Monday, October 22, 2012
Read more at Maple Footprints.
Friday, September 28, 2012
I'm going to be taking my favorite posts from here and moving them over there. And, at some point, I'll start writing!
Find me at Maple Footprints.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Many of the pro-abstinence, anti-contraception types (mostly Catholics) will say that the “Don’t have sex, but if you do, use contraception” approach to reducing teen pregnancy is inherently flawed. They’ll say that the approach sets expectations low, and that it effectively says “Don’t have sex – but if you do, it’s okay.”
Of course, many of those same people march right into the confessional once a month or so. They’ll tell the priest about their spousal spats, their laziness, pride, envy, and lust. “Don’t sin,” they say, and then they’ll add that “The Church, in her wisdom, knew we were going to sin anyway, so she gave us the sacrament of reconciliation.”
That translates: “Don’t sin, but if you do, go to confession” – so, realistically, confession isn’t all that different from condoms.
Note: Like anything sacramental, or anything Catholic, the reality of it is incredibly deep and rich, so to all you protesters out there – yes, there is more to it than that. But let’s stick with that much for now.
If we’re not truly willing to change our behavior and allow our hearts to be reformed, we are missing out on what God offers us through the sacrament. Condoms give in to the belief that teenagers won’t be responsible. Confession is a refusal to give up on greatness. And the world needs greatness, needs saints, needs to see holy lives. And why not our lives?
“The ways of the Lord are not comfortable. But we were not created for comfort, but for greatness.” – Pope Benedict XVIHow to Live a Good Confession
Before confessing, make a good examination of conscience. After examining, think seriously about your situation. Are you really sorry for what you did? Consider how your life would be different now if you had done the right thing then. Do you really wish you’d acted differently? Or are you just intellectually aware that it was sinful?
Then, do you want to stop doing this? Are you willing to work at it? To stay on alert for temptation, and when it comes, to look it straight in the eye and say No, I will not! And I don’t mean just now, but next week, too. Thursday. And again on Sunday.
Ultimately, Catholicism is not about correct answers to “What did you say?” or “What did you do?” but rather about “Where is your heart, really?” Your words, actions, and attitudes reveal where your heart is; a willful change in words, actions, and attitudes can move your heart.
Like any sacrament, confession takes place at a particular moment in time but carries forward; it’s a line in the sand after which things are different. The important thing is the “after which” part, not the line. Apologizing to your coach for skipping practice is a start, but getting back on track, or back on the court, will actually make you a better player.
In the words of Bl. John XXIII…
“This must stop, once and for all … from now onwards, I will really be good!” (Journal of a Soul, 28 March 1898 entry.)That’s the spirit! Don’t assume you’ll do the same thing again, commit the same sins again. Raise the bar, and set your expectations high. The line has been drawn. Things are different now. Confession is not a condom; it is a refusal to give up. I will not be a slave of sin!
At the same time, be realistic. You know your weaknesses, so make a plan. Sometimes priests give penances that directly combat the weaknesses you’ve revealed to them. A priest I know told me he once confessed impatience, and his confessor instructed him to find the longest line at the grocery store, and when he got to the front, to get out of line and find the next longest line – then he could pay for his groceries. For a month. He hated it at first, but after a while learned patience and actually enjoyed chatting with the people in line.
If you aren’t this lucky, make your own plan. Learning patience at the grocery store will make you more patient with your family; learning discipline with your stomach’s appetite will make you more disciplined with your other appetites.
St. Francis de Sales recommends nipping temptation in the bud during morning prayer. Think ahead to your plans for the day. What temptations are you likely to face? How can you prepare yourself ahead of time to be ready to face them? I have a meeting with so-and-so today, and we disagree about something, and I’m probably going to get angry over it. Before the meeting, I will think of five things I honestly respect about her, and consider how much God loves her.
And, of course, constantly pray for God’s grace. Never stop. When we empty ourselves of sin, we must fill up with His grace until we overflow onto the world.
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
So I'll share my experiences and invite all of you to share yours.
Here's what I did this evening:
1. Thaw a chicken breast.
2. Put the chicken breast in a container (bag, pyrex, etc.) and add bread crumbs; shake till the chicken is covered.
3. Add a gollop of spaghetti sauce.
4. Spice it up! I usually get store-brand, boring spaghetti sauce and spice it how I like. This time I used pepper, garlic, basil, and rosemary.
5. Bake at 350, covered, for 45 minutes.
6. Pull it out and add cheese - I used grated mozzarella and parmesan.
7. Bake for another 15 minutes.
Here are some more things to try:
1. Cut the chicken into smaller pieces. A whole breast was a little much for me. (Luke is working late tonight and wasn't home for dinner.)
2. Throw the chicken on top of spaghetti.
3. Spice it differently?
How would you alter this recipe? If you've tried it, what worked? What didn't?
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Monday, August 20, 2012
Monday, August 13, 2012
It’s interesting how different reality looks when it’s on paper, in neat paragraphs, all in the right order. There, I am a powerhouse. I am strong; I am adventurous; I am embarking on a mission with eternal consequences and not looking back.
But for all my talk of heroism and mission, I’m often tempted to throw in the towel, despair, and give up.
I wrote earlier about how marriage is a mission, and how Christian married couples, if they shine as beacons of virtue, can take the world by storm and save the world from its sexual dysfunction.
But right now I don’t feel like taking the world by storm, or shining as a beacon of virtue. I feel kind of sullen and selfish. I’m mad at my husband (of just over a month) for asking me to leave the dishes for him when he gets home from work. I’m mad at him for buying a stick shift (the former bachelor thought it was manly) instead of an automatic. I’m mad at him for owning four coffee makers when I don’t drink coffee and our counter and cupboard space is cramped.
And, after spending much of our engagement preaching loudly about how stupid it is to expect a flawless wedding day, I’m still trying to compose the perfect toast for the occasion, and trying to make myself have given it.
When I start writing, I start trying to take the world by storm again. I start thinking I’m better than everyone else, as if putting heroism and virtue into paragraphs was the same as living it. (I am virtuous. You can tell because I’m happy. Admit it – I’m just oozing with irresistible joy, and you’re about to convert because of it.)
It isn’t enough to say these things. We must live them. And yes, marriage is a mission, and it requires hard work and discipline, just like marathons and Amazon explorations. But I’m on duty even when I’m not feeling strong and adventurous.
Some days I’m ready for a fistfight or wrestling match with whatever power of evil would tempt me to love my dear husband less. Some days I’m ready to climb mountains and soar. But some days I’m just tired.
Some days I have a bad cold, or a stressful afternoon, or not enough sleep last night. I’m a woman, and some days my hormones do weird things. Some days I don’t feel like cooking, and some days we don’t have leftovers. Sometimes my sense of adventure just has to wait.
But I have to love anyway. My mission doesn’t change, even on days when I’m just not feeling it. I don’t have to feel strong and powerful in order to love deeply and steadily.
Maybe instead of wielding a sword and forcing myself to be happy, darnit, about the coffee makers, the stick shift, the offer to wash dishes, I should just shrug and look the other way. I’m annoyed about some petty things. Okay. I know that, in the past, I’ve laughed about the coffee makers, felt proud at how far my stick-shift driving has come, and been grateful for his offers to help with housework. Those were emotions, too, and they’ll come back.
I never promised to be passionate; I didn’t vow inexhaustible energy or permanent cheer. When I’m not in the mood to deliver a powerful blow to the enemy’s face, when all I can do is sigh and return to my work – that’s what I must do. That’s my fidelity and commitment. That’s the love and honor I did vow.
And, for the days I don’t feel like doing anything heroic – that’s my job. And I can do that.
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Marvel not at the gold and expense but at the
Craftsmanship of the work.
The noble work is bright, but, being nobly bright, the work
Should brighten the minds, allowing them to travel through the lights
To the true light, where Christ is the true door.
The golden door defines how it is imminent in these things.
The dull mind rises to the truth through material things,
And is resurrected from its former submersion when the light is seen.
Friday, May 25, 2012
Saturday, March 17, 2012
So your old roommate’s in seminary and your sister just made first vows, and you’re feeling a little guilty getting excited for your wedding. Marriage isn’t exactly a straightforward regimen toward holiness (you do get to have sex, after all) and isn’t it the default life plan for the leftover people, the ones who didn’t make the vocational cut?
Not at all. If God has called you to the married life, he’s entrusted you with a serious mission. With one foot in the natural world and one in the supernatural – for Christian marriage is a natural state made supernatural by the grace of the sacrament – Christian married couples have a unique means to evangelization. Today’s world needs marriage – needs good Christian marriage – to stand as a sign of contradiction to the world and show the truth and beauty of the faith.
First, love. Everything is about love. Why did God create the world? Why did Christ die on the cross? Why did the martyrs suffer? What makes people saints? What is the greatest and most fundamental desire of the human heart? What is the whole point of everything? Love. Not the warm, fuzzy “luv” rooted in fickle hormones, but the hardcore, disciplined, self-sacrificing love that God is and asks of us. When people seek love, they naturally look to the opposite sex; often, they snuggle close and are left unfulfilled. Christian married couples give the world a concrete example of what real love looks like in a context where the world expects to find love: a relationship between a man and a woman.
Our world is obsessed with sex, and Christian married couples show that people are happier and more fulfilled with a sexually ordered life. The world says sex is a great means of exchanging pleasure (in which you hope not to exchange diseases). Christian marriage says sex is a great gift from God and has a purpose: to express a love deeper than any pleasure, and, if God wills, to let that love become incarnate in a child. Celibate religious show by their lives that joy doesn’t depend on sexual activity. Christian married couples show by their lives what sexual activity is for. Our world needs to see that, too.
Our world doesn’t like to be constrained by commitments; it considers them impediments to freedom. Christian married couples find freedom in commitment. Christian spouses don’t worry that the back door may still be open; they are free to be themselves entirely and to give themselves completely to each other without worrying that the other might leave. Christian married couples show that commitment is a source of a deeper freedom: a freedom for excellence, a freedom from one’s own whims and inconstancies – and those of one’s spouse. Commitment prohibits sexual flings with the attractive co-worker. Commitment requires that spouses work out their disagreements. The sacrifice required to turn back to one’s spouse in love during times of temptation is tiny compared to the deep pain many spouses know from regret, betrayed trust, and divorce.
Our world assaults motherhood and children. The world speaks of pregnancy as a disease and a hormonally manipulated and malfunctioning reproductive system as a healthy one. Children are burdens and motherhood is a hassle you try to fit around your important work, the world says. Christian families affirm the value of motherhood and children. The Christian ethic that proclaims the sanctity of all human life, from conception till natural death, doesn’t stop at mere existence but proceeds to sanctity. Christian married couples welcome children and refuse contraception and abortion, but they don’t stop there. Christian parents devote their lives to the good of their children, attending to their physical, spiritual, emotional, and psychological needs. Christian parents love. They don’t merely want their children to survive to adulthood and hold a job but to grow to adulthood as whole persons willing to give their whole selves when they find their vocation. Christian parents who are dedicated to their children work to fill the world with loving adults and, eventually, to fill heaven with saints. Christian parents show the world that children are gifts, not burdens.
Christian married couples can’t give the witness of wearing a cassock or habit in public. They can’t say Mass or hear confessions. They can’t spend all day feeding the poor, or studying and writing, or praying in a chapel. Priests and religious live another form of that hardcore, disciplined, self-sacrificing love – work essential to the life of the Church and the world, but work married couples can’t do. We need priests and religious to commit their lives to that work. But we need Christian married couples, too. A Christian marriage isn’t the same as everyone else’s marriage. Infused with the grace of the sacrament, Christian married couples can evangelize in a way that priests and religious can’t, giving a powerful example of authentic love exactly where the world expects to see it. In a unique and necessary way, Christian marriage affirms the existence of real love.
And isn’t love exactly what our world needs?
Sunday, February 5, 2012
There are lots of beautiful women on campus. Why aren’t you dating?
Not a whole lot miffs and baffles liberal arts women more than the fact that good men don’t ask them out. In the words of a dear (female) friend of mine, “It’s not fair. They get to pick whoever they want. We can just put out bait and hope.”
These women (and for a few years, I was one of them) befriend off-campus students so they can borrow their kitchens and feed you something better than cafeteria food. They sing while washing the dishes. They laugh at your jokes. As graduation approaches, they tell you that they’re looking at this or that type of job, but that what they’d really like to do is raise kids. They’re practically wearing signs that say “ask me out.” They’re waiting for you, and opening doors won’t cut it forever.
You, liberal arts men, need to do your part. Take them to a dance. Take them to dinner. Start a relationship. Something. Dating is not a lifelong commitment. Asking a woman to a formal dance (and asking her to dance at the formal dance) is not a marriage proposal. An evening of conversation and dance is a fun thing to do with friends; a relationship is discerning marriage. Neither requires an irrevocable vow.
That means you don’t have to finish discerning (and, Catholic men, you don’t have to 115% rule out the priesthood) before you ask her out. If you don’t ask her out because you’re only 80% sure you’d want someone like her helping you raise children, then you’re really not asking her out because you’re scared. Ask her out, then talk about the other 20% (and the 80%) while you’re dating. Share ideas and see if you reach the same conclusions on the important things. That’s what dating is for. That’s not what pre-asking-out-analysis is for. Be discerning before you ask her out, but not scrupulous – there’s way more to her than you’ll find out while “just friends.”
Most liberal arts women want to be stay-at-home-moms and they want men like you to marry them so they can. They want men like you because you’re responsible, because you’re funny, because you’re clean, because you’re trustworthy, because you’re strong. Generally, people discern their vocation to marriage by dating and generally, people don’t marry without dating. Liberal arts women know that after leaving the little bubble of [name of little conservative liberal arts college] and enter the great sea of secularism, they are much less likely to find a man they would trust their future children with, unless they land a job at the pro-life think tank down the street. (And you’re much less likely to find such a woman after you graduate.) You have a responsibility to give these women a chance at marriage to a real man, a good, virtuous man who goes to their church. Ask them out. You’ll find out way more about her than you knew before – and you might find that you want to marry her. Or that you don’t. But if you’re already 80% sure you do want to marry her, it’s time to take the next step in your discernment.
Yes, it’s scary asking them out. You know what else is scary? Childbirth. So we’re even. Ask her out already.
Mary (and Luke, who asked)
Saturday, February 4, 2012
I’m glad you keep asking questions like these. Those are the questions I was asking in high school, and I was really frustrated that nobody would give me answers to them. I imagine more questions like these will come up, and when they do, I want you to remember two things:
1. Learn what the Church teaches on the subject. If you don’t know, look it up: in the Catechism, on catholic.com, asking someone who knows the faith well. Remember that you’re looking for “what the Church teaches,” not someone’s opinion. Different people have different opinions, and when you’re after truth, you want something consistent and actually true. The Catholic Encyclopedia at newadvent.org is also a good resource, but can be hard to follow sometimes. Anything by Catholic Answers or EWTN is good, and I also recommend the Archdiocese of Washington blog.
2. Know that the Church does have answers. If you haven’t found an answer that satisfies you, that really answers your question, keep looking, and don’t give up.
Now, on to prayer. You asked how to know if you’re hearing God’s voice or just your own voice in your head. I’ll do my best to answer your question – but again, if I don’t answer it well enough, ask.
I remember reading a thing on prayer geared toward teens, and it said that prayer is like IMing God. I was really upset. That’s not helpful at all, and it isn’t really true. I guess prayer and IMing are both communication between two persons, but as far as communication goes, they’re not really very similar. Prayer is lifting up your heart and mind to God.
First off, when you’re praying, don’t expect to hear an actual voice with your ears, and don’t expect to have the right answer pop into your heart or mind in a clear, obvious way. If this happens, especially if you hear an actual voice, talk to a priest. But this doesn’t normally happen.
God does call some great saints to do radical things. St. Francis of Assisi gave up all his worldly possessions and founded a religious order. St. Catherine of Siena wrote letters to the pope telling him to get his act together. St. Joan of Arc left the farm and led the French army to battle. This is really great, but it’s not normal. While God does want us to love Him and obey Him with our whole heart, usually He wants us to do so in our “state of life” – for you, that means as a student, friend, daughter, sister. Later, it may mean as an orthodontist, or as a wife and mother, or whatever. If you do think God is calling you to something like particularly radical, talk to a priest.
Prayer builds our relationship with God, and remember that relationships are built over time. Think of some of your closest friends, and think about how your relationships are different now than they were when you first met. How did that happen? It was time spent together – time spent chatting, playing with each other’s hair, carpooling, studying together, spending the night at each other’s houses, all the stuff of friendship. When you spend time together, your relationship grows, and you don’t always notice it growing.
In the same way, our relationship with God is built during the time we spend with Him – in prayer, especially in front of the Blessed Sacrament. In some ways we have to put more effort into our relationship with Him than our relationship with regular people – we can’t just chat on the phone with Him, or have Him over to commiserate over exams, or paint His toenails. Much of the “stuff of friendship” we can’t really do with Him, because although He is present, He is present in a very different way. This is where prayer comes in. Part of prayer is just spending time with Him to build that relationship.
This may mean reading the Bible, saying the Rosary, or kneeling before Mass and turning over in our minds and hearts what all these things mean. While saying Rosary, we meditate on the various mysteries; maybe while mediating on the Annunciation, we can think about our Lady’s words: “Be it done to me according to Thy will.” Perhaps she understood how great an honor it was to bear the Son of God, but her life wasn’t all easy. She had to figure out how to deal with being pregnant before she married Joseph (“an angel appeared to me and my son is the Son of God” isn’t an explanation that would satisfy my parents if I got pregnant before I married). And after giving birth to her Son and raising Him, she watched Him be condemned to death, beaten, and crucified. That couldn’t have been easy, but she accepted all of that when the angel appeared to her and she said “Be it done unto me according to Thy will.” She knew that she would suffer, and she knew that in the end God would reward her for her faith in Him. And now she is queen of heaven.
In prayer, read a section from the Bible or think on the mysteries of the Rosary, and let your thoughts go further. What does this really mean? What would this have really been like? What does that mean for me? (Is my heart as open to God’s will as our Lady’s heart?)
Part of prayer is asking God for guidance. This is when the “listening” comes in, when we try to hear God’s voice. First, we have to be patient. God doesn’t usually tell us everything all at once. We have to keep coming back, keep praying, keep asking. Second, we have to open our hearts to His will. The answer He gives us might not be the one we want, and it might involve suffering. Are we open to that? Are we willing to accept whatever God asks of us, as our Lady did? This takes practice.
Given that, I’ll give you some ways to help discern whether you’re hearing God’s voice or not. The closer you are to God and the deeper your relationship with Him, the more quickly you’ll recognize His voice. Here are some ways to start:
St. Francis de Sales said “No thoughts which cause us disquiet and agitation come from God who is Prince of Peace; they are, rather, temptations of the enemy, and therefore we must reject them and take no notice of them.” If, on the deepest level, you feel angsty and conflicted about what you think might be God’s will, it probably isn’t God’s will. God may require us to make sacrifices. But on the deepest level, doing His will brings joy and peace.
St. Joan of Arc said “All I know about Christ and His Church is that they’re the same thing, and we shouldn’t complicate the matter.” The Church teaches some specific things about morality: lying is wrong, envy is wrong, murder is wrong, etc. In addition, the Church teaches some specific things about virtue: love is good, patience is good, courage is good. The Church is the Bride of Christ, and in a good marriage, both parents are on the same page about what they teach their children. God won’t tell you to do something that the Church teaches is morally wrong. If you think you are hearing God tell you to lie, that’s not God’s voice.
God has already told us the basics. When asked about the most important commandment, Jesus said to love God with your whole self, and, second, to love your neighbor as yourself. We know that God is always calling us to love more deeply, more purely, less selfishly. When you are unsure what to do in a particular situation, think about the most loving thing to do, and ask God to guide your thoughts and lead you closer to Him.
I wish I could give you a clear-cut method so you would always know whether you’re hearing God’s voice or something else. But God isn’t a system or a computer; God is a Person (or rather, three Persons) who love deeply. And he will help, as long as you ask and persevere in your asking.
AMDG (ad majorem Dei gloriam – for the greater glory of God)
Friday, February 3, 2012
Dear high school students,
I’m sure you’ve all seen on the news about the federal contraception mandate and the Catholic uproar over it. You can read on the news what happened and how Catholics are reacting. I want you to understand why contraception is such a big deal.
We’ve talked before about how doing things God’s way is good for you. That’s true about sex and contraception, too.
God designed sex to be amazing. He designed sex to be a way for spouses to give themselves completely to each other, to strengthen their commitment to each other, and to produce children. When they express their love for each other this way, that love may become a child. And that’s beautiful. Sex allows married couples to participate in God’s love and in his creation.
Our culture today accepts all sorts of things that violate the sanctity of marriage and sexuality. One of these is contraception. Contraceptive sex is sex on our terms, not on God’s terms. Contraceptive sex says “I want the pleasure right now, but I don’t want the responsibility of raising children.” Contraceptive sex cannot be an act of total self-giving and isn’t an act of love -- remember, God designed sex to be an act of love. Contraceptive sex is using the other person for sexual pleasure.
God designed our bodies to work a certain way, and contraception interferes with that. Our bodies are naturally fertile. It’s healthy to be fertile. Advocates of contraception speak as if fertility (especially women’s fertility) were a defect and as if pregnancy were a disease. It’s not. Having a functioning reproductive system is just as healthy as having a functioning digestive system or a functioning respiratory system. God made our bodies to work a certain way, and it’s good and healthy when our bodies work the way God designed them.
The Catholic Church does not teach that once you’re married, you have to have sex all the time and have as many babies as your body can handle. We all know that sex can naturally result in children. But it doesn’t always. That’s because women’s bodies are designed to have fertile cycles -- there are only a few days per month when it’s possible for a woman to get pregnant. When a couple has sex during a time when the woman is naturally infertile, she can’t get pregnant. It’s possible (and, actually, not that hard) to learn how to tell when a woman is naturally fertile or infertile, and if a couple has a good reason to postpone a pregnancy, they can abstain from having sex when the woman is fertile. God designed women’s bodies to go through these cycles naturally. He also designed our brains so we can learn how to do this. The Catholic Church teaches that couples must be open to having children, but if there are times in their marriage when having a child seems unwise, they are permitted to abstain from sex during fertile times to postpone pregnancy. This is called Natural Family Planning, and you can find more about it at www.ccli.org.
NFP isn’t just another form of contraception. By having contraceptive sex, the couple abuses the sanctity of marriage and sex. By not having sex during fertile times, a couple is simply not having sex. With contraception, the couple does not want children. With NFP, the couple thinks that, because of their circumstances, it’s unwise to have children right now, but they are open to life. With any method of contraception or with NFP, there can be surprise pregnancies. With contraception, surprise pregnancies are called “mistakes” or “failures.” With NFP, surprise pregnancies are called “children.”
That’s the Church’s teaching in a nutshell. If you have more questions, let me know and I will be happy to answer them.
Here’s a little more information on contraception and NFP:
● Many people think that NFP is not effective at preventing pregnancy. That’s not actually true. A 2007 study showed that NFP is 99.6% effective when used properly.
● NFP couples have healthier marriages and almost never divorce.
● Side-effects of chemical contraceptives (including the birth control pill) include nausea, vomiting, weight gain, and infertility. NFP doesn’t have any side effects, and when you’re ready to have children, you don’t have problems with infertility.
● NFP doesn’t cost any money. You need a thermometer, and you need to be able to stick it under your tongue. And you need a pencil, so you can record your information. Birth control pills can cost $15 to $50 a month, according to Planned Parenthood.
● NFP is better for the environment. We all know that it’s bad to put chemicals in food and let chemicals drain into our lakes and rivers. Why would we put chemicals in our bodies (and let them drain into our lakes and rivers) if we don’t need to?
● When the inventors of the birth control pill were testing the pill on women, three women died. They didn’t bother investigating whether the pill caused their deaths.
Women, don’t let our culture tell you that pregnancy is a disease or that your fertility is a problem. Men don’t take pills or use chemicals to interfere with how their bodies work naturally - why should we? Fertility is good and healthy, and motherhood is a beautiful thing. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Save sex for when you’re married, and if you marry, be open to life. Here is a quote from Joseph Cardinal Mindszenty:
“The most important person on earth is a mother. She cannot claim the honor of having built Notre Dame Cathedral. She need not. She has built something more magnificent than any cathedral - a dwelling for an immortal soul, the tiny perfection of her baby’s body. The angels have not been blessed with such a grace. They cannot share in God’s creative miracle to bring new saints to heaven. Only a human mother can. Mothers are closer to God the Creator than any other creature. God joins forces with mothers in performing this act of creation. What on God’s good earth is more glorious than this: to be a mother?”
PS Luke wrote something for the guys:
Contraception is unmanly. I’m not going to tell you it’s bad, because that’s what the rest of this letter is for. I’m going to tell you why it’s unmanly. As men, we have a special duty to take care of women. So if there’s one thing that men (real men, that is) don’t do, it’s take advantage of women.
It takes two to have a baby. And the way God designed things, it takes two not to have a baby. Mary explained how this works in the section about NFP. Both people have to do their part. Basically every kind of contraception (except condoms) works by messing up how women’s bodies work so that they’re not fertile. So instead of it taking two, contraception makes women do all the work.
Again, if there’s one thing that men don't do, it’s take advantage of women. If we’re not willing to abstain for a few days per month so that women don’t have to pump a bunch of chemicals into their bodies, then we’re not taking care of women, we’re taking advantage of them. We’re saying to them “I want to have sex whenever I want, so mess up your body so I don’t have to abstain.” If you're not married, you shouldn't be having sex in the first place. If you are married and there’s a good reason not to have a baby, do things the right way and do your part.
Be a man.
P.S. And ladies, don’t settle for men who don’t live up to this.