Archive for the ‘Abortion-Contraception’ Category

Natural Family Planning: What the Church Needs Today

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

About a year ago, John received a Vatican newsletter about current events.  Below is his response to that organization in his effort to explain what the Church really needs.

JOHN:  Thanks for sending me the Newsletter.  What I really want to see in it some day is the announcement that the Holy Father has told all the world’s bishops that they need to require all engaged couples to attend a pre-marriage course that will include adequate instruction on ecological breastfeeding, systematic natural family planning in its different forms (all the fertility signs), and adequate teaching of morality and theology including the teaching of Humanae Vitae 10 and 16 about the call to generosity and the need to have a sufficiently serious reason to seek to avoid pregnancy.

The current growing acceptance of so-called same-sex “marriage” stems directly from the societal acceptance of marital contraception.  The conservative Anglican bishops argued in 1930 that acceptance of marital contraception would logically lead to the acceptance of sodomy, and unfortunately they were right.  The de facto acceptance of marital contraception by a huge majority of Western Catholics is having the same effect.

There may be better ways to reverse this, but the best way I know to reach most couples who want to marry in the Church, even though not regularly attending Mass, is through the right kind of preparation for marriage.  And such instruction has to be much more than just non-contraceptive “Catholic birth control.”
(John Kippley, May 27, 2013)

Sheila Kippley

Pope Francis’ Best Answer for the Poor

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

Pope Francis continues to draw the curiosity of the world’s elite and the poor alike.  Among orthodox Catholics there is even a bit of nostalgia as we think back to the early years of the pontificate of soon-to-be Saint Pope John Paul II.  I think it is fair to say that he made Humanae Vitae the focus of the first ten years of his pontificate.  This is pretty well documented in Chapter 7 of Sex and the Marriage Covenant from which I have lifted the following on page 148 of the 2005 edition:

“In his manner of speaking John Paul II has left no room for doubt that the doctrine of marital non-contraception  reaffirmed by Casti Connubii, Humanae Vitae, and Familiaris Consortio must be believed and put into practice.  He has taught that
•    to hold out for exceptions as if God’s grace were not sufficient is a form of atheism (September 17, 1981);
•    denying the doctrine of marital non-contraception is “equivalent to denying the Catholic concept of revelation” (April 10, 1986);
•    it is a teaching whose truth is beyond discussion (June 5, 1987);
•    it is a “teaching which belongs to the permanent patrimony of the Church’s moral doctrine” and “a truth which cannot be questioned” (March 14, 1988).

On the other hand, despite all of the reaffirmations by Pope John Paul II, the use of natural family planning continued to drop all throughout the Eighties, probably bottoming out in the Nineties, and still so very low that it can hardly get lower.  I mean, there are a certain number of people who simply “get it” and recognize that unnatural forms of birth control are truly “unnatural” and will not have anything to do with them.  A certain number of mothers similarly “get it” regarding ecological breastfeeding that some of them discover on their own simply because it is so natural.

Somehow or other, however, Pope John Paul II didn’t seem to get through to most of the bishops in North America and Europe that they need to take Humanae Vitae seriously and do everything within their power to teach it and provide the practical help to live it.  I do not know what effects his affirmations had in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, but I have never seen anything to indicate they were much better than the morally declining West.

So maybe Pope Francis has seen all of this and is looking for a different approach.  I found one sentence in his October 30th America interview to be intriguing.  It is preceded by these sentences:  “We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.  The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent.”  Then he says: “The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently.”

Some have been disappointed in these few sentences, but I find a reason for hope in that last sentence.  Maybe he sees that the abortion and same-sex issues (and also the widespread sex-as-sport attitude with its ramifications in fornication, adultery, and prostitution) are not disjointed but all stem from the acceptance of marital contraception.

Just about 100 years ago Margaret Sanger began her very public campaign to legalize contraception.  Within a few years, she had influenced the progressives so much that they were spelling out the logical consequences of the contraceptive lifestyle, and it was widely practiced in the “Roaring Twenties.”  Secular humanist Walter Lippmann wrote in 1929 that they were following the logic of contraception but not the logic of human nature.

The baby born out-of-wedlock has two-strikes against him, and the likelihood of poverty is one of them. Perhaps Pope Francis will be the international leader who points out the connection between the acceptance of marital contraception and the whole unhappy rest of the sexual revolution — and that the poor are the ones who suffer the most from it.  Maybe he can be the one to lead the other ecclesial leaders to recognize that God does have a plan for love and sexuality starting with the basic fact that the marriage act ought to be a true  marriage act that reaffirms the faith and love and “for better and for worse” openness to life of the marriage covenant.

So please pray for Pope Francis.  He has a great opportunity.  And please pray for the continued efforts of NFP International.  Next year we will begin a transition process that will certainly need the guidance of the Holy Spirit, so we ask your prayers.

We remain in the fight.  Please help us first of all with prayer for the NFPI apostolate.  Second, please help us financially as you see fit.  Every gift is important whether it’s $5 or $500 because every gift is a vote of confidence, and that’s something we need.

Third, please help us with your ideas.  What more can we do to get our message to those who need and are open to what we have to offer?   If there is something you think we should do and can do, please let us know.

Lastly, check out the NFP website blogs every week and share them as you can.

Your gift will be matched by a donor up to $10,000 total.  May God continue to bless you for whatever help you provide.

John F. Kippley
President
NFP International is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization, and gifts are tax-deductible.

Onan, the Bible, and Contraception

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

Wasn’t Onan’s sin just a sin of selfishness?
No.  The book of Deuteronomy describes the punishment for refusing one’s Levirate obligation (Deut 25: 5-10).  The prescribed punishment for such selfishness was only a public embarrassment, not the death penalty.  In Onan’s case, there were three people violating the Law of the Levirate—-Onan, his father, and his younger brother.  Only Onan, however, practiced a contraceptive behavior, and only Onan received an immediate punishment.  Clearly, Onan was slain for his contraception, and the text shows how seriously God regards this sin.

Does the Bible address other sexual sins?
Yes.  In alphabetical order, the Bible condemns adultery, bestiality, coitus interruptus (withdrawal), fornication, incest, masturbation, prostitution, rape, and sodomy.  That eliminates everything except the honest, non-contraceptive marriage act between spouses married to each other.  The Bible makes it clear that sexual intercourse is intended by God to be exclusively a marriage act.

What does the Bible say about having children? 
There is no question that the Bible is pro-child.  The first commandment of the Bible, “Be fruitful and multiply” (Gen 1:28) has not been cancelled.  Another translation is “Be fertile and multiply.”  Psalms 127 and 128 further exemplify the pro-family attitude encouraged in the Bible.  Children thrive best in a family of several children where they learn to give, share, and care.  (pages 7 and 13,  NFPI manual)

John and Sheila Kippley
Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach