The Catechetical Review - Communicating Christ for a New Evangelization

Applied Theology of the Body: The Difference between Contraception and Natural Family Planning

Authored by Dr. Donald P. Asci in Issue #8.3 of Catechetical Review

St. John Paul II dedicated the entire sixth chapter of his theology of the body (TOB) catechesis to reaffirming and deepening the Church’s teaching on responsible parenthood, providing his most direct and extensive application of TOB to the Church’s teachings on sexual morality. Drawing upon the teachings of Gaudium et Spes and Humanae Vitae, St. John Paul II concentrates primarily on the “essential difference” between contraception and periodic continence (in America typically called Natural Family Planning or NFP) as the basis of the ethical difference between them expressed in the teachings of the Church (TOB 122:2).

St. John Paul II clearly wants to correct the common misconception that they are both just types of “birth control” listed on medical pamphlets or that they differ only inasmuch as one uses “artificial” methods to control births. However, he primarily employs the major tenets of TOB to describe how contraception degrades the human body and corrupts the sexual intimacy of those couples who introduce it into their relationships in sharp contrast with the way that NFP fosters respect for the human body and the kind of self-mastery that promotes greater love between man and woman.

The rest of this online article is available for current subscribers.

Start your subscription today!


This article is from The Catechetical Review (Online Edition ISSN 2379-6324) and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of The Catechetical Review by contacting editor@catechetics.com

Articles from the Most Recent Issue

Editor's Reflections: Toward a Eucharistic Revival
By Dr. James Pauley
Free The Feast of Corpus Christi last month was a momentous event in the life of the Church in the United States. The celebration of this liturgy begins a Eucharistic revival, a period of historic importance that will culminate in a National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis in the summer of 2024. The need for “revival” in relation to the Eucharist... Read more
The Spiritual Life: How the Eucharist Catechizes about the Meaning of Life
By Bishop Andrew Cozzens
Free The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is currently undertaking a Eucharistic revival. The idea for it began in 2019 when the bishops decided that we needed to respond to the moment of crisis in belief in the Eucharist in which we find ourselves—not only the discouraging results of the 2019 Pew study that reported that less than 30... Read more
The Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist
By Brian Pedraza
Free The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist should be numbered among the most kerygmatic of the Church’s doctrines. Here is where the Son of God, who out of the immensity of his divine love became incarnate, has chosen to dwell amongst his people until the end of time. Here is where divine charity makes itself available to the human heart. Here... Read more

Pages

Watch Tutorial Videos

We've put together several quick and easy tutorial videos to show you how to use this website.

Watch Now