Struggling to Confess

Okay, so I’m slowly, painstakingly working on the NFP book — there’s a bunch of personal stuff going on, and also I sprained my ankle and now everything is taking about twice as much energy as usually. So pray for me if you can. In the meantime, I wrote a piece for Aleteia about an experience that I had a number of years ago when I was really having trouble going back to Confession after my miscarriage. It’s something that… Read more

How Does Christian Culture Enable Abusers?

One of the most recent developments in the #metoo trend has been the emergence of the #churchtoo hashtag, which invites believers to talk about the specific ways in which Christian culture contributed to their sexual victimization. It’s a moment to stop and reflect on the ways in which the culture within our Churches can make an environment that protects abusers, and that sidelines or even shames those who have been victimized. There are a few trends that run through a… Read more

Should I Trust My Conscience?

One of the most common frustrations that I hear from Catholics who are recovering from spiritually oppressive forms of the faith is “I was taught never to trust my conscience.” It’s a complaint that I can relate to pretty well: in the circles that I moved in when I first became a Catholic the word ‘conscience’ was often treated as a dirty word – so much so that I was astonished when I finally read what the Catechism had to… Read more

The One Question I Always Get

Whenever I do a presentation, there is one old and familiar question that I can pretty much be assured of getting in one form or another: “Shouldn’t we use the term ‘same-sex attracted’ instead of a word like ‘gay’ or ‘homosexual’.” It comes in slightly different flavours, like in the Q&A from the Webcast that I did for OSV today. But to be honest, the thing that weirds me out is that it is asked so frequently — that among… Read more

Nightmare on Estrogen Street: Frequently Unanswered Questions about NFP Chapter 1

Why NFP and Why not ABC? I want to approach this in terms of my personal experience first, and then, in the next section, I’ll talk about how that experience relates to broader trends and to the ethical issues surrounding birth control. I’ve written in the past about my frustrations with natural family planning, my repeated failures to actually avoid pregnancy while using it, and the problems that I have with a lot of NFP culture. I’ve written less about… Read more

Traditional Marriage: A Cure For Rape Culture?

There’s been a lot of talk over the last week or so about the ethics of consent, and there’s a common refrain that I keep seeing in Christian contexts: “this is what comes of seeing consent as the only morally relevant thing in sex. If instead we just stuck to traditional marriage and objective sexual ethics, we wouldn’t be having these problems.” So, I want to point out that throughout a lot of the history of Christendom, giving women away… Read more

A Modest Proposal: On Rape Prevention

One of the most frustrating things about discussing rape prevention is that there is often a lot of equivocation going on. We’re told that rape isn’t really related to normal sexual behaviour: studies of convicted rapists show that these men are predators. They’re not ordinary guys who made a mistake, but rather a category of men who get off on holding women in their power. I believe this is probably true of convicted rapists – because the sad truth is… Read more

Do We Really Need Another Book About NFP?

A little over a year ago, I posted on my blog that I was thinking of writing a book about natural family planning. I asked readers to post their questions about NFP, especially those questions that they felt hadn’t been answered (or hadn’t been adequately answered) elsewhere. My promise was that I would basically do a bunch of research and try my best to answer the questions that were posed. This series is the fruit of that project. One of… Read more

Frequently Unanswered Questions About Natural Family Planning

I’ve had various comments, here and on FaceBook, that basically involve folks asking questions or speculating about whether specific questions are going to be answered. So I figured that I would post the table of contents that I’m planning to work from. These are questions that I gathered probably between a year and six months ago and that I’ve organized thematically, to deal with the different types of situations that people face. So some of it is directed to those… Read more

That Long Awaited NFP Book

I’ve been promising forever to write a book about NFP. It got massively derailed a couple of months back, basically because I hit major stumbling block: one of my major theses had, up to that point, been that the burdens that Catholic couples are often called upon to bear as a result of the Church’s teaching were justified by a set of larger concerns. Basically, that we were being asked to shoulder a heavy cross because of the magnitude of… Read more

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