In one of his Lectures Fr. Ripperger, suggests that NFP talks, given in mixed company are inappropriate. This observation resonated with me. I found it incredibly awkward, as an engaged woman, striving to live a chaste life, to be thrown into a room (of mixed sexes!) and given an explicit “how-to-use- NFP” talk by a married couple. I was mortified. I cried afterwards. It left me demoralized.
The NFP talk given at out marriage prep was at best confusing, at worst heretical. It was presented as a catholic contraception. If you don’t want to have children, use this, not contraceptives! How sad. The focus should have been on the great blessing of children not NFP strengthens marriages and is as effective as contraceptives!
One older engaged couple, said they were not open to having any children because the dangers of pregnancy, at their age, were too great. This seemed to be accepted as reason enough, and to enter marriage, with not intention of ever having any children, was not even blinked at. It was troubling to hear such stories.
I thought marriage was for children, I thought NFP was for grave reasons, I thought that if you weren’t ready for children, you shouldn’t be getting married! The push for NFP seemed completely contrary to all of this.
When it comes to marriage prep, the focus should be marriage is for children, not how to avoid having children. Of course, the evils of contraception needs to be addressed! Couples should be properly catechized in these matters. But these NFP crash courses are not properly catechizing people! They are at once biologically explicit and Dogmatically vague.
I believe NFP courses should be available, Catholicism is not a type Gnosticism, NFP isn’t a secret knowledge. However, it is just a small piece in properly catechizing couples. Such public and mixed presentations are inappropriate. Such sexually explicit discussions are better done in men only or women only groups or privately between the instructor and a married couple or even a single woman who needs it for health reasons.
I am not against NFP in itself. In fact, we find ourselves in a grave situation now. Sadly, my treatment for Lyme Disease, is incompatible with pregnancy. (I tried treatments that were compatible with pregnancy but they did not work.) Without this treatment (BVT), I was completely bed-bound some days! Without it, my symptoms were numerous and far-reaching: from severe depression, intrusive thoughts to constant heart palpations. I was unable to fulfill my basic duties as a wife and mother.
With treatment, the disease is manageable. the protocol lasts two years. Our circumstances are not ideal. Although we find practicing NFP necessary at this time, it grieves us. And it should, it’s not normal.