God designed marriage as an “intimate partnership of life and love” (see Gaudium et spes, no. 48). In God’s design, marriage is a unique union of one man with one woman “for the whole of life” (see Canon 1055, The Code of Canon Law). Marriage is oriented to the good of the spouses and to the creation and nurture of new human life (see Gaudium et spes, no. 48). Making decisions therefore, about when and how many children to have in marriage is a sacred responsibility that God has entrusted to husband and wife. This is the foundation of what the Church calls, “Responsible Parenthood”–the call to discern God’s will for your marriage while respecting His design for life and love.
The Catholic Church supports the methods of Natural Family Planning (NFP) because they respect God’s design for married love. In fact, NFP represents the only authentic approach to family planning available to husbands and wives because these methods can be used to both attempt or avoid pregnancy. When learning about NFP, it is important to know that “NFP reflects the dignity of the human person within the context of marriage and family life, promotes openness to life, and recognizes the value of the child. By respecting the love-giving and life-giving natures of marriage, NFP can enrich the bond between husband and wife” (see Standards for Diocesan Natural Family Planning Ministry, 23).
Here are some free resources for you as you prayerfully consider the role of NFP in your marriage.
1. Tender Tidings Summer 2015.
The summer issue of our free parenting magazine has a whole featured section on NFP written mostly by our own Charisse Tierney, who teaches natural family planning for the Couple to Couple League. Charisse is very realistic, honest, and compassionate about both the blessings and challenges of a natural family planning.
2. What Is NFP?
An introduction to natural family planning from the USCCB.
3. Myths of NFP
In this article, the Couple to Couple dispels common myths about NFP.
4. Dignitas Personae: On Certain Bioethical Questions
Released by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, this document grapples with a number of bioethical questions raised in response to modern technological advancements in the field of human fertility and infertility. Using the principles of Catholic moral teaching, the document brings clarity and truth to the debates surrounding both procreation and genetic manipulation.