Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Bishop Olmstead and NFP

This article stating that Bishop Omstead of Phoenix is going to start to require all engaged couples to complete a full NFP course before marriage seems to be the topic of the day on several blogs I read, so I'll join the crowd and give my opinion here.

First of all, you deserve to know my beliefs about birth control. Basically, I accept the Church's teaching--IOW I choose to obey it, but I don't intellectually agree with it. The idea of someone using a condom just doesn't bring out the moral revulsion that say adultery or theft or pornography or gossip does. However, I am Catholic. I believe in the authority of the Church, and believe that if I reject that authority in one area, I'm not able to trust it in any area.

One thing I've found interesting reading about this on blogs is that people on both ends of the spectrum have complaints. The complaints from the left are the usual "keep out of our bedroom" type, along with "what's the difference between NFP and artificial birth control if you are using them to avoid conception?" Those on the right state that while NFP is allowed in grave circumstances, using it to avoid conception is not supposed to be the norm and believe that making all engaged couples learn it indicates that it is supposed to be the way married life is to be lived, rather than being intimate without regard to your current fertility status.

I think it is obvious that the Church in the US today is doing a terrible job teaching about sexuality and marriage. People are not only rejecting the teachings they know about, they are ignorant of many of the teachings that exist. I know I was well-aware that the Church forbade artificial birth control, but until I got on the internet I had no clue that the Church's teachings on sexual expression and procreation went further than that (except that I knew abortion was wrong). I know that the endorsement of NFP we got from the couple who prepared us for marriage was lukewarm--and they had five kids including one late-life blessing. I know that my thought at the time was that if those (including the priest who married us) whose job it was to push NFP weren't trying any harder, why should we buy it? I think that Bishop Olmstead is at least trying to teach the Catholic view of marriage, and by requiring NFP classes, is giving couples the skills they need to at least move in the right direction. Further, by requiring that people take an NFP class, he is saying that learning about the Catholic (as opposed to secular) view of marriage is important, and that HE actually believes what the Church teaches.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:28 AM

    I'll take the other road. This is the Bishop who replaced my formaer Bishop in Arizona. I moved before The last one was removed.
    Thank the LORD- but it is a long haul for him. My old diocese used to keep one eye closed to people living together- but Lord help you if you were pregnant and wanted to get married. Is was SO anti life- it was sickening.
    He is a breath of fresh air- but he will need lots of prayers. The level of corruption in that diocese is so high that there is little trust. It is one of the main reasons we moved away. ~Janette


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