Return of the Prodigal Son by Pompeo Batoni - 1773

Evolution for the Catholic Student

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

NFP Awareness Week

NFP Awareness Week

This past week has been Natural Family Planning (NFP) Awareness Week.  NFP is a method of regulating the births of children by having recourse to the infertile periods in a woman’s cycle.  Because a woman is fertile for only a short period each cycle, and the signs of fertility are very clear and easy to detect with our modern knowledge of the subject, NFP is the most effective means of preventing pregnancy, and Catholics can licitly have recourse to it for serious reasons.  NFP can also be used in order to help achieve pregnancy.
Besides the moral benefits of a couple knowing their marital acts reflect God’s design, there is also no risk of accidental abortion, caused by some contraceptives, and women are free from putting carcinogens in their bodies month after month, as hormonal contraceptives do. 
Generally a couple needs to abstain from relations for about 11 days during a woman’s cycle in order to avoid pregnancy, but this can vary depending on the length of the cycle and how conservative a couple decides to be.  This may seem difficult, but considering that studies suggest that couples who contracept have much more barren “marital intimacy” lives than couples who do not, I would imagine most couples would not consider 11 days of abstinence anything too abnormal.  Again, NFP should be used for appropriate reasons, which should be discerned through mutual prayer, and perhaps with the help of a spiritual director.
To learn more about NFP, a wonderful resource is the Couple to Couple League.  Most dioceses also have classes available for anyone wishing to become educated on the subject.