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The DL on NFP

Letter to the Editor | Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Robert McKeon erred greatly in his January 23rd letter (“Contraception doesn’t equal abortion”) by equating artificial and natural family planning methods (NFP).

There are stark differences between the two. NFP poses no health threats, while artificial contraception can double women’s risk of depression, increase risk of breast cancer, blood clots, bone density loss, weight gain, nausea and decreased sex drive.

NFP, while challenging, leads to the development of virtue in marriage and deepened respect for one’s spouse’s total gift of self, fertility and all. Contraception can lead to use of one’s spouse as an object of pleasure and children can be seen as optional rather than the natural fruit of a healthy marriage.

Most importantly, these methods differ morally. Man and woman fully image God in the total gift of themselves to each other in marriage. The sexual act is the outward sign and consummation of the marital vows. Because the nature of love is to overflow (in God, who is love, the bond of the Father and the Son overflows in the third person of the Trinity), the love of a husband and wife is designed to overflow in the form of children.

Thus the sexual act has two inseparable purposes: bonding and babies. To separate them artificially is intrinsically wrong as it violates the divinely ordained nature and purpose of the act. When an act is intrinsically wrong, no good intention can justify it.

Catholic teaching does not mandate a couple to unite with each other at a given frequency and abstinence does not artificially separate these two purposes. Thus, as Humanae Vitae states, it is licit for couples to use NFP for “serious reasons.” If NFP is used for arbitrary reasons with an anti-life, anti-children attitude, it is morally wrong.

The Church opposes contraception because it attacks the heart of God’s plan for the world – that man and woman share in his love by imaging Him through joyful, fruitful union. The Church does not desire to “deprive us of our sexual being,” but to guide us to the full enjoyment of our sexuality by living in the freedom of the Truth.

Caitlin Shaughnessy Dwyer


Class of 2006

Jan. 29