Archive for the ‘CCL’ Category

Natural Family Planning: We are no longer with CCL.

Sunday, July 8th, 2018

When I play tennis with a certain friend, a daily communicant, we usually end up talking about the Church. On July 2, her first question to me was “Are you going to the CCL conference on Humanae Vitae?” She had no idea we were no longer associated with the Couple to Couple League. Nor did she know that CCL dropped the three basic teachings we brought to this organization when we founded it in 1971. Another Catholic friend, also a daily communicant, also assumed we would be going to the CCL Humanae Vitae conference in our city and knew nothing of our separation.

My husband prays daily that CCL will return to the original Triple Strand: the covenant theology of sexuality, ecological breastfeeding, and Dr. Konald A. Prem’s flexible version of the sympto-thermal method. All of these teachings were dropped by CCL in 2007.

These teachings continue to be taught by Natural Family Planning International and by a few CCL chapters in Europe.

For more information, read Battlescarred: Justice Can Be Elusive by John F. Kippley.  (50% discount at until end of July)  The early part of this book relates events of 50 years ago that led us to teach NFP.

Sheila Kippley

NFP: Differences between CCL and NFP International

Sunday, August 17th, 2008

Differences between NFP International and CCL International

Inquirers have asked us to state the substantive differences between what is taught by Natural Family Planning International and what is currently taught by the Couple to Couple League International.  The differences are clear. 

Background.  We founded both organizations—CCL in 1971 and NFPI in 2004.  We brought to the League in 1971 three charisms or perspectives.  This became known as the Triple Strand approach to teaching NFP.
 1.  We taught ecological breastfeeding as a form of NFP.   
 2.  We taught the biblically based covenant theology of sexuality as a way to support Humanae Vitae and to explain the meaning of the marriage act.  This concept can be stated in 17 words.  “Sexual intercourse is intended by God to be at least implicitly a renewal of the marriage covenant.”  This concept easily lends itself to consideration of what is involved when man and wife enter into that covenant.
 3.  We were open to all the signs of fertility and developed different rules for different situations. 
    We directed and guided the League for 32 years.  In late 2003 a separation occurred.  In 2004 the new CCLI management decided to terminate its international activities in languages other than English and Spanish.  Later in 2004 we formed NFP International to support what we had previously started in other European languages and to keep our traditional Triple Strand program alive and well via the internet.  In 2005 we opened the NFPI Website,, and published our online manual titled Natural Family Planning
Changes.  In December, 2007 CCL announced significant changes to the traditional program.  CCL titled its announcement an EXTREME MAKEOVER, and the title reflected the changes it made.
1.  CCL dropped the teaching of ecological breastfeeding as a form of natural family planning. 
   On the contrary, we continue to believe that that eco-breastfeeding definitely IS a form of natural family planning.  We believe that it is God’s own plan for spacing babies and therefore the world’s oldest form of NFP.  We further believe that couples deserve to learn about breastfeeding not only as part of God’s plan for healthy babies and mothers but also as part of his plan for baby care and natural baby spacing.
    We know from scientific studies that eco-breastfeeding DOES space babies IF mothers follow the natural mothering pattern first described in Breastfeeding and Natural Child Spacing: The Ecology of Natural Mothering.  We also know that there are misunderstandings about breastfeeding’s influence on baby spacing.  Therefore we are doing what we can to provide the proper information and practical help.
 a.  The preceding book (classic 1974 Harper & Row edition) has been republished (Lulu, 2008, quality paperback).
 b.  To help mothers better understand more clearly the baby-care behaviors usually necessary to experience breastfeeding’s natural infertility, Sheila has also written The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding: The Frequency Factor (Lulu, 2008). 
 c.  In our NFP manual, Natural Family Planning, a chapter is devoted to ecological breastfeeding, and we teach this material in the NFPI three-meeting course.  

2.  In its “extreme makeover,” CCL dropped the covenant theology of sexuality stated above.  CCL has replaced this with an interpretation of the “Theology of the Body” (TOB) developed by Pope John Paul II between 1979 and 1984.  
    The papal TOB is widely praised and rightly so, but experts recognize that it is huge and difficult to understand.  Our experience is that because the TOB covers so much, it needs careful definition.  Further, unless you are reading the entire Theology of the Body and/or are taking a good course on it, what you hear or learn is someone’s interpretation, not the TOB itself.
    We are pleased to note that when the Pope in 1994 was addressing the laity about the meaning of the marriage act, he incorporated the idea that it ought to be a renewal of the marriage covenant.  “In the conjugal act, husband and wife are called to confirm in a responsible way the mutual gift of self which they have made to each other in the marriage covenant” (Letter to Families, n.12).
    Our experience is that couples can grasp and understand this basic concept almost intuitively once they hear it.  Therefore, we continue to believe that covenant theology of sexuality provides a succinct and very workable way to support and explain the teaching of Humanae Vitae.

3.  In its “extreme makeover,” CCL dropped the concept of having different rules for different situations.  It has replaced this with what they call a single rule, but its modifications for different situations effectively make it into three rules. 
    We continue to think it is useful to have different rules for different situations. 

4.  Also included in its “extreme makeover” is a different perspective about how to convey the teaching of the Church regarding the proper use of natural family planning.  Humanae Vitae uses “serious reasons” in section 10 and “just causes” in section 16 to describe the qualifying reasons for the morally good use of NFP. 
    The CCL Student Guide mentions only “just reasons.” 
    In NFPI we use the phrase “sufficiently serious reasons,” as we have done for many years, to convey the meaning of both of these sections of Humanae Vitae. 

Cost: The CCL 3-meeting course costs $135.00.  The NFPI 3-meeting course suggested donation is anywhere from $45 to $85–depending on what the teaching couple decides to offer by way of books in addition to the Natural Family Planning manual used at the NFPI classes.  Our pastor wanted us to charge at least $100 or $125 for the classes because that was the cost for other marriage preparation programs in our area.  Sheila didn’t feel right about that amount.  The pastor, Sheila and I settled on $70.00.  At our classes, Sheila and I give each attending couple the NFPI manual, and the BD digital thermometer. 
For further details, see our postings in various categories of blogs (upper right corner of website).

John F. Kippley
Sex and the Marriage Covenant: A Basis for Morality

A Breastfeeding Mistake Repeated

Sunday, November 18th, 2007

I have reviewed the breastfeeding information in the new CCL manual, The Art of Natural Family Planning: Student Guide, and it is disappointing.  There are two statements that are seriously incomplete and therefore possibly misleading.
 1) “Some studies show that 97% of mothers who exclusively breastfeed can be assured of postpartum infertility for at least six months” (page 161).
 2)  “Exclusive breastfeeding: Generally, highly infertile during the first six months postpartum” (Reference guide, page 254; italics in the original).
      For “exclusive breastfeeding” to be considered a time of infertility, it is essential that the mother still be in amenorrhea, at least after 56 days postpartum.  Bleeds up to 56 days postpartum are not to be counted as menses.  This “exclusive breastfeeding” rule is often called the Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM).  Amenorrhea means the absence of menstruation.  To repeat, the absence of menstruation is crucial for this method to be highly effective.  Mothers who count on natural infertility for six months may become pregnant while relying on the CCL statement if their menstruation returns before six months while exclusively breastfeeding. 
      On November 7, I wrote CCL for the studies mentioned in the first statement above.  Executive Director Andy Alderson did me the courtesy of a reply on November 14, as follows:  “Sorry for the delayed response.  While I understand your request, I’ve read your ongoing blogs against CCL.  I don’t think it is productive for the League to get into communications with you at this time.”
      I find it regrettable that Mr. Alderson regards our blog exposure of what CCL is doing and saying as being “against CCL.”  Our hope has been that CCL teachers, promoters, and other interested parties will recognize that CCL’s changes are not in the best interests of CCL.  We still hope they will be able to lead CCL’s current management back to its previous and successful path that was helpful to so many. 
      What our blogs are showing is what CCL is doing.  Is what CCL does  going “against CCL?”  Eventually others would have learned what we have exposed and may have blogged on the new changes.  CCL is welcome to present their viewpoint at each blog of ours if they choose to do so.  Of those who have told us they wrote to CCL about their concerns, none have received a reply.

CCL’s definition for exclusive breastfeeding in their new manual is not clear.   Here is the CCL definition: 
“Exclusive breastfeeding is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) as the standard of care for babies during their first six months of life.  It is characterized by breastfeeding whenever the baby indicates a desire (day and night) with each feeding fully emptying the breast of milk.  Initially, a minimum of 8-12 feedings per day is required to establish the breastfeeding, with baby kept in close proximity to the mother” (page 154).
      Could a mother believe she is following the requirement for breastfeeding infertility if she nurses according to the definition of exclusive breastfeeding given above?  I certainly think so, so I will call it a “rule.”
      Do you see anywhere in that definition that the baby is to receive only breast milk for its nutrition during the first six months of life?  Could a mother read that definition, believe she is completely nursing and yet think it’s okay to give solids to her baby when her baby is three to five months old?  It looks that way to me.
      Also, nothing is said about the absence of pacifiers or sleeping with the baby or specific behaviors that would help the mother maintain breastfeeding amenorrhea during those first six months postpartum.
      During the mid-60s, as a La Leche League member and later as a LLL leader, I learned that many exclusively breastfeeding mothers have an early return of menstruation or become unexpectedly pregnant during the first six months after childbirth.  I learned that more than just “exclusive breastfeeding” is required to maintain amenorrhea.  If mothers want to have the 97% effectiveness rate (98% by most studies that include amenorrhea in their definition) during the first six months postpartum, they must not have any menstrual bleeding after the 56th day postpartum.  Exclusively breastfeeding mothers can become pregnant during the first six months postpartum if they are having menstrual cycles.
      The point is this.  If a mother does exclusive breastfeeding and hopes that this will give her natural infertility for at least six months, she needs to do more than just not give her baby other liquids or foods.  She needs to follow the Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding.

Changes by CCL’s new management
We think it is unfortunate that the new CCL management has chosen to delete the major charisms that John and I brought to the League: ecological breastfeeding with its Seven Standards, the covenant theology of human sexuality, and a form of systematic NFP that offered different rules for different situations.  Another change is the dropping of ecological breastfeeding as a baby spacer.  On page 100 of the Student Guide the spacing of children is mentioned three times, but this is attributed to abstinence during the fertile time of the cycle.  In the new CCL manual, the natural spacing of births is not associated with breastfeeding except in the incomplete and misleading statements quoted above.

History Repeats Itself
CCL has previously had these problems with incorrect or inadequate instruction.  I know because in my last three years with CCL, I blew the whistle on mistakes in teacher training and instructional materials, and I received the typical whistleblower treatment.  CCL should have learned from their past mistakes.  Some of CCL’s previous mistakes involved the Lactational Amenorrhea Method.                                                                                                 I regret that I have to bring up this mistake again, but I feel obligated to point this out publicly in the hopes that the word will get out to CCL teachers.  CCL should include a corrections sheet with each manual. 
      All of us in the NFP movement need to be accurate and clear, no matter what rules or method we teach.  I really do wish CCL well, but it needs to get substantive things right the first time when teaching others.

Sheila Kippley
NFP International
Author: Breastfeeding and Catholic Motherhood and Natural Family Planning: The Question-Answer Book (e-book at this website)