“For forty years this generation wearied me, And I said their hearts are wondering and they do not know My ways; and I swore in My anger that they would never see My place of rest.” (Ps 95:10-11)
As families are torn apart by selfishness, divorce, and loneliness more and more women and couples are turning away from the generation of contraception and genuinely seeking God’s will in their lives. If what I am seeing is anything to go by, it isn’t just Catholic couples who are turning their noses up at drugs and surgery that breaks a healthy part of the body, and has damaged marriage so badly, that perhaps even the prophets of the inevitable didn’t see it coming.
No Christian church/community believed that contraception was in any way allowed until after the Church of England Lambeth Conference in 1930 were contraception was deemed allowable to a married couple in very extreme circumstances.
The wise and Spirit led Pope Pius XI immediately responded with Casti Connubii (1930) which reiterated, strongly, the 2000 year teaching of Christ and His Church. But the damage from England spread out and soon other churches were allowing contraception and more horribly Christians began to favour killing the unborn children who were conceived despite the contraceptive use.
By the time Pope John XXIII called the Second Vatican Council the state of families was already a concern. But it had nowhere near reached the depths we face now.
When the Cassandraesque prophecies of Pope Paul VI were published in Humanae Vitae in 1968, he was ignored or vilified. It is with sadness and in many cases bitterness and anger that many (especially women) of my generation have learned he was right.
Most people my age in the Western Church didn’t get much catechesis in school or family life. We grew up with a set of Jesuses from “He can’t wait to send you to hell” Jesus to hippy-stoned- do-whatever-feels-good-Jesus; and a plethora of Jesuses in between. We were given, at best, mixed messages about sex and marriage and left to fend for ourselves. For many that lead to chemical contraception with all its side effects both physically, emotionally and spiritually as well as broken relationships and complications in marriage.
And from what I can gather it wasn’t just Catholics getting out the golden calf religion. Other Christians were doing just as badly, if not worse than us.
But the generation is done and the next generation are growing up and they don’t want the deal my generation got. They want the Truth – all of it. As the Church is improving in getting her message across more and more couples, and particular women, are asking for a better deal in marriage, more respect for their/our bodies and more love and generosity in accepting and parenting our children.
Jennifer Fulwiler has written a lovely observation on all this. Some of the comments show the change in thought and the massive obstacles in moving from the “contraceptive mentality” to open to life and God’s will in our lives. There are those who find any of the forms of Natural Family Planning very difficult. One person even found the Marquette method hard.
Personally I have to admit to some irritation (and surprise) that the best way of learning NFP for me has been from secular sources. Fertility Friend.com which has a huge number of charts to be studied so you can learn to spot stuff on your own chart. and the Toni Weschler book, Those are the resources I recommend when I’m helping someone chart.
We had some lessons from the Couple to Couple league as well which was a great help, especially as we were learning while I was breastfeeding!
A properly recorded NFP chart can tell you a whole lot about your health, or lack thereof. It will tell you when to catch that twinkle from God’s eye and when you can avoid doing so.
In a Christian marriage, child spacing should be done with prayer, not just with charts. The Church says we can avoid pregnancy for just reasons; which includes financial, emotional and physical health reasons. There is no church teaching that says a couple have to have as many children as possible no matter what. God isn’t nearly as stupid as some people want to think He is.
Having children is a massive responsibility and a joy; it should be a three way decision, God, husband and wife. Sometimes God gives a child even when you don’t think you’re ready, and sometimes He doesn’t give you one when you think you are ready and ask Him for one. Whatever He does He provides the grace required, you just have to accept and use it.
I think I’ll write a post on the health issues that charting can spot.