Friday, January 14, 2011

The Cult of NFP

The turning of the medicinal into a requirement by transforming the medicinal into a necessary component of the marriage bed.

A concept I mention briefly in my previous post on Ecological Breastfeeding which I fixed up a bit today.

We’ve all read them, the promotions of Natural Family Planning where the use of NFP is said to perfect marriage because sacramental marriage is by nature deficient without the use of NFP.

Not that the promoters of NFP are unique in treating the natural as deficient in need of their special help, because every other Catholic lay organization likewise appears to invariably think of itself as special as well, with a special means of perfecting some other area of Catholic life.

Where to not be a member of that particular Catholic lay organization is to be less than fully Catholic. And where all Catholics before the advent of that cult, and all those now who are not a member of that cult are suffering from not being a member because only through that membership can one be fully Catholic.

And where leaving that same cult is viewed by other cult members as apostasy from the Faith where ostracism is the typical response.

Which is not to deny the good those cults serve. For instance, a fair number of Italian college kids embraced the Faith through Communion and Liberation, but those same college kids in turn invariable held that it was only through C.L. that the Faith could be fully lived. I know, I mistakenly helped found C.L. in my hometown, and spent hours fruitlessly attempting to explain to them that the Faith was not perfected in C.L.

And that experience with C.L. I discovered was common among others I have talked to who associated with the other Catholic lay cults.

NFP, likewise serves a good, but as with virtually all of social life, goodness and virtue is found in moderation and the mean.

There are of course the extreme notions like NFP promoter Greg Popcak's unseemly proposition of brothers charting sisters (p.142 Beyond the Birds and Bees), but what I'm referring to is the very common run of the mill NFP promotions that see NFP as properly belonging to every marriage because the very use of NFP naturally enhances and perfects marriages, so that all marriage before the advent of NFP, and all those now who don't use NFP are in marriages which are suffering from not using NFP.

Which is to assume that machinery and the technical use of that machinery are required to perfect marriage. Where as both are actually in the realm of medicine.

So that what has occurred is the machine has been substituted for the natural in a kind of a machine ordered cult. An error which appeals to machine ordered societies, where solutions are seen as involving some type of gadget. Where the interior life has been given over to the sensible, where our perfection comes from without.

Which is a common enough occurrence where happiness is the next gadget purchase away.


  1. Nice post; it would be nice for you if some of the discussion were here, but at least it's got a lot of attention on Arturo Vasquez's site.

    Your blog looks interesting, and I think I'll add it to my reading list.