Natural Family Planning

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YouCat calls NFP "a school of love." We should strive to keep in mind that the Church's teachings are about one of the greatest expressions of love available to us in this lifetime — "the life giving force of sexual union."[1]



From the NaProTechnology website.

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Dissent from Humanae vitae

Winnipeg Statement

25 July 1968 Humanae vitae.
27 September 1968
Winnipeg Statement
8. Of recent years many have entertained doubts about the validity of arguments proposed to forbid any positive intervention which would prevent the transmission of human life. As a result there have arisen opinions and practices contrary to traditional moral theology. Because of this many had been expecting official confirmation of their views. This helps to explain the negative reaction the encyclical received in many quarters. Many Catholics face a grave problem of conscience.
9. Christian theology regarding conscience has its roots in the teaching of St. Paul5. This has been echoed in our day by Vatican II: "Conscience is the most secret core and sanctuary of man. There he is alone with God, whose voice echoes in his depths."6 "On his part man acknowledges the imperatives of the divine law through the mediation of conscience. In all his activity a man is bound to follow his conscience faithfully, in order that he may come to God for whom he was created"7. The dignity of man consists precisely in his ability to achieve his fulfillment in God through the exercise of a knowing and free choice.
25. In the situation we described earlier in this statement (par. 17) the confessor or counsellor must show sympathetic understanding and reverence for the sincere good faith of those who fall in their effort to accept some point of the encyclical.
26. Counsellors may meet others who, accepting the teaching of the Holy Father, find that because of particular circumstances they are involved in what seems to them a clear conflict of duties, e.g., the reconciling of conjugal love and responsible parenthood with the education of children already born or with the health of the mother. I accord with the accepted principles of moral theology, if these persons have tried sincerely but without success to pursue a line of conduct in keeping with the given directives, they may be safely assure that, whoever honestly chooses that course which seems right to him does so in good conscience.
18 April 1969
"Statement on Family Life and Related Matters."
At the same time we cannot close our eyes or our minds to the reaction of a certain segment of the public, both within our communion and outside it, which appears to have distorted to some degree our pastoral application of the encyclical On Human Life.
Nothing could be gained and much lost by any attempt to rephrase our Winnipeg statement. We stand squarely behind that position but we feel it our duty to insist on a proper interpretation of the same.
In particular we feel that our teaching on freedom of conscience and the role of the magisterium, the authentic teaching authority of the Church, has not always been accurately reflected.
Consequently we wish to reiterate our positive conviction that a Catholic Christian is not free to form his conscience without consideration of the teaching of the magisterium, in the particular instance exercised by the Holy Father in an encyclical letter. It is false and dangerous to maintain that because this encyclical has not demanded "the absolute assent of faith", 2 any Catholic may put it aside as if it had never appeared. On the contrary, such teaching in some ways imposes a great burden of responsibility on the individual conscience.
The Catholic knows that he or she may not dissent from teaching proposed as infallible. With regard to such teaching one may seek only to understand, to appreciate, to deepen one's insights.
In the presence of other authoritative teaching, exercised either by the Holy Father or by the collectivity of the bishops one must listen with respect, with openness and with the firm conviction that a personal opinion, or even the opinion of a number of theologians, ranks very much below the level of such teaching. The attitude must be one of desire to assent, a respectful acceptance of truth which bears the seal of God's Church.
"Statement on the Formation of Conscience ."
38. For a believer, this teaching of the magisterium as outlined above cannot be just one element among others in the formation of his conscience. It is the definitive cornerstone upon which the whole edifice of conscientious judgement must be built. "You are built upon the foundation laid by the apostles and prophets, and Christ Jesus himself is the foundation stone" (Eph. 2:20). "You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church" (Mt. 16:18). What must be kept in mind is that we are in the dimension of faith. And we should be encouraged and hopeful because we can count on the continued assistance of the Holy Spirit in a manner which pure reason could never give.
39. The responsible person, as defined above, must weigh the facts before acting. This is far removed from saying that he may act in accordance with his whims and wishes. A believer has the absolute obligation of conforming his conduct first and foremost to what the Church teaches, because first and foremost for the believer is that Christ, through his Spirit, is ever present in his Church, in the whole Church to be sure, but particularly with those who exercise services within the Church and for the Church, the first of which services is that of the apostles.
40. Furthermore, even in matters which have not been defined ex cathedra, i.e., infallibly, the believer has the obligation to give full priority to the teaching of the Church in favour of a given position, to pray for the light of the Spirit, to refer to Scripture and tradition and to maintain a dialogue with the whole Church, which he can do only through the source of unity which is the collectivity of the bishops. The reality itself, for example, sex, marriage, economics, politics, war, must be studied in detail. In this study, he should make an effort to become aware of his own inevitable presuppositions as well as his cultural background which leads him to act for or react against any given position. If his ultimate practical judgement to do this or avoid that does not take into full account the teaching of the Church, an account based not only on reason but on the faith dimension, he is deceiving himself in pretending that he is acting as a true Catholic must.
41. For a Catholic "to follow one's conscience" is not, then, simply to act as his unguided reason dictates. "To follow one's conscience" and remain a Catholic, one must take into account first and foremost the teaching of the magisterium. When doubt arises due to a conflict of "my" views and those of the magisterium, the presumption of truth lies on the part of the magisterium. "In matters of faith and morals, the bishops speak in the name of Christ and the faithful are to accept their teaching and adhere to it with a religious assent of soul. This religious submission of will and of mind must be shown in a special way to the authentic teaching authority of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra (Lumen Gentium, #25). And this must be carefully distinguished from the teaching of individual theologians or individual priests, however intelligent or persuasive.
1998 The Canadian Bishops voted by secret ballot on a resolution to retract the Winnipeg Statement. It did not pass.
"Liberating Potential."
Pastoral Message of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops on the Occasion of the 40th Anniversary of the Encyclical Humanae vitae.

Cultural Misrepresentations

Andrew Klavan, ep. 840, "State of the Kaboom," has badly misstated the grounds on which the Catholic Church objects to the use of artificial methods of birth control. He wrongly claims that the Church teaches that the life of an individual begins before conception in the sperm and the egg. He says that he disagrees on the grounds that "everything necessary for life" is not available until conception. That is precisely and exactly what the Church teaches. The grounds for rejecting artificial methods of birth control are that those methods are contrary to the "body language" of sexuality and marriage. Couples who use artificial methods want the pleasures associated with intercourse without accepting the responsibility and power of procreation.

I have listened to K-L-A-V-A-N with great interest and enthusiasm for several years. This was a regrettable lapse. I don't mind people choosing not to be Catholic. I do object very strongly to non-Catholics distorting the teaching of the Church. Klavan has essentially been hoodwinked by the Monty Python skit in which they sing, "Every sperm is sacred." Every act of intercourse is sacred and shoul be OPEN to the possibility of procreation, because that is the nature of the marital embrace. Holding that there is no intrinsic structure or nature to sexual intercourse — that we can sterilize the act as we please — is an endorsement of the mentality behind the same-sex agenda, transgenderism, adultery, pornography, and other socio-sexual disorders.




National Natural Family Planning Awareness Week

July 24-30, 2011.