What's wrong with Natural Family Planning?

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11:10 AM 11/8/2012 — A thought came to mind when I saw a commercial about Reverse Mortgages, which give you money if you sign over your house to the mortgage company after you die. It's only good if you have no one to whom you want to leave your home; and, if there's a market for such a service, it's only because the number of senior citizens who have no one to whom to leave their homes has increased. I find that sad.
     Unlike many Catholic conservatives, I've never been completely comfortable with Natural Family Planning (NFP), based, as it is, on the conviction that the whole “birth control” question should be focused principally on the means. Catholic conservatives like this emphasis on means because it allows them to remain “enlightened” by showing that they, too, believe in “responsible parenthood.”
     But I never got the memo that Catholics are no longer to have large families, nor do I believe any longer that the morality of it dissolves to the question of means alone. So many of the positions that Catholic leaders in our country take these days are underlined by a desire that the Church not appear “out of touch” with modern sensibilities; and, the rush to distill the position of the Church to an advocacy of NFP, laced with convoluted and inaccurate platitudes about conscience, reflects this.
     A healthy society is not one in which individuals live a long life, but one in which a moderate life-span gives way to a healthy turn-over in the transmission of that life; in other words, not a long life, but one which leaves behind lots of off-spring. It is not the health, but the selfishness of a society which is demonstrated by long lives that leave behind little if any issue.
     Catholic teaching on contraception (which, by the way, fulfills all the requirements of Vatican II for infallible teaching) is not based solely on the question of means, but has to do mostly with attitude; and, the unrestrained advocacy of NFP does not reflect real Catholic teaching.

Father Michael Venditti