Archive for January, 2017

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

Natural Family Planning and Humanae Vitae: Part 3

Sunday, January 22nd, 2017

I believe that Humanae Vitae teaches the truth about love, marriage and sexuality because I am convinced that it expresses a Tradition that meets the criteria for infallibility or at least the criteria for a teaching that must be accepted with religious submission of mind and will, according to the teaching of Lumen Gentium 25 especially as repeatedly reaffirmed by St. Pope John Paul II.

I am also convinced by reason that its teaching against marital contraception is true because of theological reasons that are further supported by sociological reasons.  Ask any theist “Who put together in one act what we call making love and making babies?”  The theist has to answer, “God Himself put together in one act what we call making love and making babies.”  Quite obviously, contraceptive behaviors are studied efforts to take apart what God has put together in the extremely important area of love, marriage and sexuality.

Further, I am convinced that what the Lord Jesus taught about marriage also applies to the marriage act.  “What God has put together, let no one take apart.”  That teaching was just as countercultural in his day as it is in ours.

When people tell themselves, either as individuals or as a culture, that we are now so enlightened that we can take apart what God Himself has put together, there is no logical stopping point.  That’s where the West is today.  Modernity accepts only the limitations  of mutual consent and legal age.  In 1930 when the Church of England was debating the acceptance of marital contraception, their conservatives warned them that the acceptance of marital contraception logically entailed the acceptance of sodomy.  The conservatives lost, and so now the Church of England even permits its bishops to live in sodomitic relationships.

Your express great concern over population.  These fears have been part of the public square ever since Thomas Malthus, an economist and Anglican minister, expressed his dire warnings in 1798.  His remedy was complete abstinence once a couple had reached its desired family size.  Just a few years later, the neo-Malthusians dropped the moral convictions of Malthus and recommended contraception.

Some sociologists emphasize two things in reducing the birth rate in any given culture.  First, provide good health care and medical care so that couples do not have to have a large number of babies to insure the survival of just a few.  Second, a rising material standard of living tends to reduce family size.  They look at the West and see these factors as important in declining populations in the West.  I understand that almost every non-Muslim European country has a birth rate below replacement level.

My concern is with the individual family.  We have developed a natural family planning program that addresses the key issues.

John Kippley’s letter continues next week.  Thanks for reading and please come back.

Natural Family Planning and Humanae Vitae: Part 2

Sunday, January 15th, 2017

Some of the stuff that happened in the summer and fall of 1968 was just ridiculous.  We were living in Regina, Saskatchewan, and I was selected to present the pro-HV side of a debate about Humanae Vitae.  The organizers couldn’t find a priest in the area willing to publicly support the encyclical!  My opponent’s argument was that she was a loving person by nature and therefore her acts were acts of love.  It was immediately clear to me that she was claiming a divine attribute.  There are, after all, only three persons in this universe who are loving by nature, and their names are Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Out of false kindness, I refrained from pointing out the absurdity of her claim, and I have regretted it ever since.

At any rate, I wrote a book to defend the teaching and to show the errors of the dissenters. (Now expanded as Sex and the Marriage Covenant, 2005.)  When it was published in early 1970, from somewhere in the depths of memory, the words of Jesus in Luke 11:46 hit me very hard.  Jesus was criticizing the doctors of the Law for laying burdens on men’s backs but not doing anything to lift the burden.  I had done my best to affirm what so many were calling a huge burden, so what was I going to do to help lift the burden?

In 1970, my wife had already researched and published a book titled Breastfeeding and Natural Child Spacing.  So we knew that the right pattern of breastfeeding could space babies, but there was a lot that we didn’t know as well, so she surveyed breastfeeding mothers and published the results in a nursing journal in 1972 (at website).   Her research showed that mothers who followed the pattern of frequent nursing that we call Ecological Breastfeeding experience, on average, their first postpartum period between 14 and 15 months postpartum.  At the same time we became aware of the calendar-temperature system as presented by Dr. Konald A. Prem, then a full professor of OB and Gyn at the University of Minnesota Medical School.  We met with him and started an organization to provide a three-fold support:  Ecological Breastfeeding, the cross-checking Sympto-Thermal Method of natural family planning (NFP), and a theology based on the marriage covenant.  We call this the Triple Strand approach to NFP.  How I wish that you and your spouse had been able to have this sort of support.  How much I wish I had been able to offer this support when I was a lay evangelist at St. Clare’s.

John Kippley’s letter continues next week.  Thanks for reading and please come back.