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Catholic Weddings

NFP - is this a must?

Our church has a spring NFP class and a fall NFP class.  Well, by the time we found out about the spring class, they had already had 1 of the 3 classes, so we were told we had to wait until the fall class.  The way that our church does it (I don't know if it's the same everywhere?) is one class every month for 3 months. 

The dates for the Fall class don't work for me either, I'm actually supposed to be at an out of town wedding for one of the dates.  Grrr.

Is this a MUST for my marriage prep?  Or does this differ per church?  I know I need to contact my priest but thought I'd ask here first.

I have to say - my fiance' and I are on board with everything Catholic except this - and I'm dreading this to begin with.  :(  UGH!
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Re: NFP - is this a must?

  • edited December 2011
    It just depends if it is required for you to be married in the church. Check with your priest or deacon. For us, it was not. However, we were required to attend an EE Weekend where we were supossed to have a speaker talk to us abuot NFP. (She ended up not showing due to another committment and we got jipped out of it).

    There are a lot of ladies on this board that practice NFP who are very knowledgeable and can answer a lot of questions you may have should you and your FI decide to do it. NFP is of course what the church teaches, promotes and encourages.
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  • doctabroccolidoctabroccoli member
    1000 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Speaking for the (Arch)diocese I am involved with, the Cleveland Diocese does not require separate NFP classes, while the St. Louis Archdiocese does.  You would need to know your local/parish requirements.  If it is required, are there other privately offered NFP classes that fulfill the requirement?  We took ours at a hospital in St. Louis, and it was only one course.
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  • edited December 2011
    From what I understand it's completely optional. I had my marriage prep weekend about a month ago, and they gave us some literature on NFP and info on how to sign up if we want to. I would check with your priest though, to see if he requires it.
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  • edited December 2011
    I think this requirement may vary.

    Our diocese requires a class on it.  Other churches in the area meet this requirement through a class that sounds similar to what you describe.  Our was literally one-hour in a weekend-long pre-marriage retreat.  I'm not sure, but I think another diocese nearby doesn't even require it.

    That said, if your church or diocese does require it, I wouldn't necessarily count on them being flexible about it (although I could obviously be wrong).
  • mica178mica178 member
    5000 Comments Fourth Anniversary
    edited December 2011
    It varies by parish.  Talk to yours to make sure you do the right thing.  We did not have to take a NFP class to get married in the SF Bay Area.  I learned about NFP from the ladies on this board and read TCOYF on my own.
  • chrissyinatlchrissyinatl member
    100 Comments
    edited December 2011

    UGH.  OK, since this seems to vary so much, I will contact my priest.

    At our church, it is THREE separate classes, one per month, 2.5 hours each.  That is insane!

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  • doctabroccolidoctabroccoli member
    1000 Comments
    edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: NFP - is this a must?:
    [QUOTE]UGH.  OK, since this seems to vary so much, I will contact my priest. At our church, it is THREE separate classes, one per month, 2.5 hours each.  That is insane!
    Posted by chrissyinatl[/QUOTE]

    Like I said, if it turns out that it is required, see if there's another class in the Atlanta area that would fulfill the requirement since you have scheduling conflicts.  Good luck!!!!!!
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  • caitriona87caitriona87 member
    Fifth Anniversary 100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Whether or not an NFP class is required for marriage prep varies by diocese, so you would have to ask about yours. I have never heard of a diocese requiring a particular method, so you might check whether there are classes available for an alternate method in your area--Creighton instead of Couple to Couple League/STM, for example.  They may also be able to just catch you up outside of class if it's a question of one class out of three; it's worth asking at least.

    In spite of things like scheduling inconveniences, NFP is nothing to dread! Whether or not it is "required" by the diocese, it's a very important tool to have should the need to postpone pregnancy arise or for reproductive health issues. I discovered a health issue through using NFP that I never would have known about otherwise until it caused other problems.  It's been such a blessing to me to know how my fertility works, it facilitates communication in marriage, and there is a great sense of freedom in participating in God's design for natural, unencumbered marital union.
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  • Calypso1977Calypso1977 member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    At our church, it is THREE separate classes, one per month, 2.5 hours each.  That is insane!

    like with everything else, its all abotu perspective.

    im betting many spend at least this much time looking at reception venues, talking to caterers, etc.  this is just one more piece of the process.

    our church did not require it, but we have chosen to practice the method and self-taught using TCOYF.
  • edited December 2011
    I also learned just by reading TCOYF and using Fertility Friend. I haven't heard anything about my church requiring it, so I guess I need to check on that. A class would be useless for me because I am already very well versed in it.

    OP, what do you mean that you two are not on the same page regarding NFP?
  • Calypso1977Calypso1977 member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    i think they are on the same page with it, they just dont agree with church teaching on teh use of it.  at least that's how i interpreted her last comment.
  • edited December 2011
    Our church required it but the father of our church allowed us to do it online after some much needed convincing. Maybe see if that is an option. We only found out about it due to the packet they gave us with all of our classes it was listed.

    No one from our church has ever done it online before so he wasn't so sure but after we completed it he felt much better about it.
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  • newlyseliskinewlyseliski member
    1000 Comments Fourth Anniversary Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011

    To echo all the previous posters, it probably varies by parish.  Sometimes, dioceses will require it as part of wedding preparation by all the parishes.  Ask your priest.

    I'm not sure what NFP method is taught at your parish, but you could perhaps see if there are any other programs that you could seek out on your own that would better fit your schedule that they would permit if they require you to take NFP classes.  My fiance and were given a list of options in the area that taught different methods.... we opted for Creighton method and got an early start (last July) because I already knew that I had PCOS and wanted time to chart a lot of cycles.  We meet one on one every 1-1.5 months with our instructor for about 45 minutes... it's pretty flexible, which I appreciate since I work a lot and my fiance is in school, lives an hour away and needs to drive in for our meetings!

    Here's an NFP doctor look-up tool that could provide you with some other options if you need to:

    http://onemoresoul.com/nfp_by_zip/30308

  • catarntinacatarntina member
    1000 Comments Fourth Anniversary Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: NFP - is this a must?:
    [QUOTE]UGH.  OK, since this seems to vary so much, I will contact my priest. At our church, it is THREE separate classes, one per month, 2.5 hours each.  That is insane!
    Posted by chrissyinatl[/QUOTE]

    This was how my classes were setup, too.  It wasn't that bad.  If your FI can go to the class you have to miss, it wasn't an issue as long as one person was present.

    Don't dread it either.  It's really enlightening (even if you choose to not use it in practice).  I'll admit, I was dreading it too when the Deacon said we needed to go.  I'm so glad I went though.  Never going back on the pill now that i know how easy a natural BC is.
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  • Jasmine&RajahJasmine&Rajah member
    Knottie Warrior 100 Comments 5 Love Its
    edited December 2011
    I'm sure you'd be permitted to take The Couple To Couple League's course instead of the course offered at your parish.  I see that you're in Atlanta - there's a course in the fall in Duluth according to CCLI's webpage:

    http://register.ccli.org/class_series/1974

    Also . . . I echo the other ladies . . . no need to dread NFP!  It's awesome!
  • edited December 2011
    I just want to echo the others on the great variance between parishes and (arch)diocese. My diocese requires it. I know others have gone through all of Marriage Prep and barely mentioned it. If it is required, I would imagine that they will allow you to take a class through CCL, another parish, or a local NFP-doc. I know there is also an online ST class that is available.

    Even if it is not required, and even though you say you and your fiance are not intending to use (one of) the method(s), I would really encourage you to go and learn with an open mind and heart. You may just be surprised at how the Holy Spirit works in you.

    FWIW, 3 years ago when I met my FI, I was very, very anti-NFP. Now I am one of its biggest proponents, all because I put it on my heart and have let the Holy Spirit work in me.
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  • doctabroccolidoctabroccoli member
    1000 Comments
    edited December 2011
    By the way, Chrissy, I was also pretty turned off to NFP prior to our class.  My thought was "I'm on the pill, FI and I have been together sexually for over 7 years, and the pill and condoms have worked out just fine for us."  But once we attended our class (Billings, which is similar to Creighton in that it considers your cervical fluid), and I realized how easy it was, I decided I'm going off the pill when my current prescription is up in a couple months and switching to NFP. 

    That being said, it's not foolproof.  You have to pay attention to what your body tells you.  But I'm confident that NFP will allow my body to re-adjust off the pill so that we'll be able to conceive when the time is right.
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  • edited December 2011
    Like PP, it totally varies. Can't contribute much there. However, I want to echo many of the PP's sentiments about not fearing or dreading NFP. I like to suggest people think of it as "organic fertility control." We all like organic and all-natural stuff, right? It's healthier for us. So is NFP. Not to mention the spiritually beautiful reasons for practicing NFP that I couldn't explain with the justice it deserves. God bless on your journey.
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  • chrissyinatlchrissyinatl member
    100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: NFP - is this a must?:
    [QUOTE]I'm sure you'd be permitted to take The Couple To Couple League's course instead of the course offered at your parish.  I see that you're in Atlanta - there's a course in the fall in Duluth according to CCLI's webpage: http://register.ccli.org/class_series/1974 Also . . . I echo the other ladies . . . no need to dread NFP!  It's awesome!
    Posted by Jasmine&Rajah[/QUOTE]

    Yeah this is the one being offered, that I will be out of town for one of them.

    Guys, thanks for all of your help.  I did email my priest, and he thinks I can do something online - he sent me a phone number of someone to talk to. It IS required before we get married.

    It all just seems SO foreign and outdated to me.  My fiance and I have actually enjoyed most of our premarital Catholic stuff, but this is the one thing I have been unsure about.  I'm 33 years old and have been on depo provera BC for 10 years.  This just seems really ------ stone-age to me. 
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  • Calypso1977Calypso1977 member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    i suppose its stone age in that women's bodies have been cycling since the beginning of time. 

    do you consider homeopathy to be stone age?  do you consider eating organic to be stone age?  those are natural methods/practices.

    when used correctly, NFP is more effective than any artificial method.  and its so easy.  i will admit i was nervous at first, especially since we've been TTA.  however, once i got the hang of it, it was fool proof.  it does require some self discipline if you are trying to avoid, but the added benefits is that when you are ready to have kids, you know exactly when to do what you need to do. 

    interestingly, the method is being practiced more and more even by non-catholics/non-religious. 

    i was on the pill for 10 years.  i stopped the pill at 32.  so i hear where you are coming from.  i can also tell you that stopping hte pill was the best thing ever.  i actually have concerns that it might have done irreversable damage to me based on the cycles i have had for the past 2 years.  i wont know until we start to TTC.    i can genuinely say i wish id never been on it, adn i genuinely regret it, after seeing how simple, effective and safe NFP is.
  • edited December 2011
    I understand why the church requires it.  And I find the science behind it to be interesting (yay science!).

    That said, I am on the pill and will remain on it.  I feel better on it.  And I take advantage of a lot of other "unnatural" things in my life that make my life a bit simpler and more convenient.  I don't see much of a difference.  While there certainly are individual stories where the Pill or other artificial birth control was not good for someone (and I believe that may have been the case for you, Calypso), artificial birth control is actually remarkably safe.

    I understand that my viewpoint is wrong according to church teaching.
  • Jasmine&RajahJasmine&Rajah member
    Knottie Warrior 100 Comments 5 Love Its
    edited December 2011
    Chrissy,  I'm going to presume that you didn't realize how offensive your comment about "drinking the kool-aid" would sound.

    Also, as Calypso pointed out, NFP can be used TO achieve pregnancy, not just to avoid it.  My husband and I are blessed to have achieved pregnancy four times in our marriage, and although we only have one living baby, none of them were "accidents."  So yes, we used NFP to become parents - and thank God for it!



  • chrissyinatlchrissyinatl member
    100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I do understand the church's teachings on this.

    HOWEVER, my future father in law (who is also VERY Catholic) also happens to be a Primary Care Physician.  The joke in that practice is:

    Do you know what we call people that practice NFP?
    Parents.

    I'm just having a hard time drinking the kool-aid.  That's all.  AND I haven't had my period in 10 years (because of being on depo).  It's hard for me to think of going back to that.  *SHUDDER*.  I mean, I know I will have to if I want to have kids....but....

    Believe me, we have invested a lot of time and money into being married in the Catholic church (as opposed to just an event facility).  This is just the one thing I haven't gotten full invested into.  Sorry!  I'm glad y'all are here though, everyone, HUGS!!!
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  • mica178mica178 member
    5000 Comments Fourth Anniversary
    edited December 2011
    Chrissy,
    I am a physician as well, trained and boarded in internal medicine.  I can tell you that I received absolutely no education in NFP in medical school, so I thought it was just the rhythm method, a very flawed birth control method.  However, having read TCOYF recently, I can say that I believe that NFP works, and indeed, it's been working for H and me without an oops yet.  Many of the other ladies on this board also use NFP as their method of birth control, and to date, I think we've all been able to control our fertility.
    At a minimum, I think it's worth checking out.

    Edited for clarity.
  • caitriona87caitriona87 member
    Fifth Anniversary 100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Ditto Jasmine on the "kool-aid" & hoping that was not intentional.

    As far as this:

    "Do you know what we call people that practice NFP?
    Parents."

    I probably take it more personally than I should, and I will be honest about that, since my first baby died a few months ago. Being a parent, though for a short time, was the greatest blessing I've ever received and to brush it off as some sort of curse to be avoided is really hurtful. Ok, there ends my personal bias.

    Aside from that, though, the Church also teaches that motherhood or fatherhood is our highest calling and the only way for us to reach our true fulfillment. For some that comes biologically and for others (priests/religious/married couples who are unable to have children) that comes spiritually. But it is everyone's truest calling.

    And on a more practical level, yes, many families who practice NFP have more children than average (though there are plenty who don't.) It's a complete misunderstanding to assume that's because it somehow "fails" (although to call a conception of an immortal soul a "failure" of any sort is a huge travesty in itself.) Often these families, through the practice of NFP and the prayerful discernment it requires, find that God opens their hearts to more children as time goes on and as they grow in this practice. It can change one's view of fertility and children from a burden to a blessing. As others have stated, the method effectiveness rates are actually higher than those of contraception, but the fact is that through prayerful practice of NFP couples are often inclined to accept more children than the contracepting population.
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  • Calypso1977Calypso1977 member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    HOWEVER, my future father in law (who is also VERY Catholic) also happens to be a Primary Care Physician.  The joke in that practice is:

    Do you know what we call people that practice NFP?
    Parents.


    honestly, repeating this garbage is why there tends to be negative views of NFP in the first place. 

    shame on a medical profession making jokes about somethign that is simple basic science.  perhaps they didnt learn it, but to make erroneous jokes/comments like that is pure ignorance.
  • catarntinacatarntina member
    1000 Comments Fourth Anniversary Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    I'd personally love the priviledge of being called a "parent."  Just sayin'...

    I'm going to tell you what my Deacon told me.  He mentioned that we needed to take a class on NFP in order to get married.  H and I looked at eachother with a look that said, "Yeah, right! What a complete joke!!"

    The Deacon smiled and said, "I get that look a lot.  Just try to go into it with an open mind and open heart."  He didn't say it was a must that we use this method, he just said be open about it.

    I went to a CCL class that was taught by two electrical engineers whose day job is at one of the top companies in the world.  These were some smart people who had a lot of education in the sciences -- and they were teaching this method of BC.

    I was so amazed at how scientific -- and not archaic -- it was.  I was floored.  I was coming off of BCP, and the Pill was having some undesired side effects, so I was interested in knowing if this really works. After the first class, I immediately went home and looked up statistics from independent -- non Catholic -- sources to see if it really was effective.  After the classes were over, I bought TCOYF and read it cover to cover.  I'm still -- a year later -- amazed how simple yet scientific this method is.  I've learned so much about myself.  What's normal, what's not, when to be worried.  I've been charting for a year, and not a single "whoops!" moment.

    Even if you don't use it in practice, try to get something out of the classes.  It's very enlightening and can shave 6 months off your journey when you TTC if you have infertility issues.  Charting is actually the first step in resolving issues if you have them.  Don't view it as a burden.  It's really a blessing the church is helping us understand the gifts God gave us.
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  • edited December 2011
    I personally have no moral issues with birth control and I was on the pill for 5+ years.  I had a similar opinion on NFP prior to marriage prep.  I think that mindset stems from the previous generation's experience with the rhythm method. 

    It was actually ladies on this board that sparked my interest in NFP.  What I learned is that you really need to do your research on the subject before you can form an opinion.  My previous knowledge on NFP had been all hear-say and when we took a CCL class I was amazed at how little I actually knew about my cycle.  It is liberating to understand your body and I like being off of the hormones.  It's also sparked my interest in natural child birth.  I always have said that I would get the epidural for sure, but with more research its something I will reconsider when the time comes. 
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  • chrissyinatlchrissyinatl member
    100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I'm sorry - I truly didn't mean to offend anyone.  I was just really surprised about this class.  I also live in Atlanta, where literally NONE of my friends are Catholic so I'm kind of in my own little world. 

    Trust me, I am very glad we are going the Catholic route (my fiance is Catholic also, and I have dreamed of marrying a Catholic boy my whole life - as silly as that sounds). 

    And truly, this process (all of the pre-marital counseling and so forth) has honestly brought us closer.

    I hope that we are able to meet other couples in our parish (we know no one) and this NFP experience might be a great way.

    Yes, I will keep an open mind!  I promise! 
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  • doctabroccolidoctabroccoli member
    1000 Comments
    edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: NFP - is this a must?:
    [QUOTE]I'm sorry - I truly didn't mean to offend anyone.  I was just really surprised about this class.  I also live in Atlanta, where literally NONE of my friends are Catholic so I'm kind of in my own little world.  Trust me, I am very glad we are going the Catholic route (my fiance is Catholic also, and I have dreamed of marrying a Catholic boy my whole life - as silly as that sounds).  And truly, this process (all of the pre-marital counseling and so forth) has honestly brought us closer. I hope that we are able to meet other couples in our parish (we know no one) and this NFP experience might be a great way. Yes, I will keep an open mind!  I promise! 
    Posted by chrissyinatl[/QUOTE]

    I don't think you offended anyone, no worries .  Everyone just wants you to keep an open mind, that's all!
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