Wednesday, June 12, 2013

P.S. on 'Why We're Contraception-Free'

Thank you to all who have taken the time to read all or part of this series. This is but one attempt to get people thinking about an issue which we are convinced is one of the most important of our day.

We're also honored by all who have taken the time to engage seriously with what we've written, either in the comments or through other means. Getting people thinking about this issue is exactly our goal. The push-back also helps us to further refine our own thinking and articulation of these ideas.

Krista worked very closely with me on editing this series, but the series is nonetheless written from my perspective (though there is a great deal of overlap obviously). The original plan for the series included a part from Krista explaining things that were unique to her perspective, but for various reasons we decided to let this series just be from my perspective. Instead, Krista plans to write a standalone piece/series about her own experience, particularly about issues that are specific to her as a woman. She's in no rush to put anything out, so don't expect anything too soon, but do keep an eye out for it!

Lastly, we'd like to extend an open door to anyone who seriously wants to discuss these matters with us further. We welcome you to contact us first through Facebook or email and then from there we'd be more than happy to interact with you through Facebook, email, phone, video chat, or, if you're in the Twin Cities area in MN, having you over for dinner - whichever makes sense. We don't have all the answers, but we know what we know and have our own experience.

God bless!

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This is the Post Script of a six-part series:

Part 1: Asking the Question
Part 2: Flipping the Switch
Part 3: No Longer Afraid
Part 4: Hey Baby
Part 5: Tested Twice
Part 6: No Regrets
Post Script

Resources:
Humanae Vitae
Marriage: Love and Life in the Divine Plan
Children of the Reformation: A Short and Surprising History of Protestantism and Contraception
Sanger's Victory: How Planned Parenthood’s Founder Played the Christians—and Won
Birth control is moral (but not all methods)
Organic Sex, Organic Farming
The Vindication of Humanae Vitae
Adam and Eve After the Pill: Paradoxes of the Sexual Revolution
iUseNFP.com
Find an NFP class

24 comments:

  1. This whole series is beautiful! Thank you for sharing!

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  2. Wonderful series! I completely agree, as a former evangelical, who married a Catholic and converted. I think this is a very important topic for Protestants to consider. It's not something I even thought about before I met my husband. All the wonderful women role models I had at my church growing up used contraception, so I never would have even considered its morality. We are so grateful for the Church's teaching, or we probably would not have our wonderful son!

    I also have life-long blood clotting problems, so I never would have been put on hormonal birth control, but other types would have been on the table. Praise God your wife wasn't on hormonal birth control, cause that can cause clots. I don't think most people even realize how terrible contraception can be for them.

    -Kristen

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    1. Kristen, Thanks for your witness/story. Praise the Lord. Yes, this issue is so important and it's just sad that Protestants went off the rails on this one just a few generations ago, because now most Protestants don't even think about it. Sharing stories like yours I think is so important because it show people that another way is possible. God bless!

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  3. A friend posted a link on FB with the first part in the series. I couldn't stop reading. VERY well written and well said. I love that you intermingled the theology with your personal story. I'm saving this for my older sons, who are already teenagers. We are Catholic and my husband and I practice NFP also. It has been the biggest blessing to our marriage. I was not always faithful to the teachings of the Church, and I know many "faithful" Catholics who contracept. I think a large part of it is ignorance about WHY contraception is immoral. So many (myself included) just grew up being told sex before marriage is bad, contraception is bad, etc. But once you understand the beauty of the gift of our sexuality and the gift of the procreative and unitive duality of physical intimacy in marriage, it all makes perfect sense.

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    1. Kris, You are absolutely right. Unfortunately, it seems that when some in the Church haven't been actively telling people to ignore the teaching (which happens and is a scandal), it obviously hasn't been taught very well. But praise the Lord the magisterium has preserved it for the world, or else it might have been lost altogether. God bless

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  4. I am a convert from the LCMS, and I think this issue is one of the first things that attracted me to my husband, or at least got me thinking about it. We were chatting online and he mentioned how his friend's wife was pregnant with their first while her mother was pregnant with her 13th. My response? "Haven't they heard of birth control?!" Which led to a meaningful conversation on Church teaching and began opening my heart. Thank you so much for sharing your journey. I pray that more hearts will turn to the truth on human sexuality! And may God continually bless you and your family.

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    1. Wonderful to hear, praise the Lord. Yes, it's amazing how, even though so many people talk about how the Church needs to change this teaching to "get with the times", in reality there are people coming to the Church *because* of this teaching - and it's because it's the truth. God bless you and your husband

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  5. One of my friends who is Catholic told me how a priest said to her that "contraception is okay, it's up to your conscience, only you and your husband know how many children are right for you as a couple". Over the years she read more about Church teaching and realized that priest was not correct. They had 4 more children and she is thankful for every one of them.

    Miriam

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    1. Yeah, very sad. It's true that it's ultimately up to the couple and their conscience of how many kids to have, but contraception as a means is always wrong.

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  6. I grew up Catholic but never made that firm decision to embrace the Catholic faith until I started reading about the Church's teachings on contraception. It sounds like you and I were reading the same literature at about the same time. After that, I became fascinated with the Catholic Church and knew with certainty that the Catholic Church was the one true faith. It is like solving a math problem one way and then doing the proof through another method to know with certainty that it is correct. Thank you for this site which is an act of service.

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    1. Anon, Great to hear, praise the Lord. Yes, the truths of the faith are all of a piece, and if a person can be touched by one of the parts, the person can be led to the whole thing. God bless!

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  7. Thank you, Brantly, for your post. Just beautiful, just like your family. It's surely a must-read for all couples contemplating marriage. My wife Jen and I have been practicing NFP and, if anything, it has STRENGTHENED our marriage no end (along with God's grace, of course). We are often seen as 'simple-minded' (read: dumb) for accepting something so out-of-step with modern thinking as the teaching of the Catholic church. But that is what we've chosen and it has brought us countless blessings. Our children are NOT an investment; they are the fruits of our (spousal) union. Thank you again, Brantly. May God's light shine upon you and your family always !

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    1. Robbie J, Thanks for reading. Great to hear your witness. Getting our stories out is so important! Thanks for the encouragement. God bless

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  8. Great article! Thanks for sharing your story.

    I highly recommend Janet Smith's "Contraception: Why Not?" lecture. It's what changed my thinking. And very easy for a lay person to understand if one is intimidated by the thought of reading Humanae Vitae.

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    1. Hey Anon,
      Thanks! Yes, I've heard good things about Janet Smith's "Contraception: Why Not?" lecture as well, though I haven't listened to it yet. God bless

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  9. Good series! We didn't figure it all out quite as young as you did (and then we suffered three miscarriages before finally having living children), but we followed a similar path in thinking about this all. It also paved the way into, and for my lapsed Catholic husband back into, the Church. I wish all Catholics realized the blessing they have in the Church's guidance.

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    1. Jen, Glad to hear your story. Yes, you are right that the Church truly does have a richness here. To me, the Church truly is the city on the hill here, as it should be. God bless!

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  10. "one of the most important of our day"

    I'd say that it is the West's most important existential issue. Virtually every problem the West confronts from within is sourced in contraception.

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  11. I came to your blog after reading your piece in First Things today on the Papacy. I read the whole series. Thank you for sharing your experiences! I am a newly ordained priest. This encourages me in my desire to preach the truth, as well as help form couples for the great life of holy matrimony. God bless you both!

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    1. I'm honored you took the time to read it! God bless you in your new ministry.

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  12. I would encourage anyone who is seriously considering practicing NFP to do the research and ask themselves if it is in line with their conscience. Defining life at conception, women have many more miscarriages than they realize (even a low estimate is that 25% conceptions end up not implanting). While this may not be preventable, and therefore is not a moral issue, practicing NFP increases this number for most people. So if you truly believe in human life at conception, please reconsider your moral choice to use NFP.

    I am not making any case that you should use artificial contraception, nor do I make any other suggestions. I only make the case that while perhaps theologically sound, Humanae Vitae's position on NFP lacked the scientific backing that we have today, and thus should be updated (in accordance with Catholic teaching and theology).

    Each and every one of us has an obligation to follow our conscience as honestly as possible. If you honestly believe contraception is sinful, please consider abstinence.

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  13. Thankyou for this article. I have recently returned to my Catholic faith and sex was one of the issues that brought me back. I have struggled with the idea of 'being normal' in our secular world and wanted to do the right thing by God, but not if it made me a social outcast. I have since made the decision to follow God's plan to the letter, in spite of what others may think. It is hard, though, when the rest of the world tells you you're a fool. I pray every day that God keeps me true to his word, for I know that nothing separates us from God more than breaking his laws, and his heart. Thankyou.

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    1. Lady Teacher,

      Thanks for sharing your story! I think people sharing their stories is so important because it helps other people overcome the social stigma which you are talking about.

      God bless!

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