Archive for the ‘Abortion-Contraception’ Category

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
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

Arguments for Contraception

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

From a reader:  “My wife has received the following arguments for contraception. Could you help me provide solid responses to these arguments? I need to help her. I need to help our marriage.”

The wife’s comments are in italics followed by my [John's] response.

Sex is not just for making babies, it also makes a couple closer and brings enjoyment.
I agree, but that’s not an argument for contraception. Sexual union is intended by God to be exclusively a marriage act.  Within marriage it ought to be a true marriage act, a renewal of their marriage covenant and commitment of love, for better and for worse.  In God’s plan, the marriage act is both for bonding and babies.  It is God Himself who put togethr in one act what we call making love and making babies.  What Jesus says about marriage applies also to the marriage act: What God has put together, let no one take apart.  Contraception takes apart what God Himself has put together, and that’s wrong.

Contraception allows responsible family planning.
The morality of an action is not determined solely by a person’s intention.  See more below.

Contraception avoids unwanted pregnancies.
Again, because it takes apart what God has put together, it is an immoral way of achieving that goal.

God made people in his own image, wanting them to be in control and make rational decisions (such as when to have children).
If you want to know what it means to be made in the image and likeness of God, look at Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the saints.  If you want to know what it means to act contrary to being in the image and likeness of God, look at Adam and Eve and Jezebel and Herod and Herodias etc. We are not made to be in total control.  We are called to be stewards of the gifts God has given us.  St. Paul wrote: “You are not your own; you were bought with a price.  So glorify God in your body” (1 Cor 9-19-20).

Christians should think of the well-being of existing children and the effect that another pregnancy would have on them.
That is an argument for using natural family planning.

There is no fundamental difference between contraception and NFP since the motive is the same in both cases – i.e. avoidance of pregnancy.
Completely false.  The end does not justify the means.  A good motive does not equalize the various ways of achieving that goal.  Contraception remains the immoral taking apart of what God Himself has put together.  Natural family planning respects the God-given meaning of the marriage act.

The sin of Onan isn’t about contraception but about lack of fraternal charity.
Not true.  Three people — Onan, his father, and his younger brother — violated the so-called Law of the Levirate, but only one of them was killed.  Namely, Onan, who was the only one to engage in the contraceptive act of withdrawal and spilling his seed.  Furthermore, the punishment for the violation of the Levirate is clearly spelled out in Deuteronomy (25:5-10).  The aggrieved widow can take off the shoe of her offending brother-in-law and spit in his face.  Embarassing but hardly a death sentence.

John: I have replied above to the one-line “arguments” with some very short arguments.  You need to read my article dealing with the Sin of Onan at our website.  You would also do well to read and reread Chapter 1 of our manual,  Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach, listed on the home page.  To go further, read my Sex and the Marriage Covenant, also listed on the home page.  You and your wife both need to read The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding: The Frequency Factor.  Also on the home page.

Seven Day Bible RosaryGreat stocking stuffer for Christmas!

John F. Kippley