What continues to boggle my mind is this: how it is that we live in an age of such ubiquitous accessibility to information and yet people still do not properly educate themselves on the dangers of artificial contraceptives.
Women who have given up the pill with whom I have spoken often indicate that they got started on it believing that they were choosing a ‘necessary evil.’ At the time, they were also ignorant of any other effective option, and ultimately, they had been misled into believing it to be a good thing, or at least not so evil, after all.
Deep down, though, they knew something was wrong. But our popular culture made it easy to believe that they were doing something responsible, and so they just ‘conveniently’ didn’t look up the facts which would have told them that they were putting themselves at risk for various health problems, not the least of which is breast cancer.
This indicates yet another negative about human nature: that we are completely capable of living in denial over the consequences of our actions, that we can live insulated in our social bubbles comfortably away from the truth, and that, rather than stick out, we’d rather opt to go along with whatever is culturally mainstream, even to our own detriment.
Ironically, that same culture which abhors any notion of the ‘oppressive’ and ‘conniving’ Catholic Church having any input into what consenting adults do in the bedroom is the same one that says, “Here, ingest, implant or inject these chemicals into your body, stick that device here, place that barrier there and then enjoy!” Really? Is this what people would rather do than hold out for completely natural sex which requires abstaining for a brief* time each month? Is this the extent of how enlightened we’re supposed to be now about sex? Depressing, if that’s the case.
But there is a better option – one that sadly has been relegated to darkened rooms of retreat centers or living rooms of faithful Christians (and even ecologically conscious hippies!) who spread the good news about NFP one couple or group of couples at a time. But that is changing slowly with greater documentation on the effectiveness of NFP and more complete training for healthcare providers.
And so in our talk, my sister and I make it a point to just stick to the facts and then exhort couples to entertain a healthier option for their conjugality. Simple, right? Yes. And no.
It’s not so simple, as the topic carries with it a freight car sized load of emotional baggage. It’s hard to brush off the truth and I’ve seen couples greatly moved by it during the retreat. Like I said at the beginning of Part 1 of this post, people sometimes come not knowing the complete picture either with regards to the science of birth control, or the reason behind the Church’s teaching. They only know the party-line of a culture that beleaguers the Church with accusations of being everything from archaic to misogynist in its stance on moral and sexual ethics.
And yet scratch a little bit into her surface, spend some time investigating her reasons and you find a very holy and wise Mother; a Church that is truly passionate about our health and families in a consistent and holistic way. This I believe is the gift that Natural Family Planning offers all of humanity and I know, I know, that out there in that darkened gym of engaged couples, hearts and minds are listening.
*brief = 6-10. In some cases, a couple of days more, as each monthly cycle is different. That leaves 15-20 other days of the month! (And the national monthly "coitus average" is 8!)