In God's Image: Called to Build a Culture of Life--March 3-5, 1999
- Message from the Holy Father
- Opening Remarks--Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo (Excerpts)
- Keynote: "Building a Culture of Life," His Eminence, John Cardinal O'Connor (Excerpts)
Statement by Bishop James T. McHugh to the Thirty-Second Session of the Commission on Population, UN
Summary of Results of Annual Diocesan NFP Program Profile
Rev. Robert R. Cannon
Clergy on Responsible Parenthood & NFP
Mary Ann Chezik, Diocese of Camden
"The loveliest masterpiece of the heart of God is the heart of a mother." St. Thérèse of Lisieux
"Catholic families should be living symbols of our conviction that life is always, always a gift from God." Light and Shadows: Our Nation 25 Years After Roe v. Wade, NCCB
In God's Image: Called to Build a Culture of Life--March 3-5, 1999
Anticipating the coming of the new millennium, Cardinals John O'Conner of New York and Bernard F. Law of Boston assisted leaders in the Church, NFP, and Pro-Life communities to reflect on how to build a culture of life. To that end, they convened the convocation "In God's Image: Called to Build a Culture of Life," in collaboration with the Pontifical Council on the Family, the NCCB's Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities, and Columbus School of Law at the Catholic University of America. The convocation drew over 400 participants to our nations capitol.
Cardinal James Hickey of Washington, D.C. welcomed participants to the Archdiocese, Cardinal William Keeler of Baltimore, chair of the Bishops' Committee for Pro-Life Activities, led the opening prayer, and Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, delivered introductory remarks (see excerpts below). Cardinal John O'Connor of New York, set the stage for the Convocation in the key note (see excerpts below). Taking the opportunity to teach, Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston, spoke on the Catholic vision of death and dying, and Cardinal Francis George of Chicago ended the convocation with a reflection on entering the new millennium as a People of Life.
The high level of the presentations was applauded by participants. Many commented that they were pleased to hear from so many new and different speakers. The speakers came from a variety of backgrounds including theology, history, medicine, politics, and genetic science. Among the many notable presentations was that of Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, PhD, professor of humanities and history at Emory University, Atlanta. Dr. Fox-Genovese is a well know historian of women's issues and the founding director of Emory's Institute for Women's Studies. She presented the history of the feminist movement in the United States and evaluated its current agenda. She was sharp in her critique of contemporary American feminism highlighting the many ways in which it has hurt women. She pointed to feminism's abandonment of "all societal mores that had guarded women from the predatory nature of men's sexual behavior," as opening the door to great abuse of women. In addition, the belief that women are seeking the sexual liberation provided by abortion "assumes that girls have the same sexual agenda as boys--a no-strings-attached sexual adventure," she said. "Usually they do not." "Our society stands alone in celebrating the killing of a child as an affirmation of women's freedom and equality," said Dr. Fox-Genovese. The feminist movement has also hurt women by its view of marriage as the "cradle of women's oppression." Feminists' only goals in relation to marriage, she added, have been to assure that it can be easily dissolved and to work for it to be open to gay and lesbian couples. In the feminist view, marriage is seen as "a temporary arrangement entered into for immediate gratification" and both women and men are encouraged "to put their own interests ahead of even their most intimate relationships." The harm that has resulted from this view has led to an economic and cultural situation in which women "may well see abortion as an act of self-preservation." "Abortion begets and anchors the culture of death that threatens us all, but especially women." In a question and answer session Dr. Fox Genovese called attention to the great harm which contraception has also wrought upon women and noted that NFP has not been understood as a great support of women.
Other sessions included Patricia Ware speaking on the impact of the sexual revolution on youth, panels on international family planning policy (Steven Mosher, Mary Meaney Haynes, and Robert Walley, MD), death and dying (Richard Doerflinger, Rita Marker, Eric Chevlen, MD, Walter Hunter, MD), and reproductive technologies (Kevin Fitzgerald, SJ, PhD, Hanna Klaus, MD, John Grabowski, PhD).
Each day of the Convocation offered participants solid information, comradery, and inspiration, especially as witnessed in the daily liturgies. This was truly a time well spent to renew and refresh oneself. Thank you Cardinals Law and O'Connor for conveneing this meeting!
Tapes of all sessions of the Convocation can be obtained from: A.V.E.R. Associates, 6974 Ducketts Lane, Elkridge, MD 21075; 410-796-8940; FAX 410-796-8962.
Message from Pope John Paul II
As you gather in Washington with so many individuals and groups dedicated to the defense of human life, I send greetings in the Lord, with the assurance of my prayers for the success of this important meeting jointly organized by the Bishops' Committee for Pro-Life Activities and the Pontifical Council for the Family.
At last year's Special Assembly for America of the Synod of Bishops, the Bishops of the continent were unequivocal in their insistence upon the Christian duty to defend and promote human life from the moment of conception to that of natural death, and they abundantly praised those who have generously and courageously undertaken that duty (cf. Ecclesia in America, 63). More recently, the United States Bishops have issued the statement Living the Gospel of Life: A Challenge to American Catholics, which splendidly echoes the voice of the Synod and the teaching of my own Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae. Your meeting is another sign that in the United States of America the Gospel of Life has found fertile ground in which to grow and bear fruit, precisely because it sheds light on a matter of critical importance for society, a matter so essential that no one can remain indifferent.
At the end of the twentieth century we are witnessing a strange paradox: the sanctity of human life is being denied by an appeal to freedom, democracy, pluralism, even reason and compassion. As the Bishops' Statement points out, words have become unmoored from their meaning (cf. Living the Gospel of Life, #11), and we are left with a rhetoric in which the language of life is used to promote the culture of death. Freedom is sundered from truth, and democracy from the moral values required for its survival; a faulty notion of pluralism loses sight of the common good; reason often refuses to engage the truths which transcend empiric experience; and a false sense of compassion is incapable of facing the limits an demands of our nature as created and dependent beings. The language of human rights is constantly invoke while the most basic of them--the right to life--is repeatedly disregarded. The Bishops have identified the source of this contradiction in the moral confusion which comes inevitably with "the gradual restructuring of American culture according to ideals of utility, productivity and cost-effectiveness" (Living the Gospel of Life, #3). So great is the confusion at times that for many people the difference between good and evil is determined by the opinion of the majority, and even the time-honored havens of human life--the family, the law and medicine--are sometimes made to serve the culture of death.
At such a time, Christians must act. This is a fundamental demand not only of discipleship but also of democracy, which flourishes when "people of conviction struggle vigorously to advance their beliefs by every ethical and legal means at their disposal" (Living the Gospel of Life, #24). This is not easy in a situation where there is at times deliberate falsification of the Church's teaching and scorn for those who promote it. Yet none of this can be allowed to blur your vision or diminish your energies.
Your action needs to be both educational and political. There must be a thorough catechesis on the Gospel of Life at all levels of the Catholic community. Catholics imbibe much of their surrounding culture, and therefore this catechesis needs to challenge the prevailing culture at those points where human dignity and rights are threatened. Such a catechesis has as its goal that shift of perception and change of heart which accompany true conversion (cf. Eph. 4:23). The call to conversion must ring out in your homes, in your parishes and in your schools, with complete confidence that the Church's teaching about the inviolability of life is deeply in tune with both right reason and the deepest longings of the human heart. This educational effort will increasingly open the way for Catholics to exercise a positive public influence as citizens of their country, without false appeals to the separation of Church and State in a way that consigns the Christian vision of human dignity to the realm of private belief. The choice in favor of life is not a private option but a basic demand of a just and moral society.
The pro-life concern must be present in every aspect of the Church's pastoral activity. It is my fervent hope that your meeting will signal the commitment of the whole Catholic community to implementing the teaching of Living the Gospel of Life, that it will help to coordinate better the activities of the various groups involved, and that it will strengthen the resolve of many people to continue their generous and tireless efforts. Commending all gathered at the Washington meeting to the loving protection of Mary, Mother of the Redeemer who is the Way and the Truth and the Life (cf. Jn 14:6), I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing.
From the Vatican, 20 February 1999
The Holy Father's letter, addressed to Cardinal Keeler, was read aloud at the Convocation.
Opening Remarks--Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo
. . .The gift of life creates a tremor of joy in mothers who discover in their womb the wonder of the love of God. From the heart of the Father ... the whole world is invited to share in this joy.
The culture of death is a disturbing and spreading phenomenon. How can a human being devalue, trample, and eliminate an innocent human person? The injustice and cruelty is even greater when the victim is the most innocent, weak, poor, and fragile.. This is why an extreme form of discrimination is manifested in the legal execution of the unborn child, the baby in the womb. The surprise and confusion is greater still when those who kill the child have all the more of a duty to respect, welcome, protect, and love those who instead become their victims! From whom should we be able to hope for a more decisive tenderness than from those who bring about, who procreate, new life ... above all, the mothers . . . . It is true that women who abort are also often victims of a lack of help and solidarity, as the Pope points out. Other factors of the culture of death manipulate them, such as powerful forces that use deceitful language, and all the pressures of a false modernity. They are therefore persons called to repentance and to a conversion that is always possible.
The spreading phenomenon of the culture of death has in its favor an immense political and economic power. It is a powerful world against the most weak and poor. The forces in this battle are unequal: the giant Goliath against David! There are rivers of economic resources in a planned and explosive evil. Money circulates not for education in the dignity of responsible love in the family, but in the service of a parasitic egoism, a false anthropology that is egoistic and hedonistic .... Unjust laws are exported to others by the governments of nations. By globalization, the culture of death wants to impose its universality, in the form of tyrannical campaigns which humiliate the poor as if they were the object of compassion and solidarity. These political programs receive rivers of money. Noted millionaires are generous in these conspiracies. Governments and legislatures of many nations are subject to a systematic attack. And we see this everywhere in various Latin American Nations, in Africa, including in plans to make abortion laws more liberal. Legal injustice, which becomes more powerful and aggressive each day, tries to silence and weaken the forces which oppose their campaigns, even if those forces are peaceful, non-violent, and respectful. To oppose a crime against the innocent would even be considered something illegal and subversive.
The pro-life movements in the United States have a great task, not only in this great nation which has the honor of having so much responsibility in the future of the world and of all America. It is a task, as I well know, which is difficult, and most especially in your country, but capable of a new and more universal solidarity against the culture of death. .... The challenge is universal. The new globalization, which embraces the entire planet, is not only economic but integral .... The right which is fundamental to all the others is the right to life!
The battle for the culture of life is connected with the cause of the family. These are inseparable. The culture of life necessarily comes about through the family, which, in conjugal love, has the fundamental vocation of integral procreation. Thus we repeat: there is no life without the family, and no family without life! hostility against the family is also a battle against life. pastorally, it is necessary to avoid, at all costs, a separation between family and life. The stronger and better connected are the movements for the family, the more serious, stable, and vigorous will be the battle for life.
Our cause will lead to victory! Though the battle is hard, we are assured that the future is on our side. We can apply the statement of St. Paul, "where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more," and say, where the culture of death abounds, there will be as a reaction and salvation an ever more present and abundant culture of life. and this is our great resource: families, apostles, volunteers of our organizations& what great riches! You yourselves are the riches of our churches and of society. You are more valuable than all the rivers of wealth of the powerful!
Keynote: Building a Culture of Life
His Eminence, John Cardinal O'Connor
My admiration and my gratitude and my very deep love go out to you. It's an honor to be with you. We are a select community, we are bound together for love for life, love for one another .... But even we, each of us individually or as groups, even we can be tempted by the noon day devil of discouragement. .... discouragement is an easy temptation. We're bullied up when we're together, yet alone fighting the battle, we can indeed loose heart and that's precisely what discouragement is, isn't it? We are separated from our hearts.
.... The essence of the [Adam & Eve] story is clear, isn't it? For Adam and Eve it wasn't enough to be made in God's image, to be children of God, they had to become gods themselves. Why? For one reason, so they could determine for themselves what is good, what is evil. As so many of us determine today. "For me, abortion is fine. I have my priorities, I have my needs." Just as ... with Adam and Eve, so I will determine for myself what is good, what is evil, what is right, what is wrong. And yet we know, that only God is the ultimate legislator of morality. Call me a right-wing religious fundamentalist, call me a "religious nut," this changes nothing. To claim the right to kill the innocent is to claim to be God! Except of course, the true God would never kill the innocent. That would contradict God's own law.
Let's refer to the Gospel of Life, our Holy Father ... said
... freedom negates and destroys itself and becomes a factor leading to the destruction of others when it no longer recognizes and respects its initial link with the truth, which is the foundation of personal and social life. Then the person ends up by no longer taking as the sole and indisputable point of reference for his own choices the truth about good and evil, but only his subjective and changeable opinion.
This view of freedom says our Holy Father, leads to a serious distortion of life in society. If the promotion of the self is understood in terms of absolute autonomy, people inevitably reach the point of rejecting one another. Everyone else is considered an enemy from whom one has to defend his or herself. Thus society becomes a mass of individuals placed side by side but without any mutual bond. Each one wishes to assert himself independently of the other and in fact, intends to make his own interest prevail. This is what is also happening at the level of politics and government. The inalienable right to life is questioned or denied on the basis of a parliamentary vote or the will of one part of the people. Even if it is a majority. So we vote on what is right or wrong; we vote on what is good or bad. And the Holy Father says of this, "To claim the right to abortion, infanticide and euthanasia and to recognize that right in law, means to attribute to human freedom a perverse and evil significance, that of an absolute power over others and against others. This is the death of true freedom."
What we who would be gods do of course, is to change our laws to fit our determination of good and evil. And one immoral law leads to another. Derrick Humphrey, of the Hemlock Society, said, and I'm quoting here, "the Roe vs Wade case back in 1973 opened the door to euthanasia in principal if not in legal fact. The declaration in Roe vs Wade that a woman has the right to control what is happening to her body applies in principal to the right-to-die issue. It's an opening of freedom's door." This is what we can do with law in our society .... law has become the great teacher.... A youngster, sitting in the car with his mother or father, sees one or the other stop at a red light and his parents tell him, "It's the law. The law says you must stop at the red light. When the light is green, the law says you can go." This is the way we are reared. The law says it is alright to kill infants. The law in some places says it is alright to kill the feeble, the dying. And not only does the law say it is alright to kill infants, even those almost out of their mother's wombs, but we will pay you to do it. Now that's teaching a set of moral values. And how many kids have been raised accordingly? And how many millions of kids will have been raised accordingly before it ends? So how do we counter this? Of course we work to challenge the laws .... We write letters, we make speeches and all these things are very, very valuable.
I myself tried another approach back in October 1984, shortly after I became the Archbishop of New York. I stated publicly, orally, and in writing that any woman of any religious persuasion, any ethnic background, any color, from anywhere, who was in need and pregnant, could come to me, could come to the Church in New York. She would be given, if she needed it, free hospitalization, free medical care, free legal assistance. If she wanted to keep the baby, we would help her do that. If she wanted the baby to be adopted, we would arrange accordingly. Since then, thousands and thousands of babies have been saved, thousands and thousands of mothers have been saved from destroying their futures. How often has that been in the newspapers or anywhere in the media that I've been able to determine? In fifteen years, twice! And I repeat it and repeat it and repeat it. But even this is not enough, we are still surrounded by a culture of death. We still have a long way to go to build a culture of life, to root out this cancer eating away at us. And this is why, after years in the pro-life movement, engaged in the activities in which you are engaged, which I applaud unconditionally, I founded the Sisters of Life. Why? Of course, to take care of pregnant women in need, and they do that. Of course, to help those who have had abortions to pick up the pieces of their lives, and they do that. Of course, to teach the sacredness of every human life, and they do that. But they do something very, very special and it was for this something that I founded them. Can you tell what it is? I must again open myself to the charge of being a religious fanatic. But if you read the gospel, what do you find? Our Lord gave the apostles their first powers to go forth and work various miracles. They went on this little missionary journey and came back elated, tremendously enthusiastic. They told Him they'd been able to give sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf and work all sorts of miracles, but they were puzzled, profoundly puzzled. They said there was one miracle they had seen Him perform that they could not do ... "we couldn't drive out demons," they said. The Lord said to them: "This kind of devil is driven out only by prayer and fasting." One day, when I was experiencing that long loneliness with which you are familiar, I thought, "where is all this taking us," and I thought, there's been something missing. This is a demon. What's happening in our country, this culture of death, could be driven out only by prayer and fasting. Of course, supported and within the context of all the wonderful things you do. And this is why I founded the Sisters of Life. They pray, they fast, they do penance, they are contemplative-apostolic. They spend about half of each day in prayer and contemplation. The other half in extending that prayer and contemplation to apostolic works by helping women who are pregnant, and the other good works I mentioned.
Our Holy Father says , "Gratitude and joy, what do we need for a new culture of human life, gratitude and joy. You are God's own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light, a people of life and for light.".... Life should mean joy, joy in this God who brought us out of darkness into His marvelous light. A people of life, for life. "Gratitude and joy," our Holy Father says, "at the incomparable dignity of man impel us to share this message with everyone." That's why we are here .... we are compelled to share this message with everyone. We need to bring the gospel of life to the heart of every man and woman and to make it penetrate every part of society. This involves above all proclaiming the core of this gospel, the proclamation of a living God, who is close to us, who calls us to profound communion with Himself and awakens in us the certain hope of eternal life. It is the presentation of human life, as a life of relationship, a gift of God, the fruit and sign of His love. It is the proclamation that Jesus has a unique relationship with every person, which enables us to see in every human face, the face of Christ.
.... So how do we bring a culture of life out of this culture of death? Simply by natural means, by fighting fire with fire? By being more clever than the dealers of death? More articulate, better advertisers, smoother purveyors of slogans? All these can be helpful, but are we better than the apostles? Listen to St. Paul in his letter to the people of Corinth: Christ did not send me to baptize. He sent me to tell the good news and to tell it without using the language of human wisdom. In order to make sure that Christ's death on the cross is not robbed of its power, for a message about Christ's death on the cross is nonsense to those who are being lost, but for us who are being saved, it is God's power. The scripture says "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and set aside the understanding of the scholars." When I came to you, he says, to preach God's secret truth, I did not use big words and great learning, for while I was with you, I made up my mind to forget everything except Jesus Christ and especially His death on the cross. So when I came to you, I was weak and trembled all over with fear and my teaching and message were not delivered with skillful words of human wisdom, but with convincing proof of the power of God's Spirit. Your faith then, does not rest on human wisdom, but on God's power.
NFP Meeting--March 6, 1999
The day after the closing of the Convocation diocesan NFP directors and friends met at the Columbus School of Law at Catholic University. The first half of the day featured speakers on current trends in NFP research and new fertility indicators. The rest of the day took a look at various aspects of diocesan NFP program development.
Prior to the NFP meeting, many diocesan NFP directors asked DDP staff for information on the activities of Georgetown University's Institute for Reproductive Health (IRH). The same request was also made with regard to the newest fertility products of Unipath Diagnostics. The March 6th meeting provided the opportunity to invite representatives from both organizations. Jeanette Cachan (IRH), gave a brief overview of the Institute, its AWARENESS project, and described one of its most successful efforts in program management. "The Institute," she said, "is dedicated to the investigation and advancement of NFP." The Institute, formed in 1985, devoted a large amount of its resources in its first ten years to biomedical research, development and testing of methods for defining the fertile period, and informing the scientific community and policy makers about the various aspects of NFP. Under the AWARENESS project, reported Dr. Cachan, the Institute will: develop simple methodologies for offering NFP methods; apply some of the underlying components of NFP to other areas of reproductive health (i.e., self-observation, communicating with partner and provider, changing sexual behavior, etc.); and improve existing service delivery systems by helping programs become more efficient so they can reach more people with fewer resources.
With regard to program management issues, Dr. Cachan reported on a management information system (MIS) which Institute staff had worked on jointly with staff from the International Federation for Family Life Promotion and Johns Hopkins University. In that project, 15 programs around the world participated in a pilot demonstration. They defined MIS as a process for routinely collecting and interpreting information about a program's activities so that program directors could easily identify strengths and weaknesses and plan accordingly for further growth. What they eventually developed was a system which was simple. It did not rely on sophisticated equipment or overburden program staff and volunteers. The system was also useful to directors in that it gave them an overall picture of their program activities and alerted them to areas that might require their attention. Dr. Cachan shared various aspects of the system with the conference participants and suggested that NFP directors contact her at the IRH if they need further information.
Janet Jacobs of Unipath Diagnostics was on hand to discuss two new fertility indicators: ClearPlan (see article below) and the Persona (see NFP Forum, Fall 1997, vol. 8, no. 4). Although Unipath's ClearPlan monitor has been approved by the FDA, it was the Persona which drew more interest from the participants. The Persona, currently sold in Great Britain and some European countries, is now being tested in the US. The Persona identifies a woman's fertile phase by interpreting levels of two hormones found in her urine. Users are required to perform a series of one-step at-home urine tests taken over a specific amount of time, that are read by a small electronic monitor (about the size of an eyeglass case); the monitor measures a woman's personal hormone levels that control fertility. The system is intended to enable a couple to naturally control contraception by abstaining from intercourse on days of possible fertility when trying to avoid pregnancy. Like NFP, the system is designed to provide a woman with information about her fertility. Unlike NFP, the system, instead of the user, gathers this information by measuring two hormones: estrone-3-glucuronide (E3G) (a metabolite of estradiol) and the luteinizing hormone (LH). Also unlike NFP, the system does not gather this information daily, but stores the information and eventually uses it in order to predict fertility. This last point caused great discussion. Participants wanted to know why Unipath did not want to have clients take daily readings and thus more accurately estimate the time of fertility. Ms. Jacobs told participants that in a series of marketing studies designed to identify what users of the product would cooperate with, they found that most women did not want to do a daily test, hence the current system.
The second half of the day included sessions pertaining to program development. Donna Dausman, Family Life director for the Diocese of Springfield, IL, and Stella Kitchen, NFP director for the Diocese of Harrisburg, spoke on integrating NFP in diocesan structures (the text will be published in the next issue of Forum). NFP coordinators Bev Malona (Buffalo), Nancy Fisher (St. Augustine), and Kay Ek (St. Cloud), discussed how they receive third party funding. Mary Pat Van Epps, NFP director for the Diocese of Memphis, revisited the National Standards project, highlighting how it should be used to strengthen diocesan NFP programs. The day ended with Mass celebrated by Bishop James McHugh of the diocese of Rockville Centre.
Tapes were not made of these sessions. For more information on ClearPlan and the Persona, contact: 1-888-UNIPATH (1-888-864-7284).
Unipath's High-Tech Approach to Fertility Monitoring--ClearPlan Easy TM Monitor
The ClearPlan Easy Fertility Monitor is the first palm-sized electronic system, based solely on hormone monitoring, that provides a woman with personal, daily information on her fertility status to help her maximize her chances of conception. The Fertility Monitor identifies a women's daily fertility level (Low, High and Peak) based on results from urine tests (10 tests per cycle for most women) performed when indicated by the monitor. During a woman's cycle, the monitor will typically identify up to six fertile days. The product will be available without a prescription (over-the-counter) at retail pharmacies, mass merchandisers, drug stores, and combination food and drug stores.
The ClearPlan Easy Fertility Monitor differs from most current home ovulation predictor tests in that it typically identifies a greater number of days when conception is possible. Most current home ovulation predictor tests typically identify one to two peak fertility days: the Fertility Monitor typically identifies up to six days of fertility. The Monitor provides this information by identifying the levels of two hormones that control fertility: ovulation predictor tests detect only one hormone.
"The ClearPlan Easy Fertility Monitor is an important new tool for a woman trying to become pregnant because it provides her with personalized information about her fertility, on a daily basis, that has not been available before," said Janet Jacobs, Unipath's Director of Clinical Research. "By identifying a greater number of fertile days for most women, couples will now have longer a 'window of opportunity' for trying to conceive."
How It Works
The ClearPlan Easy Fertility Monitor is composed of a palm-sized electronic monitor (about the size of an eyeglass case) and disposable urine test sticks. On 10 days within a woman's cycle (or 20 days is she has a long or variable cycle), the monitor will ask for a urine test. After reading the hormone levels from the test, the monitor will identify one of the three possible fertility levels:
- LOW - Very small chance of conception. This reading is given on the majority of the days of a woman's cycle.
- HIGH - Increased chance of conception. This reading is given on the one to five days leading up to peak fertility each cycle for most women.
- PEAK - Highest chance of conception. This reading is given for two days, starting the day that the monitor detects a rise in the hormone that triggers ovulation.
- Estrogen - An increase in the level of estrogen marks the beginning of a woman's fertile phase - the time that sperm can survive for several days within a woman's reproductive tract until ovulation and fertilization can occur. This increase begins the time of high fertility.
- Luteinizing hormone (LH) - A surge in the LH level signals that ovulation will occur within approximately 24 to 36 hours. This is the time of peak fertility.
The ClearPlan Fertility Monitor is suitable for women whose natural monthly cycle normally lasts between 21 and 42 days. Women who have recently been pregnant, stopped breast feeding, stopped using hormonal contraception (e.g. the pill) or any other treatment that affects their cycle, should wait until they have had at least two natural, menstrual cycles in a row (lasting 21-42 days) before using the ClearPlan Fertility Monitor.
Certain personal circumstances, medical conditions and medications can adversely affect the performance of the ClearPlan Fertility Monitor. These include menopausal symptoms, breast feeding, impaired liver or kidney function, polycystic ovarian syndrome, antibiotics containing tetracyclines, (but not oxytetracycline or doxycycline), and treatments that affect your cycle, e.g. hormonal contraception, certain fertility treatments and hormone replacement therapy. Couples with medically diagnosed fertility problems should consult their physician before using this product.
As some medications are contraindicated in pregnancy, it is recommended that a woman who is taking any medication consult with her doctor before trying to conceive.
There are no products available that can guarantee success in achieving pregnancy. The ClearPlan Fertility Monitor has been designed to help couples identify the best time for possible conception to take place. The ClearPlan Fertility Monitor is not intended for contraception.
Future Product Features
An additional product feature, the Data Transfer System, is in development for the product and is expected to be available later in 1999. With the new feature, up to six months of personalized information about a woman's fertility levels can be downloaded onto a personal computer via a "data card" and a proprietary software package provided by Unipath. With this application, a chart of the woman's fertility can be created and shared with the user's physician. Additional features and uses for the data card technology are in development.
Availability of the ClearPlan Easy Fertility Monitor
The ClearPlan Easy Fertility Monitor has been cleared for marketing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It is being introduced in the first quarter of 1999. The monitor, plus 20 disposable urine test sticks, will have a suggested retail price of $ 199.99. The durable monitor is expected to last for years. Replacement packs of 30 test sticks will have a suggested retail price of $ 49.99; this supply typically should last for three months, depending on the length or variability of a woman's menstrual cycle. It can now be purchased without a prescription in retail pharmacies, mass merchandisers, and combination food and drug stores. It is also being sold on QVC (1-800-345-1515) and on the Internet at UnipathÆs Web site, www.clearplan.com. Women can obtain a free brochure about the ClearPlan Easy Fertility Monitor by calling 1-800-931-1122.
Unipath Diagnostics Co. is focused on the delivery of innovative diagnostic products to help women manage their reproductive health more effectively. A division of Unilever, it is a leader in home pregnancy and ovulation testing. The company markets the ClearBlue Easy R One Minute Pregnancy Test and the ClearPlan EasyR Ovulation Predictor Test in the United States.
- Wilcox, Allen J. "Timing of sexual intercourse in relation to ovulation," New England Journal of Medicine, Volume 333, December 7, 1995, pp. 1517-1521.
Statement by Bishop James T. McHugh Deputy Head of the Delegation of the Holy See to the Thirty-Second Session of the Commission on Population and Development, United Nations, 24 March 1999
Shortly after our inspiring "In His Image" Convocation, members of the Holy See's delegation found themselves fighting the good fight in New York at the United Nations. The occasion, the Preparatory Committee for the special session of the General Assembly on the review and appraisal of the implementation of the Program of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), referred to as "Cairo + 5." Following is Bishops McHugh's statement which provides insight into the issues under debate in this international forum.
The International Conference on Population and Development emphasized the importance of the interrelationship between population and development. In the five years since the Cairo Conference, the world has attempted to implement the Programme of Action, and use the insights of the ICPD to help shape other aspects of development.
During those five years, the Holy See has continued to insist that the dignity of the person and basic human rights, especially the right to life, are promoted and protected, recognizing that human beings are at the center of concerns for development. It has also held strongly to the call for the full respect for various religious and ethical values and cultural backgrounds of each woman and man.
Now, as the United Nations once again takes up the process of review and appraisal of the implementation of the Programme of Action of ICPD, the Holy See restates its commitment to help in finding answers to the difficult problems that the world continues to face.
In this follow-up process, there is need for a closer look at issues involving development, especially regarding the reduction of poverty and the provision of basic social services including education, clean water and sanitation and the elimination of widespread endemic diseases.
The Holy See repeats its recognition that true development can never be reduced to a merely physical dimension and that an overall concern for education and well-being of the total person must be recognized. In some ways a disproportionate amount of attention has been given to a very limited understanding of reproductive health.
The Cairo Conference enabled governments to discuss a wide range of topics including the improvements of the status of women throughout the world, particularly regarding their health, access to education and their full and equal participation in development; the rejection of all forms of coercion in the implementation of population policies; the recognition of the family as the fundamental unit of society based on marriage and the expanding phenomenon and impact of migration.
The role of the family as the basic unit of society is recognized and supported by the United Nations and supported by member nations. The responsibility of men and women regarding their sexuality can only be expressed in the family and the individualistic concept of sexuality, at times advocated at Cairo, is a rejection of the role of the family
Following upon the recognition of the role of the family is the issue of education and the provision of health care to adolescents. The rights and duties of parents were affirmed at Cairo, and the first responsibility toward the education and socialization of children belongs to parents.
In light of recent demographic projections released by the United Nations Population Division, the aging of the world's population calls for immediate attention and action. Changes in the proportions between those who are economically active and those who are retired or dependent will continue to create more strains on pension and social security systems and health care services. Governments must foster the intrinsic value of persons of all ages and insure economic and social policies that support older persons without burdening the young and the working sector of the population.
The Holy See understands that the phenomenon of migration is a concern of all states. It is closely related to issues of development and population, and the international community must extend assistance and protection to all migrants and their families.
The ICPD Programme of Action reaffirms United Nations' policy that in no case should abortion be promoted as a method of family planning. In this context, the present practice of 'emergency and post-coital contraception' often involves abortifacient procedures or chemicals. It cannot be simply considered application of family planning and even less the exercise of an undefined and nebulous reproductive right.
The Holy See recognizes these practices as abortive, camouflaged as a means of contraception and often contrary to national legislative systems that grant legal protection to human life from the moment of conception.
Further, the Holy See rejects any recognition of a right to abortion through policies aimed at creating new categories of personal rights or including health services that promote 'safe abortion.' Abortion is never safe for the unborn child and often involves physical and or psychological dangers for the mother.
As something of a multiplication of rights is being attempted, the Holy See points out the fact that all rights will fade if the moral dimension of human rights and the obligations and responsibilities of states, as well as each individual, to protect every human being are not more clearly realized. In this regard, the importance of informed consent must be strongly emphasized to protect human rights and to ensure trust. Furthermore, no nation should be forced to change or violate its own laws that prohibit or regulate abortion practices, nor should any woman be forced to undergo abortion.
In this preparatory committee meeting, as at previous International Conferences, the Holy See realizes its obligation to continue to affirm protection of all human beings and to state that, as in the past, nothing that the Holy See has done in this process should be understood or interpreted as an endorsement of concepts it cannot support for moral reasons. Especially nothing is to be understood to imply that the Holy See endorses abortion or has in any way changed its moral position concerning abortion, contraception, or sterilization or the use of condoms in HIV/AIDS prevention programs.
The Holy See looks forward to a continuation of the spirit of cooperation that has marked the work of the United Nations, especially during the past few weeks. Honest and forthright dialogue and discussion lead to understanding and agreement. We are all motivated by a spirit of solidarity to ensure respect for human dignity and fundamental human rights and to pursue policies of sustainable development that benefit all persons and enhance the progress of peoples in every nation, continent and region.
Summary of Results of 1998 Diocesan NFP Program Profile
Rev. Robert R. Cannon, MA, MTh, JCL
In November of 1998, 187 Profile questionnaires were mailed to dioceses. One hundred and six or 57% of the dioceses completed and returned questionnaires. Data provided indicate that most trends have remained constant with NFP programs around the nation, with some improvement in certain areas:
- Where the diocesan bishop, priests and deacons publicly supports NFP efforts, NFP programs are strong and effective, even with limited funding. NFP coordinators and teachers need inspiration and support for their hard work and dedication. Every year this is the greatest plea identified by respondents. Sufficient funding to support and expand programs is the second greatest need.
- Sixty-nine percent (69%) of all NFP diocesan programs operate on less than $10,000 per year. Thirty five percent (35%) of dioceses allocated less than a $1,000 for NFP efforts. A few dioceses (5%) allocate $30,000 to more than $70,000 for their NFP programs. A typical arrangement is for an NFP program to share the funding, material, and staff support of an umbrella department, e.g., Family Life Office, Catholic Charities, or the facilities/staff of a Catholic hospital.
- Almost every diocese has a person designated either officially or unofficially as the Diocesan NFP Coordinator. Often, the NFP "hat" is one of many worn by this person. For example, the Family Life Director (40%) may be tasked to coordinate NFP efforts as part of the Office of Family Life.
- Most diocesan marriage programs provide some type of NFP information to engaged couples. The time allotted for NFP in 78% of pre-cana programs is less than 45 minutes. A more substantive inclusion of NFP in education programs about human sexuality and conjugal love remains a distant goal, not only in marriage preparation programs, but on every level of instruction. The inclusion of NFP in all educational programs on human sexuality and marriage needs to be emphasized in every diocese. Sometimes, NFP is barely mentioned in pre-cana programs or is covered by giving out literature to couples without discussion. One diocese strongly encourages couples to complete a full course of instruction in NFP as part of it comprehensive marriage preparation program.
- The Ovulation Method (66%) and the Sympto-Thermal Method (87%) are the preferred methods of NFP. A variety of NFP national provider groups are used by dioceses.
- Most diocesan NFP teachers are volunteers (28%). A few dioceses provide stipends to volunteer teachers (49%) to cover personal costs; e.g., transportation, baby sitter, materials, etc.
- There are over 1,250 NFP teachers scattered in dioceses across the nation. Some teachers act as a cohesive group working within a diocese, while others teach independently. Training new teachers and keeping seasoned instructors is a constant challenge in practically every diocesan program. These teachers have contributed over 100,000 hours in donated time and energy this past year toward NFP efforts across the nation, often at great personal sacrifice. They are a great resource for the teaching of human sexuality within a faith context, a resource to be more fully utilized.
NFP efforts in dioceses, when viewed as a whole, remain varied and uneven. Some dioceses have robust educational programs that integrate NFP into all education efforts on human sexuality, marriage and family life. By their dedicated efforts, some dioceses have made tremendous strides in improving the quality of their NFP programs by meeting the National Standards. Sadly, a few dioceses have experienced a reduction in program size either through teacher loss, budget cuts, and/or diocesan restructuring. With the exception of a handful of dioceses in the U.S., the Church's direct commitment to help couples understand the benefits of NFP over contraception is weak. Knowledge of NFP remains a much needed pastoral gift to offer to couples who wish to be faithful to the Church's teaching on conjugal love.
Dioceses which have demonstrated a commendable long-term commitment to NFP ministry through funding, staffing, and program services include: Cleveland, OH; Harrisburg, PA; LaCrosse, WI; Phoenix, AZ; St. Cloud, MN; and Springfield, IL. These can serve as models and might be consulted by dioceses with less developed programs. Check the National Diocesan NFP Coordinators Directory or contact the NFP program at the NCCB for further information (202-541-3240).
In conclusion, the single most compelling pastoral question is: "Can couples who wish to be faithful to Church teaching on responsible parenthood get the NFP help they need within the diocese?" The answer to that question will determine how best to plan program development for local diocesan NFP ministry.
Gratitude is extended to the following dioceses which provided data for the 1998 Profile survey:
Altoona, PA; Arlington, VA; Atlanta, GA; Baker, OR; Baltimore, MD; Baton Rouge, LA; Beaumont, TX; Biloxi, MS; Bismarck, ND; Boston, MA; Bridgeport, MA; Brooklyn, NY; Buffalo, NY; Burlington, VT; Camden, NJ; Charleston, SC; Cheyenne, WY; Cincinnati, OH; Cleveland, OH; Colorado Springs, CO; Corpus Christi, TX; Covington, KY; Denver, CO; Des Moines, IA; Detroit, MI; Duluth, MN; Erie, PA; Evansville, IN; Fall River, MA; Fargo, ND; Gaylord, MI; Grand Rapids, MI; Great Falls-Billings, MT; Greenburg, PA; Harrisburg, PA; Hartford, CT; Helena, MT; Houma-Thibadoux, LA; Jackson, MS; Jefferson City, MO; Joliet, IL; Kansas City- St. Joseph; Knoxville, TN; La Crosse, WI; Lafayette, LA; Lafayette, IN: Lake Charles, LA; Las Vegas, NV; Lexington, KY; Lincoln, NE; Little Rock, AR; Los Angeles, CA; Louisville, KY; Lubbock, TX; Manchester, NH; Marquette, MI; Memphis, TN; Metuchen, NJ; Miami, FL; Milwaukee, WI; Monterey, CA; Nashville, TN; Newark, NJ; New Orleans, LA; New Ulm, MN; New York, NY; Ogdensburg, NY; Oklahoma City, OK; Omaha, NE; Orange, CA; Orlando, FL; Owensboro, KY; Pensacola-Tallahassee, FL; Philadelphia, PA; Phoenix, AZ; Portland, OR; Providence, RI; Pueblo, CO; Raleigh, NC; Richmond, VA; Rockford, IL; St. Augustine. FL; St. Cloud, MN; St. Louis, MO; St. Paul & Minneapolis, MN; St. Petersburg, FL; Salinas, KS; San Antonio, TX;; San Diego,CA; San Francisco, CA; Santa Rosa, CA; Scranton, PA; Shreveport, LA; Sioux City, IA; Sioux Falls, SD; Spokane, WA; Springfield, IL; Springfield, MA; Springfield Cape Girardeau, MO; Superior, WI; Toledo, OH; Trenton, NJ; Tucson, AZ; Washington, DC; Wichita, KS; Yakima, WA.
Rev. Robert R. Cannon is the Judicial Vicar for the Diocese of Venice, FL.
Catholic Medical Association's Commitment to Truth
Catholic physicians who gathered in New York September 10-13, 1998, concluded their program by issuing a statement of unqualified commitment to Church teaching. The gathering was a joint session of the International Federation of the Catholic Medical Associations, which meets every four years, and the Catholic Medical Association USA, which meets annually.
The statement said that they were strengthened in their calling by papal documents such as Humanae vitae and Evangelium vitae. "We celebrate the life-affirming vision of wholesome sexuality and parenthood, which Christ teaches us through our Catholic Church," they said. They also proclaimed "the right of every human being to receive at least basic health care," adding that this right should be recognized especially when people are affected by "chronic or disabling diseases." "We renounce pressure from governmental agencies and third-party payers who would have us act in the interest of cost reduction at the expense of our own patients' best interests," they said.
In addition to the statement, the document "Promises of the Catholic Doctor," was issued by the International Federation. In it, commitments are made to protect human life "from conception to its natural end," to donate time to serve the poor, as well as to "express the benevolence of Christ in my life, and in my relationships with patients, colleagues and society." Although doctors were not required to sign the document, the thirteen promises clearly express the mission of the International Federation.
About 300 doctors attended the 1998 meeting. The Catholic Medical Association will meet next in Buffalo, N.Y. on Sept. 29- Oct. 3, 1999.
This report has been adapted from a story by Tracy Early, Catholic News Service.
Clergy on Responsible Parenthood & NFP
So many times we hear complaints that our clergy are "silent" on the issues of responsible parenthood and NFP. Yet, many of us know bishops, priests and deacons who teach, preach, and write beautifully on these issues. In fact, I make it a point to collect these statements, as I am sure some of you do as well. I want to suggest that we share our information. If you will send me copies of your favorite sayings, stories, sermons, etc. of bishops, priests and deacons who have touched your hearts on these issues, I will in turn, share them by including them in this newsletter from time to time. The following is excerpted from a bishops's column in his paper.
Writing in his newspaper shortly after Pope John Paul II's visit to in St. Louis, Archbishop Theodore McCarrick of Newark reflected on the Holy Father's request that we be a people "open to life." That phrase, noted Archbishop McCarrick,
... means to respond with generosity to the opportunities God gives us to love as He asks us to love, to sacrifice for others and to help carry the burden of those who are poor. In present day America, it also means not to be seduced by a contraceptive mentality which can put an unreasonable limit on the number of children we bring into the world. The Church in the Second Vatican Council, of course, clearly teaches responsible parenthood; but there is no openness to life when a family rules out a child solely for reasons of convenience or because of their decision to maintain an affluent lifestyle or because the added responsibility will limit their freedom to live as they choose.
To be open to life is something akin to our act of faith. It is a grace we receive from God to trust in His love and in His caring Providence. The values of modern day society push us to have confidence in the things we can touch and count and measure. Openness to life demands confidence in a God we cannot see or even perfectly describe. And yet, this God is the source of our own lives and it is His Will to bring us to happiness as long as we are faithful and open to His love. Open to life and open to love are two sides of the same coin.
(The Catholic Advocate, Feb. 3, 1999)
Mary Ann Chezik
Family Life Bureau, Diocese of Camden
As NFP coordinator, I have been involved in the training of new Pre-Cana team members, trying to prepare them for the talk on "responsible parenthood" that is a part of each diocesan Pre-Cana. I have found these training groups to be among the most resistant (sometimes even hostile) audiences I have encountered. Comments range from "God doesn't belong in my bedroom!" and "Are you saying I'm not a good Catholic because I don't use NFP?" to "My priest said it was up to my conscience."
The fact that there usually were no users of NFP among the couples told me that I needed to find a way to put the brakes on the negative reactions to the topic long enough to keep their attention through some basic information.
The approach I tried recently seemed to accomplish that and to serve as a means to honest discussion as well.
I began by "taking them off the hook," so to speak, for choosing contraception. While I was preparing for the session, I began analyzing where and when people might have an opportunity to hear about NFP, and I realized that a positive message about NFP had little chance of getting through the constant contraceptive barrage we daily encounter. I decided to begin my session then by defining NFP, and contrasting the negative image NFP has in general in society with the positive spin put on contraception. The text follows:
Notes from Pre-Cana Meeting on Natural Family Planning
Natural Family Planning - what is it?
It is using knowledge of the male and female reproductive systems and how they function with regard to fertility to IDENTIFY when a couple is FERTILE, or capable of conceiving a child, and then making a decision to either ABSTAIN during the fertile time if conception must be avoided or to consciously use the fertile time to conceive and welcome new life.
Most people today have a negative idea of natural methods. This comes across in the names associated with it - "Rhythm," "Vatican roulette," "Catholic birth control," "parents." Why does NFP carry these negative connotations?
- The medical community, as a whole, does not support it. Medical students say that they are generally told about it jokingly as an introduction to contraception. So they are not taught about it. Since it is based on knowing how the body works, it is too time intensive for doctors to teach in an office setting; therefore, it is not cost effective. There are no pills or devices involved, so there are no profits to be had from pharmaceutical companies. Some doctors will ridicule those who use it.
- People who used the rhythm method of the 50s and 60s and had a number of surprise pregnancies are reluctant to suggest this to their children as a positive means of family planning. Many warn their children to avoid natural methods, even though today's methods are nothing like rhythm.
- The popular press has nothing positive to say about natural methods.
- Most people have not been taught in either school or church that there is a moral difference between using the natural methods and using contraceptives. The absence of teaching about this has led many people to think that this issue has no moral dimension to it.
In the early 1960s, the oral contraceptive pill changed the world's view of having children. The first changes affected the language we used with regard to child-bearing and pregnancy-- "prevent" an unwanted child, "avoid" a pregnancy, "eliminate" an unwanted pregnancy. Our perception of children went from seeing them as a "good," i.e., another set of hands to help out on the land in a generally agrarian society, to seeing them as a burden or as "another mouth to feed." After three decades of this type of thinking, we have developed into a culture that seems to be afraid of children. Pregnancies are scheduled into a carefully planned time frame; the number of pregnancies are decided by couples well ahead of time, and when the number of desired children has been reached, either husband or wife is designated to undergo sterilization, taking the future possibility of more children out of the picture. In this situation, contraception is seen as a "necessity" to keep the arrival of children on schedule and under control. To further stem the pregnancy rate, condoms are made available to children in school clinics, and "safe sex" messages are aired on prime time television.
Where does the weight of the information fall? Is it any wonder that contraception is seen as a necessity in this country and natural methods are seen as a little known and inferior means of family planning? With an eye only on the secular world, it is easy to dismiss natural family planning. And without the perspective and framework which the Catholic Church gives to the sacrament of matrimony and family, it may be impossible to see a difference between the two, especially if the end result of both contraception and NFP is the same - - preventing another pregnancy at this time.
What is the difference? To sort it out, we need to look at the reason God gave us our fertility. Where does it fit in His plan? What is God's plan for us regarding sex?
In God's plan, sexual intercourse is placed within the bond of marriage. Through this very intimate sharing of each other, the married couple is called to become co-creators with God in bringing forth new life. It is the way that God allows us to share in His creative act, to participate in bringing new life into the world. Since this is a generous gift to us, we should recognize it and treasure it. And since this is an act that calls for mutual self-giving, and which creates a bonding between the man and woman, the act of sexual intercourse is placed within marriage. The Catholic Church recognizes the sacred bond, and has raised this institution to the dignity of a sacrament. As such, it is upheld as a vocation to holiness.
In God's plan sexual intercourse has two purposes: love or the bonding between husband and wife, and bringing forth new life. We are to respect both of these purposes in each act of intercourse. Natural methods of family planning respect these purposes by putting nothing between the husband and wife that would interfere either with mutual self-giving in love or with the conception of new life.
Contraception, however, impairs self-giving. Using a pill or device to alter our fertility says to our partner and to ourselves, "I won't give to you the part of me that is fertile" or "I won't accept that part of you which could create new life." It involves a holding back of part of the self. It also rejects that gift of fertility by either covering it up with a condom or diaphragm, by altering the body's functioning (the pill, injections, or norplant rods), by killing the fertile agent (spermicides), or by killing the fertilized egg (IUD, some actions of the pill). Contraception is taking the action to prohibit conception before any act of intercourse takes place. It seeks to arrest the possibility of transmitting life by taking a direct action on the body, which then destroys the life-giving aspect of each act of intercourse.
Natural methods, on the other hand, do not alter any aspect of the couple's fertility or ability to transmit life. They leave each act of intercourse open to the possibility of conception. The difference is that the couple chooses when to have intercourse: if the couple needs to space births, they do not use the fertile time for intercourse. The couple identifies the fertile time and respects its potential and power by abstaining from intercourse until fertility is over in that cycle. The couple can then unite in sexual intercourse to enhance their love bond during the naturally occurring infertile times of the cycle. They have not done anything to change or alter their fertility; they have remained open to the possibility of new life. This way of cooperating with God's plan and not altering or damaging fertility is morally acceptable for spacing children.
What if a couple has been using contraception? What if they had not considered the moral dimension of their actions before?
This is an issue that touches people in many different ways. It is a complex issue. The first thing to do is to pray about the new information you have heard. Ask God for guidance about your next steps. You can then learn more about it by reading some of the many resources made available to you (NB: there were a number of brochures and articles left in the parish and the number of the Family Life Bureau was also provided).
If you have not made a permanent decision about your fertility through sterilization, you can learn to use natural methods by taking one of the classes offered through the NFP office. The classes are taught by couples who are using the natural methods themselves. This personal experience with working with fertility is one of the advantages to learning through our teaching couples. (NB: Couples were also told of an NFP home study option and that the Family Life office had additional resources for the couple who may be on the other end of the spectrum experiencing infertility.)
If you have been sterilized, there are still some very positive things which you can do: you can educate yourself about the Church's teachings so that you can help to educate those you will touch through Pre-Cana. You can also take the NFP classes so that you can more readily speak about what it is like to the engaged. And, if it has been the husband who has undergone the sterilization, and the wife has not yet reached menopause, the woman can still use the information given in the classes to know her body and her cycle better.
Mary Ann Chezik, PhD, is director of marriage preparation programs and chastity education for the Diocese of Camden.
Join us in welcoming a new staff member to the DDP/NFP. Janet Kistler, former director of the Phoenix NFP Center, joined the staff on April 5. Janet has served in the NFP ministry for some 20 years. She brings with her a wealth of experience in both teaching and administering NFP services.
Monsignor Charles Fortier
It is with sadness that we mark the death of Monsignor Charles Fortier on January 5, 1999. He was a founding board member of the California Association of Natural Family Planning and a staunch advocate of NFP, especially in the Hispanic community. Since 1980, Msgr. Fortier was the Associate Family Life Director in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and in this position was responsible for the inclusion of Natural Family Planning in marriage ministry. Please pray for the repose of his soul and the comfort of his family and friends.
National NFP Week: March 21-27, 1999--Theme & Celebrations
The theme for National NFP Week '99 was Revolution of Love and Life. Brochures and posters were made available through the American Academy of NFP. Contact: Becky Knapp, Natural Family Planning Office, 2127 South Cooper Court, Wichita, KS 67207; 316-683-2663; FAX 316-685-7540.
- Diocese of Evansville, IN:
Kicking off NFP Week, a diocesan sponsored open house of the newly incorporated and relocated Holy Family Center for Life took place on March 21. The Center offers instruction and information in the Creighton Model of NFP. Prior to NFP Week, five articles had been run in the weekly diocesan newspaper. Contact: Holy Family Center for Life, 3790 Aspen Dr., Evansville, IN 4771;(812) 473-5187; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Marquette University's Institute for Natural Family Planning (MUINFP):
Sponsored a conference on March 20 entitled: Revolution of Love and Life: A Celebration of Natural Family Planning Week. Speakers included Dale O'Leary, author of The Sexual Revolution and Humanae Vitae.
MUINFP also co-sponsored with the Marquette Chapter of University Faculty for Life, a discussion on The Ethics of Multiple Births (March 26). Speakers included James Linn, MD, OB/GYN, Chief of Obstetrics, St. Mary's Hospital, Milwaukee and Mark Johnson, PhD, Assistant Professor of Theology, Marquette University. Contact: MUINFP, Marquette University, College of Nursing, Milwaukee, WI 53233; 414-288-3838; FAX, 414-288-1939.
Pope Paul VI Institute is offering ten full scholarships for NFP education classes beginning in 1999. These scholarships will cover tuition and materials. Additionally, five full scholarships will be made available to medical students. Contact: Pope Paul VI Institute, Education Programs, 6901 Mercy Road, Omaha, NE 68106; 402-390-9168; FAX 402-390-9851.
California Association of Natural Family Planning Teacher Directory
CANFP is calling for all NFP teachers in the California area to be listed in their 1999/2000 directory. All listed teachers will also be posted on their website. Contact: CANFP, 1217 Tyler St., Salinas, CA 93906.
One More Soul
Steve Koob, Director of One More Soul, is compiling a list of NFP teachers throughout the United States and needs your input. Contact: One More Soul, 616 Five Oaks Avenue, Dayton, OH 45406; 800-307-7685.
April 29-May 2. Billings Ovulation Method Association, USA held a teacher training session in Orlando, Florida. The training served as recertification for those needing updating. Contact: BOMA-USA, 316 North 7th Avenue, St. Cloud, MN 56303; 320-252-2100; FAX 320-252-2877.
NFP Parish Missions. Fr. Daniel McCaffrey offered his NFP parish missions at the following locations: March 20-21, St. Raphael's Church, Crystal, MN; April 17-18, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; April 24-May 2, Bronx, N.Y. Fr. McCaffrey will also speak at the Pro-Life Weekend on May 14th at "My Father's House" Retreat Center in Moodus, CT and on May 15th at the Human Life International Conference in Baltic, CT.
May 8. The California Association of NFP (CANFP) offered its 6th annual conference entitled NFP: A Man's Perspective in Salinas, CA. Among the speakers were Most. Rev. Sylvester, Ryan, DD, Bishop of Monterey and Janet Smith, PhD, Associate Professor at the University of Dallas. Contact: CANFP, 1217 Tyler St., Salinas, CA 93906; 831-443-3746 or 877-33-CANFP (toll free).
June 12-18. Pope Paul VI Institute and Creighton University School of Medicine will hold their second annual Procreative and Birth Ethics: Integrating Catholic Truth and Medicine conference in Omaha, NE. The conference will explore the philosophical and theological foundations that apply to the science and medicine of procreation and birth. The target audience is health care professionals, hospital administrators, pastoral health care ministers and theologians. Contact: Sr. Renee Mirkes, OSF, Ph.D., Pope Paul VI Institute, 6901 Mercy Road, Omaha, NE 68106; FAX 402-390-9851.
July 20-24. The American Academy of Natural Family Planning will hold its annual meeting and education program in Lowell, Mass. Topics relevant to NFP, current research and future goals will be discussed. Contact: Nancy Malo; 800-551-5850, ext. 8706.
August 2-7. Creighton Model System, NFP Practitioner Certificate Program training offered by St. Joseph Hospital School of Health Occupations will be held in Nashua, NH. This program adheres to the standards of the American Academy of NFP. Contact: Kathy Rivet, BS, CNFPE, St. Joseph School of Health Occupations, 5 Woodward Ave., Nashua, NH 03060; 603-594-2574; FAX 603-594-2581.
October 11-15. Pope Paul VI Institute will offer a Catholic Leadership Conference in Omaha, NE. The conference will explore a contemporary approach to the Catholic foundations of human personhood, human sexuality, family planning and health care of women. Contact: Pope Paul VI Institute, NFP Education Department, 6901 Mercy Road, Omaha, NE 68106; 402-390-9168; FAX 402-390-9851.
Catholic Organization for Life and Family has published a leaflet outlining the philosophical and theological bases of Church teaching on natural family planning. It presents NFP in a very attractive manner. Copies are available from the COLF office at no cost; however, a donation to help with printing would be welcomed. Contact: Catholic Organization for Life and Family, 90 Parent Ave., Ottawa, ON K1N 7B1; 613-241-9461, Ext. 230; FAX 613-241-8117.
Family of the Americas has developed a computer software program called Charting Coach designed to accompany the Love & Fertility book or video. The graphics are excellent and it is a very "user friendly" program. Contact: Family of the Americas; 1-800-443-3395.
The Institute for Reproductive Health, Georgetown University announces its new world wide web site at: http://www.irh.org. Publications, research and project updates on NFP and Fertility Awareness are available through this web site.
Mary Shivanandan, STD has written a new book entitled Crossing the Threshold of Love: A New Vision of Marriage in the Light of John Paul II's Anthropology. Shivanandan examines the scientific data and the theological analysis that underlie the Holy Father's teachings on marriage and sexuality. It's an important text for the study of the development, meaning and implications of Catholic doctrine in this area. Contact: The Catholic University of America Press, P.O. Box 4852 Hampton Station, Baltimore, MD 21211; 410-516-6953.
"Making The Ovulation Method Work For You," written by Merrilee Underhill, is an easy reading basic primer on the Ovulation Method. Quantity discounts are available when more than ten copies are purchased. Contact: Aware Center, 10016 Kennerly Road, St. Louis, MO 63128, Attn: Merrilee Underhill; 314-525-1622.
June 3 - 5: Southwest Regional Conference, "Keeping Kids Pure in a Sex-Saturated Society." Sponsored by the National Abstinence Clearinghouse. Co-hosted by the Arizona Abstinence Alliance. Speakers include: Pam Stenzel, founder of Straight Talk; Kathleen Sullivan, Director of Project Reality; and A.C. Green, Athletes for Abstinence. Contact: National Abstinence Clearinghouse, 801 East 41st St., Sioux Falls, SD 57105; 605-335-3643.
August 5 - 7: National Leadership Summit on Abstinence, sponsored by Medical Institute for Sexual Health, in San Antonio, TX. Speakers include: Thomas Lickona, PhD, Joe McIlhaney, MD, Barbara Dafoe Whitehead. Contact: The Medical Institute for Sexual Health, P.O. Box 162306, Austin, TX 78716-2306; 512-328-6268; FAX, 512-328-6269.
The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy produced a document entitled, "Nine Tips To Help Faith Leaders and Their Communities Address Teen Pregnancy." The National Campaign is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group founded in 1996. The Campaign started as a Presidential committee; consequently its members come from a variety of faith and philosophical backgrounds. Some are opposed to the Catholic Church's teachings on human sexuality and abortion. Still, the document has much in it that is good, and it is indicative of a growing national consciousness of the problem of sexual activity among unmarried adolescents. The document is worth taking a look at. Contact: National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, 2100 M St., Suite 300, Washington, D.C. 20037; www.teenpregnancy.org.
Northwest Family Services has a brochure available entitled, "Virginity, It's Not A Dirty Word." The brochure exposes the safe sex myth in seven points (all well documented). Also available in Spanish. Contact: NWFS, 4805 N./E. Glisan St., Portland, OR 97213; 503-215-6377; FAX, 503-215-6940.