I’ve been dabbling at putting together an “NFP conversion story, ” chronicling how radically (and unexpectedly) my life changed after I saw marriage, sex and parenthood through the light of 2, 000-year-old Church teaching. Like writing any conversion story, it’s a daunting task since it encompasses pretty much every aspect of life. It’s going to take me forever to finish it.
Until I get that done, I wanted to offer some resources since a few people have commented and emailed that they’d like more info on this subject. Whether you’re a Catholic who wants to know how to better articulate Church teaching or a non-Catholic who’s wondering where we get all these crazy ideas, here are some good places to start if you’d like to learn more about the Catholic view of sex, marriage, birth control and other related topics.
Please leave a comment if you know of any other good resources I missed!
- Humanae Vitae: Pope Paul VI’s encyclical on human life. Not exactly light reading, but very powerful.
- Contraception: Why Not?: This text of a speech by Dr. Janet Smith looks at pretty much every aspect of how contraception impacts individuals and the world.
- Christopher West’s articles: This is a great collection of articles on a variety of subjects related to sexuality, pornography, marriage, birth control, etc. They’re all quick reads. Some of the ones I particularly recommend are:
- God, Sex, & Babies: What the Church Really Teaches about Responsible Parenthood (I highly recommend this one)
- Theology of the Body: A Compelling, Bold, Biblical Response to the Sexual Revolution
- Contraception vs. Natural Family Planning
- Contraception and Cultural Chaos
- How Contraception Destroys Love by Edward Sri: Sri offers a summary of the Catholic view of sexual morality based on Pope John Paul II’s book Love and Responsibility.
- Catholic Answers on birth control: This page at Catholic answers offers some short snippets of info about the history behind Catholic (and other Christian) teaching on birth control. It doesn’t go into much detail or offer answers to common objections, but it’s a quick summary of the topic.
- The Good News About Sex and Marriage by Christopher West: A must-read for anyone who has questions about Church teaching in this area. The Q&A format makes it a quick, easy read.
- Theology Of The Body For Beginners by Christopher West: Another good one from West. I have not read this myself but hear it’s great. He explains what Pope John Paul II meant when he said that if we live according to the true meaning of our sexuality, we “fulfill the very meaning of [our] being and existence.”
- Love and Responsibility by Pope John Paul II: A beautiful, must-read book advocating for a more “personal” (as opposed to utilitarian), self-giving view of marriage and family life.
- Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology Of The Body by Pope John Paul II: This book is known for being hard to get through, but very powerful if you’re up to the task. I personally haven’t gotten to it yet but hope to read it one of these days.
AUDIO AND VIDEO
- Contraception: Why Not?: I hear this lecture by Dr. Janet Smith is excellent, and it’s only $5 for the CD. You can find a catalog of her other work (also available at a low price or for free) here.
- Christopher West’s series of tapes and videos: I’ve heard a lot of great things about West’s CD’s and DVD’s about sex and marriage. I’ve talked to quite a few people who listened to his audio lectures with their spouse and say that it really improved their relationship.
And be sure to check the comments for anything I missed.
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