A Healthy Alternative Natural Family Planning methods

Batrice Adcock Special to The Catholic News & Herald November 13, 2009

GREENSBORO —  “Contraception is the root of the entire culture of death,” stated Benedictine Father Matthew Habiger to parishioners of Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Greensboro Nov. 6. He spoke on behalf of Natural Family Planning Outreach, a ministry based in Oklahoma City.

Former president and chairman of the board for Human Life International, Father Habiger has been a guest on the Catholic television network EWTN and has lectured on life issues in 55 countries.

He explained that contraception enables promiscuity by removing all barriers to lust.

“Only the virtue of chastity — of self-possession and self-control — can give our sex drives the direction and discipline they need,” said Father Habiger.

“Recreational sex and the culture of death go together. They both rely upon massive use of contraception, and when that fails, abortion,” he stated. “We will never overturn abortion unless we address the root problem, which is contraception.” 

Natural solutions

Father Habiger continued to say that root problem underscores the need to learn Natural Family Planning, or “God’s great gift for these times.”

When coupled with the Theology of the Body, he said, the method helps a couple to understand their fertility. Father Habiger explained that fertility is to be recognized as a great blessing, but unfortunately “our culture often considers the child to be an uninvited intruder, a competitor for our attention and our finances.”

With an increasing infertility rate, infertile couples often resort to artificial means of achieving pregnancy which deny the dignity of the child and the marital act.

Father Habiger explained that “every child has a right to be born of an act of love between his parents.”

 He encouraged infertile couples to try the method, saying it “helps infertile couples to locate their most fertile times, and they often succeed in having children.”

Life-affirming choice

There are significant differences between contraception and natural family planning.

Couples using both methods often have the same end in mind, that of postponing pregnancy. However, couples must consider that contraception is associated with significant risk, while the practice of monitoring the menstrual cycle is healthy. In terms of human physiology, the menstrual cycle has been called the fifth vital sign.

Modern methods of natural family planning are very reliable and have proven highly effective for achieving or postponing pregnancy due to a basis in sound scientific research. A recent study in the Journal of Human Reproduction showed natural family planning is as effective as the birth control pill.

Additionally, the divorce rate is less than 3 % among natural family planning couples. The method encourages communication on a monthly basis as couples approach the fertile timeframe and consider the possibility of another pregnancy.

The couple regularly discusses important issues affecting their readiness to be parents, such as their emotional and physical health, their finances, stress, and responsibilities.

This healthy communication contrasts sharply with communication of couples using contraception. Those couples do not have the benefit of regular encouragement to communicate about important issues.

Perhaps most detrimental to the marriages of couples using contraceptives is the attitude that contraception fosters between spouses — that the good of pleasure is more important than the good of each other.

Father Habiger lamented that many Catholic couples have not heard church teachings on sexuality, or they choose to reject them.

 Most are not aware of natural family planning. Family, friends, doctors and popular culture repeat that contraception is the only option for being responsible parents. The goal of the Natural Family Planning Program is to make more widely known and accessible this empowering alternative.

Batrice Adcock, MSN, RN, is the director of the Natural Family Planning Program managed by Catholic Social Services of the Diocese of Charlotte. For more information about Natural Family Planning, visit the Web site www.cssnc.org/naturalfamilyplanning or call Batrice Adcock at (704) 370-3230.