It sure is cold here in the Alps.
There has been a discussion going on that lots of people have referenced, linked to, commented on, refused to comment on, etc….
Here is how I see both sides of this discussion:
1. Women who have been surprised by pregnancy are very sensitive to the phrase “responsible parenthood” (as the Church in all her wisdom understands that phrase, not the worldly definition which seems to beat down on all of us like a steel-driver who just got his rhythm going) because they feel as though someone is pointing the finger at them saying, “OBVIOUSLY you aren’t a responsible parent who cares about those children’s needs, just some kind of baby making factory.” We should be sensitive to their feelings because chances are they have been pointed at, ridiculed, made to feel embarrassed or worse, by friends, family, parishioners, even total strangers, in real life.
2. The women who have prayerfully chosen to use some method of Church approved natural family planning for reasons based on the wisdom of the Church regarding their particular situation be it medical, psychological or financial and have never been surprised by the blessing of an unexpected new soul are very sensitive to the phrase “using NFP with a contraceptive mentality” because they feel as though someone is pointing the finger at them saying, “You must be a selfish parent who either doesn’t trust God enough to take care of your concerns or someone who prefers dollar signs instead of souls.” We should be sensitive to their feelings because chances are they have been accused of deliberately limiting their family size so as to enjoy material luxuries or of simply not trusting God to provide by friends, family, fellow parishioners, even total strangers. (My personal pet peeve are those who talk about abusing NFP instead of using the “contraceptive” phrase. There is no possible way to abuse NFP. People can choose to use it for selfish reasons, but that does not equate NFP to contraception. No one but God can know the true motivations behind a couple's choice to not seek to add to their family but NFP never says “no” to God’s will.)
3. Both groups of women are striving to live the Church’s mandate to be “open to life” and neither should be made to feel as though her situation makes her less “Catholic” than the other or less interested in working towards the sanctity of her soul and those souls entrusted to her.
4. These kinds of discussions are necessary in order to spread the truth of the Church’s teachings to those who might not have any knowledge on the subject, or who might have been misinformed (there is an awful lot of bad theology out there!) but because of these sensitivities, some women are going to get more insulted by perceived judgments and misinterpretations. Emotions should be checked at the click of the combox and if not, certainly before the click to publish. There is nothing wrong in saying to yourself, “This subject is too near and dear to my heart to trust my head to engage.” In this battle that we all struggle with over how much is too much, we have to ask ourselves if this is the right hill to die on.