Monday, July 23, 2007

NFP?

Q - Why does it seem that the gift of NFP is a hidden secret nobody talks about? As a life-long catholic I have never heard the issue of contraception and why the church opposes it discussed in a sermon during mass. When I was preparing for marriage and was asked what my plans for family planning were I honestly didn’t know how to answer. I knew the church was against contraception but knew virtually nothing about NFP other than the negative rumors about it not working (NOT true!) I was not told how to learn more about it or what it was really about until I attended PreCana, 3 months prior to my wedding, fortunately I felt a call to seek out more information on my own and found this wonderful way of living. I feel like I, as well as many others out there, are let down by there not being enough information readily available for Catholics prior to engagement when things are so busy with wedding planning that many don't look deep enough into such an important part of their marriage - family planning.

A –
Thanks for the question! I didn’t have time to get to it Friday and it looks like that decision was providential. At every weekend Mass here at St. Mary’s, NFP was the topic of the homily. So, I think Fr. David answered your questions better than I ever could.

But, to give you an honest answer. There has not been enough emphasis on it in marriage prep and in catechesis. While some areas around the country are doing a much better job, it usually takes a leader with a passionate vision to get it started. We are trying to do our part here at St. Mary’s by paying for the training of NFP instructors and requiring all engaged couples to learn at least the basics.

But, a cultural change within the Church must happen before we adequately address all the issues that surround this issue. Pray for that change.

1 comment:

Big Tex said...

And thus begins NFP Awareness Week. We began celebrating this week up here in the Seattle area with a Mass offered by one of the auxilary bishops followed by a potluck lunch for those in attendance. Definately good bull.

The question is a good one. First, many people really don't like to talk about sex, because of its private, intimate nature. From my vantage point, many priests are reluctant to preach on this topic for a variety of reasons (timidity, uncertainty, ignorance, lack of a resource for parisioners, and even dissent). Now, St. Mary's is blessed (and has been for some time now) with priests who are not afraid to broach this topic and proclaim the truth in love. The greater trend, though, is embodied by the words I once heard: "We don't talk about sex." Well, we need to because so many folks are being misinformed.

We've come across many people who have asked us, "Why didn't we know about this before we got married!?!" Still others have said it is easier to learn prior to marriage than after the birth of a child.

The good news is that things are changing for the better. We, the laity, are becoming better informed about this topic. See the various NFP organizations out there these days. In addition, my brother-in-law who in in seminary for the Diocese of Austin did some studies in NB last summer, some of which included some basic NFP concepts. I know CCL has been hosting Clergy and Physician seminars for years.

Lastly, younger priests more and more are understanding this need. Our new pastor up here has shown tremendous excitement about having an NFP instructor in his parish. With that knowledge "in his back pocket," he'll be more inclined to preach on the Church's teachings.