In This Issue. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
- Symposium on Familiaris consortio
"A Picture Gallery"
- Letter of the Holy Father to the President of USCCB [on the Occasion of the Twentieth Anniversary of Familiaris consortio]
- "The Communion of Persons" (Excerpts)
Joseph C. Atkinson
- The Family's Role in the Development of Society (Excerpts)
Most Rev. Charles Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.
- 2000 Diocesan NFP Program--National Profile--Summary
Very Rev. Robert Cannon, S.T.L.
- Holy Father's Address to International Congress of
Catholic Obstetricians and Gynecologists--June 2001
- Preaching NFP--"Why Not?"
- NFP: A Foundational Instrument of Evangelization
Rev. Bruce Nieli, CSP
- NFP in the Parish: Musings of a Generation-X Priest
Rev. John Cihak
- A Look at Couples Who are Required to Attend a NFP Series as Part of Catholic Marriage Preparation
Rose Fuller, M.T.S.
- Coordinators' Corner
"Joyful Promotion of NFP" in the Archdiocese of St. Louis
K. Diane Daly, RN, CNFPE
- NFP Around the World
NFP in Japan
Rev. Anthony Zimmerman, S.T.D.
- News Briefs
This edition of the newsletter was begun in joy as we celebrated the twentieth anniversary of the Apostolic Exhortation, Familiaris consortio. We also were pleased to be featuring a number of articles highlighting clergy and NFP. Although we have much to share with you, the events of September 11 in our nation demand that we pause a moment and raise our voices to God:
Lord God, you made each of us for a full life with you,
Heavenly Father, you grieved over your Son's death on a cross,
Triune God, you are a communion of love,
Source of all wisdom,
God and maker of all,
Awaken in every heart
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
One God, for ever and ever.
National Symposium--Twentieth Anniversary of Familiaris consortio--"A Picture Gallery"
In Arlington, Virginia on August 15-18, some 400 Church leaders met to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the Apostolic Exhortation, Familiaris consortio (FC). The Symposium marked the first time that diocesan directors of Marriage and Family Life offices, NFP Ministry, Pro-Life Activities, and parish Family Life educators met together. The event was sponsored by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee for Marriage and the Family and the Committee for Pro-Life Activities.
Through Marriage and Family Life ministry and diocesan NFP programs, the Church seeks to create strong, healthy and holy families. In offering one of the Symposium Masses, Arlington's bishop, Most Rev. Paul Loverde also added, "We as a Church protect society by creating strong families." We know that if the family functions well, people function well. As Vatican II said, "the well-being of the individual person and of human and Christian society is intimately linked with the healthy condition of that community produced by marriage and the family." (Gaudium et spes, #47)
Catholic teachings on human sexuality, marriage, conjugal love, responsible parenthood and family life are true and timeless. Our age deeply misunderstands these truths, and the Church continually needs to seek ways to help remove the ignorance.
The Symposium was organized to help people on the front lines of this ministry gather fresh insights to continue their work. Using the four tasks of the family as outlined in FC, talks centered on the family as building a communion of persons, giving life, contributing to society, and sharing in the evangelization of the Church. Issues relating to each of these themes were approached from a either a theological, social science, or pastoral perspective. For example, on August 16, Dr. Joseph Atkinson of the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family explored the theology of the communion of persons while Dr. Scott M. Stanley, co-director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies in Denver, used data from social trends to discuss the attack on the value of commitment which is essential for building a communion of persons. Study, group discussion, along with prayer and celebration of the Eucharist encouraged renewal among participants.
The following is a photographic essay of the Symposium.
Symposium audio tapes can be obtained from
6974 Ducketts Lane
Elkridge, MD 21075
A video of Bishop Raymond Burke's address to the NFP participants on August 14, followed by a tribute to the life and ministry of Bishop James T. McHugh is also available.
20th Anniversary of Familiaris Consortio:
Letter of the Holy Father to Most Rev. Joseph A. Fiorenza, Bishop of Galveston-Houston, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
On the occasion of the Symposium to mark the Twentieth Anniversary of the Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, being held on August 15-18, 2001 in Arlington, Virginia, I send warm greetings to all taking part, assuring them of my prayerful support. I thank the organizers of the Symposium, especially Cardinal William Keeler, Chairman of the Committee for Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Bishop Anthony O'Connell, Chairman of the Committee for Marriage and Family Life.
The Church has always been committed to proclaiming God's plan for marriage and the family, and to supporting and strengthening the family institution. In fidelity to that mission, the 1980 Synod of Bishops was devoted to this theme. It was held at a time when families were experiencing increasing difficulties, and sometimes confusion, on account of rapid social change and new pressures and threats. On that occasion, Bishops from all over the world gathered to reaffirm the truth about marriage and the family, and to reflect on ways of assisting families to live in accordance with their specific vocation. The Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, published a year later, reflected the work of the Synod. Intended to be a celebration and reaffirmation of the role of the Christian family in the Church and in the world, the Exhortation placed a strong emphasis on its mission to safeguard, reveal and communicate love (#17). Since its publication, considerable effort has been devoted to developing the theology of marriage and many pastoral initiatives have been undertaken in support of marriage and the family.
Twenty years later, however, the solidity of the institution of the family is still endangered by many insidious forces. The high level of divorce, and widespread acceptance of contraception and abortion, as well as other threats to life, are causes of concern for Bishops and for all who have the good of the family at heart. Clear and convincing teaching regarding the divine plan for marriage and the family, and insistence on the need to protect and strengthen the institution of the family for the well-being of society, are urgent priorities.
God calls every human person into existence through love and for love. Inscribed in the nature of every man and woman is a vocation to love and communion, a vocation which may be realized in marriage or celibacy, each in its own way. The union of a man and a woman in marriage calls for unselfish and generous self-giving on the part of the spouses and for openness to the gift of life. Built on these solid foundations, the family comes into being as an "intimate community of life and love" (Gaudium et spes, 48) and a communion of persons bonded by relations of mutual respect and love.
The fundamental task of the family is to serve life. Couples called to marriage not only have to be open to the gift of new life, but they also have the responsibility of ensuring the human, moral and spiritual education of their children. Spouses need to be vigilant in resisting the many contemporary threats to life and in helping society as a whole to respect, defend and promote the dignity of every human person, "at every moment and in every condition of that person's life" (Evangelium vitae, 81). I encourage initiatives aimed at helping married couples and young people preparing for marriage to undertake these responsibilities, such as catechesis on the true meaning of love and sexuality, training in chastity and personal maturity, and education in responsible procreation in accordance with the Church's teaching.
The Christian family is in a real sense a "domestic church" (Lumen gentium, 11), with parents as the primary educators of their children and the first heralds of the Gospel for them. To parents belongs the mission of handing down the faith by word and example, and of imbuing the family with a spirit of love and reverence for God and others. Since the future of evangelization depends in great part on families, parents have a particular responsibility to bear witness to Jesus Christ and participate actively in the life of the Church. By sharing in the Eucharist, receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation regularly, setting aside time for family prayer and performing practical acts of charity, families will be strengthened in fidelity and unity.
With these thoughts, I encourage those taking part in the Symposium to work together with ever greater zeal in ensuring that families, on whom the future of humanity depends, will always receive the strength and support they need. Commending all involved in the pastoral care of the family to the protection of Mary, Mother of the Redeemer and Mother of the Church, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing.
From Castel Gandolfo, 6 August 2001
John Paul II
20th Anniversary of Familiaris Consortio:
The Anthropological Foundations of Familiaris consortio (Excerpts)
Joseph C. Atkinson
The question ... which stands before us ... is whether or not marriage and the family have a specific immutable structure, or are merely a social reality controlled and defined by political power and advocates of social engineering. The struggle is between two diametrically opposed views of reality. It is the fundamental problem of modern times and has rightly been called the culture war . . . one view leads to the culture of death, the other to the culture of life. In addressing this situation, John Paul II proffers to the world a clear and profound answer . . . showing marriage and family to be a created reality, a gift, which is not self-referential or societally determined, but is rather covenantal and God informed.
In his analysis, the pope identifies four fundamental roles or tasks of the family showing how each is integral to the identity and nature of the family and how each task, when lived out, enables the family to become what it meant to be in the plan of God. Each of these tasks or roles become a lens ... through which we can peer into the very heart of the family and begin to understand its purpose. The four tasks of the family as identified by John Paul II are to
Form a community of persons
Participate in the development of society and
Share in the life and mission of the Church.
The purpose of this presentation is to examine the first of these tasks, namely, forming a community of persons (see Familiaris consortio, sections 18 to 27).
Familiaris consortio was promulgated on Nov. 22, 1981. It followed upon and flows from, the 1980 Synod of Bishops which met to discuss the state of the modern family and ... has become the Church's prophetic word to the world about family. There are three parts to John Paul II's analysis. First, there is the frightening direction to which the modern world has committed itself. Secondly, there is an examination of the corrupt idea of freedom which is fueling this disintegration. These fall under the heading "context." Thirdly, following this, there is John Paul II's response, i.e., his presentation of a Christological vision of man upon which a healthy and healing vision of marriage and family is based.
At a moment of history in which the family is the object of numerous forces that seek to destroy it or in some way to deform it, and aware that the well-being of society and her own good are intimately tied to the good of the family, the Church perceives in a more urgent and compelling way her mission of proclaiming to all people the plan of God for marriage and the family, ensuring their full vitality and human and Christian development, and thus contributing to the renewal of society and of the People of God. (Section 3, p. 13)
It is clear that in the last half of the 20th century the family has come under immense attack by those seeking both to deform and destroy it. In our own time, this process has accelerated with attempts to redefine the very nature of sexuality and marriage seeking to destroy and pervert its essential purposes.... This diminished and fatally flawed view of the human person inevitably leads to extinguishing undesired children in the womb, the right to such depersonalized acts, surrogacy and in vitro fertilization, the killing of unwanted embryos and sadly, as we have just witnessed, using the discarded and desecrated beginnings of human life for experimentation. The Judeo-Christian vision of man has been replaced by a dehumanized scientific vision gone awry.
False Understanding of Freedom
At the root of these negative phenomena (divorce, abortion, sterilization, contraceptive mentality) there frequently lies a corruption of the idea and the experience of freedom, conceived not as a capacity for realizing the truth of God's plan for marriage and the family, but as an autonomous power of self-affirmation, often against others, for one's own selfish well-being. (Section 6, p. 17)
Tragically, human freedom is often understood in terms of independence and separation from God. Freedom here is seen as the capacity to do whatever one chooses- to manipulate reality in whatever fashion the individual desires. . . . As John Paul II shows, human freedom is a gift which is "the capacity for realizing the truth of God's plan." In Familiaris Consortio, he applies this particularly to marriage and invites the world to accept and participate in God's plan for the family. Only by such participation is there freedom.
Love as Informing Principle
It becomes clear that the only way out of the morass of modern society is by going "back to the 'beginning' of God's creative act" (FC, #17). Accordingly, in sections 17-27, Familiaris consortio lays out the principles of what can be termed the adequate anthropology for both the human person and that unique communion of persons called the family. It is only in the discovery of the essential nature of the human person and of the family - as originally constituted by God - that their authentic identity and mission are disclosed.
[T]he essence and role of the family are in the final analysis specified by love. Hence the family has 'the mission to guard, reveal and communicate love,' and this is a living reflection of and a real sharing in God's love for humanity and the love of Christ the Lord for the Church his bride. (FC, #17)
.... God created [family] to be "an intimate community of life and love." But it is not just any type of love. Rather human familial love is to be an imaging forth of, and a real sharing in, the divine love itself. The love within a Christian family is to be an experiencing of the love Christ has for the Church. This is the vocation to which the family is called. It is precisely this divine love which is the foundation of the human family that determines the specific nature of the family.
The Communion of Persons
The first mission of this divine love in the family is to form "an authentic community of persons" (FC, #18).... for an authentic community of persons to emerge, the authentic understanding of love- based on God's revelation- must be recovered. The Scriptures speak of this as the "transformation of our minds" (Rom 12:1). To be authentic, human love must be reflective of, and participate in divine love. Only as our minds and hearts are converted to the truth can marriage and family become what they are meant to be.
What is the nature of this authentic love?
In a world saturated with divorce, in which not only relationships but even human life is disposable, the Gospel's understanding of love and the vocation to which marriage and family are called are both radical and healing. Authentic love (i.e., that which alone allows for the communion of persons) is constituted by unity, indissolubility, and ultimately possesses an ecclesial vocation.
Unity and Conjugal Communion
.... maleness and femaleness, is not "purely biological but concerns the innermost being of the human person as such" (FC, 11). Thus sexuality is not arbitrary or merely accidental but of ontological importance. Love, to be authentic love, must respect this differentiation. It is precisely in the differentiation of male and female that allows for unity. Without giving sexual differentiation its proper valuation, communion/unity would not be possible. Homogenized sexuality collapses in upon itself and the capacity for "total mutual self-giving" (FC 19) is destroyed. As FC states: "This conjugal communion sinks its roots in the natural complementarity that exists between man and woman." The great mystery here is that the two who are fundamentally differentiated become one flesh- a corporate reality.
But even beyond this, the mystery of the two in one flesh is perfected in Christ Jesus. Now, this communion of male and female finally reaches its proper end. It becomes "the living and real image of that unique unity which makes of the Church the indivisible Mystical Body of the Lord Jesus" (FC, #19). In other words, the communion and unity of human marriage (and, by derivation, the family) are to image forth in the world the communion and unity which Christ Jesus has with His Body the Church.... This unity is based on both the equal personal dignity and fundamental differentiation of the man and the woman.
Familiaris consortio reckons with the fact that indissolubility is often rejected and mocked in the modern world. But any love worthy of its name must be indissoluble .... [L]ove is defined as "the personal and total self-giving of the couple" (FC, #20) .... [T]he fruit of such total-self giving is children. Their well being is predicated on the stability of the relationship between the father and mother. Hence, the good of the children require indissolubility .... [T]he meaning of love is found in its divine dimension. Conjugal communion is meant to participate in and image forth "the absolute faithful love that the Lord Jesus has for the Church" (FC, #20) ....
The Ecclesial Nature of the Family
The Christian family constitutes a specific revelation and realization of the ecclesial communion, and for this reason, too, it can and should be called "the domestic Church." (FC, #21)
In Christ, the 'natural and human communion' becomes a 'new and original communion' which now is a part of the Church's mission (FC, #21). The baptized family is by nature a "little church." The family is not just a matter of pastoral concern for the Church. Rather, the family is indeed a vital cell of the Church; indeed its smallest articulation .... On this point, Familiaris consortio has clearly set forth several key anthropological principles which help us to understand the true nature of love, marriage and family.
- The family, both as to its essence and purposes, is specified by love.
- This nature of this love is not subjectively determined, but is a sharing in the Divine Love itself.
- Any love which is authentic is characterized by both unity and indissolubility.
- By its nature, the divine love moves the family towards the forming of a community of persons.
- Each person is made in the image of God and therefore carries irreducible dignity.
- The specificity of our maleness and femaleness is not arbitrary nor accidental, but of fundamental significance.
- The very differentiation of male and femaleness allows for unity and communion.
- Both the equal personal dignity and the fundamental differentiation of men and women must be respected.
- Marriage and family, while having a biological component, are also created to image forth and participate in the love of Christ for the Church.
- In Christ these human realities are made new and possess an ecclesial character and mission.
Most importantly, Familiaris consortio stands against the reductionist tendency of modern thought which rejects the symbolic/spiritual dimension of man. The human person, their very bodies and relationships, are never merely biological, but carry profound, metaphysical significance. They are caught up in the process of salvation history, and in this way, the salvific and ecclesial dimension of marriage and family becomes apparent. Ultimately, Familiaris consortio brings us to the point of decision. Which vision shall we follow? The modern secular vision wherein man replaces God as the center and wherein society determines the structure, the reality, and the purposes of marriage and family, or do we joyously receive the biblical revelation of what man is? We could do no better than Joshua who at the time of the renewal of the covenant with God and as Israel was about to enter the Promised Land said: "As for me and my house, we will follow the Lord."
Dr. Atkinson is a professor at the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and the Family, Washington, D.C.
20th Anniversary of Familiaris Consortio:
The Family's Role in the Development of Society (Excerpts)
Most Rev. Charles Chaput, O.F.M., Cap.
Martin Luther once said, "Don't lie when you pray."
That may sound like an odd place to begin a discussion of how families should share in the building of society. But I think it's exactly the right place. Jesus told His disciples to be a leaven, and to "go make disciples of all nations." He said, "Do not be afraid," and "I will be with you always, to the close of the age." We've been working with that mandate for 2,000 years. So what has the Church accomplished?
First, we wouldn't be here today if God hadn't already done great things through His Church. The Gospel and the sacraments are alive in the world. Millions of people make them the foundation of their daily lives. But second, more people today have never heard the Gospel than at any time in the last 200 years. That's more people both in absolute numbers and as a proportion of the world population. In a way, we've actually lost ground as missionaries. And even among the millions who claim to believe in Jesus Christ, many don't know their faith, or don't really practice it, or just tend to use it to justify their own choices.
.... Unfortunately, too many Christians .... live their convictions as if they were pious cliches. The language of faith gives us the words to comfort ourselves in the face of disappointment or suffering. But many of us never carry Christ beyond that. We're embarrassed to share Him with others. We're afraid to apply His teachings to our economy or our politics. And that suits modern secular culture very well, because privatized faith has no public consequences. The trouble with such faith is this: It's a form of lying. It's hypocrisy. The greatest enemy of Jesus Christ in every age doesn't come in the shape of the world or the flesh or the devil. It's the lukewarm faith of His disciples. If we want to know why the world isn't won for Christ, take a good look in the mirror.
Henri Bergson once said, "If you want to know a man, don't listen to what he says; watch what he does." .... God didn't make us to be "good enough" Catholics. He made us to be saints. He made us for greatness and heroism. Every human heart, Christian or not, instinctively knows that. St. Irenaeus once wrote that, "the glory of God is man fully alive." God calls each of us to humanize and transform the world, and if we don't live life that way, people will seek meaning elsewhere, in counterfeits. . . . The witness you and I give in our daily lives has consequences beyond anything we can imagine. Example is powerful. That's why the historian Christopher Lasch once said that "an honest atheist is always to be preferred to a [dishonest] Christian."
Real religious faith has nothing do with pious cliches, and it's never primarily centered on the self. On some level our faith should make us restless and uncomfortable, like a good infection. Karl Barth said that "to clasp hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the world." John Paul II tells us again and again that our Christian vocation is to take part in a struggle for the soul of the contemporary world. Real faith has very serious public consequences. It's always personal, but never private. And it always seeks to change the world.
OK, how does any of this relate to Familiaris Consortio, and especially to Nos. 42-48? Let me answer that with another question. How many of you have had someone tell you, "What marvelous work the Church does in housing the homeless, feeding the poor, and helping migrant workers; it's too bad she's so hung up on the sex stuff." Buried in a remark like that is the idea that over here, Catholics have all this wonderful social doctrine--but over there Catholics have a slightly nutty fixation on abortion, contraception, and monogamous heterosexual marriages. And if somehow Catholics could just lighten up on the sex issues, the world would open its heart to our social teaching. But it can't happen. It could never happen--because the issues surrounding sexuality and the family connect intimately with the dignity of the human person. And the dignity of the human person is what all Catholic teaching seeks to advance. We learn this first and most fruitfully in the "school of love" which is the family. We can't remove abortion and contraception from our priorities in Catholic social teaching anymore than we can forget about our duty to ensure proper food, clothing and shelter for children once they're born.
Vatican II described the family as "the first and vital cell of society" (AA, #11). It stressed that "the well being of the individual person and of both human and Christian society is closely bound up with the healthy state of conjugal and family life" (GS, #47). But let's go back even further, to 1891, and reread Rerum Novarum; then after that to Quadragesimo Anno; and Mater et Magistra; Pacem in Terris, Populorum Progressio, LaboremExercens, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, Centesimus Annus, right through to Evangelium Vitae in 1995. Again and again, over a hundred year period, we see the family either explicitly or implicitly present as a key element in all the social teaching of the Church. Here's just one example. Paul VI's great encyclical, Populorum Progressio, focuses mainly on issues of international development. But it includes this line: "The natural family, stable and monogamous--as fashioned by God and sanctified by Christianity--'in which different generations live together, helping each other to acquire greater wisdom and to harmonize personal rights with other social needs, is the basis of society'" (#36). Why add that reflection in a document on global development? Because as the U.S. bishops observed two years ago in their statement on Everyday Christianity, "Our families are the starting point and the center of the vocation for justice." The habits we learn and live in the family are the habits we bring to the public square, and finally to the world arena.
So let's take a look at what Nos. 42-48 actually say. Then we can turn to some implications for families. The message of this section of Familiaris Consortio is simple. I can sum it up in a saying I first heard as a child: "The greatest gift a father can give his children is to love their mother." What separates Catholic social teaching from every revolutionary movement for justice is the rejection of violence and the affirmation of the power of love. Real love--love that involves a complete commitment to understand and meet the real needs of the person we love--is very hard work. Nothing is more demanding, and nothing takes more care and self-sacrifice, than love within a family. Loving "humanity" is easy. Loving family members, friends and neighbors as God wants them to be loved, day in and day out--that's what separates the wheat from the chaff. Words are cheap. Actions matter. And nowhere is that truer than within a family.
No. 42 has two key points. First, "it is from the family that citizens come to birth, and within the family that they find the first school of the social virtues that are the animating principle of the existence and development of society itself." What are those virtues? Justice, charity and a love for freedom and truth as God means freedom and truth to be understood. Second, "far from being closed in on itself, the family is by nature and vocation open to other families and to society, and undertakes its social role." This means that families can't be fortresses or enclaves. God created us to engage and sanctify the world, not withdraw from it.
No. 43 describes the family as "the most effective means for humanizing and personalizing society." The family builds up the world "by making possible a life that is, properly speaking, human." This reminds me of a passage in Pius XI's 1937 encyclical, Mit Brennender Sorge. Pope Pius wrote this encyclical to contest the Third Reich's persecution of the Church in Germany, and the Nazi harassment of Catholic young people, families and schools. He wrote that, "every true and lasting reform has ultimately sprung from the sanctity of men who were driven by the love of God and of men" (#33). He said that "personal sanctification" is the crucial first step to sanctifying the world by extending the kingdom of God. And that makes perfect sense. Most of us learn how to seek God and hunger for holiness from our parents and within our families.
Familiaris Consortio encourages families to become involved in forms of social service, especially those which favor the poor; to cultivate the practice of hospitality and to engage themselves politically. The Pope especially encourages families to "be the first to take steps to see that the laws and institutions of the state not only do not offend, but support and positively defend the rights and duties of the family." The Pope also reminds us that in many places around the world, the family is under siege from a hostile society and state. And in response to these abuses, he outlines a charter of 14 family rights that range from the right to political and economic security, to freedom of education, of worship and of movement to seek better living conditions.
John Paul II closes this section of Familiaris Consortio by reminding us that "[I]nsofar as it is a 'small-scale church,' the Christian family is called upon, like the 'large-scale church,' to be a sign of unity to the world, and in this way to exercise its prophetic role by bearing witness to the kingdom and peace of Christ, toward which the whole world is journeying." In other words, in the name of Jesus Christ, every Catholic must in some sense be an internationalist--and so must every Catholic family....
C. S. Lewis once wrote that "There is no neutral ground in the universe; every square inch, every split second, is claimed by God and counter-claimed by Satan." John Paul II once said that, "Against the spirit of the world, the Church takes up anew--each day--[a] struggle for the soul of the world." And the great French theologian, Henri de Lubac, once wrote that "The Gospel warns us that salt can lose its flavor. And if we--that is, most of us--live more or less in peace in the midst of the world, it is perhaps because we are lukewarm."
God doesn't need lukewarm Christians. He doesn't want lukewarm families. The mission of the Church is sanctifying the world; and all of us as her sons and daughters--especially those of us responsible for forming and nourishing families--share in her mission. "Go and make disciples of all nations" is still the mandate. So let's pray honestly, work honestly, love honestly and live honestly so that others will see and believe.
2000 Diocesan NFP Program - National Profile - Summary
Very Rev. Robert R. Cannon, J.C.L.
In November of 2000, 189 Profile questionnaires were mailed to dioceses. One hundred eighteen or almost two-thirds (62%) of the dioceses completed and returned questionnaires. This represents the largest baseline data on NFP programs throughout the nation, since the Profile began in 1990. As in previous years, the data indicates that certain aspects remain unchanged concerning NFP programs with a slight improvement in a few areas.
- In almost every diocese, there is a person designated as the NFP coordinator. Often this responsibility is only one of many jobs performed by the person, e.g., marriage and family life director. A significant fact is that 82 percent of NFP coordinators are trained in NFP methodology.
- Forty-eight percent of dioceses allocated less than a $5,000 for NFP efforts. Sixty percent of NFP diocesan programs operate on less than $10,000 per year. Twelve percent of diocesan programs spend from $10,000 to $29,000 annually. Nearly 25 percent of dioceses allocate from $30,000 to more than $70,000 for their NFP programs. Well-funded diocesan NFP programs usually rely on various forms of federal and state grants to supplement diocesan funding. There are some dioceses where NFP instruction is covered by insurance plans. In most dioceses, a typical arrangement is for an NFP program to share the funding, material, and staff support of an umbrella department, e.g., Marriage and Family Life Office.
- The majority of diocesan marriage preparation programs make at least some effort to provide rudimentary NFP information to engaged couples, e.g., booklets and fact-sheets. Through NFP introductory sessions, more than 120,485 individuals received information on NFP. The time given to NFP is not lengthy, in 68 percent of Pre-Cana programs, it is less than one hour. There has been slight improvement in the amount of time given to NFP in marriage preparation programs. 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. Sometimes, NFP is barely mentioned in Pre-Cana programs, e.g., literature is simply given to couples without discussion. Only one diocese requires a complete course of instruction in NFP as part of their comprehensive marriage preparation program.
- Across the nation, more than 21,062 individuals received a course of instruction in NFP.
- The Sympto-Thermal Method (STM) and Ovulation Method(OM) are the most preferred methods of NFP. A variety of NFP national, regional and local provider groups are used by dioceses.
- The majority of diocesan NFP teachers, 52 percent, are volunteers. A few dioceses, 27 percent, provide stipends to volunteer teachers to cover personal costs, e.g., transportation, baby sitter, materials, etc.
- From the dioceses surveyed, there are more than 2,200 NFP teachers across the nation. They represent a huge resource for the teaching of human sexuality within a faith context.
Finally, regardless of the diocese, the single most compelling pastoral question when examining diocesan NFP efforts is "Can couples who wish to be faithful to Church teaching on responsible parenthood get the NFP help they need?" The answer to this baseline question will determine how best to plan and support local diocesan NFP Ministry.
Rev. Robert R. Cannon, J.C.L. is the Judicial Vicar for the Diocese of Venice.
Gratitude is extended to the following dioceses which provided data for the 2000 Profile survey
Albany; Alexandria; Anchorage; Arlington; Atlanta; Austin; Baker; Baton Rouge; Beaumont; Birmingham; Bismark; Boise; Boston; Bridgeport; Brooklyn; Buffalo; Burlington; Camden; Chicago; Charlotte; Cincinnati; Cleveland; Columbus; Corpus Christi; Covington; Crookston; Davenport; Detroit; Dodge City; Duluth; El Paso; Erie; Evansville; Fall River; Fargo; Fort Wayne; Gaylord; Grand Rapids; Great Falls-Billings; Harrisburg; Hartford; Helena; Honolulu; Houma-Thibodaux; Indianapolis; Jackson; Jefferson City; Juneau; Kalamazoo; Kansas City-St. Joseph; Knoxville; La Crosse; Lafayette, LA; Lafayette, IN.; Lake Charles; Lexington; Lincoln; Little Rock; Los Angeles; Louisville; Madison; Manchester; Marquette, MI; Memphis; Metuchen; Miami; Milwaukee; Mobile; Newark; New Orleans; New York; Norwich; Oakland; Oklahoma City; Ogdensburg; Omaha; Orange; Owensboro; Palm Beach; Pensacola-Tallahassee; Peoria; Philadelphia; Phoenix; Pittsburgh; Portland, OR; Providence; Raleigh; Rapid City; Richmond; Rockford; Sacramento; St. Cloud; St. Louis; St. Paul and Minneapolis; St. Petersburg; Salt Lake City; San Antonio; Savannah; Santa Fe; Schreveport; Scranton; Seattle; Sioux City; Spokane; Springfield, IL; Springfield, MA; Springfield-Cape Girardeau; Superior; Syracruse; Toledo; Trenton; Tucson; Tulsa; Washington D.C.; Wheeling-Charleston; Wichita; Winona and Yakima.
Holy Father's Address to International Congress of
Catholic Obstetricians and Gynecologists--June 18, 2001
In June 2001, Pope John Paul II addressed an international assembly of Catholic doctors in Rome. The Holy Father underscored the need to work "to ensure that the right to professional training and practice that is respectful of conscience in law and in practice is guaranteed." This is of paramount importance. On Friday, September 7, 2001, Congress held hearings on mandatory health insurance coverage of contraceptives. The USCCB is actively monitoring this situation and will work for "conscience clause" language should a bill be brought before our government leaders.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen.
I warmly welcome your visit on the occasion of the International Congress of Catholic Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, at which you are reflecting upon your future in the light of the fundamental right to medical training and practice according to conscience. Through you, I greet all those health workers who, as servants and guardians of life, bear unceasing witness throughout the world to the presence of Christ's Church in this vital field, especially when human life is threatened by the burgeoning culture of death. In particular, I thank professor Gian Luigi Gigli for his kind words on your behalf, and I greet Professor Robert Walley, co-organizer of your meeting.
Christian obstetricians, gynaecologists and obstetric nurses are always called to be servants and guardians of life, for "the Gospel of life is at the heart of Jesus' message. Lovingly received day after day by the Church, it is to be preached with dauntless fidelity as 'good news' to the people of every age and culture" (Evangelium vitae, #1). But your profession has become still more important and your responsibility still greater "in today's cultural and social context, in which science and the practice of medicine risk losing sight of their inherent ethical dimension, [and] health-care professionals can be strongly tempted at times to become manipulators of life, or even agents of death" (EV, #89).
Until quite recently, medical ethics in general and Catholic morality were rarely in disagreement. Without problems of conscience, Catholic doctors could generally offer patients all that medical science afforded. But this has now changed profoundly. The availability of contraceptive and abortive drugs, new threats to life in the laws of some countries, some of the uses of prenatal diagnosis, the spread of invitro fertilization techniques, the consequent production of embryos to deal with sterility, but also their destination to scientific research, the use of embryonic stem cells for the development of tissue for transplants to cure degenerative diseases, and projects of full or partial cloning, already done with animals: all of these have changed the situation radically.
Moreover, conception, pregnancy and childbirth are no longer understood as ways of cooperating with the Creator in the marvelous task of giving life to a new human being. Instead they are often perceived as a burden and even as an ailment to be cured, rather than being seen as a gift from God.
Inevitably Catholic obstetricians and gynaecologists and nurses are caught up in these tensions and changes. They are exposed to a social ideology which asks them to be agents of a concept of "reproductive health" based on new reproductive technologies. Yet despite the pressure upon their conscience, many still recognize their responsibility as medical specialists to care for the tiniest and weakest of human beings, and to defend those who have no economic or social power, or public voice of their own.
The conflict between social pressure and the demands of right conscience can lead to the dilemma either of abandoning the medical profession or of compromising one's conviction. Faced with that tension, we must remember that there is a middle path which opens up before Catholic health workers who are faithful to their conscience. It is the path of conscientious objection, which ought to be respected by all, especially legislators.
In striving to serve life, we must work to ensure that the right to professional training and practice that is respectful of conscience in law and in practice is guaranteed. It is clear, as I noted in my Encyclical, Evangelium vitae, that "Christians, like all people of good will, are called upon under grave obligation of conscience not to cooperate formally in practices which, even if permitted by civil legislation, are contrary to God's law. Indeed, from the moral standpoint, it is never licit to cooperate formally in evil (#74). Wherever the right to train for and practice medicine with respect for one's moral convictions is violated, Catholics must earnestly work for redress.
In particular, Catholic universties and hospitals are called to follow the directives of the Church's Magisterium in every aspect of obstetric and gynaecological practice, including research involving embyros. They should also offer a qualified and internationally recognized teaching network, in order to help doctors who are subject to discriminatioin or unacceptable pressure on their moral convictions to specialize in obstetrics and gynaecology.
It is my fervent hope that at the beginning of this new millennium, all Catholic medical and health care personnel, whether in research or practice, will commit themselves whole-heartedly to the service of human life. I trust that the local Churches will give due attention to the medical profession, promoting the ideal of unambiguous service to the great miracle of life, supporting obstetricians, gynaecologists and health workers who respect the right to life by helping to bring them together for mutual support and the exchange of ideas and experiences.
Entrusting you and your mission as guardians and servants of life to the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing to you and to all who work with you in bearing witness to the Gospel of life.
Dr. Hanna Klaus, an attendee of the above International Congress, will deliver a presentation on the Congress during the June 20-22, 2002 national conference,"Integrating Faith and Science through NFP." The conference is co-hosted by the DDP and Marquette University College of Nursing's Institute for NFP. For more information contact: DDP, 202-541-3240 or MINFP, 414-288-3838.
Preaching NFP--Why Not?"
I am often asked "Why don't we hear about Natural Family Planning (NFP) from the pulpit?" The question is practical. Most Catholics agree that husbands and wives need to responsibly plan their families, but few understand why the Church prohibits contraception and few know about NFP. The pulpit may be the best means for Catholics to learn what the Church teaches and why.
Why don't priests preach on NFP? The top three reasons priests give me are: 1) they must preach on the daily Mass readings; 2) NFP is an awkward topic for a sermon in a mixed congregation; and 3) their comfort level may not extend that far. This third point can take in diverse factors. They may be unfamiliar with the science of NFP. They may have done little serious reading on the theology which supports the use of NFP. They may have no personal friendships with couples who practice NFP or have an innate "shyness" about sexual matters. I've never met a priest who has rejected the truth of the teachings. I have met some priests who "question" the teachings, but their questions are prompted mostly by a lack of information, not a rejection of the faith.
One priest explained this silence very well. "It's not some conscious clerical plot of silence on the topic," he said. "Priests are practical. They like to speak on issues they know a lot about or have personal experience with. Unless they study, pray, reflect on this issue, and have NFP couples witness to them, they won't get it. They are men; they don't have fertility cycles and aren't married to someone who does. They need help."
What to do? Education. Education. Education. Each of the objections listed above can be overcome by providing clergy with solid information on NFP. The diocesan NFP office is the logical place to start. A diocesan NFP coordinator can plan and implement clergy education. If a diocese does not have a NFP coordinator, interested and informed people can plan activities together and solicit the support of a pastor in a large parish.
Education can take many forms. Direct mailings of brochures or audio tapes can be sent to priests. Full or half-day educational events can be planned. A series of brief lectures can be offered throughout a year. Planned visits to parishes can be scheduled for more candid, one-on-one conversation. Informal dinners should not be overlooked. They can provide a casual atmosphere for significant discussion. Whatever the format, the content of NFP education must address all aspects of the issue: theological/pastoral, scientific/behavioral, and physical/emotional. First impressions are also critical. Keep in mind that the tone of NFP education should be positive. Say, "God designed human fertility wonderfully so that men and women can join Him in planning their families." Once the good idea has been said, then bring up the negative-- "Contraceptive use assaults God's plan for us." NFP education always must be set within the greater context of the Church's vision of the human person, sexuality, conjugal love and responsible parenthood. When God's design for life and love is presented in all its beauty, it is seen as desirable. When Catholics embrace God's will, they will reject contraception (and other sexually related ills), out of love and understanding.
The science of NFP must be presented with all its strengths and weaknesses, but beginning with NFP's strengths is essential. Few couples understand their combined fertility. NFP provides that education. Research confirms that the Sympto-Thermal and Ovulation methods of NFP are almost 97% effective for avoiding pregnancy. Couples need to know this is reliable research. On the negative side, many couples may find abstinence during the fertile period difficult. NFP teachers need to be sensitive to this. Couples also need to know that NFP "user effectiveness" rates drop to a range from 80%-90%. This wider range reflects the importance of couple behavior as well as the quality of teaching they received. NFP promoters can't do much about a couple's behavior, but improving diocesan NFP services and strengthening the training of NFP teachers is within our reach. All of this can be explained to priests.
Priests also need accurate information on the actions, side-effects and risks of contraceptives. Probably few priests know how these devices and chemicals work and have little understanding of the abortifacient actions of hormonal "contraceptives." Priests need to learn and reflect on how contraceptives negatively affect the physical, emotional and spiritual health of a couple. Related social issues need to be studied like the epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases and rates of unintended pregnancies (which often result in abortion). Priests need to see that counseling the individual couple on sexual issues has a public dimension.
When ongoing education on NFP and related issues is offered for priests, the topic will no longer be unpreachable. An informed priest will find many opportunities to preach on NFP in the day's readings. For example, if the readings speak of "God's Covenant with the Israelites," he can apply that to the marital covenant whereby a man and a woman become one flesh. It would then be logical to explain why introducing artificial contraception is an affront to that covenant. If scripture highlights the problem of worshiping idols, an NFP-educated priest can speak of the false sexual idols which our society promotes. He can preach about the beauty of human sexuality as part of God's plan to give us real freedom and happiness. When a priest is a friend of an NFP couple, he can share their positive experiences with his congregation. A confident priest knows the ways to provide just enough detail to move his parishioners to listen and to get them to open their hearts.
One last word--strong NFP educational outreach to priests should include information on where couples can go to learn the methods of NFP. Scheduled classes or home study programs should be made available to all engaged and married couples. NFP education and services go hand in hand. When all these components work together our priests will be well equipped to help Catholic couples follow God's design for life and love.
This article was first published in Life Issues Forum, a nationally syndicated column produced by the Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities, USCCB.
Natural Family Planning: A Foundational Instrument of Evangelization
Rev. Bruce Nieli, C.S.P.
One might ask, "What does natural family planning have to do with evangelization, and vice versa?" As the title of this article suggests, the relationship is fundamental.
As a full-time evangelist, I have held as a long-time mentor the godfather of contemporary Catholic evangelization--Pope Paul VI. Pope Paul's apostolic exhortation, On Evangelization in the Modern World (Evangelii nuntiandi), promulgated in 1975, was the principal document that launched a revival of evangelistic awareness in international Catholicism. A key definition is found in paragraph 18:
For the Church, evangelizing means bringing the Good News into all the strata of humanity, and through its influence transforming humanity from within and making it new. ...But there is no new humanity if there are not first of all new persons renewed by Baptism and by lives lived according to the Gospel. The purpose of evangelization is precisely this interior change, and if it had to be expressed in one sentence, the best way of stating it would be to say that the Church evangelizes when she seeks to convert, solely through the divine power of the Message she proclaims, both the personal and collective consciences of people, the activities in which they engage, and the lives and concrete milieux which are theirs.
Notice the holistic approach of the Holy Father. Evangelization touches all aspects of life. The goal is conversion--applying the Gospel to all elements of life and thus making life more Christ-centered and holy:
Strata of humanity which are transformed: for the Church it is a question not only of preaching the Gospel in ever wider geographical areas or to ever greater numbers of people, but also of affecting and as it were upsetting, through the power of the Gospel, mankind's criteria of judgment, determining values, points of interest, lines of thought, sources of inspiration and models of life, which are in contrast with the Word of God and the plan of salvation. (On Evangelization in the Modern World, #19)
In a nutshell, what the Holy Father is speaking about is the desperate need for a transformation of culture:
All this could be expressed in the following words: what matters is to evangelize man's culture and cultures (not in a purely decorative way, as it were by applying a thin veneer, but in a vital way, in depth and right to their very roots), in the wide and rich sense which these terms have in Gaudium et Spes, always taking the person as one's starting point and always coming back to the relationships of people among themselves and with God. (On Evangelization in the Modern World, #20)
What could be more at the "very roots" of culture and "relationships of people among themselves and with God" than marriage and parenthood?! It is here that Pope Paul VI's other landmark document, On Human Life (Humanae vitae), written seven years before On Evangelization in the Modern World, comes into play.
I am of the opinion that it is no accident that the same holy and prophetic man wrote both letters. There is a connection and a consistency--a spirituality. Humanae vitae is a document that inspires personal and conjugal conversion and, at the same time, the transformation of culture. It therefore promotes evangelization in the most total sense of the word, the sense contained in Evangelii nuntiandi.
Humanae vitae includes a spirituality and ascetical/mystical teaching for couples similar to that of St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 7: 5--that periodic abstinence fosters devotion to mutual prayer. Mysticism and prayer must be the source of evangelical outreach, and mystical union must be the summit of such outreach--union with God and with one another in God. Since marriage and the family are the building blocks of civilization, such a spirituality of evangelization has implications in the wider culture. Holy matrimonies and holy families build holy nations.
When we ease up on such prayerful bonding and loosen up too much on natural law, society is in for trouble. This is why Pope Paul speaks of the Church as a sign of contradiction. She is truly counter-cultural in a culture increasingly bombarded by immoral voices. Thus the Church has a marvelous opportunity to be a leaven for a "true civilization among men":
She (the Church) encourages man not to abdicate human duties by overreliance on technology. In this way she safeguards the dignity of spouses. Devoted to the example and teaching of the Divine Savior, the Church shows her sincere and generous love for men as she strives to help them, even during their earthly pilgrimage, 'to share as sons and daughters the life of the living God, the Father of all men'." (Humanae vitae, #23)
How prophetic! At a time when this nation is seriously considering the Draculesque possibility of stem cell research requiring the killing of unborn children, one sees clearly the horrific potential of "overreliance on technology" without God. Indeed, Humanae vitae predicted a general lowering of morality accompanying the widespread use of contraception. This lowering of morality included a sexual revolution (really a sexual regression) that brought with it much unwanted pregnancy and abortion, sexual exploitation, broken marriages, and broken persons.
In this sense, Paul VI is a precursor to the theology of that other prophetic Pope, John Paul II. Pope John Paul's notion of the language of the body in conjugal love as one of total commitment is akin to Pope Paul's understanding of the holistic connection between spirituality and sexuality in Humanae vitae. John Paul's encouragement of education in natural family planning reflects this total vision of self-giving.
At the first stage of life, centers for natural methods of regulating fertility should be promoted as a valuable help in responsible parenthood, in which all individuals, and in the first place the child, are recognized and respected in their own right, and where every decision is guided by the ideal of the sincere gift of self." (Evangelium vitae, #88)
In this way married couples in love with Jesus, the Church, and each other will want to "share their experience with other spouses" (Humanae vitae, #26). Natural Family Planning, as I have observed through years of pastoral experience, forms couples that are ardently evangelistic. Such marriages will transform a culture of death into a culture of life and a civilization of love. The Gospel of Jesus will be brought into all strata of humanity beginning at humanity's earliest stages. And the nation will be evangelized.
NFP in the Parish: Musings of a Generation-X Priest
Rev. John Cihak, S.T.L.
One of the most intense joys and greatest challenges in being a parish priest has been presenting the Church's teaching on conjugal love and Natural Family Planning (NFP). Ordained three years ago, I have spent the past two years in a parish situated in the beautiful Rogue Valley in southern Oregon. The town is medium sized (about 25,000) and essentially blue collar, although in recent years has attracted many living in retirement. I was born in 1970. An expert in math is not required to figure out that the author was conceived under the culturally tall shadow of the Pill. Consequently my own existence has a stake in the Gospel teaching concerning artificial contraception. I have always been convinced of the intrinsic evil of artificial contraception, and see as an important part of my priesthood teaching the truth presented in Humanae vitae and encouraging NFP. Perhaps the grown-ups of a previous generation could hedge on the morality of artificial contraception. But then again, they were already born. Those of us from more recent generations have a vested interest.
In this article I would like to focus on two areas where I have seen NFP have an impact on parochial life: preparing engaged couples for marriage, and influencing the thinking of high school youth. I would like to share with the reader some of the breakthroughs surrounding Humanae vitae in my ministry. Other priests may be having different and perhaps more difficult experiences than mine, nevertheless, I hope my stories will be encouraging.
"A Marriage Prep. Story"
Josh and Stacey (names have been changed) were in their early twenties and came to begin their marriage preparation. Stacey was a fallen away Catholic and Josh was raised without any faith. I discovered in our initial meeting (without surprise) that they were cohabitating. Yet, I also discovered that they were not hostile to the Church. They said they were cohabitating simply because that's "what couples do" in twenty-first century America. I have found that the case of two practicing Catholics coming forward to be married in the Church is the exception rather than the norm. Even if they happen to be practicing Catholics, they likely cannot articulate Jesus' understanding of marriage and conjugal love as taught by the Church. They may have heard "the rules" of the Catholic Church, but have not yet heard the inner coherence of the teaching and how it flows directly from the nature of God. Josh and Stacey's catechetical state was such that they didn't even know "the rules." At first glance, this may strike one as discouraging. I see it as an inviting challenge.
When preparing a couple for marriage I always begin where they are and with who God is. The teachings of the Church are more readily heard and accepted if they are patiently, tirelessly and explicitly linked to the God of absolute love. This is especially critical with regard to our teachings about conjugal love. Only when God is known as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who from all eternity do not cling to their divine nature, but ceaselessly and totally pour themselves out into the other, does the Church's teaching about conjugal love begin to make sense. This is a "relational" reality which needs to be made "personal" and linked to the couple's love for each other.
Fortunately, for those who care to investigate, much statistical data is now available exposing the lie of artificial contraception (e.g., contraceptive use linked with rise in demand for abortion, health risks for women, rise in sexually transmitted diseases, etc.). In an information age, however, many couples have never heard of the dark side of contraception. Discussing this information can be helpful in moving couples to reconsider their often unexamined acceptance of artificial contraception. That said, my most fruitful discussions continue to be those based on faith. When couples reflect upon God as Blessed Trinity, man and woman as created in His image, and that they are called to live His life of total, self-giving love, they become open to the truth of the Church's teachings on conjugal love and responsible parenthood.
In that first session with Josh and Stacey, we delicately discussed their situation, what sin is, who God is and why it would be a very good idea for them to separate until their honeymoon. Throughout these kinds of discussions with couples, I make a constant effort never to fall into an adversarial position. I constantly reiterate that "I want what is best" for them. By their openness, and the obvious work of the Holy Spirit, Josh and Stacey reluctantly agreed to separate. I assured them that if they trusted the truth taught by the Church, they would not be disappointed. Since they lived in a different city, I could not continue their marriage preparation, and so entrusted it to a brother priest. He continued the preparation and found them cooperative, even when it came to NFP.
Josh and Stacey's wedding took place in my parish. On the evening of the rehearsal, they spoke with me to thank me for that first session--as difficult as it was. They indeed stayed separated during their preparation and soon found that they had to face issues in their relationship, issues that were being ignored during their cohabitation. The emotional and physical distance allowed them to see their relationship more clearly. Because they trusted in this case, they were willing to trust the Church on NFP. I have heard that they now regularly attend Mass at their parish and even participate in the parish's Eucharistic Adoration.
"Reaching the Next Generation"
For many of my generation and younger, the message of the Gospel sounds incredibly new. Many of them have never really heard it. And our teachings on conjugal love and responsible parenthood are rarely understood. Many of my generation come from very small families (1-2 children) often broken by divorce. One young woman said to me, "Father, I don't know much about marriage, but I do know that I never want to get divorced." "I grew up in a divorced home," she continued, "and I hated it." "Even as a seven year old I knew that this shouldn't be happening." We need to help our youth.
I have been amazed at the interest I have found among teenagers in the Church's teaching on love, marriage and sex. Recently, I offered a short course for our parish Confirmation program. The course, "God, Sex and Marriage," was conceived as a type of "pre-pre-marriage" instruction. Because of my work with engaged couples, I saw a need to help shape people's thinking well before they present themselves for marriage instruction. Education in chastity while an adolescent provides the necessary foundation for practicing NFP in marriage in the future. Fifteen high school students attended the four, one-hour sessions. It consisted of an abbreviated version of Christopher West's audio tapes on John Paul II's Theology of the Body (Naked Without Shame). The truths presented seemed to resonate with the students. I had suspected that some in the class were probably trying to come to terms with choices they had already made. Many of them were aware of the "selfishness" that they breathe in the cultural air or even have seen in their parents' behavior. The Theology of the Body, however, provided them with a mental road map out of that type of negative behavior.
One pastoral principle I have adopted is not to underestimate what youth can grasp, nor to underestimate their openness to the truth. During the discussion, many of them agreed that people know the "how" of human sexuality, but very few understand what it means. I used with them the simple analogy of a chain saw. One can be given a chain saw, and shown how to use it. One can examine the saw inside and out, understand the intricacies of how it is powered, understand how the chain turning on the blade makes it an effective instrument for cutting. "But," I then asked, "what if I then take the chain saw and try to cut a power line?" Disaster will ensue. Why? Because I have not understood the purpose of the saw (its telos), that it is used to cut only wood. I misused the gift, and by misusing the gift, I have ended up injured. Similarly, understanding how human sexuality works is not sufficient. One must know its meaning, that it is a gift to be put in the service of love. In order for sexuality to serve love it must always aim for two ends which can never be separated: union of the spouses and openness to the procreation of children. Again, this teaching only begins to make sense when one begins with the nature of God as a communion of persons.
The youth in my class recognized the inner coherence of the Church's teaching about sexuality. What was pleasantly surprising is that after the sessions I announced that they had fulfilled the requirements for the Confirmation course and could go. I cautioned them, however, that only now were we ready to delve into Humanae vitae. I said I would be happy to meet next week for the purpose of going through the encyclical paragraph by paragraph. The following Wednesday, ten showed up! Although, at this level, we never went through the details of NFP, the necessary foundation of thinking was established.
Fissures in the lie of artificial contraception as necessary and good are showing, even among the unchurched. The most rewarding encounters in teaching the truth of conjugal love have been through a kind of via negativa: The sexual disaster in America since the late 1960s has actually opened up a willingness to hear and embrace the Church's timeless teaching. More people are willing to listen to some fresh thinking. I hope this encourages other priests to have the patience and creativity to present this essential message of the Gospel. We can trust that the truth contains within itself the power to convince the listener. What may surprise older Catholics is that the Church's teaching on conjugal love and contraception strike young people as radical and new, a message that is believable. I hope to spend the rest of my life as a priest lovingly and relentlessly teaching the Church's beautiful message on conjugal love. After all, I have a vested interest.
Rev. John Cihak, S.T.L. is Formation Director and an adjunct professor of theology at Mt. Angel Seminary, Oregon.
A Look at Couples Who are Required to Attend a NFP Series as Part of Catholic Marriage Preparation
Rose Fuller, M.T.S.
"We wouldn't have gone if Father didn't make us. We are so glad to have learned Natural Family Planning (NFP) though. We are very excited to use it in our marriage," comments a couple who was required to attend a series of Natural Family Planning classes. The Diocesan Development Program for Natural Family Planning annually surveys dioceses on the implementation of NFP. The Diocesan NFP Program Profile 1998 Summary revealed that 78% of the pre-cana programs provide less than 45 minutes to NFP. Some parishes, on the other hand, include NFP as a required aspect of their marriage preparation program. It is important to understand the impact such an intervention has on couples who must enroll in a series of classes in order to be married in the Catholic Church.
A question many ask in the field of NFP and marriage preparation is how do couples respond when they are "forced" to learn NFP. Quite frankly when some local pastors made a decision to send their couples to our NFP program as part of their routine marriage preparation, I was less than enthused. I imagined tables filled with cross-armed, scowling couples. While there have been a few of those, the majority of the couples are pleasantly surprised to learn about NFP. As you will see from our survey results, a fair number plan to use it – more than one would expect from a mere introductory presentation. Common comments range from "We can do this" to "We will definitely be back in touch when we're going to start a family," to "Once we're married, I want off the pill and I'd like to use NFP." While these couples may not be completely embracing a proper understanding of Christian marriage and sexuality, they are at least on the road to its discovery.
In order to better understand client NFP usage and satisfaction, Northwest Family Services (NWFS) has been routinely surveying its clients one-year after they first learned NFP. The information gathered through this instrument enables NWFS to examine the response of couples participating in NFP instruction as a marriage preparation requirement, in comparison with the responses of those couples self-selecting into the instruction.
NWFS offers a series of instruction in the Sympto-Thermal Method of NFP including eight hours of interactive classroom education along with private follow-up for each couple. A standard follow-up survey is routinely mailed to all participants one year after entry into the NFP class series. These results are from self-reports of the respondents who attended a series between 1990 and 1997.
This review will look at the similarities and differences (e.g., demographics, attitudes, and use of NFP) comparing two cohorts attending Natural Family Planning class series with NWFS. Cohort One is the group of women/couples who self-select into the series to learn the method to either achieve or avoid a pregnancy or to increase self-knowledge. Cohort Two is the group women/couples who are required to attend a series of classes in order to marry in the Catholic Church. These findings should be helpful as (arch)dioceses establish policies regarding the extent of NFP provision as part of the marriage preparation programs.
- Less than 5 percent of the general population uses NFP. When couples are exposed to the benefits of NFP in a particular way, what percent will elect to use it?
- Are there demographic differences between people who self-select NFP services and those who are required?
- Are there differences in the motivation to chart and use NFP between those who are self- selected and those who are required?
- Is there a difference in the level of satisfaction with NFP between those who self-select and those who are required?
Married = 95% with average length 4.54 years.
Average # children =1
Degree or more
Religious Preference: Catholic
Married = 96% with average length 1.17 years.
Average # children =.02
Degree or more
Religious Preference: Catholic
Some interesting findings are that Cohort Two (required) tended to be slightly younger on the average and more likely to be Catholic with similar education than Cohort One. When asked why they use NFP, 41% of Cohort One selected dissatisfied with artificial birth control whereas 26% of Cohort Two selected that reason.
One Year Follow-Up
The survey contains basic demographic questions, charting details, use and pregnancy information, and satisfaction levels with NFP and the instruction. All clients are entered into the data base when they first begin NFP instruction with NWFS. One-year follow-ups are sent to all participants. A client code number is assigned each person and is then matched with entry code from initial registration. The self-selected Cohort One (40%; n = 1,101) responded at twice the rate as the required Cohort Two (20%; n = 199). There was no control group. There are three possible selections for those who participated in the NFP instruction:
Attended the class
Attended and charted
Attended, charted, and used NFP
Actually, it is remarkable how many of the couples who were required to attend an NFP course went on to use it. Twenty-eight percent of "required" clients attended and charted and another forty-five percent charted and used NFP. Not surprisingly, five percent of "self-selected" clients attended and charted and ninety-one percent charted and used NFP.
The vast majority of the "self-selected" group began charting during the first month (71%) whereas only 59% of the required began charting the first month. Of course, the self-selected group began NFP instruction, generally, with the intention to use it. The required group were more likely to be achieving (19%) than the self-selected group (11%). Perhaps the required group initially felt more secure with the many benefits from using NFP to assist in understanding one's fertility.
Both groups gave NFP high marks for its positive benefits on their relationship. The reasons for using NFP showed similar rankings, though the percentages within the rankings varied somewhat between the groups. Both groups ranked moral and religious motivation as the top reason for their decision to use NFP, with health and dissatisfaction with artificial birth control as the second and third reasons.
|Effect on Relationship
Effect on Relationship
Pope John Paul II writes in Evangelium vitae "The work of educating in the service of life involves training of married couples in responsible procreation." Presumably this takes into consideration those preparing for marriage. There are certainly logistic considerations that need to be managed when NFP instruction becomes a mandated component of marriage preparation. The bishops' Standards for Diocesan NFP Ministry along with a commitment across the board to quality NFP instruction has raised the perception of NFP as an effective method to achieve or avoid a pregnancy within the Church community. While it is important for couples to have access to NFP services, quality instructions should not be short-changed just to run large numbers of couples through. For arch(dioceses) electing this approach, a pilot program that can gradually be expanded as sufficient veteran NFP providers are available is the most sensible system.
From the self-reported information, it appears that exposure to a series of NFP classes positively influences the "required" group. A significant proportion of these couples elected to use NFP after exposure to a full course. They initiated charting later than the self-selected group and were more likely to use NFP for achieving a pregnancy. They did, however, experience the benefits of NFP at a rate similar to the self-selected cohort. A comparison between those engaged couples who participate in an NFP introduction versus a complete series would help identify the dynamics and benefits of each approach.
Rose Fuller, M.T.S., is the Executive Director of Northwest Family Services, Portland, OR.
"Joyful Promotion of NFP" in the Archdiocese of St. Louis
K. Diane Daly, RN, CNFPE
What a joyful experience to evangelize couples and families through NFP promotion! It is an exciting, challenging and rewarding journey. NFP has been offered in the Archdiocese of St. Louis since the early 1970s. Today, the thirteen service sites of the Archdiocese include three models: Billings Ovulation Method, Creighton FertilityCareTM, and Couple to Couple League. Each of the service sites works independently. Promotion of these models through the Archdiocesan Department of NFP emphasizes the uniqueness of each approach We want couples to know that they have different choices of NFP models--all within the Church's teachings.
There are significant events of the recent years that have added to the NFP presence in our Archdiocese. Archbishop Justin Rigali developed the Archdiocesan Department of NFP within the Office of Laity and Family Life in April, 1998. Promotion and utilization of NFP is identified as an action step to support and strengthen families in the 1999-2002 Archdiocesan Strategic Pastoral Plan. These two events have prompted the development of new promotional tools to increase attention to NFP. Promotion tools are provided to laity, religious, priests and deacons for use in sacramental preparation. This has contributed to a tremendous increase in use of NFP. Opportunities to work collaboratively on a variety of initiatives with other Archdiocesan departments have increased and have been beneficial to NFP promotion. Since 1998 there has been an increase of over 40% in new clients entering the 13 NFP service sites in the Archdiocese. This growth in NFP has been greatly influenced by the leadership and support of Archbishop Rigali.
An effort has been made over the years to assist those in sacramental preparation and leadership positions by providing convenient resources on NFP for their use with couples. New resources provided through the Archdiocesan Department of NFP ensure that the most up to date information is being provided to represent all three NFP models provided in the Archdiocese. These resources include:
- Our Way of Life: a photo album featuring 15 couples sharing the marriage building experience of NFP.
- The Truth About NFP: video featuring NFP witness couples.
- Physicians Healed: book, edited by Cleta Hartman, featuring the stories of 15 NFP only doctors.
- What Can NFP Do For You?: booklet listing the St. Louis NFP programs and providing an overview of the three models.
- Contraception, Why Not?: audio tape of Janet Smith discussing the issue.
- Humanae Vitae: document (prologue by Janet Smith)
- Homilies of Archbishop Rigali on Humanae vitae
- Pastoral Letter on Humanae vitae, Archbishop Chaput
- Where is it Written?: video introducing the three most current methods of NFP.
- A Dozen Differences Between NFP and Contraception: flyer
- NFP Promotion Kits: includes many of the resources listed above.
Recognizing the precious gift the Lord has bestowed upon us in married love,This energetic group of couples decided three years ago to focus on promotion of NFP as well as providing support, encouragement, and friendship to one another as had been done during past years. To this end couples volunteer to witness at Archdiocesan marriage preparation programs, engaged encounters, and weekends for the engaged. This powerful witnessing, along with the video "The Truth About NFP," sparks interest in other NFP materials provided to the engaged at these events. Additionally, these couples are available as speakers and promoters for parishes, deaneries, and at other community events.
the mission of the St. Louis NFP Association is twofold. First, the St. Louis NFP Association will minister to the community and serve as a voice to promote
all forms of NFP as not only safe and reliable methods of achieving and avoiding pregnancy, but also as tools which foster deeper communication between spouses. Second, the St. Louis NFP Association shall serve to meet the needs of support
and fellowship among all members of our community who share our commitment
to honor God's wish for married couples.
"The Chart," a quarterly newsletter, re-formatted by the SLNFPA is in the sixth issue of its revised content. The members of the SLNFPA are successful in promotion because they are the couples and families who are grateful that their souls have been touched through this life-changing message and they are eager to share the message for the benefit of others. They are happy and active in their parishes and communities, grounded in their faith, and understand the call to evangelize others. Most NFP couples are wonderful resources for help in the parish community. When used well, they can actually help to "lighten the load" of the parish priest. Their marriages and families are strong, enhanced by the intimacy and bonding of living in harmony with their fertility. Rooted in the faith, they foster strong families and even inspire future vocations. We celebrate these NFP couples who give so much to the Church!
Staff within offices of the Archdiocesan structure are also grateful for NFP promotional tools and enthusiastic NFP presenters. Agencies and offices of the Archdiocese can only appreciate NFP services and utilize promotional materials if they know about the service! It takes work and initiative to develop visibility, which is foundational to increasing the number of couples using NFP. When Archbishop Rigali came to St. Louis we met with him to acquaint him with our NFP services in the Archdiocese and how he could access information to assist him in helping couples live NFP. We have been affirmed by his support and encouragement of our work and by that of our other bishops as well. In order to maintain support from our priests, we stay in contact with them. A letter is sent to priests at least once a year, usually prior to NFP week, bringing the events and new materials to their attention. We have a database of priests and deacons who have attended our events or ordered materials on NFP for parish use. This is being developed for further targeted promotional contacts with them.
Collaboration has been rewarding between our office and archdiocesan directors who appreciate our resources, such as Continuing Formation of Priests, Family and Laity, Education (primary and secondary), Pro-Life, Preparing for Christian Marriage, and Youth Ministry. Several Archdiocesan departments that have provided opportunities for collaboration in their events. We've co-sponsored a Humanae vitae celebration inviting Janet Smith to present to priests and couples; each year NFP is a topic at our Archdiocesan Pro-Life Convention; we've participated in parent/child sexuality chastity education, and high school presentations. It is productive and fulfilling to collaborate with others to assist them in reaching their goals while also promoting NFP and its values. Special recognition has often been given through the Archdiocesan newspaper, The St. Louis Review. Featuring articles about special NFP events and the importance of learning NFP during marriage preparation are two examples of NFP recognition.
Currently, parish contacts are being developed throughout the Archdiocese. Our goal is to have at least one NFP contact in each parish. These individuals will serve as resources for ensuring that information is published in their parish bulletin, that their parish priests are aware of current NFP events and resources, that the newsletter and flyers are posted in back of Church, and sometimes will act as a resource for other parishioners looking for support or information.
Recently, requests for speaking engagements have also increased. We provide a list of topics and have found that parishes, schools, and women's groups have requested talks on NFP, SPICE (spiritual, physical, intellectual, creative/communicative, and emotional aspects of sexuality), chastity for teens, mother/daughter and father/son programs and Humanae vitae among others. We have found that NFP can be integrated into any of these topics.
All of these activities require a financial commitment from the Archdiocese. We have been blessed with such support. Our funds have come to us primarily from the Archdiocesan Development Appeal and from the Archdiocesan Strategic Pastoral Plan. We are grateful for this material support. And we are especially grateful for the support of our Archbishop, auxiliary bishops and clergy. Without them none of these initiatives would have happened.
Future endeavors include: expanding the thirteen NFP sites to increase convenience; reaching out to the Hispanic community; servicing those in areas of greater economic neediness; expanding outreach to clergy; and providing NFP promotion kits for use in each parish. We look forward to accomplishing these projects because they translate to more people being converted to NFP. The journey is exciting as there is no limit to the opportunities God provides for His work!
K. Diane Daly, RN, CNFPE is the NFP coordinator for the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Visit their website at: http://stlouisnfp.org.
NFP Around the World
Promoting NFP in Japan
Rev. Anthony Zimmerman, S.T.D.
The following reflection is written through "rose colored glasses." I am 83 years old and have been a priest for some 54 years.
Some decades ago I had brought a professional midwife to teach NFP at a parish in Nagasaki. When the midwife came to the part about mucus observations I discreetly left the room to the ladies and went outside. The President of the Archdiocesan Catholic Women's Guild followed me, deeply affected by something. "Tell me Father," she began with intense emotion, "What is the reason you came to us?" I said, "to have the midwife teach the women of the parish about NFP." "And the other Fathers who put in their appearances," she continued, "did they come for that too?" "For no other reason," I assured her. She fell silent for some time then made an extraordinary statement. With all her heart she welcomed priests into the world where women struggle intensely. "You know Father," she said, "we women live day and night with this problem of family planning." "We are anxious, we agonize, we live with this problem constantly." "It is our world." "But this is the first time that I ever saw priests come into this world where we live. I had always thought that we must live here alone, that priests will not enter. If we can speak with priests about this, if we can gain peace of conscience, it is just so unbelievable to me, after all these years, that it brings tears to my eyes. I am so grateful to you."
This woman's words encouraged me to embark in the NFP apostolate in Japan. Cultural sensitivities make it difficult. In Japan, to even explain NFP is easily equated to pornographic interests unless it is done by a medical professional. And in the popular mind, even among Catholics, priests ought to speak about angels and heaven, and should disdain muddying their feet with earthly concerns.
When Father Paul Marx, O.S.B., came to Japan to promote NFP in 1975 we consulted Archbishop Peter S. Shirayanagi of Tokyo. Fr. Marx offered a free scholarship for a suitable person to attend his coming convention at St. John's in Collegeville. That started the ball rolling. With generous help from the DeRance Foundation our Japan Family Life Association, of which I was executive director, attended the Convention accompanied by more than a dozen Japanese doctors, nurses, and midwives. Our delegates were mostly non-Catholic, yet all were inspired by things Catholic-the monks, the Liturgy, the bells, the beautiful Catholics who championed NFP.
Year after year we delightedly imported into Japan up-to-date NFP wisdom from Collegeville, and later from conventions of the International Federation for Family Life Promotion (IFFLP). Midwives began to teach consenting clients. Nurse teachers in Tokyo, Matsuyama, and Nagasaki soon had their nurse and midwife students charting and writing reports. NFP entered their school curricula. Urged by Dr. Volmann and Fr. Marx, I transcribed tapes of talks given at those conventions and edited them into a book titled, A Reader in Natural Family Planning. Fr. Marx, again with financing by DeRance, sent 90,000 copies, if I remember correctly, to parishes and centers far and wide. Thus NFP wisdom blitzed from Collegeville round the globe. A Japanese version of the text helped teachers in Japan. (Soon Fr. Jerome Novotny will post articles from it on his Japanese website.) Articles favorable to NFP soon appeared in top national medical journals. There was no need to oppose it, since the Pill and IUD were banned in Japan, except for controlled research. "Mainline" family planning were (and are) the condom, abortion, and the Ogino system.
Our Association sponsored individual teaching tours in Japan by experts whom we contacted in Collegeville. With Dr. Roetzer, Bonnie Manion, Dr. Lanctot, Dr. Keefe, Fr. Marx, we promoted NFP at different times in schools and rented halls at Sapporo, Sendai, Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto, Fukuoka, Nagasaki, and Matsuyama. Frequently I did the translation of their lectures and so had to learn Japanese terms such as crumbly, cloudy, stretchy, slippery, transparent - you know the rest. These professionals tended to receive good local news coverage, thanks to Mr. Saito of our office, a journalist by profession. Several times national coverage reported favorably about NFP. We also published Japanese NFP text books, but they did not sell as well as we hoped they would.
Priests & NFP
Only 0.3% of the Japanese population is Catholic. Priests fear that girls of the parishes will find it doubly hard to find a suitable marriage partner if pastors blow the bugle of NFP loudly. Many will marry non-Catholics. Parents of prospective partners will scrutinize matters closely at the formal meetings where marriages are arranged. For example, a priest who was teaching NFP at a diocesan center, right next to the Marriage Center, was pressured to stop. He eventually did. The reason: bad for the marriage business. A popular notion in Japan is that Catholics must have large families and use no birth control. Buddhist and Shintoist parents fear it will be impossible for their sons and daughters to live in real Japanese society if they do not use contraception.
School for NFP Doctors, Nurses & Midwives
For some years our Japan Family Life Association conducted monthly NFP classes at a small hotel in Tokyo next to our office. Famous doctors lectured there, such as Dr.Ojima, Dr. Murayama, Dr. Kaseki, Dr. Ogino, and others. Mrs. Takako Honma, our gracious Directress, was usually on hand to greet them. Student nurses and midwives from Seibo Hospital attended regularly, chaperoned by the sister in charge. Others came from the Tokyo Red Cross Nurse School as well as other nurse schools. The National Association of Nurses gave credits to teachers who attended the courses during their sabbatical refresher year in Tokyo. The usual attendance was about 120. Graduates brought NFP to nurse and midwife schools back to their home towns in many parts of Japan.
Editing of NFP Book for the Vatican
Our work did not escape attention at the Vatican. Archbishop Tomko, then head of the Council of the Synod of Bishops, invited Fr. Marx and me to Rome, to plan the composition of a book on NFP for the 1980 Synod of Bishops which was to be centered on family life. Editing the book was one of the happiest experiences of my life. Sixty-five top figures of the NFP world from twenty-two countries eventually contributed articles for the book - wonderful people all of them. A few months later, in April of 1980, a number of contributors met at Rome to review contributions by their peers. Tomko shepherded us as we met day after day at the DeRance office, only a few steps from the Vatican Porta Anna. We made an interim report directly to the Holy Father one evening. At it Dr. Roetzer reported that all of us agree that NFP is possible, is good for the family, and can be practiced effectively. The Pope, who knew all that from his own work with NFP in Poland, listened and glowed. Foolishly, as chief editor, I handed him a packet of xeroxed pages piled six inches high, our editing work. He looked at it and asked: "Must I read all that?" Instead of taking it back I mumbled that he might want to glance through the materials, I was so proud of them.
Upon returning to Nagoya I sat at the small electric Smith Corona to type the texts and to cajole contributors by mail. Our office staff in Tokyo, headed by inventive Mr. Saito, arranged the printing, then shipped 400 copies by air freight to the Vatican in time for the October 1980 Synod of Bishops. Archbishop Tomko criticized the narrow margins of the pages--that was apparently not up to standards expected at the Vatican. We had economized and settled for Japanese paper sizes. On the day assigned for NFP promotion during the Synod, the Pope distributed copies of the book to attending prelates. The title of the book is: Natural Family Planning: Nature's Way - God's Way. Experts then explained about NFP--yes, temperature curve, mucus changes, the works! Mother Teresa has made it a rule that at least one sister in each of her convents should teach NFP. When Mother Teresa spoke the signal for the end of the session at noon sounded. Her lilting voice and earnest message kept everyone glued to their seats. When she finished all arose to their feet and gave prolonged applause. We met with the Pope again to celebrate the book. As he walked into the audience hall he spoke as to old friends: "Thank you for confirming the Pope so that he can confirm the brethren." He encouraged us--and me in particular, as I remember with gratitude--to continue our work. Mrs. Honma was with us so I grabbed her arm and dragged her over to meet Mother Teresa. That was the day and moment when Mother Teresa promised to come to Japan in April of 1981. Fr. Marx arranged to have a copy of the book sent to English-speaking convents and parishes in the USA and around the world. Some of you may have a copy of the book in your office. (It is posted on my website, see below.)
Mother Teresa in Japan
Every news reporter in Tokyo must have been at Narita Airport when Mother Theresa arrived. Soon we were on our way to Tokyo, with cameramen still following in their cars. She paid respects to the Archbishop, to the Pro-nuncio, to the Ambassador of India, then lodged with the Daughters of St. Paul. For a week life in Japan appeared to stand still while Mother Teresa raised her voice that God loves them, that we ought to pray, that a mother should not kill her own child. She spoke in schools and public halls as we had arranged before hand. When her melodious voice rose and asked for prayer, a hush descended over the hall and all bowed as she prayed. She spoke in English, and the audience hung on to her words, whether directly or via simultaneous translation. Tears flowed, eyes were enraptured. After talks she was adept at handling news conferences and remained always in charge. On an hour-long interview on national TV, she spoke warmly about NFP: "And so I think we should train our children for the future by respect of life, by respect for the dignity of life, that life is a creation of God; and by that purity of life and the sanctity of their lives, they will be able to face the future by using simple means, natural means that God has created.
"So many poor people have said to me--because we are teaching our poor people NFP--we are teaching the young people so that the future will become simple for them--and the poor people told me from the time we are practicing this way of life, our family has remained united, our family is healthy, and we can have a baby whenever we like. And it has brought so much peace and unity in the life of our poor people. That is something so wonderful to see, the peace of the family because they are not destroying anything, and they are not killing anything, but they are using their body to glorify God in the sanctity of their family life. And I think that if we can bring that into Japan also, if our people will come to know NFP, I think there will be more peace, more love in the family between parents and the children."
Telephone lines to the TV stations sprang to life and women poured out their stories to every NHK office in the land. The lines were busy until past midnight. A Japanese rendition of her speeches has now sold over 100,000 copies. I have posted 18 of her talks in the original English on my website http://zimmerman.catholic.ac. May I commend to you especially No. 6, 7 and 11.
A Final Word
When the DeRance Foundation crashed in the 1980's, our Association crashed with it. We closed the office and disbanded. In Nagoya I am happy to be a kind of liaison for pro-life activities here. Surveys by Mainichi newspapers indicate that one in six young couples now uses the BBT and the percentage rises. Figures suggest that a million couples use pure NFP, sans condoms or other. Fr. John Nariai posts my articles and books on the internet, besides managing his own Japanese site and Human Research Institute. Fr. Sean Ryle promotes the BOOM from Fukuoka City, and Fr. Jerome Novotny in Kochi City champions pro-life and NFP via a pro-life monthly going into parishes and other institutions. Dr. Francis Hirata up-dates the Bishops on science about the pill, and helped the Center for Respect of Life to create a video against the pill: "Life Pitfall." Mr. Kinji Nishimura, inventor of a smart thermometer for NFP, asked me to translate materials, and sometimes to travel with him. His thermometer with mini-computer, trade-named Sophia, calculates the fertile days of the current cycle on the basis of temperature and other data of previous cycles in the memory. It then posts the assumed fertile days of the current cycle on the viewing window. I coached him to include an optional function to input mucus changes for the automatic calculations.
More than a million of his smart thermometers have been sold to date. In 1997 when Dr. Lloyd Duplantis of the USA came to campaign against the pill, sponsored by Dr. Hirata, we toured selected cities to warn against the pill. Dr. Duplantis took a liking to the smart thermometer and now markets it in the USA. Contact him at: Lloydrem@bellsouth.net.
Thank you for your prayers that Japan, which once Pied-Pipered the world into the pit of abortion, may we lead the world out into the sunshine again with the practice of NFP!
Archdiocese of Chicago has appointed Maria Garcia NFP coordinator. Since 1999, Maria had coordinated NFP in the Hispanic community. During that time she not only trained new NFP teachers but also developed a number of Spanish language teaching sites throughout the Archdiocese. Maria is an OM teacher, certified by both the World Organization of Billings Ovulation Method of Mexico and, since June 2000, BOMA, U.S.A. A member of the Archdiocesan Family Ministries staff since 1990, Maria has worked with Pre-Cana programs, Elizabeth Ministry, and Family Advocates. Maria and her husband Juan have three children, Juan, Jr., Claudia and Hector. Contact: 312-751-8273.
Call for Abstracts: Research, innovation and program abstracts are invited for a poster or paper session at the Marquette University College of Nursing and the Diocesan Development Program
for Natural Family Planning conference to be held June 20-22, 2002. Deadline for submission
is December 1, 2001. Final selection and notification of acceptance will be made by February 1, 2002. The conference theme is "Integrating Faith and Science Through Natural Family Planning." Contact: Dr. Richard Fehring, Marquette University College of Nursing, P.O. Box 1881, Milwaukee, WI 53201; E-mail: Richard.Fehring@Marquette. Edu.
One More Soul is compiling a pastoral source book on fertility issues to assist bishops, priests, deacons and lay ministers in the integration of fertility related concerns and adult faith formation. Staff is requesting that people with pastoral experiences in integrating the Church's teachings on fertility issues in parish or diocesan educational programs answer a series of simple questions for inclusion in the text. For a copy of the questions, contact: Jason Adams, One More Soul, 616 Five Oaks Avenue, Dayton, OH 45406; 800-307-7685; E-mail: clergy@OMSoul.com
July 11-15, 2001, BOMA-USA held a teacher training session in St. Cloud, Minn. Marian Corkill from the Billings Centre in Melbourne, Australia was featured.
July 20-August 10, 2001, Marian Corkill offered a four-day Billings Method teacher training workshops across Canada. The cities include Coquitlam, B.C., Calgary, Toronto and Halifax, Nova Scotia.
July 25-28, 2001, The American Academy of NFP held their annual meeting in Lincoln, Neb. In 2002, the site will be Lake Tahoe, but dates have yet to be set.
September 28--October 2, 2001, the Diocese of Stockton and Northwest Family Services sponsored a provider education and certification in the STM in Stockton, CA. Contact: Northwest Family Services, Providence Medical Center, 4805 N.E. Glisan St., Portland, OR 97213; 503-215-6377; FAX 503-215-6940; firstname.lastname@example.org.
October 6-13, 2001 and February 9-16, 2002, Practitioner training in the Creighton Model, FertilityCareTM System of NFP will be held in St. Petersburg, FL. The above dates are for Education Phases 1. Contact: FertilityCareTM Center of St. Petersburg, P.O. Box 40200, St. Petersburg, FL 33743; 727-344-1611;E-mail: email@example.com.
October 22-26, 2001, The Pope Paul VI Institute offers educational programs for priests at their Catholic Leadership Conference in Omaha. Contact: Pope Paul VI Institute, 6901 Mercy Road, Omaha, NE 68106; 402-390-6600.
November 3, 2001, Phyllis White, CNFPE will conduct a Creighton Model FertilityCareTM System Practitioner Education training in Peoria, IL. Contact: Phyllis White, CNFPE, 1312 NW Fairway Circle, Blue Springs, MO 64014-2245; 816-229-1473; FAX 816-229-3390; firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 5, 2002, Phyllis White, CNFPE will conduct a Creighton Model FertilityCareTM System Practitioner Education training in Kansas City, MO. Contact: See above.
January 12-13, February 16-17, 2002, the Couple to Couple League will conduct a teacher training
seminar over two weekends in Arlington, VA. Contact: John DuMont, Eastern Field Director, CCL, P.O. Box 111184, Cincinnati, OH 45211; 513-471-2000, FAX 513-557-2449; E-mail: email@example.com
February 25--March 1, 2002, the Diocese of Stockton and Northwest Family Services sponsors a provider education and certification in the STM in Portland, Ore. Contact: Northwest Family Services, Providence Medical Center, 4805 N.E. Glisan St., Portland, OR 97213; 503-215-6377; FAX 503-215-6940; firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 23, 2002, CANFP will be holding their annual meeting in Sacramento, CA. The theme will be "Capitalizing on NFP." Workshops will be offered in both English and Spanish. Contact: Sheila St. John, CNFPP, 1217 Tyler Street, Salinas, CA 93906; 877-33-CANFP; FAX 831-443-3743; E-mail: info@canfp; Website: www.canfp.org.
April 15-19, 2002, The Pope Paul VI Institute offers educational programs for priests at their Catholic Leadership Conference in Omaha. Contact: Pope Paul VI Institute, 6901 Mercy Road, Omaha, NE 68106; 402-390-6600.
June 20-22, 2002, Marquette University College of Nursing, Institute for Natural Family Planning and the Diocesan Development Program for Natural Family Planning will co-sponsor a conference entitled "Integrating Faith and Science Through Natural Family Planning." The conference will be held at Marquette University. Contact: Dr. Richard Fehring, Marquette University College of Nursing, P.O. Box 1881, Milwaukee, WI 53201; E-mail: Richard.Fehring@Marquette.Edu.
June 23-26, 2002, Couple to Couple League will hold its convention in Shawnee, Okla. Contact: Couple to Couple League, 4290 Delhi Pike, Cincinnati, OH 45238; 513-471-2000; FAX: 513-557-2449; E-mail: email@example.com; Website: www. ccli.org.
Natural Beginning: A Refreshing Look at Parenting, Fatherhood and Fertility. This
30 minute video is a companion to "Simply Natural: Understanding your Fertility and the Benefits of Breastfeeding". Contact: Office of NFP, 316 North 7th Avenue, St. Cloud, MN 56303;
Simply Natural: Understanding Your Fertility and the Benefits of Breastfeeding. A 15 minute
video targeted to young couples who have recently experienced the birth of a baby and who are considering the use of NFP and/or breastfeeding. Contact: Office of NFP, 316 North 7th Avenue, St. Cloud, MN 56303; 612-252-2100.