Natural Family planning and the contraceptive Mentality.
The Gospel message is a reality which each person must live and put into effect in his own life and in the lives of his family. The infidelity of others is no excuse for our own. Grace is given generously and our lives must manifest this.
The Natural Family Planning question is of course a major one; if those who participate in the extension of Christ and the Church by the sacrament of matrimony are stingy in their lives the future is bleak. The reality of present day Africa, having once been the source and home of martyrs and doctors of the Church, now in such a state of desolation and apostasy, comes continually before my eyes. Why it is that supposed ‘Catholics think’ there is no possibility for the same thing to happen in Europe is beyond me, especially when we are also witnessing the extinction of Christianity in the very place of its origin.
Natural Family Planning (NFP), is usually a manifestation of a complete misjudgement of values. What is truly necessary for a family? New cars and pools? Vacations?
Archbishop Lefebvre himself said that marriage was "a school of chastity." Those married must learn to say both "yes" and "no," and must know when to say it. Discipline is absolutely essential in all this and to think otherwise is to prepare oneself for disappointment, discouragement, frustration, and, in the end, infidelity. This must be taught to our young people. We prepare disaster by our pusillanimity to speak the truth.
On the other hand, when those married are faithful to their state in life, even sometimes obliged to heroism, then the future is assured because it is in the home that the child is formed (by definition) while the school and catechism, while also essential (and in some even ways more important) act only as auxiliaries to the parents. Bad parents condemn us to future apostasy. Thus, when NFP becomes a way of life for Catholic parents it is the equivalent to the Church refusing to baptize or to evangelize. Selfishness is taught and the children of such families will be the first to rise up against their parents. The punishment will be well deserved. God save us from the world we are creating for 2050.
Most of the excuses for NFP are just that -- excuses. The reasoning is often far too sensual, as if most people were incapable of being chaste, and it degrades the very people it seeks "to assist" by treating them as if they were only capable of barnyard morals. Catholics, I believe, are capable of greater nobility than animals, quand même. Otherwise, the reasoning is in fact identical to those who wish to distribute condoms to everyone man, woman, child, and dog, only that we "Catholics" refuse contraception. I say the reasoning is the same as the principle ("People cannot control themselves any better than animals.") is the same; "we" just refuse artificial contraception, but apparently the contraceptive mentality is A-OK. To avoid pregnancy, whether by condoms or menstrual charts, is contraceptive in motivation and intention -- this is the seriousness of the issue. The only reason why NFP is tolerated is because it is not unnatural, to say that it is laudatory is ridiculous. Many in the Church today seem to blindly presents it as a form of "asceticism" for married couples! While some other not going that far seem to think it acceptable for convenience, larger cars, or vacation. In truth, where is our treasure? Being tolerable is not the same thing as being part and parcel of the matrimonial sacrament.
In the end, men have always had to learn to "control themselves," both during their wives' pregnancies and after the birth of their children. This is part of the reason for sacramental grace. But honor and nobility I have always thought to be characteristics properly masculine, and men are certainly capable of virtue, even in 2008. The unfortunate thing is that most modern men are little better than whiny babies. Obviously, the sacrifice necessary in honor and noblesse is impossible to the immature -- thus our quandary. Do we ennoble men, or capitulate to modern immaturity?
This acceptance of modern immaturity as normal, and thus as a norm, I might add, is the source of the whininess for "too far" and "too long" when it comes to the practice of religion. They content themselves with "manifestations" because these are relatively rare occurrences. They pride themselves in "being faithful" because they go to a rare conference or say the rosary in public but to persevere week in and week out with doctrine and prayer, dad leading the daily family prayer is considered "too extreme." Now, there are certainly families in which this is a reality, but these are too rare and scattered for an apostolate which has been going on now for over thirty years. We have, in some instances, lost a whole generation by now.
I am not opposed to NFP, and there are cases in which it should/could be recommended, but I am diametrically opposed to the manner in which it becomes a "lifestyle" among those who claim to be faithful Catholics. To make matters worse, this mentality is lethal as it mocks and ridicules as extremist those who wish to practice, if not perfection, at least a continually greater fidelity. Only Christians call one another Pharisees, but the Pharisees were those who lived "by the law," not by a desire for perfection. The true Pharisees are those Catholics who know that you can come to Mass up to the Offertory and it is "only a venial sin." They accuse those who desire perfection of being Pharisees because that pursuit shows up their truly pharisaical legalism. Mediocrity suffocates, and if we think like this, what makes us different from the enemies of the Church?