How the Toyota Acceleration Problems Prove NFP is Not the Same as Contraception

If you go onto YouTube and search for Fr. Euteneuer/Sean Hannity, you'll see a very heated "discussion" where a cultural Catholic (Hannity) criticizes the believes of an orthodox Catholic (Fr. Euteneuer). The main issue of disagreement was contraception. The Catholic Church teaches contraception in all its forms is wrong and approves natural family planning (NFP) for birth regulation. Hannity doesn't agree with the Church as says that contraception is necessary for people how aren't Catholic because it's better than having abortions. Hannity also claims NFP and contraception are the same thing.

They aren't. But, unfortunately, most people still think they are, even Catholics. So I was thinking about a good analogy to explain the difference and I realized a good one relates to the recent acceleration problems with Toyota brand cars. Here's how the analogy works:

Let's imagine the forward acceleration of a car as intercourse. The inadvertent acceleration of a Toyota car is analogous to loss of self-control. If the car doesn't move, we avoid a pregnancy.

Now, let's imagine Toyota decides to fix the acceleration issue by programming the car to apply the brakes as soon as the accelerator gets stuck. The actual acceleration is not stopped. This is the thought process to the argument that people can't control their sexual urges. So if people can't control their urges and they're going to have sex anyway, they should use something to prevent a pregnancy. Those are the brakes in our car analogy. The acceleration still happens, but the car is prevented from moving forward. What if the brakes overheat and give out? What if the car doesn't engage the brakes when it's supposed to? What if the condom brakes? What if the pill doesn't work? This is contraception.

Next, let's imagine a Toyota owner decides to avoid any risks, play it safe, and just leave the car in park. They'd rather not worry about Toyota's fix being defective and, instead, they practice restraint until the right time when the problem is truly fixed. If the acceleration happens, the car is in park, so the wheels won't even turn because the transmission isn't in drive. This is how NFP works. If you don't have sex, you can't get pregnant, simple as that. Women and men's bodies are truly respected because their natural body changes are not changed or interrupted.

Even though the results of both approaches were the same (the car doesn't move, or there's no pregnancy), the intentions of both methods are totally different. Contraception seeks to interrupt or change the body's natural processes to prevent a pregnancy. NFP respects the body's natural processes to regulate the frequency of pregnancies.

Lastly, I'd like to reiterate the Church's teaching, because it is often mis-represented. The Church DOES NOT teach that you should only have sex to become pregnant. Read Pope John Paul II's "Theology of the Body" to see how much the church approves of sex, if you have any doubts. But, the Church DOES NOT approve of unnatural means to achieve or prevent pregnancies. This applies to contraception, but also the way a baby is actually conceived (artificial insemination is not approved).

I hope this analogy helps in understanding the difference between contraception and NFP. Like any analogy, there are flaws. But I think this a fairly good way to explain the Church's stance on this issue.

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