Archive for the ‘Humanae Vitae’ Category

Natural Family Planning Awareness Week by Fr. Mark Watkins, Cincinnati pastor

Sunday, August 20th, 2017

Still, some may ask, “Why is there all this fuss about Humanae Vitae and birth control?

The answer is very basic:  What is at stake is the divine truth about human love and your salvation!

God designed human bodies (male and female) in part, to generate human life.  And, God invented the marriage act.  In this way married couples would continue the human race according to His first Commandment in the Bible, “Be fruitful and multiply…” (Gen 1:28).  God has also taught us in various ways that the marriage act can be morally good only between couples in a covenantal relationship.  He didn’t put it in those words but instead was very specific in condemning immoral behaviors—adultery, bestiality, contraception, fornication, incest, masturbation, prostitution, rape and sodomy.

This is not legalism.  At the Council of Jerusalem in the first years of the Church, the Apostles made it clear that Gentile converts were not required to adhere to the dietary and other laws of the Old Testament (e.g. circumcision).  But they were required to avoid sexual immorality. (Acts 15: 29).  God’s teaching about human sexuality reflects the reality of our human nature and the reality of love.

The marriage act is intended by God to be exclusively a marriage act.  Within marriage, it ought to be a true marriage act, a renewal of the love and faith and for-better-and-for-worse commitment of their wedding day covenant.  It ought to say, at least implicitly, “I take you once again in love and faith and for better and for worse till death parts us.”  However, when spouses use contraceptive behaviors, their body language is saying, “I take you for better but not for the imagined worse of possible pregnancy.”  That contradicts the built-in meaning of the marriage act.  It does not renew their marriage covenant but instead pretends to be what it is not.  That’s why Humanae Vitae calls contraceptive acts “intrinsically dishonest” (n.14).

Here at St. Lawrence Parish we are happy to sponsor the efforts of Natural Family Planning International (NFPI) because their program is more complete than most.  We offer that excellent instruction in two ways.

First, we have regular classes conducted by Bethany and Paul Bachmeyer.  They teach this three-meeting course in the fall and the spring each year.  [Here contact information is given for registration.]

Second, the NFPI Home Study Course offers a convenient way to take instruction via email.  Go to; at the top of the Home Page, click on Home Study Course.

Both the classroom and home study course use the same manual, Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach.  It is readable as well as being informative, as indicated by these comments from users.

The combination of technical skills and moral and spiritual discussion was very informative and useful. We had never even heard of ecological breastfeeding before reading this book, so that was amazing new information.  We have learned so much from this course and couldn’t have asked for better support. Thank you so much. We will certainly tell others about NFP International.   —An engaged couple in Illinois.

I just wanted to say how thrilled I am to have found your website, book, and resources.  I have looked into NFP before, and it always sounded so clinical and like a lot of work.  I read your book last night and am thoroughly confident that this is the right choice for myself, my husband, and our family.  You have made it so easy to understand, and not cold and clinical.  —A married couple in Vancouver, British Columbia.
(This insert in the Aug. 13th blog and this Aug. 20th blog was in the St. Lawrence church bulletin, July 21 and July 28.)


Natural Family Planning Awareness Week (Church Bulletin Insert)

Sunday, August 13th, 2017

Natural Family Planning Awareness Week by Father Mark Watkins, pastor, St. Lawrence Church, Cincinnati

The purpose of NFP Awareness Week is to let all Catholics—and non-Catholics too—know that the Church provides very practical help for couples to live out the teaching of Humanae Vitae.  I hope that it also helps couples to believe and follow its tremendously necessary teaching.

On July 25, 1968 Pope Paul VI issued an encyclical that reaffirmed 2,000 years of Catholic teaching about birth control.  It became controversial simply because it reaffirmed what the Catholic Church has been teaching for some 2,000 years.  Why was that controversial?  Pope Pius XI had done the same thing in 1930, and there was no controversy within the Catholic Church.  Why were things so different 49 years ago?

The controversy was stirred up beginning in 1960 with the introduction of the hormonal birth control drugs.  The manner of operation of chemical birth control was different from the contraceptive devices that were common before then.  Some Catholics argued that Catholic teaching could accept this new mode of birth control because it wasn’t so obviously contraceptive.  (It turned out to be much worse because it affects the lining of the uterus to resist implantation of a newly conceived baby in its embryonic stage.  This is what is called the abortifacient potential of the Pill and other hormonal forms of birth control.)

Pope Paul VI reviewed the arguments of those on both sides of the issue.  He clearly saw that the arguments of those who wanted the Church to accept marital contraception could not say a firm NO to any imaginable form of sexual behavior between consenting adults.  Thus he was obliged by his responsibility as the Supreme Pastor of souls to reaffirm that all unnatural forms of birth control are the grave matter of mortal sin.

He also predicted that the widespread acceptance of marital contraception would have far reaching negative consequences.  For that he was also criticized, but the negative effects have been even worse than he foretold.

Still, some may ask, “Why is there all this fuss about Humanae Vitae and birth control?

The answer is very basic:  What is at stake is the divine truth about human love and your salvation!
(Continued and concluded next week)

A New Birth Control Commission?

Sunday, May 21st, 2017

The week of May 13th started wonderfully with widespread efforts to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary as Our Lady of Fatima.  The work week was quickly dimmed, however, by reports that Pope Francis is thinking about convening a special commission to examine Humanae Vitae.  But then it occurred to me that a well-balanced commission could serve the Church and world very well.

Let’s hear the arguments for marital contraception and/or contraception-in-general.  Are there any arguments whose logic does not amount to a full scale abandonment of the basic principles of Christian morality and the acceptance of situation ethics?  The arguments that I have seen for the acceptance of marital contraception cannot say a firm NO to marital sodomy or sodomy-in-general.

Then let’s hear the arguments for marital chastity and for chastity-in-general.  Let the world hear the arguments of St. John Paul II in favor of traditional morality and in support of Humanae Vitae in particular.  Let the world see the sociological evidence marshalled by Mary Eberstadt and others regarding the effects of the Pill and contraception-in-general—amounting to a wholesale defense of the prophetic warnings of Pope Paul VI in H. V. 17.

Let the world hear the very simple argument that sexual intercourse is intended by God to be a marriage act, and that within marriage it ought to be a true marriage act, affirming once again their covenant of love “for better and for worse” including the imagined worse of possible pregnancy.  Let the world see that the entire sexual revolution results from thinking we can take apart what God has put together in the marriage act.  Who knows?  That might help many non-Catholic Christians to accept the pre-1930 anti-contraception teaching of their respective communions.

Let the world hear the testimony of converts who entered the Church at least indirectly through the teaching of Humanae Vitae.

Let the world hear the facts behind the assertion that Ecological Breastfeeding is a natural form of baby spacing.

Let the world know that 13 months before Humanae Vitae a German doctor published a study of natural family planning that found a 99% level of effectiveness for avoiding pregnancy.  Did the German bishops and theologians bring this to the attention of Pope Paul VI or did they suppress it as they prepared to dissent?

I don’t know who the Pope would invite to be on such a commission, but there are some who definitely should be on the commission.  The absence of people who have defended and explained the teaching of Humanae Vitae would be a clear sign that the Pope was not interested in a fair commission, and that would only increase the divisions already started by his Amoris Laetitia.  Perhaps Pope Francis would benefit as much as anyone from hearing a clear headed, loving, and passionate defense of Humanae Vitae.  So bring on the commission.  With the right membership, it could be helpful; without the right membership it would be a disaster.

And, of course, any benefits from an open discussion of Humanae Vitae would have to get through the filtering process of the liberal and hedonistic media even to reach the masses.  And once heard, those benefits would depend upon being received in minds and hearts willing to hear that the teaching of Christ about the daily cross applies to sexuality as well every other aspect of life.
— John F. Kippley