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Why on earth do Catholics believe *that*???
Openness to life 
21st-Jul-2006 01:11 pm
pinup
There aren't a lot of members here, so it may be that nobody can answer this question as fully as possible, but here goes.

Why does every individual sex act have to be open to life? Why is it not enough for a couple to say, for a myriad of reasons, that they are generally open to life in that they will accept any children that God gives them and that either they intend to have children at some point, or they intend to have MORE children at some point, or they already had children in the past?

And why, if every individual sex act must be open to life, are the sex acts performed during the infertile period of NFP allowed when it is biologically impossible to conceive when the woman is not fertile?
Comments 
(Deleted comment)
5th-Mar-2007 07:01 pm (UTC)
I feel the NFP seperates those two functions even more so than other ways of avoiding pregnancy... because clearly sex during the infertile time is solely to unite the couple. And sex during fertile times is for the purpose of creating new life.
6th-Mar-2007 12:32 am (UTC)
OP here. I agree with you, and I've still never been able to come to terms with this stuff.
7th-Jul-2007 04:27 pm (UTC) - separation
There is not a separation, but a change in emphasis. Certainly, during the fertile period any sexual activity carries with it the unitive aspect as well. And, even during the infertile period, there is an openess to procreation on the part of the couple; it is God's choice not to make the union fertile at that point.
22nd-Jul-2006 01:50 pm (UTC)
Why is it not enough for a couple to say, for a myriad of reasons, that they are generally open to life in that they will accept any children that God gives them and that either they intend to have children at some point, or they intend to have MORE children at some point, or they already had children in the past?

actually, that's why NFP is allowed. although I read something recently that basically said the longer you use NFP, the greater your reasoning should be. for example, spacing kids by 2 years doesn't require as great a reason as spacing by 6 years, which in turn doesn't require as great a reason as stopping at some point for the remainder of your fertile years. basically the point is to allow you to keep your sanity/financial stability/maternal health while at the same time realizing that it isn't, or shouldn't be, jsut up to you, whatever you want.

as for the infertile times vs. fertile times, it's the difference between what you do yourelf to avoid conception (artificial means) vs. what God has worked into your cycle. it's not wrong to intend not to conceive in a sex act that takes place during a time when God won't allow you to conceive anyway :)
23rd-Jul-2006 12:58 am (UTC)
Why is it not enough for a couple to say, for a myriad of reasons, that they are generally open to life in that they will accept any children that God gives them and that either they intend to have children at some point, or they intend to have MORE children at some point, or they already had children in the past?

actually, that's why NFP is allowed.


Then this is why I don't understand why barrier contraception isn't allowed. It sounds like you are saying, "No, those individual sex acts during the woman's infertile period in NFP are not open to life, but it's okay because the couple is, generally speaking, open to life, assuming that they have a significant reason for postponing pregnancy." So, seriously, I'm not trying to give you a hard time, I don't understand why it's okay for those individual sex acts not to be open to life and not for others.

it's not wrong to intend not to conceive in a sex act that takes place during a time when God won't allow you to conceive anyway

Would it be okay, then, if you were using NFP and knew exactly with 99.99% certainty that the woman was not fertile and conception was impossible... to use a condom during sex that took place in that time frame? There might be a variety of reasons a couple would want to do this.
23rd-Jul-2006 01:59 pm (UTC)
I don't understand why it's okay for those individual sex acts not to be open to life and not for others.

because it's God's intention that those sex acts not bring forth life. it's God's intentin that sex acts during fertile times be open to life. you're very stuck on "openness to life" but it's more an issue of God's intention for that time in your cycle.

I'm still gonna say "no" on teh condoms-during-infertile time because it's not just a contraceptive device.. it's a barrier and I don't see that such a thing has a blace in an act of unity. in fact that's pretty much all anyone said to my first post to this community, so I know I'm not alone in thinking this. I don't know that the Church has addressed it directly, but it probably hasn't taken into account that people might use them for other than contraceptive (or to reduce transmission of AIDS but I assume that's not the issue here) but it still doesn't go along with everything said about unity.
and still.. if we're talking 99.99% sure that the woman is infertile (as opposed to 100%), then it could be subconsciously a "backup plan" where as the church would say if you have sex when you're potentially fertile you should be open to conception.
23rd-Jul-2006 03:17 pm (UTC)
I think you're mistaking the intention of being 'closed to new life' and the mere circumstance of being closed to new life. You control your intentions, but you don't control your circumstances. Contraceptive sex is wrong because it is intentionally closed to new life; sex during your infertile period is not, because that has nothing to do with your intentions.

It might be a little easier to think about this if you remember that not everybody knows when they're fertile and infertile. It would be absurd to say that it's bad to have sex during your infertile period if few people know when that is, and not many people would naturally come up with that knowledge without education. But anybody can see why trying to have sex using fabricated barriers is not the same as freely open sex.

I imagine two problems with using a condom during infertile periods (assuming anyone would want to who doesn't feel compelled to!). When you're "99.99% certain" you're infertile, you aren't certain. I mean, you are pretty certain, but you don't omnisciently know, so you could be having contraceptive sex anyway. The other reason is that it is a barrier; using a barrier to capture all the semen, for whatever reason, means in that aspect it could be the same as masturbating your partner or doing anything else that doesn't culminate in the normal biologically unitive end of sex. In other words, it's still not real sex.
5th-Mar-2007 06:57 pm (UTC) - I'm still confused
I don't understand this. If a couple is using to NFP to avoid pregnancy, then their intention is clearly to avoid pregnancy. So how is NFP about circumstance and not intention? I feel like it is certainly and definitely both. I mean, if I were to abstain 10 days because I know it is my "fertile window", then obviously my intention is not to get pregnant.
17th-Mar-2007 06:59 pm (UTC) - Re: I'm still confused
I think the difference which you might be forgetting is that using NFP you're not actually having contraceptive sex. Regardless of what else is going on, if no contraceptive sex is happening, then it doesn't violate the Church's teaching specifically on contraception. It's still possible to do NFP for bad reasons, but that's a different story. I have the right to have sex when I choose, right?

If I discover (dubiously) that eating after 7pm can make you fat, but not before 7pm, I can choose to eat before 7pm. Someone else can choose to eat after 7pm and simply vomit to avoid digestion. There's no way the bulemic person could tell person following a simple pre-7pm diet that they're doing the same thing. Their intentions are not the same.

The contracepting couple intends to still enjoy sex during their fertile period, or what would be their fertile period. The NFP-using couple does not. The overall intention to avoid pregnancy might be the same, but the actual immediate intentions are completely different.
15th-Sep-2008 12:25 am (UTC) - Re: I'm still confused
...wait, I think I'm getting it (after reading every above comment)! NFP is not immoral because there is a tiny window of possibility that pregnancy might occur, as opposed to absolutely none at all (which has been imposed by artificial methods) which is basically saying "I don't want to submit to God's will right now" when in all likelihood his will might be for you to not get pregnant because you're currently "infertile."

...slowly but surely?
23rd-Jul-2006 03:18 pm (UTC)
God invented the woman's cycle. He planned it out so that we aren't fertile ALL the time. He knows us, and our bodies, and our brains, because he created them. We aren't MEANT to get pregnant with every sex act. But we are asked to leave that decision up to God, because it is His job, not ours, to decide who is going to enter this world and when. It's not about our bodies, it about being open to allowing God to work through us.

And, like another poster said, 99.99% is not 100%. If a woman is, for some reason like PCOS, not totally fertile, but there's still a possibility of conception (she still has her overies and her uterus) then there is still a possibility of conception. That means she must still be open to the possibility of life from her sexual encounters, even if they aren't as likely to produce life. However, any time she chooses NOT to have sex, then she does not have to make the conscious decision to be open to life at that moment. That's how NFP works. Just because the woman is not totally fertile for those 3 weeks, does not mean that she's not fertile.

Using a condom is like kissing through a plastic bag. It just doesn't work, right? Pretty much, the process of using a condom is mutual masterbation because you are not in any way touching the genitals of your partner with your genitals: there's rubber in between. And in this case, he is just using her as "a hole" and she's just using him as "a stimuli" for them both to get off. As crude as that seems, it's correct. That's the reason condoms were invented. To allow each memeber to get all the pleasurable sensations from sex and none of the responsibilities towards the other person.
24th-Jul-2006 03:38 pm (UTC)
Using a condom is like kissing through a plastic bag. It just doesn't work, right? Pretty much, the process of using a condom is mutual masterbation because you are not in any way touching the genitals of your partner with your genitals: there's rubber in between. And in this case, he is just using her as "a hole" and she's just using him as "a stimuli" for them both to get off. As crude as that seems, it's correct. That's the reason condoms were invented. To allow each memeber to get all the pleasurable sensations from sex and none of the responsibilities towards the other person.

Yeah... I have to say I don't agree condoms turn sex--martial, loving sex--into mutual masturbation. You can't insist that every couple who uses them has never engaged in a union blessed by God, much less that they've never actually engaged in sex with each other.
23rd-Jul-2006 04:01 pm (UTC)
I just thought of somethign else (re: condoms during infertility). the church hasn't said that married couples where one partner is known to have AID or be HIV positive can use condoms. if it were as simple as "condoms are contraceptive" it should be as simple as "you can use them if you're not fertile", right? but the official Church teaching, as far as I know, is no condoms, ever. so whatever reason a couple may have for wanting to use them is probalby not even as severe as avoiding contracintg AIDS, as purpose for which the Church has yet to approve use.

that's where I would speculate the Church's position is on whether or not it's allowed... as for "why" I suppose that's up for speculation. but I'm not sure if you're looking for reasons or just whether or not it's permissible.
26th-Jul-2006 05:13 pm (UTC)
the general concensus is that birth control items (such as the pill or a condom) are ok as long as they are being used for a purpose other than contraception, meaning that you can use a condom to protect the life of your spouse if you have AIDS, or you can take the pill if you're regulating your cycle (say, if you bleed constantly, or if your hormones are completely out of whack and it's the only option). so hormones or protection devices during sex are ok, just so long as the "birth control" part is an unfortunate side effect, rather than the desired result. it's the intention that makes all the difference. of course, in general, people use birth control to prevent pregnancy, so the distinction is usually not an important one to make.
26th-Jul-2006 05:15 pm (UTC)
Anonymous
I thought there's big a big uproar recently because the Church said no condoms, period, even in cases in which one spouse had an STD. I don't have a source, but I remember this being a big deal a few months back.
26th-Jul-2006 05:16 pm (UTC)
Oops, that was me.
26th-Jul-2006 05:20 pm (UTC)
yeah, that's true. i explained further in my comment below :-)
26th-Jul-2006 05:19 pm (UTC)
an important note, however, is that the catholic church has yet to officially approve condom use or hormone use for these purposes, for fear that people would misunderstand, and take it to mean that condom use (or use of the pill) in all situations is ok. so at the moment, given the choice between telling the select few who use it for health reasons that it's only ok for them (which would be like telling everyone that birth control is ok. period. because people don't like to recognize important distinctions like that), and telling everyone that birth control is NOT ok (leaving a few people out there who need it for health reasons to decide for themselves against the teachings of the church)... the church has decided (so far) that they're going to say that birth control - in all instances - is wrong.
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