Archive for the ‘NFP Week 2010’ Category

Natural Family Planning: The Time Has Come

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

Natural Family Planning: The Time Has Come

Both secular humanists and men of Christian faith in 1929-1930 predicted that the acceptance of contraception would bring social evils.  Divorce rates are 500% higher now than they were before the birth-control culture wars began just before World War I.  Out-of-wedlock pregnancies and births have soared despite universal access to contraception and abortion.  Single motherhood has become the single greatest cause of new poverty households.  Sexually transmitted diseases have reached epidemic proportions.  In short, the contraceptive sexual revolution has denigrated human sexuality, and the social sciences have documented the personal and social disasters.
         The  time has come to return to the biblically based faith that sexual intercourse is intended by God to be exclusively a marriage act, and that within marriage it ought to be a renewal of the self-giving love and commitment of the couple’s original marriage covenant.  For many, this realization of the meaning of the marriage act has been a life-changing experience.
         Natural family planning—whether eco-breastfeeding or systematic NFP—is the answer, spiritually and physically.  Safe, healthy, effective, and morally right, it is the best form of conception regulation when it is properly taught and used.  Unlike unnatural forms of birth control, NFP has no bad side effects.  Best of all, practicing NFP for the right reasons can bring spiritual growth and peace. 
         The time has come to put aside any sort of wishful thinking that the NFP movement consisting of widely different programs and perspectives can have a significant influence on the Catholic laity, even those who go to church every Sunday.  The time has come for the bishops and their priests to recognize that it is an act of love to require their engaged couples to attend the right kind of course on natural family planning.  The time has come for bishops and their priests to realize that the evidence is so overwhelming in favor of the health and spacing benefits of ecological breastfeeding that they will desire these benefits for every family in their parishes.  The time has come.  May every reader of this blog pray that our bishops and priests will love their people so much that they will make the right kind of NFP course a normal part of preparation for Christian marriage—centered on Christ, chaste and generous, life-long and faithful, a true living out of their covenant with God and with each other. 

End of daily blogs for NFP Awareness Week

John F. Kippley
Sex and the Marriage Covenant
Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach

The Right Natural Family Planning Course

Friday, July 30th, 2010

Natural Family Planning: The Right Kind of Course

The right kind of course in natural family planning needs to be faithful to what God has done for us.  The greatest thing he has done for us is his work of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.  This is not just pious talk to fill a column.  Truly Jesus is the ultimate reason for being faithful to your spouse, for loving your parents and your children, and for living a chaste and generous married life.  That means that the right kind of NFP course will include evangelization in the sense of placing the scientific aspects of NFP in the context of Christian discipleship, regardless of who is attending the course.  Protestants and every form of non-Catholic as well as uninformed and/or unbelieving Catholics deserve to know why faithful Catholics believe what the Church teaches. 
         Another great thing God has done for us is the wonderful way he had made us.  People coming to an NFP course, especially one offered under Catholic auspices, deserve to learn all the common but still wonderful ways of bodily human nature.
         God Himself made woman in such a way that the frequent suckling by her baby from her breasts normally postpones the return of her fertility for more than a year in most cases.  Every man and woman deserves to know this part of God’s creation.
         God Himself made woman in such a way that pre-ovulation estrogen causes a healthy discharge of mucus from the cervix and also causes physical changes in the cervix.  Both the mucus and the cervix changes can be detected and evaluated by informed women.  Every man and woman deserves to know these aspects of God’s creation.
         God Himself made woman in such a way that post-ovulation progesterone causes her waking temperature to rise enough that it can readily noticed and evaluated by the informed person.  Every man and woman deserves to know this part of God’s creation.
         Evangelization, ecological breastfeeding, the common signs of fertility and infertility—why would any bishop or priest want to exclude any of these elements from NFP courses taking place in his jurisdiction?  
Tomorrow:  Natural Family Planning: The Time Has Come

John F. Kippley
Sex and the Marriage Covenant
Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach

Natural Family Planning Course as Evangelization

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

The Natural Family Planning course as evangelization

The Lord Jesus Christ is the center of any Catholic evangelization, and that should also be true of Catholic-sponsored courses in natural family planning.  Systematic NFP calls for chaste abstinence during the fertile time in order to avoid pregnancy.  Periodic abstinence is not easy and is not infrequently accompanied by temptations to use contraceptive behaviors.  True, there are excellent pragmatic reasons for not using condoms and diaphragms or practicing withdrawal during the fertile time because all of these have definite problems with effectiveness. 
         But it takes faith and spiritual courage and fortitude to overcome temptations to masturbation and marital sodomy.  The Catholic Church teaches that it is the grave matter of mortal sin to engage in any of these contraceptive behaviors.  Why should a Christian believe such teaching?   
         The reason is found every Sunday.  When we profess the Nicene Creed at Sunday Mass, we are professing not only our faith in the Holy Trinity and the Incarnation but also in the promises made by Jesus.  The Nicene Creed did not drop out of heaven on a golden scroll.  It was occasioned by the Arian heresy that denied the full divinity of Jesus Christ.  At the Council of Nicea in 325, the bishops of the Catholic Church clarified and reaffirmed the Traditional faith in the Lord Jesus as true God and true man, of one being with the Father.  How do we know they had it right?  The ultimate reason is that we believe that Jesus keeps his promises.  At the Last Supper Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to lead the Apostles and their successors into the fullness of the truth. 
         When we profess faith in the teaching of Humanae Vitae, we are professing our faith that the same Holy Spirit who led the bishops at Nicea also led the centuries-long Tradition against contraceptive behaviors.  It was that same Holy Spirit who guided Pope Paul VI to reaffirm that Tradition in Humanae Vitae
         Jesus keeps his promises.  That’s what we profess in the Nicene Creed and by believing the teaching of Humanae Vitae and acting accordingly. 
It is my conviction that this profession of our faith in the Lord Jesus and in his promises should be an integral part of every NFP course.  This is simply a normal part of adult education and evangelization. 

Next week:  Natural Family Planning: The Right Kind of Course

John F. Kippley
Sex and the Marriage Covenant
Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach