My Spring Reading List!

After the heavier reading of Lent, I thought I'd like to continue some inspirational spiritual reading through the Easter season as well. 

Here's my book list!

Private and Pithy lessons from Scripture - Mother Angelica
Little Book of Life Lessons - Mother Angelica
Three to Get Married - Fulton Sheen
The Little Oratory
Diary Sister Faustina
Getting Past Perfect - Kate Wicker
The Words We Pray - Amy Welborn
Perfectly Yourself - Matthew Kelly 
Crossing the Threshold of Hope - Pope John Paul II




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My most recent blog discussions on NVP vs. ABC.

Off the top: Protestants rethinking contraception: inconsistency of thought: My comments in regular font. I am responding to the remarks in italics.

Yes, but that still leaves the evil or good of the act within the hearts and minds of the person using the tool.

No I don't think so. I do not believe that we can decide for ourselves what is good and what is evil, even for good reasons.

Once anyone or any entity has decided that it's "licit" to exert control over when to become pregnant, how that is accomplished becomes a non-issue.

Nonsense.

One can decide to lose weight. Then one could binge and purge (an illicit act) or commit to careful diet and exercise.

One could decide to take money out of the bank. Then one could go in with a gun and hold the place up, or fill out a withdrawal slip. One is most definitely licit and the other is not!

If it's okay to continue to engage in intercourse, an act that most Christian denominations will tell you is an act designed specifically and primarily for procreation, while at the same time manipulating your body or your lives with the express purpose of avoiding conception, then it doesn't matter how a person accomplishes this.


There is a lot of difference between manipulating your body, which scripture teaches is a temple of the Holy Spirit and made in the image of God, or manipulating your life, which we are all called to do as Christians anyway.

The act of divorcing procreation from sexual pleasure/physical intimacy has already taken place in your mind.

Absolutely for the contracepting couple. But an NFP couple is not divorcing the two. That couple completely accepts how the two work together and is avoiding the pleasure with the procreation during the fertile times, using the God-given periods of infertility built into the woman's cycle.


The plan would be God's and God's alone.

The design for the fertility cycle IS God's and God's alone. Using that system is within God's design.

But once a person or couple exerts any amount of control over that plan, then they're not open to life on God's terms alone, they're only open to life on their terms.

No I still don't agree. The terms of the fertility cycle were planned and laid down by God.

I do, however, think it's more than a bit disingenuous for the NFP crowd to consider themselves "more" open to life than those who choose other methods of family planning.

I don't. The contraceptive mentality in the west has been loud and proud for over 30 years, much to the ruin of this culture. I think it is time for those who open to children and those who practice NFP to be equally as vocal in expressing the benefits of living married life within the design God has given for marriage.



I know these people think the act of abstaining for a period of time each month makes NFP somehow more "Christian" than other methods,

And historically and theologically they would be correct.


but that's raising the act of abstaining in and of itself to a level approaching idolatry.


Nope. Abstaining from sex or from food have deeper theological meanings that have existed for centuries. It has only been since 1930 that those have been rejected by some Christians. It's not an idoloatry but rather a turning back to fundamental Christian values and theology. I applaud the author for rediscovering this and writing about it!

"You're still missing the point. The tool itself is devoid of good or evil.

No I get it, I just disagree. I cannot think of any good use for an IUD for example that would not be inherently evil.



I don't believe we can even have this discussion if you don't believe we have free will.

Well actually I do believe in free will. I do not believe that every choice however is a good one.

Binging and purging isn't an 'illicit' act. It may be dangerous and unhealthy, but it's also usually the act of a person who is incapable of making reasonable decisions.

Not at all. I know plenty of people who were very capable of making reasonable decisions and yet binged and purged. BTW they had vomitoriums in ancient Rome because binging and purging was socially accepted in that culture at that time.


For the purposes of this discussion, I think we'd better stick to reasonably acceptable methods of behavior.

Reasonable and acceptable to whom?

Analogies to food when discussing human sexuality are very commonly used and I can give you some sources if you wish.


These are two separate acts that may appear similar because they both involve money, but they're not even remotely related.

It is commonly held that there is no such thing as a 'perfect analogy.' Nonetheless I think you get my point and I really don't want to defend the analogies. The point is there are right and wrong ways to do many things.


Choosing to deny the natural rhythms of desire is manipulating one's naturally designed body.

But man is not an animal!! Human beings have the ability and the will to not be a slave to their urges and desires. That is, afterall, part of what separates us from the animals. We are the only earthly creatures made in the image of God.



And once one has decided that they want one aspect of sex without the other, one has divorced procreation from pleasure.

sigh... if you aren't having sex, you aren't having pleasure or procreation. The recognition of that is what makes NFp different from ABC.


This is the goal, whether you use NFP, a barrier method, or hormonal contraception.


There is no argument that the intent to avoid or postpone pregnancy can be the same, but there most definitely is a difference in the methods which I attempted to illustrate with the analogies.


Any attempt to circumvent the fertility cycle is working with the fertility cycle.


Nonsense.

Hormones try to subdue ovulation or make the endometrium hostile, something that is usually seen in an unnatural pathologic state.

Sterilization destroys healthy body tissue.

And barrier methods cover up body parts that were never meant to be covered up.

Understanding how something works so that you can thwart it is NOT THE SAME as understanding how it works so that you can work with it or enhance it.!


And why would a method that has only recently become available be the only "licit" method if it was always God's plan to allow for family planning?
Well actually the fertility cycle has been around as long as women have. Even the ancients had a cursory understanding of when to have sex to have or avoid pregnancy.


NFPers can be as vocal as they like. Their choice. But until they can come up with a logical, proveable argument as to why NFP, a family planning method advertised as 99% effective in avoiding pregnangy, is "more" open to life than the barrier methods with their lower efficacy rate or hormonal methods with their equal efficacy rate, they're not going to make much headway.


Luckily an NFP proponant did! In great detail too!


NFPers will say over and over again that their method is more "Godly" because they're abstaining from sex for certain periods. Well, so what? So do people with herpes outbreaks. The abstinence in and of itself doesn't mean a thing.

Of course it does. And if a herpes sufferers abstains to spare infecting their spouse that is a self-less, Godly thing to do.


I applaud anyone who is sincerely examining their life and their conscience and making changes as a result.


On this we agree and I applaud the author for being so open about it.

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