Tom and Jerry: Defenders of All Things Right and Good

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Great Minds Think Alike

Just hours before I wrote “A Quiver Full,” Ryan T. Anderson blogged about the Quiverfull movement in First Things. Andersen informs us of other similar movements in the protestant and secular worlds. I find this one particularly intriguing:

But have you heard about the students at Princeton? Frustrated with the sexual chaos on campus, they founded the Anscombe Society, named for the Cambridge philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe, author of the famous essay “Contraception and Chastity.” Without appeals to revelation or authority—that is, by human experience and reason alone—members of the Anscombe Society are making the case on the Princeton campus for chastity, authentic feminism, and traditional marriage. And I believe that thinking through the case for traditional marriage may be a key element in the reevaluation of attitudes toward sex even within marriage.

Anderson makes a good point. If the procreative element of marital love is neither important nor required for authentic self-giving, then what is wrong with homosexual sex, bestiality, sodomy or a myriad of other sexual perversions? He contends the recent brouhaha over same-sex marriage may spur more understanding and accepting of the Catholic Church’s teaching on contraception. I hope so.

Back to the issue of NFP, Anderson is careful not to endorse Quiverfull’s complete rejection of all family planning methods, natural or otherwise:
Some Christians will undoubtedly take issue with [Quiverfull’s] understanding of trust in God’s providence (describing their attitude as presumptuous) and wish they would place emphasis on discerning God’s will for family size and come to see Natural Family Planning as a responsible way to avoid conceiving when spouses have good reasons to postpone pregnancy. Be that as it may, the Quiverfull movement does embody a powerful reaction against a contraceptive mentality that views children and childbearing as inconveniences in adult life, to be planned around adult desires, using whatever means necessary.

Notice his careful wording. NFP is a way to “postpone” (as opposed to “avoid”) pregnancy. Part of responsibly using NFP means being open to life.



  • Too bad when you are using NFP, you are not open to life unless you want to argue that it is such a poor method that nobody could really believe they are practicing contraception. Eeeegads, that is it! Off on a technicality.

    By Anonymous Stafford, at Friday, December 08, 2006 1:40:00 AM  

  • Hello Stafford,
    It is nice to sort-of meet you. :) I know Tom already made introductions, but it seems weird to address you without at least saying hi first.

    I don't know if I can explain how difficult it is to hear to you repeatedly insist that I am not open to life. It seems that this is all academic discussion to you, and I understand how that makes it easy to be glib. Please understand that for me, in my life, it is real, and it is not easy. I make sacrifices on a daily basis in order to live out this teaching. I have put my money where my mouth is. Have you?

    I've been struggling for days to decide whether to jump into this debate for real, and if so, what to say. I may regret this later, but I won't sit on the sidelines any more. I'm coming for you. Soon.

    I mean that in the friendliest way possible. Really.

    [turns and reaches for extra-large can of

    By Anonymous Christina, at Friday, December 08, 2006 11:45:00 AM  

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