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St. Augustine condemns NFP.

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Geremia:

--- Quote ---Is it not you [Manichaeans] who used to urge us to observe, to the extent that it was possible, the time when a woman after her menstruation is likely to conceive, and to abstain from intercourse at that time for fear that a soul might become entangled in flesh?
--- End quote ---
—St. Augustine (388AD), De moribus Ecclesiae catholicae et de moribus Manichaeorum II, 18

Jayne:
St. Augustine was (quite rightly) condemning Manichaeism in this passage.  Here is the context:


--- Quote --- For though you [Manichaes] do not forbid sexual intercourse, you, as the apostle long ago said, forbid marriage in the proper sense, although this is the only good excuse for such intercourse. No doubt you will exclaim against this, and will make it a reproach against us that you highly esteem and approve perfect chastity, but do not forbid marriage, because your followers — that is, those in the second grade among you — are allowed to have wives. After you have said this with great noise and heat, I will quietly ask, Is it not you who hold that begetting children, by which souls are confined in flesh, is a greater sin than cohabitation? Is it not you who used to counsel us to observe as much as possible the time when a woman, after her purification, is most likely to conceive, and to abstain from cohabitation at that time, lest the soul should be entangled in flesh? This proves that you approve of having a wife, not for the procreation of children, but for the gratification of passion. In marriage, as the marriage law declares, the man and woman come together for the procreation of children. Therefore whoever makes the procreation of children a greater sin than copulation, forbids marriage, and makes the woman not a wife, but a mistress, who for some gifts presented to her is joined to the man to gratify his passion. Where there is a wife there must be marriage. But there is no marriage where motherhood is not in view; therefore neither is there a wife. In this way you forbid marriage. Nor can you defend yourselves successfully from this charge, long ago brought against you prophetically by the Holy Spirit.
--- End quote ---

Practicing NFP because one accepts the tenets of a heresy is obviously wrong.  St. Augustine is also making the point that marriage with no intention to have children is not true marriage.   I question whether we should read into this passage a blanket condemnation of NFP.

edit:  I couldn't get the link in the OP to work but found the passage at https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1402.htm

Maximilian:

--- Quote from: Jayne on April 03, 2021, 05:13:10 PM ---St. Augustine was (quite rightly) condemning Manichaeism in this passage.  Here is the context:


--- Quote --- For though you [Manichaes] do not forbid sexual intercourse, you, as the apostle long ago said, forbid marriage in the proper sense, although this is the only good excuse for such intercourse. No doubt you will exclaim against this, and will make it a reproach against us that you highly esteem and approve perfect chastity, but do not forbid marriage, because your followers — that is, those in the second grade among you — are allowed to have wives. After you have said this with great noise and heat, I will quietly ask, Is it not you who hold that begetting children, by which souls are confined in flesh, is a greater sin than cohabitation? Is it not you who used to counsel us to observe as much as possible the time when a woman, after her purification, is most likely to conceive, and to abstain from cohabitation at that time, lest the soul should be entangled in flesh? This proves that you approve of having a wife, not for the procreation of children, but for the gratification of passion. In marriage, as the marriage law declares, the man and woman come together for the procreation of children. Therefore whoever makes the procreation of children a greater sin than copulation, forbids marriage, and makes the woman not a wife, but a mistress, who for some gifts presented to her is joined to the man to gratify his passion. Where there is a wife there must be marriage. But there is no marriage where motherhood is not in view; therefore neither is there a wife. In this way you forbid marriage. Nor can you defend yourselves successfully from this charge, long ago brought against you prophetically by the Holy Spirit.
--- End quote ---

Practicing NFP because one accepts the tenets of a heresy is obviously wrong.  St. Augustine is also making the point that marriage with no intention to have children is not true marriage.   I question whether we should read into this passage a blanket condemnation of NFP.

edit:  I couldn't get the link in the OP to work but found the passage at https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1402.htm

--- End quote ---

Thank you for providing the fuller context and the link.

When you consider the full context, I believe it supports Geremia's point even more.

Today's practitioners of NFP are not literally Manicheans as were the people in the time of St. Augustine. But the passage makes it clear that they share common views.

MaximGun:
What's wrong with gratifying passion in the right context?

I gratify passions every day when I wake up and make a tasty breakfast or put on comfortable clothes or wash in warm water.  Hobbiests buy expensive materials for quilt making and model building gratifying their creative passions.

I don't believe NFP is used by anyone thinking, "I want to have as much sex as possible with as few children as possible" .  They have pills and prophalatics for that.

NFP is rather used by people who have the stresses and strains of married life, 3 children under 5 and want to have sex a couple of times per month without becoming pregnant.  The motive is practical, not lust.

I am not convinced that people lust after their wife or husband after a few years have passed.  That is why so many married people cheat with others.  If your spouse of many years was someone you lusted over why would they bother?

Lust is not the motive.  Time and resource management is.   People think, rightly or wrongly, I only have so much money and energy and physical strength.  I want to regulate the output of children so I don't end up like the old woman who lived in a shoe.

I don't ever recall a Geremia character offering financial assistance to a large family.  Or baby sitting for free so Dad could earn some extra cash.  People are wiling to proffer advice and sermons and tell married couples they are lustful degenerates but are they quck to repair their 12 year old minivan used to shuttle 7 children to mass?  I've never seen a bunch of singletons like Geremia give up their booze, pipe tobacco, holiday and pool their funds to buy a new transmission.  Have you?

Beware those who offer moral guidance but no help.

Daniel:
I'm with Jayne. We probably shouldn't be reading things into that passage which aren't actually there.



--- Quote from: MaximGun on April 04, 2021, 02:22:52 AM ---NFP is rather used by people who have the stresses and strains of married life, 3 children under 5 and want to have sex a couple of times per month without becoming pregnant.  The motive is practical, not lust.

I am not convinced that people lust after their wife or husband after a few years have passed.  That is why so many married people cheat with others.  If your spouse of many years was someone you lusted over why would they bother?

Lust is not the motive.  Time and resource management is.   People think, rightly or wrongly, I only have so much money and energy and physical strength.  I want to regulate the output of children so I don't end up like the old woman who lived in a shoe.

--- End quote ---

Granting that, what it shows (in my opinion) is a lack of trust in God. That, and it shows that one's set of values is disordered (valuing a comfortable life with few children over a more difficult life with many children). It's a failure to see children as the blessing they are.


--- Quote from: MaximGun on April 04, 2021, 02:22:52 AM ---I don't ever recall a Geremia character offering financial assistance to a large family.  Or baby sitting for free so Dad could earn some extra cash.  People are wiling to proffer advice and sermons and tell married couples they are lustful degenerates but are they quck to repair their 12 year old minivan used to shuttle 7 children to mass?  I've never seen a bunch of singletons like Geremia give up their booze, pipe tobacco, holiday and pool their funds to buy a new transmission.  Have you?

Beware those who offer moral guidance but no help.

--- End quote ---

Why the attack on Geremia? And who says that Geremia and others like him are unwilling to help? Unable, maybe, but why assume that we're all wastefully throwing away money on an excess of unneeded luxuries? If us "singletons" were rich then maybe you'd have a point, but most of us aren't in the position to be giving financial help to married persons even if we wanted to.

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