Archive for the ‘Morality’ 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

Natural Family Planning: A Jesuit Speaks Out Against Birth Control, 1925!

Sunday, March 17th, 2019

My father was a good student.  He received two scholarships: 4 years to a Jesuit high school and 4 years to the University of Detroit.  As a result I have the Varsity News published by UD (December 1925).  This magazine has an article on my dad titled “He’s the Best Student in the University.”  In looking through the magazine I noticed an article titled “This Pig-Philosophy” written by Rev. John A McClorey, S.J., a professor of metaphysics, in which he speaks out against birth control.  Following are some quotes from some paragraphs from this article.

(Introduction to the article: “Aroused by the notoriety recently given the tenets of the ‘pig philosophy’—otherwise, advocates of birth control, Fr. McClorey attacked these subversive teachings in an address which he delivered before his classes in the Arts and Science College just before Thanksgiving.  He treated the subject with the frankness, sincerity, force and logic which have made his Lenten and other addresses famous throughout the West.”)

The article begins: “I apologize to you for speaking of birth control.  For though of late it has become quite the ‘respectable’ thing, it is nothing more than what Carlyle would call  ‘Pig Philosophy,’  which emphasizes with the insistence of pornographic degeneracy the unveiled passionateness of Sex.  Why should I speak equably, with chill and measured detachment in the presence of an evil that is striking at children, the home, the nation and the race?”

“Through the leadership of Charles Bradlaugh, Annie Besant, Dr. Drisdale and Dr. Dunlop, its chief apostles, birth control has been identified with atheism.  The bishops of the Anglican church, convened at Lambeth a few years ago, condemned it.  Dean Inge does not represent his church.  At the time of Bradlaugh’s propaganda, birth control was condemned from every Protestant pulpit of England.”

“Birth control is an unnatural vice because by physical or chemical means it directly and intentionally frustrates the primary end of marriage.  If an exception could be made to the natural law against it, it could not be made by men and women under the law, but by God, the Author of the law.  We may control nature, not frustrate it.  But birth control is birth frustration.”

“The program of birth controllers is a direct and powerful appeal to sexual indulgence.  They are letting loose a devouring force which will drive men to the quest of pleasure without regard for children even when children are needed.  Besides, birth control leads to physical sterility.   Catholics, by the mere force of unimpeded fecundity, will predominate everywhere if their non-Catholic brethren practice this vice.  Catholics would like to be important in the world, but not at the cost of Protestant race-suicide.  Mr Merick Booth, a Protestant scientist, holds up this danger to Protestants.  If the white people of America and Europe practice birth control, the ‘Oriental Peril’ will be actualized,  for most of the people of Asia abominate this vice as an unnatural crime.”

“Birth control destroys mutual marital affection and respect.  Affection in marriage is spontaneous, not counting the cost; hence it is dissipated by the cool calculation and preventive foresight of birth control.  Birth control destroys mutual respect.  For it is what Bernard Shaw calls ‘Reciprocal Masturbation.’  Birth controllers who surfeit themselves with sexual delight, then defeat the reproductive purpose and consequence of that delight, are more unnatural and disgusting than the ancient aristocracy of Rome who used to feast to repletion, then take an emetic (pardon the reference), vomit and return to another feast.”

“Some men practice onanism out of a chivalric regard for the safety and comfort of their wives.  But such chivalry destroys the very motive of chivalry.  For, in the last analysis, the reason why men have a knightly regard for women is because they are mothers, actually or in prospect.  Women must carry half the burden of life.  Men fight the elements, carry on business and wage war—women must bear and rear children.  If they won’t, they will become mere ornaments of society, and very expensive ones at that.  A woman despises a man who shirks battle; a man must despise a woman who shirks birth.  If a husband wishes to spare his wife in the name of chivalry, let her be wise enough to decline his indulgence that she may insure his chivalry.”

“Birth control is in contradiction to Christ charity. ‘The survival of the fittest’ is plausable. But Christ did not act on that principle.  On the contrary, He was the Friend of the down-and-out—the poor, the lame, the sick, the deaf and dumb, the lepers, the weak-minded, the vicious, the possessed.  He took care of them, saw that they survived, and bettered them.  He did not wish to extinguish them by birth control or any other means.”

“But birth controllers flatter the rich, assuring them that the uncontrolled fecundity of the poor, and their own cupidity, is responsible for misery and poverty.  Indeed, they go further into the vice of positive cruelty.  For since they do not want an unfit future race; since the unfortunate can procreate only an unfit future race; since the unfortunate will do so if they are sheltered and made comfortable by the charity of the rich, therefore the rich ought to withhold their charity and let the flotsam and jetsam of humanity perish out of hand.  This diabolical doctrine can be found in Mrs. Sanger’s latest book.”

“Christ brought into the world a thing which had not been here before, the sweetest thing on earth: Mercy and compassion in the hearts of the well-to-do towards the victims of fate, and peace, self-respect and humility in the hearts of the unfortunate.  This may be called the beautiful soul of Christianity.  And its body has been an improved and ever improving condition among the masses of Christianity.  If we practice the charity of Christ, we shall not enjoy, it is true, the perfect prosperity of a bourgeois heaven on earth proposed by birth controllers, but we shall have a condition of decent sufficiency.”

Sheila Kippley

IVF: Infertility and Morality

Sunday, March 3rd, 2019

John was asked by an acquaintance:  “How do you feel about the interference of medical doctors and others in the birth process and in providing prenatal care? Two of our grandkids were conceived via in vitro fertilization.”

John’s response:  Thanks for asking. My “feeling” is great sympathy for married couples who have an infertility problem.  “Feeling” has an immediate emotional response.  “Thinking” is different.  My thinking about in vitro fertilization is based on the facts available to me.

“Interference” is a somewhat generic word; “birth process” can mean different things; to me it means the actual process of giving birth.  “Pre-natal care” means the care that ought to be given to support both the baby and the mother from the time of conception to birth.

In the typical in vitro fertilization process, the woman is stimulated to produce multiple ova which are then mixed with the man’s semen obtained via masturbation.  Several embryos will be created in this way.  One or two are implanted in the uterus for further development.  The others are either discarded or frozen for possible later use.  Human embryos are human persons at the first stage of development.  They are not just biological material.  They have the right to life until natural death, and it is the duty of parents and others to provide loving care for them.  Discarding or freezing them is not loving care for them.  So I think that it is morally wrong to seek pregnancy through in vitro fertilization.

For fifty years we have been providing practical positive help for couples of both normal fertility and marginal fertility.  We persuaded a mother with a sound scientific background to write a book titled Fertility, Cycles and Nutrition which has been very helpful for many women with all sorts of menstrual irregularities including marginal infertility.  I define marginal infertility as infertility that is capable of being overcome in natural, moral ways.  A woman with no ovaries would be, quite obviously, a woman with infertility that cannot be overcome in natural ways.  The fact that spouses have medical backgrounds is no guarantee at all that they have adequate knowledge about their mutual fertility.  It is truly amazing how many doctors are ignorant about natural family planning with fertility awareness, and they are generally even more ignorant about the style of breastfeeding that actually does delay the return of fertility for 14 to 15 months, on the average.

I wish that your relatives had made use of what we have to offer.  We can also refer to doctors who specialize in treating infertility in ways, including surgery, that are compatible with Catholic teaching and the natural law.

I would not be surprised if my mention of Catholic teaching on these matter brings out a certain spirit of skepticism.  My faith that the Catholic Church is guided in these teachings by the Holy Spirit is based on my prior belief that Jesus keeps his promises.  At the Last Supper, he promised three times that He would send the Holy Spirit to guide the Church in its teaching.  You can find the quotes in the Seven Day Bible Rosary booklet.  See the Mysteries of the Last Supper.  I believe that Jesus is truly risen from the dead and will come again to judge the living and the dead, and I live by that and I am willing to die for that belief.  I think it is a reasoned faith based upon the historical fact of His resurrection.  As St. Paul put it plainly, “If Christ is not risen from the dead, your faith is in vain and you are still in your sins” (1 Cor 15:17).

On the other hand, I am convinced that it is an act of mere opinion or misplaced faith to “believe” that the human life in the zygote is only an animal cell that can be killed or mistreated— a reversion to the old pagan days of the father-dictator.  To state or think that the zygote and then embryo and then fetus achieves the right to be respected as a human person at some particular stage of development is to make an act of faith either in one’s opinion or the opinion of some erring philosopher.  The stage-names in the previous sentence are merely human inventions to describe a human being at different stages in development; but he or she is the same person from conception onward.

The message of Lent is to have a change of heart and to accept the Lord Jesus as the King and Center of our lives, and to live accordingly in preparation for our personal meeting with Him upon death.

A blessed Lent to you and your family.

John K.