In my last post, I talked about why I love NFP. Here, I’d like to recount the story of its role in my becoming Catholic.
A little bit of background: I grew up going to Protestant churches. First, a Baptist church, later a non-denominational church. They were both lead by and filled with loving, genuine Christians who wanted to know God on a deeply intimate level. I knew no Catholics. After going off to college and meeting people from all over the country, I befriended several Catholics and some people in the process of becoming Catholic. One in particular stands out, because I ended up marrying him.
Charles and I both love to discuss theology, and in the early days of our dating, we would sometimes spend hours debating Catholics/Protestant issues. I was always able to respond to his questions with verses from the Bible that left me satisfied with my Protestantism, until he brought up the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel. I don’t have space here to write about how that chapter affected my faith, but suffice it to say that it did cause me to reconsider several misconceptions I had about Catholicism.
At that point, I was beginning to think that perhaps my interpretation of the Bible was off here and there, but I wasn’t drawn to the Catholicism in a major way.
Enter the Church’s teaching on contraception.
Charles sent me home with a copy of Dr. Janet E. Smith‘s talk Contraception: Why Not. I had never considered that there might be anything wrong with using contraception, so I was very skeptical about what Dr. Smith would say in her talk. Over the course of an hour, I was convinced that there were serious problems with the use of contraception, especially in a Christian marriage. I absolutely can’t do justice here to her talk, so I would encourage everyone to get ahold of it if you’re interested in what Dr. Smith has to say. (I’m happy to share my copy!)
As I became more and more convinced of the rightness of the Church’s teaching, I realized an important thing: The Catholic Church is the only Church that maintains its teaching against contraception. The only one. All Protestant churches, prior to the 1930’s taught against it, but one by one they made concessions after the Anglicans allowed it in special circumstances. Fast forward to today, and you will rarely, if ever, hear it spoken of in Protestant churches.
But the beautiful thing about the Church’s teaching is that it’s not just a “no” to contraception, it’s a resounding “YES!” to NFP–to full, free, faithful, and fruitful love between a husband and wife.
By the grace of God, I was able to see the beauty of NFP, to recognize that the Catholic church is the sole keeper of its truth, and to seek and receive full communion with her.