As some of you probably remember, about a year ago, we at WIT published a post entitled “Women Speak About Natural Family Planning.” When I wrote the post, I was expecting it to be controversial and indeed it remains among our most commented-on posts.
But something happened that I was not expecting. Women started writing in, sharing not their opinions but their stories. They spoke of the toll adhering to the church’s teaching on contraception took on their physical and mental health as well as their marriages.
I found these stories to be incredibly moving and incredibly important. And I realized that there really is nowhere that Catholic women (and men!) can share their stories about things like this with each other. Catholic couples struggling with this issue typically have to deal with it privately without the guidance and support of their communities. Just when these couples are most in need of their communities is when they find themselves most alienated from them.
But non-married Catholics (gay and straight; single and vowed) as well as married Catholics for whom NFP is a largely positive experience also need to hear these stories. If we really are the body of Christ, then we need to know when members of the body are suffering, especially when the church is a source of this suffering.
And finally, these stories make an essential and irreplaceable contribution to moral reasoning. Without them, can we really expect to know the truth about God’s will for marital sexuality?
For these reasons, I am going to begin featuring the stories that originally appeared in the comments section of this post. I also want to invite any Catholic person to share with us the story of her or his personal experience with this issue. You can submit via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) anonymously or provide us with a pseudonym if you so desire.
Note: I will be monitoring the comments’ section very strictly. The entire point of this project is to create a space where people feel safe. This is not the place to argue about or criticize those who are brave enough to share their stories with us. The only comments that will be approved are those expressing support, affirmation, and solidarity.