Catholicism, Confucianism, and Natural Family Planning
The Culture of Life Foundation's E. Christian Brugger answers "the question of 'just causes' for spacing births," suggesting an "extreme interpretation is incorrect and can result in avoidable harms" — Reasons for Postponing a Pregnancy. I was struck by this Confucian theme:
- All people have duties arising from their morally significant relationships: spouses to each other; parents to children; children to parents; employees to employers; employers to employees. Generally speaking, the closer the relationship, the more serious the duty. The fulfillment of these duties is the domain of justice. So, for example, a man who neglects his family in favor of unreasonable participation in a leisure sport such as golf or fishing commits an injustice toward his family....
Now husbands/fathers and wives/mothers have very serious obligations in justice to the members of their families, chiefly to their dependent children, especially those who are most vulnerable to harm (e.g., infants, small children, and infirmed and disabled children). Perhaps it need not be said, but parents' duties to their existing children are prior to children they have not yet procreated. When discerning another child, couples therefore should ask: Can I fulfill well my existing duties while bringing another child into the world and fulfilling well my duties to that child?