Archive for the ‘NFP’ Category

Natural Family Planning and Dissent

Sunday, May 12th, 2019

This is a response to an apparent dissenter who replied to a previous article. The dissent position can’t say NO to any imaginable sexual activity between two consenting adults.

My impression is that the primary criticism of the dissent position and positive support of Humanae Vitae has come from the laity.  I’m thinking of people such as Germain Grisez, Mary and Robert Joyce, William E. May, Ralph McInerney, and Janet Smith over the years.  More recently we have seen good things from Mary Eberstadt and George Weigel and others.  Then there are all the leaders in the natural family planning movement.  Sheila and I have had our part in this effort, both theological and practical with publications and other efforts, starting before Humanae Vitae.  And, of course, all of us who have been public in our support for HV have also been supported intellectually, spiritually and emotionally supported by believing Catholic priests.

Germany plays a special role in all of this.  It was in a German medical journal in February of 1930 that the article of Kyusaku Ogino was published concerning the fertile time and explaining his calculations of the infertile time—the beginnings of Calendar Rhythm.  When folks properly understood it, they could practice it with great effectiveness.  Our landlord in 1964 told us that he and his wife had practiced the Ogino-Knaus method with 100% effectiveness and only three children in the Thirties and Forties.  I have long wondered if the Anglicans were informed about it.  About six months after its publication, the offered only two options for couples who did not want more children: either complete abstinence or contraception.  Sad.

It was also in Germany that a Catholic priest in the early thirties put together the rhythm calculations with medical information about a post-ovulation temperature shift to give birth to the more effective Calendar-Temperature system.

In 1967, just after the conclusion of the initial birth control commission documents but before Humanae Vitae, the study of Dr. G. K. Doering was published in a German medical journal.  It showed a 99% percent level of effectiveness among those who followed the rules of his temperature-only system, and a 97% effectiveness among those couples who also engaged in the marriage act during the time of pre-ovulation infertility and some who had relations at the most fertile time.  We have that study at the NFPI website.  My question:  is it possible that the German bishops were completely ignorant about this ground-breaking study?  Did they then share that information with Pope Paul VI?  Or were they so moved by the already widespread contraceptive mentality of the mid-Sixties that they did not so inform the Pope?

That’s enough for now.

John Kippley
www.nfpandmore.org

Natural Family Planning and the DDP Standards

Sunday, May 5th, 2019

The USCCB Diocesan Development Plan has certain standards for teaching natural family planning. Below is John’s writing on the need to have the DDP Standards modified to include Ecological Breastfeeding and the merits of breastfeeding. Below are his written concerns to the director of the DDP.

1.  The Standards need to recognize that there are two distinct form of birth spacing—Ecological Breastfeeding and Systematic NFP.  The current definition of NFP does not include Ecological Breastfeeding, and thus it does not correspond to the full reality.

2.  In addition, the current Standard dealing with breastfeeding deals with it more as a charting problem than something to be encouraged and as the healthiest form of baby care.  Not only teachers but every client should know the tremendous health benefits of breastfeeding AND that the frequency of Ecological Breastfeeding actually DOES act as an abstinence-free  natural baby spacer.

I am convinced that the Church has a responsibility to share in the public health effort to increase breastfeeding of any sort and secondly to extend its duration.  The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently came out with another effort to promoted breastfeeding.  Also, a recent Dutch journal dealing with lung health opposed formula-feeding strongly for families with a history of asthma.  It speculated whether formula should be by prescription-only for such families.

And, if the Church has a responsibility to inform its members about the health benefits of breastfeeding, where can that be done better than in pre-marriage preparation and especially within a required NFP course?

John F. Kippley

Natural Family Planning: Ideal or Norm

Sunday, December 9th, 2018

Occasionally one reads that  “NFP is promoted as an ideal option for couples.”  For 50 years I have seen the use of only natural methods of conception regulation treated as an “ideal” with the inference that such an ideal cannot be attained by normal married couples.  The reality is that chaste NFP is not an “ideal” in the sense of something nice but necessary, anymore than marital fidelity is such an “ideal.” NFP is the norm when couples have a sufficiently serious reason to postpone or avoid pregnancy.

Also, what is usually not taught is Ecological Breastfeeding both for the tremendous benefits for baby and mother and also for its natural spacing of births.  Seminarians, priests and bishops deserve and need to know this reality.  They would do themselves a great favor by obtaining a copy of our NFP manual, “Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach.”  I recommend the coil-bound edition because it lies flat so easily.

Chapter 1 in this manual is an exercise in evangelization.  Chapter 6 is devoted to Ecological Breastfeeding.  I regret to say that no other organization teaches this.  Every year, researchers publish new benefits of breastfeeding, and Ecological Breastfeeding maximizes these benefits because many of them are dose-related.

When we founded the Couple to Couple League at St. Odilia’s parish in the fall of 1971, we included the teaching of Ecological Breastfeeding as part of our standard instruction.  I think that the enthusiasm that many couples had for this contributed greatly to the spread of CCL throughout the 70s.  Unfortunately, in its self-styled “Extreme Makeover” of 2007, the CCL management completely dropped that teaching of ecological breastfeeding along with the teaching of the covenant theology of the marriage act.

Couples cannot choose to practice Ecological Breastfeeding unless they are taught about it.  That’s the simple reality of the first principle of psychology.  That’s why seminarians, priests and bishops need to learn these things so that they can later encourage and teach them. Some couples have learned that they can use ecological breastfeeding alone to space the births of their children. It is God’s plan for families.

John F. Kippley