Thursday, May 23, 2024


By Tim Rohr

Aside from his now much-maligned elevation of the role of "homemaker," Harrison Butker had much more to say about a couple of other things including the serious leadership problems in our Catholic Church and a reference to "a month."

A Catholic Response to Harrison Butker's Speech - an interview with Bishop Thomas Paprocki

Harrison Butker | Commencement Address 2024 | Benedictine College - May 12, 2024

And by the way, he slams NFP (at about 14:30 into his speech):

"Heterodox ideas abound even within Catholic circles. For let’s be honest. There is nothing good about playing God with having children, whether that be your ideal number or the perfect time to conceive. No matter how you spin it, there is nothing natural about Catholic birth control.”


  1. If the church authorities approved the NFP I do not see why he needs to go against it. Not all families are equal, there are lots of factors that go into it. Mother's psychological health one of the most important.

    1. It’s a tough issue. And I speak as a father of 11 children who could never afford “the next one.” There are a lot of problems with NFP, including when it is used, to quote Butker, as “Catholic birth control.” The CCC says this:

      2370 Periodic continence, that is, the methods of birth regulation based on self-observation and the use of infertile periods, is in conformity with the objective criteria of morality.

      So, it seems like all is well. However, this statement is preceded in Par. 2368 by this:

      “For just reasons, spouses may wish to space the births of their children.”

      Unfortunately, “just reasons” are not spelled out. But what we do know is that when the Church uses the word “just” it uses it in absolute terms of justice, such as in “Just War.”

      In short, “just” means proportionate. And given that “be fruitful and multiply” is the first commandment given by God to Man, we must have “proportionate” reason for intentionally denying new life - be it by “natural” means or otherwise.

      Today, NFP is taught to couples in pre-Cana classes in ways that assume the couple does not want to get pregnant right off the bat. This is wrong. During the marriage vows, the man and woman vow to “accept children willingly and lovingly from God.” If they are not ready to do that at the outset, then they are not ready to get married.

      I am copying here from an article I wrote about the issue several years ago.

      …the Catechism rescues us by its use of the word "just" as in "just cause". However, I've yet to read or hear any attempt to unpack this, so let me give it a go.

      When the Church uses "just" relative to moral issues it generally does not mean "just figure it out for yourself". The best parallel would be the use of the word "just" in defining "just war".

      There are several key provisions which must be in place for a war effort to be considered "just" and therefore morally "inbounds". One of the key provisions for a Just War is "proportionality": the benefits must equal the damage.

      Denying God souls to love (children) - by whatever means - is serious business and demands proportionate (just) cause. And when it comes to marital relations the discernment of that cause cannot be reliant on a list, or anyone's attempt to define that list - which is probably why no pope ever has.

      Personal holiness is your only aid in this regard. Total submission to the Holy Spirit and union with God in and through his sacraments is all there is. Throw away your charts and get out your rosaries.

    2. Here is another good reference:


    3. Well said. Thank you. Would like to hear this from a pulpit every once in a while.