Archive for the ‘NFP’ Category

Chaste Natural Family Planning leads to a Culture of Life

Sunday, February 11th, 2018

1.There will be no freedom from the culture of death and fear without building a culture of life.

  1. There will be no culture of life without a stop to legalized abortion.
  2. There will be no stopping abortion without a widespread acceptance of chastity. 
  3. There will be no widespread acceptance of chastity outside of marriage without a widespread acceptance of chastity within marriage.
  4. There will be no acceptance of marital chastity without the rejection of unnatural forms of birth control, many of which can also cause early abortions.
  5. There will be no widespread rejection of unnatural forms of birth control without the widespread knowledge and practice of natural family planning.
  6. There will probably be very limited acceptance of chaste natural family planning unless it is taught in the context of authentic Christian discipleship.
  7. Widespread acceptance of chaste NFP will happen only when the clergy require couples to learn NFP—including ecological breastfeeding and the covenant meaning of the marriage act—as a normal part of preparation for Christian marriage.

Now THAT is something truly worth praying for, and Lent is a special time for prayer.
John F. Kippley

Humanae Vitae, Father Maurizio Chiodi, and Natural Family Planning

Friday, January 12th, 2018

Almost a month after Fr. Maurizio Chiodi made a controversial presentation at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome on December 14, reports reached the internet news media.  As I read the report on LifeSiteNews, I could not help but thinking, “It’s been 52 years but some things are unfortunately the same.”  In 1966, Father Jozef Fuchs, S.J. was a theologian at the Gregorian and was also a member of the papal birth control commission.  In the summer of 1966 I participated in a moral theology course taught by Father Fuchs at the University of San Francisco.  I asked a lot of questions in those classes attended mostly by clergy and religious.  At least one priest appreciated my efforts.  “John, you ask good questions.  Keep it up.”  Apparently Father Fuchs didn’t think so; the next summer he taught the same course but attendance was limited—no laity permitted.

Later that year Fr. Fuchs submitted the majority report which advocated that the Church should accept marital contraception.  Fortunately, they spelled out their reasons, and it was clear that the arguments used for the acceptance for marital contraception cannot say NO to sodomy whether within heterosexual marriage or by same-sex persons.  Five years later, Theological Studies, a generally liberal journal, published my article, “Continued Dissent: Is It Responsible Loyalty?” (March 1971) in which I showed that the decision-making principles of archdissenter Fr. Charles Curran could not say NO even to spouse-swapping.  No one accused me of creating a straw man.  The liberals have long known what is entailed in their acceptance of marital contraception.

Fr. Chiodi, who teaches moral theology at the Northern University in Milan, tries to make two points.  First, he asserts that there are “circumstances—I refer to Amoris Laetitia, Chapter 8—that precisely for the sake of responsibility, require contraception.”  Amazing.  I thought he would go on to make a sympathy-earning case for a couple with a large family and for whom their particular method of systematic NFP was not “working,” or a couple who had an alleged irrepressible sexual attraction to each other during the fertile time, etc. etc.  But no.  Instead he posits a situation in which “responsibility calls the couple and the family to other forms of welcome and hospitality.”

This is an assertion, not an argument.  The situation he suggests is of the kind described in Humanae Vitae —a couple having “just reasons” for seeking to avoid pregnancy.  I grant there can be situations in which a couple decide that God is not calling them to have more children, but that in no way justifies falsifying the marriage act.  Instead, it provides a reason to practice fertility awareness and systematic natural family planning.  Unfortunately, Fr. Chiodi’s assertions sound like Fr. Jozef Fuchs revisited.

The second major point of his lecture seems to be made in this statement.  “My thought is to take up the anthropological meaning of the norm of Humanae Vitae…  it’s not a matter of abolishing the norm, but of demonstrating its meaning and truth.”  In the LifeSite commentary, Fr. Chiodi sees an anthropology of marriage built on “four fundamental aspects”: the relationship between sexuality and sexual difference; the relationship between human sexuality and the spousal covenant; the relationship between marital communion and generation; and the meaning of responsibility in generation.  In the LifeSiteNews  opinion, that probably means responsible parenthood.

In my opinion, the key item among the four is the second one—the relationship between human sexuality and the spousal covenant.  Here I want to interpret Fr. Chiodi as calling for more emphasis on the meaning of sexual intercourse.  I submit that there is covenantal meaning that God has built into human sexual intercourse.  What makes the human sexual act different from the sexual intercourse of high primates?  The distinctly human difference is that while animals can “have sex,” only human persons can engage in an act that is intended by Almighty God to be a renewal of the faith and love and commitment of their marriage covenant—and which the couple can consciously intend to be such a renewal.

This is illustrated in Sacred Scripture with its condemnation of a number of specific kinds of human sexual acts.  In alphabetical order, adultery, bestiality, contraception, fornication, incest, masturbation, prostitution, rape and sodomy are all condemned.  (I consider the Onan account to condemn both contraception and masturbation.)  Each of these has its specific evil or form of injustice.  But, what is most significant is what they all have in common—none of them is a true marriage act.  About each one of these behaviors, consequentialist questions have been raised.  For example, what’s wrong with adultery or any of the other forms of biblically condemned behaviors if both parties are okay with it and use efficient contraception when doing sex with heterosexual partners?  It is that sort of consequentialist thinking that has led to the current degraded societal sexual morality which has only two criteria—legal age and mutual acceptability.

I submit that the biblical condemnations plus almost 2000 years of Catholic teaching on these matters leads to the conclusion that in God’s plan, sexual intercourse is intended to be, at least implicitly, a renewal of the marriage covenant.  That means two things:  Sexual intercourse ought to be exclusively a marriage act.  Then, within marriage, the marriage act ought to be a true marriage act, one that affirms the love and faith and commitment of their marriage covenant, for better and for worse—including the imagined worse of possible pregnancy.  The body language of the contracepted marriage act says, however, “I take you for better but positively NOT for the imagined worse of possible pregnancy.”  It pretends to be what it is not.  It is intrinsically dishonest.

Of great interest to those of us who teach natural family planning is Father Chiodi’s reference to contraception as technology.  Contraceptive behaviors have been with the human race since the beginning of recorded history with some records going back to 3000 BC.  Condoms and withdrawal have been used for centuries.  The development of latex condoms in the 19th century might be considered a form of “technology,” but I suspect that most moderns would think only of the modern developments as “technology.”

Modern technology would perhaps include tubal ligation and vasectomy, but more commonly it would refer to hormonal forms of birth control.  Here I do not use the word “contraception” because the hormonal methods of birth control are not just contraceptive but also have the abortifacient potential of denying implantation of the newly conceived baby.  The hormonal methods are also the ones that can cause blood clots and breast cancer and a whole list of other health problems.

If an atheist would talk about technological contraception without adequately treating of the serious problems with those technologies, that would be unethical.

If a Catholic moral theologian talks about technological contraception without adequately treating of the serious health problems with those technologies, that would also be unethical.  But if he should also say it might be “required” in some cases, that is so strange that it should be unthinkable.  The most charitable interpretation I can place on this is that such “moral theology” is missing one of the key elements of any bio-theology—the scientific facts.

Furthermore, anyone doing any form of moral theology dealing with human sexuality should be required to read Mary Eberstadt’s sociological gem, Adam and Eve after the Pill (Ignatius, 2012).  It is hard to understand how any informed moral theologian, having become aware of the negative sociological effects from the societal acceptance of contraception, could write as Father Chiodi has done.

John F. Kippley
January 11, 2018

Ecological Breastfeeding IS Natural Family Planning BUT it’s different!

Sunday, October 15th, 2017

The presence of ecological breastfeeding has definite advantages that no other NFP method has.  Sure, you can say systematic NFP reduces cancer, but that derives from the absence of the use of hormonal birth control and not in the use of systematic NFP.

The presence of ecological breastfeeding has many advantages, unlike other methods of NFP including the Sympto-Thermal method that we teach.  That’s because all the other “methods” are based on fertility awareness and abstinence during the fertile time.

Ecological breastfeeding offers 1, 2 or occasionally 3 years of extended infertility (no menstruation).  Other NFP methods do not offer that.

Ecological breastfeeding offers 1, 2, or occasionally 3 years of NO abstinence.  Other NFP methods do not offer that.

Ecological breastfeeding saves lives.  Those are babies’ lives as well as women’s lives.  Other NFP systems cannot do that.

For the mother, ecological breastfeeding protects against breast cancer, ovarian cancer, anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, endometrial cancer, thyroid cancer, lupus, osteoporosis and heart disease.  Other NFP methods cannot do that except negatively—the absence of abortifacient hormonal birth control.

For the baby, ecological breastfeeding protects against allergies, asthma, bacterial meningitis, botulism, Crohn’s disease, diarrhea, ear infections, eczema, gastroenteritis, leukemia, lymphoma, autoimmune thyroid disease, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, necrotizing enterocolitis, obesity, respiratory tract infections, SIDS, ulcerative colitis, type 1 and 2 diabetes, and urinary tract infections.   Other NFP methods do not do that.

The presence of ecological breastfeeding requires NO charting or device or app which are associated with the NFP fertility-awareness methods.

Ecological breastfeeding—or a pattern very similar to eco-breastfeeding—is truly God’s plan for mother and baby.  For this natural plan we are indeed very grateful.  However, when there is a sufficiently serious reason to practice another method of NFP, we are also truly grateful for the science behind these methods and for their availability.

Sheila Kippley
The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding: The Frequency Factor