Link to Springfield, Illinois Diocese on Natural Family Planning: https://www.dio.org/familylife/nfp.html
P.O. Box 2392, Orange Grove, TX 78372, (361) 384-0067,www.facebook.com/nfpandmore
Link to Natural Family Planning International: www.nfpandmore.org.
November 2020 Newsletter
This is my plea for bishops, priests and informed laity to help ordinary couples know and live according to the teaching of Humanae Vitae. I am not just politely suggesting; I am begging those with teaching authority in the Church to do two things relevant to Humanae Vitae. 1) Require that every engaged couple take the right kind of NFP course as a normal part of preparation for marriage. 2) Insist that every required course teach a universal core that includes all the common signs of fertility, ecological breastfeeding, Catholic morality regarding love, marriage and sexuality, and some additional things stated below. I believe that the Church-related NFP course should be an exercise in evangelization, not just non-contraceptive birth control.
I accept the teaching of Jesus that being his disciples involves taking up our cross daily, and I believe this applies to his teaching about love, marriage and sexuality. I also believe that his words in Luke 11:46 apply to those who have teaching responsibilities in the Church today. “Woe to you also, scholars of the law, for you load men with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burden with one of your fingers.” Thus I believe that bishops, priests, deacons and informed laity are called to do what they can — both to affirm the teaching and to provide the practical help to live it.
Couples have a right to know enough about the intellectual and practical help available so that they can make a well informed choice among the available options.
Engaged and married couples have a God-given right to learn—
•All the common signs of fertility and infertility—mucus, temperature and cervix and how to use these in a cross-checking way for confidence and effectiveness.
•Ecological breastfeeding as a form of natural baby spacing that maximizes all the health benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and baby, maintains the milk supply, and delays the return of fertility for an average of 14 to 15 months.
•The moral teaching of the Catholic Church relevant to love, marriage, sexuality, generosity in having children, and birth control.
•This teaching in the context of God’s revelation and the marriage covenant.
•The relative effectiveness of the different systems. I believe that this right to learn and to know is indisputable. After all, who can argue that anyone, Catholic or not, does not have a right to learn all of this? The current situation, however, does not facilitate that right to learn the options.
Many of the NFP services offered by diocesan offices are variations on the mucus-only approach. •They teach only the external mucus sign. •They exclude teaching the internal observations of mucus and the cervix. •They exclude any teaching of the temperature sign. •They do not teach ecological breastfeeding. •They do not teach Catholic morality as a normal part of their instruction.
Among those who teach the cross-checking signs, no American program except NFP International teaches ecological breastfeeding. Others may teach about breastfeeding as a healthy practice, but they do not teach the seven standards of ecological breastfeeding, the only kind associated with extended breastfeeding infertility. Withholding this information unfairly restricts the freedom of couples to choose.
Some dioceses try to compensate for this by offering more than one program. That would be satisfactory if the couples knew enough to make an informed choice between the different programs, but they don’t.
Why does this happen? I think it is a matter of salesmanship. The mucus-only programs are run mostly by women who are nice people. They have sold their product to the diocese and not infrequently have been hired as the diocesan NFP coordinator or director. They are liked by their bosses who are happy to have someone taking on this task. It is quite natural for them to think that their particular program is the best or at least completely adequate, and the idea of offering couples a real choice seems quite foreign. After all, the leaders of their respective programs have said that the temperature sign, the internal observations, and the cervix sign aren’t needed. It may be that the diocesan NFP coordinator has never experienced ecological breastfeeding.
All of this is understandable, and all of it makes for harmony in the chancery office, but is it fair?
What is needed is a minimum universal core in every NFP program that is recognized in some way by the diocese. It would respect the God-given rights of couples to know what God has made available: •All the common signs of fertility and infertility—mucus, temperature and cervix and how to use these in a cross-checking way for confidence and effectiveness. •Ecological breastfeeding as a form of natural baby spacing •The moral teaching of the Catholic Church relevant to love, marriage, sexuality, generosity in having children, and birth control. • All of this taught in the context of God’s revelation and the marriage covenant. •The relative effectiveness of the different systems.
This can be done with relative ease. There is no good reason why every program cannot teach Ecological Breastfeeding.
Adding the temperature sign to current mucus-only instruction will not be difficult to teach, but there may be resistance to change. I am not saying that everyone has to chart temperatures. No. What is necessary is that couples are given sufficient information so that they know that the temperature sign can be used in a cross-checking way and has other significant advantages listed in my commentary on the temperature sign. They should learn how to chart if they so desire.
John F. Kippley, co-founder, NFP International
NFP – International - December 2019 Newsletter
Subject: NFP and the Temperature Sign
The temperature sign is simple to use and a great option for couples. As one couple told us recently (October 2019), “Pre-pregnancy, my husband and I primarily relied upon the thermal method, due to its simplicity.”
In the 1970s, my husband attended Fr. Paul Marx’s conferences on natural family planning and heard Dr. John Billings say he dropped the temperature because women found the temperature sign so easy to use that they tended to ignore the mucus sign.
In our Home Study Course, student couples have a pregnancy chart to interpret. We want them to learn that three weeks of elevated temps indicate pregnancy. When they give the right answer—the chart indicates pregnancy—I tell them that we picked the pregnancy chart for a reason. This chart is to teach you that the temperature sign is an excellent indicator of pregnancy and also of the age of the unborn baby. Our primary medical consultant called 3 weeks of elevated temps the best indicator for the estimated date of childbirth. You do not have to buy pregnancy kits or age-of-unborn-baby kits. The chart gives you the answer. See page 70 in the NFPI manual for the details.
In addition, the temperature sign can also tell you when you are not pregnant. For example, when a very worried woman called about a possible pregnancy while using only the mucus sign, we told her to take her temperature for five days and get back to us. From those temps, we could assure her she was most likely not pregnant, assuming that her temperature pattern was in the range typical for most women. This gave her peace of mind, and her subsequent menstruation confirmed our estimation.
For more information and research on the temperature sign, go to “Your Right to Know” on the home page or to http://www.nfpandmore.org/pdf/temperature_sign.pdf.
Sheila Kippley co-founder, NFPI
Here’s an announcement for your bulletin:
"NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING BUILDS STRONG FAMILIES. It is medically safe, morally acceptable, and highly effective. Build intimacy and increase communication in your marriage. Share the responsibility for birth regulation. NFP is inexpensive and reversible. Learn well at your own speed with the Home Study Course by NFP International at www.nfpandmore.org."