Some folks may not like the thrust of this. Nevertheless I am convinced that it is true. I wish I could claim the specific expression as my own. This is taken from the USCCB's document, Faithful to Each Other Forever: A Catholic Handbook of Pastoral help for Marriage Preparation (1988) p. 47.
From Chaos back to Civilization
- 1. There will be no return to civilization as long we have legalized abortion. Civilization protects its most vulnerable members.
2. There will be no stopping abortion without a rebirth of chastity. An adulterous and unchaste people demand abortion to eliminate their "mistakes."
3. There will be no widespread return to non-marital chastity without a rebirth of marital chastity. It is easier to be chaste when married; married couples need to lead the way.
4. There will be no return to marital chastity without a rejection of marital contraception. The sexual revolution started with the acceptance of marital contraception, the idea that husband and wife can take apart what God has joined together in the marital embrace.
5. There will be no widespread rejection of marital contraception without the equally widespread acceptance of chaste natural family planning.
6. There can be no widespread acceptance of chaste natural family planning without the widespread promotion, availability and teaching of natural family planning.
7. Therefore, pastors must make every effort to persuade married couples to use only natural family planning when they have sufficiently serious reasons to postpone/avoid pregnancy.
The Catholic Church has never taught that couples ought to have as many children as possible. Similarly, the Church has never held that each union ought to result in a child. Such propositions are absurd. The Church (and in fact all Christian denominations before 1930) has always held that couples must continually be open to life. In other words, couples may not attempt to alter the most sacred character of the marital embrace, as designed by God. To do so is in fact hurtful to the marriage since contraception directly attacks the essential elements and inherent meaning of sex and marriage. Nevertheless, couples must discern before God how many children He is calling them to have, given their circumstances. This is always a tremendously personal, prudential decision each couple must make with the help of grace. Of course God alone is the source of all life and children are His gift in marriage, so once a couple has discerned they cooperate with God in the generation of new human life.
NFP has so many benefits for couples. Couples who use modern methods of NFP have a virtual zero pregnancy rate. Couples who use NFP have a virtual zero divorce rate. NFP creates an environment in marriage where the woman is cherished and never used as an object. Some experts report that NFP couples report greater marital and conjugal satisfaction. NFP often facilitates better communication within marriage. In short, it makes good marriages better. In my experience, NFP couples have exceptional marriages and families.