Q. 1. What does the Catholic Church teach about Natural Family Planning (NFP)?
A. 1. In # 2368 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we read, "For just reasons, spouses may wish to space the births of their children. It is their duty to make certain that their desire is not motivated by selfishness but is in conformity with the generosity appropriate to responsible parenthood."
In order words, if a child was just born, it would be wise to wait a few months (at least 3 months) before planning on having another child. This time frame would allow the mother to fully recover while permitting her to give her undivided attention to the newborn. This would ensure that the children are at least one year apart.
Natural Family Planning (NFP)
NFP is an umbrella term for certain methods used to achieve and avoid pregnancies. These methods are based on observation of the naturally occurring signs and symptoms of the fertile and infertile phases of a woman's menstrual cycle. Couples using NFP to avoid pregnancy abstain from intercourse and genital contact during the fertile phase of the woman's cycle. No drugs, devices, or surgical procedures are used to avoid pregnancy.
NFP reflects the dignity of the human person within the context of marriage and family life, promotes openness to life, and recognizes the value of the child. By respecting the love-giving and life-giving natures of marriage, NFP can enrich the bond between husband and wife.
(Standards for Diocesan Natural Family Planning Ministry, p. 23)
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