NFP and my Conscience?
Podcast: Episode Ten
Episode ten of the Pope Francis Generation podcast is now out on Youtube and in podcast feeds!
Paid subscribers are also invited to a live recording of the podcast next week! We will be talking about Hell and Universal Salvation before a “live” virtual small-group. After the usual discussion, you’ll be able to jump in for some Q&A. That event is Thursday, July 28 at 6:00pm. We will be sending out a link to paid subscribers soon.
The topic for the podcast this week—NFP and individual consciences—has been an important topic for me for several years. While I have always followed (and am coming to understand the real value of) Pope Paul VI’s encyclical, Humanae Vitae, me and my wife’s experience using NFP and being a part of the NFP subculture in the Church was not good. In fact, it was harmful. It damaged my conscience and my ability to relate with God for years.
I still follow Humanae Vitae and use NFP, but perhaps only because the Lord has brought me to a place of peace with this teaching over the past few years. He freed me from the legalism, pelagainism, and fear that once saturated my understanding of the Church’s teaching about sexual morality. I hope that in some small way this episode can be a vehicle for that same grace for anyone in a similar boat.
It’s Natural Family Planning (NFP) Awareness Week in the US, so Dominic and Paul talk about NFP in light of the Church’s teaching about the individual consciences and the law of gradualism. Paul also shares some of his personal experience with NFP and being a part of the NFP subculture.
“We have long thought that simply by stressing doctrinal, bioethical and moral issues, without encouraging openness to grace, we were providing sufficient support to families, strengthening the marriage bond and giving meaning to marital life. We find it difficult to present marriage more as a dynamic path to personal development and fulfillment than as a lifelong burden. We also find it hard to make room for the consciences of the faithful, who very often respond as best they can to the Gospel amid their limitations, and are capable of carrying out their own discernment in complex situations. We have been called to form consciences, not to replace them” (Pope Francis, Amoris Laetitia).
The content for this episode comes from an article Paul wrote in 2020 for Homiletic & Pastoral Review: https://www.hprweb.com/2020/12/the-sweetness-of-the-yoke-of-christ/
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ABOUT DOMINIC DE SOUZA SmartCatholics founder, Dominic de Souza, is a convert from radical traditionalism – inspired by WherePeterIs, Bishop Robert Barron, and Pope Francis. He is passionate about helping ordinary Catholics break the ‘bystander effect’, and be first responders. “We don’t have to be geniuses. We just have to show up with witness and kindness. Christ does the rest.” Today he hosts the SmartCatholics community.
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