Tom and Jerry: Defenders of All Things Right and Good

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Beating a Dead Horse Deader

Recently I listened to Jason Evert speak about NFP on Catholic Answers Live. His explanation of the difference between NFP and artificial birth control (ABC) is worth quoting:

NFP is entirely different [from contraception] because you are not doing anything to interrupt or sterilize the act of intercourse between a husband and a wife. As the two bodies come together it is exactly as God has designed.

Some people say, “I don’t understand the difference. Aren’t you both trying to avoid kids?”

Well, to determine the morality of an action, you not only have to look at the ends but also the means.

For a couple who might say, “Financially, we can’t afford any more kids. My wife is at her wits end. Now is not a good time for kids.”

A couple using contraception might have that intention, and a couple using natural family planning might have that intention. That is both of their goals. But, they take different means to arrive at those goals. So you have to look at the morality of the means.

With NFP, it is kind of like the difference between bulimia and dieting for a woman. Both women want to have a slim figure. So one engages in bulimia. She binges on food and then she purges the food out so she can stay skinny. The woman on NFP is like the woman who diets because she wants she wants to maintain a slim figure, she refrains from eating fatty foods, and she achieves the same goal. So you see, they both get the same goal, but through entirely different means. So one has the virtue of temperance (NFP), and the other lacks that virtue with contraception, where you want the pleasure but you don’t want the kids.

He says later:
The church is not opposed to birth control to space children. The church is opposed to contraception, things that deliberately interrupt or sterilize an act of intercourse.

What is a legitimate reason for using NFP? Jason answers that as well:
The church does not say you need a serious, grave reason use NFP. The church’s wording is that you need a “just” reason. It doesn’t need to be some massive extreme circumstance.

For LSU fans, I’ve created any easy-to-follow matrix to determine the morality of a particular act of birth control:

Just ends / intentionsUnjust ends / intentions
Just means (NFP)Not sinfulSinful
Unjust means (ABC)SinfulSinful

I know I’m just repeating what has already been written ad nauseam in this forum. But, I like making sure the dead horses I encounter are really good and dead.



  • I have always liked this argument as a defense of NFP vs. artificial birth control.

    It always bothered me a bit that NFP proponents would talk about being "open to life" while users of artificial birth control were not. In the next breath, they would mention that NFP has a higher "success rate" (meaning fewer pregnancies) than any artificial method. I always found these two points to be logically inconsistent.

    I like this argument much, much better.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thursday, December 21, 2006 2:03:00 PM  

  • Yes Elf, Tom pedant pedagogue of NFP is still trying to convince himself and others that NFP is not a form of contraception, albeit an accepted one within the church, and so his brain will not allow him to rest.

    Soon though, he will be focused on the ass whippin that LSU will be departing upon the Irish and the real costs involved.

    By Anonymous SRL, at Monday, December 25, 2006 1:47:00 PM  

  • Stafford,
    There you are! I was wondering where you'd gone - you stopped posting in the other thread. Why?

    Merry Christmas!

    By Anonymous Christina, at Tuesday, December 26, 2006 11:40:00 PM  

  • Christina, I hope you had a Merry Christmas too.

    I have been extremely busy as of late and so I had resolved to agreement upon disagreement. Still, in spite of the fact that Tom and Jerry can't bring theirselves to admit I am right, I think that we need to shift the focus onto something I feel is more pressing, the Enneagram and New Age spirituality which is infecting the Church.

    Take care.

    By Anonymous SRL, at Wednesday, December 27, 2006 4:26:00 PM  

  • Stafford,

    How does one "depart" an ass whippin? Is LSU going to leave the stadium during the game? I can understand, hypothetically, how LSU could "impart" an ass whippin on ND. I can also understand how, hypothetically, pigs could fly. But, I don't get how an ass whippin is "departed" on someone else. :)

    Go Irish!

    By Blogger Tom, at Wednesday, December 27, 2006 10:49:00 PM  

  • No, depart is the word I was looking for which means to leave (in the transitive verb sense). In other words, we are going to leave you with an ass whippin, you know, past tense. We will be imparting the ass whippin in the present tense on the third. Got it?

    By Anonymous srl, at Saturday, December 30, 2006 7:49:00 PM  

  • Actually, srl, Tom is right. The word you are looking for is impart. The transitive verb depart means deviate, or go away from. You don't "depart an ass-whipping," or anything else for that matter.

    Must be the same LSU education that brought us the word "theirselves"

    Happy holidays, anyway...

    By Anonymous elf, at Sunday, December 31, 2006 7:31:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home