Any act or thing which directly frustrates or stops conception is a serious sin in the eyes of God. This includes all
artificial birth control. NFP is not directly sinful because it does not directly frustrate conception. It is not any action
or thing. It is simply periodic abstinence; meaning that the married couple refrains from the marital act at certain
times. Because of this, NFP must be judged in the same way as abstinence itself.
When a man and woman marry, they give over to their spouse the rights over their own body to perform the marital
act. In a sense, their body no longer belongs to them but to their spouse. Because of this, it is a grave sin for one
spouse to deny the other the marital act when it is requested in a reasonable way. This is a grave responsibility for
married couples. Abstinence from the marital act then, including periodic abstinence, can only be permitted in
certain conditions for serious reasons.
The first condition is that there must be amutual agreement to abstain from the marital act. If either spouse is
unwilling, the abstinence would be forced. This means that one spouse would deny the other the right which
properly belongs to him or her. It would be gravely sinful for the person who denies this right to his or her spouse.
The second condition is that there must be no danger of either spouse sinning against chastity, either on his or her
own, or with someone else. Any serious danger in this regard is enough to prohibit abstinence, whether periodic or
complete. God can never justify sin, even to bring about a good effect.
The simple fact that the two conditions related above do not pose a problem isnot reason enough for a married
couple to use NFP. There must also be a real and serious reason for doing so. After all, abstinence, whether periodic
or complete, is not normal marital life.
The reasons serious enough to allow the practice of periodic abstinence (or NFP) were given by Pope Pius XII.
These reasons do not change with time.
They are the following:
It's not enough that the couple themselvesbelieve their condition is serious. They must also have the advice of a good Catholic-minded doctor, if it is a medical question;and the permission of a good Catholic priest before they can start practicing periodic abstinence.
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