of religion would be as kind to us as they are toward the liberal mainline Protestant churches, one would have cause to be worried. However unlike the mainline Protestant churches, the Catholic Church’s numbers are not in a free fall and vocation numbers are on the increase.

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12 Responses to Thanks to the Young, the Tide is Still Turning Toward Catholicism

  • What a splendid hope-filled article. Thank you.

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  • Kudos on a masterpiece that Polanski can only wish to achieve. As Christ didn’t find the going to be anything but tough even though one would think his power would have made it otherwise, neither can we expect anything different. But we should look at how far Christianity has gone despite the setbacks along the way. And we know the tide will keep turning in our favor It has to if the promised victory at the end of the Bible is to be realized.

  • Amen Dave. As Bishop Chaput told those in Rome, in an editorial in an Italian magazine article, to those churchman who seemed to favor our President’s early rhetoric and his speech at ND, Free will today is valued more highly than life. Good to read your comments again and yes, the tide is truly turning. Take care and God Bless.

  • Regarding the Diocese of Rochester, last Monday the Catholic Courier (DOR’s diocesan newspaper) published a story publicly admitting what had been common knowledge locally: In a mere 8 years (i.e., from 2000 to 2008) the diocese had lost over 25% of its weekend Mass attendees.

    While diocesan leadership has blamed our decline in Mass attendance on what it terms a demographic shift (i.e., northern Catholics moving to the sun belt states), the bottom line is that DOR is losing Mass attendees 9 times faster than Catholics are leaving New York State.

    See http://www.catholiccourier.com/tmp1.cfm?nid=78&articleid=109508&cfid=4092824&cftoken=68817627

  • “and often residing in the rural parts of their dioceses”

    This is also true for our few seminarians in the Diocese of Rochester. Not one of the six was raised within the city of Rochester or its surrounding suburbs in Monroe County. Two are from Livonia, two from Elmira, one from Ontario county, and another has been residing here only a brief time since entering college. Perhaps this is a good thing, as our more liberal priests and lay Pastoral Administrators (laypeople or nuns who have full control over one or more parishes) are located within Monroe County.

    ~Dr. K

  • Dr. K. It was good to see that Elmira was listed in my old parish I left years ago ( and I do mean years ago ) Our current Bishop came from that city and there are still many othodox young people there. I remember Bishop Sheen when he did his best to create the right environment for all of us in the Diocese.

  • I believe it is a mistake to write of “Catholicism”, as though it is but another ISM. The Church and the sacraments are but the means to get us into heaven. As the Church teaches, you may go to Mass every day of your life and still fail.

    As the council fathers of Vatican II attempted to indicate, every person in the world is a potential Catholic. Being human is being almost a Catholic.

    Was it not one of the weaknesses of the Church in pre Vatican II days that it had – that its members had – too certain a sense of salvation? That it did not pay attention to Satan who roams the world seeking whom he many devour?

    The sudden rise of divorce, of contraception, of abortion demonstrated how weak were the defenses of Catholics against these temptations. And how too sure of themselves were our bishops, who even today do not “like” to bring up these subjects.

    These failed shepherds will have much to explain when called to give their accounts.

  • I hope my children or perhaps my grandchildren live to see that you are correct.

  • Dave,

    A fine start to your contribution on the American Catholic website.

    I do see these changes, but as Father Zuhlsdorf says, brick by brick.

    Lets be the change agents at each of our own parishes as we assist our churches to return reverence and orthodoxy with charity back!

  • Gabriel Austin asked, “Was it not one of the weaknesses of the Church in pre Vatican II days that it had – that its members had – too certain a sense of salvation?”

    As one who was raised in the pre-Vatican II days, including 16 years of Catholic education ending with a college diploma in 1965, I would have to answer in the negative.

    In my little corner of the world (upstate New York) we were all well aware of what mortal sin was, as well as its consequences.

    Our catechesis may have been overly legalistic at times, but it was not short on authentic Church teaching.

    That is just the opposite from what I see today in that same little corner of the world.

  • Mike writes Sunday, October 11, 2009 A.D. at 9:30 am
    “Gabriel Austin asked, “Was it not one of the weaknesses of the Church in pre Vatican II days that it had – that its members had – too certain a sense of salvation?”

    “As one who was raised in the pre-Vatican II days, including 16 years of Catholic education ending with a college diploma in 1965, I would have to answer in the negative.
    “In my little corner of the world (upstate New York) we were all well aware of what mortal sin was, as well as its consequences.
    “Our catechesis may have been overly legalistic at times, but it was not short on authentic Church teaching”.

    We were intellectually – superficially – aware of the catechism. But how deep did it sink?
    Perhaps you do not recall the [non] reception of Humanae Vitae. Encouraged by “theologians” bishops simply ignored it. It was too unpopular.

    The ferocity of Judy Brown’s work is due to her having been told by her parish priest that it was OK to use the pill. When she discovered that he lied, she became and remains furious.

    Bishop Shannon had the honesty to resign, without publicity, when he decided he could not accept Humanae Vitae.

    “That is just the opposite from what I see today in that same little corner of the world”.

    My point precisely. From overly “legalistic” to every man his own bishop, which is to say seeking excuses to do what we want to do, rather than what we ought to do.

    I harp on this because I see a misunderstanding of the work of the Church. It is not to create an institution; that institution exists and is protected. It is rather the tiresome business of getting each of us into heaven which is our future and not being overly concerned with the future on earth.

Susan G. Komen Supports Abortion Still

Wednesday, September 30, AD 2009

[Updates at the bottom of this article as of 8:31pm CDT AD 9-30-2009 shows alternatives  –other than Komen– for fundraising activities related to Breast Cancer research that are Pro-Life in their outlook]

The Susan G. Komen for the Cure (Komen) is an organization that funds breast cancer research.  This noble effort by Komen to save the lives of both women and men who are afflicted with breast cancer is tainted by their funding of abortion via Planned Parenthood.

Each year Catholics and most other Christians raise their concerns about supporting Komen specifically because Komen donates money to Planned Parenthood.  Catholics and most other Christians unknowingly assist Komen in their fundraising efforts which goes against the teachings of Jesus as stated in the Fifth Commandment of “You shall not kill”.

Due to this criticism attributed to Komen in funding abortion, Komen released an open letter in March 2009 concerning their relationship with Planned Parenthood.  In this open letter they defended their donations to Planned Parenthood raising three (3) reasons why it is acceptable to continue to donate money to Komen even though they provide funding to abort innocent unborn children.

I will address their open letter with their three (3) reasons here:

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39 Responses to Susan G. Komen Supports Abortion Still

  • It might be worth pointing out that their argument you summarize in 1) seems to be not that they do other good things and so funding abortion is okay, but rather that the funds they are giving to Planned Parenthood are specifically and only for cancer screenings, not for abortions or “family planning services”. Their claim is that only Planned Parenthood has a large enough network of locations in rural and low income areas for their screenings to be available to everyone.

    Now, I think there are two legitimate questions in regards to this:

    1) Does Komen’s funding of these programs free up other funds at PP for use on abortions and birth control?

    2) Is it simply unacceptable to work with PP for any cause, given how morally reprehensible their primary line of work is?

    I’m not sure if 1) is a problem in this case or not, but I do think that 2) is a problem, and it strikes me as a good reason not to support the Komen foundation. If we’re serious about how bad we think Planned Parenthood’s main business is, using them as a handy provider network for some other service is kind of like using the mafia to deliver packages — the fact that your particular activity is innocent doesn’t excuse providing business to such a reprehensible organization.

  • Even the World Health Organization and the Mayo Clinic (hardly pro-life institutions) recognize the synthetic hormones used in the Pill and hormone replacement therapies as human carcinogens.

  • Darwin,

    Excellent points.

    Komen uses PP because of their network, but nowhere do they (or PP) say how those funds are used. Though any support to PP is wrong to begin with.

    I think your two point are intertwined to the threshold that regardless of how you argue point 1, it is negated by the simple fact that they are PP, ipso facto, provide abortions is never a good thing.

    I like your analogy about the mafia, no matter how effective they are, using the mafia is never a good thing.

    Christina,

    Thank you for your points.

    I wanted to post this as soon as possible. The more I researched on my post the more links I was able to find so I had to stop somewhere or I would be posting a dissertation paper in the end! 😉

  • I’m glad you mentioned #3. While many doctors unfortunately seem to still cling to the “there’s no evidence” reasoning, there is much reason to suspect otherwise.

    The clinical upshot is that the Komen foundation may be shooting themselves in the foot through these contributions. And there are other organizations that support breast cancer research that do not make such contributions. Why the rush to promote this organization when others exist that do the same good work without the baggage?

    A side note: My youngest child was born in Germany. When I made contact with the doctor who provided my care for that birth, I observed that during my initial health questionnaire I was asked if I had ever terminated a pregnancy. The question, which was subsequently repeated over the next three years each time I visited for well care, intrigued me as no health care practitioner in the U. S. had ever asked me that question (or has, since.) I’m sure it wasn’t an idle question; had I answered yes it might have made a difference in my treatment (more or earlier testing, maybe?) Unfortunately, I never got up the nerve to ask why it was a concern.

  • DarwinCatholic,
    It might be worth pointing out that their argument you summarize in 1) seems to be not that they do other good things and so funding abortion is okay, but rather that the funds they are giving to Planned Parenthood are specifically and only for cancer screenings, not for abortions or “family planning services”. Their claim is that only Planned Parenthood has a large enough network of locations in rural and low income areas for their screenings to be available to everyone.

    We’re actually responding to the “Catholic ethicist” claim here, not their defense of using PP:
    “The good that Komen does and the harm that would come to so many women if Komen ceased to exist
    or ceased to be funded would seem to be a sufficiently proportionate reason”

  • This is a timely post for me.

    The principal of my children’s parochial school asked my wife and I to come with an alternative to Komen when we informed her about the link between Komen and PP. The children have had fundraisers in the past with proceeds going to Komen. I have not had any luck so far finding a suitable pro-life breast cancer research charity that I can recommend. Any ideas?

  • Nick,
    While not a perfect substitute, you might consider researching this option: http://www.bcpinstitute.org/home.htm
    Cheers,
    Mike

  • Nick,

    I just got off the phone with the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer and they recommended the following:

    Breast Cancer Prevention Institute:
    http://www.bcpinstitute.org/home.htm

    The Polycarp Research Institute:
    http://www.polycarp.org/

    Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer:
    http://www.abortionbreastcancer.com/abc.html

    The first two actually do research to prevent breast cancer and the last one analyzes and dissects the information of all research done on breast cancer and disseminates the information (even the information suppressed by Komen and Planned Parenthood).

    I’ve also updated the article to show these links.

    Mike,

    Excellent link!

  • Thanks for drawing attention to this.

    The absurdity of the argument is glaring. I saved 10 men from drowning last week, so it must be OK for me to drown one this week.

    I feed hundreds of poor people out of my own stores so it must be OK if I want to starve one child to death in my basement for amusement.

    What kind of warped thinking makes this irrationality seem plausible?

    I notice the Shirner’s (freemasons) have hospitals for children, while they promote a Luciferian agenda. So is it OK for them promote Satan becuase they have hospitals for kids?

    Is it OK for me to support the Shriner hospitals knowing that frees-up resources to promote Satan’s agenda?

    I guess there’s nothing wrong with a teeny, little compromise with evil along as everything else I do is good right?

    No wonder Glenn Beck has blood shooting out of his eyes!

  • No wonder Glenn Beck has blood shooting out of his eyes!

    Exorcism?

  • I am so glad you mentioned the link to breast cancer. You said, “note that hormone therapy for the treatment of menopause has been banned because of the breast cancer link, it seems a short leap to birth control pills…” It is a very short leap. Research on synthetic hormones, specifically progestin, is directly related to an increase of breast cancer. Planned Parenthood and even the Mayo Clinic do not share any of the research findings on this subject. If I were a researcher, I’d search for statistical data linking the increase of breast cancer to the advent of the birth control pill.

  • Excosrcism?

    :rofl:

  • The letter itself only says the studies have not shown there is a conlcusive link between abortion and breast cancer – typical weasel words. Very few, if any, studies show a conclusive link between anything. In fact, even lung cancer studies don’t claim a “conclusive” link between smoking and lung cancer. That is such BS.

    Anyway, I am glad they came up front about their involvement with PP. I was always suspicious of a link, and now we know.

    As for the mafia analogy, I suppose it would be like donating to a “feed the hungry” organization that pays rent to mafia owned/run brothel network to use as a soup kitchen during the day. And every dollar of rent from the hunger organization frees up a dollar for running the brothel.

  • and the Catholic ethicist argument is a joke.

  • Tito:

    At least as I read it, argument 3 is not that there is no evidence of link, but that there is no conclusive evidence. In fact, they concede there is some evidence since they refer to the “bulk” of studies, though not clearly defining what a “bulk” is – 55%, 60%, 70%? Even if it was 80%, that means 20% of the studies showed a link, hardly a factor any prudent person would ignore. Do you think if 20% of studies showed high caffeine intake was linked to breast cancer, that the Foundation wouldn’t be screaming it from every corner?

    So while their claim may be literally true (bulk of studies show no conclusive link) it is completely misleading when talking about risks. It just shows they are more concerned about maintaining ties to PP than to actually exploring ways to reduce breast cancer.

  • Great article and thanks especially for the links to organizations that Catholics can donate to…

    When you get a chance, see if you can figure out where to donate money to fight Parkinson’s disease that doesn’t fund ESCR.

  • Based on what I’ve read, interpretation of some of those study results is kinda subjective. In any case, there’s often a disconnect between what the paper reports and what the press says about it. If you recall that far back, C. Everett Koop’s public remarks about why he didn’t think a new study on post-abortion syndrome would be useful was widely interpreted by the media as “Koop says there ain’t no such!”

  • CMinor, C Matt, et al,

    Thank you for vetting my article.

    I believe we can all agree that organizations such as Komen and Planned Parenthood have done for more to hurt women than to help (if any).

    They continue to block most research that shows connections between abortion and breast cancer (as well as birth control pills).

    What they do reeks of impropriety when they stonewall this research (and petty to say the least).

  • Thanks to everyone for the various leads!

  • You exposed the Komen Hypocrisy. They LOVE abortion, and they fund it PERIOD! There has been a new film about Planned Parenthood, called Maafa21. You need to see it http://www.maafa21.com

  • Its okay if they support Abortion. Really, Its the choice of the person who gets the abortion. Not everyone else. Abortion can be a good thing. Because if the person doesn’t have any money to support the baby then the baby will die of a diease due to lack of healthcare. Cause now a days doctors could careless about you if you don’t have healthcare. So why not support abortion??? Let it be done right instead of being done half assed. Donate money into doing an abortion the right way.

  • There is so much one could say here, but I will restrain myself. The handle ‘the one who knows’ could not be more ironic. I think it requires great intellectual confusion to think that abortion can ever be done “right.”

  • The Komen letter points out that some affiliates grant money to PP (not all affiliates). Do you know which ones? I’ve reveiwed the grants that my local Komen affiliate has donated and none of it goes to any organization associated with abortion.

    The national organization only funds research. It’s the local affiliates that fund breast health and screening programs. If you want to stop Komen from funding PP then identify the affiliates fund Planned Parenthood and put pressure on them.

    I will support my local Komen affiliate because I know where their funds are spent.

  • Dave,

    so you would fund your local KKK as long as none of the money went specifically to fund lynchings?

    Beyond the specific funding aspect, this is a matter of not affiliating with organizations which support evil. Komen supports evil (fetal stem cell research, and abortion), they also suppress information which would save women from breast cancer (abortion and contraceptive links) in order to appease their evil associates at PP.

  • This month I was inital taken aback by seeing my favorite NFL players decked in pink! I understand that this was support in breast cancer awareness month. Actually after the NFL unofficially told Rush Limbuagh to take a hike this week I think they should adopt pink as the official color of the NFL. Apparently welcoming the Susan Komen foundation is OK. Giving international recognition to this organization that lies to women about the logical risk relationship between terminated pregnancies through abortion and breat cancer is OK but welcoming a conservative businessman whose character was lied about in the media is not OK. But I am sure that the $805,000 given to Planned Parenthood by SBK affiliates will only be used for breast screening.

  • Somehow, I managed to miss this article and only found it via google…. Very timely, since they also just disinvited all Israeli doctors from the international conference SGK is having in Egypt.

    I think you might appreciate my mom’s response: “There is no disease I could possibly have that would make it alright to chop up babies.”
    (She ends up using many variations on it, since folks folks tend to make set assumptions. Bonus, she’s got a BS in animal husbandry, so generally knows more about fetal development than the ESCR supporters.)

  • Hey Foxfier,
    Ever watched your mom suffer in intensive care for three months and die a horrible death from breast cancer ? Very insensitive comment. I have and until you live threw this stop pissing on Komen people. What is the Catholic church doing to help out? Hopefully one day one of your family members will be cured due to research from the Komen foundation. I bet you will not refuse treatment.

  • Hey, Unbelievable, you have a child?

    You want insensitive?
    Try insisting that chopping up babies is a valid cure for suffering to someone holding their baby…which is what you just did.

    Apparently, you flunk at basic reading comprehension, too, because you failed to realize: I quoted my mother. Who has breast cancer.

    All that aside, “insensitive” is no reason for someone to fail to state a needful truth: embryonic stem cell research requires the deaths of thousand upon thousands of children, on the off chance that there may, some day, be some sort of a cure.

    As a bonus, those pushing for ESCR routinely attack adult stem cell research, which is not only a proven science that dodges the killing people issue, but which can be done with body fat in some cases.

  • Unbelievable I watched my mom die a painful death from breast cancer. She would have preferred a thousand such deaths rather than have an innocent child sacrificed to save her life.

  • I am very pro-life, and I send an angry e-mail asking what exactly they do to support abortion. Somebody e-mailed me back saying they gave money to abortion centers that gave cheap mammograms for poor women who couldn’t get proper check-ups. I think that they can tell them to not put any of the money they donate to abortions, but Susan G. Komen decides not to do that. The money goes to the abortion centers in general.

  • I have no idea what SGK does or does not do vis-a-vis PP. But I do know that Sierra is correct that SGK certainly can make earmarked contributions if it wishes. Whether such earmarked gifts would actually solve the moral question is less clear to me given the fungibility of money. While I would probably refrain from making contributions even under this scenario, I would not be confident in asserting the existence of a moral problem. Moral rules must be applied to facts, and often the rules are easier to come by.

  • Mike & Sierra,

    It’s called compromising with evil.

  • Darkly amusing: a run for SGK this week in the Tacoma area is using a tagline something like “because everyone deserves a life.”

  • Please don’t speak for “most other Christians” without citing references. I can’t speak for “most other Christians,” but I can speak for myself as a Christian and tell you that I appreciate discussions that are both moral and factual at the same time rather than opinions through a megaphone. Saying something louder or attributing an opinion to a larger group doesn’t make it right.

  • Just found out no PP has any breast imaging equipment. The vans are scheduled and it cost $220.00. It’s $60.00 for a manual exam and that is not by a Dr. There might be a sliding scale but like was written earlier, do you have to be without anything? I don’t know.
    A few years ago $475,000.00 was given to one of the Dallas PP facilities so that it would not close down. That is just one of many donations…there are many in each state. So, with no imaging equipment…it makes no sense.
    Nancy Brinker (Brinker International—Chili’s, Macaroni Grill, On the Border etc.) started SGK when her sister Susan G. Komen died of breast cancer. I am sure this was very tragic for her. Her husband Norman Brinker helped fund the start-up of Komen. Nancy Brinker was and maybe still on the PP board. She is a card carrying member of PP. She is a believer in PP and all that it stands for. The monies will continue to flow from this cash cow for contraception, Embryonic stem research and PP.
    There is a reason Komen exists…watch Maafa 21.
    Ever wonder why so many Proctor and Gamble products have the “pink”? Dr. Gamble worked with Sanger in the early 1900’s is what my search revealed.
    Folks walk, feel good and think they are doing good. The PP part does not matter—-what matters is how I feel right???
    As far as I am concerned Nancy Brinker and her organization Susan Komen has made pink a very ugly color.
    My mother had breast cancer.

  • Just found out no PP has any breast imaging equipment. The vans are scheduled and it cost $220.00. It’s $60.00 for a manual exam and that is not by a Dr. There might be a sliding scale but like was written earlier, do you have to be without anything? I don’t know.
    A few years ago Komen org. gave $475,000.00 to one of the Dallas PP facilities so that it would not close down. That is just one of many donations. There are many in each state. So, with no imaging equipment at the PP facilities for the Komen org. to say their donations to PP are for breast exams, it really makes no sense.
    Nancy Brinker (Brinker International—Chili’s, Macaroni Grill, On the Border etc.) started SGK when her sister Susan G. Komen died of breast cancer. I am sure this was very tragic for her. Her husband Norman Brinker helped fund the start-up of Komen. Nancy Brinker was and maybe still be on the PP board. She is a card carrying member of PP. She is a believer in PP and all that it stands for. The monies will continue to flow from this cash cow for contraception, Embryonic stem research and PP.
    After watching Maafa 21 I realized the reason Komen exists. I firmly believe that if Komen was legit it would not be as big.
    Ever wonder why so many Proctor and Gamble products have the “pink”? Dr. Gamble worked with Sanger way back when is what my search revealed.
    Folks walk, feel good and think they are doing good for breast cancer via the Komen org. The PP part does not matter—-what matters is how I feel right???
    As far as I am concerned Nancy Brinker and her organization Susan Komen has made pink a very ugly color.
    By the way my mother had breast cancer.

    Oh and the European interest in terminated abortions. They acknowledge the link and tie abortions to insurance rates. The more abortions the higher the premium. You can do a search of Great Britain/abortion/breast cancer. An actuary figured all of this out around 1967.

  • “Oh and the European interest…They acknowledge the link and tie abortions to insurance rates.”
    Thanks for the info, RLDP. I’ve read that some countries with longer histories of legal abortion than ours have data to that effect. Wonder if women going in for legal abortions in those countries are told their decision will result in their premiums being jacked up? Or if taxpayers there realize how those abortions raise their tax burden?

  • PB, if it’s the original post you’re referring to, please reread. It’s pretty clear that the statement refers to that group of Catholics and Christians whose concerns about SGK’s relationship with PP is leading them to drop support; it’s not a reference to everybody on earth who self-identifies as a Christian. Oh, and another good reason to reread is that there are actually a number of facts there (complete with linked references) that you seem to suggest were not. Might learn something.