Archive for August, 2017

NFP with Ecological Breastfeeding

Sunday, August 27th, 2017

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that mothers should do six months of exclusive breastfeeding (no solids and no liquids other than breast milk) and then continue to breastfeed for at least 12 months, or longer if they wish.

The huge problem experienced by many breastfeeding mothers is that even if they want to follow that recommendation, they are so influenced by western cultural breastfeeding practices that their milk supply dwindles and then disappears.  The main reason is that they were not nursing frequently enough.

The bottom line is that if mothers would like to experience six months of exclusive breastfeeding and continued breastfeeding for 12 months or longer they need to nurse according to the Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding provides a classic example of demand and supply. Suckling is the demand that stimulates the milk supply. The frequent suckling of Ecological Breastfeeding provides that sort of demand for months and months until the nursling is no longer interested. It also typically provides the mother with months of natural infertility (no menstrual cycles).

And that’s why NFP International promotes and teaches Ecological Breastfeeding. We are convinced that parents have both a need and a right to learn about this wonderful way of nourishing and nurturing their babies. Unless they learn these things well before the baby arrives, how are couples going to make informed decisions about the care of their children?

We know that many parents will also appreciate this abstinence-free form of natural baby spacing.

NFP International is currently the only NFP organization in the United States that teaches Ecological Breastfeeding, so we are a distinct minority. We think that the Catholic Church should require every NFP program operating under its auspices to teach Ecological Breastfeeding. We find it difficult to understand why any NFP program would want to avoid this subject. We are convinced that the evidence makes it clear that we provide a great service both to babies and parents. But how are typical young couples going to learn about this if marriage preparation programs avoid it?

August 2017 NFPI newsletter by Stephen Craig, NFPI Executive Director

Natural Family Planning Awareness Week by Fr. Mark Watkins, Cincinnati pastor

Sunday, August 20th, 2017

Still, some may ask, “Why is there all this fuss about Humanae Vitae and birth control?

The answer is very basic:  What is at stake is the divine truth about human love and your salvation!

God designed human bodies (male and female) in part, to generate human life.  And, God invented the marriage act.  In this way married couples would continue the human race according to His first Commandment in the Bible, “Be fruitful and multiply…” (Gen 1:28).  God has also taught us in various ways that the marriage act can be morally good only between couples in a covenantal relationship.  He didn’t put it in those words but instead was very specific in condemning immoral behaviors—adultery, bestiality, contraception, fornication, incest, masturbation, prostitution, rape and sodomy.

This is not legalism.  At the Council of Jerusalem in the first years of the Church, the Apostles made it clear that Gentile converts were not required to adhere to the dietary and other laws of the Old Testament (e.g. circumcision).  But they were required to avoid sexual immorality. (Acts 15: 29).  God’s teaching about human sexuality reflects the reality of our human nature and the reality of love.

The marriage act is intended by God to be exclusively a marriage act.  Within marriage, it ought to be a true marriage act, a renewal of the love and faith and for-better-and-for-worse commitment of their wedding day covenant.  It ought to say, at least implicitly, “I take you once again in love and faith and for better and for worse till death parts us.”  However, when spouses use contraceptive behaviors, their body language is saying, “I take you for better but not for the imagined worse of possible pregnancy.”  That contradicts the built-in meaning of the marriage act.  It does not renew their marriage covenant but instead pretends to be what it is not.  That’s why Humanae Vitae calls contraceptive acts “intrinsically dishonest” (n.14).

Here at St. Lawrence Parish we are happy to sponsor the efforts of Natural Family Planning International (NFPI) because their program is more complete than most.  We offer that excellent instruction in two ways.

First, we have regular classes conducted by Bethany and Paul Bachmeyer.  They teach this three-meeting course in the fall and the spring each year.  [Here contact information is given for registration.]

Second, the NFPI Home Study Course offers a convenient way to take instruction via email.  Go to; at the top of the Home Page, click on Home Study Course.

Both the classroom and home study course use the same manual, Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach.  It is readable as well as being informative, as indicated by these comments from users.

The combination of technical skills and moral and spiritual discussion was very informative and useful. We had never even heard of ecological breastfeeding before reading this book, so that was amazing new information.  We have learned so much from this course and couldn’t have asked for better support. Thank you so much. We will certainly tell others about NFP International.   —An engaged couple in Illinois.

I just wanted to say how thrilled I am to have found your website, book, and resources.  I have looked into NFP before, and it always sounded so clinical and like a lot of work.  I read your book last night and am thoroughly confident that this is the right choice for myself, my husband, and our family.  You have made it so easy to understand, and not cold and clinical.  —A married couple in Vancouver, British Columbia.
(This insert in the Aug. 13th blog and this Aug. 20th blog was in the St. Lawrence church bulletin, July 21 and July 28.)


Natural Family Planning Awareness Week (Church Bulletin Insert)

Sunday, August 13th, 2017

Natural Family Planning Awareness Week by Father Mark Watkins, pastor, St. Lawrence Church, Cincinnati

The purpose of NFP Awareness Week is to let all Catholics—and non-Catholics too—know that the Church provides very practical help for couples to live out the teaching of Humanae Vitae.  I hope that it also helps couples to believe and follow its tremendously necessary teaching.

On July 25, 1968 Pope Paul VI issued an encyclical that reaffirmed 2,000 years of Catholic teaching about birth control.  It became controversial simply because it reaffirmed what the Catholic Church has been teaching for some 2,000 years.  Why was that controversial?  Pope Pius XI had done the same thing in 1930, and there was no controversy within the Catholic Church.  Why were things so different 49 years ago?

The controversy was stirred up beginning in 1960 with the introduction of the hormonal birth control drugs.  The manner of operation of chemical birth control was different from the contraceptive devices that were common before then.  Some Catholics argued that Catholic teaching could accept this new mode of birth control because it wasn’t so obviously contraceptive.  (It turned out to be much worse because it affects the lining of the uterus to resist implantation of a newly conceived baby in its embryonic stage.  This is what is called the abortifacient potential of the Pill and other hormonal forms of birth control.)

Pope Paul VI reviewed the arguments of those on both sides of the issue.  He clearly saw that the arguments of those who wanted the Church to accept marital contraception could not say a firm NO to any imaginable form of sexual behavior between consenting adults.  Thus he was obliged by his responsibility as the Supreme Pastor of souls to reaffirm that all unnatural forms of birth control are the grave matter of mortal sin.

He also predicted that the widespread acceptance of marital contraception would have far reaching negative consequences.  For that he was also criticized, but the negative effects have been even worse than he foretold.

Still, some may ask, “Why is there all this fuss about Humanae Vitae and birth control?

The answer is very basic:  What is at stake is the divine truth about human love and your salvation!
(Continued and concluded next week)