This year is the 50th anniversary of Humane Vitae (Human Life) written by Blessed Pope Paul VI. A call to arms against the culture of license and sexual promiscuity was issued in this short but powerful document. Marriage is reaffirmed as a sacred institution designed by God whereby a man and woman give of themselves totally in a free, faithful, and fruitful union. The fear of over-population and the desire to be freed from consequences of intimate unions led scientists to produce a magic little pill. Even though the majority of Christians had seen artificial contraception as evil, a little pill seemed to promise an easy and healthy fix. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Rated a class 1 carcinogen and automatic abortifacient (prevents embryo from attachment), widespread consequences followed. Countries now face a negative population growth--Germany, Japan, China, Italy…& etc. paying couples to conceive to carry the economy and elderly care. More insidiously, as Pope Paul predicted (#17 H.V.) “how wide and easy a road would thus be opened up towards conjugal infidelity and the general lowering of morality” as well as a growth in disrespect toward women. Subtle in practice, yet devastating over time, we now see the effects in our current culture toward the “unshackling” of responsibility from sexual unions: most children in the U.S. now live in homes without both biological parents, increased divorce, and gender confusion.
Fortunately the Church charged scientists to discover alternatives. Natural Family Planning was born. NFP has helped millions to retain respect for the gift of God in fertility and preserve the respect and love of each other in every union. Without cost a couple learns both how to achieve or postpone pregnancy through bodily signs in the woman’s body. NFP is totally natural and therefore does not harm a woman’s body. What’s more, the couple’s communication as to their family make-up occurs often and they may practice occasional abstinence and therefore show respect and appreciation for God’s gift of fertility and preservation of the woman’s health. Far different than artificial contraception which says, “take this or put this on so I can experience pleasure”... NFP speaks more the language of true love, Christian love, that is patient, peaceful, respectful, and self-sacrificial. No wonder, among those who use NFP, 95% remain faithfully married for life. It is not easy to follow this way. Christ never promised the “narrow road” (Mt 7:13) would be easy. He did, however, promise it would be rewarding and lead to life in its fullness (John 10:10). Check out the Diocesan NFP materials online or speak to some of our current teachers, including Donna Maus. Bless you!