Aug 1, 2006

Perspective: NFP vs China's One-Child Family

I have been amazed at the 60+ comments on Natural Family Planning (NFP) that have been posted on KC Priest's blog--many of them very lengthy arguments. The commenters have been largely anonymous but yet some seem to know each other. They appear to be good and faithful Catholics who have gotten very excitable as they stake their positions into deeper soil. Nevertheless, it seems they should end their shoveling and perhaps take account of much larger problems associated with propagating children.

China's coercive population policy restricts the number of children to one per couple, using whatever it takes to kill unwanted babies. A blog discussion of China's one-child-only policy would be in stark contrast to the one over NFP being taught in marriage preparation classes--the focus of the discussion being conducted on KC Priest's blog. Not that the commenters on NFP aren't right (choose whichever viewpoint you like--there are several), but the subject is dwarfed by China's one-child-only policy.

Yes, China is a long way away, but not so far by Internet. In addition, a lot of Chinese students at the University of Missouri-Kansas City might be attracted to a good web discussion of the likely future of China AFTER it removes its one-child-only policy.

How bad is it in China? A priest from China writes:
One child policy has made many families struggle between their traditions and faith. The problematic thinking that boy is more valuable than a girl makes us feel difficult to preach. Can these people see the only child may become a little emperor in the family? They probably do. What is the moral standard for them to teach their children? To spoil children is not healthy.
A one-child family has major implications for vocations to the priesthood. Another priest (presumably from the patriotic Church of China) comments:
The problem of vocations in China is that candidates who enter the seminary are not very mature especially from a psychological point of view. Now youths all come from families where they are the only child. Dealing with them is much more difficult: they are not used to being with others; they have always been spoilt at home by their parents; they have always been treated like royalty by their grandparents. Renouncing the wellbeing, peace and relationships padded in cotton wool to serve Jesus Christ and the Church is somewhat difficult for them.
Underground mothers and children in China are discussed here, although laws are now more strictly enforced to reduce the number of underground children. Personal stories of how bad it is for women in China to conceive a second or third or fourth child are told here.

The commenters at Sacerdos in Aeternum need to place their discussion in perspective.


Tony said...

Wow! Such discussion about whether NFP ought to be included in a marriage prep program?

My wife and I volunteered to present at our parishe's pre-cana program.

During the presentation we heard a story from our coordinating couple about how they lived together before they were married, and it didn't hurt their marriage at all.

We also heard from another of our presenting couples as to how they got pregnant using IVF.

Whether NFP is required is the least of the problems with current Catholic marriage prep.

Dust I Am said...

A close friend and his wife have taught marriage prep for many years. They moved to a new diocese and found that marriage prep there was abysmal, just as you describe in your experience. Fortunately, the new Bishop is interested in changing the program for the better. Your remarks have "hit the nail on the head" a couple of times.

Anonymous said...

NFP has turned marriage into a daily science experiment

Anonymous said...

So basically, lets ignore the sins of one country and concentrate on sins of another country

Anonymous said...

Just for clarification... the discussion at KCPriest was in direct response to a *request* by the blog owner himself. The priest is pastor to a rather traditional parish complete with altar rail. Said priest will even begin saying First Saturday masses partly in Latin, soon.
This priest had previously commented that he requires NFP instruction be taken by ALL engaged couples. A response was made by someone asking for the reasoning behind that decision and Father opened up the discussion and asked for comments.
Remember, this discussion was in regards to a parish in Midwest AMERICA which, last I knew, was neither communist occupied nor does it force unwanted abortions upon its citizens.
You can't mean to imply that everyone should have just ignored the good Father's request for dialogue on the subject?

Dust I Am said...

Dear 'Anonymous 5:20 PM',

I did not mean to say ANYTHING bad about KCPriest who is clearly trying to "feel the pulse" of young Catholic married people. That's a good thing! He needs to know where they are to plan how to get where they need to go. I'd do the same.

KCPriest is obviously no flaming liberal out to ruin the Church, nor is he stupid; moreover he doesn't seem to be in the middle trying to avoid getting hit by both sides by not taking a stand. Instead, KCPriest comes across as a good example of the many young Novus Ordo priests who are trying to help the Church recover from the self-inflicted wounds of the past 40 years. I was pleased to hear from 'Anonymous 5:20 PM' that my evaluation is correct.

I did not imply the good Father's request for dialogue should have been ignored. Many comments he received on requiing NFP instruction for ALL engaged couples were very good and helpful.

However, quite a few of the over 60 posts of sometimes very angry comments in response to KCPriest's request were not in the best interests of Catholicism. This was the point of my blog, "Perspective: NFP vs China's One-Child Family."

A long time ago, we were asked to teach NFP to engaged couples. I declined because it appeared that the techniques would be used indiscriminately, without good reason. Personally, I believe it is necessary to have serious reason, but not grave reason, to practice NFP.

Some of the commentators that responded to KCPriest's request for dialogue simply went overboard. My post addressed only the comments --NOT KCPriest's invitation to comment.

Anonymous said...

"I believe it is necessary to have serious reason, but not grave reason, to practice NFP"

I believe this is where NFP becomes "dangerous" for Catholics(for lack of a better word). The moral compass to use or not to use NFP seems different for every person/couple.