Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Issued August 2004
In January of 2003, 190 Profile questionnaires were mailed to dioceses. One hundred and five or 55 percent of the dioceses completed and returned questionnaires. As in previous years, the data indicates that certain aspects of NFP programs remain relatively unchanged with slight improvement in a few areas.
- There has been a recognition in dioceses of the need to have a person designated as the NFP coordinator. Often this responsibility is only one of many responsibilities performed by the person, e.g., Director of Marriage and Family Life. Those responsible for coordinating NFP ministry (78%) have had some training in NFP methodology.
- Forty-four percent of dioceses surveyed budgeted less than a $5,000 for NFP programs in 2003. Fifty-five percent of all NFP diocesan programs operate on less than $10,000 per year, while twenty-three percent have annual budgets of $10,000 to $29,000. Nineteen percent of dioceses spend from $30,000 to more than $70,000 for their NFP programs. Well funded diocesan NFP programs often rely on various forms of federal and state grants to supplement diocesan funding. In some dioceses NFP instruction is covered by insurance plans. In most dioceses NFP programs share funding, materials, and staff support of an umbrella department, e.g., Marriage and Family Life Office. Typically, NFP is not identified as a specific line item in diocesan budgets. Less than half (44%) of Diocesan NFP programs are asked to submit an annual report
- The majority of diocesan marriage preparation programs make some effort to provide rudimentary NFP information to various groups, with special attention directed toward couples preparing for marriage, e.g., booklets, fact-sheets, witness couple talks and NFP course instruction. Through NFP introductory sessions more than 106,082 individuals received basic information on NFP. The time given to NFP is not lengthy; in 78 percent of Pre-Cana programs, it is less than one hour. Yet, there has been slight improvement in the amount of time given NFP in marriage preparation programs overall. A more thorough and substantive inclusion of NFP in educational programs about human sexuality and conjugal love remains a challenging goal, not only for marriage preparation but on every level of instruction. In some Pre-Cana programs NFP information is simply given to couples without discussion. Increasingly priests are requiring couples preparing for marriage to take a full course of NFP instruction. Nationally, only one diocese requires a full course of instruction in NFP in its marriage preparation guidelines, although other dioceses have indicated that this is a long term goal.
- Across the nation, more than 13,249 individuals received a full course of instruction in NFP. This number is large but only represents a small portion of the total number of couples preparing for marriage.
- The Sympto-Thermal Method (STM) and Ovulation Method (OM) are the most preferred methods of NFP. Dioceses use a variety of national, regional and local NFP provider groups to train teachers.
- Forty-five percent of diocesan NFP teachers are volunteers. Thirty-five percent of the dioceses provide stipends to volunteer teachers to cover personal costs, e.g., transportation, baby sitter, materials, etc.
- Among the dioceses that completed the survey, there are more than 1,482 NFP teachers across the nation. They represent a largely untapped resource for the teaching of human sexuality within a faith context.
- It would seem that many Diocesan NFP Coordinators (70 in total) are unfamiliar with the content of NFP introductory sessions offered in their dioceses. This assumption is based on the number of respondents who did not answer Question 27.
Finally, the pastoral question that must be faced when examining each diocesan NFP effort is: Can couples who wish to be faithful to Church teaching on responsible parenthood readily get the NFP support they need? The answer to this question will determine how best to plan and support local diocesan NFP ministry.
I. Program Management
- The (arch)diocesan NFP Program is: (Check one)
66% Part of the office of Marriage and Family Life
05% A service of one of our Catholic hospital(s)
04% Part of Catholic Charities
10% Its own department
01% No Response
- Who is responsible for coordinating NFP Ministry (e.g., Family Life Director, NFP Coordinator, Respect Life Director, etc.)?
27% Diocesan NFP Coordinator
54% Family Life Director
02% Director of Catholic Charities
07% Respect Life Director
06% Other: Director of Christian Service, Department of Education, etc.
2b) How long have you been the NFP coordinator?
The person responsible for coordinating NFP ministry has held the position for an average of seven years. The range is from less than a year to over twenty years.
2c) No person designated: 4%
- For this position, NFP work is: (Check one)
39% One aspect of other responsibilities
07% Full-time, paid
0% Full-time, volunteer
33% Part-time, paid
17% Part-time, volunteer
04% No Response
- Is the NFP coordinator trained in NFP methodology? (Check one)
78% Yes 16% No 06% No Response
- If the answer to question (4) is "Yes," for which of the following roles was the NFP coordinator trained? (Check all that apply)
60 Teacher 64 User 47 Promoter 27 No Response
Those who have been teaching have taught for an average of eight years.
- If you answered question (5), please indicate which school(s) of NFP trained the coordinator: (Check all that apply)
28 Billings Ovulation Method Association (BOMA)
30 Couple to Couple League (CCL)
21 Creighton Model Fertility CareTM Center
18 Diocesan NFP Teacher Training Program
08 Northwest Family Services
08 Family of the Americas Foundation
23 No Response
- How many NFP teachers are part of the (arch)diocesan program? (Count teaching couples as two)
- Which statement best describes the NFP program policy regarding remuneration of its teachers? (Check one)
45% Most of our NFP instructors are volunteers. We give them a stipend to cover expenses.
35% Most of our NFP instructors are volunteers. We do not give them a stipend.
08% We pay our NFP instructors (part and/or full time).
07% Salaries/stipends for instructors are provided by other sources (e.g., Catholic Hospital, Knights of Columbus, etc.).
05% No Response
- Which organization trains the (arch)diocesan teachers? (Check all that apply)
47 Billings Ovulation Method Association (BOMA)
63 Couple to Couple League (CCL)
45 Creighton Model Fertility CareTM Center
25 Diocesan Teacher Training program
08 Family of the Americas Foundation
11 Northwest Family Services
02 No Response
- Does the (arch)diocese have an NFP Advisory Committee?
31% Yes 67% No 02% No Response
- Do you prepare an annual diocesan report on NFP ministry?
44% Yes 52% No 04% No Response
- How much money was spent on (arch)diocesan NFP programing last year? ( )
31% $1,000 - 4,999
11% $5 - 9,999
23% $10 - 29,999
08% $30 - 49,999
05% $50 - 69,999
03% No Response
- How much (arch)diocesan money was spent directly for NFP programing last year?
35% $1,000 - 4,999
14% $5 - 9,999
14% $10 - 29,999
05% $30 - 49,999
04% $50 - 69,999
05% No Response
- How much money generated by all NFP activities contributed to the NFP budget last year?
10% No Response
- Is there a separate fee for an introductory session? (Check one)
29% Yes 61% No 10% No Response
The average fee is $25.00. The amount varied from a low of $5.00 to a high of $50.00 depending on materials and length of an introductory session(s).
- Do you charge a fee for a full course in NFP? (Check one)
85% Yes 11% No 04% No Response
- If the answer to question (16) is "Yes", how is a separate fee determined for a full course in NFP? (Check one)
21% (Arch)diocese NFP determine fees
40% Individual NFP provider determines fees
24% Combination of (arch)diocesan staff and individual NFP provider determine fees
12% No Response
- How much is charged to clients/couples for a course in NFP? (If amounts vary, give average)
The average charged for a course in NFP is $75.00. The charge varied from a low of $0 and to a high of $540.00, depending on materials, length of course, and the number of follow-up services required.
- Is a fee charged for follow-up? (Check one)
18% Yes 71% No 11% No Response
The average charged for a follow-up is $25.00. The amount varied from $0 to $40.00
III. Program Service
- Which NFP method(s) is currently taught in the (arch)diocesan program? (Check all that apply)
06 No Response
- How many individuals (couples count as two) in the (arch)diocese received an introductory/promotional talk on NFP during the last twelve months?
More than 106,082 individuals received some information/instruction on NFP.
- How many individuals (couples count as two) in the (arch)diocese attended NFP class/instruction during the last twelve months?
More than 13,249 individuals attended a class/instruction on NFP.
- Does the (arch)diocese have guidelines for marriage preparation?
89% Yes 07% No 04% No Response
- If the answer to question (23) was "Yes,"is NFP included in the guidelines for marriage preparation?
77% Yes 15% No 08% No Response
- On average how much time is allowed for NFP education in marriage preparation programs? (Give your best estimate)
20% 5 minutes - 15 minutes
36% 20 minutes - 30 minutes
22% 35 minutes - 45 minutes
21% 1 hour - 2 hours+
01% No Response
- Does the (arch)diocese require an introductory session to NFP for the engaged? (Check one)
30% Yes 68% No 02% No Response
- If the answer to question (26) is "Yes", what is the content of the required NFP introductory session? (Check all that apply)
32 The appropriate Church teachings
31 Reproductive anatomy & physiology
31 Basic NFP science (e.g., all the signs of fertility discussed)
30 Basic NFP methodology (e.g., an overview of all the specific NFP systems offered in your diocese)
35 Benefits of NFP
28 Contradictions of various contraceptives
29 NFP witness talk
70 No Response
Note: A significant number of respondents (70) left the question unanswered.
- If the answer to the question (26) is "Yes", how much time is allotted to your required NFP introductory session?
10% 30 minutes
07% 45 minutes
18% 1 hour - 2 hours
01% Other: One day NFP seminar
Note: A significant number of respondents (64) left the question unanswered.
- Does the (arch)diocese require an NFP course for engaged couples? (Check one)
01% Yes 96% No 03% No Response
- Is the (arch)diocese moving toward mandating a full course of NFP instruction for engaged couples? (check one)
10% Yes 85% No 05% No Response
who provided data for the 2003 Profile survey
Albany, Allentown, Altoona-Johnstown; Anchorage, Arlington, Baltimore, Baton Rouge, Biloxi, Bismarck, Boise, Boston, Burlington, Camden, Casper, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Corpus Christi, Covington, Crookston, Denver, Detroit, Dubuque, Duluth, Erie, Evansville, Fargo, Fort Wayne-South Bend, Fort Worth, Green Bay, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Hartford, Joliet, Kalamazoo, Kansas City, KS, Kansas City-St. Joseph, La Crosse, Lafayette, IN, Lake Charles, Las Cruces, Lexington, Lincoln, Little Rock, Los Angeles, Madison, Marquette, Memphis, Metuchen, Miami, Milwaukee, New Orleans, New Ulm, New York, Norwich, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Orange, Orlando, Owensboro, Palm Beach, Paterson, Pensacola-Tallahassee, Peoria, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, OR, Providence, Raleigh, Rapid City, Richmond, Rochester, Rockford, Rockville Centre, St. Augustine, St. Cloud, St. Louis, St. Paul and Minneapolis, St. Petersburg, Salina, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Jose, Santa Fe, Santa Rosa, Savannah, Scranton, Spokane, Springfield, IL, Springfield, MA, Stockton, Superior, Syracuse, Toledo, Tucson, Tulsa, Washington, DC, Wichita, Yakima.
The following documents are useful in strengthening diocesan NFP programs.
Diocesan Plan for Natural Family Planning Program Development. Washington, D.C.: Diocesan Development Program for NFP, 1981. (Available from the Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities; 1-202-541-3070.)
Standards for Diocesan NFP Ministry. Washington, D.C.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops= Office of Publishing and Promotion Services, 2000. (Available from USCCB Publishing; 1-800-235-8722; #5-357.)
*The members of the USCCB Committee for Pro-Life Activities are most grateful to Rev. Robert R. Cannon, M.A., M.Th., J.C.L. of the Diocese of Venice, for preparing the 2003 Profile Report.