Archive for the ‘Humanae Vitae’ Category

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

The Chickens Come Home to Roost: Contraception

Sunday, April 9th, 2017

The big news in our Cincinnati neighborhood is that the Catholic girls’ high school just down the street is closing.  After 102 years of educating girls on the west side of Cincinnati, its school population will no longer support this large school.

The official reason is that the Archdiocese of Cincinnati conducted a population survey and concluded that the declining number of students in its feeder schools no longer could support three Catholic girls’ high schools on this side of town, so one of them had to close.  The rationale for selecting our local school for closure has to do with things not relevant to this commentary.

The real reason is Comfortable Catholic Contraception.  Obviously, the local Church has not done a good job of teaching and preaching the truths of Humanae Vitae.  And its failure is not a secret.

In 1978, our oldest daughter was a freshman at this school, so early in the fall we went through the ritual “follow-your-daughter’s-schedule” evening.  When we visited her religion classroom and teacher, I asked this diocesan priest if he would be teaching about Humanae Vitae, and he replied that he would be teaching both sides of the issue.  I asked him if he would make any effort to teach the truths affirmed by the encyclical and to point out the errors of the dissenters.  He replied that he would not.

In 1972, I was teaching theology at a local college that was in the process of changing from all-girls to coed population.  After class one day, a student told me, “Mr. Kippley, you are the first person I have ever heard say a good word about Humanae Vitae.” Now, get the rest of this as she continued.  “In my school the priest came in to talk about it.  He showed us the little encyclical booklet, and then he showed us a stack of books by the dissenters.”  Essentially, he was teaching dissent from Catholic teaching right within that at least nominally Catholic school.

So I asked her where she want to high school, but she wouldn’t say.  “I don’t want you checking up on this, and besides, it wouldn’t make any difference.  I’ve talked with other girls in the dorm and all of them had the same experience.”

This is the situation that Pope John Paul II inherited when he was elected to the papacy in 1978.  For the first ten years of his pontificate, his primary issue was the truth of Humanae Vitae.  He made inroads, but the blockade set by the dissenters, including many priests and Catholic educators, prevented him from having any marked success.  It takes at least 2.1 children per fertile-age woman for any given civilization to survive, and about 2.4 children per married woman.

One of the biggest successes of St. John Paul II occurred in 1989.  In that year a committee of the U.S. Bishops issued a booklet on marriage preparation.  It urged that every engaged couple should be required to attend a full course on natural family planning, but it was mostly ignored.  Twenty years later, only a half dozen dioceses were implementing that recommendation.  It’s about 20 now, still a small fraction of the U.S. dioceses.  So when you see one school after another closing  and then one church after another closing , you really can’t say, “Hey, they put up a good fight but the secular culture was just too strong.”  No, it would be more accurate to say that they didn’t want to put on the gloves, with a few exceptions.

A priest in the Diocese of Peoria was forced by declining population and revenues to close his parish school, but he wasn’t afraid to tell why.  At the parish website, he posted a letter that clearly spelled out that Comfortable Catholic Contraception was the culprit.  When a parishioner strongly objected to the school closing, the pastor asked him how many children he had.  Two.  Case closed.

John F. Kippley

Natural Family Planning and Humanae Vitae: Part 4

Sunday, January 29th, 2017

First, we teach Ecological Breastfeeding because it spaces babies as well as maximizing all the many health benefits of breastfeeding-in-general.

Second, we teach a form of fertility awareness that can be used at the 99% level of effectiveness.  Specifically, we teach how to use the two basic signs of fertility in a crosschecking way for highest confidence and effectiveness.  Unfortunately, most diocesan programs promote the less effective mucus-only systems.  The women who typically run the diocesan NFP effort are frequently mucus-only enthusiasts.  Interestingly, back in the mid-70s, the US Bishops got the NIH to conduct an independent study at a Jewish hospital in Los Angeles.  The results were published in 1981, showing that there were about twice as many unplanned pregnancies in the mucus-only group as in the crosschecking group.  You can find these things at our website.  You think you are frustrated at our bishops?  Think of my frustration when the results of the study they sponsored are ignored in their own diocesan administrations.  By the way, a very recent study confirmed that the mucus sign can be used more effectively when crosschecked by a urine-testing monitor.  It’s a lot simpler to take a morning temperature.

Third, we teach not just fertility awareness but also “meaning awareness.”  By that I mean we teach a very simple theology that can be stated in 17 words.  “Sexual intercourse is intended by God to be, at least implicitly, a renewal of the marriage covenant.”  That is, each marriage act ought to be an expression of their wedding pledges of love and faith and commitment, for better and for worse.  “I take you now once again in love and for better and for worse.”

If you believe that, then it is easy to see that when a couple engage in an act of contraceptive intercourse, their body language is saying, “I take you for better but definitely and positively NOT for the imagined worse of possible pregnancy”  So the act is not a renewal of the marriage covenant; it is essentially dishonest.

This concept also helps to explain why the same physical act of coitus is immoral outside of marriage but can be a great good within marriage according to God’s plan.

If we had our way, every young man and woman in the world would recognize the great benefits of breastfeeding-in-general and especially of Ecological Breastfeeding and would act accordingly when they married.  Incidentally, every year new benefits of breastfeeding are published, and my wife reviews them as blogs yearly at our website.  (The next 6 blogs cover the breastfeeding research for last year, 2016.)

If we had our way, young and old alike would believe that sexual intercourse has a God-given meaning, and the vast, vast majority of them would refrain from the dishonesty of sex outside of marriage.  What if that was the belief and practice here in the States?  What would be the economic effect if out-of-wedlock birth rates plummeted from 70% for some groups and 40% for others down to 5% or so?  Local and federal taxpayer support for the children in fatherless homes would plummet accordingly, and so would prison populations as almost every child was brought up in a two-parent family.

In his Farewell Address, George Washington notes that religion and morality are indispensable supports for a prosperous democracy.  Oh how true!

I suggest that you might find our website of interest.  I invite you to return to the full practice of the Faith.

John Kippley,
Natural Family Planning International