QUESTION: Hey Griff its just me again. I have read a good amount of your work that you have sent me on b.o.d. and b.o.b. and i see much truth in it. I must say though i still have one more problem with the cmri. Why is it that they regard "natural family planning" (nfp) as a legitimate form of birth control? Also i have read what their Bishop writes on the website about it. Its really not clear what their position is on the matter could you help me? I was pretty much taught by my grand father who grew up in the great days when Catholicisms was flourishing in America. (1930's 1940's and 1950's) Him and his wife had a family of 16 children. (my father being the oldest born in 1957). He basically believes and says in his day (before the 60's) hardly any Catholics practiced nfp or any other forms of "natural birth control". Also that you are not allowed to use anything (natural or unnatural) to purposely limit the number of children or to space births. I believe that this is correct. can you help me on this issue? Because it seems like the cmri actually regards nfp as a legitimate form of birth control. If that is the case i would be hesitant about attending their masses.
Thanks and god bless.
Also is their any way we can exchange emails privately instead of this website. Just in case i have anymore questions in the future. This web site kind of gets on my nerves and is annoying to use sometimes. thanks
ANSWER: "Natural Family Planning" or "Rhythm Method" were permitted by the Church as of the 1930's. The two different terms are synonymous, though some have quibbled over which one gets used. Apparently, according to these, "Natural Family Planning" was not used by the Church. But as they both mean the same thing, that really is a quibble.
Yes, it is a bit of a stretch that such a thing could ever be permitted, but as it is based on continence and is only meant to be used in certain circumstances where on's spiritual director permits it, which should not be all the time. One of the reasons I believe it could be permitted was that, at least in the beginning when it was literally done with calendars, it was less than accurate; all one did was "reduce the odds" of a child, not eliminate them. But now with chemical tests and the like, it can be made absolutely 100% effective, which I suspect might not be so well met. "Reduced odds" should mean that despite doing it that way the whole time, all it means is instead of having 25 kids they have maybe 5 or so.
There needs to be a good reason for this as well, a clear danger of temptation to some other (unchaste) release on the part of either partner if absolute (non-periodic) continence were to be used, together with some solid reason why more children should not be conceived, such as no income to the family or serious risk of death in childbirth. Spiritual directors should not be casual and loose about permitting it, though there is some rather considerable latitude as to their legitimate range of criteria. In other words, some will be more strict than others, and neither is doing wrong as long as they basically follow the same guidelines.
From what I have heard, CMRI priests seem somewhat less strict than (for example) SSPX or SSPV priests, but I can't say I know this for sure from any personal experience.
And certainly there is no reason from this that one would even think of avoiding their Masses and other Sacraments and teaching. They permit it because the Church permitted it, even pre-Vatican II, as do the other traditional Catholic societies and clergy, even if others are "more strict" in some sense or other.
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QUESTION: Hmm. I noticed that you brought up low income as legitimate excuse to use nfp. Even though hasn't the catholic church always taught that God will never send more children then a couple can handle? Another thing is that if income is the issue then wouldn't the couple simply just seize from engaging in "the love act". The problem I am having with nfp is that it seems like its just a loop hole for people to engage in the love act with out having the so called "burden" of having children. See ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgneJNCuRFY )
Thanks and God bless.
ANSWER: I didn't just mean to imply "low income" but "no income." It certainly does not apply in cases where another child means being unable to "keep up with the Jonses." But yes, refraining altogether from "the love act" (as you put it) is certainly a noble and Catholic response to such a dire circumstance. But as that has come to be something of a "council of perfection" which often poses some risk of more serious infidelities (masturbation, prostitutes, affairs, perversions...) to either of the partners, nfp is widely permitted by spiritual directors in these cases, regardless of the "order" or "group" the priest belongs to. A couple is free to refrain altogether if both consent to that; otherwise any practice of nfp must be coordinated through a spiritual director.
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QUESTION: Okay, yes i guess it makes more sense now. But in regards to where the catholic church is....Where should i be receiving sacraments? (obviously i have come to the conclusion of staying away from the Vatican ii churches and "popes") but now where should i go? I live in southern New Hampshire and the only "traditional" options at my disposal are the "st. Benedict center" in Richmond New Hampshire (which is closest) "Our Lady of Mount Carmel Mission" (of the cmri) and "Sacred Heart Traditional Catholic Church" ("independent") in Lawrence Mass.
Thanks and God bless.
I would go with the "Our Lady of Mount Carmel Mission" (of the cmri) or "Sacred Heart Traditional Catholic Church" ("independent") in Lawrence Mass, having recourse to the St. Benedict Center (which I assume to be associated with Fr. Feeney's group) if in immediate danger of death or need for the Last Rites.
My extreme apologies for the delay.