Humanae Vitae,
Veritatis Splendor &
Natural Family Planning

Natural Family Planning

The great benefit of NFP is that it affirms the two goods of marriage – the  Procreative and Unitive aspects of marriage.  NFP encourages the unitive (friendship) aspect of marriage because it requires communication between the spouses to have the conversation regarding family planning. They can ask each other is this a good time to have a child?  Are there grave reasons that exist right now that suggest we should wait to have another child?

Thus, the art of shared decision making is perfected as couples continue to strive to reach decisions together, including areas of their sexuality and family planning. NFP also maintains the procreative aspect of marriage as NFP is fundamentally open to life, though couples can abstain during fertile times.  NFP helps make it possible for couples to be both open to life and abstain from having children “at this time” (this is what the Church means by responsible parenthood). Finally, NFP remains the only method that aids with both family planning and helping couples to achieve pregnancy.

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Humanae Vitae

Humanae vitae (Latin: Of Human Life) is an encyclical written by Pope Paul VI and dated 25 July 1968. It re-affirmed the teaching of the Catholic Church regarding marital love, responsible parenthood, and family planning.  While it does prohibit the use of artificial contraception it did not prohibit couples from family planning; naming natural family planning as a way of planning that maintains the two goods of marriage

What are the two goods of marriage? Humanae Vitae affirmed Church teaching on the sanctity of life and the procreative and unitive as the two goods of conjugal relations in the context of marriage. These two goods of marriage focus on the intimate love shared between husband and wife (unitive), and as a result of that spousal love there is new life (procreative).

The expressed views of Paul VI reflected the teachings of his predecessors, especially Pius XI, Pius XII and John XXIII, all of whom had insisted on the divine obligations of the marital partners in light of their partnership with God the creator.  Love is essentially creative.  The love shared in the communion of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is the love that creates the world and all of humanity.  So too, should the love between the spouses share in this creative genius, that is the procreation of children. In this special way married couples imitate their Creator.

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Veritatis Splendor

Veritatis splendor (Latin: The Splendor of the Truth) is an encyclical by Pope John Paul II. It expresses the position of the Catholic Church regarding fundamentals of the Church’s role in moral teaching. The encyclical is one of the most comprehensive and philosophical teachings of moral theology in the Catholic tradition. It was promulgated on 6 August 1993.

Veritatis splendor responds to questions of moral theology that had been raised during the postconciliar period of the Church. These questions revolve around humanity’s ability to discern good, the existence of evil, the role of human freedom and human conscience, mortal sin, and the authority of the magisterium of the Catholic Church in guiding man and woman. In response to these, Pope John Paul II emphatically says that moral truth is knowable, that the choice of good or evil has a profound effect on one’s relationship with God, and that there is no true contradiction between freedom and following the good.

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