Saving Graces

new mercies each and every day

Reasons to NFP or not to NFP…


So Simcha at I have to sit down has this most brilliant post. I just spent an hour reading comments… and its amazing. She has based it on why doesn’t the church make a list of”grave/just/serious” reasons to not use NFP. Go over there and take a gander! Inspiring!!!

TOB Tuesday: Is TOB practical in todays world?


image_thumb9_thumb_thumb_thumb So we had our last pre-lent TOB session last night and it was fun. We had a debate. Yes, a debate.

MA noted that most sessions we always touch on how we actually want to live the ‘TOB life’ and how that can be difficult as we are in the world – not of the world but in the world. So we split up into groups, one for TOB and one against it being practical in our lives. And of course I was for TOB – blegh – against would have been so much easier. For todays TOB Tuesday, I am just going to highlight some of the points brought up by people (super edited of course) admittedly some were hilarious and said in jest but in today’s world, people are actually crazy like that. Against:

  • pornography  hurts no one, is healthy and helps to support poor porn-stars, it’s an economy that will always be there
  • sex before marriage is like a test drive – one needs to have sampled the merchandise, and it ensures the couple is sexually compatible, thereby balancing the emotional and physical aspects of a relationship
  • and we are going to get married anyway
  • it’s ok to explore one’s sexuality and in a committed relationship its ok because it’s a safe environment to explore one’s sexuality
  • the world is overpopulated and as such NFP is wrong and irresponsible as it depletes resources and it’s un-natural to abstain
  • its ok to use contraceptives to stop the spread of disease, especially if you are prostitute because soliciting is your job
  • God gave people the means and ideas for contraceptives and after all it is ‘my body’
  • people are happier when they live together and a verbal commitment is just as good as a written one, it also has less hassles if they decide to separate as they do not need to go through the process of divorce, and this is good for the children who then will not go through the trauma of a divorce
  • we cannot condemn homosexuality because we all need someone to love and if one is made that way who is it for Christians to condemn, because God says we must love not judge
  • there is no harm in dancing or dressing provocatively, it’s just expressing yourself, just to feel good and to be self confident. It’s not a girls fault if a guy can’t keep his eyes to himself or control his base urges. We should not be ashamed of showing what God created
  • and we need to move with the times, what worked long ago does not work now
  • we want womyn priests, because they would be less likely to molest and abuse little kids
  • masturbation is just by yourself and frequent ejaculation is good to reduce testicular cancer, it does not harm anyone and is a good stress reliever

and For:

  • TOB is the truth and no matter how difficult it is it leads to happiness, deep down in everyone’s heart is a desire to love and be loved authentically
  • it speaks to the dignity of our bodies
  • the pornography industry feeds human trafficking and child pornography which does affect our society
  • overpopulation is a myth, with a few societies using up the bulk of the world’s resources. Some western societies will soon be facing underpopulation
  • pornography objectifies women and men, which translates to lack of respect for one’s dignity e.g. who wants their mother, daughter, sister treated as dirt? Then why treat other women that way?
  • sexual attraction is normal and a gift but it has its time and place where it can be truly transcendently beautiful,
  • contraception, masturbation and porn have destroyed the fabric of society, where prostitution becomes a valid job and yet half of these women have to be stoned to carry out their ‘job’, where divorce and lack of commitment are the norm, where children do have parents but adult parental units who want to be their ‘friends’
  • how does premarital sex contribute to one’s happiness as a person, in light that no true commitment is there and love may not even be present? most people delude themselves that they are happy in this situation whilst their hearts cry out for true love
  • abstinence is the best way to prevent sexually transmitted diseases
  • the Lord tells us to do a lot of things which we ignore or we listen to the devil, just because we can do something does not mean it is from God and even good things can be used in an evil way, whilst science in itself is not evil, what it can be used for may be evil
  • the priesthood is about fatherhood and engendering life so by natural law women can not be fathers, and hence cannot stand in persona-Christi and become priests
  • relationships are made stronger with common goals, priorities, communication and understating, not with premarital sex
  • going through adversity and challenges strengthens relationships and builds character, such as abstaining together for a greater good
  • we do not live in a bubble were our actions do not affect others, so dancing and acting provocatively will affect others and is not just about you, and the message it sends is that you are available and want all eyes on you, whether that is your intention or not
  • NFP is all natural and does not introduce poisonous chemicals into our bodies, it follows the natural cycles of a women’s body and strives to understand better how our bodies work
  • artificial birth control has been known to cause depression, obesity, blood clots and even death
  • even condoms cannot prevent disease a hundred percent
  • research has shown that a husbands semen may be beneficial to a woman pre – during and post pregnancy – nature working at its best

OK so I have to admit that the ‘for’ side was not well articulated and it just seems difficult to put into practical terms everything about our dignity and the deep hunger within us and morality.

MA gave us a précis highlighting that when talking to non-Christians it is possible to impart TOB principles by focusing on morality dignity and respect. As Christians though we need to focus on where we are headed not where we are. We need to learn that pain and struggle are a part of life.

She noted that one of today’s main problems is a lack of parenting, that parents do not allow their kids to wait or be denied so as adults that have not learnt any restraint. It’s the life of a junky, what makes me happy now, I want that, I get it… oh no a low is coming what’s next to get me that high again?

It’s about instilling morality, just because I have a ring on my finger will not stop an affair, my conscience has to have been formed by some morals for me to know that that would be wrong. And how do we form our consciences, they have to be formed in the Truth, the mass, catechesis, scripture and prayer. If this is not in place the next question would be what was my intent, for instance, what is the moral code of self-defence. MA then sent a little note per email that I thought summed it all up:

“Just as a last word:   instead of trying to answer in a self-righteous way in defence of TOB which puts others off, we can try to work from a moral framework that encapsulates just what John Paul is saying. (he uses the framework – or hermeneutic – of GIFT) What is  this framework: (bearing in mind what I said about Morality as choosing between good and evil and what is meant by ‘good’) We are all made for love – we are all looking / searching for love;  very often what we think is ‘love’ is the counterfeit i.e. it doesn’t grant us the happiness and joy we thought we’d get from it – instant pleasure, maybe, but lasting happiness – not usually. How do we love?  By making a total gift of ourselves because if we don’t, we risk objectifying the other or being objectified and who wants that? So with all the issues  that the no.2 team brought up last night, in light of this framework,  can you think why they are ‘not right’ or why they are not fulfilling and don’t lead to true happiness?  Give this some thought!”

Next week we have a guest speaker Dr Heinz (every time I say his name I think of baked beans)  who is an NFP fundi, and he will give us an NFP talk. See you all then.

NFP précis


There is a post over at Little Catholic Bubble on NFP that is fab! Go over and read it.

It outlines a scientific perspective on natural family planning by guest posters 🙂

TOB Tuesday: Humanae Vitae



This post is late, I  kinda got busy then forgot and then… oh well. Again TOB Tuesday follows our weekly Monday discussion and we are using Christopher West’s Into the Heart series.

The session focused on Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI’s encyclical on human life. We went into what it covers, that it focuses on the problems of birth regulation, that they separate the body from the soul, that it focuses only on the biological aspects of a human which is by no means nearly enough. It outlines how God gave us the law of life as our inheritance.

We are called to responsible parenting, which does not mean rendering the sexual act sterile  -which would be a violation of the sacramental sign of marriage – that it be both unitive and procreative. The unitive part most of us understand and Christopher West explained that the very nature of the communion within the conjugal act, activates the process in which God has chosen to bring forth human life! Again here we are partaking in the great creative glorious power of the Lord, and this, THIS is the method He chose!!!

When the unitive and procreative meanings are separated there is no union of persons and who would want that in a one-flesh union? When we deprive the conjugal act of this very inner truth, it also ceases to be an act of love. We spay and neuter ourselves, which just serves to say that we cannot control ourselves and have reduced ourselves to the level of base animals. Artificial Birth control is not in keeping with human dignity – self-control is the only birth control that is in keeping with human dignity.

One other point I found fascinating was that the seed of the man is not just biological fluid, it is the very essence of the masculine soul, which I think infers it is the essence of fatherhood. Yesterday evening we went to another talk which was centred on Humanae Vitae and the speaker mentioned that every time a mans seed was spilt it was a potential of fatherhood, every single time, there is never a time when one could say oh well only at certain times, it is every time, so it matters not what contraception is used, because only abstinence is 100% effective in not having the potential of fatherhood.

Each conjugal act should be treated with the responsibility of fathering and mothering, it has to come with the understanding that there is a possibility that this act will result in a child even if the probability is 0.01% for whatever reason. But humanity has decided to do away with that, to take responsibility out of the sexual act, to make it an act of lust, of using. This does not mean the church wants everyone to have 100 babies, as for a man every act is fertile this is not so for women.

The Church says for just reason spouses may abstain from sex, it is not a obligation to have sex, and spacing children according to needs and circumstances is a couples duty. CW said the church here is elevating biology to the level of love, for what we do with our bodies we do with our spirits and sexuality has never been just biological so why treat it thus? It’s about receiving the gift of a couples periodic infertility (through a woman’s cycle) from God, rather than grasping infertility for pleasure and to try and separate our bodies from our spirits.

Yesterdays talk, (boring though it was) had some marvellous points, the speaker said that artificial birth control is like biochemical violence that takes over a woman’s body and programs it from her natural ebbs and flows into a fixed 28 day cycle, that if any other medication (as is fertility is a disease) had caused as many deaths and side effects as this one has, it would have been banned long ago, but not the pill; after all people can’t control themselves, have a right to pleasure etc. and they should not be punished with a baby…

I pray for a new understanding of how rejecting Humane Vitae has affected our church, of understanding that self-mastery is a good thing, of understanding how abstinence is not only practical but a great party of chastity no matter which vocation or stage of life and for living pure and holy lives.

Now, none of this is possible without the grace of God, so dear Lord, shower your grace upon us.

Abortion is growing :(


I love Fr. Barron and here he touches on a topic very close to my heart, abortion. Of note is the information on spreading contraceptives to Africa so as to halt the spread of AIDS…

Culture of death


She is 13….

Jen again… on what makes abortion acceptable


I love reading Jennifer Fulwiler’s blog, Conversion Diary. She has fascinatingimage insights and now here is an article which makes so much sense… It’s in line with the recent American Marches for life which took place and on being pro-life or pro-choice. It can be found here at Inside Catholic.
The part that resonated with today me is :

“In every society, there are two critical lists: acceptable conditions for having a baby, and acceptable conditions for having sex. From time immemorial, the one thing that almost every society had in common is that their two lists matched up. It was only with the widespread acceptance of contraception in the middle of the 20th century, creating an upheaval in the public psyche in which sex and babies no longer went hand-in-hand, that the two lists began to diverge. And now, in 21st-century America, they look something like this:
Conditions under which it is acceptable to have sex:

  • If you’re in a stable relationship
  • If you feel emotionally ready
  • If you’re free of sexually transmitted diseases
  • If you have access to contraception

Conditions under which it is acceptable to have a baby:

  • If you can afford it
  • If you’ve finished your education
  • If you feel emotionally ready to parent a child
  • If your partner would make a good parent
  • If you’re ready for all the lifestyle changes that would be involved with parenthood

As long as those two lists do not match, we will live in a culture where abortion is common and where women are at war with their own bodies.”

It’s so true, abortion has become a form of contraception, a way in which to live out a lifestyle that goes against what nature has ordained. Now she didn’t present what the two lists would have been before, but I though I’d give it a shot…
Conditions under which it is acceptable to have sex:

  • If you are married

Conditions under which it is acceptable to have a baby:

  • If you are married

mmmm is it just me? maybe let’s look at marriage conditions then…

Conditions under which it is acceptable to get married:

  • If you’re in a stable relationship
  • If you feel emotionally ready
  • If you can afford it
  • If you’ve finished your education
  • If you feel emotionally ready to parent a child
  • If your partner would make a good parent
  • If you’re ready for all the lifestyle changes that would be involved with parenthood

Ergo no need for contraception! Cool!