Archive for July, 2018

Natural Family Planning Classes: Packed in the 70s; low today. What happened?

Sunday, July 15th, 2018

John and I taught natural family planning to over 100 couples a month when we first moved to Cincinnati in the early 70s.  How was this accomplished?  We taught Class #1 each week for one month, but in four different parishes.   Next month we would go back to the same parishes (teaching again once a week each week) but this time we taught the #2 Class.  Next month we were back to the same classes and teaching the #3 Class, etc.  We had 50, 60, 70 or more persons attending those classes.

Today we are happy when we have 2 or 5 couples to teach at the classes.  We teach more engaged couples through our Home Study Course.

What are the differences between then and now?

In the early 1970s, this is what we experienced.

  • The couples were married.
  • The couples were not required to be there.
  • The couples wanted to learn NFP. They had been properly catechized and followed Church teaching.
  • Because the couples were married, they were encouraged to bring their babies to class.
  • A simple church bulletin announcement produced the registrations for the classes.

Today, almost all the student couples are engaged and are required to be at an NFP class or take the course online as part of their marriage preparation.  A simple church bulletin announcement today typically produces no tangible results.  You need to have a priest or deacon recommend your classes.  If a bishop, priest or deacon does not recommend your classes, then the NFP teacher may have no one to teach.  Also, some or many of these couples do not follow Church teaching regarding chastity.  Thus, we are very happy when couples comment on how much they learned taking our course, especially when they indicate an improvement in their spiritual lives.

Personal history:  I was 7 months pregnant when we moved to Cincinnati and soon had our 4th baby.  We did not leave our babies at home to teach the classes.  We simply took our 4th and later our 5th baby to the NFP classes for their first 2 years.  If the baby needed to nurse, John kept teaching while I took a nursing break.  We had little promotion for our classes which were well attended.  We taught once a week as mentioned above.

In the 70s, on a weekend, we taught natural family planning to 100 couples at a retreat center near our city.  Could we do that today?   It would be almost a miracle if that happened today.

What we taught in those days is what we teach today:  the theology of the marriage covenant, the various options of the sympto-thermal method, and ecological breastfeeding.  Our teaching has not changed…just the Church and social environments.

Sheila Kippley

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

Natural Family Planning and Breastfeeding

Sunday, July 1st, 2018

It is unfortunate that when natural family planning is discussed that almost  no one speaks on behalf of the positive alternative of Ecological Breastfeeding.  Maybe some will mention other forms of natural birth spacing, but it is rare if there is a mention of Ecological Breastfeeding.  There is ample research to demonstrate that the pattern of frequent breastfeeding that we term Ecological Breastfeeding postpones the return of fertility.  In some pre-bottlefeeding cultures, breastfeeding produces birth intervals of three to four years with no forms of contraception.  Our research in American culture shows an average return of menstruation between 14 and 15 months for those mothers following the Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding.  Those Seven Standards are maternal behaviors associated with an extended time of breastfeeding amenorrhea.

My wife has written extensively on this,  but she (and research of others as well) is ignored by the current NFP establishment as well as the anti-abortion establishment.

It has become typical for television coverage of hurricanes in the Caribbean islands to show a young mother complaining that no one is giving her any food for her very young baby when she has God’s own food in her breasts.  It makes me sick to see this.  Why hasn’t the Church done more to educate these folks about breastfeeding for its tremendous health benefits and also for its natural spacing benefit?

We have lots of information on this at our website:  Enjoy!

John Kippley
NFPI President and Volunteer