Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

NFP and Fasting

When trying to explain the Catholic understanding of sexuality to someone "outside", I almost invariably find myself falling back on analogies relating to diet and gluttony. It's a natural comparison, and while modern society has lost any sense that it's reasonable to have any less sex if you want to have fewer children, people are able to get more righteous then ever over the point that if you want to be fit you must, must, must eat moderately and exercise more.

Indeed, diet and exercise may be the one thing relating to sexuality where modern culture understands a great deal of self denial. After all, one of the motivations for all this diet and exercise is, I think one may honestly admit, to look better while naked.

Which leaves the obvious question: Why has a Church which finds itself swimming against a quickening current in regards to its teaching on birth control nearly totally abandoned any sort of severity in regards to fasting?

Sure, we're an "Easter people" and all that, but maybe some rigorous self denial for the sake of religion would help us with some rigorous self denial for the sake of our faith. I've been pretty much as bad as the next fellow on this -- doing the mental calculation of whether I can make one more cup of coffee and still make the hour fast before mass or falling to the "I'll say some extra prayers tonight as a sacrifice instead" temptation on Fridays outside of Lent when meat is all that appears on the menu. But this is, after all, part of the problem. The constant NFP lament is "Look, we played by the rules all those years before we were married. Why does there have to be frustration now too?"

If virtue is a habit, perhaps it's time to form some more habits around denial of appetite.


Allie said...

Good point. I've been trying to fast more frequently and regularly throughout the year besides Fridays. The Orthodox practice fasting on their feast days, so I've been fasting on Holy Days of Obligation, and then I've been trying to remember and fast during the prescribed Ember Days (I just have trouble remembering when those are...). It's too bad the church seems to have abandoned the practice of Ember Days - I think the concept is a good one, and allows for us to remember that penitential seasons shouldn't exist just during Lent.

Anonymous said...

It's better after 50. :)

Anonymous said...

Ha ha. NFP has an inverse relationship to one's age. At 44, it doesn't seem so bad or hard to do.