THE ROLE AND IMPORTANCE OF THE CLERGY
in a NEW ERA
of NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING
1. STEWARDS of the Tradition
2. HERALDS of the Kingdom:
the Gospel as a Way of Life that makes us more truly human
Possibilities for Humankind that have only barely been tried
Some of the data below is adapted from:
1) CALENDAR RHYTHM
Early 1930’s Ogino, in Japan and Hermann Knauss in Austria develop the (sometimes ineffective) calendar rhythm method of birth control, based on the finding that that ovulation precedes menstruation by a consistent period of 12-16 days.
2) BASAL BODY TEMPERATURE Charting
1940’s -1960’s: BBT charts collected and analyzed by researchers including: R. Vollman in the United States, G.K. Doring in Germany, B.Vincent in France, John Marshall in Britain and a team from the World Health Organization. Various methods of analysis and interpretation were elaborated: some very sophisticated, often often requiring complex mathematics and complete charts.
1960’s – Present: A simpler form is developed by John Marshall and the World Health Organization, which was widely taught and practiced: the “coverline method” and “three over six” method: a trained couple simply had to observe three temperatures higher than the previous six to identify when ovulation occurred. Often referred to as the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM)
3) CONTRACEPTIVE TECHNOLOGY
a) 1958, US physician Lazar Margulies develops the “Margulies Coil” Intrauterine Device; in 1964 Jack Lippes’ ostensibly safer “Lippes Loop” became available.
b) 1960, the FDA approved distribution of the Enovid the first (estrogen-progesterone combination) contraceptive pill, manufactured by G.D. Searle and Company
4) HUMANAE VITAE PROMULGATED 1968
5) OVULATION METHOD (Cervical Mucus Symptom Charting, “Billings Method”)
In the 1950's Dr. John Billings of Melbourne, Australia began to investigate alternatives to Calendar Rhythm and the Basal Body Temperature method. both of which were often difficult to apply when the woman's cycles were long and irregular. From 1962 to 1964 Dr. Billings worked with Dr. James Brown, in studying and demonstrating the reliability of women's observations of their cervical mucus pattern in identifying fertility. In 1964 his wife, Lynn Billings, began to teach the Ovulation Method. which became more widely known and practiced in the 1970s
Further research, particularly by Dr. Tom Hilgers at Creighton, has resulted in the development of the Creighton Method and the NaproTechnology approach to Natural Family Panning.
6. CURRENT APPROACHES
AT the present time efforts are being made on various fronts to promote and encourage the practice of Natural Family Planning internationally and in a new social context.
An article in the English newspaper The Guardian reported on July 24, 2018, that “Women are turning to birth control smartphone apps for a reason”:
The chief reason being a desire to abandon hormones and inflammation-inducing devices in favor of natural methods of fertility-awareness.
AMONG modern secular attempts to appropriate NFP models and methods is the extremely popular (app-based) “NATURAL CYCLES” approach. It is a technologized, popularized, [unacknowledged] adaptation of the Basal Body Temperature Method: (reviewed in Vogue Magazine, June 27, 2017).
In brief, A husband and wife team of physicists became fascinated with the mathematics involved in the changes in temperature associated with the cycle of fertility in women.
“We were working at Cern, looking for the Higgs boson. We applied the same statistical methods to my wife’s ovulation”.
In 2014 they devised their own computer algorithms and marketed an app directly attached to a hand-held basal body temperature thermometer. In 2017, it was approved for use across the EU, receiving specific approval from the German inspection and certification organization, Tüv Süd. As of July 2018 their subscription service (they store the data for users) had around 800,000 users.
MORE compatible with Catholic teaching, and employing both contemporary technology and modern techniques of teachings is the “FERTILITY FRIEND” website, where online teaching videos and as well as computer apps and other downloadable products are available either free of charge or at minimal cost:
and dwelt among us.
καὶ ἐσκήνωσεν ἐν ἡμῖν
WITH [ardent] desire (epithumia)
I have [eagerly] desired (epethumēsa)
to eat this paschal meal with you before I suffer.
τοῦτο τὸ πάσχα φαγεῖν μεθ΄ ὑμῶν πρὸ τοῦ με παθεῖν·
of the BODY
FROM September 1979 to November 1984 Pope John Paul II devoted his Wednesday audiences to an in-depth biblical explanation of the mystery of marriage and human sexuality. This series of audiences is collectively known as the “theology of the body.”
INSPIRED by Paul VI’s statement in Humanae Vitae that the problem of birth regulation must be considered in light of a “total vision of man” (cf. n. 7), John Paul’s catechesis on the body seeks to provide a “total vision of man,” or what he calls an “adequate anthropology.”
1) SOCIAL CONTEXT in USA of PROMOTION verging on Genuine CELEBRATION of CONTRACEPTION
October 21, 2004
The Pill Is Good for You!
Today’s blockbuster health news is that, prior reports notwithstanding, birth control pills are quite beneficial for women’s health. They reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.
Earlier reports that the pill boosts women's risk of cancer were particularly influential among American women, depressing rates of pill use here compared with other industrial countries. With this definitive repudiation of those reports, more American women may opt to use the pill.
Thursday, October 21, 2004
Use of birth control pill lowers risk of disease
Contrary to previous studies, findings cite benefits for women
By MARILYNN MARCHIONE, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, PHILADELPHIA
-- The same huge federal study that led millions of women to abandon use of hormones after menopause now provides reassurance that another hormone concoction -- the birth control pill -- is safe.
In fact, women on the pill had surprisingly lower risks of heart disease and stroke and no increased risk of breast cancer, contrary to what many previous studies have found.
Doctors say the type of hormones and the stage of life when they're used may be what makes them helpful at one point and harmful at another.
[...] "We're still learning more and more about the biology," said one of the researchers, Dr. Michael Diamond of Wayne State University in Detroit.
The new findings are from nearly 162,000 participants in the Women's Health Initiative, the largest women's health study ever done and one of the biggest on oral contraceptives. Results were presented yesterday at an American Society for Reproductive Medicine conference.
November 17, 2017
Association of Hormonal Contraception With Suicide Attempts and Suicides
Charlotte Wessel Skovlund, Ph.D., Lina Steinrud Mørch, Ph.D., Lars Vedel Kessing, D.M.Sc., Theis Lange, Ph.D., Øjvind Lidegaard, D.M.Sc.
https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.2017.17060616 https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.ajp.2017.17060616 Published online: November 17, 2017
Use of hormonal contraception was positively associated with subsequent suicide attempt and suicide. Adolescent women experienced the highest relative risk.
2) WIDESPREAD PRACTICE of CONTRACEPTION
Many if not most of the laypersons involved in ministries and parish leadership probably use some form contraception.
3) Culture that equates SCEPTICISM TOWARDS AUTHORITY with WISDOM:
Presumes “Tradition” is an obstacle to be overcome – not a font of wisdom on which to draw;
Dismissive attitude towards Church Teaching concerning beginning of life and meaning of human fertility.
Scepticism verging on contempt for encyclical Humanae Vitae; strong tendency to hail it as “appropriate” rejection by the laity of magisterial “interference” in private lives of Catholics.
4) IGNORANCE Concerning existence of Different (effective) forms of NFP
5) DOUBT verging on cynicism in regard to scientific reliability of method
6) PERIODIC ABSTINENCE CONDEMNED:
a) Presumed doomed to failure
b) Proclaimed “Unhealthy” (psychologically, physiologically, perhaps spiritually?)
1) By seldom if ever raising the issue in a social climate that overwhelmingly favors contraception.
Reasons may be charitable – genuine pastoral concern not to alienate persons presumed to be already at least somewhat alienated
If we say nothing, people will presume that nothing needs to be said.
2) By presuming that as celibates we have little or nothing to offer in an area of life as complex and delicate as sexuality within marriage
3) Encouragement of Moral Relativism by presenting NFP as “one possible choice among many” (tacitly encouraging contraception as a morally-licit option)
4) By imagining that referral to a “Catholic Physician” means that the person we refer will necessary hear accurate information concerning NFP.
HOW TO EFFECT CHANGE
IN A MORALLY AMBIGUOUS CULTURE
1) ENCOURAGEMENT, ENTHUSIASM, and CONVICTION CONCERNING NFP
Help people to at least consider the possibility that this is one way in which a whole new vision of Human Loving can be discovered and shared.
● No cost once learned
● No drugs or devices
● Greater knowledge for couple about body
● Beneficial for interpersonal communication
● Spiritual/Theological considerations:
“We have endeavored to show a link between artificial birth control, promiscuity and divorce. The NFP survey respondents:
have a dramatically low (0.2%) divorce rate;
are happier and more satisfied in their everyday lives;
share a deeper intimacy with their spouse; realize a deeper level of communication with their spouse;
attend Church more often;
and preserve the family unit more responsibly than the other groups.
We are thus beginning to be able to demonstrate what the Church has long asserted philosophically and morally: artificial birth control carries with it a substantial impact on the personalistic dimensions of the sexual union of spouses.”
Wilson, Mercedes Arzú. 2002. “The Practice of Natural Family Planning versus the Use of Artificial Birth Control: Family, Sexual, and Moral Issues.” Catholic Social Science Review 7: 185-211.
2) Awareness and Encouragement of Steps According to the “LAW of GRADUALNESS”
– see Catechism 2339-2343; Apprenticeship in self-mastery; laws of growth
Confessional as opportunity for new hope and new vision – SUPPORT ANY STEPS
3) ENCOURAGE STUDY and DISCOVERY of the THEOLOGY of the BODY
Help dispel the myth that the Catholic Church is “anti-body” or “anti-sex”. Even Peter Brown, The Body and Society, effectively refutes this charge.
4) SHARE PRACTICAL INFORMATION gathered at events such as this:
We WILL know of resources that can and should be made easily, readily, available:
1) In parish office;
2) In condensed form in “tract rack” or in confessional.
3) In office or wherever we commonly counsel persons.
5) PARTNERSHIP with NFP TEACHERS we trust and in whom we place confidence.
Meet them; encouage others to meet them;
Provide opportunities for them to present;
incorporate NFP into regular parish education and marriage preparation programs
6) RELENQUISH EMBARASSED SILENCE
CARPE DIEM! Seize the moment! Natural methods of fertility awareness are becoming increasingly popular (and financially profitable) in the secular world. We need to know how to direct parishoners to methods and approaches that are:
Proven and Reliable
Compatible with Catholic Teaching
Include accompaniment by trained teachers
LET go of the fear that this is an arena in which priests and other celibates have little or nothing to offer
Above all else WILLINGNESS TO DISCOVER, DEEPEN IN, and SHARE with others our own experience of CHASTE, CELIBATE LOVING.
People are afraid that chastity and abstinence mean “not loving”; or “loving less”
We have a great deal to say about this.
on NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING
(search for: "Natural Family Planning")
Culture of Life Family Services
Billings Ovulation Method
Billings Ovulation Method – USA
Creighton Model FertilityCare System
Couple to Couple League
Family of the Americas Foundation
Northwest Family Services
Pope Paul VI Institute
NFP and More
One More Soul
This Webpage was created for a workshop held at Saint Andrew's Abbey, Valyermo, California in 2003