Natural Family Planning

Helping married couples to deepen conjugal love and achieve responsible parenthood is part of the Church's total pastoral ministry to Catholic spouses. Fulfillment of this ministry includes both education and pastoral care. This means "instilling conviction and offering practical help to those who wish to live out their parenthood in a truly responsible way" (Familiaris consortio, 35).

 

God designed marriage as an "intimate partnership of life and love" (see Gaudium et spes, no. 48). In God's design, marriage is a unique union of one man with one woman "for the whole of life" (see Canon 1055, The Code of Canon Law). Marriage is oriented to the good of the spouses and to the creation and nurture of new human life (see Gaudium et spes, no. 48). Making decisions therefore, about when and how many children to have in marriage is a sacred responsibility that God has entrusted to husband and wife. This is the foundation of what the Church calls, "Responsible Parenthood," the call to discern God's will for your marriage while respecting His design for life and love. 

The Catholic Church supports the methods of Natural Family Planning (NFP) because they respect God's design for married love. In fact, NFP represents the only authentic approach to family planning available to husbands and wives because these methods can be used to both attempt or avoid pregnancy. When learning about NFP, it is important to know that: 

  • Natural Family Planning is an umbrella term for certain methods used to achieve and avoid conception. These methods are based on the observation of the naturally occurring signs and symptoms of the fertile and infertile phases of a woman's menstrual cycle. Some natural methods include use of fertility monitors to better understand the time of the wife's fertility. Married couples using NFP to postpone conception abstain from intercourse and genital contact during the fertile phase of the wife's cycle. No drugs, devices, or surgical procedures are used to avoid pregnancy. Married couples who use NFP to attempt a pregnancy, make use of the fertile window--the optimum time when conception is likely.
     
  • 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)

Used with permission from the NFP Program, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. All rights reserved.

 

This section of the Family Life Office website provides information and resources to help couples and individuals learn about the methods of Natural Family Planning and Catholic teaching which supports its use in marriage.

If you are needing to fulfill your requirements for marriage preparation, please see the Marriage Preparation webpage - 

https://www.dioslc.org/offices/marriage-and-family/marriage-preparation 

Natural Family Planning and Church Teaching

What is NFP? 

 

Church Teaching on NFP

 

Humanae vitae 

https://www.usccb.org/topics/natural-family-planning/humanae-vitae

Love and Sexuality

https://www.usccb.org/topics/natural-family-planning/love-and-sexuality

 
Want to learn NFP? Contact the Family Life Office Director at crystal.painter@dioslc.org