Thursday, September 22, 2011

From New Oxford Review: Natural Family Planning & the New Evangelization


It's Not 'Catholic Birth Control'

When an engaged couple sits down with a priest for marriage prep it's the perfect time for the 'New Evangelization' as well as a lesson on married love.


A Two-Fold Opportunity

Among Catholics in general, barely over one percent are using some form of NFP. A few more are letting the babies come as they may, and some suffer from infertility, but some ninety percent of Catholic fertile-age couples seeking to avoid pregnancy are contracepting right along with the rest of secularized Christians and the unchurched. This is a moral and ecclesial disaster reflected in empty pews and closed schools and churches. The basic problem is an unhappy combination of marital unchastity and lack of faith. The answer has to be a new evangelization and the teaching of marital chastity.

The right kind of NFP course — a truly Catholic NFP course — offers a splendid opportunity both for a new Christ-centered evangelization and for teaching the “what” and the “why” of natural family planning. That sort of course is available through NFP International, and others are free to imitate it. I cannot think of any good reason why bishops and priests would not use their leverage to give engaged couples this beautiful opportunity to grow in faith, practice marital chastity, and hear the call to generous and responsible parenthood. A truly Catholic NFP course ought to be a requirement for every engaged couple.

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